April 23, 2017

Serving our Students and Community

What do school board members do? And why would community members want to serve as a school board member? 

This is a timely question because the filing period for candidates for this fall's school board election begins on May 16 and runs for about two weeks. For important information about filing for election, please see this link to our district web page.

As I reflect on more than four decades working with school board members, their responses to this "why" question follow common themes:

First, candidates have a sense of responsibility to our schools and community, a recognition that each of us and our own children have benefited from the service of others, and candidates are willing to step forward to take their turn.

Second, candidates believe they have professional skills and personal life experiences which might benefit a school board, administration and staff, and ultimately all students.

Third, candidates are drawn by the opportunity to work closely with other board members and the school community to deliver on our commitment to serve all students well, deepen trust with employees, families, and the community, and prepare for the future.

If you are interested in becoming a candidate, consider these steps:

1. Read information about the role of a school board member, available on the web page of the Minnesota School Boards Association at mnmsba.org. We have linked a document from the section "Becoming a School Board Member" for Prospective Board Candidates.
2. Learn about the issues before our school board on the district's web pagewhere you can find meeting schedules and past agendas, meeting minutes and highlights, and video or audio coverage of past meetings.

3. Talk to current or past school board members about the role to learn more about the experience of serving as a board member in the White Bear Lake Area Schools.

Finally, on behalf of our students, staff, and community, we express our appreciation for those board members who are currently serving or have served in the past!

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D

Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

In photos: 2017 Teacher of the Year

Student News

Creativity pays off

Central Middle School and North Campus students soaked in the moment, as they were awarded for their artwork in the 2017 "Clean Drinking Water Starts With Me" Poster Contest. The students designed a creative poster exemplifying the importance of keeping water resources clean and healthy. They were encouraged to portray their answers to why they thought water resources are important and what people can do to ensure clean water in the future. They were able to receive cash prizes and gift cards for their hard work and commitment to the contest, which was presented to the students by H2O for Life. One elementary student also reaped the benefits of his creative work. 

Oneka Elementary fifth grader, Isaiah Anderson, and his teacher, Maggie Clark, were recognized at Target Field for the Minnesota Twins "Reading is Powerful" essay contest. In February, the Minnesota Twins had visited Oneka Elementary inspiring Isaiah to submit an essay to the contest. Isaiah's essay was selected to be a winner out of more than 140 entries. He won tickets for his family to attend the game for Jackie Robinson Day at Target Field where the Twins went up against the White Sox. Isaiah was recognized on the field during a special pre-game ceremony. 

With spring being here, art is literally in full bloom at South Campus. Art in Bloom is an annual event hosted by the Minneapolis Institute of Art where artists from around the area select a piece of art in MIA's collection to make a "floral" arrangement. Artists choose either to interpret the work of art literally or take a personal response to the piece. Each are unique sculptures using a wide variety of plants and other materials for the creation. High school students have created unique containers for their pieces from ceramics and selected flowers and plants that have both textural and symbolic qualities. The artwork was captured in this Friday's 62.4-second video update. Their pieces will be displayed on the second floor in the Asian Collection, Gallery 215, right across the gallery from each other. Learn more about Art in Bloom

Picture-perfect moments

Middle school students are working on their roar as they prepare to take center stage for their performances of The Lion King, Jr. Audiences can expect to hear a well-coordinated blend of voices in popular songs such as "Hakuna Matata," "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait to be King." From the choreography to the intricate costumes, students are ready to bring families, friends and community members along on Simba's emotional and action-packed journey to becoming king. There will be shows on April 27, 28 and 29 in White Bear Lake Area Schools' Community Auditorium. Purchase ticketstoday. Watch a sneak preview of the performances in last week's 62.4-second video update. High school students also worked on a special show to reveal the trendy projects they had been working on.

South Campus students hit the runway, as they showcased their garments they created in Fashion Design and Merchandising. The Fashion Show was based on Huichol Yarn Art, where students created outfits by taking a garment and applying yarn over it to create a textile. Photography students did not miss out on the fun, as they lined the runway taking pictures of the show. This was an opportunity for students to bring a lesson in the classroom to life by creating a product and having fun showcasing their hard work. High school students will have another chance to watch their hard work pay off at the Excellence Event on April 26 at Jimmy's Conference and Event Center. The Excellence Event 2017 is a consortium of community and educational organizations dedicated to excellence in education. 

From one picture-perfect moment to the next. Wing Young Huie has been working with 2,000 White Bear Lake Area High School students to use photography to develop cultural awareness. Now, the artwork is covering the walls in the 400's hallway at South Campus. Artwork with words such as "kindness is key," "I'm self-conscious" and "crazy" is printed across the black pieces of paper, giving students an outlet to express their culture and self-identity. The next stage of this partnership and collaborative effort, is for the students' work to be displayed at the White Bear Center for the Arts. This activity has been possible through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

Enjoying experiences

Visitors from Hangzhou Foreign Language School toured the district and learned about the variety of programs students have the opportunity to embrace. White Bear Lake Area Schools partners with Hangzhou Foreign Language School, which is located in Hangzhou, China. The leaders were able to walk from classroom to classroom asking principals and staff members questions and inquiring more about the curriculum. The visitors explained how they were impressed with the programs available to students. These experiences were captured in last week's 62.4-second video update.

Community members, students and families didn't even have to travel far to explore multiple cultures all in one building. Vadnais Heights Elementary hosted a Rice and Beans Cultural Night to celebrate African, Chinese, Hmong, Indian, Latino, Native America dance, folk arts and food. There was even a photo booth for families to capture the moment. Cultural food was available for purchase. Beijing Opera face-painting, Indian henna designs, and Chinese calligraphy were also featured opportunities at the event. 

Educators, families, students and staff enjoyed an annual experience, as they gathered in the South Campus Theater for the 2017 Teacher of the Year Extravaganza. Six finalists lined the stage including Katelin Held, Benjamin Kirkham, Rita Leonard, Dawn Maple, Nicholas Marty and Melissa Wickert. Stories were shared about the positive impact all of the finalists and educators throughout the district have on students' lives and development. Lincoln Elementary fifth grade teacher, Nicholas Marty, was named the White Bear Lake Teachers' Association 2017 Teacher of the Year. Congratulations! (Additional photos of the event can be found in the In Photos section of this issue of the e-newsletter, as well as in this Friday's 62.4-second video update.)

Serving others

It was a busy week for the National Honor Society, as they hosted their biannual blood drive. More than 100 students and staff signed up to donate blood. There are four co-chairs from the National Honor Society who help organize and lead the drives during the year, and students' parents volunteer to assist in the canteen recovery area. After participants donated blood, they could enjoy donuts from Grandma's Bakery to replenish their bodies and celebrate their contributions to the success of the drive. The American Red Cross sponsors scholarships for National Honor Society students based on how many pints of blood were collected. They ended up collecting 59 pints of blood. The experience was captured in this Friday's 62.4-second video update. A band-aid was not necessary at the National Honor Society Banquet and Induction Ceremony held where 70 juniors were inducted into the organization and 30 senior members were recognized. This banquet is held to honor the current members and new inductees. Administrators, school board members, faculty council teachers, current senior officers and parents are invited to attend the event. The current senior members work hard at planning the event, and even selected a "Star Wars" theme this year to add a unique flare to the event.

Student Council students have been focusing their time and energy on helping children with life-threatening medical conditions. The students have a goal to raise $3,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This organization aims to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. The students are looking forward to supporting a cause they feel passionate about. Donations are being accepted by Joshua Lane at South Campus and Allison McCann at North Campus through Friday, April 28 and can also be made electronically on this fundraising page

While high school students focused on serving children, the Vadnais Heights Student Council coordinated a clean-up of the Bear's Backyard to serve the environment. In honor of Earth Day, the students worked to clean up garbage and work on the buckthorn problem on seven acres of the school's property. Buckthorn is an invasive species that threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies and other natural habitats, as it shades out plants that grow on the forest floor. It grows extremely thick, as a result, it out-competes native plants for nutrients, light and moisture. Forty individuals supported this initiative including students, parents, community members and staff who all worked together to positively impact the outdoor classroom. Vadnais Heights Elementary partnered with Tamarack Nature Center and the Vadnais Land and Water Management Organization to maximize the Bear's Backyard for student instruction and environmental awareness. 

62.4-second video updates

Enjoy 62.4-second video updates highlighting weekly district activities throughout the school year.




Activities Updates

Congratulations to Athena Award winner, Keely Nistler, who was recently honored, along with other winners, at a luncheon at the Envision Event Center. The St. Paul Area Athena Awards program aims to honor female athletes for outstanding athletic achievements. The girls' varsity golf team won the Dellwood Hills Invitational. Coach Cheryl Reeve and the Lynx Basketball Academy Team visited high school students and helped them develop skills. 

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 Recognitions

Before the April 9 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized the students and staff involved with:

  • Central Art 
  • Moody Mega - Math Challenge
  • Wrestling
  • Swimming
  • Unified Bears Basketball
  • Girls' Basketball Team






To see clips from the recognition ceremony, watch this 62.4-second video update

School Board Meetings
School Board meeting agendas, packets, minutes highlights and videos/audio files can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
April 24 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center 
May 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
May 22 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center 

For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click 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
  • Digital Backpack information is emailed to parents every other Thursday and available here.

Parent Notices

  • Communications Audit Parent Surveys - Please help us improve how the district communicates with parents and take a few minutes to respond to an anonymous survey by May 1: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WBLParents. Your input is important and valued - thank you! If you prefer to complete a paper copy of the survey, please contact Marisa Vette at marisa.vette@isd624.org or 651-387-9293 to request that one be mailed to you.
  • Dr. Lovett Retirement Open House - You are invited to attend the Retirement Open House celebrating Dr. Michael Lovett, Superintendent of White Bear Lake Area Schools on Monday, June 5 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at South Campus. Learn more information
  • Meal Refunds - If your student is graduating or leaving the district with a balance in their meal account, please complete this form to have the money refunded, transferred to a sibling or donated.
  • Meal Charge Parent Notification - Starting April 10, the district's new meal charge procedure will go into effect where students will no longer be allowed to purchase a la carte items (i.e. milk or snacks) if they do not have enough money in their accounts. Families will receive notifications when students have a low or negative balance. Read more about the procedure. 
  • 2017 Marketfest Biz Kidz Vendor Application - Students can apply to have their own booth at Marketfest, free of charge, to showcase their business, non-profit or organization they want the public to be more aware of on July 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Apply today (applications will be reviewed and accepted beginning April 1 and those received after May 15 will be considered if space permits). 
  • STEM Water Symposium - You are invited to attend the 2017 STEM Water Symposium on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at South Campus. Learn more
  • We Are Hiring! - The district is now hiring substitute teachers, Extended Day staff, nutrition services staff, bus drivers, paras and more. Find the online application page here.
  • Stay connected! - 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!

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.
  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available for the current school year and 2016-17! See additional information here, and find the online application page here.

Partnership Updates:

  • 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 third annual free bike ride event on Saturday, May 20. All ages and abilities are welcome. Read this flyer for more details and check out this video to learn more. Register on the Community Services and Recreation website. No bike? No problem. Extra bikes? We want 'em. For more information, email BearPower@HealthPartners.com.
    • Bike Ride Volunteers - If you are interested in volunteering at the free fun bike event, sign up today
    • The "BearPower Press" - Learn more about the fun Power Chef Recipe Contest and a variety of local events in this "BearPower Press." 
    • Marketfest Volunteers - BearPower is looking for volunteers to work at their Marketfest booth this summer where they will be hosting veggie tastings, spin the wheel, life size connect four and more. Please email Julia.a.johnson@lakeview.org if you are interested in helping out this summer. 
  • 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.
    • The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation awarded $11,390 total to four E3 Grant recipients. Learn more.

Support WBLAS Students:

  • Play On - The WBLAHS Spring Production of "Play On" will be performed May 19-21 at WBLAHS - North Campus. Learn more about the show and how to purchase tickets.
  • The Lion King Jr. - Attend the Middle School Musical's performance of "The Lion King Jr." on April 27, 28 and 29. Visit the district's website to buy tickets.
  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available for the current school year and 2016-17! See additional information here, and find the online application page here.

Awards and Honors

  • Lincoln Elementary fifth grade teacher, Nicholas Marty, was named the White Bear Lake Teachers' Association 2017 Teacher of the Year. Congratulations! 
  • April Recognitions:
    • Poetry Month
    • Math Awareness Month
    • April 5 - Paraprofessional Appreciation Day
    • April 10-14 - National Library Week
    • April 10-14 - Assistant Principals Week
    • April 11 - National Library Workers' Day
    • April 17-21 - Public School Volunteer Week
    • April 24-28 - Administrative Professionals Week
    • April 26 - Administrative Professionals Day

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


Superintendent's Message

  • Serving our Students and Community

Student News

  • In photos: 2017 Teacher of the Year 
  • Creativity pays off
  • Picture-perfect moments
  • Enjoying experiences
  • Serving others
  • New lessons
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Recognitions
  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Awards and Honors

School Board Work-Study Meeting
5:30 p.m.
April 24
District Center

School Board Regular Meeting
7 p.m.
May 8
District Center

School Board Work-Study Meeting
5:30 p.m.
May 22
District Center

Find the 2016-17 Activities Calendar here. 2016-17 Parent Academic Calendar here. Find the recently-approved 2017-18 Parent Academic Calendar here.