VMS Vibe Online Parent Newsletter


Message from the Principal

  • We are off to a great start at VandenBerge Middle School! Thank you for your support and for allowing us the opportunity to work witMarcia Welch h your children. We speak about and truly believe in educating, inspiring and empowering every student, but I have to say the students educate, inspire and empower us every day. VandenBerge is a great place to be, and we take great PRIDE in being a part of this building and community. You can keep up to date with what's happening at VMS through our Twitter account (@ElkRiverVMS) where you'll find pictures and tweets of the current events at VMS.

    The Chromebooks and Schoology have added a new dimension to this year. Teachers are utilizing the Chromebooks in a variety of ways to engage our digital learners. It is an exciting time and fun to observe our students eagerly diving into their class material!

    I recommend that you check Parent Portal and Schoology to keep up-to-date on your student's class work.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact your student's teacher.

    We are starting our ZAP (Zeroes Aren’t Permitted) program for students who are missing two or more assignments. ZAP occurs during lunch time in order to give students extra help during the school day. Students assigned to ZAP go to the front of the lunch line then take their materials and their lunch to the ZAP room where a staff member can assist them with assignments, quizzes or tests. We have seen a drastic decrease in the number of missing assignments and failing grades since we implemented this program several years ago.

    VandenBerge is once again implementing SOAR (Student Oriented Academic Response) to access remediation for students that need the extra help and enrichment for students that need the extra challenge. SOAR occurs on Wednesdays and Thursdays during RALLY. Teachers sign students up based on need or interest. Students and staff have enjoyed this time to learn together.

    We are having a parent informational meeting on Cyberbullying/Bullying on Thursday, October 5 from 5:00pm to 6:00 pm. Victoria Powell, Assistant Sherburne County Attorney, will be our guest speaker for the evening. Ms. Powell does a marvelous job explaining a difficult topic. I hope you will be able to attend.

    We will be having several informal meetings called "Dessert with the Principal" which are designed to discuss the issues you have on your mind.  We will have some sweet treats before opening up the dialogue to the parents. The meetings will be held on November 9, February 8 and April 12 at 6:00 pm in the media center.  I look forward to hearing from you!

    Thanks again for your support!  I look forward to a great school year and getting to know you.

  • September Students of the Week


    Kaylyn Breyen, Sawyer Rueckert and Marcos Zelaya

  • Health Awareness

    Now that we are in flu season (October-April), please use this questionnaire each day your child is sick with flu-like symptoms and follow the instructions for when to keep him/her home. If your child has received the flu vaccine, he/she is much less likely to get sick. Getting a flu shot helps protect your child from getting the flu, so he or she won't pass it to people who risk getting very sick, like babies, elderly people and people with chronic diseases. 

    Please refer to the additional guidelines below to prevent the spread of illness at school.  If your child has been diagnosed by a doctor or clinic with a different disease, such as strep, please notify your child’s school Health Office.


    The attendance policy states that a doctor’s note is required for absences that extend beyond three consecutive days or ten total absences due to medical reasons. The doctor’s note must be provided within three days of the request.

  • Message from the Counselor

    Greetings! My name is Dave Crocker, and I am the Counselor at VandenBerge Middle School. The counseling department at VMS is prepared to meet the needs of your middle school student. I meet with students to discuss a variety of issues and concerns throughout the school day. Common middle school issues that are addressed are social and emotional concerns and academic difficulties. We also oversee the standardized testing process for the school. Please call me at 763-241-3450, extension 2631 with any questions or concerns that come up throught the year.


    Grade 6 -  What an excellent group of sixth graders we have this year! I’m so happy we have enthusiastic readers in this group!  We are working on writing paragraphs, learning forms of fiction, learning genres of fiction/nonfiction and reading.  It will be a wonderful year! The students who stayed back from Wolf Ridge learned many things including outdoor survival, animal tracking and astronomy in the star lab . Please remember, in English there is always homework. The homework is to READ! 

    The 8th grade students have been busy working on vocabulary, grammar using NoRedInk.com and critically reading articles. Students have done a great job with learning expectations in the classroom and school-wide. We will begin the year focusing on fictional reading. We request that each student spends 20 minutes a night on independent reading. This is a great way to build comprehension and vocabulary skills. Look at the attached diagram for great research supporting daily independent reading time.  For quarter one, each 8th grader is required to read a minimum of 5 books and complete a reader's response on Schoology. Please check-in with your child at home and ask them about the books they have chosen to read. 

    One of the best ways to keep up-to-date with your child's work is through Schoology. The information is updated daily and you can see what homework was given. Schoology is a great communication tool between home and school. If you need help setting up your account, please contact your teacher for more information. We are looking forward to an awesome year with our students!


    The 6th graders are designing and building solar ovens.  We are incorporating our engineering skills with what we learned about the environment at Wolf Ridge.  We are also reinforcing the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation. 

    The 7th graders have had a great start to the year and are eager to learn.  We began our studies with the nature of science and engineering. We reviewed the scientific method and SI units.  We worked with math to convert SI units by using the order of operations.  We are now ready to use a microscope to examine organisms starting with the cell. 

    The 8th graders are blasting off into space in our first topic of Earth Science.  They enjoyed visiting the Star Lab and discovering the parts of our solar system, galaxy and universe and the great force of gravity that holds us all in place.

  • Social Studies

    The 6th graders are getting back into their normal routine and schedule after our Wolf Ridge week.  We have been spending a fair amount of time on mapping skills and identifying the various parts of maps.  The students will begin their study of the Early Dakota in Minnesota during the first week of October.  


    The 7th graders are learning about the formation of the United States government. They are learning about the important documents that formed our new nation including The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Along with this students, are learning the branches of government and the powers that they hold. 


    The 8th graders are off to a great start learning the basic tools of Geography. They are currently learning about different branches of geography, the different types of maps, latitude & longitude and the 5 Themes of Geography.  Classes recently created a map of their mind where they were challenged to create a map of the world from their memory. 

  • Physical Education

    Physical Education classes are off and running. We started the year together with team building activities and learning the importance of working together, communicating positively and getting to know each other.  Mrs. Hudak's 7th and 8th graders have been learning lacrosse skills and playing games while Mr. Michalak's 7th and 8th graders have been playing ultimate football. We will begin our fitness testing in the next couple of weeks to get a baseline to where we are now and set a goal for where we would like to be next spring.

  • Health

    Health has started out with a bang! We have been through a nutrition unit and have had several songs/videos about nutrients.  We are now learning about the effects of tobacco on the body in our tobacco unit. Our next unit will be on alcohol in our tobacco unit .

  • Technology

    Students in Design & Modeling and Automation & Robotics have been enjoying the addition of the Chromebooks into lessons as they have been using them daily to collaborate, create and complete self-paced learning activities. 

    Soon all the students will begin learning and using professional level programs such as Autodesk Inventor and RobotC. 

    If families are interested, Autodesk Inventor does have a free download option on their website for students. One stipulation to the free download is the computer must be running Windows. Feel free to contact Mrs. Faul @ kristin.faul@isd728.org for further questions and details. 


    Students are off to a great start at VMS in the Art Department.  Grade 8 has been working on learning about optical art design and creating their own optical posters.  Grade 7 students have been working on learning about surrealism and creating a collage using magazine images.  

  • Get the FACTS about FACS

    I'm Mr. Golla and I have the privilege to teach both 6th grade FACS and 8th grade Pro Chef.  A little about myself: I have been subbing in the Elk River District the past 2 years, frequently filling in for teachers at VandenBerge.  This is a school I loved to sub at, and a great way to build relationships with students who I currently have as 8th graders. I live in St. Cloud with my fiance, Samantha, and our two cats, Finnegan and Winston.

    The 6th graders have been exploring the world of clothing care.  Students have been learning basic tips for sorting clothes and the washing and drying DOs and DONTs. They have also been shown how to read the care labels found on clothes and what the symbols mean. Later in this unit, your son or daughter will get to practice what they have learned by washing loads of clothes at home, with adult supervision of course.

    The 8th grade Pro Chef students just wrapped up the Job Skills Unit. This unit was aimed at better preparing students as they enter the workforce in the next year or two. Pro Chef students learned how to fill out a job application to Subway and the importance of doing it correctly. Other activities included practicing interviewing skills, practicing a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact with their peers and other teachers in the building and doing a take home interviewing assignment.  Finally we looked at aspects after getting hired at a job: filling out W-4 and I-9 forms, learning about different pay periods and learning what deductions are being taken out of your pay checks.

  • Introduction to World Language

    World Language is off to a great start this year! The 7th and 8th grade classes have researched reasons why learning a second language could be beneficial for them in the future, and both groups have completed the Spanish unit! The 7th graders are now able to have a basic conversation in Spanish and the 8th graders are able to order an ENTIRE meal in Spanish, start to finish. It is awesome to see how much students learn in the languages in the course of just a couple of weeks! In the coming weeks, students will begin to learn French, German and Ojibwe. I am looking forward to what the rest of the quarter will bring!

  • Band

    We have had a great start of the year in Band!  Please check your student's Schoology for class information. Students should be bringing their instruments home on a regular basis for at-home practicing.

    • Friday, 10/27 Halloween Concert at Elk River High School (8th grade and HS only)
    • Friday, 12/8 Pep Band Blast at Elk River High School (8th grade and HS only)
    • Thursday, 12/14 VMS Band Concert (6th, 7th and 8th grade and Jazz Band)
    • Saturday, 3/3 Band Jam at Elk River High School (6th through 12th grade bands from Salk, VandenBerge and Elk River HS)
    • Thursday, 3/15 VMS Band Ensembles Night (6th, 7th and 8th grade and Jazz Band)
    • Thursday, 5/17 VMS Spring Band Concert (6th, 7th and 8th grade and Jazz Band)

    If you need extra help on your instrument, please sign-up for a time with Mrs. Klingelhofer.  

  • AVID

    AVID Update!

    AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. We want all students to have a drive to succeed and a focus on their future. This program helps students stay organized, reinforce the best study skills and build reading and writing skills. Currently, we have an 8th grade AVID course and a 7th grade AVID course, with a 6th grade course expecting to start later this year.  Parents of 6th graders, please watch for announcements coming out later in October and November about how your child can apply to be in the AVID program at VMS. 

    Our 7th and 8th grade students are working on building their AVID family and learning great collaboration and communication skills. We have been busy building our social contracts and decorating our classroom door to show how our community is building!

    Please contact Sarah Weinhold at 763-241-3450 extension 2698; sarah.weinhold@isd728.org if you have any questions about the AVID program at VMS.

Contact Us!

  • VMS Office

    Marcia Welch

    Assistant Principal
    Jaime Hilyar

    Attendance Line
    763.241.3555 (24hrs)

    Counseling Dept.

    School Health Clerk
    763.241.3400 x2605

    Vision Transportation


    Students are not allowed to enter the building before 7:45 unless they have a scheduled activity with a staff member, and students remaining in the building after 3:15 must be under the direct supervision of a staff member.  With cooler temperatures approaching, please take this into consideration when dropping off and picking up your student.


    There are resources available for VandenBerge families who are struggling to make ends meet.  One of these resources is a program that is coordinated by the Elk River Women of Today,  who deliver products such as bread, muffins, cookies, etc. to VandenBerge each week.  The products are collected from Coborn's, Cub Foods and Perkins Restaurant.  The food is then distributed to student lockers or you can make arrangements with the School Social Worker to pick up a bag in the main office.  If you are interested in receiving a bag on a weekly basis, please contact Krista Brannan at 763-241-3450 extension 2687.

bread program

  • From the Front Office...

    Please keep in mind that messages delivered to classrooms disrupt student learning.  For this reason and because of time and work constraints, office staff is unable to deliver personal, non-emergency messages.  We ask that you discuss any change in your child’s daily routine before they arrive at school. Discuss with your child their responsibility in bringing the appropriate books and supplies to school each day (including lunch money) and allow them to experience the consequences if they do not. When a student has forgotten something and/or has called a parent to bring forgotten items, the student is responsible for checking on and picking up those items between classes. We will no longer be able to notify students of items brought in. If an emergency arises and you need to contact your child, please call the main office at 763-241-3450.  The student will then be notified of the message in class or called to the office to receive the message. 

  • Middle School Math League is starting!

    VandenBerge students have the opportunity to participate in the league for free!  Monticello, and possibly Big Lake, will be joining the ISD 728 schools in competition. The top 10 students and the top 3 scoring schools in the division will get awards for their efforts. The top four or five scoring members of Team VandenBerge will be invited to compete in the National Mathcounts competition in February. This is a great way for students to start building a college resume and to prepare for high school Math League. Most importantly, it’s a great way for your child to challenge themselves, expand his/her knowledge of math and have some fun. Practices will be led by the ERHS Math Team coach with help from some current high school Math Team members. The commitment is once a week (Thursdays and a couple Tuesdays) after school until January. It is perfectly acceptable for students to miss a practice or meet. Students who just want to try it for one meet are welcome to come. Coach Michener ran the first practice Thursday, September 21.  Meets are tentatively scheduled for 10/9, 10/30, 11/15, 12/19 and 1/16. More information about the league can be found at mnjhml.com or by contacting Coach Michener at curtis.michener@isd728.org. Please contact him to express your interest in the league, so he knows how many students to expect. More details about the league will be sent out once meet locations have been finalized. We hope your child considers what has become a tradition of excellence for VandenBerge students in Math League.

  • VMS Media Center

    The VMS MEDIA CENTER is open every day from 7:45 - 3:15. The media center is the place to discover new things to read, finish schoolwork, get help with research and access many resources. Students may visit with their English class and are able to request a book pass from their English teacher,  so he or she can check out books. Students may check out up to 4 items at a time.  All materials are due the first Tuesday of each month.

    We’ve made some changes to our space. Check out how great the new furniture looks when in use by VMS students:

  • Welcome to the ChromeDepot!

    The ChromeDepot is your one-stop shop to receive Chromebook and Google Apps help. The staff are there to help you with all of your Chromebook needs, ranging from "how to use" questions to service and repair. We provide a charging station along with a limited amount of loaner Chromebooks.

    The ChromeDepot is open before, during and after school and is located in the Media Center.


    -Bring your Chromebook  to school everyday FULLY charged

    -Report any damage or loss to the ChromeDepot as soon as possible

    -Avoid extreme heat or cold, such as leaving it in a vehicle on a summer or winter day

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