February 23, 2014

Winter Memories in the Making

Generations from now, what will today's school children remember of the winter of 2013-14?

Well, children, in January of 2014, school was closed for four days because of bitter cold and strong winds. Then we came back on another day when it was just as cold and all the other schools around were still closed.

Grandma, was it really that cold? What did you do at home?

* * * * 

Friday, February 14 was a school "make-up" day, on the initial school calendar as a day off for students, set aside for teacher planning and professional development.

But because of the days missed, this day was converted to another student day. School attendance was at a winter high.

One kindergarten student seemed extra eager to go to school on February 14. She came down for breakfast and explained to her mother what was on her mind.

Mommy, today is make-up day at school!
I'm going to get dressed... then can you put make-up on me? 

* * * * 

This winter may also be remembered as the beginning of a new era for which school and learning continue even when weather or other circumstances prevent physical attendance in school.

Listening to students from my middle school and high school student advisory groups, technology - and especially our Schoology learning management system, gives them access to assignments, resources, and real-time help from their teachers.

While nothing can replace time learning with teacher and class, we want to acknowledge our staff and students for their determination and persistence in continuing to learn-despite the elements!

Dr. Michael Lovett

In Pictures: 2014 Jazz Night Club

Student News - Winter fun, past and present

In July, 1980 graduate of White Bear Mariner, Jeff Ryan, completed a chronology of the school's 11-year hockey program history. Now, he has distributed over 150 copies of the book as it has been well-received throughout the community. 

"I never thought the interest would be as high as it was," said Ryan. Among the copies he has distributed, over 35 have been to coaches and players. Tom Simpson, former head coach of the White Bear Mariner hockey program, contributed to the book by offering team statistics and general comments about the program. 

If you are a graduate of White Bear Mariner, have a family member who participated in the program, or simply have an interest in the hockey team's history and would like a copy, please contact Jeff Ryan.

In addition to the fascinating history of winter sports at White Bear Lake, our schools offer a wide variety of extracurricular winter activities. For example, on Feb. 9, WBLAHS science teacher, Jacob Montgomery, took a group of students ice fishing on Bellaire Beach on White Bear Lake. 

More than 30 people participated in the activity, including some students who volunteered to assist because of their ice fishing experience. This unique winter learning experience was made possible by the support of IMnFishing.com and Eco-Jig Fishing Lures. 

A world of culture

Throughout the White Bear Lake Area School District, students are exposed to a world of cultural knowledge, highlighted in the past few weeks by special cultural performances and activities. 

For Chinese New Year, two events, China Night hosted by Sunrise Park Middle School and WBLAHS and a New Year celebration hosted by Lincoln Elementary, showcased students' language skills and knowledge of Chinese culture. Both events included students who are taking Chinese lessons performing songs, dancing, and demonstrating Kung Fu. Click here and here to view photo albums from the nights celebrating the new year of the horse. 

Our students also explored the culture of Germany, a country roughly 4,000 miles from China, in recent events. First, sixth grade German students at Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools participated in St. Martin's Day activities. The holiday is named after Martin of Tours - a soldier known for his kindness. It is said that he cut his coat in half and shared it with a beggar on an extremely cold and snowy winter night (We know how those can be!). In celebration, students made lanterns and sang about St. Martin and how the lanterns show him the way. 

At the high school , German students participated in German Day at the Minnesota Zoo. Students from all over the state interpreted exhibitions of 40 animals. Two groups of students from WBLAHS - South Campus used their advanced German language skills to create a display and creatively present on sea stars and sea otters. The students who presented at the sea star station even received an honorable mention from University of Minnesota German professors.

In addition to the ten students who presented on German Day, 24 students in German classes from North Campus attended the event and enjoyed watching the variety of presentations throughout the zoo. 

Unique learning experiences

Willow Lane Elementary School's "takeover" of Donatelli's is continuing to teach groups of fifth-graders valuable life skills. Over the past four Tuesdays, students have been working hands-on as hosts, servers, and cooks at Donatelli's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you would like to witness these young workers experience their first restaurant jobs, the takeover will continue Feb. 25 and March 4 during lunch. Watch a video here to see the highlights from the first week of students working at the White Bear Lake Italian food restaurant. 

As Willow Lane fifth-graders cooked a hearty lunch of life skills, students involved in the robotics team recently completed building their robot for the regional competition on March 27-29 at Mariucci Arena. After six weeks of building, their project is officially hands-off until the competition takes place. This year, the team has two new alumni mentors - Joey Viavattine (2013) and Erik Weigel (2008). Also, thanks to Medtronic's involvement in White Bear Lake's robotics team, students will have the opportunity to get training and certification in robotics in order to strengthen their team and give them a leg up when applying for scholarships and university admittance. 

Dancing like a bear

Two events, the 35th Annual Night Club Event and Hugo/Oneka Elementary Schools' Daddy Daughter Dance, proved that WBLAS students, parents, and community members can really cut a rug! 

The long-standing tradition of Jazz Night Club at South Campus continued on Feb. 8, with featured guest trombonist Jeff Renier, jazz ensemble director at the University of St. Thomas. The event also offered a silent auction including creative lamps made from old (unusable) WBLAHS band instruments, a dessert table, and of course a night of toe-tapping jazz favorites played by our 9-12 graders and alumni band. 

Our youngest dance-enthusiasts had the opportunity to participate in the Daddy Daughter Dance on Feb. 7 at Oneka Elementary School. With about 370 participants, the night was a huge success. The dance, one of the many activities offered by the district's Community Services and Recreation Department, is a favorite "look-up" activity when the Community Education course catalog is published! As a fun twist, the dance was also BearPowered - encouraging dancing with a healthy amount of exercise.  

The significance of February

With February being "I Love to Read" month and Black History Month, students have been engaging in a wide range of activities and lessons focused on these topics. 

At the high school, the social studies department has focused many lessons on the history of the Civil Rights movement in the US in order to highlight this important facet of history during Black History Month. Although the social studies department incorporates Black History lessons throughout the year-long curriculum, they place a particular importance on teaching in-depth lessons and assigning projects so students have a greater understanding of this major strand of history during the month of February. 

At Lakeaires Elementary, students have been going for the gold in their Reading Olympics. Each class at Lakeaires represents a different country and strives to read for enough minutes each day to receive a bronze, silver, or gold medal. If the school as a whole reaches 190 gold medals by the end of the month, they will be rewarded with a trip to the Vadnais Sports Dome. View the photo album here!

Also in February Olympic news, Hugo and Oneka Elementary Schools are having a school-wide passing of the Olympic torch. When the torch arrives in each classroom, the students discuss and decided on one main accomplishment their class has had during the school year.

After the torch has been in each classroom, there will be a school assembly where students will celebrate minutes they have read, books they brought for the Cheer on Reading Book Drive, and food they brought for a food drive. Finally, classes will have their accomplishments read to the entire school.

Activities Updates

The White Bear Lake girls basketball team is currently ranked fourth in the Class 4A division with a record of 21-2. The White Bear Lake High School JV boys swim and dive team finished its season on Saturday by getting third-place at the Suburban East JV Conference Championship meet. Allison Ternes finished in eighth place at the state meet for Nordic Skiing. The WBL boys hockey team won the East Suburban Conference Championship 4-2 over Cretin-Durham Hall.

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 News - Recognition Week

We just recently celebrated School Board Recognition Week. Send a "thank you" email to our School Board members for their work on behalf of our students and families here!


School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.
Upcoming meetings 

Date Type Time Location
February 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
March 3 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
March 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center