September 6, 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

Superintendent

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 communications@isd624.org 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 www.wblaef.org 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 www.wblaef.org. 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 www.wblaef.org 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.

Opportunities

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 tim.mcgraw@isd624.org 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.

Starting out strong, supported

White Bear Lake Area Schools students started the 2013-14 academic year out on a strong note. The largest kindergarten class in recent history was welcomed into the fold with their first official day of school yesterday, bringing a lot of new energy to the already-energized elementary buildings. Many of those youngest students will attend all day kindergarten, which is offered for free at each of the district’s eight elementary sites starting this fall. 

An offering that benefits older students are mentoring programs that have been established at the secondary level. Sixth graders are mentored by eighth grade WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) volunteers, a program that is proudly displayed at Sunrise Park middle school with eight variations of the t-shirt that have been worn by WEB leaders over the years. At the high school level, new traditions are being formed. New this year is LINK Crew, a program through which ninth grade students are led by senior leaders. Both mentoring activities offer upperclassmen leadership opportunities while offering sixth grade and ninth grade students a smooth transition and a warm welcome.
 

Our students are also feeling the strong support on the competitive fields - or pools, as it may be. The start to the fall athletics season has been an exciting one, with a midnight football practice to kick off the first day of the season and a sea of orange being present to support other fall activities. See a video describing this sea of orange - otherwise known as "White Bear Nation" above (in Dr. Lovett's message). You have the opportunity to experience White Bear Nation for yourself at tonight's football game - we hope to see you there!

Photos from last night's boys' soccer, swim and dive, and girls' soccer team competitions can be seen on the District's Facebook page.

Serving at home and abroad

This summer, WBLAHS Student Council members traveled to Sauk Rapids High School to attend the Minnesota Association of Student Councils' Summer Leadership Academy. The six students who participated received active and practical leadership training from student council advisors, athletic directors, and leadership professors, including renowned educators Dr. Tex Ostvig from the University of Minnesota and Dr. Kathi Tuneheim from Gustavus Adolphus College. 

Beyond leadership training, Student Council has been busy at work in other ways as well. During several times summertime meetings, members brainstormed fundraising activities as part of WBLAHS We Act Initiative. We Act is an organization that helps students conceptualize their influence in a local and global scope. Teaming up with National Honor Society and Ambassadors, the three student groups hope to raise a record-setting amount of food for this year's District Wide Food Drive. They also have lofty global aspirations working with H2O for Life to raise funds for a well and sanitation needs for a school in Africa. In serving those closer to home, Student Council members helped WBLAHS - South Campus teachers move furniture, organize rooms, and perform other tasks and warmly greeted their fellow students in a welcome initiative on the first day of schools with back-to-school pencils and mints. 

Up next, the group is excited to host the second annual Homecoming talent show: "South's Got Talent" at 7 p.m. September 24 in the WBLAHS - South Campus Mariner Theater. Tickets are $3 and all are welcome to attend. For those interested in showcasing their talents (limited to current students at South), auditions will be September 12th, 13th, 16th, and 17th after school in room 506 at South Campus. The Student Council welcomes all talents -- from musical acts, jugglers, contortionists, athletic displays, intellectual displays, to even stupid human tricks. 

New initiatives underway for 2012-13

A variety of new initiatives are underway starting this fall. Read below for a quick synopsis of the exciting innovations happening in our schools:

  • Free all-day, every-day kindergarten - Free all-day, every-day kindergarten is available at each of the district’s eight elementary sites this fall. Students benefit from low class sizes, innovative programming and award-winning partnerships for which our schools are known. The all-day program allows greater access to specialists formerly available only for grades 1-5.
  • Elementary World Language - Our elementary schools offer a world language kindergarten through fifth grade. Lincoln and Vadnais students learn Chinese. Students at Birch, Hugo, Lakeiares, Matoska, Oneka, Otter Lake and Willow learn Spanish.
  • Gifted & Talented - As part of our commitment to challenge all students, beginning this year we offer Gifted and Talented cluster groupings to help inspire, challenge and motivate intellectually gifted elementary students to reach new levels of academic success.
  • IB Candidate Schools - Central and Sunrise Park Middle Schools are in their second year as International Baccalaureate Candidate Schools for the Middle Years Program (MYP). Building on an already rigorous curriculum, this internationally recognized program offers our students stronger connections between subject areas.
  • Guidance Office changes - The district has aligned our 6-12 guidance program with national standards. Students receive comprehensive academic and college planning starting in middle school. High school counselors stay with students for four years, moving with them from North Campus to South Campus.
  • College credits - WBLAHS students have the opportunity to earn college credit in more than 30 courses. The total value of credits earned by WBLAHS students in College in the Schools (CIS) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses during 2012-13 was almost $1.6 million at University of Minnesota tuition rates.
  • Student safety - Each of our buildings has a secure or supervised entrance. Front-line employees completed safety training this summer. During the 2013-14 school year, the district will update its Emergency Response Plan in partnership with the White Bear Lake and regional Public Safety Departments.
  • Technology - At every level, innovative technologies improve communications with families and strengthen student engagement, personalizing and accelerating learning.
  • Strategic Plan - Beginning in 2010-11, engaged citizens and staff helped the district formulate a strategic plan. Implementation began in 2011-12 and continues in 2013-14.

Capital Projects Levy Update

In August, the White Bear Lake Area School Board unanimously approved a Capital Projects Levy to be placed on the ballot on November 5 to replace that which was approved in 2003 and just expired, giving our community the opportunity to consider another ten year investment in library books and materials, textbooks and instructional materials, science equipment, technology to support teachers and students, and for repairing and replacing large musical instruments.

Find an informational video about the Capital Projects Levy below.
 


Find an informational web page about the Capital Projects Levy here. This site will be updated as additional information becomes available about the Capital Projects Levy.

Activities Updates

The fall activities season is underway. Join us for a competition or two!
 

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. 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 
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