May 31, 2013

District News

Passing the baton

In the final weeks of the senior year, one event still holds vivid memories and unmistakable passion. The topic of these animated conversations in the hallways? Fifth grade field day. And especially, which elementary school had the fastest relay team!

This spring, fifth grade field days - one day for the four northern elementary schools and another for the south - were held on consecutive beautiful spring days the third week of May. (Perhaps these were the only consecutive days without rain or snow, but that is in the lore of the class of 2020 to recall when they are seniors.)

This year's seniors were present this year, too, as volunteers helping to rake the long jump pit, set up hurdles, pass out ribbons, and especially to cheer on the athletes.

As the sun moves overhead, clusters of boys and girls form into their relay teams for the final event - the relays! With Olympic anticipation, each team prepares.

During this week's dinner honoring our retiring colleagues, I likened our careers to a relay race - a very long one to be sure. As the retirees prepare to hand the baton to the next generation, each continues to run with passion and determination until that moment when a teammate begins the next leg of the journey.

There is another comparison, too, one to remember and honor. At the beginning of a race and a career, we are the center of attention, with cheering and encouragement all around us. And at the end of the race or career, crowds again gather to cheer and congratulate.

In a race once the baton is received we run away from the crowd and rely on our training, determination, and commitment to complete our turn. The crowd is distant, the cheering dim.

In our careers, our greatest contributions are made away from the crowd - in a classroom, an office, or working one-on-one to encourage a child.

As a group, this year's retirees have given more than 1100 year of service to our schools and community. During these final weeks and days with us, join those gathered at the finish line to congratulate and honor them for a race well run, and to thank them the difference they have made in the lives of our community.

Find additional photos at the District's Facebook photo album here.

Find a Retiree Tribute Video here.

Dr. Michael Lovett


Did You Know?


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 Spring/Summer 2013 Catalog is now available online. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • Summer Extended Day Program - The District will offer a summer Extended Day Program from June 10 through August 16. This childcare program, for children entering kindergarten through those entering 6th grade, offers a variety of activities including camps, service projects and weekly field trips. Program locations are Willow Lane, Otter Lake and Oneka Elementary Schools. Click here for more information and registration materials.
  • Tech Talk - Find the latest Assistive Technology Newsletter here.
  • Otter Lake All-Star Birthday Bash - Mark your calendars! Otter Lake Elementary will host an All-Star Birthday Bash from 5-8 p.m. on September 26 to celebrate the 25th birthday of the school. All current and former students, parents, teachers and staff are invited to attend.

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 - It's not too late for spring activities 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.

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.
    • The Closet - It's not too late to drop off clothing donations at The Closet. Donations will be accepted through the end of the school year.
    • Manitou Days Grande Parade - All community members and families are invited to join the WBLAEF for one of the community's key summertime events on June 14. Individuals will help greet parade goers and distribute hand-outs along the route. For more information, contact Nancy Roth by email or at 651-429-8399 by June 12.
    • WBLAEF Golf Tournament - Wells Fargo-The Private Bank and National Insurance Services present the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's 14th Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, June 24, at Dellwood Country Club. Golfer slots and sponsorships are available. Please call Lisa Lindvall at 651-407-7696 or visit for more information 
    • Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant - In 2004 the Ryan family established an endowment in honor of Judy Ryan to help provide art instruction in the White Bear Lake Area Elementary Schools. This May, Jessica Hosmer, teacher at Otter Lake Elementary School, received a grant that will provide her 2013-14 kindergarten class the opportunity to work with a program called Early Bridges - a unique literacy program that uses storytelling and creative drama to help young children transform into storytellers of their own lives. Applications for 2013-14 are due by October 10.
    • Grants - A reminder to teachers that applications for the Brosious Teaching Grant, Glasrud Family Fellowship Grant, and Ryan Elementary Art grants are available online throughout the summer and academic years We hope that you take a look at these grant opportunities this summer and keep them in mind as you plan your next school year!
    • 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 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. As the school year is rapidly coming to an end, find the latest update here to see how much WBLAS saved this fall and winter.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • SPED Advisory Council - We are looking for new volunteers to be a part of the Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council is to act as an advisory body to the district on behalf of students receiving special education services. The committee will work towards the district mission of providing a high-quality educational experience for all learners as it applies to students with special needs and their families. Please contact Cindi Rulli in the Special Services for more information or to volunteer.
  • Summer Workers - Are you an employer looking to hire summer workers? Consider a hard-working WBLAHS student. Send your job postings to and we will post your position on the WBLAHS job board.
  • International Exchange Students - The White Bear Lake Rotary Club will be hosting an international student from Matubara-shi, Japan for the 2013-14 school year. The visiting student will be working to master his use of English while in our school and community. He enjoys playing basketball in is a beginning guitar player. The Rotary Club prefers to place traveling students in with host families for approximately 3 months. If you believe your family would be a good fit to host our Japanese exchange student please call Had Solberg at 651-653-9983. In addition to the Rotary Club, other exchange organizations will place students in our high school. It is our hope to invite 6 to 8 international students each year. It is a wonderful experience to host an exchange student. Exchange students are typically between 15-17 years of age. It is not necessary to have a high school student in your family in order to host a high school exchange student. If you're interested in hosting, please contact Tim Wald at 651-773-6205.

Awards and Honors

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

What's on the menu? Breakfast, lunch and service!

In addition to recent days spent studying for finals, signing yearbooks, and practicing walking in their caps and gowns, the Class of 2013 recently enjoyed a time-honored tradition of Senior Day. The students gathered last Friday for a Senior Breakfast, enjoying time together and a great message from motivational speaker Mark Scharenbroich of "Nice Bike" fame. Find fun photos of the students at the District's Facebook page.

Next week, seniors will be sitting for finals on Monday and Tuesday, their last day of school. On Wednesday, their first official day as a student who has completed high school, 225 seniors will gather at the WBLAHS - South Campus Stadium for a Senior Service Day. The initiative was chosen as a way to give back to the community that has given so much to the senior class.

The benevolent students will choose between seven projects happening that day:

  • Cleaning around Lake Varney
  • Beautifying the grounds at WBLAHS - South Campus
  • Beautifying the grounds at WBLAHS - North Campus
  • Cleaning up Ebba Park
  • Visiting with senior citizens at Cerenity Care Center and Normandy Park
  • Doing yard work for neighbors of our high school.
  • Assembling 1000 sandwiches for 363 Days Organization - to be distributed to homeless in the Twin Cities

After they're finished with the service projects, the students will reconvene at South Campus to enjoy a lunch, with a variety of treats available from a food truck and an ice truck. It is sure to be a memorable "last lunch at South" for the students.

Crunch time

Third grade students in Merrily Wolters class at Lakeaires Elementary had a surprise visitor in their classroom earlier this week. Crunch - the Timberwolves mascot - made the special trip to congratulate the classroom as Delta Dental/Timberwolves Slam Dunk Challenge winners. 

The students were excited to see the sports mascot up close, to receive autographed postcards and posters, and to receive dental health supplies to keep their smiles bright. One student exclaimed multiple times "This is the best day of my life!" during Crunch's visit.

The students won the contest earlier this spring after keeping track of their weekly brushing and flossing habits and submitting drawings of themselves, Crunch or the Tooth Fairy brushing their teeth.

See photo of the visit at the District's Facebook page photo album


A theatrical reunion 

Coming this summer, White Bear Lake Area Schools theatre alumni are teaming up for a performance of: "White Bear Lake Musical Theatre Alum Show: Past, Present and Future" at 7 p.m. on June 15 at the Community Auditorium. Click here to get your tickets and take a look at this promotional video made by current student Alex Ullmann.

Who will you see on stage at the show? Alumni from the past fifteen years' worth of shows will participate, representing the cast of Grease, Hello Dolly!, 42nd Street, Aida, Guys and Dolls, Little Shop of Horrors, Anything Goes, West Side Story, How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Urinetown, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast and Oklahoma. The event will raise funds for the WBLAHS theatre department. 


The long-standing tradition of great White Bear Theatre continues to strengthen as the department continues to rack up accolades. Recently, this year's fall musical received additional accolades from the prestigious Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Musical Theatre Program.

Both Emily Nies and Sam Adamsson recently learned they made it to the final cut of the top 12 for the Triple Threat Award, the winners of which will be announced at the Spotlight Showcase on June 2nd. Additionally, the following additional Spotlight honors were added to the school's musical accolades list for the 2012-13 year:

  • Community Engagement Award - full production of Anything Goes
  • Technical Achievement Awards:
  • Chase Ator, Sound
  • Courtney Westveer, Hair/Makeup/Backstage Crew

Find additional information and a full listing of Spotlight Awards for Anything Goes here.

Counting the stars

Students at each of the three White Bear Lake Area Schools Early Childhood Program locations - Hugo Elementary, Tamarack Nature Center and Normandy Park Education Center - are officially receiving a top-rated experience. The programs recently received a 4 star rating from Parent Aware, an initiative led by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in coordination with the Minnesota Office of Early Learning.

To be considered for the rating, the District went through an application process to prove the program implements particular assessment and curricular items deemed to be of high quality. Training and credentials of staff also were evaluated during the application process. 

Only five other programs in our area are 4-star rated from Parent Aware. 

Early Childhood registrations are currently being accepted for the 2013-14 academic year. Find additional information here.

It's a bird... it's a plane... it's a weather balloon!

If you looked to the skies last Friday, you might have seen an unusual site floating above the White Bear Lake area. Meteorology students from the White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus once again teamed up with the University of Minnesota and St. Catherine University to launch a high altitude weather balloon. You may remember reading about a similar launch featured in the December 14 issue of the Community e-Newsletter.

The 5-foot wide balloon, also equipped with a camera, carried several meteorology and physics experiments to an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet before descending back to Earth. "This time couldn't have gone better," said WBLAHS teacher Peter Pitman. "It was a beautiful day with clear skies and the balloon landed within two miles of the predicted target near Ellsworth, WI. Students were able to track the course of the balloon in real-time from WBLAHS - South Camps and record valuable temperature, wind and pressure measurements."

Growing the community 

The second annual "Fill the Heart" event was a great show of support for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This year, 88 individuals wearing "End the R-word" shirts attended the event, including Special Olympics athletes, parents, teachers, students and community members. 

"Everyone was there to accomplish one thing - gaining respect and inclusion in our community for everyone," said one parent. "I feel like we got one step closer to that." When asked if they will continue to host the event in the future, volunteers gave a loud and clear answer: "We will continue each year until we are finally able to fill the heart."

This is just one activity through which students have shown support. Additional efforts throughout the academic year have included banner signings at Central Middle School and WBLAHS - North Campus and "R-word" t-shirt sales. Next fall, the group will perform an "It's My School Too" skit at the Middle Level Education (AMLE) conference.

Hugo Elementary School also sought ways to grow our community this month by joining forces with neighbor New Life Church for a very special community service project. Mrs. Hickman's kindergarten class and Mr. Bates's first grade students worked together to plant a garden that will be maintained throughout the summer. All food grown in the garden will be donated to the local food shelf after it is harvested. 

Students were able to incorporate science standards, fulfill the core values of compassion & service and reinforce the strong partnerships that White Bear Lake Area Schools has within our community. Click here to view a slideshow of the activity and see the students planting the seeds and plants.

Activities Updates

Members of the Boys Golf Team who have qualified for the state meet include: Mason Fiddle, Pat Ohman, Sam Peterson, Matt Pitcher, Mike Pitcher and Alex Schaber. The team also won the Section 4AAA Championship. Congratulations to Boys Lacrosse Team on an outstanding regular season which led to an SEC Championship. Player Nick Timmons has been selected as a finalist for the 2013 Minnesota Minute Men Mr. Lacrosse Award. The top winner will be announced on June 9. The Girls Track & Field Team took home 2nd place overall at the Section 4AA finals earlier this week with an incredible finish to the season. State meet qualifiers include: Kiersten Johnson (Long Jump), Bethany Kozak (1600m, 3200m), Shayla Munson (Shot Put) and Anna Ojczyk (Discuss). Coach Richard "Sam" Samuelson was also named Section Coach of the Year. For the 2013 season, All-Conference Athletes include: Katie Hawkinson, Tarah Hobbs, Bethany Kozak, Tess Netterstad, Anna Ocjzyk, Allison Ternes and Katie Zoborowski. State qualifiers from the Boys Track & Field Team include: Quintin Abel (Discus), Evan Blomquist (Long Jump), Connor Koll (300m Hurdles), Noah Lee (Shot Put), Wyatt Lemon (110m High Hurdles, 300m Hurdles), Trevor Simanski (Long Jump) and Bernard Vinson (Triple Jump). Coach Dan Destache was also named Section Assistant Coach of the Year. For the 2013 season, All-Conference Athletes include: Quintin Abel, Evan Blomquist, Neal Burke, Benny Jones, Connor Koll, Noah Lee, Wyatt Lemon, Trevor Simanski and Bernard Vinson. Congratulations to the following WBLAHS Students of the Month for their outstanding performances: Female Athlete of the Month: Carrie Tuttle - Girls Lacrosse, Male Athlete of the Month: Adam Montividas - Baseball, Fine Arts Students of the Month: Seaver Holter & Jon Woodruff - Theater

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.

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, June 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, July 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, August 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112