July 6, 2014

In the Summer Spotlight

Thousands line shady streets, grandparents on folding chairs, little children on the curb chatting with excitement, parents standing behind.

The community parade begins. Our high school drum line passes, a blur of orange and explosive musical energy. Winners of the Manitou Days button contest, elementary students shy at first, come more quietly, distributing 3000 buttons of the winning design, "Bears on Wheels". 

Next come nine more third and fourth graders, winners of the writing contest, sponsored by Manitou Days, a service club, and the White Bear Lake Area Schools. They are now "published authors", and adjusting to fame that lasts as long as the parade route.

Clubs, teams, the School Foundation, fire trucks, local businesses, cheerleaders, bands, and even librarians pushing book carts in formation - all are cheered by the crowds.

This event was White Bear Lake's Manitou Days parade. Other special community events are held in Hugo, Vadnais Heights, Birchwood, Gem Lake, White Bear Township, Lino Lakes, Maplewood and North Oaks - in all of the communities that make up the White Bear Lake Area Schools.

School buildings are quieter during June, July, and August, though we operate summer programs in ten of our school sites during the summer. But some of the energy and showcasing of talent is featured in community parades, special events, and programs for youth sports, music, drama and art.

We hope our whole school community finds time to celebrate our communities and our children. Be prepared to cheer and enjoy!

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


From the Superintendent's Lens: Manitou Days 2014

Student News

A warm-hearted summer

Though the hallways of our schools have fewer feet stepping through them in the summer, our dedicated staff and volunteer groups help beautify the buildings inside and out during these months.

A group of Kohl's employees teamed up with our early childhood program to beautify the outdoor area at Normandy Park. The connection? ECSE teacher, Lori Grady, has a sister who works for Kohl's. They have been volunteering each spring to help rejuvenate the playground with fresh mulch, weeding, and much more. 

"This is an amazing gift for our program," said Danielle Mickelson, early childhood supervisor, "and big thanks to Lori Grady for her connection and support in conjunction with our grounds team."

Ever wonder why our schools look and smell almost brand new when students return in the fall? All this is thanks to the hard work of our buildings and grounds crew who go above and beyond to create that extra sparkle during the deep summer cleaning process.

Below is an inside look at some of the many tough jobs they tackle during the summer months to accomplish an unparalleled school cleanliness!

In addition, Willow Lane Elementary is undergoing some big changes - a new entryway and a new gym is being constructed over the summer. Check out a sneak peek of the renovations in the second 62.4-second update news item below! If you look closely, you may even spot a familiar face.

Reaching out

In many instances throughout the year, the community bands together to volunteer and give back to our schools. Similarly, our students and the district reach out to the community with a helping hand and a smile.

Students from our Transition Plus program recently reached out to the community by volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest's largest hunger relief program. White Bear Lake Transition Plus students helped in the packaging process in order to feed those who do not have enough to eat. Check out a few photos below!

Even though the regular school year is not in session, the district also finds ways to reach out to the community with both a smile and useful information.

The district once again has a booth at this year's Marketfest, providing a way for community members to learn about our top-notch school programs, meet school board and cabinet members, as well as receive a free pencil and White Bear "decal."

In addition, families are invited to bring their little ones to play at our early childhood station, which so far has featured sand art, kid-friendly fishing, and painting. Don't hesitate to stop by for a pencil, "decal," fun early childhood activities, and good company Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. through July 31!

If you make it to the district's Marketfest booth, don't stop there - head on over to the BearPower booth and enjoy a sample of fruits and veggies thanks to their partners at Festival Foods. They also have fun activities lined up each week for kids.

While you are there, you can pick up a BearPower summer challenge document, which includes great ideas for families to stay active and healthy. If students complete ten activities on the list, they can receive a free pass to the YMCA pool! Download the summer challenge here and here


New Bears on the block

White Bear Lake Area Schools is proud to announce three new staff members who will continue to work toward our core values and enrich our students' learning experience.

First, the district is very pleased to announce Sara Paul has accepted the position of assistant superintendent. Paul will begin her new duties July 14, 2014.

Paul has more than 20 years of education leadership experience at school, district, state and national levels. She most recently served as associate superintendent for Minneapolis Public Schools. Previously, she served as an executive director for a youth-focused non-profit organization and as a teacher in Independent School District 622 for 15 years.

"I am, at the heart, a teacher," said Paul. "Students are my passion, teaching and learning is my profession, and every student excelling is my heart's goal. I look forward to serving on a strong team to effectively engage communities to deliver on the WBLAS vision of leading minds to learning, hearts to compassion, and lives to community service."

Her accomplishments include being recognized by National Institute for Excellence in Education for pioneering leadership in 2013, receiving the Ethics in Education award from the MacMillan Foundation in 2006, being named NASDAQ National Teacher of the Year in 2001 and being named Minnesota Innovative Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Council on Economics Education in 2000. Her connections with students led to her being chosen by high school seniors to lead commencement in 2001, 2005 and 2007.

"We are excited to welcome Sara Paul into the White Bear Lake Area School District," said Superintendent Michael Lovett. "Her strong commitment to student success, innovation and partnership will make her a strong member of the White Bear team."

Next, Willow Lane Elementary School's new principal will be Chris Streiff, who most recently has served as an elementary principal in the Rochester Public Schools. She also has served in roles of assistant principal and staff development and continuous improvement coordinator in Rochester, as well as serving as an educational consultant working with schools across the country. 

Streiff has taught at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels. Streiff will officially joined White Bear Lake Area Schools July 1. Her appointment is scheduled to be officially approved at the July 14 School Board meeting.

Finally, Brian Morris began last week as the district's assessment coordinator - but he is not new to our schools. In fact, Morris has been a mathematics teacher at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus for 17 years. He also has served as a teacher leader and curriculum leader during that time.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my teaching and leadership roles over the past nearly two decades," Morris said. "I am eager to put my experience, knowledge and passion to work to serve the White Bear community as an educational leader in a new setting."


62.4-second video update

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

Activities Updates

The winning submissions of the "Bears on Wheels" student writing contest are: "A Smooth Summer Ride" by Julia Covert, 4th grade; "Brooke on Wheels :-)" by Brooke Tjernlund, 4th grade; "CRASH!" by Shannon Barry, 4th grade; "My Family Bike Ride" by Sandra Sardi, 4th grade; "The Day" by Alaera Knutson, 3rd grade; "Wagon Ride!" by Anna Rose, 3rd grade; "The Medallion" by Nathan Greene, 3rd grade; "The Time I had an Extreme Bike Crash" by Jayda Collins, 4th grade; and "Tooth Ride" by JR Vojtech, 4th grade. The boys' golf team got fourth place at the two-day State Boys AAA golf tournament on June 10 and 11. White Bear Lake alumni Jake Newman played safety in the MFCA Tackle Cancer All-Star Football Game. The White Bear Lake theater program was honored for their outstanding production of "Once Upon a Mattress" at the Spotlight Showcase Awards. Sunrise Park students did extremely well during National History Day, placing third, fourth, and sixth in the nation! In third place was Terra Sikorski for the individual exhibit on Ryan White: A Boy Without Rights Changes a Nation. In fourth place were Allison Ackerknecht, Kari Breuer, and Margaret Philippi for their group exhibit on The Americans With Disabilities Act [They also won the State's Outstanding Project in the Junior Division]. In sixth place were Sabrina Brown and Anna Lee, with their group website on Korematsu v. United States: Taking Responsibility for Rights Denied.

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 News

School Board June Recognition

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
July 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
August 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center

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.

  • The Community Services and Recreation 2014 Spring-Summer Catalog was recently mailed to District residents. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • Summer Transportation Institute - Is your child interested in learning more about transportation, engineering, science, or technology? The Summer Transportation Institute at the University of Minnesota may be a perfect fit! Applications will be accepted until the program is full.
  • Track and Field Day - Another BearPower Family Fun Day is around the corner! Join other district families from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 at Lions Park in Hugo (5524 Upper 146th St. N.) for a fun-filled afternoon of track and field for kids and parents alike!
  • Energy Heroes - Read about our schools' energy heroes here!
  • NCAA clearinghouse - Is your child a college-bound student athlete? If so, you should consider registering him/her for NCAA eligibility here.
  • East Metro Miracle League (EMML) - This baseball league is designed specifically for youth age 3-18 with cognitive and/or physical challenges. Click here for more information on how to sign up!
  • Assistive Technology in Math - Learn more about how your child could benefit from assistive technology in math here.
  • Interested in TV Production? - Volunteers and interns are needed for White Bear Lake Cable Public Access television. Click here for more information.
  • Thank teachers - Thank your teachers and help them win a grant through the Farmers Insurance Thank a Million Teachers initiative. Simply go to this website and write a thank you message to a teacher. Then, that teacher can submit a proposal for a chance to win a $2500 grant for use in their classroom.
  • Emergency School Closings - For school closings, early dismissals and late starts, call the School Closing Hotline at (651) 407-7540 or watch/listen for information on these media outlets:
    • KARE-TV 11
    • KMSP-TV 9
    • KSTP-TV 5
    • WCCO-TV 4
    • WCCO-AM 830
    If winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, parents will also be alerted in three ways as soon as a decision is made:
    • A SchoolMessenger phone message and email will be sent to all parents.
    • A message will be posted on the District's homepage.
    • Messages will be posted on the District's Facebook and Twitter pages.
    We know that closing schools can be disruptive, especially for working families. Student and staff safety are our primary concern. Ultimately, the decision to send children to school remains with families. The District supports those decisions that are made for the safety and health of students. There are no negative consequences, and our schools work with families to assure that work is made up when an absence is safety-related.
  • 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.
  • Do you like working with children and other volunteers? - The White Bear Lake Area Schools Early Childhood Screening program at Normandy Park Education Center is looking for volunteers to help at screenings on Fridays. Click here to learn more about this opportunity!
  • 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.

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.

Partnership Updates:

  • BearPower - Check out the newest edition of BearPower Press here! Stay up to date on all BearPower events on the BearPower Facebook page.
  • 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.
    • Reminder to teachers - WBLAEF Grants are available online so that you can access during the summer.
    • Teachers - There's something NEW at the WBLAEF website! It's the BEAR LEGACY GRANT! This summer come to wblaef.org to learn more about this exciting new grant.
    • Ryan Family Elementary Art Grants - This grant awards elementary teachers up to $500 per person or team. These funds are available to purchase art supplies, instructional materials, or to assist with the expenses of an Artist-in-Residence. The Application Form will be available on the WBLAEF website. Completed Application Forms will be due October 2, 2014 at the Foundation office in District Center. This grant will be awarded in late October, and teachers have 12 months to complete usage of this grant.
    • Brosious Teaching Grants - 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. The Application Form is available on the WBLAEF website. Completed Application Forms will be due Oct. 22, 2014. This grant will be awarded in November, for use during the following 12 months.
    • Glasrud Family Fellowship Grants - The Glasrud Fellowship Grants are different from the Brosious Grants. They are directed at personal and/or professional growth of the individual educator or team of educators. They are intended to provide funds for educators to assist them in pursuing an opportunity or experience that would not otherwise be possible. The Application Form is available on the WBLAEF website. Completed Application Forms will be due on March 22, 2015. This grant will be awarded in April, for use during the following 12 months.
    • The Eugene & Kathleen Johnson Student Enrichment Scholarship is available to all students in grades 6-12 in White Bear Lake Area School District 624 who would like to participate in enrichment activities such as writing, speaking, journalism, musical performance, and composition. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide opportunities for students that extend beyond the classroom and encourage higher level thinking skills. Scholarships up to $1,000 per individual, with a total amount of $2,000 in grants, will be awarded per year.
      • The WBLAEF is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year for enhancement activities for students completed by September 1, 2014.
      • Applications will be reviewed on a continual basis throughout the year, until the $2,000 maximum per year has been awarded.
      • Grant applications should be sent to: White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, 4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN 55110.
    • The winner this year of the the Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award is Evelyn Swenson - a social worker at Central Middle School. "Lynn Mielke was a speech clinician and Special Education Coordinator in the WBL District. Her compassion and love for children was at the forefront of all she did. She was known as a warm and loving person who worked to create a positive environment for everyone around her. This award was established to recognize an individual who has exemplified Lynn's dedication and care for the students and staff in our district."
    • 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 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.
    • 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 www.wblaef.org. Check out the WBL U-12A girls' hockey team sporting these shirts 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. Learn about our energy heroes here!


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Golf team fundraiser - The WBLAHS golf team is selling 2014 PGA "two for one" golf card once again this year. Please consider helping the golf program. The cost is only $35.00 dollars - if you use the card once, it is paid for! If you have any questions or would like to purchase a card, contact Craig Nasvik.

Awards and Honors

  • White Bear Lake Area High School is seeking nominations for its Athletic Hall of Fame. If you have an interest in nominating a former athlete, coach, or community member connected with Bears athletics, please contact Karen Larson, Activities Secretary at South Campus (651-773-6206) for information about the requirements, as well as the nomination form.

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