Recently, students have had exciting opportunities to connect with Minnesota legislators. Two student liaisons were able to attend the Association of Metropolitan School District's Legislative Preview and meet with legislators throughout the area. At the event, members were able to discuss education issues and opportunities with legislators. Back in White Bear Lake, a couple of legislators visited Central Middle School. The middle school students had researched and written about current Minnesota environmental and social issues while also coming up with a few fixes for the problems. The legislators listened to the students' ideas and also discussed the importance of being involved in the legislative process. While some students learned about legislative processes, other students throughout the district have been participating in activities to recognize and celebrate February, as it is Black History Month.
For Black History Month, students at Oneka Elementary wrote a historical fiction journal for social studies, demonstrating their understanding of the Underground Railroad. They also added words to a wordless book, "Unspoken," that is on display in the media center. At Vadnais Heights, students are learning about accomplished black Americans that are being honored on stamps. They also can listen to literature written and illustrated by African Americans. At Sunrise Park Middle School, there is a fact slide in the daily announcements about black history events that happened during the month of February. High school students at WBLAHS - North Campus also celebrated the month by having daily announcements where students could win prizes by submitting answers for a "Who Am I?" activity. High school staff members incorporated resources into lesson plans to honor Black History Month. Also, at WBLAHS - South Campus there is a student birthday calendar displayed that features prominent black historians. In other recognition news, students at Birch Lake Elementary embraced the winter weather and participated in the Minnesota Winter Walk to School Day.
Most students didn't have to walk too far to start celebrating I Love to Read Month. Students throughout the district have been enjoying fun opportunities to expand their literacy skills. Staff and students at Oneka Elementary are celebrating with a school-wide book club, reading "Save Me A Seat." Staff members kicked off this fun event with an assembly. In honor of World Read Aloud Day, the entire school enjoyed the first two chapters together. Students were ecstatic to discover they were all going home with their own copy of the book. The celebration continued as Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak joined a Family Literacy Early Childhood class to share a book reading with families. Vadnais Heights Elementary students were also excited, as they shared books with book characters during their media checkout. Students also kicked off the Hugo Olympics with White Bear hockey players, Sydney Shearen and Calla Frank, who recently played for TeamUSA in Russia on the Under-18 national team, which will be an opportunity to earn medals by reading during the month.
Students in sixth through twelfth grade have been suiting up in their skiing and snowboarding attire and hitting the slopes. This opportunity is possible through the WBLAS Community Services and Recreation Department's Thursday Night Ski and Snowboarding package. The package gives students the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with their friends through four night trips and a one-day ski trip. Through this program, students are able to visit various slopes including Wild Mountain, Trollhaugen, and Afton Alps. View a video
of students getting ready for an adventure. Oneka Extended Day students also bundled up and embraced the winter weather while also getting ready to track what country takes home the most medals for the Olympics!
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and Sunrise Park Middle School students are preparing by creating unique, decorative and colorful cards. They work hard by die-cutting, corner-rounding, punching out hearts, gluing and using the Cuttlebug machine. See the students in action in this video
. Sunrise Creations also makes uniquely designed cards for other occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and graduations. The cards can be purchased in Sunrise Park Middle School's front office for a suggested donation of $1 each. Sunrise Creations takes special requests. With graduation coming up in the spring, they can even create unique graduation cards with different school colors. As middle school students designed cards, high school students toured St. John's Hospital and learned about becoming a pharmacist and pharmacy technician. Back at Transition Education Center, staff and students received a surprise visit from the St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family.
Seizing the moment
Second graders from Matoska International traveled to WBLAHS - South Campus for the annual Chemistry Day event. Chemistry Club members, who have been meeting weekly since September, were busy working to put together an exciting afternoon of important demonstrations and experiments to share with the second graders. While some high school students were excited about science, others had fun participating in an all-school BINGO game, Advisory Olympics competitions, and Breakfast of Champions at WBLAHS - North Campus. The busy week was recently highlighted in the February 2 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. Willow Lane Elementary students also stayed busy as they stepped out of their classrooms and into Donatelli's to learn about the ins and outs of working for a business. Check out this video
of the students hard at work. The fifth graders will be serving at the restaurant on Tuesdays throughout February - including Feb. 13, 20 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There was nothing but fun to be had at Lakeaires Elementary's Open Gym event. Community members were invited to enjoy rock climbing, parachuting and scooter boarding. There are more upcoming Open Gym opportunities
. Members of the White Bear community enjoyed other experiences by participating in a conversation about how to create a supportive environment for people living with dementia. The ideating and knowledge-sharing was captured in a recent video
. There are two more opportunities to engage in a community conversation on Feb. 27 from 2-3 pm. at Vadnais Heights City Hall and on March 6 from 1-2 p.m. at Hugo City Hall. Learn more
. Also, the first session of the monthly Mental Well-Being Series took place and district staff and families are invited to attend future monthly presentations. The second session in the monthly series will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at WBLAHS - North Campus. See the flyer
with complete series dates.
Podcasts & productions
Students at Oneka Elementary are creating their very own podcast called "Real Talk." They will be doing the podcast once a month and host it on a class website. The three segments of their first podcast included an interview with the boys' varsity basketball coach, a review and discussion about the top ten best family movies and a conversation about grit. "The Wizard of Oz," "Paddington 2" and "Inside Out" all made the list of top ten best movies. For their segment about grit, they are interviewing a cancer survivor and Green Bay Packer Wide Receiver Jeff Janis. In other football news, high school students in the drumline performed during Super Bowl Live and one Vadnais Heights Elementary teacher was featured in a commercial shown during the Super Bowl.
Oneka Elementary students are not only creating podcasts, but they are also transforming a stage into outer space in their upcoming production of "Space Pirates!" This musical tells the story of Gabby and her friends participating in a school field trip to a museum. While on the trip, an alien spaceship accidentally casts them into outer space, where they then encounter space pirates. There are two casts this year including both the orange and white casts. The orange cast has performances on Thursday, March 1 and Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m. Get a sneak preview of the production in this video
. The white cast has performances on Friday, March 23 and Sunday, March 25 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m. In other theatre news, Matoska International just finished up their successful performances of "Music Man." Learn more about various theatre productions happening on the district's website
Recently, Birch Lake Elementary had their monthly all-school assembly. They had a fun time celebrating the Principal's Challenge. In the beginning of the year Principal Jonathan Luknic challenged the students to earn enough 'Birch Lake Bear Paws' to line the hallway (the whole circle). Birch Lake Bear Paws are earned when students are being leaders, showing compassion, integrity, and/or respect. Since the students met their goals, they had a fun challenge for their principal in return, which involved dressing up in a chicken costume and riding a tricycle around the entire Birch Lake Elementary building! Other students at Central Middle School also discussed the importance of respecting others and demonstrating kindness in this video
Lincoln Elementary students in the Explorations program also had fun, but it in a more business-oriented way. Since September, the students have been participating in a social studies unit of learning called Explore White Bear. While nearing the end of this multi-phase project, they hosted a celebration of their learning for families and the community at the school, where they presented their business plans and sales pitches. The four phases of the project consisted of mapping the White Bear community, learning about the economics, researching the history and creating a business that they would like to open in the area in order to contribute to the community. Elementary students weren't the only ones sharing their expertise. Both Sunrise Park and Central Middle Schools participated in History Day Showcase Night where they displayed projects portraying the theme of "Conflict and Compromise in History," which was highlighted in this video
The Week in 62.4 Seconds