May 17, 2015

In this issue

Superintendent's Message

  • Quality Behind the Honors

Student News

  • In Photos: Hugo and Oneka Color Run 5K!
  • Environmental awareness
  • On your mark, get set, go!
  • Building community relationships
  • Early childhood activities
  • 'Alice in Wonderland'
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities
  • Awards and Honors

Upcoming Events

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A Quality Behind the Honors
As sheets of rain swept the waterfront, chilled young voyagers struggled to carry canoes and waterlogged packs to a primitive shelter.


Exhausted by their week long trip into the wilderness, but now huddled closely and warmed by a campfire, one asked their leader, a veteran of four decades of leading wilderness trips,

"Coach, what makes a good wilderness trip?"

Their leader paused, and slowly replied, "For a good trip it helps to have good weather, good food, and a good attitude."

Then he paused again and added, "Actually, the first two aren't so important."


This story came to mind this week as our Foundation awarded the annual Mielke Award to one of our custodians. (See also in our 62.4-second video update.)

As we listen to staff and student recognitions, so often "attitude" is part of the presentation or quoted from the nomination. Listening to these presentations, attitude is a visible sign of commitment, effort, determination, and support for others.

We are inspired to do better and be better when anyone around us has a great attitude.

We congratulate those who are honored this spring, and thank all of you who inspire us by your commitment, effort, determination, and support for colleagues and students-- whether you are in the spotlight or not!

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

In Photos: Hugo and Oneka Color Run 5K!


Student news


Environmental awareness
Sunrise students hosted a Walk for Water this past Friday, with students walking on the field behind the school carrying jugs of water in support of H2O for Life (similar to an activity Oneka students took part in a couple weeks ago). Sunrise Park Middle School, together with Central Middle School and the White Bear Lake Rotary, are supporting H2O for Life in its efforts to rebuild the sanitation facilities at the Rancho Quemando School on the Osa Penisula of Costa Rica. Sunrise students' Walk for Water event raised almost $900 which was presented as a check to Patty Hall from the H2O for Life organization at the conclusion of the Walk for Water.

Rebuilding the sanitation facilities at the Rancho Quemando School is an effort students became passionate about after their recent visit to Costa Rica. Eighth grade student volunteers, NJHS members and students who traveled to Costa Rica as part of the Week Without Walls program have since been working together to meet this goal. Students created a plan to raise funds in other ways including selling Bears Care water bottles, Bears Care coffee mugs, rain barrels that they made and crafts hand-made in Costa Rica. 


Oneka students are helping the environment in their own backyard. Students planted 250 seedlings, which they received free through the DNR and the School Forest program. Twelve Oneka classes took part in the planting which added up to almost 275 students. A crew of four Conservation Corps members came out and brought the equipment needed to plant the trees. They showed the students the ropes, but for the most part, the kids did all the planting. The corps members also taught students about the three species of trees which were planted (white oak, white pine, and red pine) and how their root systems work. The trees were planted around the playground to help create a future windbreak and also in the area that was burned earlier this spring to help replace the trees that didn't survive. The School Forest program is what linked the school to the Conservation Corps. This is now the second year the school has worked with them. Hugo Elementary students conducted a similar activity, planting seedlings near their school.


Otter Lake students had a special opportunity to learn about the environment and many other fun topics during STEM lessons with student visitors from Bethel University. Eight Bethel University pre-student teachers designed lessons for our Otter Lake students. 

The teachers came to the school four times to deliver hands-on experiences. The kids had a great time learning about water filtration, the water cycle and insulation.


On your mark, get set, go!
Hugo and Oneka Elementary Schools just hosted their first-ever Color Run 5K and it went off with flying colors. There were approximately 700 people in attendance on race day, which raised a whopping $21,000 for both schools! Roughly 70 volunteers helped during the event, and 24 local businesses supported the endeavor through sponsorships and donated items. This inaugural school fundraiser was such a tremendous success, it's coming back next spring! Mark your calendars - PTA members say they've scheduled next year's race for May 7, 2016. They're also looking at ways to make the run an even bigger community event.


BearPower was a key contributor to the Color Run in Hugo. The group works to encourage families to eat well and be active. As part of a year-long school challenge, the group has been encouraging schools to raise money in a way that supports their community-wide mission. BearPower was the core group behind yesterday's free Family Breakaway Bike Ride event - a perfect chance for community members to have some fun while remaining active. Roughly 200 cyclists of all ages brought their bikes to Otter Lake Elementary and chose between three routes depending on skill levels - the Baby Bear, Bear Cub and Bear Family which toured all the way around Bald Eagle Lake. Though not intended to be a competition, a "traveling trophy" was awarded to Otter Lake Elementary students and staff, recognizing their outstanding community participation in this first-ever event!

Building community relationships
Hard work pays off - White Bear Lake Area High School Senior Victoriya Kuechle is proof of this common phrase. Victoriya was supported by a Special Services Work Coordinator and Job Coach throughout her first work experience. The Work Coordinator's conduct onsite visits at businesses where students are employed. They learn about each business and determine how to assist students with pre-employment or employment needs, they also observe students onsite and monitor progress. Victoriya proved herself not only to her coordinator, but to her first employer. She has had such a successful year at work, she's now been offered further employment with the business this summer. This video follows Victoriya during typical day on the job, demonstrating her dedication.


While the community often takes time to recognize our students, that relationship goes both ways. During National Police Week (May 10-16) our students made sure to thank our men and women in uniform. White Bear chemistry teacher Steve Nelson spearheaded an idea to have our Extended Day students create thank you notes for our WBL police officers. The students pictured are from Vadnais Extended Day. While they thank all of our local officers, the White Bear Lake Area School District would like express its gratitude to our school liaison officers, Officer Saumweber and Officer Tuma, as well. Thank you!


Early Childhood activities
Though police officers couldn't bring their squad cars this year, there were plenty of other vehicles for kids and families to check out at the Vehicle Fair - an event facilitated by our Early Childhood Program. A little rain didn't stop the nearly 80 kids and adults from exploring the many vehicles parked outside of Normandy Park including a dump truck, the Lion Mobile, a school bus, and a motorcycle. While at the Vehicle Fair, families were able to come into the building to register for 2015-16 Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes. The annual Vehicle Fair is a way to promote ECFE. The event is free of charge and the majority of the vehicle drivers volunteer their time.


Another much anticipated Early Childhood program event is the semi-annual Community Baby Shower. The event is an opportunity for new parents to learn fun ways to support and nurture their infant's health and development. Community Resources also provides additional information and take-home tips for moms and dads. While educational, the event is also intended to make parents feel comfortable in connecting with our staff and other families within the district. It's a fun, easy-going experience with door prizes, snacks, and fun activities like baby massage. The Community Baby Shower happens twice a year - in the fall and spring - and it's FREE!


Alice in Wonderland'
Another White Bear Lake Area High School spring play is now in the books. This year, our 9-12 grade students performed their rendition of Alice in Wonderland. The G rated performance was a little different than what you may remember from the movie - our talented students reenacted the book version of the classic tale, with a few of their own creative twists. All three performances were a huge hit - and so were the elaborate costumes!

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



Activities updates

White Bear Lake Area High School just wrapped up this year's spring play with three successful performances of "Alice in Wonderland." The Girls' Lacrosse Team won their most recent game 16-15. Boys' Lacrosse just wrapped up a game against Woodbury. Boys' Tennis played against Hill Murray this past week in their first round of Section play. Adapted Softball was also busy on the road at away games.

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 May 11 School Board Meeting, the school board recognized the following state-level student award winners:

  • State Geography Bee
  • Athena Award
  • Technical Programs National Competition
  • National History Day
  • Archery Team
  • Unified Bears basketball team


School Board Meetings 

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
May 18 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
June 8 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
July 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center

Find a Board highlight document from the May 11 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

  • 2015-16 Academic Calendar - 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.
  • Volunteers Needed for June 26 Emergency Preparedness Simulation - The district is working with Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health and Ramsey County Emergency Management in seeking volunteers to participate in an emergency preparedness simulation on Fri., June 26 from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The simulation will take place at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus and will test and improve the community's overall preparedness for a public health emergency. A light breakfast and box lunch will be provided to volunteers. Staff interested in participating will need to use personal time. Learn more and register 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:

  • The SEE Program is sharing some Energy Fun Facts.
  • BearPower has several events going on during the month of May. See what's happening in the latest edition of the BearPower Press.
  • 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.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Join us for Renovation Celebrations at Willow Lake Elementary on May 26 (postcard here) and Lakeaires Elementary on May 28 (postcard here).
  • Preschools and elementary schools throughout the district will be celebrating transitional graduation ceremonies in the coming weeks. Contact individual schools for details about the events.
  • The following ceremonies will celebrate students' completion of their senior years in the district:
    • Transition Plus Graduation Ceremony - 12:30 p.m. on June 3 at District Center Community Auditorium
    • ALC Graduation Ceremony - 6:30 p.m. on June 4 at WBLAHS - South Campus theater
    • WBLAHS Graduation ceremony - 7:30 p.m. on June 5 at Aldrich Arena

Awards and Honors

  • The 2014-2015 Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award has been awarded to District Center Custodian Terry Hayes. This surprise honor was caught on camera and featured in our most recent 62.4-second video update.
  • The White Bear Lake Area School Board recognized bus driver Evy Brainard, who was recognized as runner-up for the 2015 Special Education School Bus Drivers and Transportation Assistants Award. This special award is given to one or two drivers each year in the State of Minnesota who exemplify what it means to be a Special Education driver.
  • The Annual School Board Sponsored Retirement Celebration will be taking place May 27. It recognizes staff who have or will be retiring this 2014-15 school year.
  • National Police Week took place during the week of May 10-16. Thank you to our school liaison officers, Officer Saumweber and Officer Tuma, for their loyal service to the White Bear Lake Area School District. As a thank you to them and all of the officers who serve our community, our Extended Day students hand-made thank you notes and mailed them out to our local police men and women.

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