September 20, 2013

District News

The 4 T's - textbooks, test tubes, technology and tubas
Today's generation of high school students tackles challenging subjects taught almost exclusively at colleges a generation ago. More than 60% of our high school students take advantage of 32 college-level classes - including Advanced Placement classes and College in the Schools and engineering courses taught through the University of Minnesota.

Such courses and the rigorous preparation work done by students at the elementary and middle school level prepare our students to graduate into a world both complex and competitive. The tools of teaching and learning, including textbooks, science equipment, library and media materials, and instructional technology, are critical to assuring that every student is challenged and can progress to the next level.

In music, our bands and choirs are competitive with the best in Minnesota. For instrumental study, music is expressed through an instrument, in concert with a full band or ensemble. Some key ensemble instruments - tubas, french horns, and timpani, for example - are beyond a cost families can afford and are purchased by the schools to be rented or provided to students.

Many of you know first-hand from your own experiences in the schools how past school district investments in textbooks and media, science equipment, technology, and musical instruments has paid dividends.

As you likely know, our School Board is asking our community to consider continuing these investments for the next decade. A Capital Projects Levy question will be placed on the November 5 ballot.

If you want to see for yourself how Capital Projects Levy investments are being used, attend your school's parent leaders meetings for short informational sessions led by district administrators or consider "coming back to school" to tour, observe, and ask questions next month at these scheduled School Community Open Houses:

  • Tuesday, October 22
    8:30-10 a.m., WBLAHS - North Campus
  • Wednesday, October 23
    8:30-10 a.m., Sunrise Middle School
  • Thursday, October 24
    9:30-11 a.m., Otter Lake

To learn more about the Capital Projects Levy, please take six minutes to hear teachers, parents and students tell the story about textbooks, test tubes, technology and tubas!

Dr. Michael Lovett


General Information

Did You Know?

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.
  • The White Bear Area Senior Program will host a Bake Sale from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 at the White Bear Area Senior Center, 2484 County Road F, White Bear Lake.

Parent Notices:

  • Parent Notification telephone calls and emails - We have heard word from a few parents that they are their Gmail account is sending emails sent from our Parent Notification system into a Promotions Tab. If this is happening to you as well, please drag the specific email into your Inbox Tab. After you do that one time, all future correspondence from that address should route to your Inbox, rather than the Promotions Tab.
  • Stay connected!
    • Community e-Newsletter - "Join Our Email List" on the front page of the District website to receive the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. The piece covers School Board proceedings, student and staff successes, and school and Community Education offerings.
    • Stay Social - Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' new social media circles - FacebookTwitter and YouTube.
    • Community Channel - The District has a presence on Cable Channel 20 in the local viewing area with District information and updates. School Board meetings are broadcast after regular business meetings on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Thursday at 10 a.m.
    • Activities Calendar - White Bear Lake Area School District Activities Calendars are mailed to District families and community members who request copies at the beginning of each academic year.
    • Annual Report to the Community - The Annual Report is published every fall for District residents. It provides a snapshot of the District, including information regarding student achievement, school climate, District finances, District profile, and School Board information.
  • 2013-14 Beginning of the Year Letter - A fold-out postcard containing Capital Projects levy information, important district notices, online tools to track your child's progress, and a recap of the initiatives new for 2013-14 should have arrived in the mailboxes of all District families earlier this week. Find an online version of the piece here. If you did not receive the mailing, please email the Communications email address with your name, your student's name, and your complete address and we will work to get the letter sent out to you with your personalized Schoology information.
  • 2013-14 Policy Manual - The 2013-14 District Policy Book for Safe Schools should have arrived in the mailboxes of District families recently. Find an electronic version of the piece here. A complete listing of District policies can be found here.
  • 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.
  • P.A.L.S. Activities - WBL P.A.L.S. (Peer and Leadership Society) hosts game days for grades 5-10 every third Sunday of the month from 2-4 p.m. at the White Bear Lake YMCA Teen Center. Find a flyer here.
  • October is Dyslexia Awareness Month - Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed that October, 2013, shall be Dyslexia Awareness Month. See the proclamation here.
  • RCCMHC Family Newsletter - See the August/September Family Newsletter distributed by the Ramsey County Children's Mental Health Collaborative here.
  • Internet Safety Resources - Valuable resources that are designed to protect our children are available online here. The items available include teaching materials, presentations, safety pledges and safety tips on topics such as cyberbullying, gaming and smartphone safety, sexting, and protecting children online.
  • Mark your calendar for WBLAHS Homecoming! - Homecoming 2013 will take place September 23-28, with a variety of activities to be enjoyed. A few of the listings include Coronation on the 23rd, the Homecoming Parade and football game on the 27th and a FREE BearPower Homecoming Celebration Family Walk/Run taking place on the 28th. Find a full schedule of Homecoming activities here. Find additional information for the 6.24K run here.
  • Otter Lake All-Star Birthday Bash - Mark your calendars! Otter Lake Elementary will host an All-Star Birthday Bash from 5-8 p.m. on September 26 to celebrate the 25th birthday of the school. All current and former students, parents, teachers and staff are invited to attend.

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.
  • Bake Sale - The White Bear Area Senior Program will host a Bake Sale from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 at the White Bear Area Senior Center, 2484 County Road F, White Bear Lake.
  • 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 excited to celebrate more than 20 years of partnership with the school district. Please watch for the annual Staff Appeal forms that will arrive in your mailbox during the last two weeks of October. Your contributions make a difference in our community and in the lives of our children. We are better together!
    • NEW Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant Due Date - The Ryan Family Fund provides annual grants to benefit elementary art in the White Bear Lake Area Schools. In addition to funding instructional materials and artists-in residence, the Ryan Family Elementary Art Grants may also be used for the purchase of art supplies. The maximum distribution per grant will be $500.Teachers have 12 months to use this art grant. Applications are available at and the APPLICATION DUE DATE is October 4, 2013. Please send completed Application Forms to the WBLAEF Office at District Center. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Lindvall.
    • Brosious Teaching Grant Applications - Brosious Teaching Grant Applications are available to teachers at There will be a Brosious Grant Writing Workshop from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on October 1st in Room #201 at District Center. Brosious Teaching Grant Applications are due at the WBLAEF Office no later than October 24th. The purpose of the Brosious Grants is to assist WBL professional personnel working directly with children in our schools. The goal of the Brosious Teaching Grant is to enhance the rigor of the curriculum or instruction within the classroom. This grant must be aligned with the District's goals and objectives. Teachers will have 12 months to complete usage of this grant. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Lindvall.
    • Attention 6th - 12th Grade Teachers - The Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship is available for any WBL 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. The Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant Applications is due October 4, 2013. The Brosious Teaching Grant Applications are due October 24, 2013. 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. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Lindvall.
    • WBLAEF News - See the May-August, 2013 White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation newsletter here.
  • 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 September tip sheet, and learn 25 Water Saver's Fun Facts along the way, here.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Mark your calendar for WBLAHS Homecoming! - Homecoming 2013 will take place September 23-28, with a variety of activities to be enjoyed. A few of the listings include Coronation on the 23rd, the Homecoming Parade and football game on the 27th and a FREE BearPower Homecoming Celebration Family Walk/Run taking place on the 28th. Find a full schedule of Homecoming activities here. Find additional information for the 6.24K run here.
  • Volunteer Opportunities Available in the Writing Center - With the development and growth of the White Bear Lake Area High School Writing Center, more demand from students for resources has opened volunteer positions for interested community members. If you have experience with writing and would like to volunteer your time on either a regular basis or on an as-needed basis, please contact Writing Center Coordinator Carolyn Youngbauer at 651-773-6260 for more information about what it means to become a Writing Coach!
  • 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.
  • Sunrise Fundraiser - Sunrise Park Middle School is selling Metro Dining Club (DMC) cards this fall. The North/Northeast Metro card set has 166 restaurants. Each card may be used once a month October 2013 - October 2014. A few of the local restaurants include Roadside Pizza, Blue Heron, C. G. Hooks, Carbone's Pizza, Mad Jacks, & Running Aces.Cost is $22 (savings of $6) per set. Contact Linda Adams at 651-653-2701 if interested.
  • WBLAHS - South Campus Sunshine Fundraiser - The WBLAHS - South Campus Sunshine Fund is once again selling DMC (Metro Dining Club) cards. Cost is $22. Each set has 166 cards that may be used once a month October 2013 - October 2014. Local restaurants include Blue Heron, C.G. Hooks, Cafe Cravings, Dairy Queen, Don Julio, Kelly's Korner, Mad Jacks, Olive Joes, Roadside Pizza & Running Aces. Contact Cathy Ackerknecht 651-653-6204 or Karen Larson 651-653-6206 to request a set.
  • ALC Craft Sale - The ALC craft sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ALC on September 28th. There is still space for vendors if they wish to rent a space for the day. Contact Tim at 651-773-6406 or for more information about becoming a vendor for the event. Proceeds from the sale will go toward funding ALC educational activities. The economics class will use the money to fund entrepreneurs on KIVA and the language arts class will use the money to attend Othello at the Guthrie theater in the spring. Find an article about the project 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.

Awards and Honors

  • The District website has been presented an Education Standard of Excellence Award in the Web Marketing Association's WebAward 2013 process. See additional information here. Send a note of congratulations to the web team here.
  • Mark Garrison, WBLAS Technology Director, has been chosen to speak at a September 21st, 2013 TEDxBurnsvilleED event that will explore the concept of Education Without Boundaries. Conversation and activities will build on ideas shared by speakers, from Minnesota and throughout the district, about the changing environment - and redefinition - of education. More information on the TEDxBurnsvilleED website. Send a note of congratulations to Mark here.

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

Have music, will march

The White Bear Lake Area High School Band members have recently marched through rain and shine, with a sunny day's stroll in the Minnesota State Fair Parade and a rainy day adventure for the Township Day Parade. Click here to enjoy photos from the Township Day Parade. 

Next up for the group is an energetic performance in next week's Homecoming Parade - which will start at 3:15 p.m. and will weave through Downtown White Bear Lake. Stop by and enjoy the show, along with participating in a variety of other opportunities for involvement next week. Find a complete list of Homecoming activities here.

The band is in good company in the music program. Our high school bands and choirs receive top state ratings and are honored to perform at the state's most select festivals, our musicals have received top state ratings four years running, and our students consistently receive state and national recognition.

A new "book club" class

The district's Early Childhood program is hosting a special "NurtureShock" class for parents and their children birth through first grade. Similar to other Early Childhood Family Education classes, the class consists of parent child time including play, art activities and songs and a parent-only portion of the class for discussion. During this class, however, the parent-only time will be spent discussing the book 

NurtureShock, which uses current research to offer a new way to look at some preconceived notions about the way we parent. Some of the chapters include topics on the effects of over praising, the results of children being sleep deprived and how children look at diversity.

It has been said that "NurtureShock is a revolutionary new perspective on childhood that up-ends a library's worth of conventional wisdom. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live."

The class runs Tuesday evenings from 6:15-7:45 p.m. at Hugo Elementary through December 17. Call the Early Childhood Programs at 651-653-3100 for more information or to register. Enrollment is limited.

Up to the challenge

District middle school and high school students were visited by a "loner turned media sensation" recently when Katie Spotz spoke to the students and challenged them to help provide water, sanitation and hygiene education for schools in developing countries. 

Katie's unique tie to the causes is a world record-setting solo row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2010, when she spent more than 70 days in solitude. Through that effort, she raised more than $150,000 for safe water projects in Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Kenya. In 2011, she visited water projects and saw first-hand the results of the funds raised through her adventure.

During her presentation, Katie challenged the students to raise funds for water, so it is very likely that the students will be using her example to come up with unique fundraising ideas of their own! The speaker also shared a mantra that kept her going when she didn't think she had it in her: "At the halfway mark feeling tired and overwhelmed, I told myself 'I'm not rowing 3000 miles, I'm rowing just one mile - 3000 times.'"

Katie's visit was made possible by H2O for Life, a nonprofit organization based in White Bear Lake that has a longstanding working relationship with the district.

The voice on the other end of the line

Hugo and Oneka Elementary families had a fun treat last night, when elementary students delivered a "voicedrop message" that is usually facilitated by administrators and teachers. The unique phone call encouraged families to gather their friends and neighbors to register for the free district-wide BearPower Homecoming Celebration Family 6.24K Walk/Run. Check out the students' compelling message here.

Students made sure to mention that the first 624 registered participants will get a t-shirt and reminded listeners a couple of times that the walk is FREE! Information about the free family walk/run, open to all district families and community members, can be found here.

The walk/run is only one of the Homecoming 2013 activities scheduled to take place September 23-28. The full schedule of Homecoming activities is below:

  • Monday, Sept. 23 - College T-shirt Day, Coronation - 7 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus Theater
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24 - Hippie Day, Talent Show - 7 p.m. WBLAHS - South Campus Theater
  • Wednesday, Sept. 25 - Super Hero Day, WBLAHS - North Campus Pep-fest
  • Thursday, Sept. 26 - Neon Day, South Campus Pep-fest/All School Lunch
  • Friday, Sept. 27 - School Spirit Day, Parade - 3:15 p.m. Downtown White Bear Lake, Football game vs. Hastings - 7 p.m. WBLAHS - South Campus
  • Saturday, Sept. 28 - Bear Power Homecoming Celebration Family Walk/Run - 8 a.m. WBLAHS - South Campus, Semi-formal Dance 8-11 p.m.

Activities Updates

WBLAHS Girls' Cross Country runner Bethany Kazak has won three of the four invitationals the girls' team has competed in so far this season. She won the St. Paul Central Invite, the Faribault Invite and the Rum River Invite, where she set a course record of 14:07 for 4000 meters. And she was the runner up at the Marshfield Invite. Bethany was beat by the #1 ranked girl in the state (Anna French). Bethany is currently ranked #3 in the state in the coaches' poll. The cross country team will compete next at the prestigious Roy Griak Invite on Saturday, September 28. WBLAHS Band members recently marched in the Minnesota State Fair and Township Day Parades.

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
Monday, Sept. 23 Work-Study 5:30 p.m District Center 
Monday, Oct. 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
Monday, Oct. 28 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
Monday, Nov. 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center