October 5, 2014

In this issue

- Homecoming through the eyes of our guests
Student News
- Homecoming festivities
- Enriching activities
- Community outreach
- 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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Homecoming through the eyes of our guests
During the lingering days of summer, White Bear Lake Area Schools held our Homecoming. After a week of pageantry, pep fests, service projects and dress up days, Friday was parade and game day. 

Our weather cooperated. Blue skies, light breezes and summer warmth welcomed the high school band, leading dozens of floats up Clark Avenue, through town, and east to White Bear Lake. 

Hundreds lined the streets, babies in arms, elementary and middle school students in orange and black, and some of our most senior residents, smiling, waving and perhaps remembering. 

In the evening our stadium was a sea of orange, overflowing from the stands. High school students stand during the whole of the game, following their senior class leaders, cheerleaders, dance line, and nearly 90 elementary age students, "Bear Cubs" the cheerleaders have taught to cheer for the game. 

Students and teams cheer for one another and for the team on the field. Lead by the drum line and the pep band all sing the school song over and over. At the end of the game, they sign again and cheer the team. 


All of this was noticed. On the Saturday after the game, parents from the other team posted positive comments on social media and others joined in praising our students' conduct, respect, and spirit. 

We want to specially acknowledge all those who made the weeks events happen: our faculty and staff who planned and coordinated the week; students leaders; community volunteers; community organizations; our patient local law enforcement officers who help with the parade - even though the parade route may seem like the only remaining streets not under construction; all those alums who returned for the weekend; and staff, parents, and community members who brought their own "little bear cubs" - the next generation - to the events!

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



Student News

Homecoming festivities 


Superintendent Lovett's photos tell a fun Homecoming story of the parade and the football game. In addition to the usual Homecoming tradition, BearPower has begun its own tradition - the 6.24K.

For the second year in a row, White Bear Lake Area Schools hosted the BearPower Homecoming 6.24K. On Sept. 27, about 275 walkers and runners participated in the 6.24K or the one-mile walk/run. 

Community partners helped make the race a huge success. The YMCA led pre-race warm-up activities, while our White Bear Lake boys' cross country team volunteered as race marshals. In addition, WBLAHS - North Campus student council members volunteered to coordinate the games and activities held on the lawn. HealthPartners yumPower also attended the event and gave away apples and other healthy treats.

Many staff members raced as well! Twenty-four staff members representing 11 different schools participated in the run/walk. Matoska International had six staff members participate, which earned them a fruit basket for their school. Our very own superintendent, Dr. Lovett, also raced for the second year in a row!

Enriching activities

Our students are surrounded by unique, educationally enriching opportunities every day. At Central Middle School, Central Beans Coffee Shop opened for business on Oct. 1. The coffee shop is a student work site where students have the chance to learn job interviewing skills, job duties, food safety, personal and social skills, cost analysis math lesson, and equipment care and use.


Staff members at District Center and Central Middle School can order coffee and other delicious beverages from the Central Beans website and have it delivered to their room.


Central Beans was made possible through a White Bear Lake Educational Foundation Brocious Grant. Check out the first of five videos the Foundation has created to highlight how their generosity has contributed to the educational enrichment of our students and teachers here.


Also at Central Middle School, students participated in National Manufacturing Day by building spaghetti towers and connecting with a Siemens STEM webinar. The students competed to build the tallest tower. They were limited to three feet of masking tape and 16 spaghetti noodles. The photo to the left is of the winning structure!


Other recent enriching activities held over the past few weeks included the White Bear Lake fire department visiting preschoolers and WBLAHS - South Campus students touring the Minneapolis Photo Center and Weisman Art Museum. Get instant news updates like these by following the district's Facebook and Twitter pages where we post a 624 Fact at roughly 6:24 p.m. every day.


Community outreach 


Two recent events spotlight how White Bear Lake Area Schools is continually dedicated to our community programs. First, the Senior Center Open House had an outstanding turnout on Sept. 23. 

At the open house, community members had the chance to learn about all the opportunities available through the White Bear Area Senior Program including classes, daily group activities, volunteer opportunities, Meals on Wheels, transportation, resources for aging, as well as the Craft Corner and lending library.

The White Bear Lake Senior Center provides opportunities and resources to enhance the lives of older adults. On average there are 1,300 participants per month with over 450 annual members.

In addition to reaching out to seniors in the community, we also reach out to adults who would like to hone their English language skills!

White Bear Lake Area Schools is now offering an adult English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) class that is free for foreign-born adults. A strong foundation of adult students who have shown dedication to practicing their English skills ultimately led to the creation of the new class.Nine students are currently enrolled in the class. 

Their countries of origin include: Mexico, China, Puerto Rico, Somalia, Ecuador, and The Gambia.

The students meet with the teacher on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:45-3:15 p.m. at Normandy Park Education Center. Upon enrollment, the adult students' current English language level is assessed and students are divided into groups to study curriculum specific to their needs.

The new ESL class is adults-only, with the district offering child care during the sessions. In addition, the district is offering limited transportation to the class for students who need it.

Parents and children also have the opportunity to attend the Family Literacy class together, which is offered through the Early Childhood and Family Education Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Normandy Park. The family literacy class also has a diverse group of families from all over the world including: Honduras, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Guatemala.

Contact Nancy Melquist at 651-653-3101 for more information about either of these learning opportunities.

Elementary schools receive award designations, White Bear Lake Area High School in top 1% for second year

White Bear Lake Area Schools fared well in Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) information released this week by the Minnesota Department of Education. 

Birch Lake Elementary received a Reward School designation, given to the top 15% of all Title 1 schools in Minnesota. This is the third year of the past four that Birch Lake has received this highest state designation.

Lincoln, Vadnais and Willow Lane Elementaries received the second highest recognition from the state as Celebration Eligible schools. 

Since the State MMR system replaced AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) in 2011 as an accountability measure for the Federal No Child Left Behind Law, the district's schools have been consistently honored. In addition to the top honors given to Birch, Willow Lane has received recognition for the past four years, and Vadnais three out of the past four years. Lakeaires received an MMR score of 57% for 2014, and has been recognized two years out of the past four as Celebration Eligible. 

The Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) measurement combines student proficiency, growth, and achievement gap reduction data. At the high school level, graduation rate is added as a fourth criterion. 

While all schools receive MMR ratings, only schools that receive federal funding based upon free and reduced lunch populations are considered for the recognition program.

Modest changes in student demographics from year to year affect which schools qualify for Federal Title 1 funding. Four of the district's five Title 1 schools have consistently been designated Title 1 schools. Lincoln Elementary was a Title 1 site in 2013-14 and also received the Celebration Eligible recognition.

Matoska International, which was designated a Celebration Eligible school in 2013, was not a Title 1 school last year and therefore was not eligible for a reward designation although they ranked in the top 20% of all elementary schools in Minnesota. District calculations indicate that Matoska would have been named a 2014 Reward School if it had been a designated Title 1 school during the 2013-14 school year. The MMR scores for Oneka and Otter Lake Elementary Schools are 62% and 60% respectively.

The district's secondary schools also fared well in the MMR process as well. White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus again excelled, ranking in the top 1% of all high schools in the state for the second consecutive year. White Bear Lake Area High School - North Campus' MMR score was 67% and the Area Learning Center's score was 60%. Sunrise Park Middle School ranked in the top 25th percentile and Central Middle School ranked in the top 30th percentile of all middle schools in the state.

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 girls tennis team made it into the section finals at the University of Minnesota. The White Bear Lake girls cross country team got second place in both the the Gold and Green divisions of the Mounds View Invitational at Chippewa Middle School in North Oaks.

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

  • The Community Services and Recreation 2014 Fall-Winter Catalog was recently mailed to District residents. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • 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 - Click here for a fact sheet on Ebola.
  • Secondary Facilities Task Force Needed - White Bear Lake Area Schools will soon assemble a Secondary Facilities Task Force. Community members interested in serving on the district's Secondary Facilities Task Force have until October 3, 2014 to apply. Click here for the application. Click here for more information about the Task Force.
  • Girl Scouts - Learn more about the Girl Scouts in the area!
  • Calendars mailed to families - The 2014-15 Activities Calendar was mailed to District families in late-August. Community members who would like a printed copy of the calendar can pick one up at their neighborhood school or District Center the week of September 9. A request can also be made by email to Jody Reber. Please include your full name and address in the email so we can mail you a copy. Find an electronic version of the 2014-15 calendar here.
  • 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 kick-off launches in October this year. Watch for five video vignettes via your email, showcasing WBLAEF award recipients. Foundation board members will be making visits at staff meetings and bring cookies graciously donated by Grandma's Bakery.
    • 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 2013-2014 school year for enhancement activities for students completed by September 1, 2014.
      • 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 9-12.
    • 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

  • Earlier in September, Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota Commissioner of Education presented White Bear Lake Area Schools with a Certificate of Achievement for "ensuring individual student due process records meet or exceed requirements and are reflective of the dedication of the administration, school staff and community."
  • A belated wish for a great day to our custodial crews, who were recognized on Thursday with National Custodial Worker Day!
  • Wishing all teachers a terrific day on October 5, World Teachers Day!

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