Message from the Principal
November is here and another round of fall conferences is right around the corner. Families who did not take part in the first round of conferences in October will be invited to sign up for a virtual conference on November 23. More information will be coming soon.
It really is hard to believe we are already through two months of our school year. Throughout these two months, staff and students have learned a lot about our new models of learning, and I would like to share some of their tips with you.
Establish a routine for your day.
- Go to bed (plug in your Chromebook) and wake up around the same time each day, regardless of whether you are going to school or logging in from home.
- If you are a hybrid student, your routine may look different for your face-to-face days compared to your distance learning days. Develop a plan for each and stick to it.
- Run your day at home similar to school. Work for 45 to 50 minutes, and then take a break to get up and move around. Repeat for each class, and make sure to plan a 30-minute lunch.
Distance Learning (Hybrid and 100% Students)
- Log into Schoology and Student Campus Portal.
- Check in for attendance in every class, every day. You will be marked absent if you don’t!
- Review the Daily Update from your teachers on Schoology.
- Check your email daily.
- Plan your day based on information found in Schoology.
- If there is a live Google Meet or Schoology conference during class time, JOIN and PARTICIPATE!
- Complete any videos, assignments and/or projects that are posted.
Get Involved and Stay Engaged
- Despite physical distancing requirements, you are encouraged to engage with your teachers and peers.
- Ask questions, join Google Meets or Schoology conferences and email your teachers or peers.
- Communication is the key!
Thank you for all of your support and assistance during this unprecedented school year. We are also here to support you during these challenging times. If you find yourself in need of resources, please reach out to us or refer to the COVID-19 Resources/Links on the District website (scroll to the bottom of the Important Information section).
Take care and we look forward to talking with you at conferences.
Survey to Change Learning Model
If your student is a 100% Distance Learner and you are considering a change to the Hybrid Learning model, you now have the opportunity to request the change. The district notified middle school families via email on October 27th, but the survey link is also provided below.
Click Here to complete the survey, only if you wish to change your learning model. This must be completed by November 4th!
If you are changing your student to the Hybrid Learning model, they will return to in-person learning on November 30, after our fall break.
Please note: The next opportunity for your student to make this change will be at the end of February 2021, for a return to in-person learning in early March 2021.
Stay up to date by using the ISD 728 COVID-19 website. This is a great resource with all the latest news and important information from the district related to COVID-19 and its impact on our school year. You can also find email updates that have been sent to families by the district on this website. Check it out!
Thank you for utilizing the Attendance Line for calling in student absences. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to call the Attendance Line to inform the school of your student’s absence and the reason for your student’s absence. The Attendance Line is available 24 hours a day at 763-241-3555.
Students (Hybrid Learners and 100% Distance Learners) are required to check in via Campus Student Portal for each of their classes on distance learning days. If they do not check in, they will be marked virtually absent. Once they check-in, their teachers will verify their attendance/participation based on completion of assignments. Click here to view instructions for checking in on Campus Student Portal.
If your student is unable to participate on their distance learning days due to vacation, illness, etc., you must contact the school Attendance Line and leave a message to excuse the absence. If your student notifies their teachers that they will be absent, the absence will not be excused. Parents/guardians must report the absence on the Attendance Line or to the Attendance Secretary.
If your child is ill while they are quarantined, and will not be able to do any school work, please contact the office or Attendance Line so your child can be coded as “absent excused” due to illness.
Thanks for your cooperation!
Student of the Week
Congratulations to our September and October Students of the Week!
Tessa Boche, Katie Chyrklund, Rylin Curtis, Jacob Fleming, Mikayla Gabrielson, Genesis Gutierrez, Summer Hennig, Ben Hickman, Mark Kohout, Caden Martin, Carsyn Rinderknecht, Jason Shaw, Oto Torres, Alaina Voigt, Taylor Voss
VandenBerge Honor Society
On October 9th, the VandenBerge Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony. This year, we inducted 23 new members into the organization.
The VandenBerge Honor Society is an organization for students in grades 7 and 8 who have attained membership based on high scholastic achievement, character, citizenship, leadership, and service. The purpose of our organization is to promote these five ideals. Our aim is to encourage others scholastically, to develop qualities of citizenship, to take part in worthy service, to lead in those things which will advance the welfare of our school, and to grow in character.
We are involved in community service projects for our school and the wider community. Each year, we donate money to an organization of our members choosing with any proceeds made through the school store and service projects.
We are excited for this year and look forward to a fun year of service and leadership.
Counseling Groups at VMS
Group counseling is a great way to get your student connected to others who might be struggling with similar issues as your child. In a group, your student may be provided with a space where they can share their feelings, make connections with others, and learn new skills.
Counseling groups will be started in the middle to end of November and will run for six to ten weeks. Students received information about groups at VMS (via email and Schoology), and they were given the opportunity to sign up for a group.
If you would like more information or would like your child to participate in a group with the counselor at VMS, please contact our VMS School Counselor, Kaylee Mace at email@example.com or 763-241-3450 ext. 2631.
Lifetouch Picture Retakes
Lifetouch will be at VMS for picture retakes on November 9th and 10th. Students can have their picture taken on these dates if they did not get their picture taken in September or if they would like to retake their picture.
In an effort to be flexible for our 100% Distance Learning families, Lifetouch will be here for retakes from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm on both November 9th and 10th. You do not need to pre-register to bring your student in for these pictures, they can come in on either day. Students should enter the building through Door L (entrance on School Street) and go directly to the small gym. We ask that parents remain outside the building or in their vehicle during this time.
Lifetouch will be following safety protocols while students get their picture taken.
If you would like to order picture packages for retakes, please click here for more information.
From the Health Office
Please evaluate your child daily for Covid symptoms before sending them to school by using the School Self-Screening Checklist.
Please review these Stay Safe MN resources to further your understanding of terminology (quarantine, close contact, etc.), COVID symptoms, when to stay home, etc. by following the links below.
First quarter will be wrapping up soon in the VMS art room, where students have been busy planning, creating and learning about the great world of art. Here is a quick snapshot of what some students have been working on - they have been busy!
Grade 6 students are currently working on exploring the theme of how the Pandemic has changed their lives and are creating a postcard that could explain to someone what is different about their current life experience. We have explored the idea that the situation is offering us an opportunity to be grateful and aware of change. Students are also working on color scheme and understanding how artists organize colors.
Grade 7 students just finished working on a tessellation assignment and have also explored the art of Cubism. They just moved on to a choice board of activities that are meant to offer students the freedom to explore their own themes and designs using a variety of mediums.
Grade 8 students finished a short unit on working in themes and mixed media, and now have started to explore a value shade drawing unit. Students selected their own personal theme and are now in the phase of drawing their choice of up to 3 different projects ideas. We are looking forward to seeing what personal choice can do to inspire these kids and what they create!
Check out the pictures below for a few of the projects completed this quarter.
During the week of November 2nd, we will start the process of recruiting 6th grade students to join the 2020-2021 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 going on to 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 from the VandenBerge Counseling Office, Mr. Sears or Mrs. Weinhold. Applications are due Wednesday, November 18th and can be turned in to Mrs. Weinhold or dropped off in the Counseling Office.
Grade 6 students worked on reading a few new stories, honed skills such as character development, academic and content vocabulary, as well as continuously worked on reading comprehension. We worked on the short story, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, as well as an excerpt of The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Each story and most assignments are located in our online textbook, StudySync. As we continue throughout the year, please encourage your student to read once they have completed their other homework assignments. Students should be working towards reading at least 20 minutes of their independent novel each day. The 6th grade English teachers are all also reminding students to read, but any help is greatly appreciated!
Here are the office hours when teachers are available for students to drop-in and ask questions:
- Mrs. Butts holds office hours via Google Meet every Monday from 3:05-3:25 and every Friday from 10:00-10:25.
- Ms. Colton holds regular office hours via Google Meet on Wednesdays for Distance Learners. She will post times in the updates on Schoology and on the daily slides.
Grade 7 students still need headphones or earbuds. Please ensure your student has a working pair at school. The media center sells earbuds for $2 with proceeds going to the Media Center. Tic-Tac-Toe Novel Projects are due 10/30 by 3PM. This is worth 30 summative points. Students have been working on this every Friday since the last week of September. Students are urged to email or set up a Google Meet with Mrs. Boche if they have any questions or need specific help. Students should be logging in and completing work on their distance learning days. Students need to email Mrs. Boche when they have submitted late work, identifying which assignment they've submitted in the body of the email. The first week of November we will be working on writing practice.
Mrs. Boche is available via Google Meet by using the appointment links on her Schoology page: Thursdays 3:00-3:25 and Fridays from 9:00 - 10:30 and 1:00 - 2:00.
Grade 8 students have been working with our new curriculum, StudySync. This digital program has been great and works well with the Hybrid learning model. We are in our suspense unit, which is fitting for this time of year! While at home, students are still expected to complete the posted work. We make DAILY Update posts on Schoology! Please focus on looking at Schoology for current and upcoming assignments. If students complete their work at home, it helps greatly with the transition back to school on their face to face day.
Here are the office hours when teachers are available for students to drop-in and ask questions:
- Mrs. Weinhold: Monday and Wednesday from 3:00-3:25
- Mrs. Butts: Monday from 3:00-3:25 and Friday from 10:00 - 10:25
Students are required to read two Independent novels each quarter. Please encourage them to be reading at home, especially when we put it on their daily schedule for the assigned work. ALL students have access to the media center by putting a book on hold. The media center team will bring the book to the student or distribute it to them on Distance Learning pickup days.
As we work towards the end of quarter, please continue to email with questions. I hope students are settling into a routine when they are at home, whether as hybrid or full-time distance learners. As a team, we can work together to make all students successful!
The VMS math teachers would like to take this opportunity to once again remind you of what your student needs to do in order to succeed in math this year.
First, ALL students, regardless if they are assigned to Hybrid A, Hybrid B, or Distance Learning, are required to log in and follow through with all class expectations that are posted each day in Schoology. This includes listening intently, following directions, and completing every activity to the best of their ability. Since we cannot see the students every day like usual, it will be extremely important for them NOT to "skip" or simply "breeze over" any of the material and/or videos that are provided in order for them to grow and be successful. All students should be spending roughly 30 - 50 minutes each day doing math in order to work toward mastering every new skill.
Second, if your student is in the building for Hybrid learning, we will be providing Math Help every morning before school from 7:45 - 8:10. This is done on a rotating teacher schedule and is shown below. Each math teacher also provides opportunities for students to work virtually one-on-one with them by appointment every Friday using Google Meet. Please contact your child’s teacher if your student needs help signing up for a Friday Appointment with their math teacher.
As always, if you have any questions about daily practice or class expectations, feel free contact your child’s math teacher by phone or by email.
~ The VMS Math Team
Life in the media center is far from normal but we are happy to see more students checking out books and using the space for independent study during October.
This month the library showcased spooky titles on Schoology (book talks and first chapter Fridays), as well as a freaky fiction table. We also have on display graphic novels in celebration of Scholastic’s "Teach Graphix Week" which promotes the use of graphic novels in teaching and learning. Titles are available and ready to be checked out!
6th graders in Mrs. Tuholsky’s coding classes were in the library working with Edison Robots at the end of the month. It was great to see their problem solving skills and ability to reflect on their code.
Check out the media center’s website to stay up to date on library happenings during the month: Media Center Website
Our students have been showing tremendous VMS PRIDE in PE! It has been such a fun school year with our students at school and our distnce learners have been rocking PE at home as well!
Mr. Michalak's class has been working on tennis, while Mrs. Sheetz's class has been playing soccer. Students have completed their first mile run and we have been doing some fitness testing.
We have enjoyed PE outside as much as possible, and the early arrival of wintery weather made it interesting for us - we played snow tennis and snow soccer! We have now moved back inside for our basketball and volleyball units.
We look forward to more fun times with our students!
Grade 6 students are finishing their unit on the Early Dakota and Ojibwe people of Minnesota. Students are also spending a few days learning about elections, voting, and the electoral college. As we begin the 2nd quarter, students will be studying The Fur Trade and examining the first contact Europeans made with the early Native American tribes in Minnesota. Students will put themselves in the shoes of a Voyageur and Fur Trader in this unit and create a fur trading journal.
Grade 7 students completed their first unit on Civics. They learned about the U.S. Governmental system - Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Branches of Government, Powers of each of the branches, and who is in charge of each branch. Leading up to the 2020 election, students are learning the difference between the Electoral College & Popular vote. Students will also participate in a mock election on Monday 11/2 & Tuesday 11/3.
Grade 8 students wrapped up their Introduction to Geography.They learned the basics of different types of maps, map projections, branches of geography, latitude/longitude, landforms, and the 5 themes of Geography. Leading up the 2020 election, students will be learning the difference between the Electoral College and Popular vote. Students will compare the two candidates and issues they are voting on, then will participate in a mock election on Monday 11/2 & Tuesday 11/3.
Have you ordered your yearbook? Yearbooks are available from Jostens for $30.
Visit jostensyearbooks.com, click ‘Order My Yearbook’ to view products and add them to your cart. Check out online and be sure to enter your email address so you get a receipt for your purchase. Yearbooks will be delivered to school in the spring.
Please contact Morgen Butts at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about yearbooks.
Building Hours for Students
Students are not allowed to enter the building before 7:45 unless they have a scheduled activity with a staff member. Students remaining in the building after 3:15 must be under the direct supervision of a staff member.
Assistance with Groceries
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. If you are interested in receiving a bag on a weekly basis, please contact Krista Brannan at 763-241-3450 extension 2687.