August 3, 2012

Rising numbers

This has been a warm summer by any account. We don't need the media to remind us that temperatures in the summer of 2012 have been higher than in recent years. For those of you who delight in summer activities, this is good news. Others eagerly await the first cool nights that portend the coming of fall.

This month we learned that other numbers are also on the rise, and for these we all have cause to celebrate. The State Department of Education released student MCA proficiency results for 2012. For the fourth straight year, the proficiency scores attained by our White Bear Lake Area students rose. Our math scores are up an additional 5 percentage points and reading by an additional 2 percent. You'll find more detail referenced elsewhere in this e-newsletter.

As we prepare for another school year, we want to acknowledge the work of our staff, families, community members and students. Well done! 

Dr. Michael Lovett
Superintendent

General Information

DID YOU KNOW?

Find additional information about White Bear Lake Area Schools here.

Community Services

Take an online class, from anywhere and at any time! Sample courses include:

  • Teaching Smarter with SMART Boards 
  • Solving Classroom Discipline Problems 
  • Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom 

Find a listing of the many, varied Community Services offerings in the Community Services Catalog, recently mailed to District residents. Find an electronic version of the catalog here.

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.

Parent Notices:

  • School Supply lists - School Supply lists are available online here
  • Fare for All - Save up to 40% on Groceries - Find information about Fare For All Express here
  • FREE Smoke Detectros for the hearing impaired - The White Bear Lake Fire Department has approximately two dozen strobe smoke detectors for the hearing impaired that they received through a FEMA grant. The detectors are available (for free) to residents who live in the school district. Please contact Mike Turnbull at 651-429-8568 if you would like to request a smoke detector. 
  • Host Family or Families Needed for Visiting Chinese Teacher - Hosting a Chinese teacher is a fantastic way to enrich family life. Our first semester teacher, Stephanie, will be arriving in late August and needs a family to host her. 

Since 2010 our partnership with the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School has grown and has generated annual exchanges of staff between our schools. Participating in a host family arrangement can be a truly rewarding experience for both parties if you are open and willing to learn from each other.

Families can choose to host for periods of time from as little as one month to up to five months. Host families are expected to:

  • Provide a bedroom/living space (with no expectations for monetary reimbursement). 
  • Be willing to share your family mealtimes. 
  • Be open to learn about a new culture/foreign language. 
  • Be available and willing to help the teacher as needed. 

As a houseguest, the teacher is expected to:

  • Keep his/her living space neat and clean and do his/her own laundry. 
  • Help with the preparation/clean-up of meals and household chores. 
  • Occasionally help with grocery shopping. 
  • Be willing to teach the basics or encourage practice in speaking the language to any family members. 

Please remember that each teacher is carefully screened by their School/University and White Bear Lake Area School District staff before coming to our schools to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students. Likewise, we will need to complete background checks on adult members of households that host teachers to ensure the safety of the teachers while guests in White Bear Lake Area School District. There is not a cost to the family for the background checks. It is important that needs are met for both the teachers and the students and their families to make this a successful program.

Senior Program Updates:

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

  • New/Used Audio Book DVD Library - The White Bear Area Senior Center (located at Normandy Park Education Center in White Bear Lake) is starting an Audio Book DVD Library. If you would like to pass your favorite audio book DVDs forward, please consider our Lending Library. Everyone also is welcome to utilize our library for your listening pleasure. 

Library & Audio Book DVD Drop Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

In every issue:

  • Strategic Planning - The District's 30-member Strategic Planning Committee met in May to hear an update on the Strategic Planning initiatives underway this year and to review upcoming initiatives. The Strategic Planning process is one we started during the fall of 2010 and has been helping us "write our story" since. Strategic Planning updates can be found here
  • 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. Find the WBLAEF website here
  • Ryan Art Grant - Jessica Hosmer, Kindergarten teacher at Vadnais Heights Elementary, received the Ryan Art Grant late this spring. Her project entitled "Early Bridges" brings a teaching artist from the Children's Theater Company into her classroom for four sessions. He uses storytelling and creative drama with puppets to help the young students transform into storytellers themselves. "Early Bridges" will enhance the art curriculum in Jessica's classroom by exposing her students to dramatic arts and creative storytelling. 
  • Johnson Student Enhancement Scholarship awarded - The WBLAEF awarded the Johnson Student Enhancement Scholarship to District ninth grader Noelle Rivard. Noelle attended the Ordway's Professional Theater Triple Threat Training in July. Ordway's Triple Threat Training is an opportunity for talented young people to immerse themselves in singing, dancing and acting classes taught by award winning theater professionals. Noelle auditioned for this camp and was accepted. 
  • Reunions - the WBLAEF sponsors the White Bear Lake Area Alumni Association. Find information about the Alumni Association, including scheduled reunions, here

Opportunities

Support WBLAS students

  • Early Childhood Screening Volunteer Opportunity - We are seeking volunteers to help greet families, register children and collect information during our Early Childhood Screening clinics. This is a fun way to meet families in our district and spend time with preschool age children. The time commitment is dependent on your schedule as we have many clinics scheduled throughout the school year on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Becki Kvitrud, Volunteer Coordinator at 651-429-1504 or Danielle Mickelson, Early Childhood Supervisor 651-653-3102. 
  • Flea Market Fundraiser - The White Bear Lake Area Learning Center Is hosting a flea market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 22. ALC students will facilitate the process of renting out 46 spaces in the school's gymnasium and hallways to vendors who will sell their wares. The vendors get to keep the money they earn, with rent and money earned from concessions funding the service learning project. For more information on how you can participate as a vendor, contact teacher Tim McGraw at 651-773-6406. 

The students' goal is to raise $1000 (after expenses) for their upcoming service learning project, which has ties to micro-financing ideas covered in the students' economics class curriculum. Students will offer micro-loans of $25 to $50 to poor and disadvantaged entrepreneurs in third world countries. The entrepreneurs will grow their businesses and pay their loan debt, at which time the students will find other entrepreneurs to support. The process will be facilitated through Kiva a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

Partner Opportunities

  • Host Family or Families Needed for Visiting Chinese Teacher - Hosting a Chinese teacher is a fantastic way to enrich family life. Our first semester teacher, Stephanie, will be arriving in late August and needs a family to host her. 

Since 2010 our partnership with the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School has grown and has generated annual exchanges of staff between our schools. Participating in a host family arrangement can be a truly rewarding experience for both parties if you are open and willing to learn from each other.

Families can choose to host for periods of time from as little as one month to up to five months. Host families are expected to:

  • Provide a bedroom/living space (with no expectations for monetary reimbursement). 
  • Be willing to share your family mealtimes. 
  • Be open to learn about a new culture/foreign language. 
  • Be available and willing to help the teacher as needed. 

As a houseguest, the teacher is expected to:

  • Keep his/her living space neat and clean and do his/her own laundry. 
  • Help with the preparation/clean-up of meals and household chores. 
  • Occasionally help with grocery shopping. 
  • Be willing to teach the basics or encourage practice in speaking the language to any family members. 

Please remember that each teacher is carefully screened by their School/University and White Bear Lake Area School District staff before coming to our schools to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students. Likewise, we will need to complete background checks on adult members of households that host teachers to ensure the safety of the teachers while guests in White Bear Lake Area School District. There is not a cost to the family for the background checks. It is important that needs are met for both the teachers and the students and their families to make this a successful program.

Awards and Honors

  • Extended Day Program Accreditation - The White Bear Lake Area Schools Extended Day programs at Lincoln and Vadnais Elementary Schools recently were accredited through the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Project (MAAP). Programs at Lakeaires, Matoska International and Otter Lake Elementary Schools received accreditation earlier in the 2011-12 academic year. Find the press release here. 
  • Ryan Art Grant - Jessica Hosmer, Kindergarten teacher at Vadnais Heights Elementary, received the Ryan Art Grant late this spring. Her project entitled "Early Bridges" brings a teaching artist from the Children's Theater Company into her classroom for four sessions. He uses storytelling and creative drama with puppets to help the young students transform into storytellers themselves. "Early Bridges" will enhance the art curriculum in Jessica's classroom by exposing her students to dramatic arts and creative storytelling. 
  • National Publication awards - Congratulations to District staff members who contributed to the following projects, which received awards from the National School Public Relations Association: 
  • Award of Merit in the Finance Publication category for our "10 Facts Every Voter Should Know" piece. 
  • Award of Merit in the Marketing Publication category for our 2011-12 Registration materials, which includes our four registration guides: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School and High School. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Annual Report category for our 2010-11 Annual Report. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Calendar category for our 2011-12 Activities Calendar. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Handbook category for our 2011-12 Academic Planner and Student Handbook. 

Please contact Marisa Vette (651-407-7695) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

Student News

District MCA scores in reading and math continue to rise

This week the Minnesota Department of Education released 2012 student MCA results for all Minnesota schools. White Bear Lake Area School District student results showed improvement at nearly every grade level. District math scores improved by more than 5 percentage points, and reading was up by 2 percentage points.

Compared to overall state averages, White Bear student proficiency in math is 68%, 7 percentage points above the state. Elementary school proficiency improved by more than 6 percentage points, to 79%, and middle schools by more than 13 percentage points, to 67%.

 

The District's overall student reading proficiency is 79.4%, 4 percentage points above the state. Proficiency in reading continues a five-year rise, with more than 82% now proficient at elementary, more than 79% proficient at middle school and 81% proficient at high school.

 

Results of the GRAD Written Composition test, taken by ninth grade students, also were released. White Bear Lake Area High School students scored 94% proficient, more than 2 percentage points above the state average.

 

"We use this annual snapshot of student progress as one of several measures to assure all our students are above grade level proficiency or are on their way to gaining proficiency," said Michael Lovett, Superintendent. "Our district's strategic plan commits us to the goal that all students will reach proficiency in math and reading by grade four and maintain proficiency at every grade level thereafter."

 

MCA scores measure proficiency, which is the percentage of students who meet the threshold designated by the state. They differ from other tests that measure growth during the school year. For example, White Bear Lake Area Schools and many other area schools use the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment to measure student progress during the year. For 2011-12, White Bear Lake Area students showed average growth of 1 year, 4 months in reading and 1 year, 7 months in mathematics. National average growth is one year.

 

Students shine at District Marketfest booth

As is the longstanding tradition, the District participated in White Bear Lake's city's celebratory summertime event - Marketfest. Visitors to the booth picked up pencils and district decals, school supply lists, and District info while sharing conversations with School Board members and District leaders.

 

Always abuzz with little ones, the Early Childhood program hosted a weekly "kids activity table" that had children of all ages searching for the white bear hidden under sharing cream, creating art projects to take home, and making connections with staff members in the program.

New this year - District students and teachers hosted interactive activities. Students from Otter Lake Elementary hosted "Engineering is Elementary" scenarios, WBLAHS taught American Sign Language to passers-by, and a Hmong student group hosted a bracelet-making session for kids.

 

Another new component - Marketfest photos were shared the following morning on the District's Facebook page. "Like" the White Bear Lake Area Schools Facebook page and check out the photos!

 

Middle schools' IB candidacy update

Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools received formal recognition last spring as candidates for the IB Middle Years Programme. The schools are pursuing authorization as IB World Schools and have begun an intensive application process. IB World Schools share a common philosophy-a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that prepares students to be engaged citizens in their community and in the world.

 

This program, which will be offered to all Central and Sunrise Park Middle School students, focuses on communication, intercultural awareness, and holistic learning, or how the different subjects are connected to one another and to the students' experiences. Matoska International IB World School currently offers families a White Bear Lake Area Schools elementary IB option.

 

Jill Pearson is the new International Baccalaureate Coordinator for Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools. She has taught French, English as a Second Language, and English as a Foreign Language at the elementary, secondary, and college levels for ten years. She is not only a strong proponent of international education but has also had the opportunity to study, live, and teach abroad in France and West Africa. She joins White Bear Lake Schools after serving as International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Coordinator in Brooklyn Center for the past four years, where she led their junior/senior high school through the implementation and authorization process. In addition, she is also an IB-trained workshop leader and consultant.

 

Find a press release about the middle schools' IB Candidacy announcement here.

 

Activities Updates

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


A comprehensive 2011-12 District Activities schedule can be found here. The 2012-13 Activities Calendar will be mailed to District families later this month.


Please contact Marisa Vette ((651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.
 


School Board News

School Board recognitions

Before the July 9 School Board meeting, the board recognized the Trapshooting Team for state-level honors.

 

Meeting agendas

This year's White Bear Lake Area School Board meeting agendas are available to District staff members at J:\ALL DISTRICT\2012-13 School Board Agenda Packets.
 

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, August 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, August 27 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, September 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, September 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201


Regular School Board meetings are re-broadcast on Cable Channel 20 in the local viewing area after regular business meeting as follows:

  • Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Thursdays at 10 a.m.

District News

  • Rising numbers
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors 

Student News

  • District MCA scores in reading and math continue to rise
  • Students shine at District Marketfest booth
  • Middle schools' IB candidacy update
  • Activities updates 


School Board News

  • School Board recognitions
  • Meeting agendas
  • Upcoming meetings

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