September 20, 2015

In this issue

Superintendent's Message

  • First Day of Photos

Student News

  • In Photos: First Day of School!
  • New beginnings
  • Continuing partnerships
  • Way to go!
  • New faces
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities

Upcoming Events

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First Day of Photos

Bright new shirt has tags still visible
While backpack lopsided hangs

Hair ribbons she proudly tied herself
Stuffed animal held in arms

Friends excited for another year
Big smiles show missing teeth

Little sister looks up to brother
Who gently touches her hand

Close friends eagerly talk at bus stop
Summer adventures relive

Mother fumbles with her camera
Wondering where time has gone

Now another school year beginning
Timeless photos living on

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

In Photos: First day of school

The Community Baby Shower was also featured in the most recent 62.4-second video update.

Student News 

New beginnings

All of our school sites are in full swing, with a majority of our students already two weeks in. This is a very exciting time for the district's new Explorations Program, which started on the first day of elementary school. The Explorations Program is a "school-within-a-school" for third, fourth and fifth grade students who are considered to be "exceptionally gifted." The district chose the name "Explorations Program" because of its connotations of curiosity, inquiry and encouragement. Forty-two students are in the program currently. It's led by teachers Jamie Kovacs (who previously taught at Oneka) and Julie Stonehouse (who previously taught at Matoska). 

Though the classes take place at Lincoln Elementary, students from each of our elementary schools are in the program. In all, there are twelve third graders, nine fourth graders and 21 fifth grade students involved. The two teachers each have a homeroom of 21 students, but will be interacting with all of the students in the program at some point during each school day. Ms. Kovacs will be teaching math and Ms. Stonehouse will be teaching literacy. They will both be teaching various portions of science and social studies. 

There is also a new program for our middle school students this year called the FLEX Program managed by our Community Services Department. FLEX is an after school program at Central and Sunrise that will encourage leadership, making a difference and positive social interaction. Plus, it's a lot of fun! In this after school program, students will be able to choose from a variety of specialized opportunities, academic support and activities which promote personal growth and academic success. Opportunities include: tournaments and competitions, outdoor and indoor recreation, making new friends, service learning, cooking club, a place to hang out, field trips and more! This program will kick-off after MEA break. You can register for the program here. For more information, visit the Community Services webpage.

It's also the inaugural year for the district's Orchestral Strings Program, which was approved by the School Board last winter. This program will be offered at the fifth grade level for this first year and will expand one grade each year until the district offers a full 5-12 Comprehensive Program. Fifth grade students have already gotten a chance to test out each string instrument, as district music teachers have been bringing the various instruments to each of the elementary schools. Though the school year has already begun, it's not too late to sign up! There will be two district-wide Orchestra Information Night's - the first will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22 at Otter Lake Elementary and the second meeting take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 at Matoska International.

The middle schools will begin offering orchestra in 2016-17 and high school will offer the class in 2019-2020. The orchestral strings program has been studied by the district since 2011. Acceptance of the program makes White Bear Lake Area Schools the eighth of our nine conference schools to offer orchestra.

White Bear Lake Area High School will soon be testing out new instruments of different sort - some State-of-the-Art manufacturing equipment for the school's first Manufacturing Pathway classes. Two of the three massive pieces of equipment have already been delivered to South Campus. This equipment and program comes as a result of a $250,000 grant given to the district from the United Way. The grant was given in hopes to improve workforce readiness for our students and to address industry needs. This initiative is very important to the local business community as a strong, skilled workforce is an essential component to ensuring economic vitality of our industries. There will be an introductory event on Friday, September 25 with the goal of bringing visibility to this important work and to engage students in the potential of a manufacturing career path. For the event agenda, click here. There will also be a WBLAS Manufacturing Pathway Program Showcase event on at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 5 at WBLAHS - South Campus.

Continuing partnerships

Two members of the White Bear Lake Police Department, Sergeant John Vette and School Resource Officer Isaac Tuma, recently spent a morning with our sixth grade students to teach them about the importance of Internet safety. They covered a wide range of need-to-know topics, ranging from online predators to revealing too much information and cyber bullying. (This also comes is good time as October is Bullying Prevention Month.) This assembly is held every year for both of our middle school sixth grade students. "We hope our students give serious thought to how their online behaviors impact themselves and those around them. We also want all of our students to learn and practice safe, responsible, and respectful behaviors when using the Internet," said Central Middle School Associate Principal Bob Brewer. 

The district's ongoing work with the police department covers students of varying ages as WBLAS and the White Bear Lake Police Department have partnered to offer an informational session to community members on how to protect yourself and your family against fraud and scams. The event will take place Thursday, September 24 at the White Bear lake Area Senior Center. For more information on the event, click here.

We have a number of partners like the police department here locally, but our partnerships do extended outside of the country too! White Bear Lake Area Schools continue to have a sister-school relationship with the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School in Hangzhou, China. This experience has been terrific for our students and the families who have generously hosted their stay. This year, we will be welcoming Yuefen Qin as our exchange teacher. Yuefin is a middle school English teacher and will be working in our schools throughout the year. She will be in our community from now until June.

Just recently, our district collaborated with one of our community partners closer to home. During last Friday's Harvest Bowl home football game against Mounds View, spectators could bring three or more non-perishable food items for the White Bear Area Food Shelf and in turn be granted free admission to the game. This is an annual fall event we look forward to every year.

Way to go!
We love hearing about our of students' accomplishments - and fourth grade Otter Lake student Chloe Mahoney has a big one to share. She recently got a perfect 100 out of 100 score on lemonade she made for a Minnesota State Fair contest. Chloe became interested in honey when her dad started to raise his own bees in a friend's nearby pumpkin patch. He harvested the honey and wax and they've since been making all sorts of fun things with both. When her dad mentioned there was a honey lemonade category at the State Fair, she was all in! Her lemonade was graded on taste, appearance and conformity. After this win, Chloe plans to enter into even more state fair contests next year.

Meanwhile, another one of our students created a personal an educational video that is gaining a lot of positive attention. Will Hamilton is a student at our Transition Education Center. In Will's Media and Technology class, he and his classmates were asked to produce a video on any topic of their choosing. Will chose to highlight Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a disorder he has had since birth. Will is proud to raise awareness and share his experiences with you though the video. You can watch the final product by clicking here. Will plans to continue with the Information Technology (IT) program at Century College after graduation.

New faces
Though we welcome back many familiar faces, you may notice some shifts in leadership. We recently featured new Sunrise Park Middle School Principal Christina Pierre in an issue of our e-newsletter (and in this video), and with that announcement, comes more exciting news. Former Sunrise Park Associate Principal Carrie Barth will be stepping into Mrs. Pierre's former position as one of two Associate Principals at WBLAHS - South Campus. Ms. Barth has served as the Sunrise Park Middle School Associate Principal for the past eight years. Prior to working at Sunrise, Ms. Barth served as a high school teacher at South Washington Schools and as a middle school dean at Mounds View Schools.

"Carrie Barth has been an outstanding leader for Sunrise Park students, staff, and community in partnership with two principals during the past eight years," said Superintendent Michael Lovett." She will take her experience and her personal connections with students and families to South Campus, where she will already know nearly half of the students."

We also welcome a new face to Sunrise - Matt Menier has been named the new Sunrise Park Middle School Associate Principal. Mr. Menier has been an assistant principal since 2012, most recently at Mahtomedi High School, where he oversees student activities. Prior to his role in administration, he was a social studies teacher at the middle school and high school levels and had a leadership role in teacher professional development. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Menier as he transitions into his new associate principal role at Sunrise Park Middle School.

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 

Girl's Varsity Tennis recently took home first place in the Pine City Tournament. The Girl's Swim and Dive Team hosted its invitational at St. Catherine University and took third place overall. WBLAHS - South Campus recently played host to the annual Harvest Bowl, raising food for the White Bear Area Food Shelf during the home football game vs. Mounds View. Game admission was free for spectators who brought three or more non-perishable items.

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. 

Student News

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
September 28 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center
October 12 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
October 26 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center

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