January 11, 2015

In this issue

- At the zoo

- In Photos: Family Fitness Night at Matoska
Student News
- Helping hands
- Above and beyond

- Get to know White Bear Lake Area Schools

- 62.4-second video update
- Activities Updates

School Board News
- School Board Meetings

District News
- General Information
- Opportunities
- Awards and Honors

Upcoming Events

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At the zoo

Snow swirls around the trees and sweeps the hillside. A bitter wind nips toes and fingers. But scientists are on duty, mittens wrapped around clipboards, carefully recording observations on animals at Como Zoo. We watch as the white arctic fox scampers along an enclosure; scientists and fox keenly watch one another. 

These scientists are third graders from Lakeaires Elementary School, who have received a remarkable gift: for one week their class studies at the zoo, learning the scientific method, observational skills, and a great deal about animals. 

Sixty years from now, an accomplished scientist is interviewed after receiving the Nobel Prize. 

"What inspired you to be a scientist?" probes the reporter. 

"It all began," the scientist explains, "when I was in third grade and we spent a whole week learning at the zoo..."

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

In Photos: Family Fitness Night at Matoska



Student News

Helping hands

As we transition into the new year, it is important to remember our ever-present resolution to continue to help and serve the community in as many ways as possible. Similarly, we also rely on the helping hands of families and community members to maintain some of our most innovative programs.

In December, Lincoln Elementary students participated in their Hug-a-Heart Community Service Event. During the event, more than 150 students, in addition to staff and parent volunteers, gathered in their large and small gym to make infant blankets for mothers in need. Volunteers also made craft bags to be shared with senior citizens who receive Meals on Wheels.


Also at the elementary school level, Matoska Extended Day students had the opportunity to extend a helping hand to wounded veterans. Students and staff volunteers worked to create crafts and held a craft sale, with which they raised $300! The proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit service that empowers injured veterans and their families.

Just as our schools strive to serve the community throughout the year, we also look to the community for a helping hand on some of our innovative school programs. One of these unique programs is the White Bear Lake High School Writing Center, which is expanding. So far, the writing center has had more than 400 student visits since December of 2012. 

Funded by a generous donation from the Glasrud family and support from the Educational Foundation and the district, the high school writing center is the first of its kind in the East Metro. Now, with expanded hours and recently-opened satellite center at North Campus, the center is in need of adult volunteers from the community to maintain services for students.

If you have a background in writing and have experience providing feedback to student writers, please consider donating your time and expertise. Direct experience working with high school writers is preferable. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., but the shift can be divided for multiple volunteers or scheduled on a rotating basis. There may be future potential for varied or expanded hours as well. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Carolyn Youngbauer at carolyn.youngbauer@isd624.org or 651-773-6260.

Above and beyond

Staff, students, families and community partners continually show their ability to go above and beyond to highlight White Bear Lake Area Schools' dedication to a rich and rewarding education.


First, Central Middle School seventh grader Isaac Maruyama, recently learned that he is the winner of the state VFW Patriot's Pen essay contest. He was one of nine finalists in Minnesota and now advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C. along with 45 others in the nation. If he wins nationals, he will win a trip to Washington, D.C. and $5000. The VFW Patriot's Pen essay contest is an annual competition in which students write a 300-400 word essay about a theme related to Veterans Day. The 2014 theme was "Why I appreciate Veterans." Isaac wrote his essay for his U.S. History class taught by Kari Janzen.


In addition, our staff has shown they are dedicated to going above and beyond with their curriculum by finding creative ways to engage students in learning. On the Friday before winter break, Matt Skogen's Sunrise Park science class had the opportunity to dig back into time and go on their own fossil hunt. The sedimentary rock, shale, that often contains fossils was sent to them from the Florissant Fossil Quarry in Colorado. Students discovered plant fossils like the imprints of leaves.

Also at the middle school level, History Day students at Central Middle School had the chance to research at Wilson Library on the University of Minnesota campus. Students explored a high-level research library and got their hands on some great sources for their projects. The students had done their homework the day before and identified several books that they would be looking for to maximize their time at the Wilson Library. 

"I'm looking forward to seeing their final projects at the regional History Day event at South Campus on March 28!" said Robert Brewer, Central Middle School Associate Principal. Check out some photos from the university study session in the most recent 62.4-second update!


Finally, on Jan. 9, students, staff, families and community members came together for a Family Fitness Night at Matoska Elementary. Approximately 150 guests attended the event where they had the chance to participate in veggie tasting, zumba, yoga, gym activities and fun food-themed games. Kids also received character bags filled with fun stuff, such as bean bags, a CD of dance music and a book of exciting activities. Family Fitness Nights are free monthly activities available to District families. They are made possible through the District's partnership with HealthPartners, Children's Hospital and the YMCA.

Get to know White Bear Lake Area Schools

January is a busy month as we provide several opportunities for families to join us and get to know our schools. At the early childhood level, we will host White Bear Lake Area Preschool Open Houses next week. Open Houses are an opportunity for you and your preschool child to visit the preschool sites, observe classes in session, gather information about classes and programs, meet staff and ask any questions. Classes will be in session, so we encourage you to spend some time in a classroom observing the activities. Children are welcome and may join in the class activities if they choose.

At the kindergarten level, there will be a district-wide Kindergarten Registration Night on January 15 at all elementary schools. This in-depth session offers parents of future kindergartners an opportunity to learn more about the district's kindergarten curriculum and programs, ask questions, visit a kindergarten classroom and register their child for kindergarten.

For middle school families, parent information nights will be held on January 22. These information nights are especially helpful for current White Bear Lake Area Schools 5th grade families and families new to the White Bear Lake Area Schools with students entering grades 6-8 in fall 2015.

High school families will also have the opportunity to attend a parent and student information night on January 12 for next year's 9th and 10th graders. Next year's 11th and 12th graders had their parent and student information night on January 8. This is a great opportunity for parents and students to learn about course selection opportunities and registration for fall 2015.


62.4-second video update

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



Activities Updates
The WBLAHS wrestling team competed in the prestigious 33-team All Force Christmas Tournament. Grant Bolduan placed sixth in the tournament. At the annual Rumble on the Red tournament in Fargo the wrestling team finished 22 of 62 teams. The White Bear Lake boys swim and dive team took seventh of 15 teams, scoring 698 points at the Maroon and Gold meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. 

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 Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
January 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 26 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
February 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center