May 7, 2017

You Never Know Who Chooses You
"Now remember," the college professor emphasized once again to the newly minted teacher candidates. "You never know who chooses you."

Class was over for the day, but each of the aspiring teachers, just days away from college graduation and a summer away from their first teaching jobs, left the room deep in thought.

During class they listened to stories from career teachers who learned years after having a student in class how words or acts of kindness or attention had changed a child's life for the better.

I recalled her advice yesterday after a conversation with a student at the high school. When I saw her near the office I could tell she was having a tough day. 

"How is your day going?" I asked.

Head down, she replied quietly, "About a zero out of 10."

We talked. She asked if the principal she had when she was in elementary school still worked there.

"He does," I confirmed.

"Would he remember me?"

"I'm sure he would.Would you like to write a note to him? I'll deliver it to him on my way back to my office."

She wrote the note deliberately and thoughtfully. I asked her if she would like to see him if he could stop by the high school sometime. She smiled faintly.

"That was when I was almost always good, " she reflected.

On the way back to my office I stopped by an elementary school and delivered the note.

Sitting down in a chair in his office, I reminded him of the expression, You never know who chooses you. Then I told him the story. How she asked about him each time I talked to her in middle school, and now again in high school. And how she relaxed and smiled when she recalled his kindnesses.

Today, I stopped by the high school again and saw her in class. 

"I delivered your message. He looks forward to seeing you again. By the way, how is today going?"

She sat tall and a broad smile spread across her face.

"At least a five out of 10!"

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D

Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

In photos: Lincoln Hug-A-Heart

Student News

Exciting opportunities

Students gathered at Lincoln Elementary for the spring Hug-A-Heart Event where they made May Day baskets and cards for residents at Cerenity Care Center. The students worked with adults to perfectly craft their unique pieces of artwork. The fourth grade students delivered the final products and the rest get delivered through the Meals on Wheels program. (Additional photos of the event can be found in the In Photos section of this issue of the e-newsletter.) One student at Lincoln Elementary also recently received some exciting news. Mrs. Kovacs is an Explorations teacher at Lincoln Elementary and submitted student essays for the Ramsey County Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest. The RCBA Youth and Law Committee reviewed all submissions and chose six winning essays. Fourth grade student Olivia Vermeersch's essay was chosen to be a winning essay! She was honored at a ceremony at the Ramsey County Courthouse for her accomplishment. 

Central Middle School students also had a chance to embrace an exciting opportunity during College Experience Day where eighth grade students could learn about different types of post-secondary education options, and hear from teachers and staff about where they went to college, why they chose that college and any words of wisdom they could share. Students could also learn about their teacher's college's logo, mascot, and campus and housing opportunities. All of the classrooms could participate in five different sessions, which included information about an in-state school, out-of-state school, private school, community college, technical school, PSEO and/or a Google Expeditions virtual campus tour. 

Middle school students walked audiences through a tour of history and made a lasting impression, as they presented their history projects one more time. Seven Central Middle School students received honorable mention and one student's website finished third place in the state. Six Sunrise Park Middle School scholars advanced to the National History Day competition and will be representing White Bear Lake Area Schools this coming June. More than 27,000 students in Minnesota participated in History Day and about 5,000 of those advanced to the various regional History Day competitions. Of those 5,000 students, 1,274 students advanced to the State History Day. Only 60 of those 1,274 students qualified for the national competition in June. Learn more about the State History Day results. 

Families, students, and staff could enjoy the results of Otter Lake Elementary's fun Spring Carnival. Students had the opportunity to get their faces painted, play games and win prizes. The Spring Carnival opened a little early for some special needs students who were recognized as VIP attendees. Another exciting opportunity at Otter Lake Elementary is coming up within the next few weeks. Register for the free BearPower Breakaway Bike Ride Event and join family and friends in a fun peddling adventure. The event is on Saturday, May 20. Learn more and register today.

Enjoying special visitors

It was certainly a time to celebrate at Birch Lake Elementary, as it was Grandparents/Special Friend Day. Students could invite their grandparents or special friends in for activities in the classrooms, tours and treats. Activities included bingo, math/reading games and reading stories. Fourth and fifth grade students even performed their music concert for their special visitors. They had been working hard on learning the songs for several weeks and were excited to showcase their abilities. Students also showcased their artistic abilities by creating life-size silhouettes of themselves, which are hanging on the walls around the school. This was a school-wide project, led by Jessica Ostendorf and Katie Anderson, after they were awarded a grant. On May 20, Birch Lake Elementary is looking forward to having a Color Run. Learn moreabout signing up. 

High school students were also able to enjoy time with a special visitor. South Campus students were able to attend a discussion about the current state of the world with diplomat Tom Hanson. He served as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State for nearly 25 years and has also worked on the Foreign Relations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Most recently, he was Director for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Affairs at the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington D.C. They discussed topics such as China, the EU/Brexit, North Korea, Russia, the Middle East and also about sustainability issues. Students had lunch with him and were also able to engage in conversations about students' topics of interest as well as internships and future goals. Students, parents, community members and staff will have an opportunity to discuss their future goals with water conservation at the STEM Water Symposium on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Recently, the event was highlighted in the news, as it was mentioned in the city's White Bear Facts - Spring 2017 Newsletter edition.


WBLAHS also played host recently to two guest authors, Kristi Belcamino and David Oppegaard, who were interviewed by senior Sam Engrav and junior Claire Hank at the recent Sips and Swallows event. Student writers who read their work at the annual event were Sam Engrav, Vong Xiong, Tori Gabrielson, Qiana Dukek, Greta Whitebird, Hakeem Martins, Claire Hank, Vanessa Hutchinson and Kayla Reedy. Readers were followed by a slideshow presentation of their work. The video can be seen here. Copies of "Sensicality" are available for $5 through the WBLAHS Writing Center.

Exploring interests

High school students recently enjoyed embracing their artistic talents to express their self-identity. Students at South Campus joined together to do a gallery walk with Wing Young Huie to discuss the recent pictures and chalk art students created lining the 400's hallway. This gave students a chance to reflect on the art and provide the artist with feedback regarding the experience. While students toured the 400's hallway and admired others' artwork, other high school students took a trip to tour Pace Industries and H.B. Fuller. Students learned about the manufacturing and engineering that goes on within the two companies and the products they produce. They also had an opportunity to learn about a variety of careers and the training and skills required to work in these positions within the manufacturing and engineering fields. This experience was captured in this Friday's 62.4-second video update. On another note, high school choir students received a flavor of the performing industry in the City of Dreams where they enjoyed their time as they sang in, danced around and explored New York City. 

The students were able to tour the city and head out to see the Statue of Liberty while also enjoying an opportunity to experience a dinner/dance cruise. The students were able to work and sing with Broadway Actress Jeanne Lehman. They were also able to enjoy time with Choral Director Ira Shankman form New York University. This trip gives students an opportunity to develop new skills while also building relationships with classmates and learning from a variety of professionals. Middle school and elementary school students also had an opportunity to showcase their musical talents at the Orchestra Jamboree. This was the students' biggest orchestra concert yet, being the second year of the program. The concert represented 10 schools in the district with the approximately 250 students in orchestra. The experience was captured in this Friday's 62.4-second video update. While elementary and middle school students perfected their performances, high school students are getting ready to impress audiences with their show "Play On." This show is about an amateur community theatre that is trying to save money by producing the murder mystery of a local inexperienced playwright, and when the playwright keeps changing the story before the first performance, it leaves the cast dealing with an interesting opening night. There will be performances at North Campus from May 19-21. Learn more about the show and purchasing tickets. 

Three Central Middle School students also expressed there talents and were recognized for their artistic abilities at the Patriotic Art Explorers Award Ceremony. At the event, the students were able to receive their awards and be honored for their hard work in the Patriotic Art Explorers Contest. Megan Harrington took first place, Lily Johnson took second place and Abi Lillo took third place. Megan Harrington's artwork moved on to the district competition where it placed first so she will advance to state finals. Also, two students were selected as winners for the 2017 Marketfest Art Contest. Their art will be used for the t-shirts, which will be sold at Marketfest and also for the posters and promotional platforms for Marketfest. This free family festival is held in downtown White Bear Lake on Thursday evenings from mid-June to the end of July. The festival runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on these evenings and it continues to attract local visitors because of the friendly and exciting atmosphere. Learn more about Marketfest

Achieving excellence

Lakeaires Elementary student Lily Pederson and Otter Lake Elementary student Rayna Engelmayer recently competed at the Region 4 Junior Olympic Gymnastics Championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The two students qualified for regionals by finishing in the top eight out of 163 gymnasts at the Minnesota State Meet. At the competition, they faced off against teams from Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and North Dakota. Rayna placed ninth all-around and Lily placed second all-around. The team from Minnesota placed second. Congratulations to Lily and Rayna on a successful season. Another student was able to showcase her talent and place in a competition. South Campus student Nambi Mwassa placed fifth in the "Serious Interpretation-Prose" Minnesota State High School League State Speech competition. In other exciting news, congratulations to members of the 2016-2017 South Campus Student Council on receiving the Outstanding Student Council Award from the Minnesota Association of Student Councils. The award is given out to recognize excellence in student leadership each year. High school students were also recently accepted into the White Bear Center for the Arts sponsored annual High School Visual Arts Exhibition, as well as the White Bear Center for the Arts sponsored annual Write Now! High School Writing Contest. Learn moreabout the award winners. 

High schools students were also recognized for their hard work and academic performances at the Excellence Event 2017. This event honors the top graduating high school students, and also educators who have made a significant difference in their lives. Students and the honored educators could get their pictures taken, listen to guest speakers and enjoy a delicious bear cookie. The 2017 Excellence Event is a consortium of community and educational organizations dedicated to excellence in education. The consortium includes the White Bear Lake Lions Club, Mainstreet Inc., Rotary eClub One, Shops and Services of Downtown White Bear Lake, the White Bear Lake Principals' Association, White Bear Lake Area School District, the White Bear Lake Teachers' Association and the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation. The experience was captured in last week's 62.4-second video update and the entire event can be watched on YouTube. Recently, high school students also celebrated writing, writers and artists at the annual Sips and Swallows event. This also gives attendees an opportunity to celebrate "Sensicality," which is the WBLAHS Writing Center's literary publication. 

One grant is helping elementary students achieve excellence in their literacy efforts. The South Campus Ambassadors, a Rotary Interact Club that is based in White Bear Lake, sought and obtained a $500 Community Services Grant from Rotary eClub One to support elementary literacy efforts in their community. This generous grant allowed the Ambassadors to build, decorate and install two Little Free Libraries on Willow Lane Elementary's grounds. Little Free Libraries are designed to inspire a love of reading, build community and spark creativity by encouraging book exchanges around the world. The Ambassadors are committed to monitoring these libraries in the future.

Appreciating others

Professionals throughout the district were recognized for their contributions to afterschool programs in honor of National Afterschool Professionals Week. Afterschool professionals help students develop skills and learn more about STEM, literacy, health and wellness. Research shows that students' involvement in out-of-school time programs supports students' academic, social and emotional growth. Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a time to celebrate the hard work between community partners, afterschool programs, youth and childcare workers and those who are dedicated to working with youth outside of school hours. This was a great opportunity for students, parents and community members to say "thank you" to those who contribute to students' development. This was captured in last week's 62.4-second video update

In honor of Every Kid Healthy Week, some elementary students were able to express their "thanks" throughout the district for vegetables by celebrating with a Green Bean Crunch, which is part of an Action for Healthy Kids grant. The was an opportunity for students to take bites out of fresh raw green beans, as part of their lunch or snack to encourage and support delicious eating choices. Every Kid Healthy Week is created to recognize school health and wellness achievements. The experience was captured in last week's 62.4-second video update. From one nutritional fact to the other, May 5 was School Lunch Hero Day. On this day, school nutrition professionals were thanked for their dedication to serving more than 5,000 lunches in White Bear Lake Area Schools every day. The experience was captured in this Friday's 62.4-second video update.

High school students took time out of their day to express their gratitude to paraprofessionals. Students in the Transition Life Skills class along with other classmates at North Campus have been working hard for the past few weeks in their "party planning" unit, as they put on a party for paraprofessionals to show them their appreciation for their hard work, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. The party had a fun Cinco de Mayo theme. Also, Spanish and FACS classes celebrated Cinco de Mayo with fun activities including a salsa tasting contest, Spanish bingo and other Mexican cultural activities in the newly renovated Media Center at North Campus. While high school students enjoyed unique experiences so did students at Matoska International, as they have been getting special visitors at the school. Recently, a duck hatched a brood outside of a classroom window. The school has a "duck cam" set up so they can see the visitors' activity. After the ducks move on, the camera will be moved inside where there are chicken eggs in an incubator, which are due within the next couple of weeks. 

62.4-second video updates

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



Activities Updates

South Campus student Nambi Mwassa placed fifth in the "Serious Interpretation-Prose" Minnesota State High School League State Speech competition. Lakeaires Elementary student Lily Pederson and Otter Lake Elementary student Rayna Engelmayer recently competed at the Region 4 Junior Olympic Gymnastics Championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The team from Minnesota placed second. Congratulations to members of the 2016-2017 South Campus Student Council on receiving the Outstanding Student Council Award from the Minnesota Association of Student Councils. 

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

Date Type Time Location
May 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 
May 22 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
June 12 Regular 7 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

  • Notice of Filing - The filing period for candidates to file affidavits of candidacy for the 2017 school district general election in school districts with a primary, including White Bear Lake Area Schools, is May 16-30. Learn more about the filing period.
  • Email Phishing Scam - The email phishing scam that went through the district and around the world on Wednesday serves as an important reminder to reset passwords and be extremely careful about opening unexpected documents and attachments.
  • Measles Immunizations - There have been recent cases of measles in Minnesota, and White Bear lake Area Schools are urging families to ensure that their children are fully immunized against measles. Learn more about getting students immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) with two doses of the MMR vaccine. 
  • Summer Wrestling Camp - Students have an opportunity to attend the Augsburg/Bears Youth Wrestling Camp, which will take place on July 24, 25, 26 and 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Learn more information about how to register today. 
  • 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). Learn more about this opportunity.
  • 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 and view the invitation
  • 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 Bike Ride Video Challenge - If you like this video or this video, show us your best lip-syncing efforts for the chance to win a $50 Target gift card. All you have to do is record yourself singing the first 20 seconds of the song "Bicycle Race" by Queen, post it on Facebook, and tag BearPower by Friday, May 19 for the opportunity to take home the prize. 
    • 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 if you are interested in helping out this summer. 
    • Every Kid Healthy Week - Students got BearPowered at certain elementary schools throughout the district by having a Green Bean Crunch in celebration of Every Kid Healthy Week during the last week of April. The experience was captured in last week's 62.4-second video update
  • 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.
    • Golf Tournament - Annual WBLAEF Golf Tournament is on Monday, June 26 at Indian Hills Golf Club. Learn more about registration.
    • Bleed Orange and Black T-shirts - Find out how to get a t-shirt by contacting the Foundation Office at 651-707-7696. The cost is $10.

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.
  • 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

  • May Recognitions:
    • May 5 - School Lunch Hero Day
    • May 7-12 - National Teacher Appreciation Week
    • May 9 - National Teacher Day
    • May 10 - National School Nurses 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

  • You Never Know Who Chooses You

Student News

  • In photos: Lincoln Hug-A-Heart 
  • Exciting opportunities
  • Enjoying special visitors
  • Exploring interests
  • Achieving excellence
  • Appreciating others
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Awards and Honors

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

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

School Board Regular Meeting
7 p.m.
June 12
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.