October 19, 2014

In this issue

- Parent teacher conference time again

- In Photos: Fire Prevention Week at Vadnais Heights Elementary
Student News
- Good food and good health
- Middle school history, science and safety
- Recognition

- Spreading kindness

- 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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Parent teacher conference time again
During October our students are the subject of much attention during parent teacher conferences, whether they welcome it or not! Young children may join the adults or wait patiently outside in the hall, hoping a good report will be rewarded with a coveted book from the PTO book sale in the media center.

For middle and high school students, parents already know a great deal about their child's progress by regular on-line monitoring of daily assessments, test scores, and assignments. Students know the deadlines for getting in assignments-- which if done on time before conferences may result in parents receiving a coveted compliment on their child's diligence.

So what happens these days at parent conferences?

First, parents ask if their child is being challenged and responding well to challenges. Do our children have the skills and confidence to take on increasingly challenging work? (By the senior year, for example, better than sixty percent of our students are taking college credit courses while still in high school.)

Secondly, parents ask if their children have friends and work well with others. As parents, we want our children to respect others and be respected. We want them to have friends, especially friends who will bring out the best in our children.

Third, parents ask about effort. As adults we know that talent and opportunity can give a child a chance for a bright future, but hard work and persistence are essential ingredients for success. Some experts in child development refer to "grit", a combination of purpose, persistence, and resilience as a defining characteristic of children who excel.

Fourth, parents ask whether their children are growing. Physical growth is obvious to us when we notice that our child's "new" jeans of three months ago are well above his ankles. But what of math and reading growth? Is my child on course to meet college requirements?

If these questions frame the conversations between parents and teachers, what data are used to tell the story?

First and most importantly, teachers assess the progress of students every day; these observations and assessments are summarized as grades on a report card. Discussion with a child's teacher yields important insights.


Next, a common measure of progress and growth is MAP (Measure of Academic Progress), a national assessment given to all students in grades 1 through 10 at least twice a year. (For 2013-14, our White Bear Lake students averaged a year and one half growth in math and a year and one third in reading). These results also encourage our students because they understand their level of achievement and pace of improvement.

To measure college readiness, students take the EXPLORE national assessment in grade 8, PLAN in grade 10, and the more familiar ACT in grades 11 or 12. These measure skills students are developing for college and help students stay on the path to success. In our most recent ACT results for the class of 2014, 16 percent of students scored a 29 or higher, allowing opportunities for scholarships and entry into some of nations most competitive schools.

Finally, we want to thank all the teachers, parents, grandparents, and others who participate in parent teacher conferences. By the way, PTO book sales were a success!

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

In Photos: Fire Prevention Week at Vadnais Heights Elementary


Student News

Good food and good health


The White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus student council is coordinating our district-wide food drive October 27 - November 1. Last year, our schools' contribution to the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf was 22,777 pounds. The current goal for this year is 18,000 pounds. 

Members of the WBLAHS - South Campus student council will be responsible for sorting and organizing food, the logistics of moving food from individual schools to our central location, and creating advertising - both in our school and out in the community. 

In the past year, the WBLAEFS has served 300 families each month (on average) including 5,542 adults and 4,896 children and distributed 230,924 pounds of food. The South Campus student council is planning several events to make the week-long fundraiser stand out to students, staff, and community members. With a variety of classroom competitions at the secondary level, student council hopes to raise hunger awareness and promote positive school climate.

In addition to themed "double points" days, the student council will also host the traditional Trick-or-Can event, where high school students can still participate in the evening's regular activity of going door to door, but instead of asking for candy, they ask for canned goods to donate to the food drive and then bring the items to South Campus.

Also in food news, BearPower will host a Food, Family and Fun event on October 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Topics of discussion will include picky eaters, mealtime battles and other common challenges families face. The free session will be facilitated by a Registered Dietician. At 9 a.m. we will have breakfast for the whole family and at 9:30 a.m. kids will enjoy supervised play while adults talk about food. Interested families can register for the event here.


In addition, White Bear Lake Nutrition Services has compiled a snapshot of new menu guidelines that includes:

  • Wider variety of fruits and vegetables on the menus and students are encouraged to try them.
  • Students must take one serving of fruits and vegetables or they will be asked to return to the serving area.
  • Breads and grains will be at least 51% whole grain.
  • A gradual decrease in sodium and fat in menus over time.
  • Milk must be non-fat and may be flavored.

The photo to the right is of two Willow Lane Elementary students who were amazed by the size of this green bell pepper!


While students are exposed to delicious and nutritious foods in our lunchrooms, class activities often have a healthy component as well. For example, last week Oneka fifth graders biked to Memory Care Center in Hugo to visit with residents. Also on this exciting trip, students had the opportunity to tour city hall and meet the city administrator. While this field trip was enriching in social and educational ways, the addition of active biking made it even more rewarding.


Staying healthy also means staying safe. At Vadnais Heights Elementary, students participated in Fire Prevention Week earlier in October. Students had the chance to learn about fire prevention from actual firefighters, tour a firetruck, and even use a fire hose! Check out photos from the week in the "In Photos" section above.


Middle school history, science and safety

The past few weeks have been busy for White Bear Lake middle school students, especially involving history, science, and safety subjects. First, middle school students participated in a History Day Kickoff presentation in order to show sixth graders what it takes to be a part of the History Day tradition. 


During the presentation, eighth graders explained all levels of the history day competition and what kinds of challenges they faced the previous year. Some eighth graders had such a positive experience with their History Day projects that they volunteered to be mentors to help students on their projects this year!


Within the subject of science at the middle school level, students participated in two more unique classroom activities. Sixth graders first took part in National Metric Day, where groups of students each represented a country and competed in educational games to test their knowledge of the metric system. Games included: the straw javelin throw and the paper plate discus. Students predicted outcomes in the actual measurement of grams, centimeters and liters.

In addition, Carol Hultman's sixth grade science class watched the 3M's Young Scientist Challenge. Students learned a lot from observing young intelligent peers compete and had the chance to connect to the challenge by asking questions.

While history and science are important subjects for our middle school students, learning real-world safety skills is equally crucial. Earlier in October, sixth graders in our middle schools attended another presentation on internet safety. Presented in part by the White Bear Lake Police Department, students learned countless tips about how to stay safe on the internet - an important conversation as many middle school students begin to spend more time online. 


October is a busy month of recognition. It is National Bullying Prevention Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, and National Principals Month. Please take the time to learn about bullying prevention and dyslexia, and say "thank you" to our school principals. Also celebrated earlier this month was National Custodial Worker Day, so make sure you also thank those who keep our buildings looking so nice!

There are many dyslexia awareness events for teachers and parents this month provided through the International Dyslexia Association, Groves Academy, and the Rochester Reading Center. The Minnesota Department of Education is doing great work with regards to Dyslexia and SLD education. Dyslexia is an issue that effects one in five people.


While students and staff celebrated National Custodial Worker Day earlier in October, White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus Ambassadors did some important cleaning as well. In fact, last Saturday, they adopted a part of Highway 120 and spent all morning cleaning a total of 4.1 miles.

North Campus Ambassadors have adopted a highway on the north end of White Bear Lake, but this is the first time that South Campus Ambassadors have participated in this activity. The route of their newly adopted Highway 120 starts at County Road E and ends at Highway 36. 

Spreading kindness


At White Bear Lake Area Schools we are committed to spreading kindness throughout our community. Two events spotlight this dedication. First, students at Central Middle School student groups, staff, and parents met at 7 a.m. to write encouraging messages in chalk related to kindness and anti-bullying to the student body.

By the end of the morning, the sidewalks leading up to the middle school were covered with colorful and positive messages. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about anti-bullying month. Read more about this movement here

Another opportunity for students to learn about kindness and how to keep our schools positive is the Rachel's Challenge presentation for North Campus students that will take place during the school day on Oct. 20. Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim of the 1999 Columbine shootings. Through Rachel's life and writings, students can explore different ways to reach out with kindness and compassion.

The presentation is a reminder of the little things students and family members can do every day in order to make our world a better place. In addition to the North Campus presentation, the district will host a Rachel's Challenge community event presentation for interested community members. The community event will take place at 6 p.m., Oct. 20 in the District Auditorium. The recommended age of audience participants is seventh grade and older.

The student and community events are supported with funds with the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, which provided a $4,800 Bear Grant to cover 100% of the costs for Rachel's Challenge. According to WBLAHS - North Campus Associate Principal Angela Nelson, the project could not have happened this year without the funds from the Foundation.


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 mountain bike team team posted some solid results on the challenging Mount Kato, Mankato course on Oct. 12. Freshman Mason Dekeyrl took third place in Division 2 freshman. Freshman Matt Weinberger rode to 14th place out of 40 riders. The only middle school rider for the Bears, seventh grader Adam Barth got 14th place out of 43 riders.The White Bear Lake Cheerleaders competed at the MCCA All State Cheer Off on Saturday, October 11. They competed in all 3 categories: Game Situation Chant (second place), Time Out Cheer (first place) and School Song (first place). Their standings placed them as Grand Champions of the Competition, defending their title for five years running. Baylie Sherrick, Maddi Galloway and Tiffany Wallace will be representing the WBL Cheerleaders on the All State Cheer Team. The White Bear Lake boys varsity cross country team placed second of 25 competing teams at the Meet of Champions in Alexandria. The White Bear girls swim and dive team beat the Park Cottage Grove Wolfpack 99-87 and ranked third at the Section True Team meet. Congratulations to Christine Anderson, WBLAHS head girls tennis coach, who was selected as the Section 4AA Coach of the year! The White Bear Lake Hippodrome got a makeover! Check out photos and video clips in the first 62.4-second update above.

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
October 27 Work Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
November 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
November 24 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.

Parent Notices:

  • 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.
  • BearPower Food, Family and Fun! - Join BearPower to discuss picky eaters, mealtime battles and other common challenges families face. The free session will be facilitated by a Registered Dietician. At 9 a.m. we will have breakfast for the whole family and at 9:30 a.m. kids will enjoy supervised play while adults talk about food.
  • Special Education Parent Advisory Council - The first PAC meeting of the 2014-2015 school year is on Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in room 206 at District Center. Any parent of a WBLAS student on an IEP is welcome to attend any and all meetings. This is an opportunity to learn about special education programming in our schools and is a forum to exchange ideas. This is not a support group, but an advisory council. Please join us and learn more about PAC!
  • Transition Resource Fair - The Transition Resource Fair will be held at South Campus on November 6th. The TRF is an opportunity for families and students who are 9th grade or older and have disabilities. The fair will feature information related to governmental, community, educational, vocational training, housing and business opportunities for students as they move into adulthood. It is a wonderful event for families to connect and have questions answered as they plan for the future of their student!
  • International hosts needed - WBLAS is hosting two teachers/professors from India who are learning about teaching strategies from WBL teachers and administrators. We are looking for three host families to provide housing, a room and meals. We need two hosts from October 20-24 and one host from November 3-7. If this sounds like an experience you or your family would like to try, please contact: Dan Schmidt at Lincoln Elementary at 651-653-2830 or Tim Schochenmaier at Otter Lake Elementary at 651-653-2843.
  • 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 www.isd624.org/EarlyChildhood
  • 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 macphail.org, or download our fall flyer.
  • Parent Safety Night - Are you familiar with K2 Spice, Molly, Krokodil, and Robo-Tripping? Are you aware of apps that allow discrete photos to be sent and immediately erased from your child's phone? Do you know how many passengers your 16 year old is allowed to have in a car? If not, or if you want to learn more - make sure to attend the Safety Information Night for Parents on Nov. 13. Learn more
  • 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.
  • Transportation to day care providers - If your child needs transportation to or from any location other than your home, you must fill out a day care form.
  • School Supplies - All school supply lists are now available here. If you are in need of school supplies or backpacks, please contact your specific school directly.
  • 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 communications@isd624.org 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.

  • Senior Center Holiday Boutique & Bake Sale - Friday, October 31 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, November 1 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the White Bear Senior Center. There will be a large variety of beautifully handcrafted products & delicious baked goods are contributed by over 100 local seniors. A portion of the proceeds go towards supporting the Senior Center.
  • 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.
    • Staff Appeal - The annual staff appeal campaign is in full swing and wraps up November 1. Your generous donations help provide a lasting legacy of exemplar education for our students. Give where your heart is, Bear Pride!
    • Reminder to teachers - WBLAEF Grants are available online.
    • Teachers - There's something NEW at the WBLAEF website! It's the BEAR LEGACY GRANT! This summer come to wblaef.org 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 lisa.lindvall@isd624.org 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 www.wblaef.org. 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:

  • South Campus Sunshine Fund is once again selling the Metro Dining Club cards. 166 cards good once per month Oct 2014 - Oct 2015. Local restaurants include Blue Heron, BYO Burger, Cafe Cravings DQ, Don Julio's, Green Mill, Kelly's Corner, Mad Jacks, Olive Joe's, Running Aces, Taco John's & Wise Guys. Go to www.metrodiningclub.com (North/Northeast Metro) for full list. Each set is $24, contact Karen Larson at (South Campus Activities Office) 651-773-6206 to order.

Awards and Honors

  • Congratulations to Christine Anderson, WBLAHS head girls tennis coach, who was selected as the Section 4AA Coach of the year!
  • Christina Thayer-Marmitt received the 2014 Regional Community Educators of Excellence award for region 6 at the Minnesota Community Education Association's Annual Conference held Oct. 6-8 at the DECC in Duluth. MCEA recognizes, thanks and celebrates the outstanding contributions made by practitioners and supporters of community education from across Minnesota. Nominees represent the best of the best: persons committed to working together, creating opportunities, persisting through challenges and partnering with others.

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