May 1, 2016

Cause and Effect 

This month the Governor, Mayor, Commissioner of Education and Legislators visited one of our elementary schools, celebrating "Water Action Week."

Students highlighted how they conserve water, including lessons learned as part of a comprehensive water conservation education program developed by teachers from White Bear Lake Area Schools.

One visiting dignitary so enjoyed the student-led event she asked, "How can I be invited to more of these?"

At another school "water warriors" led their classmates in songs about saving water, along with animated dance moves. Why does spontaneous dancing come so naturally to children?

Their messages were about more than what's good for our neighborhood. Students in several schools are raising money to build wells to bring fresh water closer to home for children in societies where literally every drop counts.

This spring the lake level of White Bear Lake is up about a foot above last year's low point, and three feet higher than the lowest level in 2013.

Ask a hydrologist why the lake level is up, and you'll get an answer that will take a while to digest.

But ask an elementary student from the White Bear Lake Area Schools why the lake level is up, especially the seven year-old girl who now turns off the faucet when she bushes her teeth, or the ten year-old boy who is taking shorter showers to conserve water.

The answer is simple: Because of all of us!

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


In Photos: Willow Water Conservation Summit!

Student News

Earth Day honor

While many environmental efforts were brought to light in honor of Earth Day, WBLAS students of all ages have been practicing environmentally friendly behavior year-round - especially when it comes to water conservation. Throughout the week surrounding Earth Day, Governor Mark Dayton, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and state commissioners traveled throughout Minnesota to focus attention on resources and actions that help conserve and protect water, and Willow Lane Elementary was chosen to be in the spotlight. Governor Dayton was welcomed by Willow fifth grade students as they hosted a mini-summit at their school centered around Willow's water conservation efforts and how they're tied to the district's core values. Governor Dayton wasn't the only special guest in the audience, either - H2O for Life representatives, Mayor Jo Emerson, local law makers, members of the School Board and additional district staff were also in attendance to support Willow students, and students across the district, who've demonstrated the importance of water conservation.

Academic recognition

A number of seniors at both White Bear Lake Area High School and the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center were honored for their academic achievements during this year's Excellence Event. Each year, the top ten percent of the graduating class by GPA, along with their families, are invited to attend. It's a recognition program that honors academic excellence in the senior class and the educators who inspired each student. Each student is asked to identify one educator in the White Bear Lake Area School District who inspired them toward excellence. The district also invites a distinguished alumni of White Bear Lake Area High School or Mariner High School to address the guests. A variety of community organizations, businesses and individuals help to sponsor the event each year. Catch highlights from this event in the most recent 62.4-second video update.

That same week, White Bear Lake Area Learning Center students celebrated state honors after participating in the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs Student Organization's (MAAP STARS) state competition. Team Parenting Decision Making made it to the finals, and the LifeSmarts team made it to the Wildcard match. The students placed in Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. In addition, senior Kayla Hernandez was recognized as a nominee for MAAP STARS Student of the Year. After receiving the state honors, MAAP STARS students were awarded certificates from both the WBL ALC and from the School Board. This ceremony was also covered in the most recent 62.4-second video update.

Middle school students just recently wrapped up the National History Day State Competition this past weekend at the University of Minnesota. A number of Central and Sunrise Park seventh grade students qualified to participate in the event, out of approximately 1,300 students from across the state. Every year, seventh grade students take part in a research project that relates to an annual theme. This year's theme was; Exploration, Encounter and Exchange. Students picked an American History topic back in October, conducted months of research, then were able to present their findings with either a performance, website, exhibit board, paper or documentary. The best projects from either middle school competed on March 12 at WBLAHS - South Campus at the regional level, moving on to the state competition. Click here to learn more about National History Day MN.

A poem written by Transition Education student Mao Yang recently received national attention. Her love for the written word has earned her a front page spot on the "My Life Without Limits" website, a program of United Cerebral Palsy. Mao wrote a self-portrait poem about how she views herself - a very inspirational piece on self acceptance. To read Mao's beautifully written poem, click here

Though a student's dedicated work ethic plays a tremendous role in academic excellence, having an inspirational educator can, too. The White Bear Lake Teachers' Association recently held its 2016 Teacher of the Year Celebration, celebrating the outstanding contributions of the many talented teachers in the district. Out of the amazing group of finalists, WBLAHS science teacher Philip Wacker was announced the 2016 WBLTA Teacher of the Year. Mr. Wacker was nominated by high school student Grant Loehlein, who expressed how the high school physics teacher genuinely cares about his students in class. Mr. Wacker received a $1,000 gift from the White Bear Lake Lions Club and will serve as an ambassador for educators and our district. 

Motivational videos

When it comes to encouraging students to make smart decisions, they often have to see it to believe it. High school students were given a strong message during this year's mock car crash demonstration. From police to prosecutors, a number of community members and officials helped pull together a very realistic car crash scene with our own WBLAHS students playing the roles of the perpetrator and victims involved (among other roles). This enactment sent a very powerful message to students as they watched the (acting) perpetrator go to jail after taking the life of another (acting) student because she made the choice to drink and drive. It also sent a strong message of how distracted driving comes with serious consequences. You can watch this very realistic demonstration in this very powerful video. (Again, the students in the video were acting out specific roles and this doesn't reflect their personal actions.)

Another topic district staff chose to address through video, was testing. This is rarely a popular topic for students to listen to, especially for some restless elementary kids. So a couple of Birch Lake Elementary teachers decided to try something new to grab students' attention regarding the MCA test. Birch teachers Katie Anderson and Michelle Gratz disguised themselves as rock stars with wigs and bright pink feather boas, singing "Just Read It! Just Beat it!" - their own personal spin off of the classic Michael Jackson song, "Just Beat It." To watch this motivational (and hilarious) video, click here. Birch staff members also got creative during their recent annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day event, where loved ones were invited to the school to take part in fun activities with students and to observe what they've been learning in the classroom.

Pennies for Patients

Vadnais Heights Elementary students recently participated in a coin drive called Pennies for Patients to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (similar to the fundraising efforts of Lakeaires students, which was covered in a recent issue of the district e-newsletter). Vadnais Heights Student Council members made posters to advertise the event and created announcements for the morning broadcast to motivate the student body. Donations were collected in bronze, silver and gold levels, and after combining them all together, the school wound up raising a total of $2,342 to benefit the organization. Vadnais Heights Elementary educates students on the importance of community service. This year, the school has participated in Jump Rope for Heart, Pennies for Patients and the Lion's Holiday Toy and Food Drive. The school's students, staff and families have raised over $5,000 dollars, along with the food and toy collection, which supports our community and other important initiatives.

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
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 meetings minutes and agendas can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
May 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
May 23 Work-study 5:30 p.m.  District Center
June 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center

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


Superintendent's Message

  • Cause and Effect

Student News

  • In Photos: Willow Water Conservation Summit!
  • Earth Day honor
  • Academic recognition
  • Motivational videos
  • Pennies for Patients
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities

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.

  • Seasonal catalogs are available now! You can find them here.

Parent Notices

  • Food Care Program - Willow Lane Elementary is now participating in the Food Care Program where children under the age of 18 can eat a free meal after school. The meals will be available at no separate charge to all enrolled children from 3:45-4:15 p.m. on school days. The goal of the program is to increase the opportunity for children to eat a variety of nutritious foods. For more information on this state-wide initiative, click here.
  • Early Childhood Car Wash - The district's Early Childhood Program is hosting a car wash event to kick off ECFE registration this fall. The event will take place from 6-7 on the evening of May 12 and is open to anyone in the community with a child in the birth-5 age range. For further details, click here.
  • 2016 Lice Procedures - In line with most Metro districts, WBLAS has updated our lice procedures. Find information about the changes here.
  • Marketfest for students - Marketfest is around the corner! Organizers would like to share and encourage WBLAS students to participate in its many opportunities. Click here to get involved
  • Employees Wanted! - The district currently has a variety of open positions. Please go here to see a list of exciting opportunities!
  • 2016-17 and 2017-18 Academic Calendars - The 2016-17 and 2017-18 Academic Calendars were approved at the March 14 School Board meeting. The approved 2016-17 calendar can be found here. The approved 2017-18 calendar can be found here.
  • Digital Fabrication and Engineering workshops for students entering grades 8-12 will be available through Century College this June. For more information, click here. To register, click here. You may also contact David Mekala with questions.
  • Parent Resource Support - 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. Support groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has received specialized training. White Bear Lake meets on then 2nd and fourth Monday of each from, 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Eagle Brook Church. Contact Jody Lyons: 651-645-2948 Ext:109
  • One-stop online payments - The district offers a "one-stop" online payment system that enables families to make payments for food services, school activities and Community Education activities. The system also serves as the registration hub for middle school and high school activities. The system, new this summer, replaced 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.
  • 2015-16 Academic Calendar - See the approved calendar here.
  • 2015-16 Activities Calendar - The 2015-16 Activities Calendar was mailed to all district families and is available online here.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - Facebook and Twitter.
  • 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.
  • The following recognitions will take place in May
    • Teacher Appreciation Week - May 2-6
    • Teacher Appreciation Day - May 3
    • National School Nurses Day - May 5

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:

  • H2O for Life - The Race 2 Reduce initiative at H2O for Life is a collaboration of stakeholders working to educate about local water resources and water conservation. White Bear Lake Area Schools is a partner in this effort and is working to align curriculum to integrate these important topics into school.
    • WBLAHS students are collaborating on a research project focused on water use. Residents in White Bear Lake are invited to take the survey!
  • BearPower is a community-wide movement helping White Bear Lake area families eat well and be active. For more on this community partner and its upcoming events, click here.
    • BearPower Family Breakaway Bike Ride - Families and community members are invited to join BearPower for its second annual free bike ride event Saturday, May 21. All ages and abilities are welcome. For further details, click here.
    • During the April 23 White Bear Lake City Council Meeting, Mayor Jo Emerson signed the BearPower Proclamation on behalf of the City to commit and support BearPower by incorporating strategies supporting healthy activity and eating into its plans and practices.
  • 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.
    • Annual WBLAEF Golf Tournament - The WBLAEF will be hosting its 17th annual golf tournament on Monday, June 27 at Indian Hills Golf Club. Click here to register!
    • Teachers: Grant applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 school year. Click here for the list and when to apply.
    • Bleed Orange and Black T-shirts - find out how to get one by contacting the Foundation Office (651-407-7696). Cost is $10


Support WBLAS Students

  • Join others in our community who are speaking up to bullying by attending the annual Fill the Heart event. It will be taking place at 6 p.m. on May 11 at the Vadnais Sports Center. For further details, click here.
  • WBLAHS students are collaborating on a research project focused on water use. Residents in White Bear Lake are invited to take the survey!
  • Minnesota PGA Golf Cards are once again being sold by the WBLAHS Boys' Golf Team. The card is good for 2 for 1 golf at more than 160 golf courses throughout the state and western Wisconsin. The cost is $35 and you can use it throughout the summer. Please contact Coach Nasvik if you would like to purchase a card at
  • Want to see a theater production? There are student performances happening all spring! Click here for dates and details!
  • Attend an event or two this winter and spring by finding the event schedule in the 2015-16 Activities Calendar! If you do not have a child in school but you would like a copy of the district-wide activity listing, please contact Jody Reber at 651-407-7563 to request a mailed copy and request to be added to the Activities Calendar annual mailing list.

Awards and Honors

  • WBLAHS and ALC science teacher Phil Wacker was named the WBLTA 2016 Teacher of the Year.
  • Jerry Kwapick was recently named the Section Head Girls' Hockey Coach of the Year and assistant Kevin Hartzell was named the Section Assistant Coach of the Year.
  • The following recognitions will take place in April:
    • Teacher Appreciation Week - May 2-6
    • Teacher Appreciation Day - May 3
    • National School Nurses Day - May 5

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