February 1, 2013

District News


Cold Weather Cool

With the bitterly cold weather these past two weeks, staff, parents and even the Metropolitan media have observed cold weather fashions. Here in the White Bear Lake Area Public Schools the fashion scene includes the following:

1. "Minimalists"

Favored by high school students, blurry-eyed after late study. Cold weather fashion includes an oversized hooded sweatshirt which envelopes all extremities.

    • Advantages: saves on precious locker space for books and oversized social studies projects.
    • Disadvantages: masks impulsive shivering.

2. "Maximum Preparation"

Favored by preschoolers and primary school children who have been dressed by someone else. Characterized by boots, snow pants, two jackets, hat plus a hood, mittens on a string and a scarf.

    • Advantages: warmth
    • Disadvantages: limited mobility, and requires a patient teacher or caregiver to snap, attach, Velcro and then give a gentle push to allow forward motion.

3. "Layering"

Favored by adolescent girls who actually plan ahead what they are going to wear.

    • Advantages: Enough layers to be warm, and can be sensibly shed when the student arrives at school.
    • Disadvantage: Not allowing enough time for the layer selection the evening before or the morning of school - results in asking parents to drive student to school because there is simply not enough time to get dressed and make the bus.

4. "Mix & Match"

Favored by adolescent boys who have given no thought to what they are going to wear until halfway out the door. 

    • Advantages: requires little planning.
    • Disadvantages: Frequently choosing gloves, a scarf or a hat which belong to someone else - leading to disruptions in domestic harmony.


You may wish to add to this list or see where your family fits in!  

This month we also acknowledge the work of those community members who have taken action to make sure all children have mittens, hats, scarfs and gloves. We recognize the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's "Closet", located at our Area Learning Center, and many churches and communities of faith who likewise make sure that all children have what they need to be safe in this cold weather. 

Dr. Michael Lovett


General Information

Did You Know?


Annual Report to the Community

The White Bear Lake Area Schools Annual Report to the Community is available online. This report includes a variety of student achievement data, information on new initiatives, financial reporting and other important information on District 624.

The report was mailed to all District residents during the first week of December. Community members can also download the report here or contact the Superintendent's Office at (651) 407-7563 to request a copy.

Community Services

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.

The Community Services and Recreation Winter 2013 Catalog is available online. Take a look at just a few available upcoming programs:

Parent Notices:

  • Early Childhood Screening - All 3 to 5 year old children in Minnesota are required to complete early childhood screening before entrance into kindergarten. Early screening is recommended and available throughout the year at no cost through the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Click  here to schedule an appointment at an upcoming session on March 8, 15 or 22.
  • Tips for Flu Season - Flu season has officially arrived, but by working together, we can help control the spread of influenza. Learn helpful tips to help you and your family stay healthy this winter.
  • Winter Weather - Visit our school closings page to learn about winter weather procedures.
  • Tech Talk - Find the latest Assistive Technology Newsletter here.
  • Early Childhood Mini-Sessions - Families with children ages 2 - 4 are invited to check out the District's Early Childhood Program through daytime "mini sessions" offered throughout the academic year. Find information about the 3-week sessions.
  • ADHD Support Group - The District 622 ADD/ADHD Support Group will hold its next meeting at 6.30 p.m. on February 11 at the District Education Center in St. Paul with special guest Susan Gatto, LICSW, discussing anxiety and ADHD. All District 624 families are welcome to attend. Click here for more information.

Senior Program Updates:

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

  • 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.
  • Senior Activity Passes - Free Activity Passes are currently available for senior community members ages 65 and up. Those who would like a free pass and a 2012-13 Activities Calendar can contact Jody Reber at 651-407-7563 to request an application.
  • 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:

  • 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.
    • J. Stanley and Doris Hill Legacy Award - The WBLAEF is seeking nominations for the 2013 Hill Legacy Award to acknowledge an area citizen who has given a lifetime of volunteer service to his or her community. Click here to learn more about the award and how to submit nominations by February 22.
    • The Closet - With the cold weather outside, The Closet is seeking winter clothing and outerwear. Donations can be dropped off at the District Center or at the ALC building at 2449 Orchard Lane in White Bear Lake. Jeans of all shapes and sizes are also greatly needed.
    • WBLAEF Newsletter - Find the most recent White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's newsletter here. To sign-up for the electronic newsletter, please send a request to lisa.lindvall@isd624.org or call 651-407-7696.
  • 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. Find the latest update here to learn about saving energy in the classroom with SMART Boards.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Concerts & Music Programs - The following programs are free and open to the public:
    • Vadnais Heights Elementary 4th and 5th Grade Music Program at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on February 7.
    • Willow Lane Elementary 3rd Grade Concert at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on February 26.
  • History Day - Sunrise Park Middle School will host a History Day event from 7-9 p.m. on February 7. National History Day, a highly regarded national academic challenge, encourages young people to explore a historical subject related to this year's theme, "Turning Points in History." Working individually or cooperatively in groups, students make history come alive as their research leads to historical papers, exhibits, performances, media documentaries, and website design.
  • Bingo Night - All community members are welcome to attend Otter Lake Elementary School's 'Treat Bingo' from 7-8:30 p.m. on February 8. Please bring a (peanut-free) dessert to participate, and see which treat you could win.
  • Jazz Band Night Club - The 34th annual Night Club Dinner and Dance event featuring the Jazz Bands from WBLAHS will be held on Saturday, February 9. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner catered by Donatelli's at 6 p.m. and dancing from 7:30 - 10 p.m. Click here to learn about getting tickets by February 1. For more music entertainment, check out the upcoming Concordia College Percussion Ensemble on February 16.

Awards and Honors

  • Academic Achiever - Congratulations to Aaron Lakedon from the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center on receiving the Rotary Club's Academic Achiever Award.
  • Geography Bee - Congratulations to all competitors who took part in the Sunrise Park Middle School Geography Bee. Finalists included: Max Nelson, Laura Gustafson, Zach Vang, Samantha Engrave, Anthony Eterno, Joacb Leclair, Isaac Kisling, Hannah Falk, Joey Perreira and Gabe Konkler. The champion was Grant Loehlin.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

Make Leukemia Disappear

At Otter Lake Elementary School, students in Jenny Craigan's 4th grade class worked together to plan a "Make Leukemia Disappear" event held earlier this week. Each year, students in Jenny's class are challenged to plan a service project. Past classes have helped a variety of organizations, but this year the students chose a project affecting those in their own classroom. After seeing two of their classmates - Grant and Emily - battle leukemia, the students decided there could be no better project than to show support for their friends.

Students began preparing in December by creating a variety of crafts to sell at the event with all donations going towards an upcoming Otter Lake "Pennies for Patients" drive benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Among the creations were colorful bubble wrap paintings, plants with expressive faces, magnets with a class picture, bookmarks and shiny, tin can robots. Emily also taught her fellow students how to make headbands after learning how to create them during her stays in the hospital.

Over 100 community members attended the event to show their support and help the class raise almost $2,000. The evening concluded with student musical performances on ukulele and piano. One brave student even volunteered to have her hair cut and donated to the Locks for Love program. Many of the guests commented on how committed the students were to the event. On the ride home, some students were even asking, "Can we do this again next year?"

The class would like to thank parent, Stephanie Albin, for helping to coordinate the event, Bell Mortgage and Matt O'Brien for the t-shirts and all parents and community members who participated in the event

Setting the Stage

Fueled by the recent success of theatre programs in the White Bear Lake area, this spring is sure to be a season to remember with upcoming performances at every level. On January 31, members of the White Bear Lake Area High School One Act Play team competed in the Section 4AA finals with their performance of "Antigone" after advancing from the preliminary competition. For the second year in a row, the team walked off stage proudly holding a trophy after receiving first place in 2012 and second place at this year's contest. Members of the high school cast now set their sights on auditions for their April production of Shakespeare's tragedy, "Macbeth" - a story of ambition, fate, deception and treachery.

Also showing in April, the middle school players will be presenting the classic Disney musical, "Beauty and the Beast, Junior" under the direction of Connie Hamilton. The program recently secured a $1,500 grant from the Twin Cities Opera Guild, Inc. for the third consecutive year. The grant will help support the production by allowing for enhanced lighting, stunning costumes and a memorable set design. "The kids deserve the best experience possible," says Connie. "We have a great cast and crew, and this will make them that much more outstanding!"

Elementary students at Otter Lake Elementary, Oneka Elementary and Matoska International IB World School will also team up with Ashland Productions this March to present performances of "Pirates! The Musical". Set sail with the cast for a mighty adventure on the high seas! Tickets are on sale now by visiting the Ashland Productions website. We hope to see you at the shows!




Central Serves

At the end of January, students at Central Middle School rolled up their sleeves and participated in a service project to combat hunger in the Twin Cities. After school, several students and staff members worked together as a team of chefs to whip up and pack 450 sandwiches in just thirty minutes!

The bologna and cheese sandwiches were then delivered to the homeless through the Minneapolis Recreation Development's 363 Days of Food program. The program is dedicated to serving the homeless community, vulnerable individuals, disadvantaged youth and their families throughout the Twin Cities. "I felt really good about helping to provide food for people who can't afford it," said one of the student volunteers.

Central Middle School organizes several volunteer opportunities throughout the year as a way for students to get involved in community service. Up next, students will be helping to pack meals for malnourished children around the world with Feed My Starving Children this February.

Geography, Science and Art... Oh, My!

White Bear Lake area elementary school students have been busy over the past few weeks participating in a variety of fairs to show off their talents in geography, science, and art.

Otter Lake Elementary School hosted a STEM Fair with over 60 unique projects in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math presented by kindergarten through fifth grade students. Students choosing to participate in the fair worked diligently on their projects from initial observations through their final conclusions. Many community members participated as both spectators and volunteer coaches to help the students discuss their projects. Visitors also got a peek at the innovative technologies used within the classroom by experimenting on iPads and Chromebooks, participating in engineering challenges and experiencing the Star Lab.

Over 130 students from Lincoln Elementary School showcased their creative work in the Carlson Art and Science Fair at the end of January. Each exhibit displayed a wide variety of projects ranging from robots and tornados to sculptures and paintings. With such high annual participation, this event highlights how much families embrace the opportunities to involve their child in art and science.

Matoska International also hosted a Science & Geography Fair to give students a chance to inquire, research, experiment and draw conclusions on a topic of their choice. If you missed any of the events, you can still visit the Vadnais Heights Elementary School Science & Art Fair from 6:30-8 p.m. on February 21 in the school gymnasium.

Activities Updates

The Boys Basketball Team has earned recent victories over Park, Coon Rapids and Forest Lake. Girls Basketballplayers have won their last two consecutive games against Forest Lake and East Ridge. Congratulations to the Boys Hockey Team on their recent wins over East Ridge, Stillwater, Mounds View, Lakeville South and Park. Girls Hockey triumphed over Mounds View in a 2-1 game on January 29. A well-deserved round of applause goes out to the One Act Play students who performed at sections on January 31 and took home second place. Shout out to the Boys Swim and Dive Team for their recent victory against Harding. The White Bear Lake Wrestling Team went 2-1 this week with wins over Minneapolis South and Tartan. Congrats to Tommy Longendyke who recently earned his 150th varsity win!

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

A comprehensive 2012-13 District Activities schedule can be found here.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, February 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, February 25 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, March 11  Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, March 18 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201