Parent teacher conference time again
During October our students are the subject of much attention during parent teacher conferences, whether they welcome it or not! Young children may join the adults or wait patiently outside in the hall, hoping a good report will be rewarded with a coveted book from the PTO book sale in the media center.
For middle and high school students, parents already know a great deal about their child's progress by regular on-line monitoring of daily assessments, test scores, and assignments. Students know the deadlines for getting in assignments-- which if done on time before conferences may result in parents receiving a coveted compliment on their child's diligence.
So what happens these days at parent conferences?
First, parents ask if their child is being challenged and responding well to challenges. Do our children have the skills and confidence to take on increasingly challenging work? (By the senior year, for example, better than sixty percent of our students are taking college credit courses while still in high school.)
Secondly, parents ask if their children have friends and work well with others. As parents, we want our children to respect others and be respected. We want them to have friends, especially friends who will bring out the best in our children.
Third, parents ask about effort. As adults we know that talent and opportunity can give a child a chance for a bright future, but hard work and persistence are essential ingredients for success. Some experts in child development refer to "grit", a combination of purpose, persistence, and resilience as a defining characteristic of children who excel.
Fourth, parents ask whether their children are growing. Physical growth is obvious to us when we notice that our child's "new" jeans of three months ago are well above his ankles. But what of math and reading growth? Is my child on course to meet college requirements?
If these questions frame the conversations between parents and teachers, what data are used to tell the story?
First and most importantly, teachers assess the progress of students every day; these observations and assessments are summarized as grades on a report card. Discussion with a child's teacher yields important insights.
Next, a common measure of progress and growth is MAP (Measure of Academic Progress), a national assessment given to all students in grades 1 through 10 at least twice a year. (For 2013-14, our White Bear Lake students averaged a year and one half growth in math and a year and one third in reading). These results also encourage our students because they understand their level of achievement and pace of improvement.
To measure college readiness, students take the EXPLORE national assessment in grade 8, PLAN in grade 10, and the more familiar ACT in grades 11 or 12. These measure skills students are developing for college and help students stay on the path to success. In our most recent ACT results for the class of 2014, 16 percent of students scored a 29 or higher, allowing opportunities for scholarships and entry into some of nations most competitive schools.
Finally, we want to thank all the teachers, parents, grandparents, and others who participate in parent teacher conferences. By the way, PTO book sales were a success!
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
In Photos: Fire Prevention Week at Vadnais Heights Elementary
Good food and good health
The White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus student council is coordinating our district-wide food drive October 27 - November 1. Last year, our schools' contribution to the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf was 22,777 pounds. The current goal for this year is 18,000 pounds.
Members of the WBLAHS - South Campus student council will be responsible for sorting and organizing food, the logistics of moving food from individual schools to our central location, and creating advertising - both in our school and out in the community.
In the past year, the WBLAEFS has served 300 families each month (on average) including 5,542 adults and 4,896 children and distributed 230,924 pounds of food. The South Campus student council is planning several events to make the week-long fundraiser stand out to students, staff, and community members. With a variety of classroom competitions at the secondary level, student council hopes to raise hunger awareness and promote positive school climate.
In addition to themed "double points" days, the student council will also host the traditional Trick-or-Can event, where high school students can still participate in the evening's regular activity of going door to door, but instead of asking for candy, they ask for canned goods to donate to the food drive and then bring the items to South Campus.
Also in food news, BearPower will host a Food, Family and Fun event on October 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Topics of discussion will include picky eaters, mealtime battles and other common challenges families face. The free session will be facilitated by a Registered Dietician. At 9 a.m. we will have breakfast for the whole family and at 9:30 a.m. kids will enjoy supervised play while adults talk about food. Interested families can register for the event here
In addition, White Bear Lake Nutrition Services has compiled a snapshot of new menu guidelines that includes:
- Wider variety of fruits and vegetables on the menus and students are encouraged to try them.
- Students must take one serving of fruits and vegetables or they will be asked to return to the serving area.
- Breads and grains will be at least 51% whole grain.
- A gradual decrease in sodium and fat in menus over time.
- Milk must be non-fat and may be flavored.
The photo to the right is of two Willow Lane Elementary students who were amazed by the size of this green bell pepper!
While students are exposed to delicious and nutritious foods in our lunchrooms, class activities often have a healthy component as well. For example, last week Oneka fifth graders biked to Memory Care Center in Hugo to visit with residents. Also on this exciting trip, students had the opportunity to tour city hall and meet the city administrator. While this field trip was enriching in social and educational ways, the addition of active biking made it even more rewarding.
Staying healthy also means staying safe. At Vadnais Heights Elementary, students participated in Fire Prevention Week earlier in October. Students had the chance to learn about fire prevention from actual firefighters, tour a firetruck, and even use a fire hose! Check out photos from the week in the "In Photos" section above.
Middle school history, science and safety
The past few weeks have been busy for White Bear Lake middle school students, especially involving history, science, and safety subjects. First, middle school students participated in a History Day Kickoff presentation in order to show sixth graders what it takes to be a part of the History Day tradition.
During the presentation, eighth graders explained all levels of the history day competition and what kinds of challenges they faced the previous year. Some eighth graders had such a positive experience with their History Day projects that they volunteered to be mentors to help students on their projects this year!
Within the subject of science at the middle school level, students participated in two more unique classroom activities. Sixth graders first took part in National Metric Day, where groups of students each represented a country and competed in educational games to test their knowledge of the metric system. Games included: the straw javelin throw and the paper plate discus. Students predicted outcomes in the actual measurement of grams, centimeters and liters.
In addition, Carol Hultman's sixth grade science class watched the 3M's Young Scientist Challenge. Students learned a lot from observing young intelligent peers compete and had the chance to connect to the challenge by asking questions.
While history and science are important subjects for our middle school students, learning real-world safety skills is equally crucial. Earlier in October, sixth graders in our middle schools attended another presentation on internet safety. Presented in part by the White Bear Lake Police Department, students learned countless tips about how to stay safe on the internet - an important conversation as many middle school students begin to spend more time online.
October is a busy month of recognition. It is National Bullying Prevention Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, and National Principals Month. Please take the time to learn about bullying prevention and dyslexia, and say "thank you" to our school principals. Also celebrated earlier this month was National Custodial Worker Day, so make sure you also thank those who keep our buildings looking so nice!
There are many dyslexia awareness events
for teachers and parents this month provided through the International Dyslexia Association, Groves Academy, and the Rochester Reading Center. The Minnesota Department of Education is doing great work with regards to Dyslexia and SLD education. Dyslexia is an issue that effects one in five people.
While students and staff celebrated National Custodial Worker Day earlier in October, White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus Ambassadors did some important cleaning as well. In fact, last Saturday, they adopted a part of Highway 120 and spent all morning cleaning a total of 4.1 miles.
North Campus Ambassadors have adopted a highway on the north end of White Bear Lake, but this is the first time that South Campus Ambassadors have participated in this activity. The route of their newly adopted Highway 120 starts at County Road E and ends at Highway 36.
At White Bear Lake Area Schools we are committed to spreading kindness throughout our community. Two events spotlight this dedication. First, students at Central Middle School student groups, staff, and parents met at 7 a.m. to write encouraging messages in chalk related to kindness and anti-bullying to the student body.
By the end of the morning, the sidewalks leading up to the middle school were covered with colorful and positive messages. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about anti-bullying month. Read more about this movement here
Another opportunity for students to learn about kindness and how to keep our schools positive is the Rachel's Challenge presentation for North Campus students that will take place during the school day on Oct. 20. Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim of the 1999 Columbine shootings. Through Rachel's life and writings, students can explore different ways to reach out with kindness and compassion.
The presentation is a reminder of the little things students and family members can do every day in order to make our world a better place. In addition to the North Campus presentation, the district will host a Rachel's Challenge community event presentation for interested community members. The community event will take place at 6 p.m., Oct. 20 in the District Auditorium. The recommended age of audience participants is seventh grade and older.
The student and community events are supported with funds with the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, which provided a $4,800 Bear Grant to cover 100% of the costs for Rachel's Challenge. According to WBLAHS - North Campus Associate Principal Angela Nelson, the project could not have happened this year without the funds from the Foundation.
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 mountain bike team
team posted some solid results on the challenging Mount Kato, Mankato course on Oct. 12. Freshman Mason Dekeyrl took third place in Division 2 freshman. Freshman Matt Weinberger rode to 14th place out of 40 riders. The only middle school rider for the Bears, seventh grader Adam Barth got 14th place out of 43 riders.The White Bear Lake Cheerleaders
competed at the MCCA All State Cheer Off on Saturday, October 11. They competed in all 3 categories: Game Situation Chant (second place), Time Out Cheer (first place) and School Song (first place). Their standings placed them as Grand Champions of the Competition, defending their title for five years running. Baylie Sherrick, Maddi Galloway and Tiffany Wallace will be representing the WBL Cheerleaders on the All State Cheer Team. The White Bear Lake boys varsity cross country team
placed second of 25 competing teams at the Meet of Champions in Alexandria. The White Bear girls swim and dive team
beat the Park Cottage Grove Wolfpack 99-87 and ranked third at the Section True Team meet. Congratulations to Christine Anderson
, WBLAHS head girls tennis coach, who was selected as the Section 4AA Coach of the year! The White Bear Lake Hippodrome
got a makeover! Check out photos and video clips in the first 62.4-second update above.
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.