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.

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

  • Orchestra Information Nights - There will be two information sessions for families to learn more about the district's new orchestra program. The first event will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22 at Otter Lake Elementary. The second will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 at Matoska International.
  • Upcoming celebration months/days:
    • Bullying Prevention Month - October is Bullying Prevention Month. Our schools will be participating in various activities throughout the month to ensure our students are educated on the harm of bullying.
    • National Principals Month - month of October
    • National Custodial Worker Day - Friday, Oct. 2
    • Homecoming Week - Oct. 5-10
    • World Teachers Day - Monday, Oct. 5
    • National School Lunch Week - Oct. 12-16
    • National Safe Schools Week / National School Bus Safety Week - Oct. 19 - 23
  • The General Election will be held Tuesday, November 3. There will be three at-large seats for School Board on the ballot. Voter and election information can be found here.
  • Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council - Updated information and meeting dates for the 2015-16 school year can be can be found here.
  • Immunizations - Minnesota law requires each student enrolled in and remaining in elementary or secondary school must submit a record stating that they have received immunizations consistent with medically accepted standards. For more information on what is required and to complete the necessary form, click here.
  • Mental health services - Anoka County has contracted with Canvas Health to provide mental health crisis services. They've provided a tool kit for parents as well as some school guidelines.
  • NAMI Minnesota Parent Resource Program - 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. Click here to learn more about the NAMI Minnesota Parent Resource Program. Parent Resources Referral forms can be found here.
  • One-stop online payments - During the summer months, the district transitioned to 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 new system replaces 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.
  • 2015-15 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, Twitter and YouTube.
  • 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!
  • Korean Percussion Ensemble - A WBLAHS alumna has arranged for Kwanggaeto Samulnori, Korean Percussion Ensemble + Breakdancers & Beatboxer to perform two shows on Saturday, September 26. Find information here.
  • 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.

Senior Program Updates:

The White Bear Area Senior Center is a program of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation Department.

  • Fraud and Scam Prevention - 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 from 2-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 at the White Bear Lake Area Senior Center. For more information on the event, click here.
  • 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:

  • BearPower - The latest copy of the BearPower Press is now available. BearPower will also soon be starting its month long Family Challenge. The challenge kicks off on Saturday, October 10th - the same day as the BearPower 62.4K Homecoming Walk/Run. Join the challenge and encourage your family to eat well and be active! Plus, you can win BIG prizes! Here are some ideas to help you get started!
  • 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.
    • Brosious Teaching Grant is due October 26 and there will be a Brosious Grant Writing Workshop from 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday, September 25 in District Center Room 201. Brosious Application Forms are available at on the WBLAEF website. If you have any questions call the Foundation Office at 651-407-7696.
    • Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant is due October 2. This grant will provide up to $500 per teacher for art projects, funding for artist-in-residence, supplies, etc. You can find more information by going to the Ryan Family Elementary Art Grant Application Form at on the WBLAEF website. If you have any questions call the Foundation Office at 651-407-7696.
    • Teachers: Grant applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 school year. Click here for the list and when to apply.
    • Enhancing Environmental Excellence fundraising event - Beyond Our Shores: Enhancing Environmental Education, will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 6:30 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the White Bear Yacht Club, located at 56 Dellwood Avenue in White Bear Lake, MN 55110. The "E3" event is intended to raise funds for the new environmental learning grant. The cost is $50 a person and there will be a live and silent auction.
    • Bleed Orange and Black t-shirts are back! To find out how to get one please contact the Foundation Office (651-407-7696). Cost is $10.
    • Support WBLAEF Angel Fund - Mark your calendar to eat out on Tuesday, September 22, when 100% of the day's proceeds at the new WBL/VH Noodles and Company will support the WBLAEF Angel Fund. Find the flyer here.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Support WBLAEF Angel Fund - Mark your calendar to eat out on Tuesday, September 22, when 100% of the day's proceeds at the new WBL/VH Noodles and Company will support the WBLAEF Angel Fund. Find the flyer here.
  • Sunrise Park Middle School will be selling Metro Dining Club (DMC) cards this fall. The North/Northeast Metro card set has 166 restaurants. Each card may be used once a month October 2013 - October 2014. A few of the local restaurants include Roadside Pizza, Blue Heron, C. G. Hooks, Carbone's Pizza, Mad Jacks, and Running Aces. Cost is $24 (savings of $6) per set. Contact Linda Adams at 651-653-2701 if interested.
  • The Annual Fall Craft and Treasures Sale will return to the Area Learning Center Saturday on October 3, 2015. The annual sale is an ALC fundraising event supporting student enrichment opportunities. Click here for more information.
  • Attend an event or two during this upcoming year! The 2015-16 Activities Calendar were mailed to all District families in August. If you do not have a child in school, but you would like a copy of the district-wide activity listing, contact Jody Reber at 651-407-7563 and request to be added to the Activities Calendar mailing list.

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