VMS Vibe Online Parent Newsletter

December 2020

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    Message from the Principal

    I hope this issue of the VandenBerge Vibe finds you and your family in good health during this festive season. Many things have been written regarding the stresses that come with this time of year. Be aware that our children can be affected by the same issues that affect adults, and our children may be exhibiting behaviors due to these issues. 

    Our Counselor, Kaylee Mace (kaylee.mace@isd728.org), and Social Worker, Krista Brannan (krista.ketelsenbrannan@isd728.org), are available to assist students during the school day with a variety of issues. Please do not hesitate to reach out to either of them. They would be happy to assist. There are also some wonderful resources on our VMS website.

    VMS is hosting Virtual Dress Up Days on December 21-23. I am looking forward to seeing our students and staff show their school pride and holiday cheer through their outfits. What a great way to bring a bright spot into our days!

    In January, VMS will be hosting a Virtual Talent Show for VMS students only. We are all looking forward to seeing our students’ talents and virtuosities. Please encourage your child to audition for the show!

    As we head into the holiday break, I hope everyone will take some time to enjoy the season with family. On behalf of the staff at VandenBerge, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work with your children and for all of your support. You truly make VandenBerge a great place for all. 

    Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  • Prevention and Safety Newsletter

    The Prevention & Safety team continues to support students and staff by sharing important information regarding mental health, social emotional learning, and safety.

    Check out the December Prevention and Safety Newsletter and all of the valuable resources available on the ISD 728 Prevention & Safety Parent Page.

    Resources include mental health supports (external and internal), hotlines, family needs resources, COVID resources, resilience and self care resources, parent education, safety and more.

    Please reach out to our Coordinator of Prevention and Safety, Sheila Dokken (sheila.dokken@isd728.org) if you have questions or ideas for content on the Parent Page.

  • Health Services Update

    Continue to report positive Covid Cases! Even though ISD 728 is in all Distance Learning now, we need to have you report all positive Covid-19 cases to your school’s health office or by clicking this link.  We will need to have this documentation on record for when we return to school and activities. Please note: Once you have had a positive Covid-19 test, you do not need to be quarantined if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case for 90 days (3 months) after you are released from isolation.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q:  Why do we need to quarantine if we feel good and have tested negative? 

    A:  COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person. That's why health experts recommend avoiding large crowds and busy places, and staying at least 6 feet away from people you don't live with. When the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines require quarantine for someone, which means he/she must stay home for 14 days, it is because the person has been exposed to the virus. In this situation, the person could be infected and could spread the virus, even though they feel well. Unfortunately, a person cannot test out of the 14-day quarantine as he/she could become ill at any time during those 14 days.


    Q:  If my family hasn’t gotten flu shots this year, should we still get one?

    A:  Yes, getting a flu shot this year is particularly important because, like Covid-19, influenza is a respiratory virus and we want to do everything we can to minimize having two respiratory outbreaks circulating simultaneously in our populations.

    Anytime you get together with people who do not live with you, even in someone’s home, the risk of getting Covid-19 goes up for everyone.

    Stay safe this Holiday Season!

  • Coffee with the Counselor

    Thanks to all who joined for December Coffee with the Counselor discussion. Click HERE to view the presentation from that session.

    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 takes place via Google Meet on the second Thursday of each month at 3:00 pm. Upcoming topics are:

    • January 14th: How To Help Your Distracted Child Be Successful
    • February 11th: Coping with Isolation

    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 December Students of the Week!

    Cole Curtis, Brooke Engebretson, Gina Greniuk, Kaylen Howell, Gavin Illies, Emma Mathison, Eva Poor, Ella Russ, Sloan Sherrett

  • Washington D.C. Trip Postponed

    The trip to Washington D.C. that was being planned for the summer of 2021 has been postponed until 2022. Mrs. Wold will start planning the 2022 trip sometime after winter break and will have a virtual meeting to share details at a later date.

  • Art

    Greetings to all from the art room at VMS!

    Second quarter art students are moving along well during our Distance Learning adventures! We have been focused on completing a variety of projects and meeting the goals within the visual arts standards.

    • Grade 8 students have worked on photography and digital photo editing. 
    • Grade 7 students created digital parodies.
    • Grade 6 completed perspective works of art.

    Enjoy the works of art (shown below) created by some of our talented students!   

    I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season! 

  • AVID

    Our AVID classes are busy working on building our AVID family through Tutorials, Collaborative Study Groups, and Organization. These skills will help students be successful in high school and college down the road.
    We are excited to welcome our 6th grade AVID students to our VMS AVID family. They will begin their AVID journey with Mr. Sears on Monday, January 4th.
    The 8th grade AVID students will get a virtual visit from an ERHS counselor on Monday, December 21st to go over the registration process and get their questions answered. We are excited to help them plan for their future!
    Please contact Sarah Weinhold (sarah.weinhold@isd728.org) if you have any questions about the AVID program at VMS.
  • English

    Grade 6 students completed their work in Unit 1 in StudySync. This included a test and a narrative that was based around the Unit 1 essential question, “What do we do when life gets hard?” Over the next several weeks, 6th grade classes will begin Unit 2 which will ask the question, “How do relationships shape us?” Thank you for all the support during distance learning! Students have been doing a great job in coming to our Google Meet classes as well as asking for help when they need it. Please keep encouraging your students to do their best throughout the upcoming weeks.

    Also, remember there is Media Center curbside pickup on Thursdays from 11-2. Students can pick up or drop off their media center materials at that time. If you have questions about media items, please contact Ms. Kohler (kasey.kohler@isd728.org).

    Office Hours

    • Ms. Butts holds office hours via Google Meet every Monday from 3:05-3:25 and every Friday by appointment only.
    • 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 3:00-3:30pm and every Friday from 9am-noon. 

    Grade 7 students will be finishing up their work with A Christmas Carol. I've given students in-class workdays and many opportunities to work in a separate meet to read the play and complete the assignments. My goal is to have students complete and submit all their work before winter break so that they have no homework over break. Over winter break, they should be reading their choice novel. As always, students are encouraged to email me when they have questions or make up missing work. I'm still available to meet one-on-one on Fridays from 9-10:30 AM and 1-2 PM via the appointments link on my Schoology page. Happy holidays! 

    Grade 8 students are just finishing up their Suspense Narrative stories. It is great to see some of the creative writing these students can produce, and it is fun to read!! Please ask your child to share their suspense story with you. After the Holiday break, we will start reading the novel The Outsiders. We are giving the students the option of purchasing a paperback copy of the book to annotate or using the digital chapters that will be posted in Schoology. It is up to the student and parent which way they may want to approach this unit. By using a paperback book, it can help provide some offline and screen free time for the students.

    As we move through the first half of the second quarter, please be checking Schoology for daily posted assignments and Campus for updated grades. Thank you to all the parents who are helping to navigate distance learning with their teen. We know this is not easy and can't wait to get back into the classroom with them!
    Please contact your child's English teacher with any questions!!
  • Math

    The VMS math teachers would like to take this opportunity to provide 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 is 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 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.

    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.



  • Media Center

    The VMS Media Center is open for digital check out! 

    Place holds on Destiny. You may place holds on any day during the week and pick up materials on Thursdays. Ms. Kohler (kasey.kohler@isd728.org) will email families with more information if they have a child that places a hold.

    There is a special event coming in January. Stay tuned for more information regarding this on Schoology.

    We have a number of weekly posts on Schoology. Be sure to check out Meme Monday, Whatcha Reading Wednesday, Virtual Booktalk Thursday, and First Chapter Friday!

    A cool resource to check out before 2020 is officially over is Books to Film 2020. This slide show goes over many books that have been made into movies and TV Shows this year, along with some 2021 titles that you can begin reading now before they come out as a film. 

    As always, you can find information about the media center throughout the month on our Media Center Website.

  • Phy Ed

    Our Physical Education classes have been rocking their Google Meets and workouts during Distance Learning! We are having so much fun with our students and can't wait to see them in person again!

    Students have been great about checking in to our Google Meets! At the beginning of the hour, they do a short warm up with us, and then complete their own workout. Lots of virtual pride tickets have been handed out for the awesome participation!

    The students will be doing a fun holiday workout before break - VMS 12 Days of Fitness. Click the link to check it out!

    Happy Holidays from Mr. Michalak and Mrs. Sheetz


  • Social Studies

    Grade 6 students are currently studying the MN Fur Trade through winter break. Our 6th graders have an exciting summative for this unit! They get to take on the role of a Voyageur from the trade. We are working on a Voyageur Journal project where students create diary entries based on historical facts about the Fur Trade in hisotry. Students will start a new unit after winter break.

    Grade 7 students are in the middle of the Civil War unit. They have learned the difference between the economies of the North and South. The Civil War test will be on January 8th. After we return from winter break, students will learn about the research process to prepare for an essay assessment about the Reconstruction of the United States.

    Grade 8 students started their first region of study, Australia. Students are mapping the region and learning about the relationship with Great Britain. After winter break, students will start to learn about a new region.

  • Yearbooks

    Yearbooks are still available! You can order 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 (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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