January 12, 2014

Student News - Getting a glimpse

District schools will spend January welcoming families into their buildings to get a glimpse of what is offered to students at the early childhood, elementary, middle and high school levels. 

Find information about the January events here and watch the videos below to "get a glimpse" of what is happening in our elementary, middle school and high school classrooms.

Check out additional District videos here.

BearPowering up for the New Year

Last week, students at Birch Lake Elementary, Otter Lake Elementary, and Matoska International IB World School kicked off their four-week BearPower school challenge to eat healthier. With a special visit from Radio Disney, the students gathering in each school gymnasiums and had the opportunity to participate in a dance-filled, educational assembly that rallied students to eat colorful, new fruits and vegetables. Next week, the Radio Disney crew will visit students at Vadnais Heights, Lincoln, Hugo, and Oneka elementary schools to kick off similar initiatives.

During the four-week challenge, students will mark what they eat, noting the number of fruits and vegetables each day. They will track their progress and strive for five fruits and veggies each day. The information will then be sent to yumPower and students will receive a small gift. Parents will also receive a Power Pack, which has fun activities, recipes, and ideas for bringing the fun of fruits and veggies into the home. 

Interested in learning more about BearPower and getting healthy tips? Click here for the BearPower Facebook page.  

A new look

Students at Matoska International were welcomed back from winter break with a bit more usable square footage, as contractors used the time to put finishing touches on a school addition and redesign.

Families and guests are now welcomed into the school through the a new secure entrance, which brings visitors directly into the new office area. The shiny floors, clerestory windows, and new basketball hoops now foster an exciting atmosphere in the new orange-and-black gymnasium space. The projects stem from the District's Strategic Plan and the School Board Superintendent Goals.

Another exciting change is that of the new pick-up and drop-off procedure allowed by the new entrance location. Starting Monday, January 13, buses at Matoska will also be picking up and dropping off at the new front entry on Bellaire Avenue. Find additional information about the rerouting of buses or about what could be different about picking up or dropping off your child here.

Parents, family, and community members will have the opportunity to see all of the new building additions, including the new office at Matoska, during an open house event from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. Additional information will be available soon on Matoska's website.


Theatre excellence

For the fifth consecutive year, the White Bear Lake Area High School Theatre Department received accolades from the Hennepin Theatre Trust's SpotLight Music Theatre Program, which honors high school musicals and students by recognizing their extraordinary achievements and working to develop young talent in Minnesota's high school musical theatre programs.

This year's honors for the high school's fall musical "Once Upon a Mattress" have once again set school records. The production received more SpotLight awards than any previous WBLAHS Theatre Department production and the highest number of awards in the state. WBLAHS was one of only seven shows in the state to receive Outstanding Production, which evaluates all production elements. Learn more about the awards here.

Setting the stage for 2014 will be the one act play, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," adapted by Frederick Gaines. The WBLAHS North Campus Theater will host three free performances on January 22. See a performance flyer here.

Following the tradition of the WBLAHS theatre department, student performers have included a service component into the play - this time it is a book drive. Play-goers are encouraged to bring new and gently used children's books to the show to be donated to WBLAS elementary schools. Donated books will be placed in a bookshelf set up outside the high school theater so students and attendees can watch the progress of the book drive.

White Bear Lake Area High School's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will also compete in the 2014 One Act Play State Tournament, starting with the preliminary round on January 23.

Later in the school year, the Theatre Department will host "The Odyssey," adapted by Don Fleming as the Spring Play. 

A world of technology

White Bear Lake Area Schools offer a variety of ways students can begin exploring a passion for technology. On Jan. 4, the White Bear Lake Robotics team, Bright Bears, began work on the development of the 2014 For Inspiration and Recognition for Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition challenge. The team is supported by Medtronic as well as donations and volunteers from local industries, companies, and individuals.

The challenge involves a detailed game called Aerial Assist, in which robots must throw a ball over a wall and into a goal. The regional competition will be held at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena at the end of March. Click here to watch a video on the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition, which ends with a demonstration of Aerial Assist.

At the middle school level, students at Central Middle school will have the opportunity to watch and question a computer science engineer at the school's upcoming Career Cafe on January 16. Students will learn from a professional what it takes to create and develop computer software and programs.

Early Childhood Book Talk

Nearly 95% of parents feel like they are overindulging their children, but feel powerless to stop themselves. Luckily, WBLAS Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) will offer families a unique book talk class on Richard Bromfield's "How to Unspoil Your Child Fast." The semester-long class will meet on Tuesday evenings at Hugo Elementary starting February 4. Open to children from age one to first grade (and their parents of course), the class will be half child-parent playtime and half book discussion. 

The fee for the class is based on income level - not too expensive considering the value of having an unspoiled child is priceless! Click here to register for the class. 

ECFE registration information and materials will be mailed to district residents with children who are early childhood-aged in late April or early May.

Activities Updates

The Girls' Hockey team took second place and the JV team took third place in the recent Centennial Holiday tournament. In the process, the varsity beat two ranked teams (Elk River and North Wright County) and lost to the number two ranked team (Wayzata) in a close game with a final score of 4 to 1. On Saturday, January 5th the Boys' Swim and Dive team participated in the Tiger Division at the Maroon and Gold Invite and finished 4th out of 11 teams. The 200 Medley Relay of Dan Johnson, Quinn Johnson, Caleb Odmark, and Abe Townley started out the meet with a 7th place finish followed by the relays of Matt Pham, Nick Pasqualini, Chris Jenkins, and Jordan Johnson finished 11th, and David O'Neill, Lucas Dinh, Alex Barton, and Amael Ramand finished 21st. Jordan Johnson, Alex Thiele, and Matt Pham finished 7th, 9th, and 11th place in the 200 freestyle. Quinn Johnson, Dan Johnson, Chris Jenkins finished 6th, 9th, and 10th place in the 200 Individual Medley. Abe Townley, Nick Pasqualini, and Amael Ramand finished 11th, 23rd, and 26th in the 50 freestyle. Harry Baden, Eric Delmonico, and Hobie Baden finished 1st, 7th, and 14th place in diving. Caleb Odmark, Chris Jenkins, and Alex Thiele finished 6th, 14th, and 18th place in the 100 butterfly. Abe Townley, Jordan Johnson, and Amael Ramand finished 17th, 18th, and 28th place in the 100 freestyle. Matt Pham, Lucas Dinh, and David O'Neill finished 10th, 16th, and 23rd place in the 500 freestyle. The 200 free relays finished in 11th, 13th, and 25th place. The top relay was Jordan Johnson, Quinn Johnson, Alex Thiele, and Abe Townley. Nick Pasqualini, Alex Barton, Amael Ramand, and Chris Jenkins were in the relay the finished 13th, and Ian Westman, Blake Burnau, Nathan Thalhuber, and Drew Rassett were in the relay that finished 25th. Caleb Odmark, Dan Johnson, and David O'Neill finished 2nd, 4th, and 19th in the 100 backstroke. Quinn Johnson, Nick Pasqualini, and Lucas Dinh finished 7th, 15th, and 26thin the 100 Breaststroke. The 400 freestyle relays finished in 9th, 23rd, and 28th places. Caleb Odmark, Alex Thiele, Dan Johnson, and Matt Pham were in the relay that finished 9th. Blake Burnau, David O'Neil, Erik Suchy, and Drew Rassett were in the relay that finished 23rd. Nick Langevin, Erik Olson, Tim Walsh, and Ian Westman were in the relay that finished 28th. The boys' next home meet is Tuesday, January 14th against Cretin-Derham Hall. The Boys' Hockey team played Cretin-Derham Hall on Saturday, Jan. 11 in one of five hockey games played at TCF Bank Stadium as part of the High School Hockey Faceoff.


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


Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Upcoming meetings 

Date Type Time Location
January 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 27 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
February 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center