March 6, 2016

Only 47 More to Learn! 

Sitting cross-legged on the classroom carpet, eighteen boys and girls look eagerly to their smiling teacher for instructions to start the day.

"Good morning, children, we have a guest this morning. Shall we sing our morning greeting?"

"Yes!" the children respond in unison, or at least what passes for unison with five- and six- year-olds.

"Which language should we use?" asks the teacher, as she ignores the bewildered expression on the face of the class guest.

Quickly the children respond, "let's do all of the them!"

The song begins....

"Hello, how are you, how are you my friend?"

With delight and expression the children sing and nod to one another,

Verse two is Spanish, not surprising because the children learn Spanish in school,

Verse three is Swahili, without missing a beat,

Verse four is Portuguese, led by a student,

Verse five is French, led by the same,

Verse six is Hmong, led by another,

Verse seven is Arabic, led by still another,

Verse eight is in sign language, tiny hands in unison.

Caught in the spirit, the guest adds another language, the children perfectly mimicking sounds.

"Time to go" the guest explains....

"Wait," a child laments, "We know nine languages. We need to learn one more so we have ten!"

And so they do.

This scene from one of our kindergarten classrooms is a testimony to how open and eager children are to learn. This class also reflects the rich language fluency our children bring to school.

By last count, in addition to English, children in the White Bear Public Schools speak 56 home languages.

"Ready, children? Only 47 languages more to learn!"

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


In Photos: Lincoln Read-a-Thon assembly!

Student News

Core Values in the community

The Core Values of Compassion, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Service are not only what bind us as a district, but as a community. Our students have proven this as they continue to embody these values outside of the classroom. An example comes from the Ambassadors and National Honor Society students who recently prepared a meal for others at WBLAHS - South Campus. Several of them then attended the Cooking for Kids event at the Ronald McDonald House within St. Paul Children's Hospital to serve roughly 30 people. This is the first time this group has volunteered for this type of activity and all involved say it was an incredible experience. 

Several Business Education students from WBLAHS - South Campus demonstrated their Core Values of Compassion and Respect (among others) when they attended the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce Inaugural 2016 Luncheon at Dellwood Country Club. The students had the opportunity to meet guest speaker Holly Hoffman, a former Survivor - Nicaragua contestant, author and motivational speaker. Ms. Hoffman shared her personal experiences and inspirational story. She has traveled across the country, speaking to community leaders and business professionals, inspiring audiences to take opportunities.

Central Middle School eighth grade students practiced similar values during recent Enriched Language and Literature classes as they Skyped with their Peace Corps pen pal Katie Leusink. Students respectfully listened as Leusink shared her experiences working in the Rubirizi District in southwest Uganda, with women farms and youth in record keeping, farm practices and business schools. She is also working with students in a secondary school on leadership, teamwork and goal-setting. White Bear students will write back and forth with her students in the coming weeks.

Matoska International students participated in a similar experience, with six in-person Peace Corps visitors. The idea came from one of the special guests, who attended Matoska years ago. She and the other Peace Corps alumni parted into individual classrooms to share with our young students what life is like in communities across the world. Students of all grade levels were able to engage with the visitors. This activity was also featured in our most recent 62.4-second video update.

Middle School AVID students demonstrated the district's Core Values when creating community boxes for the special education department at Otter Lake Elementary. The boxes were created to help teach the students how to do activities of daily living such as; going grocery shopping, caring for pets and hygiene. At the high school level, ninth and tenth grade AVID students went to Otter Lake Elementary to work with some of the students in special education and to show the teachers how to use each individual box to help the students take part in community activities. 

There are also times when our Core Values are expressed not with words, but with actions - like jumping into ice cold waters dressed in throwback 70's gear. Willow students, staff, parents and district staff members demonstrated their commitment to service by taking the "Freezing to the Oldies" themed Polar Plunge. By leaping out of their comfort zone and into frigid waters, participants raised more than $4,000 for Willow Lane Elementary.

Reading recap

The month of February has come and gone, with another fantastic I Love to Read Month on the books. Though, for Lakeaires students, one could say it's only just begun. During the month of February, the entire student body collaborated to make two "all school stories." Essentially, this is a documented game of telephone - where the story gets passed from one classroom to the next and students contribute different elements to the story. Though students worked on them all month, the big reveal took place just recently during the school's morning news segment. Fifth grade teacher Stacy Brodt polished the stories with some final touches before handing them off to be read over the intercom this past week. Needless to say, the final products didn't disappoint. Rather than attempting to summarize one the of very complex and creative masterpieces, we thought we'd share it with you. Click here to read one of the all school stories! Lakeaires also participated in their annual Camp Read a Lot activity, where an indoor "camp" is set up in the atrium of the school and students can curl up and enjoy a good book (pictured above).

When it comes to I Love to Read Month, it can be difficult to tell who enjoys it more, our students or staff. Matoska International staff members had a blast dressing up as iconic storybook characters, so much so that we couldn't get them all in one group photo (pictured).Birch Lake students and staff also dressed as some well-known characters during their Muffins with Mom and Donuts with Dad reading events. Otter Lake staff and students went all-out for their Robo Reading Day event, a literacy activity centered around the school's STEM initiatives. There is a particular district staff member, though, who takes I Love to Read Month to a whole new level. Each year, Lincoln Principal Dan Schmidt promises to do something a bit ridiculous at an all-school assembly if the entire student body hits a combined number of minutes read goal. Once again, Lincoln's readers exceeded the challenge, which put Principal Schmidt in a very "sticky" situation. As promised, students poured banana split toppings all over Principal Schmidt( who was dressed the character Gru from Despicable Me to fit this year's Minions theme.) Photos from this assembly can be found in the "In Photos" section above and in this 62.4-second video update.

This is only a sample of the many fun and creative ways our schools participated in this year's I Love to Read Month. Thank you to all of our students, staff and volunteers for helping our schools celebrate reading to the fullest. We hope you'll keep that momentum going!

62.4-second video updates

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

Activities updates

The Team Two Unified Bears team took a third place win at the Regional Basketball Tournament February 28. Boys' Swimteam member Abe Townley qualified for the state swim meet. Josh Franz was named Section Assistant Swim Coach of the Year. Wrestling team members J.J. Andrus, Thomas Adair and Joe Dittel recently competed in the State tournament. WBLAHS senior Madisyn Kephart was a distinguished finalist for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for her service related to her volunteer work centered around the Special Olympics Unified Team. Nordic Skiers Olivia Schwintek and Keely Nistler earned spots at the state competition.Alpine Ski team member Kate Cox earned a spot at the state competition. WBLAHS student athlete alumna Tarah Hobbs recently was highlighted in a Faces of the Big Ten video.


Click here for a schedule of all fall sports 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 Meetings

School Board meeting minutes and agendas can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
March 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
March 28 Work-study 5:30 p.m.  District Center
April 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center

For highlights from the most recent School Board meeting, click here.

Superintendent's Message

  • Only 47 More to Learn!

Student News

  • In Photos: Lincoln Read-a-Thon assembly!
  • Core Values in the community
  • Reading recap
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

Staff News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities


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