March 1, 2013

Book Worms

At the end of " I Love to Read Month," schools across the district took time to celebrate their reading accomplishments. Lincoln Elementary students had something to "get wild about" after achieving their reading objective. Although they set a goal of reaching 130,000 minutes in February, the students far surpassed this number by reading 177,283 minutes (nearly 124 days)! As a reward for their hard work, the top three student readers from each grade led Principal Dan Schmidt on a messy jungle safari in the school gym. Students used spaghetti (snakes), chocolate pudding (mud), water (rain), cereal and gummy worms (bugs), silly string (vines) and whipped cream (bird droppings) to give him a jungle makeover.

Motived by a unique "Minutes for the Mustache" challenge, Lakeiares Elementary students were relentless in pursing their goal. If all students increased their weekly independent reading minutes by at least 50%, Principal Cary Krusemark volunteered to shave his winter beard. Despite Mr. Krusemark's efforts to avoid losing his moustache, Lakeaires students rose to the challenge, meaning Mr. Krusemark is now sporting a new look in preparation for spring.

Principal John Leininger from Matoska International also got engaged in the celebratory events by turning himself into a platter paint canvas after students reached their read-a-thon goal. From kindergarten students to teachers and even special guest readers, February brought out the book worms at White Bear Lake Area Schools!


National Cheer Champions

Members of the White Bear Lake Area High School Cheerleading Team have done it again!  For the second consecutive year, the team has won the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) High School Open National Championship.

At the end of February, the 30-member squad traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete against 20 other top teams from around the nation. The competition consisted of a "time-out" style cheer and a performance of the WBLAHS song. Competition was fierce, but the team was satisfied when their hard work and dedication resulted in a national championship. Cheerleading Head Coach, Heather Leaf, said that her team was very humble. "They know the importance of sportsmanship and congratulated the other teams on a job well done."

This latest accomplishment adds to an already impressive season.  The team has achieved eight other top three finishes, including third place at the state competition and first place at the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association State Cheer-Off for the third consecutive year.


Skill Building

For students in the Birch Lake Elementary School Special Education program, learning in a classroom is beneficial, but true progress comes from engaging in the local community. Last month, five students in the Community Based Instruction (CBI) program made visits to both a local retail store and restaurant to put their skills to the test. At Target, students were in charge of their own cart, locating items from a shopping list of hygiene products.

Later in the month, students set to work preparing for a lunch outing where they were responsible for ordering their own meals and paying in the correct amount. Students placed their orders using assistive technologies provided by the school district, including augmentative communication devices - such as an iPad and Dynavox - as well as picture symbols. Students demonstrated good manners continue to build upon their independent skills.

Students involved in the CBI program develop their living skills by engaging in test run scenarios in a classroom, then applying what they have learned to real life situations. The students have already begun to prepare for their next activities: grocery shopping at Cub Foods and swimming at the Maplewood Community Center.

Learning on Ice

Although winter conditions might not be considered ideal by everyone, for one White Bear Lake Area High School class, the cold has presented a unique opportunity to take learning outdoors.  Realizing that few students in her outdoor education class had ventured onto our community lakes in the winter, physical education teacher Michelle Shelp decided it was time for a change.  Juniors and seniors in the elective class at WBLAHS strapped on their winter gear and headed out onto White Bear Lake to experience the sport of ice fishing. 

With a focus on promoting life-long recreation, the outdoor education class introduces students to the wealth activities that exist in nature. The class blends indoor sessions with outdoor experiential learning to put each lesson into practice.  As a part of their ice fishing activity, students also learned about ice safety, preparing for cold weather elements and basic fishing etiquette. The class also made their own jiggle stick fish polls and ice claws for safety on the lake.

Students were joined by three retired teachers and White Bear Lake area ice fishing experts, Jed Knuttila, Fred Dressler and Bruce Goldhammer.  Although no trophy fish were caught, the students enjoyed their time on the ice and are looking forward to a fly fishing excursion this spring.

Activities Updates Band

WBLAHS - South Campus Band students received 64 Superior ratings, 17 Excellent ratings and 3 'Best at Sites' awards at the Solo/Ensemble Contest on February 23. North campus students received 23 Superior ratings and 23 Excellent ratings. Congratulations! The Boys Basketball Team came out on top in recent games against Hastings, Cretin-Durham Hall and Park High Schools. The team takes on Forest Lake on Friday, March 1 in their last regular game of the season. Members of the Bears' Girls Basketball Team won recent regular season victories against Hastings, Cretin-Derham Hall and Park. After defeating Stillwater in the first round of Section 4AAA playoffs, the team will advance to face Woodbury on March 2. The Boys Hockey Team defeated North St. Paul in Quarterfinals and Roseville in Semifinals to advance to the Section 4AA Championship Game. Best of luck to the team as they face off against Hill-Murray on March 1! Congratulations to six members of the Wrestling Team advancing to the state tournament on March 1: Andy Andress, Grant Bolduan, Elijah Muedeking, Tommy Longendyke, Tyler Hubman  and Jeremy Seed.

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, March 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, March 18 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, April 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, April 22 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201