January 18, 2013

District News

Do I Have School Today?

On a winter's day children rest in their beds,

With visions of snow days inside their heads.

Sweet dreams of days off ease them to slumber,

Homework not done, but who will remember?

In early morning, the sky still dark,

An alarm buzzes at 6 right on the mark.

The radio turns on, the announcer starts,

Now come school closings in alphabetical parts.

Anoka is closed, Burnsville is late,

On goes the announcer... how long it does take!

Listening intently, now wide awake,

Others are listed, but not White Bear Lake!

Do I wait for him to begin again,

Or climb out of bed to start the search engine?

White Bear Lake high school seniors tell me a "snow day" is such distant history that it must have happened shortly after the Civil War. They ask, "Couldn't we please someday have a snow day?"  

Such thoughts went through my head in mid-December when the weather was promising for just such a day off. Late at night the doorbell rang. I went to the door to see what was the matter and on the front doormat were fresh cinnamon muffins with the following handwritten note attached.

Dear Dr. Lovett,


Enjoy these muffins tomorrow at home, under one condition... you, by the click of 1 button, close all schools for tomorrow. I mean, doesn't sleeping in, relaxing, & eating these delicious muffins in the warm, safe comfort of your own home, sound a lot better than getting up early & going out into the bitter cold and dangerous weather to work/school? Sure does to us! Just think about it. :)


With Love,

The City of White Bear


P.S.  I guess a delay will be acceptable too...


We have approached this story with humor, but it is important for parents and staff to realize that when the weather is difficult and the roads are challenging in your neighborhood, it is ultimately your decision as to whether to send your children to school. 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 your family to assure that work is made up when an absence is safety-related.

For more information on winter weather procedures, please visit our School Closings page.

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.

Find additional information about White Bear Lake Area Schools here

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 now available online.

Check out all of the new adult and youth programs available starting this January. 

Parent Notices:

  • Open Houses & Registration Events - Want to learn more about White Bear Lake Area Schools or registration for the 2013-14 school year? Check out all of the events happening this January.
    • Middle School Info Nights: 7 p.m. on January 22 (Sunrise Park) and January 24 (Central)
    • Early Childhood Registration: 4:30 - 7 p.m. on January 24 at Normandy Park Education Center
  • School Security Update - As we pass the one-month anniversary of the school tragedy in Newtown, CT, we want to update you on our security measures here in White Bear Lake Area Schools. The safety of our students is our primary concern. Thank you for sharing them with us.
    • We recently met with our local law enforcement leaders to ensure we are working in partnership to keep our schools safe and secure.
    • We are reviewing all our safety protocols, making changes where needed.
    • We are working with staff to discuss questions and concerns, and providing updated training opportunities.
    • We are auditing our various response teams and plans to identify any areas that require improvement.
    • We have begun work at three schools that needed improved entrance security.
  • 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.
  • 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 February 1, 6 or 22.
  • 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.
  • Community Food Drive - On January 19-20, the White Bear Lake Food Shelf and community members will be holding a food drive at six of the major grocery stores around the White Bear Lake area. All the proceeds will go directly to the White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf's Backpack Program, a program which gives student access to healthy meals during the weekends when food options can be scarce. The team is looking for volunteers to help with facilitating the food drive at all six locations as well as food donations. Please sign up to be a volunteer, tell a friend to volunteer and send us your contact details for more information here. For more information contact community members Jill Engwer and Lori Swanson, or visit the White Bear Lake Emergency Food Shelf website.
  • Medication Drop Boxes - Washington County residents now have additional options to dispose of their unused and expired medications in Stillwater, Cottage Grove and Forest Lake. Learn more here.
  • Save $100 Off Music Lessons - Save with music lessons at MacPhail Center for Music's locations at WBLAHS - North Campus or Birch Lake Elementary when you register by March 31. Mention WBL100-SPRING13. Valid for new students only. Call 612-321-0100 or go to macphail.org, flyer available by clicking here.

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 earn more about the award and how to submit nominations.
    • 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:

  • Otter Lake STEM Fair - Otter Lake is looking for parent "Coaches" to assist in the upcoming STEM Fair from 5 - 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. Coaches will visit 3-5 booths to discuss the project with the student presenters. Contact Lee McGrath to volunteer. No experience is required. All community members are invited to attend this free event.
  • Lincoln Art & Science Fair - Lincoln Elementary School will host the Carlson Art & Science Fair from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on January 29 in the Lincoln Gymnasium.
  • Matoska Science & Geography Fair - The Matoska International IB World School's Science & Geography Fair will take place from 6:30 - 8 p.m. on January 31 in the Matoska Gymnasium.
  • Otter Lake Concerts - Otter Lake Elementary will host its 4th & 5th Grade Concert at 7 p.m. on January 31. This event is free and open to the public.
  • 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 before February 1. For more music entertainment, check out the upcoming Concordia College Percussion Ensemble on February 16.

Awards and Honors

  • WBLAHS Students of the Month - Congratulations to the following students of the month:
    • Fine Arts Student of the Month: Kaitlin McCoshen (Speech)
    • Female Athlete of the Month: Allison Ternes (Nordic Ski)
    • Male Athlete of the Month: Chase Gorman (Boys Hockey)
  • Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards - Congratulations to the following Central Middle School students recognized for their creative works of art in the Minnesota Scholastic Art program:
    • Dayton Close - Gold Key
    • Austin Schochet - Gold Key
    • Maya Parsons - Honorable Mention
    • Anna Carroll - Honorable Mention
  • ENERGY STAR Top Performer - The White Bear Lake Area School District recently received the ENERGY STAR's "Top Performer" award for its commitment to environmental leadership as one of the nation's leading energy efficient school districts. Read more.
  • Perfect PSAT Score - Congratulations to WBLAHS junior, Karl Breustedt, for receiving a perfect score of 240 of the PSAT Exam. Read the full story here.
  • Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship - This scholarship is available to all WBLAS students in grades 6-12 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. Applications are reviewed on a running basis.

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

College Prep 101

At Sunrise Park Middle School, eighth grade students have begun to explore their many options for life after high school graduation. To give students a behind the scenes look at various professions, the school has implemented a Career Speaker Series featuring individuals in diverse occupations. In its fifth year, the program has included guests such as NHL goalie, Dwayne Roloson, and U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Jim VanOverbeke. A new speaker is featured every other week, and this winter's upcoming line-up includes: Tim McNiff from Kare 11 News, local guitarist and composer, Billy McLaughlin, and the honorable Anoka County Judge Doug Meslow.

Eighth grade students also had the opportunity to explore local post-secondary institutions this December. As part of the third annual College Week, students chose to visit the University of Wisconsin - Stout, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Century College or Anoka Technical College. The campus tours allowed students to get a close up look at the dorms, classrooms, professor offices and of course, the cafeteria.

Other College Week activities include a dress up day where students and staff proudly display a jersey or other apparel from their favorite college team. While in the building, college fights songs can also be heard echoing over the announcement system between classes. Whatever path students chose to pursue after graduation, Sunrise Park Middle School is working to ensure that their students are challenged and supported.

Literacy on the Move

Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary School are experiencing a creative, new approach to building their literacy skills: Movement. After receiving a grant through the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, members of the Children's Theatre Company's Early Bridges program were invited into the classroom. A professional teaching artist visited each kindergarten class and instantly grabbed students' attention with puppets and other fun surprises. The kindergartners were transformed from listeners to active storytellers, using interactive songs, chants and hands-on activities to develop their skills.

You may have read the story, The Mitten, by Jan Brett, but few will ever experience it in the same way as the Vadnais Heights kindergarten classes. After receiving a separate grant through Walmart, instructors from the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts were invited to promote creation, performance, education and celebration of movement as a form of storytelling. As the book was read, students got into character and acted out scenes from the book. "We did our own animal movements for fox, hedgehogs, owls, mice and bears... it was fun!" said kindergartner Sophia Volmann.

Vadnais Heights Elementary leverages its many partnerships to promote student development. Currently, second grade students are taking water safety lessons at the YMCA, fifth graders are participating in an upcoming Camp Voyageur retreat and all students joined in the yumPower Challenge to promote healthy eating on January 17.

Activities Updates

After winning the last four games, the Girls Basketball Team is currently tied for second in the Suburban East Conference with Park High School. Congratulations to the Boy's Basketball Team for winning its past two consecutive games. The Bear Wrestling Team won a recent duel at Mounds View High School by an impressive score of 50-12 on January 10. The Boys Swim & Dive Team secured its first win of the season against North St. Paul Polars on January 8.

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, January 28 Work-Study  5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
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