VMS Vibe Online Parent Newsletter

March 2022

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    Message from the Principal

    Greetings VandenBerge Families,

    I am happy to introduce you to the new VandenBerge Principal, Mr. Mike Zeman. He will take the reins at VMS starting with the 22-23 school year. Please join me in giving him a warm VandenBerge welcome!

    I asked Mr. Zeman to introduce himself in this month’s VIBE, so you can all "meet" him prior to next fall. I am excited to have him join the VMS team as he is an excellent administrator and a true team player. 

    I look forward to continuing as the VMS Principal through the end of June. VandenBerge Middle School will always have a special place in my heart.

  • Meet Principal Zeman


    I am excited to begin serving all students and families at VandenBerge Middle School. I am also excited for the upcoming school year and for all of the opportunities to grow as learners within this building. I believe in positive thinking, building relationships, and having high expectations for all of our students. I am proud to be an Elk and look forward to working with all of you to ensure the best education for all of our students.

    I have been with ISD 728 since 2008 as an English teacher, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher, coach (football, basketball, and track), and intervention specialist. I am a proud ‘08 graduate of Minnesota State University- Mankato with a BA in English/ Speech Communications and Secondary Education. I hold a MA in Education from Hamline University and a Sixth Year Administrational Leadership Certificate from St. Cloud State University. I was hired as an Assistant Principal in 2014 and spent seven years in the position at the ever growing Rogers High School.

    I look forward to meeting you, getting to know your students, and providing the best possible middle school experience for all of our students.

  • Cell Phones Reminder

    Parents - we need your help!

    Cell phones and air pods are not to be used during the school day unless students are given permission by a staff member. Students should have their cell phones and air pods put away in their locker or backpack. We are observing an uptick in the number of students who are unable to put the phone away and stay focused on their educational material. Social media sites have become the focus of some of our students.

    Please assist us by having a discussion with your child about their phones and refer to the Cell Phone language in our Student Handbook. Please ask them to put their phone away, in their locker or their backpack, while at school so they can focus on their learning.

    Thank you for your assistance!

  • If She Were Mayor for a Day

    VandenBerge Middle School sixth grader, Favor Ayumba, wrote a "Mayor For a Day" essay that won her an Honorable Mention prize from the League of Minnesota Cities. Favor's essay focused on making small homes available to house the homeless. There were three winners and four honorable mentions selected out of almost 300 contestants - WOW!!

    Click here to read the full article.  

    Congratulations Favor!!


  • Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs)

    MCAs will be taking place at VandenBerge in April and May. Tests will be administered in regularly scheduled Math, English and Science classes on the dates listed below. 

    Reading: April 11 - 13 (all grades)

    Math: April 25 - 27 (all grades)

    Science: May 2 - 4 (8th grade only)

    Please make sure your student is in attendance on the days they are scheduled to test. Contact the VMS counseling office (763-241-3445 or jennifer.eldredge@isd728.org) if your student will be out for a planned absence on any of these dates.

    To ensure that your student has a successful testing experience, please help us with the following:

    • Ensure your student's Chromebook is fully charged as it will be used for testing.
    • Bluetooth headphones are not allowed. Students should bring wired headphones.
    • Cell phones and wearable technology are not allowed. Remind your student to leave these items at home or put them away in their backpack/locker during testing.
    • Make sure your student receives proper rest the night before the test.
    • Provide a nutritious breakfast on the day of the test or have them eat FREE breakfast when they arrive at school.

    Thank you!

  • Student of the Week

    Congratulations to our March Students of the Week!

    Favor Ayumba, David Caldera, Brody Colford, Mason Freeman, Austin Keener-Nutter, Justin Kindvall, Gabriella Lorge, Anthony Seubert, Ayla Thorskbaken

  • Health Office Updates

    Beat the Rush - Get your Student’s Sports Physicals and Immunizations

    In preparing for the 2022-2023 school year, it is important to complete the appropriate medical information for your child as soon as possible.  Immunization and sport physical dates that the school has received for your child are posted on Parent Portal. Immunization requirements reflect the current school year only which are posted on July 1st of each school year.  

    Please note: Tdap and Meningococcal vaccines are required for students beginning 7th grade, and a Meningococcal booster is required for 12th graders.

    For requirements and appropriate forms to be completed by your medical provider, please refer to the Health Services webpage.

    COVID Testing Kits still available

    MDH, MDE & CDC asked school districts to develop and implement a COVID-19 testing plan that fits their school community. ISD 728 requested & offered take-home Antigen tests for students that are interested. The district continues to have an abundant supply of test kits and would like to offer these kits for ALL family members. 

    Interested families can request test kits from their student’s building health office to take home for their testing purposes and convenience. 

  • AVID

    We are continuing to work with our 6th, 7th and 8th grade AVID students in their AVID Elective Class on organization, studying skills, and building teamwork. We are looking to recruit additional 6th and 7th grade students who would be interested in joining AVID for the 22-23 school year. Look for more information to be sent out in April on the application process.

    Please contact Sarah Weinhold if you have any questions about the AVID Program (763)241-2698 or via email at sarah.weinhold@isd728.org.

  • English

    Grade 6: In March, 6th graders wrapped up unit 3 and took the unit test. This time, students focused on nonfiction texts, so we read a lot of nonfiction works and articles leading up to the test. At the end of March, we started to do a review for the reading MCA test that will happen in April. We focused on theme, plot/setting, nonfiction text structure, author’s purpose, and evaluating arguments throughout the review.

    Please continue to encourage reading at home. Students should be reading a minimum of one full chapter book per month to continue to grow as readers.

    Grade 7: We will be wrapping up our poetry unit the week of April 4th. Then, we will be focusing on state test prep skills. Students will be starting digital reading fluency and comprehension practice on Read Theory.

    Grade 8: Our students just finished up their Poetry Unit and completed the Unit 2 Poetry Test in StudySync. We also assisted the Social Studies teachers by helping outline and draft the 8th grade Research Paper. It was great to see the students engage in researching a topic of their choice and finding out how they can put all their findings together in a finalized research paper. We have now started our Informational Text Unit, which will extend over the next couple of weeks. This unit will be our final preparation for the MCA test on April 11-13.

    Please continue to communicate with your child's English teacher if you have any questions. We encourage you to check Campus for grade updates throughout the quarter. As the end of 3rd quarter approaches, please talk with your child about their grades and assignments. 

  • Math

    We are headed into the home stretch of our school year - WOW! Your students have been so much fun to work with and we can't believe this year is moving by so fast!

    To help students review and show they're ready to tackle their math class next year, we will continue to provide additional opportunities for students to review all of the mastered, current grade-level standards throughout the month of April and May.  

    Please remember that Math Help is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings before school from 7:45 - 8:10.  If your student is having a hard time working through any of the grade-level material, please encourage them to come see one of us for help. We have been stressing quality practice all year and we want to do whatever we can to ensure they are truly Math Masters of the current grade-level standards so they can move on to next year feeling comfortable, confident, and ready to be successful.


    If you have any questions or concerns about what's coming up this spring, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s math teacher.


  • Media Center

    As April begins, the media center is entering our final month of book check out. Due to upcoming construction, all media center materials that have been checked out will be due on Friday, April 29th. No books will be checked out in the month of May. 

    Over the last two school years, many students have created artwork for our ceiling tiles. With construction approaching, we are preparing to take down these great displays but hope to find places for them in our new space. Here are a few of these awesome works of art!


  • Phy Ed

    Greetings from the VandenBerge PE teachers!

    We had so much fun with our Archery and Swimming units this past month!  We would like to give a special shout out of thanks to our swimming volunteers. We could not have done this without you!

    We are now moving on to fitness testing and roller skating. The roller skating unit will begin on April 18th and there is a $10.00 fee/student for this unit, which pays for the delivery/pickup of the skating equipment and use of skates for 2 weeks. Your student has a permission form with all the important details; please ask them for it if they have not presented it to you yet!  

  • Science

    Grade 6: Students blew into the new MN 6th grade state standards with wind, weather, and water.

    Grade 7: Students have progressed to animals and started dissections as part of their learning. This year dissections include earthworms, crawfish and frogs.

    Grade 8: Students have started their final unit of the year: Earth’s Water and Atmosphere. They are exploring the effects of the uneven heating of earth’s atmosphere, the water cycle, weather and climate.

  • Social Studies

    Grade 6: Students are finishing out Quarter 3 by studying the impact that the Civil War has on Minnesota in Ch. 8 of our Northern Lights book. Students will use this information about the Civil War as we read the historical fiction "Soldier's Heart" to analyze how soldiers were impacted by the war. 

    Grade 7: As we wrap up 3rd quarter, students are finishing up the WWI unit and beginning a mini unit on the Roaring Twenties. The focus will be on the Intolerance Acts of the 1920s. Following this will be the Great Depression. Students will get to play a stock market game and create a small booklet about some of the causes of the depression.  

    Grade 8: There are still several students who have not turned in their research paper. They have until April 7th (end of quarter 3). Classes have moved on to our Europe unit. Students are learning about the EU, Ukraine/Russia conflict, and population pyramids. The unit will end with a creative project. The next region of study will be Asia. 

  • VandenBerge Flower Coupon Fundraiser

    VandenBerge is selling Flower Coupon Books for $10!

    Each coupon book includes SIX coupons, and each coupon is good for ONE seasonal bouquet, courtesy of Flowers Plus in Elk River. Coupons are valid through December 30, 2022.

    This is our ONLY fundraiser this year and VMS KEEPS 100% OF THE PROCEEDS!

    If each student sells just one card, VandenBerge will make over $5,000! But why stop at one?! The holidays are here, and a Flower Coupon Book makes a great gift! 

    Click here to purchase your card now and HELP SUPPORT VMS!

    Contact the main office at (763) 241-3450 for more information.

  • Yearbooks

    A very limited number of yearbooks are available for purchase now! Yearbooks will be sold on a first come, first served basis, so please order ASAP if your student would like a yearbook.

    To order, 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 or to check if you have placed an order.

Contact Us!

  • VMS Main Office

    Marcia Welch

    Assistant Principal
    Paul Warzecha

    Attendance Line
    763.241.3555 (24hrs)

    Student Support Services (Counseling Office)

    School Health Office
    763.241.3450 x2605

    Vision Transportation

  • 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.  

  • A Note to VMS

    Did you know you we have a new option for reaching us for attendance purposes?  You can submit "A Note to VMS" to report your student's absence, late arrival or early release at school. You can find this on the VMS Website under the Families section. This is just another option to use if it is more convenient for you. As always, you can reach our attendance line at 763-241-3555 (24 hours a day).

  • Every Meal Weekend Food Program

    We are excited to partner with Every Meal to offer a free weekend food program to all of our students.  

    Every Meal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to fight child hunger through community and school partnerships. They strive to make a difference in people's lives by focusing on food gaps like weekends, school breaks, and summer when they cannot receive food in school.

    • Free for all families
    • No qualifications for enrollment
    • Students enrolled in the program will receive a 4-5lb bag of nutritious, nonperishable food for each week
    • Every Meal does not collect information from families; privacy is protected.
    • Families may enroll in the program anytime throughout the school year.

    Please contact Krista Brannan, School Social Worker, at 763-241-3450 x2687 or krista.ketelsenbrannan@isd728.org for more information or to enroll your child.

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