September 21, 2012

Student News

District science scores rise

According to data recently released by the Minnesota Department of Education, White Bear Lake Area Schools students showed growth in science proficiency based on Spring 2012 MCA tests administered to students in grades five, eight and at the high school level. 

The most significant rise was at the fifth grade level, where student scores improved by six percentage points, from 58 percent proficient in 2011 to 64 percent proficient in 2012. District elementary schools now best the state average by 13 percentage points. This is the fourth consecutive year the district has seen a rise in elementary science scores, which are up 20 percentage points since 2009.

The district attributes the elementary improvements to tighter alignment between the new science curriculum and state standards for science. Two important innovations, the use of scientific notebooks and the new “Engineering is Elementary” program, are contributing to the gains, especially as individual schools are moving beyond the pilot stage. Otter Lake Elementary maintained its top score at 73% for the second year in a row and six of the eight elementary schools in the district showed gains.

On the eighth grade test, science scores are up an additional one percent from 52 percent in 2011 to 53 percent in 2012, and are ten points above the state average. At the high school level, the test is taken after the student has completed life sciences or biology, normally in the spring after the tenth grade year. Proficiency percentage dipped slightly from 59 to 57 percent, mirroring a two percentage state dip at the state level, but district scores for high school remain four points above the state average. 

Overall, the district’s combined score rose from 56 to 58 percent proficient and is seven percentage points above the state average.


In a welcoming way

More than 70 Sunrise Park Middle School students who were new to the district this year got together last week for an after-school party hosted by the school’s counseling office. Students enjoyed treats and goodies such as a free dance ticket, pass to the "front of the lunch line," free Carbone's pizza, and district pencils and tattoos.

The event is an annual one for students new to Sunrise, or for those sixth graders who didn't attend one of the district’s four feeder elementary schools. Due to the generosity of district and community members, all of the party-goers walked away with free Bears gear and a feeling of community in knowing they were not alone in being new.

A highlight for staff members was hearing the students talk about how welcoming the Sunrise community feels already while they introduced themselves and explained what they like to do for fun - an activity during which they found they had some commonalities in that area as well!

Call to order

Birch Lake Elementary second graders had their very own meet and greet with White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson this morning, when they took a field trip to City Hall and learned all there is to know about how the mayor runs a city. The activity is a fun part of the students' lessons on living in a democratic society and studies of communities and how problems are solved at city hall.


Questions ranged from "Is it easy to be a mayor?" to "What did you want to be when you were growing up?" to "Why is the level of White Bear Lake going down?" Mayor Emerson had a great response to all inquiries, noting that she always has to be ready for any questions because local officials never know when they'll be approached by residents - whether it's in City Hall, at church, or at the grocery store.


After the Q&A session, students were allowed to go up to the City Council table to experience what it would be like to be a member of the five-council member board. The students were impressed with the swivel chairs, the microphones, and the brick Bear mural behind the table. They were even more impressed when Mayor Emerson told them a secret about the artwork - and pointed out a mouse that had been hidden in the mural by the artist who designed it.


A new kind of camping

White Bear Lake Area High School is standing up against genocide with a three-day event promoting education and action, Tuesday, October 2 through Thursday, October 4, at WBLAHS - South Campus, 3551 McKnight Road North in White Bear Lake. The high school is partnering with World Without Genocide, a local human rights organization headquartered at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, to bring the exhibit “Tents of Witness: Genocide and Conflict” to the campus.

The exhibit has 8’ x 10’ canvas tents similar to those used in some refugee camps and uses multimedia illustrations to engage viewers in the stories of genocide worldwide. The tents highlight each group’s culture prior to the conflict, the violence endured, and the consequences of genocide. White Bear Lake Area High School will feature the Darfur, Congo, and Rwanda tents. 

Attendees will also participate in the Red Hands project, which raises awareness about the use of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide; the 1-800-GENOCIDE campaign, which gives people toll-free phone access to their members of Congress to advocate for an end to genocide; and the Conflict-Free Initiative, which seeks to reduce the use of minerals coming from the conflict areas in Congo. 

Rental of the exhibit is provided free of charge through a Minnesota Idea Open grant. The exhibit is available for display at schools, faith communities, and civic organizations and was made possible through the generosity of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, St. Joan of Arc Church, the Minnesota Interfaith Darfur Coalition, the Laura Jane Musser Family Foundation, and Friends of World Without Genocide.

World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law promotes education and action to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators, and remember those whose lives and cultures have been destroyed by genocide.


Lincoln partners with the U of M's Children's Hospital

Next week, two Lincoln Elementary classrooms - one second and one third grade classroom - will participate in a video conference focused on childhood obesity with U of MN Amplatz Children's Hospital. Lincoln is one of only three schools in the Twin Cities to participate in this activity on Wednesday. The rare opportunity has been organized through a parent of Lincoln students.

The parents and students have prepared for next week's session through materials that were sent to the school last week. The video conference will consist of a lesson that will cover obesity, how the body works, exercise, healthy choices, and a health challenge will be made by a Minnesota Vikings player. At the end of the conference, students will have the opportunity to ask questions.

In a couple of months, a follow-up session will be hosted in which all three participating schools will “get together” in a single call and class champions will report on their progress. The Vikings player will also be present in the call to help the children celebrate their learning and progress.

Parent Internet Safety Presentation next week

The White Bear Lake Area School District and the White Bear Lake Police Department have partnered to offer an informational session to community members.

Parent Internet Safety Presentation
7 - 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 26
District Center
4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake

During this session, you will learn how to know whether your children are using technology responsibly. You will have the opportunity to ask about your specific concerns and learn from other parents.

Topics include:
• Social networking sites and their role in kids’ lives
• How to find out if your kids are accessing inappropriate websites
• How kids can get into trouble with cell phones
• How kids can use the Internet for bullying
• Preventing on-line stalking, predators, etc.
• What’s next on the technology horizon

This free session is only for adults. Student sessions have been hosted separately in various schools.

Questions? Contact White Bear Lake Area Schools Jody Reber (651-407-7563) or White Bear Lake Police Captain Julie Swanson (651-429-8552). 


Activities Updates

WBLAHS senior and Theatre participant Emily Nies, who won a MN Spotlight Award and the chance to travel to New York City this summer to participate in the prestigious Jimmy Awards process, is one of 60 high school musical performers included in a PBS miniseries on the Broadway boot camp. The three-episode show will conclude this Sunday. September 23. Find additional details - and past episodes - at the PBS "Broadway or Bust" website. Girls' Cross Country athletes are having an outstanding season. Bethany Kozak, junior, won the first 4 invitationals she has competed in this season (the St. Paul Central Open, the Marshfield Invite, the Faribault Invite and the Rum River Invite) and is ranked #6 in the state coaches poll. Allison Ternes, junior, has been a top 10 finisher in all 4 invites and Ari Adams, senior captain, has been a top 15 finishers in all 4 invites


White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.

A comprehensive 2012-13 District Activities schedule can be found here. The 2012-13 Activities Calendar will be mailed to District families later this month.

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, September 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, October 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
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

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

  • What does innovation look like?
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors 

Student News

  • District science scores rise
  • In a welcoming way
  • Call to order
  • A new kind of camping
  • Lincoln partners with U of M's Children's Hospital
  • Parent Internet Safety Presentation next week
  • Activities updates 

School Board News

  • Upcoming meetings


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