November 30, 2014

In this issue

- Learning by example

- In Photos: Otter Lake Elementary Preschool Thanksgiving
Student News
- Enriching elementary opportunities
- South Campus students guests of Rotary
- The season of giving

- 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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Learning by example
Just before Thanksgiving, we are invited to a feast. Yes, before Thanksgiving.

We are welcomed into the dining area by a chorus of small voices. Our hosts for this occasion are four and five year old preschoolers at Otter Lake Elementary. With (significant) guidance from their teachers, the children display practiced social skills, and seem eager for the question, "what are you thankful for?"

"My dog," offers a girl with braids..."Greta Dog."

"I'm getting a baby cat," pipes up an eager lad.

"Does your mother know?" we ask.

"Riding on my grandpa's tractor."

"Getting to watch a dog for three days and three nights!"


On with the list. Fifteen children with fifteen different responses. No duplicates or imitations.

When it comes to being grateful, we each have our own story. Our family. Our friends. Those who care about us and those we care about. Opportunities. Events. 

At this time of year we reflect and are more likely to be open and share about those people, places, and gifts for which we are most grateful, especially if we are asked! 

Our best wishes for this beginning of the holiday season.

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

In Photos: Otter Lake Elementary Preschool Thanksgiving


Student News

Enriching elementary opportunities

Whether it was through educational opportunities, grand openings, or holiday festivities, White Bear Lake Area elementary students were busy during these last few weeks. At Oneka Elementary, students had two interesting educational opportunities, where they also gave back to the community. First, Erin Maas's third grade class started a project where students make personalized books for a diabetes group at Children's Hospital and general books for any child who is admitted to the hospital. 

"I like to do a service project each year where students take on full leadership of the project and I act as their guide," said Erin Maas. This year, they had four leaders who learned how to appropriately contact their chosen site and ask for information. After they have gathered interview data from the diabetes group, they will start writing the books during the third week in December. The group is hoping to have the books finished by the second Tuesday in February so that they can be given out at the diabetes support group meeting.

Also at Oneka Elementary, students and staff participated in a Mustache Week where student council and BOSS members sold mustaches before school all week for one dollar. The money collected will go to buy goats for families overseas. As of Nov. 20, the school raised more than $600, enough money to supply 12 families with goats. View some of the fun mustache photos from the fundraiser in the Nov. 21 62.4 second update!


Another educational opportunity Oneka students participated in recently was Science Day. School visitors, including 3M employees, spent Nov. 21 showing students a variety of science experiments. Some of the activities included changing water into vapor, making gas bubbles, and demonstrating how dry ice is used to transport heavy equipment. 

Lakeaires Elementary School had the grand opening of their new gym last Friday! In addition, late last month, Willow Lane Elementary opened their new gym to excited students and staff.


At Lincoln Elementary, Shawna Traver's third grade class recently completed a service project raising money for Maasai Village in Kenya. For the project, students made cards and sold them to raise money to buy solar lanterns and help build a barrier to protect the water supply. In total, they raised $1,455, which is enough to purchase 20 solar lanterns and support the village water barrier!

At Otter Lake Elementary, preschool students had the opportunity to learn more about Thanksgiving when they joined School Board member Lori Swanson, district administrators and their teachers for a feast. Read more about the event in Dr. Lovett's article and see some fun images from the event in the "In Photos" compilation above.

At Birch Lake Elementary, third grade students held an Author's Tea Event. During the event, apple cider and cookies were served while students read a personal story to their parents and other family members.

Birch Lake Principal Tami VanOverbeke said, "They all did an amazing job of writing and illustrating their own works of art!" You can see a few of the images from the event in the most recent 62.4-second update.

South Campus students guests of Rotary


On November 26, students from South Campus were special guests at the weekly meeting of the White Bear Rotary Club. 

Juniors Peter Schultze and Jacob Greenbaum thanked the Rotary Club for sponsoring their participation in "Camp Enterprise," a program designed to help students learn about business through a weekend of business simulations with area business executives and high school students from the Twin Cities Area. 

Also presenting to the club were members of the South Campus Ambassadors Club, a service organization. Ambassadors Club members Hannah Schulz, Abby Hoover, Megan Hazen, Clare Craigan, Madison Gohl, and Kayla Foss lead a fund -raising initiative through H2O for Life, an international non-profit, to build a well in Uganda. 

The Rotary Club provided a grant and a loan to the student organization to allow them to purchase water bottles for sale to raise money for the well project. The students thanked the Rotary Club and presented the Club with a check repaying the loan. 

The season of giving

Throughout our schools the season of giving has begun. Foremost, White Bear Lake North and South Campus Student Councils have finalized the data and the district is extremely excited to announce that our food drive raised 19,509 pounds of food and $3655.56! Our district continues to have one of the best food drives in the entire state. In addition, KARE 11 featured our food drive on a recent news program!


Two more recent stories from South Campus highlight how our students are committed to giving back to the community during the holiday season. First, on Nov. 19, South Campus students hosted another Coffee for Water event. Fresh brewed coffee, hot cocoa, Panera bagels & cream cheese, and water bottles were available for purchase. Along with the beverages and food, the event was serenaded by the jazz band that played some holiday songs. The fundraiser was preceded by a talent show the previous night. As a part of H2O for Life, all donations funded a water sanitation system for a school in Uganda.

Another way South Campus students and families have given back to the community recently is through the Casa de Esperanza organization in St. Paul. In memory of the late Marsha Wellstone, a former Spanish teacher at White Bear Lake Area Schools, the South Campus Spanish department has continued its effort to support families in need during the holiday season. This year, twenty families in need have been adopted by South Campus students and families. Money that is raised will go toward purchasing items for the families' holiday wish lists.


At the middle school level, students at Sunrise Park Middle School eighth grade students engaged in a variety of volunteering activities on Nov. 13 and 14. The activities included: sewing fleece hats and scarves for the Salvation Army, making holiday cards for area seniors, cutting out shapes for Children and Family Services, making activity bags/door hangers for sick children, knitting scarves for homeless youth, weaving potholders for Meals on Wheels, designing journals for homeless youth, and building cat toys for area animal shelters. 


In addition to all of the giving back our students have been doing, they have also received many opportunities. Seven Central and Sunrise Park Middle School students had the chance to perform in last weekend's American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota Honor Choir. Central student participants were Leanne Fahie, Cameron Sharlow, Billy Pilacinski and Joey Dennis. Sunrise Park student participants included Allea Eichler, Tom Perreira and Emy Marier.

The White Bear Lake Area Schools' Accountability With Academics and Restorative Education (AWARE) program has also given back to the community in an educational setting. The St. Croix Valley/Stillwater Chapter of MN Deer Hunters recently made a donation of $300 to fund the AWARE Program's Survival Bracelet for Soldiers project. Each week, AWARE students make survival bracelets for deployed troops. They are also given a presentation about the importance of community service and civic organizations. So far, the group has made more than 100 bracelets!


Finally, our youngest students were given the opportunity to meet new friends and area family members at the district's bi-annual Community Baby Shower on Nov. 24. The event consisted of new parents and babies getting to know our Early Childhood Program through playing games, winning fun prizes, receiving baby massage lessons, and connecting with other families.

62.4-second video update

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




Activities Updates
Read about the upcoming girls hockey season in this White Bear Press article. The White Bear Lake girls cross country team took 15th place at the state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

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

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
December 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 26 Work-Study 5:30 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.
  • Community Services is looking for staffing for rink supervisors and rink maintenance workers. Please contact Jon Anderson at for more info.

Parent Notices:

  • Get noticed by BearPower - BearPower wants to feature YOU in an upcoming edition of the BearPower press! Send an email to explaining how your family, your classroom, or your program gets BearPowered and they will feature it in an upcoming issue of their newsletter and blog. Pictures of course are welcome!
  • Journalism, video and television scholarships - The NATAS-Upper Midwest Chapter/Foundation is giving away $3,000 scholarships to high school seniors and college juniors and seniors interested in careers in journalism, video and television. Anyone who lives in or attends college in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, most of Iowa, and western Wisconsin can apply. Some of the scholarships are targeted to journalism, others to leadership, others to Public Media. All the information is here.
  • 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
  • Early Childhood Screening - 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.
    • 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 Mary Pokorny, WBLAS librarian, who won $2,000 worth of books at the annual ITEM conference in October. Rourke Publishing, a children's publisher, raffled the $2,000 of their latest nonfiction books at the conference. The books are now in the Vadnais Heights Elementary collection. Pokorny has won the book sweepstakes prize three times in the past eight years.
  • Congratulations to Merrily Wolters, Lakeaires Elementary teacher, who was recently successful in completing the National Board Certification process.
  • Congratulations to Abbi Case, Oneka Elementary teacher, who was recently successful in completing the National Board Certification process.
  • Carol Hultman, science teacher at Central Middle School, won an HB Fuller Grant worth $9,780 for 15 iPads, a power cart and a subscription to BrainPOP (game-based learning tool).
  • Jeff Bege, science teacher at Sunrise Park Middle School, won an HB Fuller Grant worth $2,494 for materials to create hands-on inquiry based, student lab stations.
  • Dana Eckton, science teacher at Sunrise Park Middle School won an HB Fuller Grant worth $9,867 for 23 iPads with cases/stands.

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