April 19, 2015

In this issue

Superintendent's Message

  • How will your students remember you?

Student News

  • In Photos: Birch Core Values assembly!
  • Rare opportunities
  • Outstanding accomplishments
  • Anticipated performance
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Recognitions
  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors

Upcoming Events

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How will your students remember you?
More than 40 years ago, a children's book was published with the comforting title of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

The author received awards and prizes. That hardly seems fair. After all, every one of us could have furnished the story line from one of our own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days!

But wait. Today is a wonderful, delightful, very good, and not at all bad day.

So why refer to this story?

Last week I joined 20 community members interviewing our six finalist candidates for Teacher of the Year. As we listened to each teacher's story, emotions came to the surface. We laughed, and a few of us might admit to tearing-up. We realized that the teachers in front today know when their students are having a tough day. And know just what to do.

Last week our finalists were asked, "What will your students remember about you ten years from now?"

To get a sense of how these teachers might have felt when they heard this question, consider:

If you are a teacher, how do you think your students will remember you?
If you are a parent, what will your children remember? (Scary thought, isn't it)
If you are student, how will your friends remember you?

Teachers, parents, and students, here's what they won't remember:

Your bad hair days;
Days your clothes are mismatched or wrinkled; or
When you are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

From last week's interviews we do know how the teachers before you today will be remembered. 

They cared about each student every day. 
They helped each student dream and have the confidence to pursue dreams. 
They were committed to the success of every child, every day. 

Even when any of us were having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

Adapted from the Superintendent's Welcome remarks for the 2015 Teacher of the Year Celebration


In Photos: Birch Core Values assembly!


Student News


Rare Opportunities
The classroom is a place where students are constantly putting their brains to work. Fifth grade students at Lakeaires Elementary learned a little bit more about how the brain works during a recent lesson, where they not only discussed brains but worked with REAL ones! Former Lakeaires student Jordan Becker and his wife Abbey study biology and chemistry. Abbey is currently finishing up her PHD in Neuro Science at the University of Minnesota, and was able bring in real brains to show our Lakeaires students. They viewed different animals' brains and a human brain, even touching it!


Inviting guest speakers is a great way to spice up the learning and get students excited. That was Willow fifth grader Harshavarthan Alagesan's intention when he invited President Barak Obama for a visit. Harshavarthan wrote a letter to President Obama inviting him to Donatelli's for lunch during the fifth graders' recent take-over experience. Though the Commander-In-Chief couldn't make the trip, he sent Harshavarthan gifts acknowledging the invite. Harshavarthan received an autographed picture of the President, an autographed picture of the First Family and a picture of each of their dogs. He also received information on the White House. 


Sending gifts is always a good way to brightening someone's day and Otter Lake students wanted to spread some of that cheer to our troops overseas. John Barnes' class made a quilt for a staff member's niece, Captain Jenna Sanders and her husband Captain Bryan Sanders. The quilt made its way to Iraq and the two of them were so overjoyed, they wanted to express their thanks in a very special way. This past week, the husband and wife surprised Barnes' students and presented them with a flag which had been flown in Iraq. The students asked them questions and were so excited to learn about their American heroes.

Students at Oneka Elementary witnessed American heroes of a different sort last Thursday, when they watched fire departments from Hugo and Forest Lake, along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, contain (with saturation and back burns) a grass fire that started on the outskirts of the school property. The lessons that started in the classroom that day, including researching grass fires and learning about methods to control grass fires, continued into Friday as well. Students collected soil from the area and will test how plants grow in samples from the fire vs. areas not touched by the burn. They also measured the height of burn marks on the trees, recorded sounds made by animals, recorded the intensity of smell, and predicted the number of coniferous trees that will survive and not survive. The learning from one exciting afternoon will stick with the students through the rest of the year and beyond!

Outstanding accomplishments
From geography to literature, Sunrise Park Middle School student Madeline Lamwers is quite the competitor. Her Letters About Literature submission advanced to the state

round of judging. She also qualified to compete in state level competition of the National Geographic Bee. 

At the high school level, senior Katie Zoborowski took the title as the 2015 Athena Award winner. The St. Paul Area Athena Awards program honors female high school seniors for their athletic achievements.

Senior Justin Baker has been awarded the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. The Evans Scholarship is a full tuition and housing college scholarship for golf caddies and is awarded based on a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. It is named in honor of legendary amateur golfer Chick Evans, whose charitable legacy was to send deserving caddies to college.


Helping students excel is something our teachers strive for each and every day, and those efforts rarely go unnoticed, especially for the 2015 Teacher of the Year Pamela Johnstone. It was an exciting and emotional event at the Teacher of the Year Extravaganza when Johnstone took the stage to thank her colleagues and most importantly, her students for this honor. Pamela is a fifth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary and was one of six educators to be recognized for their outstanding efforts in the classroom. The five other finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award were Elizabeth Werner, Leigh Anderson, Paul Meuwissen, Philip Wacker and Debra Hibbard.


Another teacher who has a big impact on our students is World Language teacher David Nathanson, who recently returned from traveling across the globe to compete in the Deafolympics. David traveled to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia as a member of the USA Curling team. This was the first official curling event in the 18th Winter Deaflympics games and Nathanson was is one of 32 American athletes competing in the winter events. While the U.S. team did not medal at the event, Mr. Nathanson performed very well. Students were able to glimpse into the games online and they got to connect with him via live stream briefly into the classroom where he was able to check up on them and introduce them to people from different countries. His ability to represent U.S. would not have been possible without the support of all the staff and administrators at White Bear Lake Area High School. You can view archives of their matches here.


Anticipated performance
Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing for our talented students - it's almost show time! Middle School students from both Central and Sunrise have been getting into character for weeks, preparing for their rendition of "Disney's The Little Mermaid JR." While they continue to fine-tune their acting skills, community members are eager for the upcoming showings April 23-25. There will be three performances and the Community Auditorium. To buy tickets, click here.

Also to keep on the radar is the high school's spring play "Alice in Wonderland," which will be May 14-16. Additional information will be shared in future e-newsletters as the performance dates approach.


That's just what's coming up in spring, but others are looking much further ahead - years ahead, in fact. For example at Sunrise Park Middle School, they're talking college. The students recently celebrated "college week." The staff had fun with it too, of course, being that many of them have their own school pride. Staff members showed up for school last Friday wearing spirit wear from their various alma maters.

62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools! 


Activities updates

The 2015 Athena Award winner was granted to WBLAHS senior Katie Zoborowski. The final WBLAHS Leadership Academy meeting of the year took place last weekend. The Big Ideas Group sponsored an Honor Diaries presentation at South Campus last weekend. The National Honor Society hosted a blood drive and collected 99 pints of blood last week, totaling 195 pints for the year when added to last November's tally of 96 pints. 

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

Before the April 13 School Board Meeting, the school board recognized the following state-level student award winners:

  • Middle School Choir
  • Middle School State Art Awards
  • High School State Art Awards
  • Swim and Dive
  • Girl's Basketball


School Board Meetings 

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
April 27 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
May 11 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
May 18 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center

Find a Board highlight document from the April 13 Board meeting here.

District News

General Information

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.

  • Three of our seasonal catalogs are available now! You can find them here.

Parent Notices

  • Manitou Days Contests - Find information about the Manitou Days Button Contest here. Find information about the Manitou Days Writing Contest here.
  • May 5 FREE Community Baby Shower event - Find information about a FREE Community Baby Shower for babies six months and older and their families here.
  • 2015-16 Academic Calendar Approved - See the approved calendar here.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us here and you may find your little one featured in District publications!
  • Additional resources:
    • Resources to help with our limited English speaking families can be found here.
    • Washington County Child and Teen Checkups newsletter can be found here.
  • June 26, 2015 emergency preparedness simulation - Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health Seeks Volunteers for Emergency Preparedness Simulation from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 26, 2015. Find information about the opportunity 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. Find the application here. The Activities Pass is available to residents of the White Bear Lake Area School District who are age 65 and older.
  • Craft Corner Gift Shop at the Senior Center - Open from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the gift shop is the perfect place to shop for a variety of beautiful, handcrafted items. With more than 100 consignees selling their personal crafts, there is much to choose from for purchase. If anyone, over the age of 55, has any love of creating crafts, we are in need of consignees to further our inventory. The Craft Corner Gift Shop is located at Normandy Park Education Center, 2484 County Road F East.

Partnership Updates:

  • 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.
    • WBLAEF 16th Annual Golf Tournament - Monday, June 29, 2015 at Indian Hills Golf Course. Registration and other information is on the website.
    • Visit our website - Visit our website to see all of the grants the WBLAEF has available for teachers and students.
  • SEE Program - See information related to Earth Day here.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • The Middle School Musical, Disney's "The Little Mermaid JR." will be performed April 23-25 at the Community Auditorium. Click here to order tickets.
  • Hugo and Oneka Elementary Schools are hosting a Color Run 5K on May 9 at 10 a.m. Click here for the event flyer.
  • The high school play, "Alice in Wonderland," which is Rated G, will be performed May 14-16. Click here to see the play poster.
  • April is Autism Awareness Month - contact individual schools and programs for information about activities planned to highlight the month.

Awards and Honors

  • The 2015 Teacher of the Year Award went to Lincoln 5th grade teacher Pamela Johnstone. Click here for a program of the event which lists the other nominees.
  • University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's School of Education named Willow Lane's Elizabeth Werner as the recipient of the 2015 Early Career Educator Award.
  • Minnesota Association of School Administrators elected WBLAS Director of Finance and Operations Wayne Kazmierczak as the Region 9 Central Office Component Group Representative.
  • The Excellence Event on April 29 will include 50 educators being honored for having made a difference in the lives of one of the 50 senior students who will be recognized for their academic achievements that evening.

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