December 18, 2016

Do you remember me?
Around the winter holidays, recent graduates return to our community from college or early career jobs.

"Do you remember me?"

School head secretaries, gifted with remarkable memories and gracious hospitality, immediately help the students feel welcome.

"May I go down to see..."

"Yes, of course..."

A few weeks ago, I joined a group of high school juniors as they worked on a writing assignment. For some reason - perhaps the general distractibility of high school students faced with a difficult assignment - they began reminiscing about middle school.

"Do you remember Mr..." a girl questioned. "He greeted me by name every morning, and I didn't even have him in class. He was my favorite."

A boy at the table smiled and recalled, "He still sends me birthday cards..."

As teachers and paraprofessionals, secretaries and custodians, lunch staff and bus drivers, we are all educators. Something we did or said, or something we remembered, may have a lasting effect on a student.

So at this time of year particularly, be prepared to take time when someone stops by and asks,

"Do you remember me?"


Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D

Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools


In photos: Holiday wrapping event


Student News

Developing skills

Going to class was the icing on top of the cake for Central and Sunrise Middle School eighth grade FACS students, literally. 300 students participated in decorating their own 4-inch cakes. Katy Jenkins, who is a parent in White Bear Lake, organized and collected the donated materials for the activity. It is the fourth year that Katy has organized the cake decorating. Many students say this is their favorite class activity.

Students and teachers at the WBL Area Learning Center have been picking up books for the first 10 minutes of class to participate in a school-wide reading initiative. This is tied to the school's building literacy goal. In the lobby, there is a "Readbox" that shows which books students have completed this far. While students are focusing on developing literacy goals, they are also building skills in how to successfully deconstruct media messages. In Michele Norcross's Women's Literature class, students participated in an activity where they were able to discuss what they really saw when looking at media text and advertisements, opposed to the content's intended meaning. This lesson helped students objectively view communications to understand the deeper meanings of messages. Students will use this knowledge to craft a poster of a media text they want to analyze, which will be displayed in WBL Area Learning Center's hallway. 

Staff members who are looking to treat their dogs were able to buy homemade dog biscuits from students at North Campus. The special education program started a Dog Biscuit Bakery as a school-based work experience. The students are learning job duties, food safety, personal and social skills, cost analysis, business skills, leadership skills, and equipment care and use. The students are busy filling 274 bags of dog biscuits to deliver to staff on Dec. 21. The students are no longer taking orders for biscuits due to an overwhelming demand for orders before winter break. Students plan to resume business in January. Stay tuned for more information! Before these ninth and tenth grade students head off to winter break, they made sandwiches to donate to those who are less fortunate. The sandwiches were given to The Sandwich Project, which is an organization that aims to feed about 4,500 people per week through various food shelves and shelters. The students used the sandwich-making activity to develop leadership, collaboration, communication, and compassion skills. 

Building relationships

One White Bear alum took a trip to Ms. King's kindergarten classroom at Vadnais Elementary to share his experiences of living with cerebral palsy to kindergarten students. Justin Smith also read the famous book titled "It's Okay to Ask." Students were able to ask him questions and give their new friend a high five at the end of their time together. He graduated from White Bear Lake Area High School's South Campus this past spring, and is registered to begin classes at Century in January. The students also did a little dancing to show Justin their moves and thank him for coming to the classroom.

White Bear Lake High School students took their Chinese speaking skills to a whole new level. Students video chatted with their peers from Hangzhou Foreign Language School in China using FaceTime, and asked high school students about their school life and shared Chinese learning experiences with them. Students discovered many interesting facts, and improved their Chinese comprehension by communicating with the students who live across the world in Hangzhou, China. This experience gives students an opportunity to build relationships with other students around the globe and learn a culture by directly communicating with peers.

Students are able to enjoy time with their "best buddies" during a weekly activity on Fridays at Central Middle School. Five to six students come to Lisa Olson's classroom in the morning to play games or do crafts with her students. The program was started by a seventh grader who wanted to spend more time with students in the Functional Academics Program. This week, students teamed up to make paper snowflakes. The students spent time folding and cutting paper to craft it into the perfect snowflake to make a door decoration. The snowflakes were hung up to decorate the door to participate in the IB door contest. The students look forward to the time they spend together.

Giving back

Fifth grade students at Lakeaires Elementary shared their experience of giving back to the broader community for their service learning projects. This project aims to encourage students to positively contribute to others' lives by utilizing students' talents. This year, a few students discussed what it was like to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. Transition Plus students also recently took time to give back to their community. Students spent time wrapping gifts to donate to senior citizens throughout the White Bear Lake area, including Meals on Wheels clients. (This event was also featured above in the "In photos" section of this e-newsletter and in a recent 62.4-second video update.) While Transition Plus students gave back to seniors, other students collected toys to give to families and children. The White Bear Lions collected toys in a toy drive and distributed them to about 200 families in the White Bear Lake School District. Families qualified to receive the toys by contacting the White Bear Lake Food Shelf. The following schools participated in the White Bear Lions 2016 Toy Drive: Central and Sunrise Middle Schools, Matoska Elementary, Otter Lake Elementary, Lakeaires Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center and Frassati Catholic Academy. 


Students from Sunrise Middle School volunteered their time to bell ring at Festival Foods in White Bear Lake, while also singing Christmas carols. Teacher, Lindsay Lamwers, coordinated the service event for the Sunrise Service Club and Central Services. While the middle school students gave back to the community by singing and ringing bells, Lincoln Elementary students, parents, and community members came together to tie blankets, decorate cards, and make ornaments for others over the holidays. Students and families sat on the floor and tied blankets to donate to Infant Layettes. The cards and ornaments will go to recipients of the Meals on Wheels program throughout the White Bear Lake community. (This event was also featured in a recent 62.4-second video update). 

While middle school students rang bells and sang Christmas carols for those who passed by, Mr. Weissman's fifth grade class at Oneka Elementary participated in a community service/compassion project aimed at collecting clothing for The Closet. The Closet is a place where families in need of clothing in the White Bear Lake district are able to shop. When students are in the district and present a need for clothing, they are able to receive items free of charge. The class has collected more than 15 bags of clothing that were donated.

Taking center stage

The auditorium filed up as parents and community members came to learn about anxiety in younger children with Lora Matz, a therapist from Prairie Care. The presentation was possible thanks to a grant from Ramsey County Children's Mental Health. The anxiety presentation was not the only event taking center stage, as elementary and middle school students stepped up to perform. Elementary students had the opportunity to practice together and build community to get ready for their concert at the orchestra lock-in. They were even able to play in their pajamas for the parents toward the end of the night! After this, the elementary students were ready to perform in front of many parents and community members in a packed auditorium for their North Side Elementary Orchestra concert. The Sunrise middle school students also had parents' and community members' eyes to the stage as they sang for the crowd. Check out this week's 62.4-second video update to hear more from the orchestra concert. 

Celebrating accomplishments


Otter Lake students jumped at the opportunity to donate their Halloween candy in order to throw a pie at Principal Matt Langsdale's face. The students broke out in laughter and chants shouting "pie in the face," as a student from each grade shoved the whip cream pile on his nose. Other students were also able to throw a pie in other staff members' faces. Students donated more than 520 pounds of candy to Signature Orthodontics and White Bear Smiles the day after Halloween. This celebration was in place to reward students for their positive choices to donate their sweets and leave some room in their stomachs for other fun options, like apples, bananas, or carrots.

Get to know WBLAS


During the month of January, White Bear Lake Area Schools will be hosting various events and open houses to help families learn more about the district, and register for the 2017-18 school year. There will be different opportunities for families to visit the preschool sites, observe classes and programs, and meet staff. On Thursday, Jan. 19 there will be the District-wide Kindergarten Registration Night at 5:30 p.m at all elementary schools. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions, register their child, and learn more about the District's kindergarten curriculum and programs. Registration information was recently mailed to incoming (Fall '17) kindergarten families. We look forward to welcoming our elementary bears! Families are now able to begin the kindergarten enrollment process here. It is White Bear Week from Jan. 9-13 and all of the elementary schools will have tours available for families who want to explore! On Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. both Central Middle Middle School and Sunrise Park Middle School will host Parent Information Nights. Parents can also attend Parent Information Nights at WBLAHS (North and South Campus) to learn about course selection opportunities and registration for fall 2017. Find additional information here

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


Activities Updates

The White Bear Lake Area High School Theatre Program recently heard word that they have received a total of 23 awards in the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Program for their production of Mary Poppins. The students will perform on the Orpheum Stage this June, as part of the Spotlight Program. The Unified Bears Bowling Team and the Varsity Bowling Team were honored during the Dec. 12 School Board Student Recognition Ceremony. Come cheer on the Bears! Due to high demand and limited seating at Vadnais Sports Center, we will presell tickets for the Tuesday, Dec. 20 game at Vadnais Sports Center. Student tickets for WBL vs. H-M boys hockey will be pre-sold on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at both North Campus and South Campus during lunches only. The tickets are $4 each and there is a limit of two per student. Adult tickets will be pre-sold at the Vadnais Sports Center beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 20.


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 Dec. 12 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized the following students:

  • Unified Bears Bowling Team
  • Varsity Bowling Team

To see clips from the recognition ceremony, watch this week's 62.4-second video update here.


School Board Meetings

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

Date Type Time Location
January 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 23 Work-Study 5:30 p.m.  District Center
February 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center


For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here


Superintendent's Message

  • Do you remember me?

Student News

  • In photos: Holiday wrapping event
  • Developing skills
  • Building relationships
  • Giving back
  • Taking center stage
  • Celebrating accomplishments
  • Get to know WBLAS
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Recognitions
  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities


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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

  • Cheer on the Bears - Due to high demand and limited seating at Vadnais Sports Center, we will presell tickets for the Tuesday, Dec. 20 game at Vadnais Sports Center. Student tickets for WBL vs. H-M boys hockey will be pre-sold on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at both North Campus and South Campus during lunches only. The tickets are $4 each and there is a limit of two per student. Adult tickets will be pre-sold at the Vadnais Sports Center beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
  • Teacher of the Year nominations - Please consider nominating an educator who will represent all of the dedicated teachers in our district and compete in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. You may use this form to nominate a teacher. Nominations are due by 4 p.m., Jan. 9, 2017.
  • Decoding Dyslexia: Minnesota - There is a new toolkit available to inform parents, staff, and community members about Decoding Dyslexia in Minnesota. This resource offers webinars, guides for teachers, and a simulator to try in order to experience and better understand a decoding difficulty.
  • 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.

  • Senior Transportation Transition Plan - At the Dec. 12, 2016 School Board meeting, the Board approved a senior transportation transition plan that closes the Lionmobile Program in the spring of 2017. See press release 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.
  • 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.
    • Family Funtime gets BearPowered - On Jan. 10, BearPower will team up with White Bear Lake Recreation and sponsor free and Open Gym nights from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Oneka Elementary.
  • 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 2016 Holiday Angels Program gives our community an opportunity to share with those in need in our school district while honoring a school district staff person or community member. To learn more, click here.


Support WBLAS Students:

  • Attend an event or two this spring by finding the event schedule in the 2016-17 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.
  • 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

  • Congratulations to the following staff members who presented at a TIES conference this week: Steve Asper, Jaclyn Bremer, Mark Garrison, Karin Hogen, Abby Kath, Nick Marty, Kevin Matuseski, LuAnne Oklobzija.
  • Please consider nominating an educator who will represent all of the dedicated teachers in our district and compete in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. You may use this form to nominate a teacher. Nominations are due by 4 p.m., Jan. 9, 2017.

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