VMS Vibe Online Parent Newsletter


Message from the Principal

  • Marcia Welch

    It’s hard to believe that it’s November already! The first couple months of school have flown by, and conferences are almost here. In the next week, you will receive information and instructions via email on how to schedule a conference time with your child’s RALLY teacher through our new online system. Conferences will take place on Monday, November 20 from 12:00-7:00 and Tuesday, November 28 from 4:00-7:00. We look forward to seeing you then.

    To keep up-to-date on current news and see all the great things occurring at VMS, we have a Twitter account filled with pictures of students and staff to give you a taste of what a day is like at VMS. You don’t need to have a Twitter account to follow us at http://www.twitter.com/ElkRiverVMS.

    On Thursday, November 9 from 6:00-7:00 in the Media Center, I will be hosting our first Dessert with the Principal session. I will bring some sweet treats and coffee to start us off right. The session is meant to create dialogue between parents/guardians and administration and to answer questions regarding middle school.

    Please remember that our doors to the building do not unlock for students until 7:45 am. As the weather gets colder, please ensure that your child does not get to school prior to 7:45 unless they’ve made arrangements with a staff member. At the end of the day, students should be out of the building by 3:15 unless they are supervised by a staff member.

  • Congratulations!

    Congratulations to VandenBerge’s Emily Almanzar and Lindsey Redepenning for being chosen as Elk River School Board Award Winners for their outstanding leadership!

    • Emily Almanzar -  Emily moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic two years ago.  She has the desire to learn all she can in the US because she sees the opportunities she can gain through education.  Emily was determined to do well on her MCAs last year. She put in the work and achieved great heights.  She exhibited tremendous growth (double digits) on her reading and math MCAs this past year! The sky is the limit for Emily due to her ability to set goals and achieve them.  She is also a true leader among her peers and in the community.  Emily is a VMS WEB leader and a member of our Honor Society; she is a true asset to our VMS family! She can frequently be seen in our lunch room approaching new students who are sitting by themselves and inviting them to her table to eat.  She is the type of person that makes you reflect on how much you could be doing for others around you. Emily is a student many of us respect and admire. 
    • Lindsey Redepenning -  On November 3, 2008, Lindsey's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Since that time, Lindsey has been a tireless advocate for research funding.  She has raised approximately $65,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF. Lindsey has participated in One Walks at Mall of America, JDRF Garage Sales and JDRF Ride to Cures in order to gain funds for research. Through Lindsey's and countless other's efforts, the artificial pancreas has become a reality.  Lindsey has seen the fruits of her labor as this August she began utilizing the artificial pancreas instead of an insulin pump. Because she has gone above and beyond to not only help herself but to help others, VMS nominated Lindsey Redepenning for this honor.

  • October Students of the Week

    Brielle Becker, Harrison Brandt, Mariah Dahlheimer, Dayton Guyer, Makayla Hendricks, Colton Hudson, Ryan Hudson, Rayna Laing, Jennie Mattson, Hailey Neumann, Jackson Rebrovich, Cade Sabby, Hayden Waletzko, Ike Wiitala, Julia Wilson


  • AVID

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    We are currently in the process of recruiting 6th grade students to join the 2017-2018 AVID program at VMS. You might be wondering what AVID is and who is an AVID student. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID is a program dedicated to helping students achieve their dreams of pursuing higher education after high school. The AVID classroom is made up of students who are in the academic middle; GPA of 2.0-3.5, average to high test scores and, most importantly, a desire and determination for learning. An AVID student would likely benefit from learning to stay organized, assistance with work completion and creating good study habits. If this sounds like a program that your child might benefit from, ask them to pick up an application packet in the VandenBerge counseling office, from Mr. Sears or Mrs. Weinhold. Applications are due on Friday, November 10.  they can be turned in to Mrs. Weinhold or dropped off in the counseling office. Feel free to contact Sarah Weinhold or Dave Crocker with any questions.

    Sarah Weinhold-ext. 2698 or sarah.weinhold@isd728.org

    Dave Crocker- ext. 2631 or david.crocker@isd728.org

  • From the Counseling Office...


    We are pleased to inform you that VandenBerge Middle School is able to offer a program for female students that focuses on teaching female adolescents everday skills to balance their emotions, improve communication skills and manage anxiety and stress.  This group will meet on Thursdays from 8:15-8:55 during the school day at VandenBerge.  The group will focus on behavior modifications that include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance.  The goal of this program is to build skills for students who want to decrease the behaviors that interfere with their success at school, increase their self-awareness to create behavioral change, further develop their coping skills and manage anxiety.  This group's focus is on skills training.  It is not a therapy program.  The group is being offered through the Rogers Therapeutic Collaborative, which is a consortium of counselors providing services to the students of District 728.


    For more information please contact Michelle Hunt-Graham at 612-750-0011.   To register your student for this group contact Dave Crocker at david.crocker@isd728.org o4 763-241-3450 ext. 2631.

  • 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 with a different disease, such as strep, by a doctor or clinic 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.

  • English


    In Language Arts 8th graders will be reading the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. At the 8th grade level, students work on annotating and interacting with the text while reading. For the students to best accomplish this task, we ask that students provide their own copy of this classic novel. If you already have a copy at your home,  your child may use it as long as you are OK with him/her highlighting and writing in the book. If you do not have a copy of the book, we ask that you purchase a copy for your child to use in class. The novel does NOT have to be new.  Feel free to purchase a used copy at Half Price Books, Goodwill or online where you can often find a used copy at a low cost. A new copy of the book can be purchased at Target or Walmart for around $8. We ask that your child have the book at school by Monday, November 27.

    If your child cannot provide his/her own copy of the book, due to financial concerns, we have a limited number available at school for students to checkout for the unit. If you are willing to donate an additional copy of the book for other students to use, please send it to school with your child. We appreciate your willingness to help develop your student’s reading skills and accomplish the learning goals of this unit.

    Please contact me at sarah.weinhold@isd728.org  if you have any questions or concerns.

    Sarah Weinhold


  • Science

    Grade 6 students are focusing on engineering and applying it through creative labs, grade 7 students have started the unit on cell processes in both animal and plant cells and grade 8 students have started the geology unit by digging into the basic elements of atoms.

  • Social Studies

    Grade 6 students finished the Early Dakota and Ojibwe unit by creating an Ojibwe Seasons foldable that detail how the different seasons impacted Ojibwe lifestyles.  Next, the students will study the Fur Trade and how this time period shaped and changed current day Minnesota.  Students will step into the shoes of both a Fur Trader and a Voyageur in this unit to better understand the ins and outs of the fur trading business.  They will also look at the varied interactions these European newcomers had with the Native Americans in Minnesota and analyze their working relationship to see how each group benefitted and suffered from the Fur Trade.  

    Some grade 6 students created parfleche containers during a recent SOAR class.  Students could choose between four different patterns after they studied the purpose for each parfleche used by the Dakota people (see pictures below).

    Grade 7 students have been busy. They finished their Westward Expansion maps, and they look great! As America continues to grow and expand, the question about slavery and states' rights is at hand. Our Civil War unit is right around the corner. For this unit, students will be creating a stop-motion video. This is a project everyone looks forward to. 

    Grade 8 students introduction to the geography unit came to a close and students started studying the five major world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism). Forms of government and economies are coming up next. These topics will come up again throughout the year while learning about the different regions of the world.  


  • Introduction to World Language

    This quarter has flown by in World Language!  Both 7th and 8th graders have learned introductory level Spanish, German and French and have also had the opportunity to learn about Ojibwe language and culture. The quarter will wrap up with the 7th graders taking an imaginary trip to a country of their choosing and keeping a diary of what they experienced each day. The 8th graders will finish the quarter by learning a completely new language and teaching the class what they learned. It has been a blast this quarter and I'm looking forward to all the new students that will be in World Language 2nd quarter!

  • VandenBerge Math League

    Math League had two meets in October. Teams from all of the ISD 728 schools, Big Lake, Monticello and Buffalo are competing this year. There are twelve teams registered to participate. VandenBerge has two teams competing this year, the Red team and the White team. The participants on each team may change from meet to meet. 

    The Red team has won each of the two meets by identical scores of 98 to 88 over the Big Lake Blue team. The White team finished in 7th place in the first meet and 4th place in the 2nd meet. There have been 22 students from VandenBerge who have competed this year. Participants on the Red team in October were Maya Andrican, Jordan Bauer, Tucker Brady, Peyton Maier, Lilly Perron, Lindsey Redepenning, Isabel Roiland and Harper Westgaard. The Red team overcame a slight deficit in meet 2 going into the team test. The team answered 9 out of the 10 questions correctly, which was 3 more than the next closest team.

    Individually, top ten finishers in meet 1 were Lindsey Redepenning, Peyton Maier, Tucker Brady and Harper Westgaard. Top ten finishers in meet 2 were Lindsey Redepenning, Jordan Bauer and Harper Westgaard. Lindsey and Jordan were the only ones to have a perfect paper in meet 2. Lindsey also had a perfect paper in meet 1. 

    After 2 meets, Redepenning is in 1st place by 6 points, Bauer is in 4th, Westgaard is in 5th, Maier is in 8th and Brady is in 11th. Emma Anderson is currently tied for the top scoring 6th grader in the league. Keep up the great work team!

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. 

  • Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman Boys Swimming and Diving Team (grades 7-12)

    The preseason meeting for the Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman Boys Swimming and Diving Team will be held on Tuesday, November 7 at 6:00pm in the media center at Elk River High School.  Please contact denise.green@isd728.org with questions.

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