Homecoming through the eyes of our guests
During the lingering days of summer, White Bear Lake Area Schools held our Homecoming. After a week of pageantry, pep fests, service projects and dress up days, Friday was parade and game day.
Our weather cooperated. Blue skies, light breezes and summer warmth welcomed the high school band, leading dozens of floats up Clark Avenue, through town, and east to White Bear Lake.
Hundreds lined the streets, babies in arms, elementary and middle school students in orange and black, and some of our most senior residents, smiling, waving and perhaps remembering.
In the evening our stadium was a sea of orange, overflowing from the stands. High school students stand during the whole of the game, following their senior class leaders, cheerleaders, dance line, and nearly 90 elementary age students, "Bear Cubs" the cheerleaders have taught to cheer for the game.
Students and teams cheer for one another and for the team on the field. Lead by the drum line and the pep band all sing the school song over and over. At the end of the game, they sign again and cheer the team.
All of this was noticed. On the Saturday after the game, parents from the other team posted positive comments on social media and others joined in praising our students' conduct, respect, and spirit.
We want to specially acknowledge all those who made the weeks events happen: our faculty and staff who planned and coordinated the week; students leaders; community volunteers; community organizations; our patient local law enforcement officers who help with the parade - even though the parade route may seem like the only remaining streets not under construction; all those alums who returned for the weekend; and staff, parents, and community members who brought their own "little bear cubs" - the next generation - to the events!
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
Superintendent Lovett's photos tell a fun Homecoming story of the parade and the football game. In addition to the usual Homecoming tradition, BearPower has begun its own tradition - the 6.24K.
For the second year in a row, White Bear Lake Area Schools hosted the BearPower Homecoming 6.24K. On Sept. 27, about 275 walkers and runners participated in the 6.24K or the one-mile walk/run.
Community partners helped make the race a huge success. The YMCA led pre-race warm-up activities, while our White Bear Lake boys' cross country team volunteered as race marshals. In addition, WBLAHS - North Campus student council members volunteered to coordinate the games and activities held on the lawn. HealthPartners yumPower also attended the event and gave away apples and other healthy treats.
Many staff members raced as well! Twenty-four staff members representing 11 different schools participated in the run/walk. Matoska International had six staff members participate, which earned them a fruit basket for their school. Our very own superintendent, Dr. Lovett, also raced for the second year in a row!
Our students are surrounded by unique, educationally enriching opportunities every day. At Central Middle School, Central Beans Coffee Shop opened for business on Oct. 1. The coffee shop is a student work site where students have the chance to learn job interviewing skills, job duties, food safety, personal and social skills, cost analysis math lesson, and equipment care and use.
Staff members at District Center and Central Middle School can order coffee and other delicious beverages from the Central Beans website and have it delivered to their room.
Central Beans was made possible through a White Bear Lake Educational Foundation Brocious Grant. Check out the first of five videos the Foundation has created to highlight how their generosity has contributed to the educational enrichment of our students and teachers here.
Also at Central Middle School, students participated in National Manufacturing Day by building spaghetti towers and connecting with a Siemens STEM webinar. The students competed to build the tallest tower. They were limited to three feet of masking tape and 16 spaghetti noodles. The photo to the left is of the winning structure!
Other recent enriching activities held over the past few weeks included the White Bear Lake fire department visiting preschoolers and WBLAHS - South Campus students touring the Minneapolis Photo Center and Weisman Art Museum. Get instant news updates like these by following the district's Facebook and Twitter pages where we post a 624 Fact at roughly 6:24 p.m. every day.
Two recent events spotlight how White Bear Lake Area Schools is continually dedicated to our community programs. First, the Senior Center Open House had an outstanding turnout on Sept. 23.
At the open house, community members had the chance to learn about all the opportunities available through the White Bear Area Senior Program including classes, daily group activities, volunteer opportunities, Meals on Wheels, transportation, resources for aging, as well as the Craft Corner and lending library.
The White Bear Lake Senior Center provides opportunities and resources to enhance the lives of older adults. On average there are 1,300 participants per month with over 450 annual members.
In addition to reaching out to seniors in the community, we also reach out to adults who would like to hone their English language skills!
White Bear Lake Area Schools is now offering an adult English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) class that is free for foreign-born adults. A strong foundation of adult students who have shown dedication to practicing their English skills ultimately led to the creation of the new class.Nine students are currently enrolled in the class.
Their countries of origin include: Mexico, China, Puerto Rico, Somalia, Ecuador, and The Gambia.
The students meet with the teacher on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:45-3:15 p.m. at Normandy Park Education Center. Upon enrollment, the adult students' current English language level is assessed and students are divided into groups to study curriculum specific to their needs.
The new ESL class is adults-only, with the district offering child care during the sessions. In addition, the district is offering limited transportation to the class for students who need it.
Parents and children also have the opportunity to attend the Family Literacy class together, which is offered through the Early Childhood and Family Education Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Normandy Park. The family literacy class also has a diverse group of families from all over the world including: Honduras, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Guatemala.
Contact Nancy Melquist at 651-653-3101 for more information about either of these learning opportunities.
Elementary schools receive award designations, White Bear Lake Area High School in top 1% for second year
White Bear Lake Area Schools fared well in Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) information released this week by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Birch Lake Elementary received a Reward School designation, given to the top 15% of all Title 1 schools in Minnesota. This is the third year of the past four that Birch Lake has received this highest state designation.
Lincoln, Vadnais and Willow Lane Elementaries received the second highest recognition from the state as Celebration Eligible schools.
Since the State MMR system replaced AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) in 2011 as an accountability measure for the Federal No Child Left Behind Law, the district's schools have been consistently honored. In addition to the top honors given to Birch, Willow Lane has received recognition for the past four years, and Vadnais three out of the past four years. Lakeaires received an MMR score of 57% for 2014, and has been recognized two years out of the past four as Celebration Eligible.
The Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) measurement combines student proficiency, growth, and achievement gap reduction data. At the high school level, graduation rate is added as a fourth criterion.
While all schools receive MMR ratings, only schools that receive federal funding based upon free and reduced lunch populations are considered for the recognition program.
Modest changes in student demographics from year to year affect which schools qualify for Federal Title 1 funding. Four of the district's five Title 1 schools have consistently been designated Title 1 schools. Lincoln Elementary was a Title 1 site in 2013-14 and also received the Celebration Eligible recognition.
Matoska International, which was designated a Celebration Eligible school in 2013, was not a Title 1 school last year and therefore was not eligible for a reward designation although they ranked in the top 20% of all elementary schools in Minnesota. District calculations indicate that Matoska would have been named a 2014 Reward School if it had been a designated Title 1 school during the 2013-14 school year. The MMR scores for Oneka and Otter Lake Elementary Schools are 62% and 60% respectively.
The district's secondary schools also fared well in the MMR process as well. White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus again excelled, ranking in the top 1% of all high schools in the state for the second consecutive year. White Bear Lake Area High School - North Campus' MMR score was 67% and the Area Learning Center's score was 60%. Sunrise Park Middle School ranked in the top 25th percentile and Central Middle School ranked in the top 30th percentile of all middle schools in the state.
62.4-second video update
Take a look at our 62.4-second update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools!
The White Bear Lake girls tennis team
made it into the section finals at the University of Minnesota. The White Bear Lake girls cross country team
got second place in both the the Gold and Green divisions of the Mounds View Invitational at Chippewa Middle School in North Oaks.
White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.
Please contact the Communications Department
(651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.