Oneka Elementary's Extended Day students learned what it was like to walk through a book during their Story Stroll. Sunshine beamed down on the students, as they participated in a self-guided walk where they explored a story displayed page-by-page near the ball field west of the school. They walked from one page to the next of the book "One-Dog Canoe" by Mary Casanova. Students took turns as they alternated between who read which page. Later in the day, they had a chance to listen to the Splatter Sisters who presented "Books & Beats," which is a show filled with music, dance and fun with books. This was a reward for participating in "Bookawocky," a summer reading program through Washington County Library. In addition, the students had a Super Hero Day and decorated capes and got their pictures taken, which they could bring home to their families. Oneka Elementary's Extended Day students were not the only ones enjoying summer activities, as students in Extended Year School Programming were also busy having fun learning. Some other fun in the sun continued as Otter Lake Extended Day students enjoyed a fishing experience off of the pier in White Bear Lake. In addition, they participated in a Water Bug Camp where they had a field day collecting and identifying data, and then compiling results. They declared the water quality at Sucker Lake channel to be "fair."
Middle school students also enjoyed time by the water and activities outside. Intramural basketball games, trips to downtown White Bear Lake and Dinkytown, and bakery sales were just a few of the fun activities students have been enjoying this summer at the Middle School FLEX Program. One of the students' favorite activities was making solar ovens that were later used to cook the perfect s'mores. FLEX encourages leadership, making a difference, positive social interaction and a lot of fun in a relaxed environment. The activities are student-driven and choice-based. For the 2017-18 school year, the program is being expanded to be an after school option for youth. Students can enjoy academic support, exploration in arts, technology, and textile design, recreation activities and games and a variety of other activities on Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. at both Sunrise Park Middle School and Central Middle School. Learn more
about the program and watch this video
to see the various opportunities students can embrace. Join this fall!
Four high school students embraced the great outdoors and embarked on an eight day Boundary Water Adventure with Community Services Programmer Tracy Cook. The students departed from Forest Lake and headed to the YMCA Camp Menogyn in Grand Marais, Minnesota where they kicked off their first day learning how to carry a canoe, paddle strokes, packing out equipment, meal and route planning and what to do if a canoe tips over. They enjoyed beautiful views as they paddled Gunflint Lake between Canada and the United States before officially entering the Boundary Waters at South Lake. This trip gave students the opportunity to explore new challenges everyday such as navigation, route planning, paddling, portaging and team building. In the evenings, the team would discuss the impact the experience had on them all and how it relates to the district's core values. Students shared the new perspectives they gained, appreciation for the outdoors, communication skills, and a better understanding of the importance of collaboration. When situations became challenging, students pushed one another to success such as when they carried a 90 pound canoe for a quarter of a mile. The individuals on the trip bonded during their time in nature and left the Boundary Waters as a strong team. The students were selected based upon recommendations from district administration. The opportunity was possible thanks to a partnership and collaborative effort with the YMCA Camp Menogyn.
Fidget spinners lined a table as students made the final touches to their new toys. Making fidget spinners was just one of the opportunities they had at the Manufacturing and Welding Camp at St. Paul College. Students were also able to enjoy hands on activities like computer design, machining and welding throughout the week. There were also a variety of summer manufacturing programs students could take advantage of throughout the entire summer. This called for a celebration. Students gathered at the Manufacturing Pathway Summer Wrap Up Celebration hosted by the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation to be recognized for their hard work and learn about future opportunities in the manufacturing industry. This opportunity allowed them to hear about the 2017 GenZ Connection: Skills and Careers in Manufacturing program, the St. Paul College Manufacturing Camp Experience and other updates.
From one exciting Career Pathways opportunity to the next, district leaders enjoyed an experience where they learned more about Senator Al Franken's Advancing Career Pathways Initiative with the Senator himself. This was an opportunity to explore the MN Trades Academy while seeing first-hand the importance of the partnership to informing students about a variety of great career options. Last summer, the Senator started the Advancing Career Pathways Tour, involving visits to 17 communities in an effort to learn about efforts to provide opportunities to students in industries that are facing a workforce shortage. Later in the day, the Senator announced The Advancing Career Pathways Innovation Act, which would establish a grant program for public school districts to help them expand or create partnerships with industry leaders to provide students with the opportunity to explore career opportunities.
While students celebrated their accomplishments in the manufacturing field, other students had fun exploring the construction trades with marshmallow launchers made out of plumbing equipment. Participants had the opportunity to get hands-on experiences in the Kids at Work Construction Exploration Camp. They learned about roads and pavement by making asphalt cookies, created a toolbox out of sheet metal and crafted wood coasters that they assembled and painted. Best yet, the students were able to take home the projects to show their family and friends what they had learned about the constructions trades. Freshmen will soon be embarking in a learning adventure of their own.
The beginning of students' high school careers are just around the corner, and this can be both an exciting and nail-biting time for many. On August 30 from 7:30-11 a.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus, there will be a Link Crew Freshman Orientation, which is a mandatory orientation to help make the transition from middle school to high school seamless. Seniors and juniors will be serving as mentors and leaders for the freshmen during the fun activities. Buses will pick up students at their normal bus stops on the day of orientation, with the AM bus route running in the morning and the PM bus route after the event. Learn more about the day
. While freshmen prepare for high school, students participated in K Jumpstart, which is an opportunity to experience what it will be like to be in kindergarten while staff focused on reinforcing academic skills and social and emotional components. Recently, students were at Willow Lane Elementary where they could enjoy scavenger hunts around the school to find areas likes the gym, cafeteria, bathrooms, where the buses will come, explore a kindergarten room and more. During the last day of the session, the transportation company brought out a bus and talked about bus rules and safety and students were able to go on a ride. K Jumpstart is focused on acclimating students to school to prepare them as best as possible for an exciting time at Kindergarten Orientation on September 5-6 and the first day of school on September 7.
Climbing to new heights
Students will be climbing the walls at Vadnais Heights Elementary! Summer 2017 has delivered a 40 foot climbing wall to Vadnais Heights Elementary School. The wall is eight feet tall and provides three color-coded, challenge levels for students to climb. There will be obstacles such as hoops to pass through or poles to climb over and this new addition will be a great way for students to improve muscle endurance, flexibility and balance. The wall comes with safety pads and as students traverse, or climb across the wall, they are never more than a few feet off of the floor. Mrs. Jensen, Ms. Thimjon and Mrs. Schneider were the first climbers on the new, fun wall at Vadnais Heights Elementary School. Staff are anxious for students to experience this new addition once school is back in session.
While August warmth may be in full swing, juniors Calla Frank and Sydney Shearen are hitting the ice at the 2017 USA Hockey Women's U18 National Festival taking place in Lake Placid, New York. Thirty-one players were invited to the festival. The event will be used to select a 22-player Under-18 Select Team roster for a three-game series against Canada that will be held August 17-20. In January, the team will compete in the IIHF World Championships held in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Volunteers are a critical part of the school district and the world would simply not go around without them. Recently, the White Bear Area Senior Program hosted the annual Senior Program Volunteer Appreciation Event to express gratitude for their generosity. The Senior Program had over 250 active volunteers in 2016/17 that donated over 7,500 hours to help with Meals on Wheels, Main Office, Foot Care, Craft Corner, Activities, Mad Hatters, Cleaning Crew, Library, Donations Pickup, Advisory Counsel, Ambassadors and in the schools. Approximately 100 volunteers enjoyed a a chicken dinner and cake, accordion music (even some dancing!), and a short program with thank yous from Superintendent Kazmierczak, Community Services and Recreation Director Tim Mauer and Adult Programs Coordinator Tara Jebens-Singh. Door prizes were provided by the generosity of area businesses and everyone in attendance received a Lifetime Activity Pass to attend District events and free scoops from Culver's and Cup and Cone. A fun time was had by all! Watch this video
created to appreciate the volunteers and reflect on their fun memories of experiences.
62.4-second video updates