VMS Vibe Online Parent Newsletter

November 2020

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    Message from the Principal

    Thank you for all of your support and guidance throughout the first part of this school year. This Alicia Keyes - Good Job Video made me think of all of our fantastic VMS parents and teachers. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did! 

    Thanks to you and our wonderful VMS staff, we have conquered Hybrid Learning and have now made the transition into Distance Learning. From what I am hearing, the first week of Distance Learning was as successful as it could be. Of course we would love to have everyone back in the building, but we must ensure the safety and security of all based on the recommendations of MDE, MDH, and the Governor.

    Please be sure to check out the articles below for important information about our daily schedule, attendance requirements, Tech Help, the Go Guardian Parent App, and much more.

    If you find that you are in need of resources during this difficult time, you may find what you are looking for on our District COVID-19 website. If you scroll down to the Links/Resources section, there is information about Food Shelves, Mental Health Support, Mindfulness Resources, and many articles about how to talk to your children about the pandemic.

    I sincerely wish you a wonderful fall break and hope you are all staying safe and healthy!

  • Distance Learning Schedule 

    Monday through Thursday Schedule


    • Students are expected to attend and participate in every hour via Google Meet. These live sessions may include screencasts, collaborative work, breakouts, playlists or other engagement strategies. 
    • Staff will keep the Google Meet open the entire class period and will be available so that students can seek additional support or clarification.
    • For flexibility with attendance due to other obligations, please work with the individual teachers.

    Friday Schedule

    • Students do not have to follow the daily schedule but they do need to Check-In on Campus. Course work will be posted in Schoology and teachers will have office hours for individual support. 
  • Attendance During Distance Learning

    Watch the How to “Check In” Video - this is important to ensure accurate attendance for your student!

    • Students are expected to check in to each class period daily using Campus Portal.
    • At 6:00 p.m. (on school days), students and parents will receive a notification via email if students did not complete their daily check in, although they will still be able to check in until midnight.
    • Students who do not complete their check in by midnight will be marked absent.
    • Students who participate in class but forget to check in should contact their teacher to correct the absence.
  • Go Guardian Parent App

    GoGuardian is a great resource parents/guardians can use to monitor your student's school issued Chromebook browsing activity during the school day, as well as adjust filtering and internet access when used outside of the school day.

    There are some great new features this year, including:

    • Website Filtering: Allows guardians to block students from accessing specific websites during out of school hours.
    • On Demand Internet Pausing: Allows guardians to pause internet access on demand for students during out of school hours.
    • Scheduled Internet Pausing: Allows guardians to schedule periods of paused internet access for students during out of school hours.

    Click here for more information about how to install and how the app can be used to monitor your student's Chromebook use habits.

  • Tech Directions for Students and Families

    Our awesome technology department has provided a one-stop shop for information about the technology your student uses on a daily basis, as well as technology that can help you monitor their school work and help them be successful, regardless of what learning model is being used.

    Click here to check out the Tech Tips.

  • Coffee With the Counselor

    Please join our school counselor, Kaylee Mace, as she offers informal and interactive conversations on various social and emotional topics to help in the journey of parenthood. Discussions are open to all VMS parents and will provide an opportunity to discuss meaningful issues with fellow parents. 

    Coffee with the Counselor will take place via Google Meet on the second Thursday of each month at 3:00 pm. 

    • December 10th: Helping our children with stress and anxiety
    • January 14th: How to help your distracted child be successful
    • February 11th:  Topic to be determined
    • March 11th: Topic to be determined
    • April 8th: Topic to be determined
    • May 13th: Topic to be determined

    Please join us in connecting with each other to learn new ideas and tools to help support our children.  Sign up by clicking here.  

    For questions, please contact kaylee.mace@isd728.org.


  • Student of the Week

    Congratulations to our November Students of the Week!

    Olivia Andresen, Sara Fehn, Alex Hebrink, Hannah King, Callan Kolles, Lars Nelson, Anna Nordmeier, Lily Sofio, Kayleigh Struwve, Colin Tracy, Katelyn Vonada, Riley Wamsley

  • Art

    Greetings to all fom the VMS Art Room!

    November brought us to the end of the first quarter and the start of second quarter. Since we are now in full time Distance Learning, I have been working to make sure Schoology is ready to go with a variety of learning activities, projects, and lessons, as well as guided practice activities students are able to complete at home. 

    Students will be working on a variety of projects this quarter; everything from drawing and watercolors, to digital art, to any number of fun learning pieces about artists and art history.

    Check out some great works of art from some 1st quarter art students.

    Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

  • AVID

    Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a program intended to help students who want to be a stronger student overall, but also provides support for staying organized, learning correct study habits, learning how to take notes correctly, and building their self-esteem as a leader.

    We are currently in the process of recruiting for our 6th grade AVID class. If your child is interested, please have them complete an AVID Application and share it with sarah.weinhold@isd728.org or jennifer.eldredge@isd728.org. The deadline for 6th grade applications is Tuesday, December 1st.

    Our current 8th grade AVID students are working on AVID tutorials and learning the online process for TRF's. Our 7th graders are working hard at refining organizational skills and building their AVID family.

    Please contact Mrs. Weinhold if you have any questions about the AVID program at VMS.

  • English

    Grade 6 students finished the first unit of the year. We focused mainly on fiction with some figurative language built into a few practices. In the first week of Distance Learning, students took the unit one test. The test featured three different passages with questions that were similar to the practice we worked on throughout 1st quarter. We will now transition into writing practice before beginning unit two.

    Students will still be required to read two novels per quarter. Please note that teachers have links to digital books on their Schoology pages. There are many places to find ebooks and audiobooks if you cannot access physical books.

    • Ms. Butts holds office hours via Google Meet every Monday from 3:05-3:25 pm and every Friday from 10:00-10:25 am.
    • Ms. Colton holds regular office hours on Friday from 10:00-10:45 am. 
    • Mrs. Holan holds office hours via Google Meet every Wednesday from 3:00-3:30 pm and every Friday from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. 

    Grade 7 students had a fantastic week of Distance Learning in my English classes! I had an impressive 95% participation turnout in my Google Meets. We finished writing our narrative rough drafts and students worked in writing workshop breakout rooms through the class Google Meet to peer edit their narrative stories. It was so fun to spend time with each group and hear them work through the editing process. Narrative final drafts were due on November 19th. Campus Portal has been updated to reflect those that haven't been submitted yet.

    When we come back from fall break, we will focus on background work in anticipation of reading an abridged version of A Christmas Carol in play form. We will then read the scenes of the play as a class through our daily Google Meets. After reading and discussing each scene together, students will work in breakout groups in the Google Meets to complete analysis questions. Finally, we will review and test on the fiction standards covered in the unit before winter break. Fridays will still be kept as novel reading days and work time for the quarter 2 novel project that will be due on January 15th.

    I am looking forward to an interactive and energizing December with your students!

    Grade 8 Distance Learning has been GREAT!! The attendance in Google Meets has been very high and it is nice to see the whole class together. We are just finishing up Unit One: Everyone Loves A Mystery. We completed the Unit One test before fall break, and the students will start writing their own narrative after break. We can't wait to see the creative writing that our 8th graders can produce! Remember to check Schoology for updates on daily work and due dates for assignments. Then, be sure to to check Campus for grading on assignments.

    Please communicate with your child's English teacher about any concerns you have with assignments, grades, daily work, or stress levels. We are here to help and want to make this Distance Learning experience great for everyone! 

  • Math

    Greetings from the Math Team!

    Last week was a blast and it was so wonderful to see all of our students virtually during our first week of full Distance Learning!

    The VMS math teachers would like to take this opportunity to give you all a couple of reminders so that every student has the chance to continue to succeed in math this quarter!

    First, ALL students 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. 

    Second, since we cannot see the students in person like usual, it will be extremely important for them to join our class each day on our Google Meet.  This will make it much easier for students 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 (this includes Google Meet class time, in-class virtual activities, and daily practice). 

    Finally, 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 to contact your child’s math teacher by phone or by email.


    Again, we can't tell you enough how thrilled we are to have the privilege to teach your child the importance of mathematics in their world and are so excited to continue diving into the world of math with you all! 

    ~ The VMS Math Team

  • Media Center

    With the introduction of full Distance Learning, the media center is working on a plan to ensure materials are still available for check out. Thank you for your patience as we work towards that plan.

    This month we put an emphasis on digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is an important set of skills to have whenever you are using electronic media to connect with others. 

    FACS classes learned about the importance of keeping information private and their online security. When thinking of digital citizenship relative to your situation, remember that means being safe, responsible, and respectful online. Learn more about Digital Citizenship on our website.

    The library is also honoring National Native American Heritage Month. Take a peek at the materials provided through the library and other online resources.

  • Music Department


    Wow has the time flown by! Our first week of Distance Learning went pretty well. There were, of course, some technology glitches, but what would online learning be without technology issues? There was great engagement and attendance on Google Meets. While it’s not the same as being together in person, I enjoyed seeing everyone’s faces without masks! 

    As we move forward in choir, we will still be singing during Distance Learning. To ensure your student finds success with this, they need a practice space in their home. What does this look like? Anywhere they feel most comfortable singing! It should be quiet and give them confidence to practice their choir music. Students are expected to rehearse during class time and practice outside of rehearsal for at least 10-20 mins, three times a week. If you need ideas or help setting up a practice space, please let me know. 

    My goal is to create a 6th-12th grade virtual choir recording using the song “How Can I Keep From Singing” arranged by Ginger Littleton. This is a beautiful little piece the 6th graders have been working on all of quarter one that explores the joys of singing. An audio recording is due from each student by 3pm on December 23rd. This recording and participation is in lieu of their concert grade, which is a required commitment. I do not need visual recording, as the students will submit statements of why they sing, love to sing, or enjoy music. This will be a fun little project for them and a way to showcase their hard work during this unprecedented time. 

    General Music

    Moving forward in General Music, we will be exploring many projects for students to take control of their own learning by being able to choose who or what they want to research with some guidelines. We will be exploring present day musicians, musical instruments--modern and historical, and world cultures and how music is relevant and different from culture to culture. 

    We will be doing body percussion, singing, playing, and experimenting with things found in each student’s home. Music is everywhere you look, not just in the pots and pans cabinet!

    I am thinking about all my students daily and can't wait to see them in the choir room again. Be safe and have a wonderful holiday season! 

    Kelly Heinonen

    6th-8th grade Choir/General Music Teacher



    I have had so much fun teaching your kids so far this year, whether from a distance or in person one day a week at school. It's been a challenge to say the least, but the students have worked hard to make it the best experience it could be.

    For in-person Hybrid Learning, we were outside playing our instruments as long as the weather permitted. Once it got too cold, we were inside physically distancing, masking when not playing, using bell covers on our instruments, puppy pads for the brass, and making the most of our time together.

    Now that we are in full Distance Learning, we will still be playing our instruments together in our Google Meets. Last week we had some fun with that! I want to encourage your student to keep practicing even on the days they do not have band. My recommendation is 4 days a week for 30 minutes each day. This is going to ensure that they get to know their instrument better and consequently they will have more fun playing it! I offer Google Meet band lessons that students can sign up for throughout the week if they would like a little extra help. 

    Unfortunately, our concert that was scheduled for December will not be able to take place. We are working on finding creative ways to share our music with our families, though. I know one day these 6th graders will be able to experience that "first band concert" and it's going to be wonderful!

    Thank you for sharing your kids with me. I absolutely love to see the progress they make during these three years in band. It's definitely not easy, so please keep encouraging them to try their best. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help ensure the very best learning experience in band this year!

    Sara Klingelhofer

    VMS Bands


  • Phy Ed

    VMS students just finished up their Pickleball and Basketball units in Phy Ed.

    We LOVE meeting with our students on Google Meets and will continue to look forward to seeing them each day they have PE!  During our Google Meets, we will usually have a short introduction and some days we will also complete a short workout with them. Then, we will give students time to pick their own workout and finish their PE log for the hour. We really want them to have a brain break and get the blood flowing during this distance learning time! 

    While in Distance Learning, students will continue to follow the same PE schedule they did during Hybrid learning, which means they'll have PE either on Monday/Tuesday (Even day students) or Wednesday/Thursday (Odd day students). Fridays will follow this alternating schedule and students should be completing their Phy Ed log on their Friday PE days. We will be available on Google Meet or by email if students need any help.

    We wish you all a healthy and safe holiday season! 

  • Social Studies

    Grade 6 students had a fantastic start to Distance Learning with a great student turnout in our daily Google Meets. We just finished our unit on the Early Dakota and Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota. Following our fall break, students will begin the Fur Trade Unit and come to understand how the relationships and interactions between Native Americans and European explorers and traders shaped our state's history. At the end of the unit, students will put themselves in the shoes of Voyageur and create their own Voyageur Journal, which is always a student favorite.

    Grade 7 students spent their first week of Distance Learning continuing to analyze the westward expansion as they learned more about the explorations of Lewis and Clark. Additionally, students began learning about the War of 1812. Finally, we saw great student engagement in our Google Meet classes. Please encourage your students to continue coming to our classes - we really enjoy seeing them every day! 

    Grade 8 students have had great participation and discussions in our 8th grade Google Meets during our first week of Distance Learning. Students wrapped up part of our unit on World Religions and took their test on the topic. After fall break, they will be covering different economy and government types around the world before diving in to a study of Australia and Oceania in December. You can keep informed about our daily lessons and learning goals by viewing our Daily Update slide in Schoology, which gives students a weekly list of their learning activities.

  • Yearbooks

    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 morgen.butts@isd728.org if you have any questions about yearbooks. 

Contact Us!

  • VMS Main Office

    Marcia Welch

    Assistant Principal
    Paul Warzecha

    Attendance Line
    763.241.3555 (24hrs)

    Counseling Dept.

    School Health Clerk
    763.241.3450 x2605

    Vision Transportation

  • 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.

bread program

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