August 9, 2015

In this issue


Superintendent's Message

  • Literacy Around the World

Student News

  • In Photos: WBLAS at Marketfest 2015!
  • Bear pride
  • Action packed summer
  • Getting a "Jumpstart" on the school year
  • Important positions
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Election
  • School Board Recognitions
  • School Board Meetings

Staff News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities

Upcoming Events

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Literacy Around the World


On a summer evening, our public libraries overflow with children browsing the child and young adult sections. Some curiously scan adult books on higher shelves or negotiate their way through the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System. Boys and girls accumulate piles of books to take home, sitting on the carpet deep in imagination.

Half a world away, it is morning of the next day. We sit with elementary school children in a soum (village) school in central Mongolia, as boys and girls show us favorite books from their classroom library.

The school is a two story brick structure, housing nearly 400 students in grades K- 12 during the school year, but on the day we visit a single class works with teachers who host a fun summer class.

The soum schools lack amenities we take for granted, like modern technology and indoor plumbing. But caring, inspiring teachers make learning fun, and books make a broader world come alive.

Beyond the dusty roads and few houses of the village, the broad Mongolian Plateau stretches to distant mountains. Nearly 500,000 of Mongolia's 3 million people are nomads, and the children of nomadic families join the village children in the soum schools.

Which brings us back to the importance of books. Our school visit is arranged by a member of the national ministry of education. She has worked with international non-profit organizations to provide a classroom library for every school elementary classroom in Mongolia's nearly 400 soum schools.

Not surprisingly, data shows significant improvements in student literacy since the classroom libraries have been put in place. We aren't surprised. We know how important elementary classroom libraries are in the White Bear Lake Area Schools.

Looking around at the children, it feels like home.

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

In Photos: WBLAS at Marketfest 2015!

Click here to watch a video highlighting this year's Marketfest fun! Thank you to everyone who visited!

Student news

Bear pride 
Many of our graduates go off and accomplish wonderful things, but rarely do they forget where they came from. Oftentimes, our most thoughtful gifts come from our graduates. Just recently, former White Bear grad Michael Jordan from UNRL donated state championship t-shirts to the boys' lacrosse team, which took home the state title this summer. The varsity players wore these at the most recent School Board meeting, where they were recognized for this great accomplishment. Jordan also donated a banner to the team, which was proudly displayed as the boys rode in the Manitou Days Parade. 


We're also very proud of several of our Central and Sunrise Park Middle School students for their recent National History Day accomplishments. Central students Riley Gent and Kate Hall took the title of State Champions in the Junior Group Web Site division. Five Sunrise scholars qualified for National History Day, and given that nearly one million students take part in History Day, they represent less than 1-percent who've advanced this far. Students from both middle schools represented White Bear proudly in Washington D.C. earlier this summer as part of this experience. Central eighth grader Kayla Schroeder even made this video of the trip!


Action packed summer
Though it's been pretty quiet in the classroom, summer is one of the busiest times for our Community Services programs. Students in our Extended Day program have had quite the fun-filled summer with a wide range of activities - from visiting the Fort Snelling Base Camp to fishing right here in White Bear. Just recently, our Extended Day kids took part in a day-long athletic event with students from other districts. There were a total of 1,500 participants just at that one event, all of whom were running, playing soccer, dancing, and even doing a mile-long run called the District Dash. 

Community Services also had more than 400 four- to eight-year-olds playing T-ball this summer and more than 150 kids taking summer tennis lessons, among other activities. Still to come this month, the district department will launch a brand new flag football league for boys and girls grade K-3. The inaugural season will focus on teaching the sport and learning through fun games. For more information, click here


Young students aren't the only ones benefiting from our Community Services programs this summer. There were two pickleball clinics for adults in July. The clinics were geared toward beginners, with each participant receiving lessons. Though one of the clinics had to be held inside due to rain, both of the events were completely sold out. Since proving to be such a popular activity, Community Services is hoping to form a pickleball club that will get together to play outdoor and indoor pickleball throughout the year. These summer clinics were featured in the White Bear Press.

What do all of these Community Services activities have in common? They are all BearPowered! What does that mean? BearPower is a community-wide movement helping White Bear Lake Area families eat well and be active. They are also one of the district's community partners. You may have noticed the hashtag #BearPoweredSummer being tossed around on social media recently. It's part of BearPower's Summer Challenge campaign - a fun opportunity to encourage kids to try new activities throughout summer. By completing ten activities in the 2015 BP Summer Passport, participants can win prizes! If you're just now hearing about this, there's still time to take part! Click here for more information.

You're also invited to join BearPower for the upcoming Family Fitness Night at the White Bear Area YMCA, which will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14. Bring your swimsuit to this one, because it's an Ultimate Water Fight! You're allowed to bring your squirt guns, water bottles, sponges - anything you can think of to get other people wet. The event is free, so bring the whole family. Click here for further details.

Getting a "jumpstart" on the school year

Heading into a new learning environment can be intimidating, especially for some of our youngest learners. That's why we have our Kindergarten Jumpstart program - to help students feel prepared as they head into their first years of school. This program is already underway with just one week to go. It's a four-day class that takes place at seven of the elementary schools, focused on students going into kindergarten in the fall. The program gives the students a taste of being in a kindergarten classroom, practicing following classroom routines, interacting with peers, taking direction from a teacher and more. On Thursdays, there is a bus safety unit and the kids get to ride around the block on the bus. The bus driver does a great job talking to the kids about bus safety. Our Early Childhood Program currently has some openings in a few of our preschool classes and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes. Be sure to register! (And if the idea of serving students in a couple of important roles sound like fun to you, apply to be a bus driver or cafeteria staff member. The district is still hiring these positions!)


Meanwhile, WBLAS staff members have been busy all summer making sure the 2015-16 school year gets off to a great start! To ensure all students feel prepared, we've posted the 2015-15 school supply listson our district website. There, you'll find individual supply lists by school and grade. The district is in the process of finalizing and printing the 2015-16 Activities Calendar - which will be mailed out to district families in late-August. Individual schools also are in the process of sending welcome packets to incoming students, so keep an eye on your mailbox for important information coming your way! And please continue to visit the district website for any updates as we head into the upcoming school year. 

We look forward to another great year!

Important positions
A terrific student experience depends on terrific adults leading the way. The district is currently seeking candidates to fill key roles in the district, including bus drivers, nutrition services staff members, paraprofessionals, teachers, and a variety of other positions. Find open position postings here.

Additionally, three at-large seats on the White Bear Lake Area School Board will be on the ballot this fall. A primary election will be conducted on August 11, 2015. Find the Notice of Election here, and find a White Bear Press article about the candidates here.

62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools. 



Activities updates

Fall sports start as early as Thursday, August 20 with Girl's Tennis facing off against Fridley. Football begins the following day with varsity playing on Saturday, August 22. Click here for a schedule of fall contests. Find a complete list of all WBLAHS Activities, Athletics and Fine Arts here.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications. 

School Board News

School Board Election

Three at-large seats on the White Bear Lake Area School Board will be on the ballot this fall. A primary election will be conducted on August 11, 2015. Find the Notice of Election here, and find a White Bear Press article about the candidates here.

School Board Recognitions

Before the July 13 School Board Meeting, the school board recognized the Boys' Lacrosse Team for their state-level participation (and state championship).

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
August 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
August 24 Work-study 5:30 p.m.  District Center
September 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center

Highlights from the most recent School Board meeting can be found here.

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.

  • Three of our seasonal catalogs are available now! You can find them here.

Parent Notices

  • There will be a Primary Election on Tuesday, August 11, narrowing the current list of ten candidates to six for three at-large seats that will be on the ballot this fall. Find your polling place here. Find the White Bear Press article about the candidates here.
  • Immunizations - Minnesota law requires each student enrolled in and remaining in elementary or secondary school must submit a record stating that they have received immunizations consistent with medically accepted standards. For more information on what is required and to complete the necessary form, click here.
  • The school supply lists for the 2015-16 school year can be found here.
  • NAMI Minnesota Parent Resource Program - NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides support groups to help parents discover resources to meet the challenges of raising a child with mental illness, learn coping skills and develop problem solving skills. Click here to learn more about the NAMI Minnesota Parent Resource Program. Parent Resources Referral forms can be found here.
  • Summer Meals for Children - During the school year, many Minnesota families depend on the free or reduced-price meals their children receive at school to provide nourishment. When school is out, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) bridges the "nutrition gap."
    To find summer meal program locations near you:
    • Enter your address in the new Summer Meal Site Finder online tool just released by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.
    • Call the 2-1-1 Hotline or from your mobile phone in the Twin Cities metro area, call 651-291-0211. In greater Minnesota, call 1-800-543-7709, or TTY at 651-291-8440.
    • Text Second Harvest Heartland at 612-516-3663.
    • Enter your address in the Summer Meal Map online tool.
    • Call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479 or in Spanish 1-877-842-6273.
    To learn more, please visit the Summer Food Service Program website.
  • Willow and Central to participate in Summer Food Service Program - Willow Lane Elementary and Central Middle School will be sites this summer for the Food and Nutrition Service Summer Food Service Program. As such, breakfast and lunch meals will open and free-of-charge to White Bear Lake Area School District community children under 18 years old at Willow and Central schools. Find the full details here.
  • One-stop online payments - During the summer months, the district is transitioning to a "one-stop" online payment system that will enable families to make payments for food services, school activities and Community Education activities. The system will also serve as the registration hub for middle school and high school activities. The new system will replace multiple systems that are currently used for these purposes, including RevTrak, PayPams and ActiveNet.
  • PACER Center recently launched its National Parent Center on Transition and Employment website, which offers innovative tools, reliable research, and interactive training to support families who are going through the transition process. We hope you'll pass this valuable information along to your staff and the families you serve.
  • 2015-16 Academic Calendar - See the approved calendar here. The 2015-16 Activities Calendar is currently being finalized and printed, and will be mailed to all district families in late-August.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Calling all baby models - We're looking for "Born to be a Bear" photos! Email photos to us here and you may find your little one featured in District publications!
  • Additional resources:
    • Resources to help with our limited English speaking families can be found here.
    • Washington County Child and Teen Checkups newsletter can be found 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 District Activities Calendar. Find the application here. The Activities Pass is available to residents of the White Bear Lake Area School District who are age 65 and older.
  • Craft Corner Gift Shop at the Senior Center - Open from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the gift shop is the perfect place to shop for a variety of beautiful, handcrafted items. With more than 100 consignees selling their personal crafts, there is much to choose from for purchase. If anyone, over the age of 55, has any love of creating crafts, we are in need of consignees to further our inventory. The Craft Corner Gift Shop is located at Normandy Park Education Center, 2484 County Road F East.

Partnership Updates:

  • BearPower is currently offering a #BearPoweredSummer Challenge which encourages kids to eat well and be active throughout the summer. If kids complete the challenge, they win prizes! BearPower is also hosting a FREE Ultimate Water Fight at the White Bear Area Family YMCA as one of their many Family Fitness Night events.
  • The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation( WBLAEF) is an independent, non-profit corporation promoting excellence in education in White Bear Area School District 624 schools. Click here to visit their website.
    • WBLAEF annual fundraiser, Beyond Our Shores: Enhancing Environmental Education, will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 6:30 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the White Bear Yacht Club.
    • Teachers: Grant applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 school year. Click here for the list and when to apply.
    • The WBLAEF 16th Annual Golf Tournament brought in 135 registered golfers and more than $26,000 for the foundation. Mark your calendars - next year's event will take place June 27.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Attend an event or two during this upcoming year! The 2015-16 Activities Calendar will be mailed to all District families in August. If you do not have a child in school, but you would like a copy of the district-wide activity listing, contact Jody Reber at 651-407-7563 and request to be added to the Activities Calendar mailing list.

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