November 2, 2012

District News

Twenty years back, twenty years forward

My last appointment of the afternoon was with a White Bear Lake Area High School graduate, now a college student in her junior year, preparing to become a teacher. In her email the week before she explained she needed to interview a school leader and asked me if I could please "spare half an hour."

In the interview she asked, "How is technology changing the way students learn today?"

We reflected on the dramatic changes since she entered kindergarten. She remembered her family's first computer - or rather the computer box, because she was at an age when the box promised more creative possibilities than did the computer. Then she recalled her first time emailing, attempting an internet search, using a cell phone, connecting with social networking, and texting.

As this college student enters her third decade of life, we can personalize learning in ways never before possible.

We now realize students thrive if we give them the tools to learn in ways that work best for them, rather than limiting our pedagogy to strategies familiar to adults.

Examples of personalizing learning include a wide range of online products that personalize the pace, content, and assessment of learning.

Secondly, technology allows innovations that engage students and accelerate learning. For example, our elementary students participate in live video presentations and conversations including one with a national renowned space agency scientist.

Another example is "flipping" - giving students the lesson to watch online prior to class period. Class time is used to problem-solve and coach students on what didn't make sense when they viewed the lesson. This process "flips" the traditional roles of classwork and homework. The "homework" of viewing the lesson is done in advance and "class work" becomes the questioning and refinement of the learning.

Third, we give students access to learning to fit their schedules rather than the school schedule.

Just as online learning has garnered a major share of professional training and become a major component of higher education, so online learning dramatically expands when and how students have access to materials. Increasingly, class content, schedules, resources, and assessments are available online.

The White Bear Lake Area School District is a national pioneer in using Schoology, a powerful online learning system that allows students, staff, and parents to stay current on each day's class content, progress, and discussions.

This technology tool and others allow students to connect outside of class as well as in class, so the end of the class period does not mean the end of learning.

Fourth, technology has the power to bridge generations, countries and cultures.

Technology tools and evolving websites give students access to classrooms, workplaces, and people around the world. This month German students from Leipzig will spend three weeks visiting our school and communities; between now and June, when White Bear students travel to Germany, technology will allow friendships to continue to grow. 

Other current examples include a friendship quilt project between students in our middle schools and students in Krasnoyarsk, Russia and class-to-class projects between our high school and the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School in China.

And finally, technology gives us marvelous tools of communication and building local community.

As technology creates a revolution in teaching and learning, we have compelling new tools to stay in contact with our students, staff, parents, and you - our community members. Please visit us at!

As we finished our conversation, the college student and I wondered, "How will technology affect the way students learn 20 years from now?"

Dr. Michael Lovett

General Information



Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement

The District 624 School Board approved the 2011-12 Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement. This report, in accordance with Minnesota Department of Education guidelines, has been published electronically on the district website. Community members can download the report here or contact the Superintendent's Office at (651) 407-7563 for a copy.

The District will publish its Annual Report to the Community, which will contain a more comprehensive look at the District, later this fall. This report, which will include a variety of student achievement data, financial reporting, and other important information, will be mailed to all District residents and posted online. 

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.

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.

Parent Notices:

  • Special Education Parent Advisory Council - Parent Participation is essential in establishing and evaluating programs, services and policies affecting students with disabilities. If you are interested in learning more about joining the Special Education Parent Advisory Council, please contact Kathleen Daniels, Director of Special Services at 651-407-7553.
  • Transition Resource Fair - The fair will feature a variety of resources for students 14 and older with Developmental Cognitive Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or mental health challenges on the evening of Thursday, November 8. View a brochure here.
  • Community Baby Shower - You and your baby are invited to join other parents of new babies - newborn to six months old, for a Community Baby Shower from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Monday, November 12 at the Normandy Park Education Center. Find more information here.
  • ADD/ADHD Support Group - The District 622 ADD/ADHD Support Group will hold its first meeting of the school year on Monday, November 14 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m at the District Education Center in St. Paul. Find more information here
  • Early Childhood Screening - Early childhood developmental screening helps a school district identify children who may benefit from district and community resources available to aid in their development.  The service is offered by White Bear Lake Area Schools throughout the year at no cost to children over the age of three. Upcoming Early Childhood Screening dates include: November 16, 19, 26; December 3, 14. Call 651-653-3154 to register or sign-up online.
  • 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 here
  • Tech Talk - Find the latest Assistive Technology Newsletter here.
  • Free Flu Shots - Find information about free flu shots available in the Twin Cities area here.
  • Free and Reduced Meals - Families meeting federal household income guidelines may qualify for free or reduced priced meals. That means your child or children will be able to receive either free breakfast and lunch or reduced lunch and free breakfast by simply filling out the application. To request an application, please call 651-407-7523 or stop by your student's school to pick one up. You may also apply online. Please contact the District's Nutrition Services Support Manager Debra Kelley at 651-407-7523 if you have any questions.
  • FREE Smoke Detectors 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. 
  • Ice Bears Youth Wrestling Club - Find youth wrestling camp and regular season registration information 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
    • 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. 
    • Reunions - The WBLAEF sponsors the White Bear Lake Area Alumni Association. Find information about the Alumni Association, including scheduled reunions, here
    • Holiday Angels - Kicking off this month, the Holiday Angels program gives our community an opportunity to share with those in need right in our own school district while honoring a school district staff person during the holiday season. View the flyer for more information.
    • New Board Members - Congratulations to the newly elected board members: Retired teacher, Mary Dahle, and Alum, Chris Hiniker. 
  • 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 November update here to learn about the benefits of natural lighting in the classroom .


Support WBLAS Students

  • Choir Day Festival Public Concert Opportunity - The Mariners Choir is one of four choirs from around that state that has been chosen to perform a solo set in the annual Choir Day Festival public concert, to be hosted at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Sunday, November 4. The public concert, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4 p.m. in the Skoglund Center Auditorium on the Campus of St. Olaf College.
  • WBLAHS Fall Musical- Tickets for the White Bear Lake Area High School fall musical, Anything Goes with music by Cole Porter, are currently on sale at The Nest in downtown White Bear Lake. Show times are 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 & 10, 15-17 and 2 p.m. on November 10. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students/seniors. The Nov. 10 matinee is free to White Bear Lake Area senior citizens (tickets are free but required to accommodate reserved seating). For additional information, contact the Theater Hotline at 651-653-2987. 
  • The Closet Clothing Drive - Help keep students warm this winter by donating your new or gently used winter clothing to the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's (WHLAEF) Closet.  A clothes drive will be held on Saturday, November 10 from 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., and more information can be found here
  • AFS Celebrates International Education Week - International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus is hosting a presentation by AFS Exchange Students from Germany, Brazil, and Italy. These students will talk about life in their home countries and what it has been like living with a host family in the US and attending White Bear Lake High School. This is a great opportunity to learn more about life in another country, get information about hosting exchange students, and learn more about opportunities to study abroad. Join us at 6:30 p.m. on November 15th in room WBLAHS - South Campus 302.
  • 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. 
  • Excellence Event 2013 - Please consider a year-end financial contribution to support Excellence Event 2013!  The Excellence Event is a yearly celebration held each May recognizing the academic achievements of the top graduating seniors at White Bear Lake Area High School and the Area Learning Center, and the educators selected by each of the honored students.  Both students and educators selected for recognition at this event say that it is one of the most meaningful events of the year!  Funding for the Excellence Event is provided solely by charitable donations and not District funds.  To make a donation and support this year's Excellence Event, please send a check made payable to "White Bear Lake Area Schools" with "Excellence Event" in the memo line to Jody Reber at the District Center.  Thanks in advance for your support!  Janet Newberg and Tim Wald, Co-Chairs, Excellence Event 2013. 

Partner Opportunities

  • MacPhail Center for Music Discount - Save $100 off music lessons at MacPhail Center for Music's locations at White Bear Lake Area High School North Campus or Birch Lake Elementary when you register by November 1. Mention WBL100-FALL13. Valid for new students only. Call 612-321-0100 or go to Flyer available by clicking here.

Awards and Honors

  • Teacher of the Week - Vadnais Heights Elementary teacher Erin Burke was honored today by KS95 as their Teacher of the Week. KS95 morning personalities presented Burke with a plaque, token gifts for her students and a plaque for the school. As a result of being selected, both she and Vadnais Heights Elementary are in a drawing for a cash prize. 
  • Mary Dahle Leadership Scholarship - To preserve the legacy of Mary Dahle and help cultivate future community leaders, White Bear Lake Area Schools alumni have founded The Mary Dahle Leadership Scholarship. Please click here and consider making a financial contribution to this new scholarship!

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

Student News


Attention-getting teams

Two of the White Bear Lake Area High School teams have been in the news quite a bit lately. The WBLAHS girls' soccer team played yesterday in the state championship game vs. Wayzata High School at the Metrodome. A bus full of fans, wearing orange and black of course, made the trek to Minneapolis to cheer on for Bears. The team earned the state runner-up title. Three Bears players - Tarah Hobbs, Rachel DeGardner, and Anna Morrison - were named members of the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team.

The cheering continued after the game, with a Welcome Home Celebration hosted at the WBLAHS - South Campus Theatre. Find photo albums of the girls participation in the tournament at the WBLAHS' Facebook Page.

Last week, the football team received similar attention when they were chosen to be highlighted in the WCCO Game of the Week. The recognition wasn't reserved just for the players, however. The cheerleaders and band members were on-hand bright and early on Friday and were highlighted on the news show's live morning coverage. Enjoy videos of the cheerleaders and band members.

A spirited week


White Bear Lake Area District students enjoyed "spirited" times this week.  Students participated in activities ranging from costume parades, festive cultural lessons, an innovative new process of artistic sculpting and finding ways to give back to the community. Find photos from a variety of schools at the Halloween album on the District's Facebook page

Elementary students took advantage of the Halloween tradition of dressing up on Wednesday, resulting in their hallways being filled with robots, angels, popular cartoon characters and cowgirls - to name just a few of the costumes that were on display that day. Parents and family members enjoyed the chance to come into the school, lining the parade route and cheering on the students as they filed past.

Wednesday and throughout the rest of the week, Sunrise Park Middle School, Latino and English Learner program students offered information about and set up altars to celebrate Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead), a holiday widely celebrated in Latin America. The student's displays have consisted of artifacts, framed informational tidbits, and family photos. Traditionally, the holiday is focused on the reunion of family and friends to remember and honor those that have passed on. Sunrise students created commemorative altars with colorful decorations, which they shared with their classrooms during special presentations.

At White Bear Lake Area High School - North Campus, students in the sculpture class were in the Halloween spirit for they sculpted pumpkins rather than clay. The White Bear Lake Area High School Student Council also got in the Halloween spirit by coordinating its annual "Trick or Can" food drive. The student leaders encouraged students to dress in costume and go door to door to ask for non-perishable food items (to be donated to the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf) instead of candy. The group's goal was 16,000 pounds of food. 

Living history lessons

Three of our senior community members spent time last week with the White Bear Lake Area High School "Anything Goes" theatre production cast members. The senior guests provided information about the script's references to people, places and things of yesteryear to help the students prepare for their roles in the WBLAHS fall musical. This is the second year the White Bear Area Senior Program and the WBLAHS Theatre Department have come together for an innovative "living history" lesson of this sort.


Discussion items ranged from the students costume-related inquiries such as "What color of lipstick did women generally wear during that time?" (the answer was unquestionably "red") to the seniors sharing their memories of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Additionally, a special treat for the seniors and the cast members alike was a preview of one of the productions songs by the two musical leads - Emily Nies as Reno Sweeney and Jon Woodruff as Billy Crocker.


Tickets for the White Bear Lake Area High School fall musical, with music by Cole Porter, are currently on sale at The Nest in downtown White Bear Lake. Show times are 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 & 10, 15-17 and 2 p.m. on November 10. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students/seniors. The Nov. 10 matinee is free to White Bear Lake Area senior citizens (tickets are free but required to accommodate reserved seating). For additional information, contact the Theater Hotline at 651-653-2987. Find a poster for the production here.


View from the top

Hugo and Oneka Elementary Schools' Principal Terry Dahlem had a unique perspective this week when she fulfilled an obligation to work from the top of the Oneka roof after losing a contest to Assistant Principal Jason Healy at the Oneka Carnival last weekend. She did her time in the "room with a view" while wearing Minnesota Vikings garb - an outfit of Mr. Healy's choice that was also part of the deal the two had agreed upon before the big match.

The contest was a sumo wrestling match, an activity in which multiple staff members participated.  The money raised during the energetic and entertaining activity will be used to fund technology for the district's northern-most schools. More than $2000 was raised to get the two school leaders out onto the mat for the event. Other activities available to the more than 500 families who participated in the weekend carnival event included Ping Pong Pumpkin, fortune telling, pony carriage rides and haunted houses.

Students who live in the northern Hugo/Oneka part of the school district attend Hugo Elementary for kindergarten and first grade. Oneka Elementary serves students in grades 2-5.

Activities Updates

The Girls' Soccer team placed second in the state tournament this week. The White Bear Lake Mountain Bike Team completed their first season at the State Championships in Buck Hill last month. With more than 160 participating athletes from 16 Minnesota schools, Kaleb Dekeyrel, Dane Larson and Reanne Kolasa finished fifth, tenth and third in their races, respectively. White Bear's Boys' Cross Country team placed second at the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad's golf course meanwhile the Girls' Cross Country team placed third. Leading the boys pack was Jared Bartz who placed 6th out of 105 runners and Bethany Kozak with a time of 14:26. Both cross country teams qualifies and will compete at the November 3rd state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The White Bear Girls Swimming team are preparing for the November 3rd JV conference event at Stillwater Junior High and Cottage Grove as well as the Section 4AA meet on November 8-10. The WBLAHS Mariners Choir is one of four choirs from around that state that has been chosen to perform a solo set in the annual Choir Day Festival public concert, to be hosted at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Sunday, November 4. The public concert, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4 p.m. in the Skoglund Center Auditorium on the Campus of St. Olaf College.



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

School Board News

School Board Meetings

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, November 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, November 26 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, December 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, January 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112

District News

  • Twenty years back, twenty years forward
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors

Student News

  • Attention-getting teams
  • A spirited week
  • Living history lessons
  • View from the top
  • Activities updates 

School Board News

  • School Board meetings


There are no events to display


No post to display.