November 30, 2012

Student News

Out and about

For students in the White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus Special Education program, education is more than just a lesson learned in a classroom. Led by WBLAHS - South Campus teachers Gina Prescott, Lisa Phillips and Janet Charbonneau, classes take a fun and innovative approach to developing life skills.

Several times each month, students have the opportunity to reinforce the skills they learn in the classroom by putting them into practice through Community Based Instruction (CBI) activities. The fall lineup of events included exploring at Tamarack Nature Center, collecting 187 pounds of food for the District-wide food drive and taking a trip to the Pine Tree Apple Orchard. The orchard is always a favorite activity because students order a treat from the local cafe after practicing how to budget money in class. Students that are non-verbal can even use their communication devices or switches to place their orders! Most recently, the class worked together to make their own Thanksgiving feast complete with turkey sandwiches.

Another group favorite is the Technical Training II class where students use their creative skills to make fun projects and crafts. In December, the students will be checking off their holiday shopping lists as they purchase gifts for their family members. They are also looking forward to baking holiday cookies, practicing their hand at bowling and hitting the ski slopes at Afton Alps later this winter.


Cultural celebrations

With the holiday season just around the corner, students at Sunrise Park Middle School have been taking the time to learn about the important holidays of other cultures around the world.

At the end of November, students participated in a Hmong New Year Celebration featuring exciting musical and dance performances by students. The performers wore traditional Hmong garments alive with vibrant colors, complex patterns, and colorful beads. Following the entertainment, students worked up an appetite as they worked together to make spring rolls in honor of the holiday. Hmong individuals traditionally held a New Years festival following the rice harvest, usually in November or December, in Laos. The tradition of celebration remains strong today.

Students also celebrated Martinstag, a traditional German holiday that marks not only the end of the harvest season, but the beginning of the fifth, or carnival season. Children build elaborate Laterne and walk in parades singing songs for treats. As a part of an International Baccalaureate (IB) unit, Sunrise students also made bear lanterns decorated to represent each student, learned traditional 'laternelieder' and walked in a parade singing for the teachers in the school.



A 'Movember' challenge

Movember - a clever combination of moustache and November, is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of facial hair to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancer and associated charities. At Hugo Elementary School, however, first grade teacher Steve Bates and Associate Principal Jason Healy helped redefine this word to mean something more for their students.

Over the last few weeks of November, these two men asked their students a simple question: Who has the better moustache? In order to vote, students had to bring in non-perishable food items and assign them to the teacher with the best 'stache. Bates thought of the idea after seeing an Movember report on television. Rather than  donate to a distant charity, he wanted students to see the results of their service project within the local community. The final tally was 289 pounds to 274 pounds in favor of Healy. The 563 pounds of food and a $100 anonymous gift will be donated to the Hugo Food Shelf.


Connecting across the globe

After hosting a Russian visitor last year, Central Middle School Principal, Dr. Noel Schmidt, decided to team up with FACS teacher, Paula Rittenhouse, to create a cooperative project between students from the White Bear Lake Area and Russia. Students from Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools, along with students from Russia, created quilt-like friendship squares for a recent class project.

Each square was made by a student, or pair of students, featuring something important to life in our community or the state of Minnesota. Common themes included gymnastics, water sports, winter sports, the Minnesota Gophers, seasons of the year, favorite movies and books and, of course, white bears. In a few weeks, the two classes will exchange quilt squares, and our students will work to assemble the Russian squares into one large quilt which will be hung in Central Middle School later this year.

Student learning did not stop with the quilt project, but culminated in a Skype video chat between classes from Central Middle School and Russia. Each group took turns showing off their favorite quilt squares and discussing why they were chosen. They discovered many differences between the two cultures, but finally found something they all had in a common - an obsession with hit teenage singer Justin Bieber!


Activities Updates

The WBLAHS Bowling Team, consisting of students Joey Hering, Amy McGraw, Greg Moorhouse, Ben Knutson and Lexi Slater, will be competing for the State Championship on December 1. Congratulations to the Girl's Tennis Team on an outstanding season. Lauren Welch finished her prep career as the all-time school leader in wins, with a sparkling 96-54 won-loss record. Welch and Emily Dalhoff (a 15-10 record) earned Suburban East All Conference honors, with senior Madison Crow (14-11) and freshman Kate Blanding (15-8) cited as Honorable Mention All Conference.


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 News

School Board Meetings

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, December 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, January 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
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

District News

  • Example Followed
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors

Student News

  • Out and about
  • Cultural celebrations
  • A 'Movember' challenge
  • Connecting across the globe
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings


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