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

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.

  • Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Parent Notices:

  • 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.
  • Citizen's Academy 2014 - This year's citizen's academy starts September 15 and continues for eight weeks on Monday nights. Learn more about the program and learn more about the Monday night classes. Interested citizens should email Officer Issac Tuma or fill out the application on the city's website.
  • SCC turns 30! - To celebrate SCC is hosting a number of activities the week of September 15. More information about SCC available on their website.
  • Saving a half million dollars? - Click here to read about how our schools are saving roughly a half million dollars in energy costs!
  • 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.
  • Final transcripts available - All final transcripts have been submitted to the post secondary institution your student indicated on his or her Senior Exit Survey via Naviance or by mail. Go to Naviance - Family Connection - Colleges - Transcripts - View the Status of All My Transcript Requests. You will see the date that the submission occurred under the Final column.
  • 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.
  • Summer Transportation Institute - Is your child interested in learning more about transportation, engineering, science, or technology? The Summer Transportation Institute at the University of Minnesota may be a perfect fit! Applications will be accepted until the program is full.
  • 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 so that you can access during the summer.
    • 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 - This grant awards elementary teachers up to $500 per person or team. These funds are available to purchase art supplies, instructional materials, or to assist with the expenses of an Artist-in-Residence. The Application Form will be available on the WBLAEF website. Completed Application Forms will be due October 2, 2014 at the Foundation office in District Center. This grant will be awarded in late October, and teachers have 12 months to complete usage of this grant.
    • Brosious Teaching Grants - The purpose of the Brosious Grants is to assist WBL professional personnel working directly with children in our schools. The goal of the Brosious Teaching Grant is to enhance the rigor of the curriculum or instruction within the classroom. This grant must be aligned with the District's goals and objectives. The Application Form is available on the WBLAEF website. Completed Application Forms will be due Oct. 22, 2014. This grant will be awarded in November, for use during the following 12 months.
    • 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 - Foundation board members also handed out team spirit shirts reading, "Bleed Orange and Black". To find out how to get a team spirit shirt contact the Foundation office at Check out the WBL U-12A girls' hockey team sporting these shirts here!
  • 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!

Awards and Honors

  • In academics, White Bear Lake Area Schools test scores are continuing to rise. Click here to view the entire report of our recent successes!

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