September 7, 2014

In this issue

- Rehearsal for Opening Day
- In Photos: First Day of School
Student News
- Meaningful connections
- Video introductions and highlights
- Opportunities to give back
- Athletic fame
- 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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Rehearsal for Opening Day


"First, I take out all my folders and notebooks, and then I put labels on for each of my classes. Then I check my schedule over again, and then my locker combination..." (Sixth grade student, describing his routine the night before school begins.) 

"I review my plans for the day - actually, several times...and try to get some rest, knowing how busy the first day will be..." (Veteran teacher, describing her routine the night before school begins.) 

During our first week of school I visited more than one hundred classrooms from kindergarten though high school. These early days of the school year show the promise of the year to come. Students and their teachers get to know one another. Students find friends and make new friends. First assignments are composed with intense concentration and offered to the teacher with pride. Each student thinks,"this will be my best year ever..." 

Do you remember those days? 


Much is written about the first day of school, but what of the night before? I made an informal survey of elementary, middle, and high school students, and of new and experienced staff. 

"What do you do the day before school begins?" 

Two common themes emerge. First, on the day before school begins students and staff "rehearse" for first day. Second, all describe being "excited" for the day to come. 

Students and staff told me their routines, some in exquisite detail. 

Beginning school is not a solo experience. Each family develops special routines for the last day of "summer" and the excitement of the new year. With our own children, after dinner and when all the backpacks were set for the morrow, we would head to the lake for a final swim, no matter what the weather. 

What are your routines on the day before school begins? 

Best wishes to all our staff, students, and families. This promises to be our "best year ever"!

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

In Photos: First Day of School



Student News

Meaningful connections 


The beginning of the school year is an important time of year. Whether it's in the classroom or during extracurricular activities, this is the time our students, staff, and community members establish meaningful connections. On Tuesday, August 26 district staff members gathered for the annual Convocation event in order to celebrate the new school year.

This year's Convocation theme was Core Values, Community, and the 4 Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity). The program included a highlight of our most senior employees and our partners and district partnerships. In addition, the event hosted student performances. WBLAHS students performed pre-Convocation music, a drumline welcome, and the National Anthem. A Sunrise Park Middle School student performed "God Bless the USA" (Proud to be an American) in order to showcase the Integrity Core Value.


Another meaningful connection made that week was with Link Crew members on Aug. 27 at the North Campus gym. Link Crew is a program through which ninth grade students are led by senior and junior leaders to make the transition to high school fun and positive.

During the day, seniors and juniors served as leaders and mentors to the freshman during exciting large and small group activities.

Sometimes, even though the beginning of the school year is something to look forward to, it can also be a little emotional for parents sending their little ones to kindergarten for the first time. 

For this instance, Matoska International 

Elementary hosted a Coffee and Kleenex event where parents gathered and bonded after after dropping their kindergarten students off at the first day of school. Superintendent Lovett (at right) stopped by to meet with some future Bears after their older siblings started their first days.

Finally, An opportunity for an upcoming meaningful connection will be a band dress rehearsal show hosted by Tim McGraw, ALC Mixed Media teacher. Many of McGraw's students have expressed interest in his music career and as a special treat, he will be performing at the ALC on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. This will be a dress rehearsal for his band's upcoming show at the Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls.

Video introductions and highlights

White Bear Lake Area Schools is proud to announce Tim Schochenmaier as the new principal of Otter Lake Elementary and Chris Streiff as the new principal of Willow Lane Elementary. Before joining us at White Bear Lake, Schochenmaier served as a principal in the Big Lake School District. Streiff comes to us from Rochester Public Schools where she served as an elementary school principal.


Check out the two videos below that highlight these important new staff members!


Two more videos spotlight White Bear Lake Area Schools' dedication to our partnerships and service projects. Watch both of them below!



Opportunities to give back

This fall, White Bear Lake Area Schools will have many opportunities for families to give back to the community. Two of these helpful events are the Annual Craft and Treasures Sale and the Harvest Bowl Football Game.

First, the holiday shopping season officially begins with the Annual Fall Craft and Treasures Sale on Sept. 27, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., at the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center. With more than 40 artisans and skilled crafters, you are sure to find something for everyone on your gift list. 

Back by popular demand, they also will have a raffle drawing for a White Bear-themed Adirondack chair hand-crafted by ALC students. The Annual Fall Craft and Treasures Sale is an ALC fundraising event supporting student enrichment opportunities.

Another great upcoming fundraiser is the Harvest Bowl Football Game. Next week, White Bear Lake Area Schools' second annual Harvest Bowl football game will take place as our Bears take on the Woodbury Royals. 

The school invites all spectators to bring three or more non-perishable food items to donate to the White Bear Lake Emergency Food Shelf in lieu of an admission charge. View the details here. "Last year's Harvest Bowl was a big success and we hope that this year will be even better," said Tim Hermann, director of student activities.


Athletic fame

White Bear Lake Area High School proudly inducted Mark Jansen and Lyle Helke into the Athletic Hall of Fame in August.


During the late-1990s at White Bear Lake Area High School, the word "success" and the name of Mark Jansen were synonymous. While a high school student, Mark was a participant in track and field, football and basketball. As a quarterback for the Bears, Mark helped his team win two section championships and his play during his football career saw him twice awarded All-Conference honors and, as a senior,selected as the conference offensive player of the year, named to the All-State team, participate in the Minnesota All-Star football game, and named All-Star game MVP in 2000.

Lyle Helke's Cross County and Track 

coaching career in the White Bear Lake Area Public Schools spanned an amazing thirty-three years, including stints at both Mariner High School and White Bear Lake Area High School. During that time, he led his cross country teams to fourteen conference titles and seventeen section titles. Lyle also coached twenty-four teams into the MSHSL Cross Country State meet and in 1977, the Bears emerged as State Cross Country Champions. For his outstanding body of work as a coach, his peers named Lyle Helke Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year in 2005 and the following year, he was inducted into the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

Visit the district Facebook page to congratulate these Hall of Famers!


62.4-second video update

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


Activities Updates
The White Bear Lake boys cross country team placed third of 20 teams at the Rosemount Invitational on Aug. 29. Junior Fernando Benitez placed 17th, senior Garrett Shah placed 20th, and Owen Parker was 28th of 155 runners. The White Bear Lake Girls' Swim Team tied for first place with Duluth East at the Greyhound Triangular on Saturday, Aug. 23 and got fourth place at the Annual Suburban East Conference Relays on Thursday, Aug. 21.

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
September 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
September 22 Work Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
October 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center