March 16, 2014

Seeing neighbors again

The Old Farmers Almanac and our local meteorologists assure us that spring begins this year on March 20, right at 12:57 p.m., about the time fifth graders are finishing lunch.

While scientists can predict the exact time of the vernal equinox, predicting when it will feel like spring is quite another matter. For this information, we can observe the fifth graders. After lunch on March 20 will they rush out to recess with baseball gloves and four square balls, eager to play spring activities after a long winter?

Phenologists are scientists who observe changes in the seasons by observing subtle changes in nature such as bird migration, tree-budding, and presumably by watching fifth graders play at recess.

For the rest of us, here are sure signs that spring is coming:

1. Spring sports begin this week, including baseball and softball, lacrosse, track and field, boy's tennis, sailing, and sports that carry over from winter such as archery.

2. Music fills the air, including elementary and middle school musicals, elementary school concerts, and middle school and high school band and choir concerts.

3. We attend school five days a week without fear that the governor (or someone else) might call off school because of cold or snow (yes, we know it could happen again).

4. State tests begin in March, including Minnesota MCA's at all levels and in May, Advanced Placement Exams for high school students.

5. We return eager to finish the last quarter together and all the exciting learning activities in the classroom, field trips, and service learning in the community.

Finally, we start seeing neighbors again in our neighborhoods and at school events. Ah, spring is arriving!

Dr. Michael Lovett

In Pictures: Willow Lane Elementary Takes Over Donatelli's 2014

Student News - Section titles in basketball, hockey

The White Bear Lake girls' basketball team and the boys' hockey team both claimed conference section titles in February. 

The girls' basketball team finished with only three losses overall during the regular season and shared the conference title with Park-Cottage Grove with a tied Suburban East Conference record. With their outstanding regular season performance, the team earned the top seed for the Section 4A Tournament. On March 13, the team took second place in the tournament after a tough 53-47 loss to St. Paul Central in the finals.

On the ice, the boys' hockey team finished with an outstanding 18-6-1 overall season record, 14-3-1 in Suburban East play, and were seeded second for the section tournament. Unfortunately, during the Section 4 semifinals, the Bears fell 2-1 to Stillwater.

In other boys' hockey news, the Pioneer Press recently named Jake Wahlin, the Bears' junior forward, boys' hockey player of the year. Wahlin's record-breaking season and prep career contributed to this distinction.

Wahlin set a school record this season with 41 goals. Pairing those goals with his 36 assists also made him the Bears' single-season point leader. Throughout his prep career, Wahlin scored 89 goals and made 100 assists, breaking yet another school record for career scoring.

Talented students

Throughout the district, students are showcasing their talents and receiving acclaim for their achievements. On Feb. 27, Central Middle School hosted 15 performances for their annual talent show. Participating students created acts involving singing, dancing, clogging, gymnastics, and piano playing.

Students attributed inspiration for their talents from a variety of sources including singing in unusual situations, family clogging traditions, the work of South Korean pianist Yiruma, and even the television show The Voice. Central's own student council sponsored the event. 

Also at Central Middle School, eighth-grader Jayna Carpenter recently won the middle school division of Youth Art Month. This is the first year the middle school has participated in Youth Art Month. 

The contest received 80 total entries and 28 entries at the middle school level. Each level (elementary, middle, and high school) is awarded three honorable mentions and one first place prize. Jayna's artistic talents won her first place at the middle school level and her work will be displayed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts until March 30.

Throughout the past few weeks our high school students have shown their talents as musicians and fundraisers as well. At the 2014 region 4AA instrumental solo/ensemble music contest, White Bear Lake Area High School was represented by many great musicians. Fifty-nine students from North Campus and 71 students from South Campus all received either superior or excellent ratings, the two highest ratings, at the competition. Click here to learn more about the contest results.

High school students' talents even extended to philanthropy last weekend. On March 8, a group of South Campus Ambassadors led by student Kayla Foss participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Walk at the Mall of America. The team raised $3,346.85 for the MDA through their participation in this event. 

Our youngest bears

Our youngest bears have been very busy over the past few weeks. White Bear Lake preschool classes at Tamarack Nature Center had the unique opportunity to tap maple trees for syrup during the first week of March. With the assistance of a teacher, each child could take a turn using the manual drill and hammer.

After getting the sap from the trees, they helped make the maple syrup and tasted it during a special pancake snack. Creative learning activities like this are prevalent throughout the Early Childhood Program. For example, in January, this Tamarack class invited their family and friends to join them for a snowshoeing lesson. 

Preschool spots are still available for next year! Click here to learn more and click here to register online.

Also in preschool news, the Early Childhood Program PTA is planning their 28th annual ECFE garage sale. This sale brings the community together to help recycle items people may no longer need, such as children's used toys, clothing and equipment as well as maternity clothes. If you would like more information about this outreach program or if you would like to know how to sell goods at the sale, click here.

With more than 8,000 items for sale and a bake sale, this event is not only fun and community-oriented - but it also serves as an economical way to purchase quality items. All of the proceeds from the sale go to the school and the PTA outreach program. Also, keep in mind, the Early Childhood Family Education Spring Event is quickly approaching - mark your calendars early!

Parent leader groups are positively impacting our schools at the elementary level as well. The Willow Lane Elementary PTO raised more than $4,000 by forming a team during the 2014 Winter Plunge. The team, Willow Lane Plunging Bears, jumped in the frigid waters at Lakeside Beach in Forest Lake on Feb. 22.

Life-long readers

Even though "I Love to Read" February is over, the reading activities our schools participated in during the month have undoubtedly sparked a life-long interest for books in many of our students. A love for reading does not end on March 1.

Four activities at the elementary school level highlight how our schools instill a passion for reading in our young students. At Lakeaires Elementary, classes participated in a school-wide competition to win gold, silver, and bronze medals by reading enough minutes. 

Because the school as a whole received more than 190 gold medals, all students had the opportunity to go to the Vadnais Sports Dome as a special treat. At the dome, Principal Krusemark took a selfie with several students (at left) to mimic Ellen DeGeneres' selfie taken at the Oscars. Click here for more photos from the White Bear Press. Click here to congratulate the students on their reading accomplishments!

Otter Lake Elementary ended their reading and fitness-focused month of February with a staff Olympics. Click here to see some hilarious staff photos! At Lincoln Elementary, students read more than 190,000 minutes all together during the month of February. As a reward, they had the chance to see their principal, Dan Schmidt, stick his head in a giant bucket of whipped cream. Here are the pictures!

Finally, Hugo and Oneka Elementary had a lot to celebrate at their school assembly on Feb. 28. Not only did they read more than 200,000 minutes during February, but they also brought in more than 700 books for Cheer on Reading, sponsored by Cheerios. Also last month, the school raised more than $2,000 for Pennies for Patients, which supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Activities Updates

The WBLAHS boys' hockey team and the WBLAHS girls' basketball team both claimed conference section titles in February (see above article for more information). The WBLAHS boys' basketball team won the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Team Academic Section Championship. The team's academic accomplishment will be on display at the Target Center throughout the entire course of the state basketball tournament. The WBLAHS math team just finished their season. Sophomore Max Perron was the top scorer on the team and placed 9th in the conference overall. Seniors Taylor Krivanek and Michael Lee earned their century mark, meaning throughout their time on the math team they have earned more than 100 points - this is not an easy thing to do! Band students from WBLAHS competed in the 2014 region 4AA instrumental solo/ensemble music contest. Fifty-nine students from North Campus and 71 students from South Campus all received either superior or excellent ratings, the two highest ratings, at the competition. White Bear Lake Area High School is seeking nominations for its Athletic Hall of Fame. If you have an interest in nominating a former athlete, coach, or community member connected with Bears athletics, please contact Karen Larson, Activities Secretary at South Campus (651-773-6206) for information about the requirements, as well as the nomination form.

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 - Student Recognition

The School Board recently recognized students who have earned a place in honor and all-conference bands, orchestras, and choirs, as well as students who received Scholastic Art Awards, WBLAHS gymnasts, Nordic Ski team members, WBLAHS Swim and Dive team members, and the WBLAHS Wrestling team members, who all represented the district at their respective state meets. Say congratulations here!

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
March 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
April 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
April 28 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center