November 30, 2012

District News

Example Followed

"How many of you ate dinner yesterday?"

An audience of community members dutifully raised hands.

"How many of you had breakfast this morning?"

Hands rose again, this time with nervous laughter. Members of the service club looked up from their plates of fresh fruit, eggs and sausage, and sticky, still warm, caramel rolls, to the six neatly dressed high school students in front of the room.

"Do you know that every day 18,000 children die of hunger or hunger-related illness?"

"In our civics class," the ninth graders explain, "we considered laws to propose in our model legislature." Then with good-natured humor, the three boys and three girls described their first silly proposals - all vetoed by their teacher.

Why not consider proposing a law that would really make a difference in the world? So they did. Some of the students had packed food through a non-profit. The goal? Feed families around the world desperate for basic meals.

These six students researched; proposed a "bill for a law"; convinced their classmates to pass the bill; and had their teacher (president) sign the bill into law. Next, they made the case to the Principal (Supreme Court) who officially approved their plan.

So, why were these students at local service club giving a polished, convincing, presentation? 

On December 20, the non-profit will be set up in the gymnasium. Students, staff, extended family, and community members will come together and work side by side to make a difference in the world.

We are all invited. Whether you attend this event or practice service to others in a different way, remember that the next generation is learning from your example.

Dr. Michael Lovett


General Information



Annual Report to the Community

The White Bear Lake Area Schools Annual Report to the Community is now 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 will be 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

Parent Notices:

  • YMCA Memberships - Signup by Friday, November 30 for special 'Black Friday' discounts. 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 December 7 and 14. Call 651-653-3154 to register or  sign-up online.
  • ADHD Support Group - The District 622 ADD/ADHD Support Group will hold its next meeting from 6.30 - 8:30 p.m. on Monday, December 10 at the District Education Center in St. Paul. with special guest Chris Bedford, Ph.D., from the Clinic for Attention, Learning, and Memory. All District 624 families are welcome to attend.  Click here for more information.
  • 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.
  • Navigating Autism with MSP - The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is piloting a new program to help ease the stress of flying for students with autism. View the flyer to learn more about the program.

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 - 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.
  • 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 December update here to learn how to lower your heating costs this winter. The Quarter 8 and Year 2 reports are also available online.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Support the Band - You can help the White Bear Lake Area Bands fundraise with only a few clicks on Facebook. Visit the District's Facebook Page and follow the instructions in our recent story. The competition ends at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 30.
  • Feed My Starving Children MobilePack - On December 20, White Bear Lake High School - North Campus will rally together to help solve world hunger in a very real way, by partnering with Feed My Starving Children to pack 100,000 meals throughout the school day. These meals will be sent worldwide to those in need. Each meal costs 22 cents to produce, and in order to reach their meal-packing goal, students are seeking to raise $22,000. All monetary donations go directly to the meals and their production. Donate cash or checks (made out to Feed My Starving Children-WBL MobilePack) to John Kovacs or Katelin Held (teachers at North Campus) or contribute online.
  • Otter Lake STEM Fair - Otter Lake is looking for parent "Coaches" to assist in the upcoming STEM Fair  from 5 p.m. - 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.  
  • 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 District Center. Thanks in advance for your support!

Awards and Honors

  • Energy Tip Contest - Congratulations to Sunrise Park Middle School seventh grade student, Ryan Hall, for winning the Planet Purple Energy Efficiency Tip Contest. Ryan won the contest by sharing a few tips to help reduce the use of energy. Ryan was recently invited to a Vikings practice as a reward for the contest. See his tips here.
  • Softball Stars - Congratulations to WBLAHS softball athletes Danielle Renner (NDSU) and Molly Sager (Minnesota State, Mankato), who recently signed letters of intent to play at the collegiate level with their respective future colleges.
  • Teacher of the Year Nominations  - All staff, students and community members are invited to nominate an outstanding educator for the 2013 White Bear Lake Area Teacher of the Year Award. Please consider nominating an educator who will represent all of the dedicated teachers in our district and compete in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. To nominate a teacher, download and complete the nomination form by January 18.

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

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 lanterns 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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