While the end of the summer comes to an end, the staff gathered to celebrate the beginning of the 2017-18 school year at the Opening Convocation event. Cheerleaders greeted district leaders as they headed to their seats and enjoyed time catching up with colleagues. Staff enjoyed student performances, messages from our School Board Teacher of the Year Nick Marty and information about upcoming district initiatives. Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak welcomed back staff and a special video
was featured, thanks to students and staff who helped, highlighting how to correctly pronounce his last name. In addition, School Board members showed a video
conveying what Strong Schools, Strong Community, Strong Tomorrows means to each of them, which is the theme to guide the district through levy renewal, strategic planning and comprehensive facilities planning initiatives this year. Keynote speaker, Jamie Almanzan from theequity collaborative
shared an encouraging message about the importance of creating Strong Schools, Strong Community, Strong Tomorrows. Cheerleaders ended the event with an uplifting cheer to kick off the new year. The experience was recently captured in The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
and a video of the entire event can be watched on YouTube
. In addition, new educators were able to enjoy the New Educator Induction event where they could connect with one another through round table discussions and enjoy a staff mixer.
Families were also gearing up for the upcoming school year, as they attended Vadnais Heights Elementary's Back to School Picnic. Hot dogs, watermelon, and lemonade were on the menu. Students enjoyed crafts and games with their siblings and their parents. In addition, families could sign up for Welcome Back Conferences and receive school supplies to get ready for the first day. The picnic is a great time for families and students to connect with one another. In addition, it provides students an opportunity to establish relationships with staff members before the 2017-18 school year even begins. Elementary students across the district also had the opportunity to interact with teachers and other families before the first day of school.
Elementary students were able to meet their teachers, check out their classrooms, and visit with friends at the Welcome Back Conferences happening throughout the district. This provides students with an opportunity to get familiar with the building and district leaders before the first day of school. The experience was recently captured in The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. At the event, students were also able to complete important literacy assessments to help individualize instruction. In addition, families at Lakeaires Elementary were able to have some fun with the school's new traverse climbing wall. Sixth grade students were also welcomed back to school by WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) leaders at Sunrise Park Middle School and Central Middle School. The sixth graders were able to participate in activities to assist students in meeting classmates and becoming more comfortable with the new building. WEB leaders' jobs are to welcome, encourage and support students as they begin and during the first year of their middle school journey. The experience was recently captured in The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
It was also an exciting time for freshmen, as they attended Link Crew Orientation to kick off their high school careers. Laughter filled the gymnasium as students started their day by participating in fun activities with the seniors and juniors, who showcased their roles as leaders and mentors. The freshmen were able to ride the bus to get comfortable with the transportation experience. The busses picked up students at their normal bus stops on the day of orientation and ran both the morning route before the event and the afternoon route after the event. The experience at North Campus was recently captured in The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. This event allowed students to ask questions, meet others, learn about opportunities and get familiar with the new building to ensure they are all ready when they step through the doors on the first day of high school.
Dreams come true
What started as Sofia Prado's fifth grade project for the Living History Museum, where students dress up and present facts about influential people, ended in a meet and greet opportunity with Diana Taurasi, professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury. Sofia probably never anticipated she would get to actually introduce herself to her hero that she chose to present as during her project. This opportunity brings light to Sofia's life, especially during a challenging year where the student's mother was recently diagnosed a serious bout with cancer. Sofia is bilingual, with her parents being immigrants, and carries her smile with her everywhere she goes, even despite the challenging year. When Oneka Elementary Principal Teresa Dahlem, former WBNA referee, saw Sofia's presentation she reached out to see if she could get the student and her family tickets to a game. The WBNA was more than accommodating, as they provided tickets for her and her family to attend a game where she got to meet her hero.
One Lincoln Elementary student's act of kindness will not only leave bellies full, but hearts happy as he hosts a breakfast to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Ray Strobel recently decided to take his love of cooking and helping people to a whole new level by organizing the Cooking for Kids Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 23. Ray even met with the manager of the American Legion Post 168 who agreed to donate their facilities for the event. He will be serving up pancakes, sausages, eggs and coffee or juice to drink. He has been learning so much about the impact of marketing, the power of social networking, asking for donations and support, and organizing volunteers. The seven-year-old is looking forward to mixing cooking and making people smile together to give back, which has been made possible by the generous support from all of the donors and community members. Learn more about the event through Facebook
and this flyer
Early Childhood opportunities
The district's Early Childhood Program has an exciting opportunity for preschoolers this fall with the School Readiness Plus Scholarship Program. Due to some additional funding designated to preschool programs, two preschool classes will be offered at Lakeaires Elementary starting on Sept. 11. These additional classes are designed to offer a learning experience to students before attending kindergarten. Students are able to have fun investigating through play based on age-appropriate math, writing, music, art, language, and science activities, while developing their social and emotional skills. For additional information and eligibility requirements visit the Early Childhood page
Early Childhood fun is happening all across the district. Birch Lake Elementary recently became a new site for the BearFUNdamentals program. White Bear Lake Area Schools Bear FUNdamentals is a year-before-kindergarten full-day program focused on providing fun, nurturing and safe opportunities for play and learning that prepare children for kindergarten. Bear FUNdamentals focuses on children's emotional, social, physical and intellectual growth. Learn more
about this exciting opportunity at Birch Lake Elementary.
62.4-second video updates