November 17, 2013

District News

Our School Family
As visitors approach Normandy Park Education Center, an inviting playground draws little children, with parents and older brothers and sisters calling out "slow down!" or "don't fall!" or other equally unheeded warnings.

On benches between building entrance and playground, senior citizens smile, perhaps remembering a time long ago when they were doing the warning. But this day, they watch children play and squeal in delight.

Facing the building a visitor has a choice of two doors. Enter the building through the door on the right into a wonderland for young children. Brightly colored benches close to the ground. Murals. A gym and play area. Classrooms with books and play areas to build and explore and learn. Through this door enter preschoolers, their parents, and teachers.

Enter the building though the door on the left into the senior center. In one room, men craft objects of beauty from blocks of wood. In another, women knit, watching over a dozen tables, where laughter and counting... "15-2, 15-4" are telltale sounds of cribbage.

Through our community education programs, our school district hosts a senior center where our senior citizens come to enjoy company, skilled clubs and hobbies, and stimulating classes and discussion. Through a partnership with the Lions Club, the "Lionmobile" transports seniors to and from medical appointments and shopping. To many seniors, "Meals on Wheels" delivers a hot meal and warm human contact five days a week.

Demographers reminds us that within a decade, as the Baby Boom ages, Minnesotans age 65 and older will exceed the school age population for the first time.

This is but one more reason to include seniors as a vital part of our school and community. Every generation has a part in preparing future generations. And each of us has responsibilities to the generations before us.

Dr. Michael Lovett


General Information

Capital Projects Levy passes, Board members elected

On November 5, the White Bear Lake Area Schools community passed a ten-year Capital Projects Levy. The levy funds library books and materials; textbooks and instructional materials; science equipment; technology to support students and teachers; and repair and replacement of large musical instruments.

Residents also voted on four at-large School Board seats.

See election results 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.

  • The Community Services and Recreation Fall 2013 Catalog is now available online. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • Early Childhood classes
    • Let It Snow (Early Childhood Family Education mini-series for children ages 2- prekindergarten) - As the weather gets colder outside, join us inside for some winter time fun. Find out what animals do when it snows, make a snowman, paint the snow, build an igloo out of blocks and more. Class meets Tuesdays in November and December from 6:15-7:45 PM at Hugo Elementary. Visit to register, or call 651-653-3100 for more information.
    • Storybook Journey Playgroup (For Parents and Children ages 1-5 - Class #4111.202) - Celebrate different children’s books and stories each week. Each class includes: music, games, art, and other learning activities that support and extend the language and concepts from the weekly stories. Class meets Wednesdays at Normandy Park from 12:30-2 p.m. Sign up for the year or attend on a drop-in basis - call the Early Childhood office at 651-653-3100 for more information or to register.
  • Tot Time and Family Fun Time opportunities - Families who live in or attend the White Bear Lake Area School District or who live in the City of Hugo are invited to participate in Oneka Tot Time and Family Fun Time activities at Oneka Elementary School. Tot Time, offered for children ages 0-6 with a parent or guardian, runs November 3 through March 30 on Tuesdays from 4-7:30 p.m., Thursdays from 4:30-7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. Family Fun Time, offered for children ages 7-12 with a parent or guardian, runs November 3 through March 30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. Cost is $2 per child or a maximum of $5 per family with photo identification. For questions or information, call 651-407-7501.
  • For parents only Nov. 19 - White Bear Lake Area Schools and the White Bear Lake Police Department will host a District-Wide Safety Information Night from 6-8:15 p.m. on November 19, 2013 at WBLAHS - South Campus, with a free dinner being served from 5:30-6 p.m. See a flyer here.
  • Transition Resource Fair Nov. 21 - A Transition Resource Fair will take place from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, November 21 at WBLAHS - South Campus (3551 McKnight Road in White Bear Lake). Find information about the event here.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - FacebookTwitter and YouTube.
  • Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us at and you may find your little one featured in District publications! See an example of a "Born to be a Bear" photo here.
  • Wrestling opportunities - Find a flyer for middle school wrestling opportunities here. Find a flyer for Ice Bears Wrestling Club here.

Senior Program Updates:

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

  • FREE Activity Pass for Senior Community members (age 65+) - White Bear Lake Area Schools offer a variety of activities - home athletic contests, concerts, and theater productions to name a few. Join us! Call the Superintendent's Office at 651-407-7563 to request a FREE Activity Pass for home athletics events and a 2013-14 District Activities Calendar. The Activities Pass is available to residents of the White Bear Lake Area School District who are age 65 and older.
  • Community Resources - The White Bear Lake Area offers many resources for older adults in the community. Click here to view a comprehensive list of programs and services.

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.
    • Staff Appeal - As the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation wraps up its annual Staff Appeal, we want to thank all of you for your partnership. Your generous donations make a difference everyday in the lives of our students! Visit our new website and take a look at possible grants and fellowships for you and your classroom.
    • Student Activities Scholarship - The Jim Honsa, Sr. Memorial Student Activities Endowment provides access to co-curricular activities for students who may not otherwise have access due to financial need. The scholarship, administered by the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, provides up to $200 per applicant and is available for students in grades 9-12.
    • Attention 6th - 12th Grade Teachers - The Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship is available for any WBLAS 6th - 12th student who would like to participate in enrichment activities such as writing, speaking, journalism, musical performance, and composition. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide opportunities for students that extend beyond the classroom and encourage higher level thinking skills. If you would like a flier to post in your classroom, please contact Lisa Lindvall and she will send you one! Students will be awarded up to $1,000 per individual, with a total amount of $2,000 in grants to be awarded per year. The application is on line for your students to apply at Completed Grant Applications should be sent to WBLAEF at the District Office, 4855 Bloom Ave. Once the $2,000 amount has been reached for the 2013-2014 school year, I will send a note to teachers through the e-newsletter that we are no longer taking applications.
    • Visit our website - Visit our website to see all of the grants the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation has available for teachers:
      • BROSIOUS TEACHING GRANTS are due Thursday, October 24th. You will find a copy of the Brosious Grant Application form on the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation website. Completed Application Forms can be returned to the WBLAEF office at the District Center, 4855 Bloom Ave., White Bear Lake, MN 55110 or it can be e-mailed to our office manager at, or it can be faxed to our office at 651-407-7643. If you have any questions, please call Lisa Lindval at 651-407-7696. We look forward to receiving your Grant Applications and thank you for applying.
      • The Glasrud Family Fellowship Applications are due February 13, 2014. We hope that having these grant applications available year around on our web site will allow teachers more time to plan & they can fill out their application forms at their own convenience.
    • Supporting art initiatives - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation awarded five separate art initiatives to four elementary schools in the district. Recipients are Matoska I.B School (Lori Felton, Pam Winkler, & Julie Stonehouse), Willow Elementary (Tracy Gripentrog, Tammy Reed, & Deb Bleymeyer), Birch Lake Elementary (Greg Hjelm& Paula Perron), and Otter Lake Elementary (LuAnneOklobzija).
    • Bleed Orange and Black - Foundation board members also handed out team spirit shirts reading, "Bleed Orange and Black". To find out how to get a team spirit shirt contact the Foundation office at
  • Energy Efficiency Program - The Schools for Energy Efficiency® (SEE) is a comprehensive program for K-12 schools to save energy and money by changing behavior throughout the district. Find a November tip sheet about America Recycles Day here.
  • MacPhail Center for Music - Save $25 on music lessons at MacPhail Center for Music's location at Birch Lake Elementary when you register by December 31. Mention WBLDIST-FALL14. Valid for new students only. Call 612-321-0100 or go to, flyer available by clicking here.
  • BearPower - BearPower is excited to announce that the White Bear Area YMCA will be hosting monthly family activities. Look for updates of the activities every month.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Support the White Bear Lake Area High School Band Program - The WBLAHS Band Program is in competition to win $3000 from MazdaEdu. Find information about the competition here.
  • Inclusion Week - December 2-6 is Inclusion Week in the Schools. Look for building and classroom activities that will be hosted in recognition of the week.

Awards and Honors

  • Upcoming staff recognition days/weeks:
    • November 18-22 is American Education Week.
    • November 20 is Education Support Professionals Day.
    • November 22 is Substitute Educators Day.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

Student News - Thank You to the community

The White Bear Lake Area Schools community voted on a 10-year Capital Projects levy investment on November 5 with a 61% to 39% margin. The levy funds library books and materials; textbooks and instructional materials; science equipment; technology to support students and teachers; and repair and replacement of large musical instruments.

Four School Board members were also elected that day: Kim Chapman, George Kimball, Donald Mullin and Janet Newberg.

Find official voting results here.

Calling all parents

White Bear Lake Area Schools and the White Bear Lake Police Department will host a District-Wide Safety Information Night from 6-8:15 p.m. on November 19, 2013 at WBLAHS - South Campus. A free dinner will be served from 5:30-6 p.m. that evening to attendees, and free childcare will be available for those attendees who need it. 

During this event, parents will be able to attend two breakout sessions on the following topics: Internet Safety, Teen Driving Laws and Safety, Youth Drug Trends and Awareness, Healthy Relationships and Safe Dating. The evening was scheduled in such a way that a family who sends two adult participants can cover all four topics, which were selected based upon topics that are most requested by parents, and especially parents of preteens and teens.

Find a "Cop's Corner" article about the event in the Nov. 5 issue of the White Bear Press or available online here.

A true community auditorium

The Community Auditorium has been a destination location these days, with a variety of fun activities taking place on that very stage.

Last week, students throughout the district recognized veterans on Veterans Day and during the week. Central Middle School seventh graders enjoyed a visit from Major Barry Henriksen, who spoke with students about his experiences before presenting awards for the Patriot's Pen essay contest. The essay contest is one hosted by the White Bear Lake VFW. More than 100 students wrote 300-400 words about "What Patriotism Means to Me." Along with the students, veteran community members filled the seats in the Community Auditorium. Find additional photos of the assembly celebration here.

The week before, a team of White Bear Lake Area Schools students performed a play, "It's Our School, Too," in front of Central Middle School sixth graders. The show was a preview of the play that the actors later performed at the National Middle School Association's conference in Minneapolis before the main audience, which was estimated to be somewhere around 3,000 teachers from around the United States. The play was performed in conjunction/cooperation with Minnesota Special Olympics. Find photos of the Central play here.

Before that, more than 100 students (some in costume) showed up to watch the movie "Avengers" at the auditorium. The movie offering was provided through the collaboration of the City of Hugo and White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation department. The kids enjoyed watching a major motion picture right here for free. "The last student to leave the building eagerly asked "When is the next movie showing? Next time, I want to bring my little brother - this was awesome!" Parents also found the activity a beneficial one. Offered one parent, "this was a great experience for my child, and it allowed me to get some shopping and house cleaning done." 

Something to look forward to

The White Bear Lake Area High School mountain bike team finished another fun season at the state finals in Mankato. The athletes navigated the steep slopes and wild single track trails against 30 other schools. 

When all was said and done, Reanne Kolasa finished second over all in girls junior varsity. Dane Larson finished 15th over all in the boys junior varsity category.

The team will host an innovative "try it out" session next spring at Lake Wood Hills Park, located behind the White Bear Area YMCA. The team and league will have a trailer full of mountain bikes that potential riders can try out. The team will also set up an easy loop around the park to ride and offer a free skills clinic. Details will be posted next Spring.

Team photo by WBLAHS teacher Shawn Gritzmaker.


Needles, knitting and newborns

District students come in all shapes and forms - and cover multiple generations. "Needles, knitting and newborns" is the mantra of a group of seniors that meets every Thursday at the Senior Center in White Bear Lake. Cynthia Stuck and her group of 18 tireless workers knit hundreds of baby hats as a way to welcome the area's newest citizens born at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood. To date, they have made more than 1400 caps in all colors and sizes, and they use various techniques, from looming to crocheting.

"I like seeing how happy women are when they get together to do this project," says Stuck. "The whole thing is enjoyable and rewarding; it promotes a sense of well-being and an element of knowing that other people care. There's a lot of laughter in the group. We learn from each other and tutor each other, too."

Folks are welcome to stop by and volunteer at 10 a.m. Thursdays, or they can donate money and materials at the Senior Center. Patterns and a sample hat will be made available to help folks who might not have a lot of experience sewing. If you can't make the Thursday meetings, you can work on the hats during the week and drop them off at your convenience. 

Fall musical is a hit

The White Bear Lake Area High School fall musical, the family-friendly "Once Upon a Mattress," brought audience members through many fun twists and turns. The cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil told a parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, as a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp).

All ages were represented by audience members, with a free matinee for senior citizens and coupons sent home to elementary-aged students in the district. Fan favorites for the youngest theatre-goers was the "dress-up photo opp" with a knight in shining armor during intermission and the energetic musical numbers. Get a glimpse of the show here. Photo above courtesy of White Bear Press.

While you will have to wait until next spring for another full-fledged musical production, there are additional opportunities to see the award-winning theatre department shine on stage yet this academic year. Mark your calendar for a free public performance of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the one act play, on Wednesday, January 22. And keep an eye out for additional details this spring, as students will perform "The Odyssey" April 24-26.

Activities Updates

The mountain bike team finished their season at the state finals in Mankato versus 30 other schools. Reanne Kolasa finished 2nd over all in girls junior varsity. Dane Larson finished 15th over all in the boys junior varsity category.

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 Recognitions

The White Bear Lake Area School Board recognized students for state-level accomplishments before the November 11 School Board meeting. Student groups recognized were: Central Middle School Students who were chosen as members of the Minnesota American Choral Director's Association, a girls' cross country team member who represented WBLAHS at the state meet, and the boys' cross country team that advanced to state after placing second out of 16 teams in region 4AA.

"Like" the photos of the students on the District's Facebook page here.

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Upcoming meetings 

Date Type Time Location
November 25 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center