WBL Newsletter

Superintendent's Message
  • Learning to Play One Measure at a Time

Student News
  • In Photos: Chatting across the globe!
  • Friends from around the world
  • Middle school mentors
  • High school stand-outs
  • I Love to Read Month
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News
  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities





School Board Regular Meeting
7 p.m.
February 8
District Center

School Board Work-Study Meeting
5:30 p.m.
February 22
District Center

School Board Regular Meeting
7 p.m.
March 14
District Center




Find the 2015-16 Parent Academic Calendar here.


Find the 2015-16 Activities Calendar here.



February 7, 2016

Learning to Play One Measure at a Time
Earlier this week our high school top choir and band students performed superbly at an annual conference music festival. In the evening, honored members of our band and choir performed in an all-conference concert.

Listening to the precision, dynamics and emotion of these remarkable student performances, the audience of teachers and families especially appreciated the long days and nights of practice which inspired the performances.

In contrast, this week our district celebrated a first concert for our new strings program. If we think of our high school musicians as "seasoned performers," fifth graders are "beginners," learning one measure at a time. The concert was understandably brief - most of the children have been playing the violin, viola, cello or bass only since October!

But the orchestra audience appeared as moved and warmly enthusiastic as the audience for the accomplished high school artists.

Following the concert, the boys and girls were all smiles. Proud parents and grandparents offered bouquets of flowers and posed for photos.

In time, we will have a high school orchestra program that matches our outstanding choral and band programs. But as we were reminded this week, learning music comes just one measure at a time.

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

(Watch this orchestra video - which features testimonials from WBLAS fifth grade students in the program!)

In Photos: Chatting across the globe!

Stu

dent News
Friends from around the world
WBLAS students are continuously making new friends, whether it be on the school bus or in the classroom, but more recently our students have been making connections with students not so close by. Birch Lake kindergarten students recently stretched their friend circle some 3,200 miles to Barcelona, Spain. The eager students gathered in the Birch Lake Media Center to Skype with kindergartner students from a school in Spain. Why this particular school, you may ask? Their teacher is Silvia Sanz, a former student teacher who studied with Birch Lake Elementary teacher Kathleen Elletson two years ago here in White Bear. The two have remained in close contact ever since and were excited to start this connection with their schools. The students sang songs for each other, finding they have much in common. Though, one noticeable difference was that our students were wearing winter gear after the recent snowstorm, while the students in Barcelona were preparing to go to the beach!(Photos from this activity are featured in the "In Photos" section above. This activity was also featured in our most recent 62.4-second video update.)

Experiences like these are ones our teachers are seeking a lot of these days. In fact, last week a Birch fourth grade teacher hosted a class-wide Google Hangout experience with a school in Haiti - similar to what Otter Lake third graders did when they chatted with students from the ANA School in Port-au-Prince. (The Otter Lake experience is also featured in the "In Photos " section above and in this 62.4-second video update.)

One of our teachers has been awarded for her efforts to make her classroom a place of inclusion for our students who come from around the world. Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) teacher Ann Zettel at Normandy Park Early Childhood Education Center was awarded a Brosious Grant by the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF) this year to help fund children's books for each area of study in the home language of each student. The books they will use are: Good Night Moon, Polar Bear Polar Bear, Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Mitten and Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom. Each family received a copy of the same books in their home language and in English. Ann teaches 15 preschool children and their parents in the ECFE Literacy class, with the help of ELL teacher Amy Ottaviani. In the photo, Ms. Zettel, Ms. Ottaviani and ECFE Literacy class moms hold up the book Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, which is one of five books written in Spanish/English for parents to keep and read with their children.

Willow Lane Elementary celebrated a long-time friendship at their most recent Summit. At the end of these events, the entire student body and Willow staff show gratitude toward someone who goes above and beyond to make the school a better place. This time, the school recognized Grandma Delores. This honor was extra special as Grandma Delores just recently celebrated her 75th birthday a few days prior, and it was also during the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grandma Delores, who is African American, embodies many of Dr. King's principles and she has done an excellent job serving the students at Willow Lane. She volunteers at Willow Lane for 15 hours every week and says she loves it because everyone is so friendly. Grandma Delores lived through some very prejudice times. She grew up in a small, divided town in North Carolina where black and white children could not go to school together. Even though she lived through those times, Grandma Delores always demonstrates perseverance and gratitude. Grandma Delores is a special lady and because she serves her community by serving Willow Lane, the school felt she deserved to be treated like a queen. So, Willow students and staff surprised Grandma Delores by naming her the "Queen for a Day" at the end of the Summit. Watch this cell phone video of her reaction to the surprise!

Meanwhile, Central Middle School student Julia Covert will soon be making friends from across the country, as she was chosen from thousands of girls across the United States and Canada to represent the state of Minnesota in Discovery Girls Magazine. Discovery Girls Magazine is for girls ages 8-12 and was created to inspire and help girls get through the tween years. Through extensive writing assignments, Julia was selected for her resilience, determination and positive attitude as she told stories of her many obstacles in life - many of them similar to other girls her age, and also some related only to her. Julia's issue of the magazine will come out sometime in 2016 or early 2017. Julia will be traveling to California on February 15th to spend three days attending workshops and photo shoots for the magazine.

Middle school mentors
A new initiative between both Sunrise and Central Middle Schools is underway called the Eighth Grade Community Project. This project takes our district's dedication to the International Baccalaureate framework and ties it to our District Core Value of Service learning. In Advisory/Homebase, our eighth grade students will embark on a journey of researching, creating, implementing and reflecting on their own service learning projects with area mentors. They are currently inviting district staff, parents and community members to be part of this new initiative as a mentor to some of our eighth grade groups. Between the two schools, there are approximately 30 Advisory/Hombase classes which means they are reaching out to roughly like 30 mentors. Mentors will be given a packet that contains questions to guide students through the process. Students will document their work and progress using shared Google docs with their teacher. Interested in becoming a mentor? Click here.

A number of our Central students may be good mentors themselves when is comes to playing a band instrument. Recently, a number of Central seventh grade students participated in the NEMBDA 6-8 Honor Band. Students in this group were nominated by their band directors and come from school districts from White Bear all the way up to Canada (northeast region of the state). The students rehearsed for a good portion of the day, then performed a concert at Pine City High School. Izzi Perron is an 8th grade percussionist at Central who was invited to perform in the NEMBDA 9-10 Honor Band (which is usually for ninth and tenth graders only). Izzi has also been the first student ever from Central to be selected to participate in the MBDA 7-8 Honor Jazz Band. The group will be performing at the Minnesota Music Educator's Association (MMEA) Midwinter Clinic on Friday, February12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This group is an audition-based group open to seventh and eighth grade jazz band members throughout the state of Minnesota.

High school stand-outs
When it comes to high school athletics, we have talented Bears across the board. Three WBLAHS students recently participated in the NCAA February 2016 Signing Day event, accepting scholarships to play sports at the collegiate level: Andrew Schmidt will play football for Northern State University, Anna Kaiser will play soccer at Sam Houston State University and Ethan Peterson will play lacrosse at Cleveland State University. Two additional WBLAHS students were acknowledged during this event for moving on to play Division 3 athletics. Those students are Matt LeMay and Kailey Peterson. During this event, coaches shared words on behalf of these talented athletes and their fellow teammates were there to support them as well. This activity was highlighted in the most recent 62.4-second video update.

The Boys' Hockey Team has shown they don't only stand out on the rink, but also when it comes to service. The team held their Senior Night and Food Drive recently, which included a player tour of the Food Shelf and a Kids Weekend Pack collection campaign. The players collected 295 pounds of food and $142 last Saturday at the hockey game against Eastridge. The Senior Night festivities were extra special for Captain Dylan Gast, as he was able to join the team back on the ice for the ceremony after a season long injury. Plus, there was more icing on the cake that night - a 6-0 victory over East Ridge!

Our Area Learning Center students are celebrating a milestone of academic accomplishments. On January 28, a graduation dinner was held at Donatelli's to celebrate Area Learning Center students from the class of 2015, or earlier, who completed their graduation requirements through either summer school or the independent study program. Fifteen students were recognized at the event.

I Love to Read Month
Walking from one classroom to the next, you'll likely see students occupied with some good page-turners. That's because February is "I Love to Read Month!" Across the district, there have been special reading activities and visits from guest readers.

Birch Lake Elementary hosted its Muffins with Moms event as a "kick-off " to the reading month, where mom's and guests came to the school for breakfast while the students dressed as their favorite storybook characters. The Muffins with Moms event was also featured in our most recent 62.4-second video update. Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary had a visitor drop by on the first of the month - author Michael Hall. He read his new book Frankencrayon to students, then had the audience help make a crayon. Students were given the opportunity to ask Mr. Hall questions and to meet Frankencrayon, too. Lakeaires Elementary is hosting an array of reading activities this month, while also having the entire student body contribute to writing two books of their own, or what they call "all school stories!" There will be a K-2 story and a 3-5 story. Each class will be part of this, building together the story from one classroom to the next. When they are finished with the two books, fifth grade teacher Stacy Brodt will publish it so it can be read on the school's news segment on Monday, February 28th.

Every school in the district is finding fun and creative ways to celebrate reading this month and we will be covering these events in our upcoming newsletter and on the district's Facebook and Twitter pages - stay tuned!

62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year.

 
 
 
 

Activities updates

Three WBLAHS students participated in the NCAA February 2016 Signing Day event, accepting scholarships to play sports at the collegiate level: Andrew Schmidt will play football for Northern State University, Anna Kaiser will play soccer at Sam Houston State University and Ethan Petersonwill play lacrosse at Cleveland State University. Two additional WBLAHS students were acknowledged during this event for moving on to play Division 3. Those students are Matt LeMay and Kailey Peterson.

Click here for a schedule of all fall sports contests. Find a complete list of all WBLAHS Activities, Athletics and Fine Arts here.


Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.


School Board News

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date
Type Time
Location
February 8
Regular
7 p.m.
District Center
February 22
Work-study
5:30 p.m.
District Center
March 14
Regular
7 p.m.
District Center

For highlights from the most recent School Board meeting, click here.


District News

General Information

Community Services

The WBLAS Community Services and Recreation Department provides a wide range of services and opportunities that enhance the quality of life for all members of ISD 624.
  • Winter Fitness and Wellness - WBLAS Community Services and Recreation presents a variety of fitness/wellness classes this winter. Register with your district email and receive $5 off! For class information, dates and fees, click here.
  • Meals on Wheels Fundraiser - Celebrate an early Valentine's Day with dinner and a show! This event takes place Thursday, February 11 with dinner beginning at 5:30. Click here for details.
  • Family Dance Party - Join us for our annual dance party designed for families with children up through sixth grade. There will be family friendly music, a photo booth and light refreshments. The event takes place Friday, February 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. See this flyer for details.
  • Living with Chronic Conditions - The Wilder Foundation Caregiver Services Team has teamed up with Community Services to provide an engaging six-week workshop teaching practical tips on a variety of health and wellness topics. Click here for dates and details. The Wilder Foundation will also be hosting a Powerful Tools for Caregivers workshop. Those details can be found here.
  • Seasonal catalogs are available now! You can find them here.
Parent Notices
  • Engineering Scholarship - Hallberg Engineering is offering a $1,500 scholarship that will be awarded to a graduating WBLAHS student, who has the intent to pursue a 4-year Bachelor's degree in ether mechanical or electrical engineering. For more information, click here.
  • Emergency School Closings - For school closings, early dismissals and late starts, visit the district's Emergency School Closings page. You may also watch this student video, which includes information regarding winter weather closings.
  • Family-to-Family Education - This class is for family members who have a loved one living with mental illness. Learn about mental illness, identify resources, build communication skills, reduce stress and find support at an upcoming events. For more information, click here.
  • Autism Society of Minnesotapresents dating workshops for teens with autism and their caregivers. The workshop is on March 12 from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church. Click here for details.
  • ADD/ADHD Support Groups will be meeting in North St. Paul to have a conversation with parents, caregivers, providers and professionals about ADD and ADHD. These events are intended to give families the opportunity to have an open conversation, show support and to share resources. Event details can be found here.
  • Mental health services - Anoka County has contracted with Canvas Health to provide mental health crisis services. They've provided a tool kit for parents as well as some school guidlines.
  • Parent Resource Support - NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides support groups to help parents discover resources to meet the challenges of raising a child with mental illness, learn coping skills and develop problem solving skills. Support groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has recieved specialized training. White Bear Lake meets on then 2nd and fourth Monday of each from, 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Eagle Brook Church. Contact Jody Lyons: 651-645-2948 Ext:109
  • Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council- Updated information and meeting dates for the 2015-16 school year can be can be found here.
  • One-stop online payments - The district offers a "one-stop" online payment system that enables families to make payments for food services, school activities and Community Education activities. The system also serves as the registration hub for middle school and high school activities. The system, new this summer, replaced multiple systems that are currently used for these purposes, including RevTrak, PayPams and ActiveNet.
  • PACER Center recently launched its National Parent Center on Transition and Employment website, which offers innovative tools, reliable research, and interactive training to support families who are going through the transition process.
  • 2015-16 Academic Calendar - See the approved calendar here.
  • 2015-16 Activities Calendar - The 2015-16 Activities Calendar was mailed to all district families and is available online here.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - Facebook and Twitter.
  • Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us here and you may find your little one featured in District publications!
  • Additional resources:
    • Resources to help with our limited English speaking families can be found here.
    • Washington County Child and Teen Checkups newsletter can be found here.
  • The following recognitions will take place in February:
    • I Love to Read month - Feb. 1-29
    • Black History month - Feb. 1-29
    • National School Counseling Week - Feb. 1-5
    • National School Board Recognition Week - Feb. 15-19
    • President's Day - Feb. 15
    • National PTA Founder's Day - Feb. 17
Senior Program Updates:

The White Bear Area Senior Center is a program of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation Department.

  • Meals on Wheels Fundraiser - Celebrate an early Valentine's Day with dinner and a show! This event takes place Thursday, February 11 with dinner beginning at 5:30. Click here for details.
  • Living with Chronic Conditions - The Wilder Foundation Caregiver Services Team has teamed up with Community Services to provide an engaging six-week workshop teaching practical tips on a variety of health and wellness topics. Click here for dates and details. The Wilder Foundation will also be hosting a Powerful Tools for Caregivers workshop. Those details can be found here.
  • FREE Activity Pass for Senior Community members (age 65+) - White Bear Lake Area Schools offer a variety of activities - home athletic contests, concerts, and theater productions to name a few. Join us! Call the Superintendent's Office at 651-407-7563 to request a FREE Activity Pass for home athletics events and a District Activities Calendar. Find the application here.The Activities Pass is available to residents of the White Bear Lake Area School District who are age 65 and older.
  • Craft Corner Gift Shop at the Senior Center - Open from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the gift shop is the perfect place to shop for a variety of beautiful, handcrafted items. With more than 100 consignees selling their personal crafts, there is much to choose from for purchase. If anyone, over the age of 55, has any love of creating crafts, we are in need of consignees to further our inventory. The Craft Corner Gift Shop is located at Normandy Park Education Center, 2484 County Road F East.

Partnership Updates:

  • H2O for Life - The Race 2 Reduce initiative at H2O for Life is a collaboration of stakeholders working to educate about local water resources and water conservation. White Bear Lake Area Schools is a partner in this effort and is working to align curriculum to integrate these important topics into school. For more information on this partnership, click here.
  • BearPower is a community-wide movement helping White Bear Lake area families eat well and be active. For more on this community partner and its upcoming events, click here. BearPower is currently hosting Open Gym family night events on certain Fridays throughout the winter. Click here for the dates and details.
  • The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation(WBLAEF) is an independent, non-profit corporation promoting excellence in education in White Bear Area School District 624 schools.
    • The new E3 Grant (Enhancing Environmental Experiences) will roll out in the spring of 2016. Each school year, a total of up to $20,000 will be awarded to educators, groups of educators, buildings and administrators in the WBLAS District. This new environmental grant will help to further WBLAS students' understanding and attitudes toward science, the outdoors, our community and the world. For the application, click here.
    • Teachers: Grant applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 school year. Click here for the list and when to apply.
    • Bleed Orange and Black T-shirts - find out how to get one by contacting the Foundation Office (651-407-7696). Cost is $10.

    Opportunities

    Support WBLAS Students

    • Attend an event or two this winter and spring by finding the event schedule in the 2015-16 Activities Calendar! If you do not have a child in school but you would like a copy of the district-wide activity listing, please contact Jody Reber at 651-407-7563 to request a mailed copy and request to be added to the Activities Calendar annual mailing list.
  • The White Bear Lake Teachers' Association Nominees for the 2016 Teacher of the Year have been announced. Click here for this year's list.
  • Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) teacher Ann Zettle was awarded a Brosious Grant by the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF).
  • The following recognitions will take place in February:
    • I Love to Read month - Feb. 1-29
    • Black History month - Feb. 1-29
    • National School Counseling Week - Feb. 1-5
    • National School Board Recognition Week - Feb. 15-19
    • President's Day - Feb. 15
    • National PTA Founder's Day - Feb. 17

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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