September 21, 2014

In this issue

- How our Chromebook initiative is changing teaching and learning
- In Photos: Chromebook kickoff
Student News
- Technology launch
- Honor
- Wearing your White Bear spirit
- 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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How our Chromebook initiative is changing teaching and learning

This week eighth graders at Sunrise Middle School received Chromebook personal computers. Our Sunrise students and teachers are our "pioneers", as we gradually expand the grade levels which will have computers assigned to individual student use and care. 

Much is written about "one to one" initiatives, but school districts approach planning, training, and distribution uniquely. Our approach has been to lay a firm foundation of training and experience, so once the computers are in the hands of students the classroom dynamic will change and will have a powerful positive effect on accelerating learning. To this point, teachers have had access to "classroom sets" of computers, so teachers and students have shared with many other classrooms. 

This year we have expanded the number of computers for instructional use at both elementary and secondary schools, and are phasing in the "one to one" initiative slowly. Central Middle students will receive computers later this fall. Next year additional grades will receive computers. 

What is different in these Sunrise eighth grade classes after one week? 

First, learning is accelerated. Students have access to the teacher outside of class. Explains one student, "When I have a question I email my teacher. She sends me an email back so I know what to do and get my homework done. A teacher explains "we save 10 or 15 minutes at the beginning of class - students know the assignment and can get right to work". 


Secondly, learning is more personalized. A math teacher describes a difference: "When I was the only one in the room with a computer I demonstrated graphing of equations by varying the numbers so the students could visualize how the slope of the line would change. Now each student can change the variables and see effects on the line." In a science class all students are actively engaged in a lesson, all offering probing scientific questions which other students can see and react to. A difference? In classroom discussion only one student can talk at a time. When all are offering their thoughts to the class using a common program, all are engaged. 

Third, teachers and students are learning together. A teacher describes her excitement about learning (from a student) a new shortcut for moving data within a familiar software. Demonstrating what she learned, she asks, "How many of you knew how to do this?" She looks around and laughs, seeing nearly every hand raised. Usually the teacher leads and directs the class, but at other times students will share discoveries with class and teacher. 

Fourth, students and staff alike are excited and appreciative of the opportunity to be our pioneers. Pictures will show better than words can describe. Please watch this video of week one!


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

In Photos: Chromebook Kickoff, Boot Camp, and Amazing Race


Student News

Technology launch



Sunrise Park Middle School eighth graders received Chromebooks at a 1:1 Kickoff event on September 15. During the afternoon event, the students attended a program in which they learned why the district had chosen Chromebooks, went over the expectations of using the technology, and "donated" the current eighth grade Chromebook cart to the seventh grade. 

Aside from the fun of kicking off the new initiative, a few surprise elements kept the students engaged. One lucky student was chosen to receive the first Chromebook - complete with a red carpet, balloons, and the Chromebook "gift" delivered by Principal Bob McDowell. 

After the event, the students headed to seventh hour, where they all received their Chromebooks and instructions in preparation for the "Chromebook Boot Camp" they participated in on the following day. 


Tuesday's all-day Boot Camp had students moving through their seven-period day, while their teachers covered various important topics related to the Chromebooks. 

On Wednesday, students worked in groups during their science class to complete the Chromebook Amazing Race. This rigorous activity was designed so students would be able to apply the skills that they learned in Tuesday's Chromebook Boot Camp training. Students became familiar with a handful of online tools including Google Drive, Google Maps Engine, webcams and YouTube as they raced to complete the challenge.

Sunrise eighth graders are the first group to receive the Chromebooks. Central Middle School eighth graders will receive the books later this fall. The initiative is part of the district's overall K-12 technology integration plan and will expand as students progress throughout their school experience.



Our teachers, students, and community members are honored and give honors many times throughout the year. The past few weeks were filled with honor ceremonies and experiences.


First, on September 11 at Vadnais Heights Elementary, students and staff wore red, white, and blue colors in honor of Patriot Day, to remember the attacks 13 years ago. In addition, the school assembled at the end of the day and kicked off their new P.E.A.C.E. school theme. Watch the first 62.4-second update in the section below to see clips from the assembly!

Another form of honor was given to Carol Hultman in her admittance to the selective STEM Fellowship. This past summer, Hultman, science and math teacher at WBLAS Central Middle School, participated in the prestigious STEM Fellowship - a professional development opportunity sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and administered by Discovery Education and Oak Ridge Associated Universities. 

Siemens accepted only 50 educators throughout the United States to this all-expense-paid fellowship hosted at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications - just outside of Washington D.C. During the week of August 3-8, Hultman and her colleagues learned how to integrate real-world and hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts into their everyday classroom instruction. 


Hultman took part in several sessions on topics such as flipped teaching and learning methods, the importance of learning communities for educators and students, digital storytelling, project based learning, and national data about STEM education. Guest speakers at the STEM Institute included education pioneer Dr. Lodge McCammon, and the star astrophysicist of Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science - Dr. Hakeem M. Oluseyi. 

"STEM stands for Students Teachers Energizing Minds! A hearty thank you to the Siemens STEM Institute for introducing the best skills and strategies in teaching more effectively for the 21st century," said Hultman. "This experience was truly about networking, collaborations, utilizing kinesthetic activities, and developing a reflective practice that will provide the best education for our students. I look forward to continuing this experience with our Siemens STEM Institute blog and sharing with my colleagues." 

As an added bonus of the fellowship, Hultman also had the opportunity to visit leading institutions of STEM innovation, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Building Museum and the White House. At the White House, fellows discussed STEM strategic planning with Marisa Bold, Chief of Staff for Innovation and Development at the U.S. Department of Education. These unique experiences introduced fellows to real-world STEM applications and provided opportunities for collaboration with peers from across the nation. 


Next, the senior program was honored on September 9 at the White Bear Lake City Council meeting for their work with Meals on Wheels, Lionmobile transportation, and helping seniors find the perfect living situation.


Mayor Jo Emerson's proclamation read, "I, Jo Emerson, Mayor of the City of White Bear Lake, in recognition of this important program, do hereby proclaim September, 2014 to be Senior Center Month and encourage residents to attend an Open House on September 23, 2014."

The open house will take place at the Senior Center (2484 East County Road F) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Community members will have 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.


In addition to this honorable news, mark your calendars early because the Senior Center will also host their annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale on Friday, October 31 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, November 1 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. The sale will include a large variety of beautifully hand-crafted products contributed by more than 100 local seniors, along with an assortment of sumptuous goodies for purchase.

Wearing your White Bear spirit

The upcoming week of September 22-27 is White Bear Lake Area Schools' Homecoming celebration! Each day of the week features themed dress-up days, fun lunch activities, and many exciting events. Click here for a detailed list of all of the festivities.

The dress-up theme for Friday, September 26 will be White Bear Lake spirit wear. Though individuals throughout the country will begin to dress themselves and their homes in orange and black in the next month, White Bear Lake students will be doing so for the pride of their schools.

It should not be difficult for us Bears to find spirit wear in our closets. Students, community members, and staff have access to a variety of orange and black attire. 

Our newest members of White Bear Nation are still mailed baby onesies directly from our superintendent's office. Along with the onesie, families with a new baby in White Bear Lake are also mailed census information. It is important to fill out the census information to help the district keep the families informed about services and programs (to which your new baby can show off that new onesie). 

Another popular White Bear garb is the rec t-shirt. According to a bulletin board on the Pioneer Press website, a White Bear rec t-shirt was spotted in a recent McDonald's tv advertisement. While this sighting doesn't quite fit into the BearPower initiative, it proves once again we are never too far from someone wearing a White Bear rec t-shirt.


Students and staff also have access to the new Bleed Orange and Black t-shirts provided by the White Bear Lake Educational Foundation. The WBLAEF has recently begun distributing Bleed Orange and Black shirts to staff members and students through various ways in different schools this year. If you would like to purchase a Bleed Orange and Black t-shirt, call the Foundation office to order one - the price is $5. 

However you wear your spirit, wear it proudly next 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 girls cross country team scored in the top three in all three races at the Faribault Invitational on September 5. The varsity team also got third place at the Rum River Invite in Anoka on September 11. The White Bear Lake boys cross country team placed second in the Faribault Invitational on September 5. The White Bear Lake football team won 27-6 over Woodbury on September 12. Also in football news, the Pioneer Press covered an interesting story on Bear quarterback Trey Anderson's injury earlier this fall.

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

Many exciting decisions were made at the last school board meeting. Here you will find a School Board Meeting Highlights document, which includes some of the information presented and actions taken at the September 8, 2014 School Board Meeting.

In addition, the White Bear Lake School Board recently welcomed their new student liaison at last Monday's meeting. Check out the fun photo to the right.

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.


Date Type Time Location
September 22 Work Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
October 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
October 27 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.
  • New Class: Tabata - In this interval class, you will perform each exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest. Tabata Training will keep you moving with minimal rest and will help you improve all aspects of the health from cardiovascular fitness and strength to improved energy levels. Tuesdays September 30-October 28 6:30-7:30 a.m. Central Middle School Gym A - $69.
  • New Class: Bootcamp - Get your heart rate pumping and your muscles working in the total body bootcamp where the only resistance we use is your body weight. You can expect a different, fun, challenging workout each morning. You will leave feeling accomplished. Thursdays October 2-November 6 6:30-7:30 a.m. Central Middle School Gym A - $69.

Parent Notices:

  • 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.
  • 6.24K BearPower Run/Walk - Families and community members are invited to join BearPower for a free fun walk/run. Gather your family, friends, and neighbors and come out to get active and celebrate our community spirit. All ages and abilities welcome. More info
  • Early Childhood Fundraiser - The WBL Early Childhood PTA is having a fundraiser at the Vadnais Heights Panera Bread on October 1 from 4-8 p.m. Diners must bring this flyer for our program to receive credit.
  • 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.
  • South Campus Transportation - South Campus students entering grades 11-12 in September, who are eligible for transportation, MUST REGISTER for bus service. Click here for more information.
  • 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.
  • K-12 tax benefits on school supplies - Back to school shopping? Save your receipts for valuable tax benefits! Learn more here.
  • BearPowered Homecoming- If you and your family would like to get BearPowered during Homecoming weekend, staff, families and community members are invited to join BearPower for a free fun walk/run on Sept. 27 at 8 a.m. at South Campus. The first 624 registered participants will get a BearPower Community Services Recreation t-shirt! Register online or in person in the community services office at District Center before Sept. 25 or in person an hour before the event.
  • 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.

  • Senior Center Open House - Tuesday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to Noon at the White Bear Senior Center. Learn about all the opportunities available through the White Bear Area Senior Program including classes, group activities, volunteer opportunities, Meal on Wheels, transportation, resources for aging, and our Craft Corner Gift Shop. The Senior Center Month was kicked off with a Proclamation from the City of White Bear Lake presented at the City Council Meeting on September 9.
  • 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 to learn more about this exciting new grant.
    • Ryan Family Elementary Art Grants - ALL ELEMENTARY TEACHERS: Ryan Art Grant Applications were sent to elementary teachers via e-mail, plus they are available year round on our School District website under White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation. Ryan Family Grant Applications for 2014-2015 are due October 2, 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!
    • 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 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 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.
    • Bleed Orange and Black - A very limited amount of "Bleed Orange and Black" shirts have been distributed to each building. Some Principals will have contests for staff to win shirts. North and South Campuses have received a number of shirts for homecoming. The homecoming advisers will come up with a way to distribute those shirts to students. Shirts are available for purchase at the Foundation office. The cost is $5. The shirts cannot be purchased on our website - you need to call the Foundations office to order one.
  • 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:

  • Annual ALC Craft and Treasures Sale - Support ALC students and get a jump start on holiday shopping. More information here!
  • 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 (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."

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