October 19, 2012

District News

Dinner in the Stateroom

Lighting is subdued and calming as we are ushered into the dining room.
"Your seat, Sir."
"Thank you most kindly."
"We wish to make your acquaintance with Mr. John Jacob Astor, wealthiest man in the United States."
With that I am seated next to a formally dressed young man, sipping chocolate milk from a plastic goblet. Indeed, he introduces himself as Mr. Astor, and we converse over our meal about his enthusiasm about this maiden voyage of the Titanic.
Those around us are dressed for a formal dinner, gentlemen in suits and ties, bowler hats to the side, and ladies in floor length gowns, luxuriously bejeweled, most with ornate hats.
The scene is reminiscent of the formal dining room of the Titanic. Actually, this is the dining room of the Titanic, at least as fine a rendition as one could expect from creative teachers, engaged fourth graders, and an enhanced Birch Lake Elementary School cafeteria.
We are guests for one scene of a busy two weeks during which teachers use the story and setting of the Titanic to teach math, writing, history and geography, story telling, art, science and acting. Each student is assigned and learns about a real life character from the Titanic, and on this day they play their roles well.
You wonder how fourth graders from White Bear Lake Area Schools know how to behave at a formal dinner? Ah, no detail is overlooked. Before lunch a community member teachers them proper manners!
When we pass through the doors into school we cross a line into a world of learning. Some rooms are quiet, children focused on a book or a task; from other classrooms come the soft voices of children reading to one another; other rooms are lively with exuberance about a scientific discovery; or melodic from music sung or played. During any one day, all this happens. To find out more, just board the Titanic!

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

Sample courses include: 

  • How to Get Into College and Pay for it-Without Unmanageable Debt
    Tuesday, October 23, 6:30-8:30 pm, District Center Community Room
    $19/2 family members
  • White House Women
    Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6:30-8 pm, South Campus 302
  • Composting is for Everyone
    Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7-8:30 p.m., South Campus 210
  • Social Ballroom Dancing for Beginners
    Thursdays, Oct. 25-Nov. 15, 7-8:30 pm, Oneka
  • How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Ebook
    Monday, November 5, 6:30-8:30 pm, South Campus 210

For full descriptions and to register, visit www.whitebearregistration.org or www.whitebearcommunityservices.org.

Parent Notices:

  • Special Education Family Recreation Night - All ages are welcome to attend monthly Special Education Family Recreation Night, the first of which will take place on Friday, October 19 at Otter Lake Elementary. The event is sponsored by Northeast Metro 916 and White Bear Lake Area School's Community Education Department. Find a flyer here.
  • Special Education Parent Advisory Council (PAC) - White Bear Lake Area Schools is seeking parent volunteers to serve on the District's Special Education Parent Advisory Council (PAC). The role of council members is to provide input and feedback on District procedures relating to the education of students with disabilities. The PAC meets three times each school year. The first meeting for the 2012-13 school year is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. October 23rd, 2012 at District Center Room 206. Future meetings will take place January 15 and April 2. 
    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.
  • Early Childhood Program Family Fun Nights - Join us for our next Early Childhood Program Family Fun Night Fall Costume Party on Thursday, October 25 from 6 - 7:30 PM at Normandy Park. A donation of $2 per family or a non-perishable item is requested to go to the White Bear Lake and Hugo food shelves.
  • Middle School Wrestling sign-up events - The Central Middle School Wrestling Sign-up Meeting will take place immediately after school on Thursday, October 25 in the Central cafeteria. The Sunrise Park Middle School Wrestling Sign-up Meeting will take place immediately after school on Tuesday, October 30 in the Sunrise cafeteria.
  • 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 1.5 - 2 hour screening includes vision testing that helps detect potential eye problems, but is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Screening is required before entrance into kindergarten, but is not a screening tool for kindergarten. 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: October 26; November 2, 16, 19, 26; December 3, 14. Call 651-653-3154 to register or sign-up online.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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 lisa.lindvall@isd624.org 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 in November, 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 October update, covering ways to celebrate October as Energy Awareness Month, here


Support WBLAS Students

  • Early Childhood Coat Drive - The White Bear Lake Area Early Childhood PTA will be collecting new and gently used outdoor winter gear for families in need October 8-29.  Click here to find out how to donate.
  • Support the Archery Club - Join the White Bear Lake Area Archery Club for a pancake breakfast and archery tournament on October 27th from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the WBLAHS - North Campus cafeteria.  Pr-register onlineor view the flyer for more information.  The club will also be hosting a Halloween Shoot Out and Costume Contest on October 31st from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the WBLAHS - North Campus.  Come dressed as your favorite archer for the costume contest and try your hand at archery.
  • District-wide Food Drive - The White Bear Lake Area High School Student Council will be hosting a district-wide food shelf drive the week of October 29th to collect items for the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf.  Students are hoping to surpass last years total of 14,013 pounds by collecting 16,000 pounds this year. Send your items on Meaty Monday (canned meat, tuna), Two-Can Tuesday (canned items), Wash-Up Wednesday (hygiene supplies, Thrifty Thursday (money to buy perishable items), and Fruits and Veggies Friday. Also watch for students participating in Trick-or-Can on October 31st who are collecting non-perishable food items instead of candy.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 macphail.org. Flyer available by clicking here.

Awards and Honors

  • 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


Moving "full steam ahead"

The cast and crew of this year's WBLAHS fall musical Anything Goes are busy preparing for a November 9th opening night. Part of the students' preparations will be a special conversation next Tuesday with area senior citizens, who will deliver “living history lessons” of their experiences to help the students understand what life was like in the 1930s and 1940s - including explanations of some of the script’s references to the people, products and happenings of the time.
This is a tradition that was started with last year’s award-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying cast and crew members. Both the senior citizens and the students found the experience so much fun that they decided to do it again this year!
The students efforts are sure to pay off, with a long tradition of award-winning performances in the White Bear Lake Area High School Theatre Department. Tickets for the White Bear Lake Area High School fall musical, Anything Goeswith 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 cast and crew of Anything Goes support Operation Glass Slipper, a nonprofit dedicated to providing prom gowns and accessories free of charge to high school girls in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN area whose financial circumstances make it impossible for them to attend prom due to cost. Donate to the cause - drop off your formal attire at either of the WBLAHS campuses or at the show. We will have baggage porters ready to assist you with your donation!

Find a poster will all of the production details here.


A healthy serving

During this time of new federal food guidelines going into effect, White Bear Lake Area Schools students are at the helm of positive change. Incremental modifications implemented in the district over the past four years, many of which are now just being done in many districts, have already benefited our students and provided a smooth transition to the new guidelines. For instance, while many districts were serving deep fried french fries last year, White Bear used a phased elimination on the item almost five years ago.

Another beneficial change students are experiencing is in their involvement in the process. Student Lunch Committees are meeting at the schools, providing input and taste-testing new food items. Lincoln students recently taste-tested grass-fed hotdogs. Next week, Chef Marshall O'Brien's, founder of Healthy Kids Living, will attend the Oneka Elementary Student Lunch Committee  to test vegetables with the students. The sought-after chef's team also has plans to visit with Matoska International IB World School and WBLAHS - South Campus Student Lunch Committees later this fall.

The District's Nutritional Services office has worked closely with students, parents and community members on the new initiatives being implemented. Those who are interested in learning more about the department can find information at the Nutrition Services website.

Something to cheer about


A tall, "purple" guest walked the hallways of Central Middle School earlier this week to surprise sixth grader Sage Johnson, who won a Planet Purple Energy Efficiency Tip Contest. John Carlson, tight end and top free agent signee from the Minnesota Vikings,  visited Sage's classroom - Carol Hultman's science classroom - to surprise the contest-winner, play a few energy-related games with the students, and answer questions Sage's classmates had for him. 

The Planet Purple Energy Efficiency Tip Contest, facilitated through the District's partnership with Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE) encouraged children to "think of a cool way to share a helpful  household energy savings tip." Winning entries were selected based on creativity, presentation and overall practicality/usefulness. Sage was told that her entry - a video of her performing a "Go Green!" cheer she had written - fit the bill perfectly.

Along with the surprise visit, Sage also received a pair of  tickets to an upcoming Minnesota Vikings game, where we're sure she'll continue her cheering spirit!



Elementary World Language Overview


Beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, all WBLAS elementary students have world language experiences in Spanish or Chinese. Students at Lincoln and Vadnais Heights Elementary schools study Chinese, while all other district elementary schools offer Spanish. Students in grades four and five receive 45 minutes of world language instruction every three days. Students in grades K-3 are exposed to world language through experiences, including our partnership with Concordia Language Villages and through the world language teachers and the district’s exchange teacher from Hangzhou Foreign Languages School.

The District's Elementary World Language curriculum is in line with the following components:

  • Communication - Students will hear instruction and be expected to communicate with the teacher and each other in the target language.
  • Culture - Students will explore and learn to appreciate different cultures. Students also will explore celebrations around the world.
  • Connections - The students will connect language activities with what is being studied in their home classrooms.
  • Comparisons - The students will compare variances in language and cultural traditions.
  • Community - The students will be provided opportunities to expand their learning beyond their language classroom.

Find information about the new initiative in an Elementary World Language Fact Sheet


Reaching out


Last weekend members of the local community came together to attend the Hmong Resource Fair, held for the first time at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park. Although the event has previously been held at the Aldrich Arena in Maplewood, the new location attracted many first time attendees. The mission of the Hmong Resource Fair is bring together health, education, employment, housing and a variety of other resources in one location for members of the Hmong community.

White Bear Lake Area Schools was represented by three staff members, Ka Zoua Xiong, Malia Yang-Xiong, and Xue Xiong, along with two students, Mai Xi Lee and Priscilla Yang. They spoke to over fifty individuals who came to acquire more information about the district. At the White Bear Lake Area Schools district booth, attendees could learn about all programs offered throughout the district and find one of the event's biggest hits - bear paw tattoos. Rumor has it, vendors from the fair approached the White Bear booth to get their decals and help spread Bears Pride throughout the event. 

The District representative also received many enlightening comments such as "There are Hmong people in White Bear Lake?" The event was a great opportunity to highlight to work of our district and our commitment to promoting and celebrating diversity.


Athletic Hall of Fame inductees


During half-time of the Bear’s home football game on Wednesday, October 17, White Bear Lake Area High School celebrated the induction of two new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame: Fred Konrath and Jim Brunzell.

Fred Konrath began his teaching and coaching career at White Bear

Lake in 1965, working in the high school business department during the day and the athletic department most every evening after school. Though he worked with basketball in the winter, football was the driving force in Fred’s coaching career leading to undefeated seasons in 1971 and 1976. Fred’s career then took him to the University of Minnesota as an assistant football coach and later into the business world, where he had many successful “seasons” as well. He also found time to become involved as a coach and board member with White Bear Lake Youth Football and is currently still a volunteer coach with WBLAHS.

Jim Brunzell graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 1967,

completing a standout athletic career which saw him letter multiple times in football, basketball, and  track. As a two way player in football his senior year, Jim led the Bears in receiving, scoring, interceptions, and fumble recoveries, though his “toe” may have been what led him to bigger and better things in this sport as a starting kicker for the U of M, and pro player for the Manitowoc Chiefs. Jim was also a successful track athlete, winning conference, section, and State high jump titles and becoming at top conference high jumper with the U of M track team. Jim’s most memorable accomplishments, however, may have come as a professional wrestler. A member of the “High Flyers” and the “Killer Bees”, Jim was part of powerful Tag Team duos that had great success, garnering world championships in the AWA and WWF during his time in the ring (1972-1993). Jim has stayed active with involvement in Special Olympics, Diabetes awareness, church functions and, of course, supporting the Bears whenever possible.

Congratulations to Fred and Jim on their sporting accomplishments and continued support of White Bear Lake Area Schools Athletics.


Activities Updates

The WBLAHS - North Campus Ambassadors were 115 people strong at the Twin Cities Marathon where they helped run a waterstop. Watch for the students to be cleaning their stretch of Highway 61 on October 24th. Give them a beep! Twenty-nine Band students recently attended a Leadership Workshop by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser - an author, teacher, mentor, motivational speaker and leadership guru.  Students were engaged in many hands on activities which illustrate the importance, challenges and rewards of student leadership. The White Bear Lake Area High School Cheerleading Team recently earned first place - for the third consecutive year - at the MCCA State Cheer-Off Competition. Team members Taylor Bjornberg, Dani Thompson, Abby Simms, Tif Schack, Courtney Boyle, and Jordyn Ruben were also named All-State Cheerleaders. Congratulations to Debate students Kaylee Anderson and Caitlin Nelson from White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus for taking home a trophy at the Eastview Debate Tournament held on October 10th.  Kudos to WBLAHS - North Campus students James Terry and Daniel Sisterman for their fantastic performance which placed them in the honorable mention category.  Bear debaters are focusing on gun control as a state-wide topic for this year. Student Council members from WBLAHS - South Campus hosted the Capital Division of Student Council's Fall Convention on October 17th.  Over 250 student leaders from across the metro area participated in training, listened to a nationally recognized speaker, Kyle Scheele, and networked with their peers about issues facing their schools.



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, October 22 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
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

Regular School Board meetings are re-broadcast on Cable Channel 20 in the local viewing area after regular business meeting as follows:

  • Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Thursdays at 10 a.m.

District News

  • Dinner in the Stateroom
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors

Student News

  • Moving "full steam ahead"
  • A healthy serving
  • Something to cheer about
  • Elementary World Language Overview
  • Reaching out
  • Athletic Hall of Fame inductees
  • Activities updates 

School Board News

  • Upcoming meetings


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