Phoenix Family News

April 9, 2021

Big picture

Important Dates Ahead...

  • April 16: Battle of the Books
  • April 16: VCES Virtual Bingo Night, 6:00 pm
  • April 23: No School, K-5 Prep Day
  • April 26: No School, K-5 Professional Development Day

MCA Dates:
  • April 27-30: Reading MCA for 3rd-5th grade
  • May 3-7: Math MCA for 3rd-5th grade
  • May 10-14: Science MCA for 5th grade

VLA MCA Dates:

  • April 30: Reading MCA 9:30-12:00
  • May 7: Math MCA 9:30-12:00
  • May 14: Science MCA 9:30-12:00

Calendar and Schedule Updates

The latest calendar updates are available at

A Note from the Principal

Our staff has worked tirelessly this year to help make the year successful for our students, so we're starting Staff Appreciation in April! To kick things off, all staff received a "Lucky Duck" in their mailbox and we're doing "Lucky Duck" drawings each week! One way we'd love for you to participate right now is to have your child complete the document below that says, "I'm a lucky duck to have you work at Valley Crossing because..." and bring it in to their teacher or staff member of their choosing any time in April! In the coming weeks, watch for more ways you can participate in our Staff "Lucky Duck" Appreciation month!

PTA Kindness Challenge Fundraiser

We are excited to announce the kickoff of the Valley Crossing Kindness Challenge (our Spring fundraiser)! All students that gather a donation of ANY AMOUNT will receive a VCES Kindness Wristband. There will be fun school wide incentives, prize drawings and classroom prizes. Click HERE for more information (link to flyer). Watch for a paper copy coming home with your child!!

Login to Get Movin to register, share with friends/family and make online donations. Donations will be used to enrich the learning opportunities at Valley as well as support the needs of staff and students.

Nurses' Notes

Thank you parents for all your support this year. We are enjoying having all the children back every day! Just a reminder that if anyone in your household has a pending Covid test due to having symptoms, we ask that everyone stays home until the results come back. Please do not enter the building if you or anyone in your household is ill. If you have questions, please call us at 651-425-7502.

If your student is in quarantine due to a school related exposure and you received a district quarantine letter, you do not need to call attendance every day.

Also, just a reminder to schedule your well-child exams and routine vaccinations for your children.

MCA Testing is Coming Soon...

We want to remind families that students should get a good night's sleep and a good breakfast on our MCA testing days. Students must bring their own charged devices and headphones for MCA testing. Students will not be allowed to have digital watches, fitness trackers, cell phones, or other technology devices, so please leave these items at home. Due to health and safety related requirements, and to maintain focus on instructional time, additional testing times will not be scheduled outside of the dates & times shared by schools and/or classroom teachers. This may impact families that take vacations, students who are sick, or students who are in quarantine during the designated times for testing. Homebase teachers will be sharing their individual testing times with families soon, if they have not already done so. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Last Month of VLA Book Checkout!

Big thanks to all of our VLA families who have been utilizing our contactless book checkout option! There are 2 remaining opportunities for our VLA families to request library books.

  • Students may request up to 3 books the week leading up to the Friday pickup date.
  • Books need to be requested by Thursday for pickup on Friday.
  • Books will be labeled with the student’s name on a cart outside the front entrance to the building.
  • Between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm, families can walk up, grab the books, and enjoy at home!
  • Books can then be returned at the next Friday pick-up, or dropped off on the black cart in the front entryway at any time.
  • Dates of Friday VLA Book Checkout Pickups are below
    • April 16, 23
    • All books should be returned during the month of May.
  • Instructions for how to place books on hold are below!

Destiny Discover Online Catalog

How To Request Books (Written Instructions)

How to Request Books (Video Instructions)

Please contact Ms. Lanners, Media Specialist, ( if you have further questions.

Battle of the Books Coming Up April 16!

If your child in grades 2-5 is participating in Battle of the Books this year, please help them prepare for the event in the following ways!

  • Mark your calendars! The virtual competition will be held April 16 for all students via Zoom.
    • 4/5 students will compete from 9:45am-10:45am.
    • 2/3 students will compete from 2:15pm-3:15pm.
    • In person students will bring their charged device to the school and will participate in the virtual battle from school. VLA students will log in from home. All students must log into the Zoom meeting from their school-issued device.
  • Be sure your child has headphones that work, as they will need them for the virtual event.
  • Encourage your child to finish reading or re-read any of the books they have taken responsibility for to help their team.
  • Have your child log onto their team FlipGrid page to communicate with their team members.
  • Review any communications you’ve received from Ms. Lanners or your child’s Battle of the Books coach and share any necessary information with your child.

Please contact Ms. Lanners, Media Specialist, ( if you have further questions.

A Note from Dr. Gervais, School Social Worker

    • Please view my schedule and availability online at
    • Resources for Families - District 833 has a website that will link you to a variety of resources from food, mental health, and unemployment and so much more. Bookmark this page for future use:
    • Snacks - Thank you to those families that have donated snacks for our students. Your generosity is greatly appreciated! Our goal is to ensure no student goes hungry. We welcome healthy, individually wrapped, and nut-free snacks until the end of the school year.

    Free Breakfast and Lunch for All Students

    Just a reminder that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) to provide free breakfast and lunch for enrolled students. Paperwork is not required to receive free meals. All students eat breakfast in the classroom, and our 2nd-5th grade students eat lunch in the classroom. All students are invited to participate in this program this year!

    Vacations and Other Extended Absences

    When students return to in person learning, teachers will not be posting Seesaw activities or provide live streaming for students who are on vacation or other extended absences. Homework packets and/or assignments will be put together similar to years past (non-COVID school years). If you have any questions, please contact me at or 651-425-7503.

    Illnesses and Absences

    • Please be sure to call in to our attendance line to report absences or illness: 651-425-7506

    • Any sick student who is sent to school, or is determined to be sick during the school day, will immediately be sent home.


    • The 14-day quarantine period will remain in place. If staff or students had close contact with an infected person, the Minnesota Department of Health may direct us to keep them out of school for a minimum of 14 days.

    • We ask that families be prepared for the possibility that their child’s class could move to distance learning at any time due to a potential COVID-19 exposure.

    VCES Information Links

    VCES Contact Information

    Connha Classon, Principal: / 651.425.7503

    Kristine McDonald, Assistant Principal: / 651.425.7523

    Merita LaPlante, Office Coordinator: / 651.425.7501

    Jen Gackstetter, Office Assistant: / 651.425.7507

    Jen Gervais, Social Worker: / 651.425.7542