November 29, 2015
- In Photos: NASA Astronaut returns to WBLAHS!
- Innovative partnerships
- Endless possibilities
- 62.4-second video updates
- Activities updates
School Board News
- School Board Meetings
- General Information
"What are your plans for Thanksgiving?"
"Going to visit my grandparents!" comes the reply.
In my conversations this week with middle school students "going to see my grandparents" was the most frequent answer.
"Not surprising," you think... but here is a new twist.
More than fifty years ago demographers began observing that the number of children born during the decade following World War II (called the "Baby Boom") would have profound implications for our society - never before in the U.S. had so many children been born in a single decade.
By the year 2000, demographers estimated that the size of our population ages 65 or older would soon equal the school age population. Never before has this occurred.
But that is what is happening this year in our own White Bear Lake Area schools. We now have more than 63,000 residents in our community, about 10,000 of school age, and about 10,000 ages 65 and older.
How is our community changing?
For one, all of us see many new senior housing complexes appearing in our communities.
But the best news is the number of seniors who are around our children, as grandparents and great-grandparents, as reading buddies, as mentors, and as friends and volunteers.
This holiday season more seniors than ever before will be around our holiday tables and celebrations. And for that we are grateful.
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
The Community Baby Shower was also featured in the most recent 62.4-second video update.
Spirit of giving
Though the holiday season has only just begun, the spirit of giving has already made its way around our schools. The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation recently distributed eight grants to educators throughout the district. These are the Brosious Teaching Grants, which focus on enhancing the rigor of curriculum. In 1997, Mr. Rutherford Brosious gifted a $1,000,000 endowment to the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF) in recognition of the high quality education he had received here. Because he felt very strongly about the positive impact teachers have on their students, he directed that the endowment be used to fund grants for individuals or groups of teachers. One grant this year, for instance, went to Sunrise Park Middle School educators Lindsey Lamwers and Matthew Skogen for something called the "Cardboard Project." It uses the new and innovative Google Expedition Application (which is a virtual reality application built for the classroom) and cardboard to take students on virtual journeys (using smartphones) around the world related to Earth Science. For the entire list of the 2015 Brosious Grant recipients, click here. Congratulations to all them!
The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation was one of three local organizations to benefit from the annual Movember Challenge at Hugo Elementary. The school just wrapped up this annual event, which generally benefits the Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf and the Lions Club Toy Drive. This year, however, they added the Winter Clothing Drive to provide support for the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation. Why is it called the "Movember" Challenge? First grade teacher Steve Bates and Associate Principal Jason Healy came up with the idea by asking their students a simple question: Who has a better mustache? In order to vote, students had to bring in non-perishable food items and assign them to the teacher with the best mustache. Bates thought of the idea after seeing a Movember report on television, and rather than donate to a distant charity, he wanted students to see the results of their service project within the local community. In one week, Hugo students and families brought in 1,492 pounds of food, one box of toys and nine big bags of winter clothing.
Kindergarten students at Matoska Elementary will soon be taking part in a similar effort, gathering donations to make sandwiches for an organization known as "The Sandwich Man," which aims to feed the homeless community in the Twin Cities. These students have already been collecting donations in preparation for the action project, which is set to take place on Friday, December 4. This gesture is part of a service-learning project for Matoska's kindergartners.
On November 25, Oneka students celebrated their sixth annual Science Day, which is an entire school day dedicated to learning about science from real-life scientists. This year's presenters came from Wargo Nature Center, 3M, the University of Minnesota's Chemistry and Marine Biology departments and Xcel Energy. The main goal of this day is to showcase real world scientists and the work they do. The school also uses the event to get students excited about science and to help them make connections with science in our community. There were some really cool interactive opportunities this year - including a chance to touch real underwater sea creatures, brought in by the University of Minnesota's Marine Biology Department. This annual event is one students and staff look forward to each year. Science Day was also featured our most recent 62.4-second video update, which can be viewed here.
Another annual event just took place at Vadnais Heights Elementary called Donuts for Dads. On Friday, November 20, dad's and family members were invited to come have breakfast with their kids before school. Parents and students filed into the gymnasium for their choice of donut and beverage, then sat among other students and their families to get to know one another. It was packed house this year, with the entire gymnasium filled with Vadnais students from all grade levels and their guests. This event is put on every year by the school's PTO group as a way to bring the students and their dad's (and other family members) to the school to build relationships with its teachers and students. This event was also featured in a recent 62.4-second video update, which can be viewed here.
Our Area Learning Center MAAP STAR students traveled up the map to Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, Minnesota recently to attend the annual MAAP STARS Fall Leadership Conference. In mid-November, six WBL ALC students headed north with two staff members to Camp Ripley, joining students from 30 other Minnesota alternative schools at this conference. There, the students attended breakout sessions regarding leadership skill building, and socialized with like-minded students from all over the state. They also listened to two motivational speakers: Derek Greenfield and Carl Olson.
Kayla Hernandez, a senior at the ALC, spoke to more than 200 students and staff as she campaigned to be elected as a MAAP STARS state officer. Kayla unfortunately did not win, but gained an invaluable experience while running for public office. White Bear Lake ALC members were honored to be able to attend this event and explore the base and interact with military personnel, especially on Veterans Day.
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