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.