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