November 16, 2014

In this issue

- Lessons for the journey

- In Photos: 257 WBLAS students attend We Day 2014
Student News
- Traveling for greatness
- Elementary excitement
- Honorable activities

- 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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Lessons for the journey
(From remarks to students at Central Middle School's National Junior Honor Society Induction in October.)

More than 150 years ago, during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, a portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California was set aside and preserved as wilderness. 

More than 100 years ago, during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, spectacular Yosemite Valley became part of Yosemite National Park. Some of you may have visited this scenic valley, but I am confident that nearly all of you have seen pictures of Yosemite. Perhaps you have seen photographs of climbers scaling "El Capitan," a sheer granite face rising 3,000 feet out of the valley. (By comparison, El Capitan is 150 times the height of Central's climbing wall!) Another familiar landmark is Half Dome, rising nearly 5,000 feet above the valley. 


Just this autumn, we begin at dusk, hiking up out of the valley as the final light of evening faded from Half Dome. Our goal for our first night is a campsite five miles through the dark and 3,000 vertical feet above us. 

"Pay attention to what your body is telling you," cautions my guide. 

"When you are tired, rest. When you get thirsty, drink from your water bottle. When you get hungry, stop and refuel." 

We hike into the moonless night. Stars are bright above us, and the mountains only a shadow blocking out stars closer to the horizon. I follow my guide, visible only by the beam from his headlamp. 

I stop to rest, tired, thirsty, and hungry. A mountain breeze cools me rapidly. I lose track of my guide. I wonder if I am on the right trail. Am I lost? 


A few minutes later, my guide returns. I explain, "I was afraid I had gone off the trail." 

My guide replies, "I'm not going to let you get lost, Dad... I'm looking out for you!" 

We continue on the trail together, into the night. By early the next afternoon, we stand on the summit of a mountain 6,000 feet above the valley, more than 1,000 feet above Half Dome. 

What lessons do I remember from this backpacking journey? 

1. Know my goal. 

2. Understand what will help me achieve the goal. As a hiker or climber, I pay attention to the path, to my strength, and to my need for rest, water, and food. I listen to each breath. 

3. Listen to my guide. In this case my guide is an experienced climber. He is also my son. He helps me achieve the goal and not falter along the way. I need to listen and gain knowledge by practicing what he teaches until I am confident on my own. 

You too are on a journey. Your journey is your life at school, at home, and in the community. Tonight you are recognized for accomplishments you demonstrate on your journey - scholarship, leadership, service and character. 

What lessons might help you as you continue on your journey? 

1. Know your goals. 

2. Understand what will help you continue to achieve the goals of leadership, scholarship, service and character. A hiker understands safety, health, nourishment, and keeping to the path. We will not be successful climbing the mountain - and returning - if we compromise safety or health. Likewise, you will not be successful reaching your goals if you sacrifice one goal for another. For example, as important as you may value scholarship, in your pursuit of scholarship never compromise your integrity and blemish your character. And no matter how much you desire to be a leader, never compromise your character in your pursuit of leadership. 

3. Listen to the guides in your life for help on your journey. Your guides include your parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, and friends. Some are here tonight supporting you. 

Inductees, remember these lessons for your journey. Be grateful for each breath, and listen to those who guide you along the way.

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

In Photos: 257 WBLAS students attend We Day 2014


Student News

Traveling for greatness 


Students at White Bear Lake Area Schools have had many opportunities to travel outside of the school district to attend enriching events. On Nov. 2, Marie Dymit, the high school vocal music instructor, took 17 student singers to St. Olaf College to participate in the school's 112th Choral Day Concert. 

Prior to traveling to St. Olaf, students learned their vocal parts to four massed choir pieces. Then, they had two separate rehearsals with the massed choir of approximately 900 singers. The giant choir performed in a 4 p.m. concert, alongside four specially-invited choirs and three choirs from St. Olaf College.


Another enriching event White Bear students had the opportunity to participate in was We Day 2014. On Nov. 12, more than 250 WBLAS students attended We Day at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. We Day brings young people together to inspire positive change in the world.

Through performances from world-renowned speakers and performers, students had the chance to learn more about supporting local and global causes. Interestingly, to attend We Day you cannot simply buy a ticket. Instead, you need to earn your ticket by taking on one local and one global action. Our schools had an incredibly high number of students who took the steps toward becoming global citizens!


Finally, one White Bear Lake Area Schools student had the amazing opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Ga. to receive a RISE (Rising in Spirit of Expectations) Award. Sean Sieleni, a Special Olympics Athlete, was selected to receive the RISE Award for his hard work and dedication.

The red carpet event was hosted by actor and recording artist, Justin Mise and was held at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center. The RISE Awards honor individuals with Down syndrome who are making a difference in their community.

Elementary excitement


White Bear Lake Area elementary schools have been full of excitement throughout the past few weeks. First, students at Lakeaires Elementary got an introduction to democracy on Election Day - but they were not voting for governor. Instead, they were voting for the name of the school bear in front of their building. 

Each class submitted one name for the bear. Then, student leadership members voted and narrowed the choices down to three. After that, it was time for the all-school vote. Students and staff were each given a ballot, and when they dropped in their vote they received an "I VOTED" sticker. Student leadership members helped with the voting process and counted the ballots. In the end, with 160 votes, "Snowball" won the election!


At Hugo Elementary, excitement stemmed from making strides to reduce the amount of waste in their lunchroom. On Nov. 4, Hugo Elementary started recycling their food waste through a Food-To-Hogs initiative. Now, three times each week, a farmer comes to the school to pick up all of the elementary school's food waste. After getting rid of any bacteria that may be present on the food waste, it is fed to the farmer's pigs. 

Our other WBL elementary schools have adopted a similar recycling program. However, being an EC-1 school, Hugo did not have older role-models to facilitate. Luckily, the Transition Plus program stepped up to the plate and provided supervision during Hugo Elementary's lunch time every day. "We are extremely grateful for this and look forward to the partnership," said Jason Healy, principal at Hugo Elementary. Read all about the elementary school's fantastic recycling statistics!


Birch Lake Elementary has also participated exciting activities recently. First, third graders at Birch Lake have been learning how to sew! The students had the opportunity to design, plan and sew their own fabric monster.

In addition, the elementary school hosted the first annual "Muffins With Moms" event sponsored by their PTO. On Nov. 14, grandmas, mothers and other family members gathered at Birch Lake Elementary to meet teachers, staff and other families. The event was a huge success with a great turnout of engaged families!

Honorable activities


Our schools have been participating in many honorable activities throughout the year. One of the most recent and honorable events was a Veterans Day assembly at Central Middle School. In addition to entering students in the Lion's Club Peace Poster Contest and the VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest, the school hosted Sargent Major Barry Henriksen as a guest speaker for all seventh graders. 

During the assembly, Sargent Henricksen spoke about his time overseas and three students (Chloe Schwieger, Brianna Askin, and Julia Thomalla) sang the National Anthem.


Our schools also host many ongoing honorable activities. For example, the WBLAHS - North Campus Ambassadors have been participating in a multitude of volunteer jobs this fall. 

Seventy-five Ambassadors helped at the Twin Cities Marathon and another 75 cleaned Highway 61 and school grounds as part of the Adopt-a-Highway project. In addition, they have volunteered at the Eagles Club, Lincoln's BOLT Night, Parent Night at South, Tamarack Nature Center, and a cancer benefit. North Campus Ambassadors have eight H2O for Life events set up to run in November and December. 

Overall, the Ambassadors boast 233 students, of whom 14 had never volunteered before, 11 are new to the district, and all 233 of them have participated in an event this year!

Another ongoing and honorable outreach program has been the White Bear Lake Area Schools BearPower Initiative. BearPower was recently spotlighted in the district video below, which was presented at a regional conference last week!



62.4-second video update

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



Activities Updates
The White Bear Lake boys cross country team received a silver award for their academic achievements. Read an article summarizing the girls tennis team's great season here

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

Watch the most recent 62.4-second update for photos from the Nov. 10 school board meeting!

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
November 24 Work Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 12 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 Fall-Winter Catalog was recently mailed to District residents. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • ECFE 40th birthday celebration - ECFE is celebrating 40 years of serving families. The program is having an ECFE birthday party at Normandy Park Education Center, complete with entertainment from the Teddy Bear Band.
  • Habitat for Humanity Housing in Hugo - Habitat for Humanity housing will be built in Hugo thanks to a generous donationRead more about the new development!
  • Adapted floor hockey season is around the corner - Read more about how to join the adapted floor hockey team!
  • Community Forum: United We Stand and Prescription Pill Take Back Night - Read about the upcoming local community forums that include a prescription pill take-back night.
  • Assistive Technology - Read the latest parent newsletter on assistive technology!
  • Weatherization - You may be eligible for free weatherization home improvements through the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties. Read more
  • Community Baby Shower - You and your baby are invited to join other parents of new babies, birth to six months old, for a Community Baby Shower on November 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Normandy Park Education Center.
  • Early Childhood Fall News - Click here to read about upcoming events for our Early Childhood program. Learn more about our Early Childhood screening here.
  • Evening ECFE Parent-Child Classes - Join other parents and their young children (birth-5) to participate in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) parent-child classes at Normandy Park Education Center, 2482 East County Road F. Family Play Group: Tuesdays, 6:15-7:45 p.m. Parenting on Your Own: Tuesdays, 6:15-7:45 p.m. Call the Early Childhood office at 651-653-3100 for more information. Register online at
  • Music Lessons - Save $25 on music lessons at MacPhail Center for Music's location at Birch lake Elementary when you register by December 31. Mention WBLDIST-SCHOOL15. Valid for new students only. Call 612-321-0100 or go to, or download our fall flyer.
  • Ebola fact sheet and FAQ - Click here for a fact sheet on Ebola. Click here for frequently asked questions about Ebola.
  • Girl Scouts - Learn more about the Girl Scouts in the area!
  • Saving a half million dollars? - Click here to read about how our schools are saving roughly a half million dollars in energy costs!
  • ADHD support group newsletter - View the latest ADHD support group newsletter.
  • NCAA clearinghouse - Is your child a college-bound student athlete? If so, you should consider registering him/her for NCAA eligibility here.
  • 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 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.
    • Ryan Family Art Grant Winners - Read all about the five elementary teachers who won Ryan Family Art Grants in October!
    • New Board Members - Congratulations to the newly elected board members: WBL Alum Jim Berry, Paul Fettinger, William Fleming, and Andrea Loppnow
    • Holiday Angels - Kicking off this month, the Holiday Angels program gives our community an opportunity to share with those in need right in our own school district while honoring a school district staff person during the holiday season. View the flyer for more information.
    • Teachers - There's something NEW at the WBLAEF website! It's the BEAR LEGACY GRANT! This summer come to to learn more about this exciting new grant.
    • Brosious Teaching Grants - ALL TEACHERS: Brosious Grant Applications were sent to you via e-mail, plus they are available year round on our School District website under White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation. Brosious Grant Applications for 2014-2015 are due October 22, 2014. Please send completed applications to the WBLAEF office at District Center at 4855 Bloom Ave., or via Fax at 651-407-7643, or e-mail to Thank you!
    • 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 2014-2015 school year for enhancement activities for students completed by September 1, 2015.
      • 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.
    • 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 6-12.
    • 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 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.
  • 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 how our schools are saving a half million dollars here!


Support WBLAS Students:

  • New and current families enrolled in the Early Childhood Family Education program are invited to an ECFE 40th birthday party at Normandy Park Education Center, complete with entertainment from the Teddy Bear Band. The event will take place on Dec. 4 from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Awards and Honors

  • Congratulations to Dan Kovacich, Section 4 AA Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year!

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