At the zoo Snow swirls around the trees and sweeps the hillside. A bitter wind nips toes and fingers. But scientists are on duty, mittens wrapped around clipboards, carefully recording observations on animals at Como Zoo. We watch as the white arctic fox scampers along an enclosure; scientists and fox keenly watch one another.
These scientists are third graders from Lakeaires Elementary School, who have received a remarkable gift: for one week their class studies at the zoo, learning the scientific method, observational skills, and a great deal about animals.
Sixty years from now, an accomplished scientist is interviewed after receiving the Nobel Prize.
"What inspired you to be a scientist?" probes the reporter.
"It all began," the scientist explains, "when I was in third grade and we spent a whole week learning at the zoo..."
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
As we transition into the new year, it is important to remember our ever-present resolution to continue to help and serve the community in as many ways as possible. Similarly, we also rely on the helping hands of families and community members to maintain some of our most innovative programs.
In December, Lincoln Elementary students participated in their Hug-a-Heart Community Service Event. During the event, more than 150 students, in addition to staff and parent volunteers, gathered in their large and small gym to make infant blankets for mothers in need. Volunteers also made craft bags to be shared with senior citizens who receive Meals on Wheels.
Also at the elementary school level, Matoska Extended Day students had the opportunity to extend a helping hand to wounded veterans. Students and staff volunteers worked to create crafts and held a craft sale, with which they raised $300! The proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit service that empowers injured veterans and their families.
Just as our schools strive to serve the community throughout the year, we also look to the community for a helping hand on some of our innovative school programs. One of these unique programs is the White Bear Lake High School Writing Center, which is expanding. So far, the writing center has had more than 400 student visits since December of 2012.
Funded by a generous donation from the Glasrud family and support from the Educational Foundation and the district, the high school writing center is the first of its kind in the East Metro. Now, with expanded hours and recently-opened satellite center at North Campus, the center is in need of adult volunteers from the community to maintain services for students.
If you have a background in writing and have experience providing feedback to student writers, please consider donating your time and expertise. Direct experience working with high school writers is preferable. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., but the shift can be divided for multiple volunteers or scheduled on a rotating basis. There may be future potential for varied or expanded hours as well. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Carolyn Youngbauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-773-6260.
Above and beyond
Staff, students, families and community partners continually show their ability to go above and beyond to highlight White Bear Lake Area Schools' dedication to a rich and rewarding education.
First, Central Middle School seventh grader Isaac Maruyama, recently learned that he is the winner of the state VFW Patriot's Pen essay contest. He was one of nine finalists in Minnesota and now advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C. along with 45 others in the nation. If he wins nationals, he will win a trip to Washington, D.C. and $5000. The VFW Patriot's Pen essay contest is an annual competition in which students write a 300-400 word essay about a theme related to Veterans Day. The 2014 theme was "Why I appreciate Veterans." Isaac wrote his essay for his U.S. History class taught by Kari Janzen.
In addition, our staff has shown they are dedicated to going above and beyond with their curriculum by finding creative ways to engage students in learning. On the Friday before winter break, Matt Skogen's Sunrise Park science class had the opportunity to dig back into time and go on their own fossil hunt. The sedimentary rock, shale, that often contains fossils was sent to them from the Florissant Fossil Quarry in Colorado. Students discovered plant fossils like the imprints of leaves.
Also at the middle school level, History Day students at Central Middle School had the chance to research at Wilson Library on the University of Minnesota campus. Students explored a high-level research library and got their hands on some great sources for their projects. The students had done their homework the day before and identified several books that they would be looking for to maximize their time at the Wilson Library.
"I'm looking forward to seeing their final projects at the regional History Day event at South Campus on March 28!" said Robert Brewer, Central Middle School Associate Principal. Check out some photos from the university study session in the most recent 62.4-second update!
Finally, on Jan. 9, students, staff, families and community members came together for a Family Fitness Night at Matoska Elementary. Approximately 150 guests attended the event where they had the chance to participate in veggie tasting, zumba, yoga, gym activities and fun food-themed games. Kids also received character bags filled with fun stuff, such as bean bags, a CD of dance music and a book of exciting activities. Family Fitness Nights are free monthly activities available to District families. They are made possible through the District's partnership with HealthPartners, Children's Hospital and the YMCA.
Get to know White Bear Lake Area Schools
January is a busy month as we provide several opportunities for families to join us and get to know our schools. At the early childhood level, we will host White Bear Lake Area Preschool Open Houses next week. Open Houses are an opportunity for you and your preschool child to visit the preschool sites, observe classes in session, gather information about classes and programs, meet staff and ask any questions. Classes will be in session, so we encourage you to spend some time in a classroom observing the activities. Children are welcome and may join in the class activities if they choose.
At the kindergarten level, there will be a district-wide Kindergarten Registration Night on January 15 at all elementary schools. This in-depth session offers parents of future kindergartners an opportunity to learn more about the district's kindergarten curriculum and programs, ask questions, visit a kindergarten classroom and register their child for kindergarten.
For middle school families, parent information nights will be held on January 22. These information nights are especially helpful for current White Bear Lake Area Schools 5th grade families and families new to the White Bear Lake Area Schools with students entering grades 6-8 in fall 2015.
High school families will also have the opportunity to attend a parent and student information night on January 12 for next year's 9th and 10th graders. Next year's 11th and 12th graders had their parent and student information night on January 8. This is a great opportunity for parents and students to learn about course selection opportunities and registration for fall 2015.
62.4-second video update
Take a look at our 62.4-second update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools!
Activities Updates The WBLAHS wrestling team competed in the prestigious 33-team All Force Christmas Tournament. Grant Bolduan placed sixth in the tournament. At the annual Rumble on the Red tournament in Fargo the wrestling team finished 22 of 62 teams. The White Bear Lake boys swim and dive team took seventh of 15 teams, scoring 698 points at the Maroon and Gold meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.
Free Dental Care - The Furey Dental Group is once again participating in the Minnesota Dental Association sponsored Give Kids A Smile day on Friday, February 6. Dr. Michael Furey and staff at the Furey Dental Group will be joining with other dental professionals across the state to provide free dental care to children whose families may not have access to dental care. The Furey Dental Group will be serving patients under the age of 16 on Friday, February 6. Services provided may include exams, radiographs, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, extractions, and oral hygiene instructions. On a typical Give Kids a Smile day they will provide care to 25 children and deliver over $5500 in free dental services. Patients seeking an appointment or anyone wishing to refer a patient for care may contact the Furey Dental Group at 651-490-9011. The office is located at 700 Village Center Drive, Suite 120 in North Oaks. Learn more at www.mndental.org.
Get noticed by BearPower - BearPower wants to feature YOU in an upcoming edition of the BearPower press! Send an email to BearPower@HealthPartners.com explaining how your family, your classroom, or your program gets BearPowered and they will feature it in an upcoming issue of their newsletter and blog. Pictures of course are welcome!
Journalism, video and television scholarships - The NATAS-Upper Midwest Chapter/Foundation is giving away $3,000 scholarships to high school seniors and college juniors and seniors interested in careers in journalism, video and television. Anyone who lives in or attends college in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, most of Iowa, and western Wisconsin can apply. Some of the scholarships are targeted to journalism, others to leadership, others to Public Media. All the information is here.
Habitat for Humanity Housing in Hugo - Habitat for Humanity housing will be built in Hugo thanks to a generous donation. Read more about the new development!
Assistive Technology - Read the latest parent newsletter on assistive technology!
Weatherization - You may be eligible for free weatherization home improvements through the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties. Read more
Early Childhood Screening - Learn more about our Early Childhood screening here.
Evening ECFE Parent-Child Classes - Join other parents and their young children (birth-5) to participate in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) parent-child classes at Normandy Park Education Center, 2482 East County Road F. Register online at www.isd624.org/EarlyChildhood
Ebola fact sheet and FAQ - Click here for a fact sheet on Ebola. Click here for frequently asked questions about Ebola
NCAA clearinghouse - Is your child a college-bound student athlete? If so, you should consider registering him/her for NCAA eligibility here.
Assistive Technology in Math - Learn more about how your child could benefit from assistive technology in math here.
Interested in TV Production? - Volunteers and interns are needed for White Bear Lake Cable Public Access television. Click here for more information.
Thank teachers - Thank your teachers and help them win a grant through the Farmers Insurance Thank a Million Teachers initiative. Simply go to this website and write a thank you message to a teacher. Then, that teacher can submit a proposal for a chance to win a $2500 grant for use in their classroom.
Emergency School Closings - For school closings, early dismissals and late starts, call the School Closing Hotline at (651) 407-7540 or watch/listen for information on these media outlets:
If winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, parents will also be alerted in three ways as soon as a decision is made:
A SchoolMessenger phone message and email will be sent to all parents.
A message will be posted on the District's homepage.
We know that closing schools can be disruptive, especially for working families. Student and staff safety are our primary concern. Ultimately, the decision to send children to school remains with families. The District supports those decisions that are made for the safety and health of students. There are no negative consequences, and our schools work with families to assure that work is made up when an absence is safety-related.
Do you like working with children and other volunteers? - The White Bear Lake Area Schools Early Childhood Screening program at Normandy Park Education Center is looking for volunteers to help at screenings on Fridays. Click here to learn more about this opportunity!
Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us at email@example.com and you may find your little one featured in District publications! See an example of a "Born to be a Bear" photo here.
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. The Activities Pass is available to residents of the White Bear Lake Area School District who are age 65 and older.
Craft Corner Gift Shop at the Senior Center - Open from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the gift shop is the perfect place to shop for a variety of beautiful, handcrafted items. With more than 100 consignees selling their personal crafts, there is much to choose from for purchase. If anyone, over the age of 55, has any love of creating crafts, we are in need of consignees to further our inventory. The Craft Corner Gift Shop is located at Normandy Park Education Center, 2484 County Road F East.
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.
BearPower - Check out the newest edition of BearPower Press here! Stay up to date on all BearPower events on the BearPower Facebook page.
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.
Alum Gathering - The Foundation will be hosting a February gathering for ISD 624 Staff who are White Bear or Mariner grads! Please contact our office to let us know if you are an alum and we'll send you information on our gathering. This is not a fundraiser. We are hoping to connect with alum to tell them about who we are and what we do.
J. Stanley and Doris Hill Legacy Award - Area residents are invited to nominate exceptional volunteers for the 2015 J. Stanley and Doris Hill Legacy Award. Established to honor the memory of J. Stanley and Doris Hill for their remarkable commitment to community service, this award has been created to acknowledge an individual(s) who has given many years of outstanding service to his or her community. Nomination forms are available at the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation office and website. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, February 20, 2015.
Brosious winners have been announced - View all 12 of the Brosious Teaching Grant winners here!
Reminder to teachers - WBLAEF Grants are available online.
Ryan Family Art Grant Winners - Read all about the five elementary teachers who won Ryan Family Art Grants in October!
Teachers - There's something NEW at the WBLAEF website! It's the BEAR LEGACY GRANT! This summer come to wblaef.org to learn more about this exciting new grant.
Glasrud Family Fellowship Grants - Glasrud Fellowship Grant applications will be due on February 4, 2015. These grants are available to all certified teachers in the WBLAS district. This grant will be awarded at the end of February, for use during the following 12 months. Also, there will be a teachers' Grant Writing Workshop at the District Center on January 9 at the District Center in room 206, where you can come for help with your grant anytime between 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Glasrud Family Fellows will receive grants of up to $3,000 (awarded at the end of February) to be used by a teacher or group of teachers for innovative experiences that will provide personal and professional growth. This grant provides a unique opportunity for teachers to "dream big" and have experiences beyond the classroom.
The Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship is available to all students in grades 6-12 in White Bear Lake Area School District 624 who would like to participate in enrichment activities such as writing, speaking, journalism, musical performance, and composition. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide opportunities for students that extend beyond the classroom and encourage higher level thinking skills. Scholarships up to $1,000 per individual, with a total amount of $2,000 in grants, will be awarded per year.
The WBLAEF is accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year for enhancement activities for students completed by September 1, 2015.
Applications will be reviewed on a continual basis throughout the year, until the $2,000 maximum per year has been awarded.
Grant applications should be sent to: White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, 4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN 55110.
Student Activities Scholarship - The Jim Honsa, Sr. Memorial Student Activities Endowment provides access to co-curricular activities for students who may not otherwise have access due to financial need. The scholarship, administered by the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, provides up to $200 per applicant and is available for students in grades 6-12.
Attention 6th - 12th Grade Teachers - The Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship is available for any WBLAS 6th - 12th student who would like to participate in enrichment activities such as writing, speaking, journalism, musical performance, and composition. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide opportunities for students that extend beyond the classroom and encourage higher level thinking skills. If you would like a flier to post in your classroom, please contact Lisa Lindvall and she will send you one! Students will be awarded up to $1,000 per individual, with a total amount of $2,000 in grants to be awarded per year. The application is on line for your students to apply at www.wblaef.org. Completed Grant Applications should be sent to WBLAEF at the District Office, 4855 Bloom Ave. Once the $2,000 amount has been reached for the 2013-2014 school year, I will send a note to teachers through the e-newsletter that we are no longer taking applications.
Visit our website - Visit our website to see all of the grants the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation has available for teachers.
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. Learn more about earth-conscious resolutions here!
Congratulations to Superintendent Dr. Lovett for being one of this year's recipients of the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development's Distinguished Alumni Awards. His award reads, "In recognition of your career as a distinguished educator, administrator and passionate advocate for students."
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.
e-Newsletter Published By:
Office of Communications - 4855 Bloom Avenue - White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Tel: 651-407-7695 - Fax: 651-407-7566 - www.whitebear.k12.mn.us
Please contact Marisa Vette (651-407-7695) to submit information for inclusion in publications.