WBL Newsletter

District News
- Good news to share!
- General Information
- Opportunities
- Awards and Honors

Student News
- Growth in science scores leads East Metro area
- Students steal the show
- Great Minnesota "read" together
- Choral students mix it up
- "Bearification"
- Activities Updates

School Board News
- School Board Meetings

First Day of School (grades 1-12),
K orientation
September 3

K orientation
September 4

First Day of School (K)
September 5

School Board Regular Meeting
7 p.m.
September 9
District Center

School Board Work-Study Meeting
5:30 p.m.
September 23
District Center

Homecoming Week
September 23-28

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

School Board Work-Study Meeting
5:30 p.m.
October 28
District Center

Find the complete 2013-14 Activity Calendar and other calendar listings here.

August 30, 2013

District News

Good news to share!
Dear Colleagues and Families,

Student Success
State testing results were released this week. Our students’ state science proficiency results are up another 5 percentage points, the greatest improvement in the East Metro area. Our math scores remain strong and on the new 2013 reading assessment the district increased our margin above average state scores.

Once again from preschool through graduation our students are demonstrating the love of learning, work ethic, and character that lays the foundation for future success. 

Capital Projects Levy on the ballot November 5
In August, our School Board unanimously approved a Capital Projects Levy to be placed on the ballot on November 5 to replace that which was approved in 2003 and just expired, giving our community the opportunity to consider another ten year investment in library books and materials, textbooks and instructional materials, science equipment, technology to support teachers and students, and for repairing and replacing large musical instruments.

You will be receiving more information about this levy in a letter sent this week to all families. Find the letter here.

Looking Forward
Talking with many of you this August, we can’t help but be optimistic about the future. I look forward to seeing you this fall at our schools, student activities and events, and to the opportunity to greet each of you personally.

Dr. Michael Lovett

General Information
Did You Know?

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.
  • The Community Services and Recreation Fall 2013 Catalog is now available online. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:
  • A fold-out postcard containing Capital Projects levy information, important district notices, online tools to track your child's progress, and a recap of the initiatives new for 2013-14 should be arriving in the mailboxes of all District families in the next couple of mail days. Find a preview of the piece here.
  • School Supply Lists - 2013-14 School Supply Lists are available on the White Bear Lake Area School District website here.
  • 2013-14 Activities Calendar - The 2013-14 Activities Calendar will arrive in the mailboxes of District families very soon. Find a sneak peek here.
  • Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us at communications@isd624.org and you may find your little one featured in District publications! See an example of a "Born to be a Bear" photo here.
  • Otter Lake All-Star Birthday Bash - Mark your calendars! Otter Lake Elementary will host an All-Star Birthday Bash from 5-8 p.m. on September 26 to celebrate the 25th birthday of the school. All current and former students, parents, teachers and staff are invited to attend.

Senior Program Updates:

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

  • 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 2013-14 District Activities Calendar to be mailed in late-August.
  • Community Resources - The White Bear Lake Area offers many resources for older adults in the community. Click here to view a comprehensive list of programs and services.

In Every Issue:

  • White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, Inc. (WBLAEF) is an independent, non-profit corporation promoting excellence in education in White Bear Lake Area School District 624 schools.
    • NEW Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant DUE DATE is October 4, 2013 - The WBLAEF has changed the time of the year that applications for the Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant are due. To make it more convenient, teachers can complete their Application Form during the Summer or in the Fall because they are available at our web site year around! Also, applications are now due October 4th and teachers have 12 months to use their art grant! Applications available now at www.wblaef.org. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Lindvall.
    • Visit our website - Visit our website to see all of the grants the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation has available for teachers. The Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant Applications is due October 4, 2013. The Brosious Teaching Grant Applications are due October 24, 2013. The Glasrud Family Fellowship Applications are due February 13, 2014. We hope that having these grant applications available year around on our web site will allow teachers more time to plan & they can fill out their application forms at their own convenience. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Lindvall.
  • Energy Efficiency Program - The Schools for Energy Efficiency® (SEE) is a comprehensive program for K-12 schools to save energy and money by changing behavior throughout the district. Throughout the year, detailed updates will be provided here.



Support WBLAS Students

  • Mark your calendar for WBLAHS Homecoming! - Homecoming 2013 will take place September 23-28, with a variety of activities to be enjoyed. A few of the listings include Coronation on the 23rd, the Homecoming Parade and football game on the 27th and a FREE BearPower Homecoming Celebration Family Walk/Run taking place on the 28th. Find a full schedule of Homecoming activities here. Find additional information for the 6.24K run here.
  • Mark your calendar for WBLAHS Fall Musical! - The WBLAHS 2013 Fall musical is Once Upon A Mattress. A parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, this fun-for-all-ages musical is sure to entertain! This rated PG spoof of a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp) has many fun twists and turns. A cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil, this high energy show will be sure to wow the audience and tickle the funny bone! The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8,9,14,15 and 16. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed on Nov. 9 (matinee free for senior citizens). All performances will take place at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater.
  • Host an international exchange student - There are terrific international exchange students approved to come to the East Metro area who do not yet have a host family for the 2013-14 school year. Please consider hosting a student so we can bring some of these international youth to White Bear. Learn more here. If you have ever considered hosting a student for 6 months, an academic year, or even 6-12 weeks as a welcome family, please let this be the time you step forward and say “yes.” If you or anyone you know is interested in hosting an AFS student this year or if you would like to know how you can help AFS at this time, please contact Tim Wald at 773-6205.
  • ALC Craft Sale - The ALC craft sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ALC on September 28th. There is still space for vendors if they wish to rent a space for the day. Contact Tim at 651-773-6406 or tim.mcgraw@isd624.org for more information about becoming a vendor for the event. Proceeds from the sale will go toward funding ALC educational activities. The economics class will use the money to fund entrepreneurs on KIVA and the language arts class will use the money to attend Othello at the Guthrie theater in the spring.

Awards and Honors

  • Minnesota Writing Project honors - Congratulations to Merrily Wolters, who was chosen to participate in the Minnesota Writing Project Summer Institute in July and will continue involvement with the Minnesota Writing Project this year! Send a note of congratulations to Merrily here.
  • Summer Tech Class numbers at a high - Congratulations to the White Bear Lake Area Schools employees, many of whom came in on their "days off," who took advantage of summer tech classes! We had more than 140 staff members registered for the 52 classes that were offered over four days with eight staff members teaching the classes. In total, more than 610 individual CEU class hours were earned.
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

Student News

Growth in science scores leads East Metro

This week, the Minnesota Department of Education released student proficiency percentages in reading, mathematics, and science. These state tests, called Minnesota Comprehension Assessments (MCAs), are required annually of Minnesota students.

For White Bear Lake Area Schools, the news was especially good in science. Student proficiency rose 4.9 percent, the largest single-year rise in any of 16 East Metro school districts. The rise in scores occurred at elementary, middle school and high school. The district 2013 proficiency now stands at 63%, more than ten percentage points above the state average. Within the 16 school district comparison, the district now is tied for fourth, up from sixth place in 2012. Three elementary schools now are above 70% proficiency - Birch Lake at more than 78%, Otter at 76%, and Matoska International at 72%.

“When student scores rise, credit goes to our students, teachers, support staff, families and community,” said Dr. Michael Lovett, Superintendent of White Bear Lake Area Schools. “We are especially pleased with the progress our students are making in science, in high school mathematics, and significant improvements at individual schools.”

In mathematics, overall proficiency for 2013 remained at 68%, the same as in 2012, but up five points from 2011 when the current, more rigorous version of mathematics test was given to students in grades three through eight.

At the high school, the one-year change between 2012 and 2013 was a full ten percentage points. At the elementary level, the highest performing school was Birch Lake Elementary at 85%. There were some modest drops at the other elementary schools between 2012 and 2013. The district partially attributes this change in scores to the amount of testing required by the state in 2013, as many elementary students took the test as early as mid-March a month or more prior to the time the math test generally been given. This has the effect of reducing the time that students have to master the material and affects the overall proficiency rating. In the 16 East Metro district comparisons, White Bear Lake Area Schools is tied for fifth in math.

In reading for 2013, all Minnesota students received a new reading test aligned with national standards. MCA reading proficiency scores on the new tests are lower across the state and among the Northeast Metro than those in previous years. For example, in the past close to 80% of White Bear Lake Area Schools students have been meeting proficiency requirements and about 75% of the students state-wide. In the new test, White Bear proficiency is at 64%, with the state at 58%. White Bear Lake Area Schools scores ranked fifth out of the 16 East Metro school districts in reading.

“We are confident we will continue to see growth in student scores,” said Lovett. “In line with our Strategic Plan, we are committed to assuring every student reaches proficiency in reading and mathematics by grade four and every grade thereafter.”

Students steal the show
Students stepped onto the stage and "stole the show" at this week's Opening Convocation event. The annual celebration, a time during which District employees get together to kick off the new school year, has generally highlighted student performances. This year was no exception, with additional student acts being added to the agenda in line with the theme "We're Better Together!"

Student participants took the theme and ran with it, turning out performances by the drumline, members of the Mariners Choir singing the National Anthem, and WBLAHS cheerleaders displaying how it's better to have the entire team together to lead a cheer or two. The student entertainment continued when tap dancing students introduced Teacher of the Year Wendy Suoja.

Adults kept to the theme as well, with representatives from the district's partnerships, municipalities, business community and volunteer community joining District employees for the morning in recognition of their efforts to be "better together" with us. The event ended with an overview of the Capital Projects Levy and an address by Superintendent Lovett, but the students helped write us off the stage with a "White Bear Nation" video.

See additional photos from Convocation here. See the full Convocation video here.

Great Minnesota "read" together?
The great Minnesota get together has White Bear representation this year. Five of our district's Junior Authors Association students placed in the State Fair Education Competition. Congratulations to the following students for their honors: Brittany Zine (3rd place Colored Pencils Bilingual Book), Anna Solomon (2nd Place Original Stories Bilingual Book), Sarah Krengel (3rd place Original Stories Bilingual Book), Ryan Thompson (2nd Place Group Wrtiting Project Bilingual Book) and Abby Admaski (4th place Ink or Ball Point Bilingual Book).

The Junior Authors Association is a Community Education program that allows students to create their own books, with a focus on helping students become authors and experience the publication process. The program is available during the school year at Central Middle School and WBLAHS - North Campus. The students created books, decorated the book covers, and participated in a pen pal program with students in Roseville Public Schools.

The students' work is on display in the Education Building, so stop by if you'll be heading to St. Paul for the Fair this weekend!

Choir students mix it up
White Bear Lake Area High School choir members Luke Gion and Emma Perreira recently participated in a week-long choir camp at St. John's University in Collegeville as members Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Mixed Choir. The camp culminated in a choral performance in the Abbey of St. John's.

Students from across the state of Minnesota were selected to participate in the All-State ensembles through a rigorous live audition that occurred during the spring of 2013. The All-State choirs will reconvene in February of 2014 to perform in the newly renovated Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

There are 3 All-State Choirs: one all male, one all female, and one mixed. Both Gion and Perreira were selected for membership in the Mixed Choir. They were directed by Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe from the University of Southern California.

This was Gion’s second year as a member of the All-State Choirs. Both he and Perreira are members of the WBLAHS - South Campus Mariner's Choir for the coming 2013-14 school year.

Central Middle School students will be welcomed to lunch by IB Bears this year, as a sound tile installation project wrapped up just in time for the students to come back in September. The project is a technical one that will decrease the sound levels in the cafeteria by creating a buffer on the cement walls, but the Buildings Operations crew and Central Middle School administration worked together to create an innovative twist to the project.

Instead of being simple blank sound panels, each piece is a visual display of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner profiles, a set of attributes both middle schools strive to develop in their whole school community. These traits, which support students in growing academically, socially and emotionally, are: balanced, caring, communicators, knowledgeable, principled, risk-takers, inquirers, open-minded, reflective, and thinkers.

Both Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools are in their second year as International Baccalaureate Candidate Schools this year. As students at an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) candidate school, 6th-8th graders participate in the program through the eight subject areas: Language A -English, Language B -Spanish, French, German, or Chinese, Physical Education, Sciences, Arts, Math, Technology, and Humanities-Social Studies.

Activities Updates
Choir members Luke Gion and Emma Perreira participated in a week-long choir camp this summer at St. John's University in Collegeville as members Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Mixed Choir.

White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

School Board News

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Upcoming meetings
Date Type Time Location
Monday, Sept. 9
Regular 7 p.m. District Center
Monday, Sept. 23
Work-Study 5:30 p.m District Center
Monday, Oct. 14
Regular 7 p.m. District Center
Monday, Oct. 28 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center