September 7, 2012

District News

Is it time for lunch yet?

For our youngest learners, the approach of the school year fills the whole of their lives and imaginations. From early August on, this once distant event comes closer and closer. New clothes. A backpack of sufficient size to last a first grader through middle school.

School supplies gradually fill the backpack. Plus a box of tissues. Snacks for the first day.

By dawn on the Tuesday after Labor Day, boys and girls are fully dressed and ready to go to school. The backpack, which by now weighs more than eighty pounds, is repacked - minus all the extra clothes, stuffed animals, and other items that ended up in the backpack for safekeeping.

Photo on the front steps. Ride or walk to school. Enter the front door of school and walk slowly down the hallway though a forest of towering adults. Finally, my classroom!

Bells ring, school begins. About an hour later, the questions begin.

"Teacher, is it time for lunch yet?"

This week more than 8000 students returned to our White Bear Lake Area schools, plus 640 kindergartners for whom school is a whole new adventure.

For all of our students, and for all of the adults to whom families have entrusted their children, every year is a new adventure. This week has been a time for students to get to know teachers, staff, and classmates, and for all of us to welcome and get to know -- and value-- each student.

Our best wishes to all for the best year ever!

Dr. Michael Lovett

General Information


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.

Take an online class, from anywhere and at any time! 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
  • 30 Ways to Get Other People to Pay for College
    Ages 15 and up
    Thursday, November 1, 6:30-9 pm, South Campus 210
    $39/person $10/additional family member
  • How to Study Brilliantly in College-Part A
    Ages 13 and up
    Saturday, November 17, 8-10 am, South Campus 210
    $39/person $10/additional family member
  • How to be Brilliant in College-Part B
    Ages 13 and Up
    Saturday, November 17, 10:15 am-12:15 pm, South Campus 210
    $39/person $10/additional family member
  • How to Create Brilliant College and Scholarship Applications
    Ages 15 and up
    Saturday, November 17, 1-3 pm, South Campus 210
    $39/person $10/additional family member
  • Health and Wellness 101: Help for Parents of Pre-Teens, Teens, and 20 Somethings
    Wednesday, October 17, 6-7:30 pm, South Campus 302

For full descriptions and to register, visit or

Featured Class:
Becoming a Love and Logic Parent - Kids don't come with an owner's manual. This parenting program is designed to give you practical skills that can be used immediately! 

The topics that will be covered include:

  • Two Rules of Love and Logic
  • Using Empathy and One Liners to Neutralize Arguing
  • Delayed or Anticipatory Consequence
  • How to get more information about Love and Logic

Registration is $15/pair in the same family. 

Kelli Klein is a Love and Logic independent facilitator with experience as a social worker, licensor, and mother that has trained countless people in Love and Logic. 

Parent Notices:

  • Parent Internet Safety Presentation - 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 26 at District Center. Find information here about a free Parent Internet Safety Presentation being hosted in partnership with the White Bear Lake Police Department.
  • 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.
  • School Supply lists - School Supply lists are available online here
  • 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. 

Senior Program Updates:

The White Bear Area Senior Center is a program of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation Department

  • Bake Sale & Palate Pleaser Cookbook Fundraiser - The Senior Program is looking for bakers to contribute to a fundraising event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 4 at the Normandy Park Education Center Senior Program (2484 County Road F East). Proceeds will benefit the Senior Connection/Outreach Department offering Care Consultation and Caregiver Support. Find a flyer here.
  • 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
    • Going for Gold - WBLAEF Staff Appeal Campaign Kicks Offs - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation officially kicked off the annual staff appeal campaign at Convocation on August 28th. Going for Gold is our theme this year. WBLAEF board members joined the festivities of the day, handing out Olympic themed bookmarks and visiting with staff members. Our Board of Directors is always eager to talk about classroom and educator grant opportunities and other programs that help support the students in our district.
      The WBLAEF board members will be making staff appeal presentations at all of the building staff meetings this fall. This year's campaign again includes a gift to all staff members who participate in the staff appeal, whether by payroll deduction or direct gift. We look forward to seeing you soon!. 
    • Miscellaneous Updates:
      The foundation has new leadership: Jenny Nadeau - President, Dawn Hank - VP Development, Heidi Brophy- VP Community Relations. Connie Dickson continues to serve as VP Programs and Allocations.
      Retired WBLAHS teacher Mary Dahle is a new board member.
      Chris Hiniker is our new School Board Liaison. He will provide great community insight as well serve as a support from the School Board
      Holiday Angels will be back this year…a great way to honor your favorite staff person during the holidays!
      Planning is underway for the 2013 April event. Watch for details coming soon.
    • Year-round grant application forms - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation is delighted to announce that staff will now have access year-round to the application forms for the Brosious Teaching Grant, Glasrud Fellowship Grant, and the Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant on the Foundation website. Staff will also continue to receive grant information on-line through the District's e-news.
    • Brosious Grant - The purpose of the Brosious Grant is to assist teachers in enhancing the rigor of the curriculum or instruction within their classrooms. The grant must be aligned with the District goals and objectives. The grant amount is $3,000 per individual or team. There will be a Grant Writing Workshops at 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18th in District Center Room 201. Completed application formswill be due at the WBLAEF office at District Center on or before Oct. 31, 2012.
    • Reunions - the WBLAEF sponsors the White Bear Lake Area Alumni Association. Find information about the Alumni Association, including scheduled reunions, here


Support WBLAS students

  • 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. 
  • ALC looking for craft sale/flea market vendors - Community members are invited to participate in a flea market, service learning fundraiser hosted by White Bear Lake Area Learning Center economic class students. Vendor spots are available for rent at the ALC’s Flea Market fundraiser, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 22 at ALC (2449 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake). The event will raise money for Kiva, a non-profit organization that facilitates entrepreneurial loans to individuals around the world. Those who are interested in participating as a vendor may contact ALC teacher Tim McGraw at 651-773-6406 or
  • ALC craft sale/flea market Sept. 22 - Community members are invited to attend a flea market, service learning fundraiser hosted by White Bear Lake Area Learning Center economic class students. The event, with more than 30 vendor booths, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 22 at ALC (2449 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake). The event will raise money for Kiva, a non-profit organization that facilitates entrepreneurial loans to individuals around the world. Those who are interested in participating as a vendor may contact ALC teacher Tim McGraw at 651-773-6406 or 
  • Metro Dining Club sale - WBLAHS - South Campus will be selling the Metro Dining Club (DMC) cards again this year. $22 buys over 150 restaurant discount cards, good once a month October 2012 - October 2013. Local establishments include: Blue Heron, C.G. Hooks, Casa Lupita, DQ, Domino's Pizza, Don Julio, Green Mill, Kelly's Korner, Mad Jacks, Olive Joe's, Roadside Pizza, Running Aces, Taco John's, Ursula's. Contact Karen Larson 651-773-6206 or Cathy Ackerknecht 651-773-6204 if interested.

Partner Opportunities

  • Families needed for teachers from Germany - On Oct. 20, 16 German students and their teachers from our partner high school in Leipzig will be visiting White Bear for three weeks. This is a cultural exchange which fosters a greater communication and understanding between our community and our sister community in Leipzig. During their stay, our German guests will visit our schools and explore what Minnesota has to offer. We already have 16 host families for the students, but are still in need of two host families for teachers Karin and Roland. Both teachers speak English well. While Roland has been in WBL before, Karin is looking forward to her first WBL experience. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Fay Kotilinek at Central or Karla Booth at WBLAHS. This is a great opportunity to get a little taste of Germany. Watch for them in your school!

Awards and Honors

  • Extended Day Program Accreditation - The White Bear Lake Area Schools Extended Day programs at Lincoln and Vadnais Elementary Schools recently were accredited through the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Project (MAAP). Programs at Lakeaires, Matoska International and Otter Lake Elementary Schools received accreditation earlier in the 2011-12 academic year. Find additional information here
  • National Publication awards - Congratulations to District staff members who contributed to the following projects, which received awards from the National School Public Relations Association: 
  • Award of Merit in the Finance Publication category for our "10 Facts Every Voter Should Know" piece. 
  • Award of Merit in the Marketing Publication category for our 2011-12 Registration materials, which includes our four registration guides: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School and High School. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Annual Report category for our 2010-11 Annual Report. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Calendar category for our 2011-12 Activities Calendar. 
  • Award of Excellence in the Handbook category for our 2011-12 Academic Planner and Student Handbook. 

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

Student News


District makes AYP for third consecutive year

Based on data released last week by the Minnesota Department of Education, White Bear Lake Area Schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the third consecutive year. Under the Federal 2002 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, school district students are tested by the state in both reading and math. The scores are used to determine whether the district makes AYP after the state analyzes district data as a whole and by subgroups by race, ethnicity, free and reduced lunch, and special education. White Bear Lake Area Schools is one of only two districts of 13 in the East Metro area to make AYP for the past three consecutive years.


Earlier this month, school-by-school results of the 2012 state testing data were published. For the fourth straight year, the District saw increases in student proficiency. In state MCA results, math scores improved better than 5% and reading scores were up 2%. District students also continued to show significant growth during the year. Using a national test measuring student growth (MAP), White Bear Lake Area Schools students in grades one through ten grew 1 year, 4 months in reading, and 1 year, 7 months in mathematics.


“We are proud of our students and staff for these gains, and are committed to assure all of our students will exceed the proficiency threshold,” said Michael Lovett, Superintendent. “The fact that we have made AYP three years in a row shows we’re progressing toward this goal.”


Another analysis of data received this week uses a new method of measurement developed by the State of Minnesota, called Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR). Eleven out of 12 White Bear Lake Area School District schools measured received maximum points in “proficiency,” one category in the ratings.


“The purpose of the new system is to help us understand which students and groups of students are being most successful in annual growth in reading and mathematics,” said Mary McGrane, the district’s assessment coordinator. “Compared to past systems, this new analytical process is much more statistically complex, so we will continue to work with principals and leaders to understand how the scores are calculated.”


Three of the District’s Title I elementary schools are recognized under the MMR system as Celebration Eligible Schools: Birch Lake, Lakeaires and Willow Lane Elementary. All three schools received all possible points on proficiency, and high scores on “growth” and “achievement gap reduction” sections, to be ranked in the top 25 percent of schools statewide.


Legacy, Commitment and Promise

This week, District staff members welcomed students and families into the school for the first day of classes, with buses running their routes, parents waving their goodbyes at the schoolhouse doors, and students breaking out their text books for homework after the very first day of school. But 2012-13 academic year began in August for most families, with school supply list purchases being made at local retailers and friendly visits with staff members and other families at Meet the Teacher events.


Students also were busy last week at the 2012 Opening Convocation event, the "official kick-off" to the school year, as they welcomed staff members back for the school year. The event's entertainment roster included a WBLAHS student quartet, members of the high school drumline, the Mariners Choir and the WBLAHS cheer team. A surprise performance of the "National Anthem" by Emy Marier, a Willow Lane Elementary graduate and new Sunrise Park Middle School sixth grader, evoked a special round of appreciation before District leaders addressed the crowd and focused on the District's Legacy, Commitment and Promise. See videos produced for the event below.





The 2012 Convocation event video will be broadcast in its entirety on the Local Community Channel 19 at 7 p.m. on September 11, 3 p.m. on September 14, 9 p.m. September 15 and 16, and 7 p.m. September 17. A program for the event can be found here.


New initiatives underway for 2012-13 

A variety of new initiatives are underway starting this fall. Read below for a quick synopsis of the exciting innovations happening in our schools:

  • Elementary World Language - Our elementary schools offer a world language - either Spanish or Chinese. Fourth and fifth grade students will have 45 minutes of world language every three days. Matoska International continues to offer Spanish K-5.
  • Middle schools named IB Candidate Schools - Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools are International Baccalaureate Candidate Schools for the Middle Years Program (MYP). Building on an already rigorous curriculum, this internationally recognized program will offer our students stronger connections between subject areas.
  • Guidance Office changes - The district has aligned our 6-12 guidance program with national standards. At the high school level, two counselors at each grade level work with their class from grade 9 through 12, supporting student success and comprehensive academic and college planning. 
  • Secondary level World Language - Middle School students study Chinese, French, German or Spanish. High school students have the choice of these languages and American Sign Language.
  • Technology - At every level, innovative technologies improve communications with families, and strengthen student engagement, personalizing and accelerating learning.
  • Strategic Plan - Beginning in 2010-11, engaged citizens and staff helped the district formulate a strategic plan. Implementation began in 2011-12 and continues in 2012-13.

If you have any questions about the initiatives above, please contact your school or the Superintendent's Office at 651-407-7563.


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 show will debut this Sunday. September 9 and will be continued on September 16 and September 23. Find additional details - and see Emily in both photos! - in this USA Today write-up. Girls Cross Country runner Bethany Kozak was named a StarTribune prep athlete of the week. Boys Hockey player Lance Carney was highlighted in the inaugural issue of White Bear Lake Magazine. Theatre and Choir student Jonathon Woodruff and Girls Basketball player Danielle Renner were highlighted as two of five of the region's prep elite in the inaugural issue of White Bear Lake Magazine.


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 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
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

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

  • Is it time for lunch yet?
  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors 

Student News

  • District makes AYP for third consecutive year
  • Legacy, Commitment and Promise
  • New initiatives underway for 2012-13
  • Activities updates 

School Board News

  • Meeting agendas
  • Upcoming meetings


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