May 31, 2015

In this issue

Superintendent's Message

  • Letter to Graduates

Student News

  • In Photos: Vadnais Heights Elementary Relay Recess!
  • New and improved
  • Excellence beyond the classroom
  • Races and relays
  • Sidewalk sightings
  • Goodbye, for now!
  • 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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Letter to Graduates


Dear Members of the Graduating Class of 2015,

A community member asked me to offer you advice to mark your graduation. Since most everyone gives you advice these days, please understand that it is difficult to come up with something original. So if this advice sounds familiar, credit your mother, who has been giving you the same advice since you were in kindergarten.

First, remember where you are from. When you were in kindergarten, you memorized your address and your telephone number. That advice is still good. Memorize your telephone number, even if it is stored in your cell phone. But also remember all the places you are from: your family, your school, your church, and your community.

Second, remember where you are going. When you were in kindergarten it was so easy to get distracted, even if you were on your way to visit a friend's house next door or in school headed to the nurse's office. This advice is still good. So on your way to becoming a caring, responsible adult, don't get distracted by the attractive detours along the way. You can stop and look but remember your destination.

And third, remember to thank those who help you along the way.Remember when you took time to thank your bus driver, the school secretary, lunch lady, and custodian? Remember when you created beautiful notes for your teacher and for anyone else who smiled at you? These habits are still good, too. You may prefer to use a pen or your computer instead of your crayons, but give each note the same care as you did your kindergarten masterpieces.

And before you realize where the time has gone, someone younger will look up to you and ask for your wise advice.

Our best wishes,

Your superintendent

In Photos: Vadnais Heights Elementary Relay Recess!



Student news

New and improved
It's been an exciting school year for those at Willow Lane and Lakeaires Elementary Schools as students and staff enjoyed their first year with a much bigger space. Both the elementary schools went through virtually the same renovations; adding secured entry to the building, a designated music space and an additional "Bearified" (orange and black) gymnasium to name a few. Though students and staff have been enjoying these renovations since the fall, this past week, the community was invited to get an inside look. Both schools hosted Renovation Celebration Open Houses for the public to attend. Fifth graders from both schools took guests on tours and very proudly showed off their beautiful new space. You can learn more about these renovations by watching this video!


Just recently, Willow Lane Elementary learned it will soon be getting another addition - a community garden. Willow was selected as one of 20 Good Neighbor Innovation Schools in the United States to receive a $5,000 grant from StateFarm Youth Service America (YSA). The school was chosen because of its "commitment to creating a culture of service by utilizing YSA's tools, resources and expertise." Willow Principal Chris Streiff says they'll use the grant to create partnerships with outside organizations to increase STEM opportunities within the school and, in connection with our service learning Core Value, they will establish the community garden with outside gathering spaces and plants native to Minnesota. Classes will maintain the garden using both the community service aspect and will learn from it by studying the plants and habitat.

Excelling beyond the classroom

White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus junior Juliette Schroeder has been awarded a grant from the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF). The generous Bear Grant Scholarship will cover part of the program cost for Juliette to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. and New York City in July. At the 10-day conference, students interact with key leaders who influence global politics, finance, culture and diplomacy. They will visit international embassies and the US Department of State, participate in Global Issues Workshops and a Global Simulation Summit. This is an opportunity to collaborate with peers around the world, preparing students with the critical leadership skills needed to resolve global conflicts. 


Juliette is currently in South Africa (pictured on the left, wearing a white hat) for Rotary International's exchange program 2014-2015. She spent her junior year of high school in Benoni, just outside Johannesburg, and will return June 30 to begin her senior year at WBLAHS this fall.

"I want to continue my interest in international relations. I want to be involved in the process of why and how world events occur and become involved in the process of developing solutions to those challenges. I want to surround myself with people that share my interests and the GYLC can provide that opportunity," said Juliette.


The pride in our students extends beyond graduation, which is demonstrated through the WBLAHS Wall of Fame. This spring, 1998 graduate Michael Djupstom was inducted alongside fellow well-accomplished Bear alumni. The work of composer and pianist Djupstrom has been honored with first prizes in international composition competitions of the UK's Delius Society, the American Viola Society, and the Chinese Fine Arts Society. His work has been further recognized through awards and grants from institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship, Charles Ives Scholarship), Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Pew Fellowship), New Music USA, S&R Foundation (Grand Prize, Washington Awards), Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Académie musicale de Villecroze, and the Sigurd and Jarmila Rislov Foundation, among many others. The Music Teachers National Association named him its 2005 MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year. The graduate has represented White Bear Lake Area Schools well!


Students in our Insight Program are making incredible strides as well. They recently participated in the 19th Annual Recovery in the Park event in Maplewood to celebrate their accomplishments with others who've fought similar battles. This event is a celebration for young people in recovery - from local recovery schools, treatment centers and recovery support groups. Representative Jason Isaacson was the featured speaker, telling his story of becoming sober as a teen, local musician Tim Cheesebrow provided music, and area support groups and college recovery programs shared information at booths. A highlight for the Insight students was making it to the championship round in a volleyball tournament, in which they placed second in a close match with a team from PEASE Academy.

The Area Learning Center has additional reasons for which to be proud, as the work of 10 White Bear students was chosen for inclusion in "The Alchemist," the Minnesota Association of Alternative Program's annual literary/art magazine that is filled with work created entirely by students who attend alternative schools in the state of Minnesota. Students whose works were published were: Sara BetharteNiven, Mariah Campbell, Cameron Coile, Tessa Christensen, Chelsea Jewell, Austin Laroen, Madeline Lodden, Trevor Mortinson-Telschow, Andru Nelson and Christopher Stamnes. Find the publication here.


Races and relays
It's been a busy couple of weeks for our track stars - from fifth grade, all the way to our WBLAHS seniors. WBLAHS track teams recently participated in their section finals in Stillwater. The girls' team wound up placing second overall in the 4AA Section meet. Eleven of our athletes will be representing eight events at the Minnesota State meet this week.


The Central Middle School eighth grade Girls' Track team has a lot to celebrate this season as well. They went undefeated and took home the title of conference champion! Seventh grade Girls' Track did an awesome job too, taking second place in their conference. See a bit of their celebratory pizza party in last week's 62.4-second video update.

Fifth graders across the district also took part in their South Side and North Side annual spring track meets, something our high school students tell us is an activity that stands out vividly in their minds even years later! Though there is some friendly competition at this sporting event, it's also a wonderful opportunity for our fifth graders to get to know one another as they will soon be joining forces and heading off to middle school together in the fall. 


Vadnais Heights Elementary students participated in a different sort of relay, one you won't find at your typical track meet. Their fifth annual Relay Recess brought the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life program into the elementary school to promote cancer awareness and healthy living. Vadnais staff have been engaging students in the fight against cancer with month long activities and fundraising leading up to this. 


This year's event focused on five main aspects; tobacco prevention, sun protection, nutrition, physical activity and volunteerism. These were incorporated into stations and activities during Relay Recess. This year the students dressed as superheroes against cancer and were able to decorate and personalize superhero capes. Students and staff also walked laps around the school in honor of those who have fought or are continuing to fight cancer. Fundraising included purchasing footprints that will hang in the school's gymnasium representing anyone who has battled cancer.


Sidewalk sightings
What do Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, Shirley Temple and Steve Jobs all have in common? They were all at Oneka last week! Well, sort of. Heading into Oneka Elementary was quite the treat last Thursday, as students (grades 2-4) were greeted along the sidewalk by these (and many more) look-a-like stars! Oneka fifth graders dressed as famous individuals as part of a research project and for their "Living History Museum" event - which took place after school. For about a month, fifth graders individually researched an influential person of their choice and presented their findings in class and at the public event. Students not only dressed as these stars but remained in character all evening!


Our preschoolers hit the sidewalk in search for some much smaller friends. They took part in a special activity where they collected bugs by "sweeping" the nearby grasslands with bug-catching nets, then observing the insects with magnifying glasses. Students and parents alike enjoyed the outdoor adventure, and the students were given their own bug magnifying jars so they can perfect the art of bug-catching over the summer. Parents and family members were present for this adventure because they had been visiting for preschool graduation. Along with this activity, preschools got to show their parents what they've been up to with a video slideshow of photos from many of their neat preschool activities. 


Goodbye, for now!
As the school year begins to wind down, those behind the Bear Cafe at WBLAHS - South Campus are reflecting on another successful semester of business. On average, Bear Cafe fed 40 staff members each month, with their highest customer count being at 62 guests. Each month, Bear Cafe was open for district staff. This restaurant allows students to focus on work readiness skills, social skills and applying techniques taught in the classroom in a "real life" situation. A free will donation of $5 is suggested for each plate. The profit is then used to fund the next Bear Cafe. Bear Cafe is completely self-sufficient with no donations or funding from the school district or the community. WBLAHS - South Campus and the Special Services Department have been very supportive of this venture for the students this year. Though closed as of May 8th, Bear Cafe will open for business again the Fall of 2015.


The end of the year can be bittersweet for our seniors, saying goodbye to a memorable experience at White Bear while embracing an exciting future ahead. As one of the many official send-offs here at the district, our seniors had a chance to gather with one another for Senior Day. This began with the annual senior breakfast where students enjoyed the anticipated inspirational pep talk from Mark Sharonbroich. Mark has inspired White Bear Lake seniors for 30 years at this event, since he agreed to speak to the class of 1985 at their first senior dinner! The event was modified to become a breakfast the following year and, with the exception of a few years when family commitments interfered, Mark has spoken to every White Bear Lake graduating class. Sadly, this Senior Breakfast was Mark's final presentation to White Bear Lake's graduating class. See a photo album of the morning here. Traditionally, our seniors have even referred to his hilarious presentation as a highlight of senior year. Following Mark's words of encouragement, students carried that energy to Valleyfair for an adventure-filled day with their classmates.


Many of our high schools seniors have had a long career here at White Bear, but a majority of our 2014-15 retirees have them beat. This past week, we honored all of the district retirees at the School Board sponsored Annual Retirement Celebration. The honored retirees were welcomed to the celebration with remarks from School Board Chair Janet Newberg and were later addressed by Superintendent Dr. Michael Lovett. The ceremony shared memories and thanks for their dedicated service to our district. This video was shared at the celebration to honor each retiree. We would like to again extend our gratitude to these dedicated staff members (some who have been in the district for roughly 30 years!) - thank you for all you have done for our students!

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



Activities updates

Girls' and Boys' Golf both advanced to their section finals. Boys' Golf won Section Four and will move on to State. WBLAHS Junior golfer Mason Fiddle was a medalist. Boys' and Girls' Lacrosse begin their section tournaments - the boys are ranked fourth in the state at this time. WBLAHS Girls' Track placed second overall in the 4AA Section Meet - elevan of those athletes are headed to State. The C.H. Christensen Award for Honor Athlete of the Yearwas awarded to Peder Solberg. The Dick Bradley Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Trey Anderson. The Miss Bear Honor Athlete of the Year was awarded to Katie Zoborowski. The Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Caitlin Broberg.

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. 

Notice of Filing - 2015 White Bear Lake Area School District Primary 

Notice is hereby given that a filing period will be held for candidates seeking election to the White Bear Lake Area school board at the primary to be conducted on August 11, 2015. The filing period will open on Tuesday, May 19 at 8:00 a.m. and will close on Tuesday, June 2 at 5 p.m. Find additional information here.

School Board Meetings 

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
June 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
July 13 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
August 10 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.

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

Parent Notices

  • Willow and Central to participate in Summer Food Service Program - Willow Lane Elementary and Central Middle School will be sites this summer for the Food and Nutrition Service Summer Food Service Program. As such, breakfast and lunch meals will open and free-of-charge to White Bear Lake Area School District community children under 18 years old at Willow and Central schools. Find the full details 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.
  • "Pathways to Youth Success" event - A free event for students will take place 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. on June 9 at the Maplewood Community Center (2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood). Attendees will receive lunch. Enjoy fascinating conversations between teens and their parents or guardians, as well as local leaders in education, government, youth development and business. Nora Slawik, Mayor of Maplewood, along with Paul Schnell, Chief of Police and local leaders from the community will share information and resources for how to access various career paths, higher education, job training, apprenticeships and youth development programs. In addition, local employers will be there to share information about the types of jobs that exist in their organizations. Register here.
  • 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.

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:

  • Washington County is in the midst of a library strategic planning process. As part of that process, two community forums have been scheduled to provide the public the opportunity to provide input.
  • The Schools for Energy Efficiency Program (SEE) is sharing some year end numbers and summer tips.
  • The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation is pleased to announce one of our newest Bear Grant recipients is WBLAHS junior Juliette Schroeder. 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:

  • 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 Annual Retirement Celebration took place on the evening of May 26, honoring staff members retiring as of the 2014-15 school year. This video was shared at the event. Thank you for your dedicated service to our district and its students.
  • The White Bear Lake Area Schools Communications Department recently received awards of merit from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators for the following publications: 2014-15 Activities Calendar, 62.4-second video updates, and new principal videos.

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