November 3, 2013

District News

Seasons turn
Warm color-filled days give way to that first chill morning at the bus stop when children discover they can see their breaths. A few weeks later, snow flurries fall mid-morning. Kindergartners bounce from their seats and skip to the window.

School routines flow with the season. As we turn the calendar page to November, we also mark the end of first quarter and begin the second quarter of the school year.

This weekend our varsity cross county runners competed at the state meet, wrapping up our fall sports season. Football, volleyball, and soccer give way to basketball, hockey, and wrestling. At the pool, the girls' team finishes, and the boys begin their season.

Meanwhile, in the North Campus theater, the cast and crew have worked through the fall, and are eager for Friday's opening night of "Once Upon a Mattress." our fall musical production.

Students at every school wrap up the fall food drive to benefit our area food shelves.

This year we also are in "election season." On Tuesday, November 5, voters will go to the polls to vote on four school board seats and an important Capital Projects levy. Since the summer, we have held more than 40 informational meetings.

We are grateful for the strong support of community leaders who have endorsed the levy, to the local press for their support, and for endorsements from the White Bear Chamber of Commerce and the Hugo City Council.

We have linked our web page information on the levy here. Please make time to vote on Tuesday! After you vote, consider reserving your tickets for the musical here. And if you or a family member, neighbor, or friend are age sixty-five or older, please consider applying for a senior actively pass here, which gives free admission to events I have described above.

One reminder: voting is free. As my father once reminded me, that privilege has already been paid for by others who have served on our behalf.

Dr. Michael Lovett


General Information

Capital Projects Levy Updates

The White Bear Lake Area Community will vote on the District's Capital Projects Levy on November 5.

See Capital Projects Levy information 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:

  • Capital Projects Levy updates - The "Capital Projects Levy information" page on the District website is the place you will find all factual information about the levy. We will continue to add to the page as additional pieces are created and additional information becomes available to share, and we will provide links to this page in our internal and community e-newsletters until the November 5 vote. Please look over the information closely, paying particular attention to the Staff Participation in the Capital Projects Levy document.
  • Fall Musical is family-friendly "Once Upon a Mattress" - The WBLAHS 2013 Fall musical is Once Upon A Mattress. A parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, this fun-for-all-ages musical is sure to entertain as a cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil! The rated-PG spoof of a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp) has many fun twists and turns. The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. A matinee will be performed at 2 p.m. on Nov. 9 (matinee free for senior citizens). Ticket prices are $10 for students/senior citizens and $13 for adults. All performances will take place at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater. Tickets are available online, at The Nest in Downtown White Bear Lake, and at the door one hour prior to performances at WBLAHS - North Campus.
  • 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.
  • Family fun night Nov. 14 - Parents with children age one through five are invited to attend the White Bear Lake Area Schools Gingerbread Family Fun Night from 6:15-7:45 p.m. November 14 at Normandy Park Education Center (2482 County Road F East in White Bear Lake). Cost is $5 per family and registrations are due by November 12 at 651-653-3100. The event will consist of parent/child time with art, music, and sensory and cookie decorating activities. Parents also will have the opportunity to discuss possible ways to manage stress while their children explore and play in the classroom with early childhood staff members.
  • 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 - White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Help make the 2013 Staff Appeal a record year! Campaign kick-off starts on October 21st; please watch for the forms at your building. Your contributions make a difference in our community and in the lives or our children. We are better together!
    • 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 the November tip sheet, and learn about how energy is in water, 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, starting in November! Join us on Sunday, November 10th from 1-4 pm at Tamarack Nature Center. The afternoon will include a scavenger hunt, nature walk and free play. This month's event is FREE for all families - so join us! Find a flyer here.


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.
  • Mark your calendar for WBLAHS Fall Musical! - The WBLAHS 2013 Fall musical is Once Upon A Mattress. A parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, this fun-for-all-ages musical is sure to entertain! This rated PG spoof of a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp) has many fun twists and turns. A cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil, this high energy show will be sure to wow the audience and tickle the funny bone! The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8,9,14,15 and 16. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed on Nov. 9 (matinee free for senior citizens). All performances will take place at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater. Pre-sale tickets are currently available online with the access code PARENTS. Regular tickets will go on sale October 28.
  • Support the Wrestling Team - White Bear Lake Wrestling will host a Spaghetti Dinner from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, October 28 at WBLAHS - South Campus. Dine-in or carry out are available. Cost is only $7. All proceeds benefit the White Bear Lake Area High School Wrestling Team.

Awards and Honors

  • Congratulations to the following section coaches of the year (send "congratulations" email at the links below!):
    • Dan Kovacich, Section Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year
    • Doug Hicks, Section Boys Cross Country Assistant Coach of the Year
    • Sue Wurl, Section Girls Cross Country Assistant Coach of the Year
  • Congratulations to Chinese teacher Hui Xu, who received an Early Career Award from the Minnesota Council on Teaching Languages and Cultures. The award is offered in recognition of first year language teachers who show outstanding promise and excellence of instruction in the world language classroom.
  • WBLAHS teacher David Cava will serve as an exchange teacher at Hangzhou Foreign Languages School in Hangzhou, China next semester.
  • As part of the district's teacher exchange program with Hangzhou Foreign Languages School in Hangzhou, China, the following teachers taught in Hangzhou last summer: Danielle OlsrudChris CarneyLisa BrichacekAlex Carlson, and Robert Anderson.

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 - Classroom visitors

Earlier in the school year, Lakeaires Elementary’s artist in residence taught the students about the African Kente cloth. The lessons were reinforced last week when the mother of one of the Lakeaires students visited the classroom and spoke to the class about clothing from Nigeria. The students now know Gele is the tie hat, Buba is the skirt and Iro is the wrap. 

Two other elementaries also welcomed visitors and members of the media into their schools recently. At Vadnais Heights Elementary enjoyed visiting songwriter Randy Peterson. As reported in a recent Vadnais Heights Press issue, Peterson recorded a song about friendship with kindergarteners at the school. Find the link to the students performing the fun song here. And KSTP was at Lincoln elementary to cover an innovative e-field trip the students took a couple of weeks ago. Find video coverage of the virtual field trip here.

Students at WBLAHS - North Campus, Sunrise Park Middle School and Otter Lake Elementary welcomed area residents into their schools recently during the district’s School Tours to showcase how Capital Projects funds are being put to use in the classroom at elementary, middle school and high school levels. At each site, students accompanied our guests and took video footage which we pulled together into this one-minute video. 

See comprehensive Capital Projects Levy information here

Lasting impact

A group of fifth Grade students at Oneka Elementary had the unique opportunity to attend WE Day a few weeks ago. White Bear Lake Area Schools had representatives from Oneka, both middle schools and the high school for what was the first year of WE Day in Minnesota. The day was filled with inspirational singers and speakers, challenging all attendees to do community work, global service and help change the world one person at a time. 

In response to the enthusiasm and the challenge, Oneka Elementary now has fifth grade students who meet weekly after school as members of the team called B.O.S.S.(Bears Official Service Superheros). The group will be perform some community-based service projects and one service project specifically for the country of Haiti. The students and teachers will also be working with the middle school and high school with a global initiative called “H2O for Life,” a non-profit organization that educates, engages and inspires youth to learn, take action and become global citizens.

This was an obvious activity for us to be involved with, states Carla Triggs, one of the fifth grade teachers at Oneka. White Bear already has such a community service mindset, this is just reinforcing it with the younger grades. We are partnering with our wonderful Student Council here at Oneka to make some positive change for our community and beyond. Seeing the students get excited about using their unique talents and abilities to make a positive impact in the world is so rewarding.

October celebrations

Students throughout the District came to school looking a bit different on Halloween. For some, it was a cowboy hat that was pulled out of a long-lost closet. Others were a bit more colorful version of themselves with superhero costumes, hilarious headware and fake mustaches. Staff got into the action as well, with costumes of the feathered friend and fairy varieties, cartoon characters and professional athletes. Still others relied on their colleagues to enjoy a cooperative costume in the spirit of We're Better Together! See a few photos from throughout the district at District's Facebook album.

That same day, students recognized Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world. Students at White Bear Lake Area High School set up a Day of the Dead alter in a North Campus hallway so they could celebrate the important day. The display, called an ofrendas, honors the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The display allowed all students the opportunity to celebrate and learn about the holiday. Different buildings have celebrated Day of the Dead in years past, including similar displays and even traditional food brought in some years. 

Another reason to celebrate at WBLAHS came on October 28, when online tickets for the high school's family-friendly fall musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," went on sale. The play starts this week (with performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 9) and already has limited seating for the opening weekend. Make sure to purchase your tickets soon if you're planning to attend. Tickets are available for purchase online here or at The Nest in Downtown White Bear Lake. There is no mystery as to why the tickets are going so quickly - the WBLAHS Theatre Program has received Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Award accolades for the last four consecutive years. 

Raking in the service experiences


On a recent Saturday morning, Lincoln Elementary students participated in a community service activity that involved raking the leaves of senior citizens in the Lincoln neighborhood. This morning of raking is the first of three activities planned for this year as a part of a new "Hug-A-Heart" service program. More than 80 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade volunteered, along with parents and staff members from the school. The activity was highlighted in the White Bear Press Photo Gallery, with one of the photos - of six-year-old Clara Seeley jumping into the giant pile of leaves she and other student and adult volunteers helped create - being named the Photo of the Week!


Elementary students aren’t the only ones serving the community. Last week, the Sunrise Service Club and Central Serves Club teamed up with the Northeast Youth and Family Services Senior Chore Program to rake the yards of two local seniors. A total of 16 middle school students logged several hours raking and bagging leaves for appreciative local residents.

In addition to raking, students throughout the District have also been taking in donations for the White Bear Area Food Shelf with the Trick-or-Can program. Students have collected non-perishable food donations from households while they’ve been out trick-or-treating. The resident is one that has been hosted by the high school’s Student Council for many years. Said one resident who was visited by District students: “It was fun to have the students accept a piece of candy, then wait for me to go through my pantry for food shelf donations. This is such a creative service project!”

Saying “au revoir”

The scene at White Bear Lake Area High School was similar to the real-life video footage at the beginning and end of the movie “Love Actually,” with newfound friends giving heartfelt hugs and sharing laughs and tears beside suitcases filled to the gills with Bear Wear among other fun items. The students in the scene were WBLAHS students who are studying French and those from the district’s partnership school Lycée International Bossuet in Meaux, France. 

For more than a week, the students were paired as visitors and hosts while the French students were visiting for the exchange. In addition to spending time with their host families, the students traveled throughout the Twin Cities and to Duluth to see the sites. They also experienced the quintessential White Bear life with a welcome bonfire, a day to shadow their American students, a meeting with White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson and a trip to Cup and Cone. 

See photos of the students’ final day in White Bear at the District’s Facebook album.

Student named "Volunteer of the Year" by The Arc Minnesota

Madisyn Kephart, a student at WBLAHS, was recognized as Volunteers of the Year from The Arc Minnesota at The Arc Minnesota’s November 1 Awards Banquet. A sophomore, Madisyn is the youngest person to receive an award from The Arc Minnesota. She was recognized for her leadership in ensuring her classmates with disabilities are included and respected in area high schools and the larger community.

Kephart organizes and participates in many activities to promote inclusion. She started a Special Olympics unified volleyball team (made up of students with and without disabilities), is a member of the Special Olympic Youth Advisory Council, and coaches Special Olympic athletes as well. She is a leader in PALS (Peer and Leadership Society) in White Bear Lake; one of the PALS activities is hosting game days at the local YMCA for students with and without disabilities to socialize and play together.

In addition to being a leader for these recreational activities, Kephart has organized and run a campaign in White Bear to raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the “R-word.” This campaign encourages people to pledge not to use the word, supports the elimination of its derogatory use from everyday speech, and promotes the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The Volunteer of the Year Award honors an individual or family who gives generously of time and talent to support The Arc organization and/or promote the inclusion and independence of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc Minnesota is a statewide, non-profit organization that promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Leslie Sieleni, a parent of a student in the district, also was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year from The Arc Minnesota at the banquet.

Activities Updates

The WBLAHS 2013 Fall musical is Once Upon A Mattress. A parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, this fun-for-all-ages musical is sure to entertain! This rated PG spoof of a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp) has many fun twists and turns. A cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil, this high energy show will be sure to wow the audience and tickle the funny bone! The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8,9,14,15 and 16. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed on Nov. 9 (matinee free for senior citizens). All performances will take place at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater. Girls' Cross Country runner Bethany Kozak qualified for the State Cross Country Meet. This was her 4th trip to the State Cross Country Meet. She has had an incredibly successful career at WBL. The Boys' Cross Country Team advanced to the State Meet after placing second out of 16 teams region 4AA. White Bear has been to the State Meet six out of the last seven years.The White Bear Band has a good showing of students being selected for honors: five students were selected for College Honors Bands, 13 students were selected for Suburban East Conference All Conference Honor Band or Orchestra, and 12 students were selected to perform in the pit orchestra for the high school musical. The women of the Mariners Choir from South Campus, will be singing in a special concert on Saturday, November 23 at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. These fine singers will be participating in a concert entitled "Empowering the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Voices" as part of the American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) fall conference. They will combine with the concert choir women from Wayzata and Chanhassen High Schools for one set, and then will sing in a massed choir of over 300 young women, including the Manitou Singers from St. Olaf College. This concert will also honor the pioneering legacy of Alice T. Larsen, choral director from St. Olaf College from 1957-1984, and mentor to numerous female choral conductors around the country, including Marie Dymit, director of the Mariners. Information about this concert can be found here. A great new Facebook page celebrates WBLAHS Student Activities and the photography of seniors Lindsay Oien and Savannah McDowell - look for "White Bear Lake HS Events". Girls Choir members Brittany Hutchinson, Lauren Carlson, Patrick Timmons, Joey Perreira, Julito Cabrera, Maggie Fischer, Anna Solomon, Maddie Chaplin, Allyson DeSera, Alison Croswell, Kelsey Westveer sang in the Men's Choir/ Women's Choir Festival at St. John's University Saturday Oct. 26th. 600 singers from MN colleges and high schools performed in mini concert sessions and sang together in a finale mass performance.

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

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) 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
November 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
November 25 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center