At the October 12, 2015 White Bear Lake Area School Board meeting, community and district leaders highlighted the significance of the September 25, 2015 manufacturing event that took place at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus to kick off the Manufacturing Pathway. The School Board heard from Jim Stephan of Du Fresne Manufacturing Company, Ling Becker of Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation, Andrea Ferstan of Greater Twin Cities United Way, teacher Delroy Nyren, Principal Tim Wald and Assistant Superintendent Sara Paul. Each highlighted aspects of the partnership that led to the launch of this innovative programming.
"I appreciate the business community's support," said School Board Clerk Lori Swanson. "The event was a reminder to me that educating a child is really a partnership - it's not just a school, business, family, or community, but it's everyone working together."
Industry partners have been actively engaged in guiding the Manufacturing Pathway work and in determining the skill requirements for employment and career progression in high-demand occupations. That support, along with a $250,000 grant recently received from the United Way, has allowed White Bear Lake Area High School to build a program that resembles those generally available only at the college level.
"What a unique opportunity to incorporate all of that into our school," said Board member Don Mullin. "I had a chance to tour the facility today and was wowed."
Manufacturing Pathway is the newest opportunity for White Bear students to engage in college and career classroom work as part of their high school program, where they earn both high school credit and college credit or credentials previously available only after high school graduation.
Other programs currently at the high school include Advanced Placement (AP). Also on the agenda Monday night was recognition of 100 students who had been honored by the National Board as AP Scholars, AP Scholars with Honors and an AP Scholar with Distinction. These students successfully passed from three to five or more AP exams made available through the high school's 17 college-level AP course offerings. During the 2014-15 school year, a record number of White Bear Lake Area High School students took AP courses, more than 800 courses in total.
Additionally, students enrolled in more than 300 College in the Schools (CIS) classes, selecting from 11 courses that carried University of Minnesota credit. White Bear students also gained University of Minnesota credit through Project Lead the Way (STEM) courses.
For 2015-16, nearly two-thirds of the members of the senior class are enrolled in one or more of these rigorous options or in concurrent enrollment courses offered between White Bear Lake Area High School and Century College.