November 20, 2016


Practicing Thanksgiving

On the day after Halloween, more than a few children were slow waking and getting ready for school. But for those high schools students leading the "Trick or Can" food drive, the first day of November was just another day to rise early, pick up donated food from elementary and middles schools, and add the new donations to the growing mountains of cans and boxes at South Campus. Such District-wide service projects show us at our best, working together to help those in need.


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Just one week later, on the day after the election, I wrote the following message to our staff:


During this contentious election season, waves of political rhetoric flowed to every corner of our society, including our schools.


When adults are excited and pleased with the results of an election, they pass on their excitement and enthusiasm to their children.


When adults are fearful or anticipate bad things will happen, this fear and uncertainty also gets passed on to children.


Our students need to count on our classrooms as a place for civil discourse, where the lessons of democracy are learned in a safe and respectful environment.


And when they ride the bus, walk the hallways, or join friends for lunch, they deserve to know they are in a school and community that lives out our core values of compassion, integrity, respect, responsibility and service.


This week especially we need to uphold standards of civility and respect, be aware of students who need support, and assure that all our students and families know they are welcome and part of our community.


We know they can count on every one of us.


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Then on the Friday after the election, our schools celebrated Veterans Day with programs, songs, remembrances and moving tributes to living and fallen veterans. Coming together to honor those who have served our country was healing, and for our school children, another lesson in "practicing thanksgiving".


School is off for students this week, with time set aside this week for parent -teacher conferences. But wherever we are, it would be wise for all of us to set the example for our next generation by serving others through invitations, acts of service, and generosity.


Our best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving.


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

In Photos: Otter Lake Elementary SeeSaw Lesson


Student News

Honoring Our Veterans

On Veterans Day, our schools and our Senior Center hosted numerous events to honor the courageous service of our veterans. Central Middle School held their annual Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 11, during which students met with community veterans and listened to retired Army Maj. Barry Henriksen speak. Students were also honored that day for their accomplishments in the White Bear Lake VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest, which also saw students at Sunrise Park Middle School being recognized during a special ceremony.

Lakeaires Elementary also found unique ways to celebrate our veterans on Nov. 11. Students wrote letters and drew pictures for a squadron of Marine Corps soldiers who are stationed overseas, thanking them for their service. In addition, the entire school signed a "thank you" banner for local Veterans at the White Bear Lake VFW. Another elementary school that displayed patriotism that day was Vadnais Heights Elementary, which hosted its annual outside ceremony. New this year was a special recognition of Hmong veterans, who attended the ceremony and received


The White Bear Area Senior Center honored veterans with a coffee, while White Bear Lake Area High School students attended a special assembly to recognize the day.


Engaging Lessons
Students throughout our district have been engaged in creative lessons during the past few weeks. At Lakeaires Elementary, fifth graders students have been reading their way through the 40 Book Challenge. Starting in September, they set a goal to read 40 books this school year, and now, a few students have already met that goal!

The 40 Book Challenge also allows fifth graders to track their success by logging their books in reading journals, earning bookmarks for every five books they read and writing weekly letters to their teacher, noting their progress. The fifth grade teachers provided students with a checklist of book genres the students must read, but students have the chance to choose unique book titles from their classroom library and school media center. This year, a favorite among Lakeaires students is the mythological fiction series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

The South Campus developmentally adaptive physical education class recently had the chance to learn a hands-on lesson on horseback riding. On Oct. 4, the group of ten students ventured to Valley River Riders in Afton, where they participated in therapeutic horseback riding. This activity helped these students build confidence, increase physical stamina and follow detailed instructions from others. 

During an exciting educational day, it can be helpful in the learning process to take a short "brain break" when students can use their creativity and social skills to unwind. In a Central Middle School geometry class, students took a few minutes to pull together a Mannequin Challenge video where they held "learning-oriented" poses. Check out the video here!

Looking ahead, the creative wheels are turning toward even more unique learning opportunities for our students. The White Bear Lake Educational Foundation just announced the winners of the 2016 Ryan Art Grants. Winners include teachers from Otter Lake, Lakeaires, Birch Lake and Hugo Elementary Schools. The generous grant money they receive will go toward teaching dramatic arts, visual arts, art history, graphic novel composition and expressive language skills.

An upcoming engaging lesson everyone can participate in is the Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase taking place on Dec. 1 from 5-7:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. Students of all ages, parents and community members are encouraged to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn about careers in the manufacturing and engineering fields. Click here to learn more about the showcase and click hereto register for the event.

Teaming Up for Success
In our classrooms and during recent community events, our students, staff and families have teamed up to complete some successful projects. Preschool and Early Childhood classes at Tamarack Nature Center made Stone Soup on November 17, which was coincidentally National Parent Involvement Day. After each child brought a vegetable to cut up to add to the soup on Tuesday, they invited one adult guest to join them for our soup meal on Thursday. The children served their adult guests and everyone sat together picnic-style during the meal. Ingredients for the soup included beans and a turnip the children harvested from the Tamarack garden.

White Bear Lake Area Schools teamed up with the Government Television Network to create a 2016 Unity Day bullying video in October. Featured in the video are White Bear Lake students, staff and key community officials who speak about their experiences with bullies and provide ideas about how we can all team up to prevent bullying in the future. The Unity Day video is now available in EnglishSpanish and Hmong

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



Activities Updates

Two White Bear Lake athletes participated in a signing ceremony on Nov. 9 at South Campus. Gabby Potthoff, Women's Tennis, will be attending Southwest Minnesota State and Kylie Noonan, Women's Gymnastics, will be attending the University of Illinois. Jake Mueller won the Section 4AA Head Girls Swim/Dive Coach of the Year and Natalie Strauss won the Section 4AA Assistant Girls Swim/Dive Coach of the Year.

The Male Athlete of the Month is Ben Roen, Boys Cross Country.
The Female Athlete of the Month is Keely Nistler, Girls Cross Country.
The Fine Arts Student of the Month is Anthony Eterno, Band.


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 Recognitions 

Before the Nov. 14 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized the following students:

  • The Boys Cross Country Team
  • The Girls Cross Country Team
  • The Middle School Cheerleading Team
  • The WBLAHS Cheerleading Team

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

School Board Meetings

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

Date Type Time Location
November 22 Workshop 6 p.m. District Center
November 28 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 12 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center


For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here

Superintendent's Message

  • Practicing Thanksgiving

Student News

  • In Photos: Otter Lake Elementary SeeSaw Lesson
  • Honoring Our Veterans
  • Engaging Lessons
  • Teaming Up for Success
  • 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

  • Parent education opportunity - Thanks to a grant from Ramsey County Children's Mental Health, we will be hosting two evenings with Lora Matz, a therapist from Prairie Care. The first session on Nov. 29 will focus on anxiety in older (secondary) children and the second session on Dec. 13 will focus on anxiety in younger children (elementary). Click here for more information.
  • Mental Health Crisis Planning for Families - Free programming in Washington County is available for parents/caregivers of children exhibiting challenging behaviors or a mental illness. Participants do not have to be Washington County residents to attend. Click here for more information and click here to register.
  • The Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase will take place on Dec. 1 from 5-7:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. Students of all ages, parents and community members are invited to learn about careers in the manufacturing and engineering fields. Click here to learn more about the showcase and click here to register for the event.
  • 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.
  • Extended Day job opportunities - The district's Extended Day Program is seeking committed, energetic and creative staff to work in our before and after school programs with youth grades preK-5 at several of our elementary school sites. Click here to learn more!
  • WBLAHS - South Campus stadium guidelines - No backpacks, bags, outside beverages or food of any kind may be brought into the WBLAHS - South Campus stadium during any events. Thank you for your cooperation.
  • Attention Volunteers! On Location TV19 is seeking volunteers to help with its mobile productions covering a variety of school programs. Click here for details.
  • Autism Workshops - The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) will host workshops on social and emotional safety in Duluth and St. Cloud in the coming weeks. Find details about their workshops here.
  • 2016-17 and 2017-18 Academic Calendars were approved at the March 14 School Board meeting. The approved 2016-17 calendar can be found here. The approved 2017-18 calendar can be found here.
  • One-stop online payments - The district offers 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 system, new this summer, replaced multiple systems that are currently used for these purposes, including RevTrak, PayPams and ActiveNet.
  • Stay connected! - Sign up for the Community e-Newsletter, sent out twice a month. 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!
  • Additional resources:
    • Resources to help with our limited English speaking families 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.

  • Upcoming events - There are a number of events happening this fall, click here for a complete list.
  • 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:

  • H2O for Life - The Race 2 Reduce initiative at H2O for Life is a collaboration of stakeholders working to educate about local water resources and water conservation. White Bear Lake Area Schools is a partner in this effort and is working to align curriculum to integrate these important topics into school.
  • 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.
    • First Annual Family Yoga Day - Last week, Mayor Jo Emerson and the White Bear Lake City Council proclaimed the second Saturday of November White Bear Lake Family Yoga Day. In celebration, more than 70 people attended a Family Yoga Day event hosted by White Bear Lake Area Schools, BearPower and LifeCore Yoga.
    • Elementary Dance Evenings - Students and families at Matoska International and Oneka Elementary School enjoyed opportunities to be active this weekend. Matoska hosted an all-school dance on Friday that allowed students to showcase moves they just finished learning in a dance unit. Today, Oneka families enjoyed a chance to play games, eat well and be active - fueled by Bear Power.
  • 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.
    • 2016 Ryan Art Grant Recipients
      • Jenn Misgen, Deb Schmidt and Jessica Hosmer, Otter Lake Kindergarten, each received a grant that will bring the Children's Theatre Company program "Building Bridges" into three kindergarten classrooms. "Building Bridges" provides a professional teaching artist for interactive storytelling and dramatic arts to bring out the creativity of each child.
      • Kelly Humphrey, Lakeaires, 2nd grade, received a grant to have 57 second graders participate in a three-week art unit each year focusing on the lives and works of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
      • Jessica Ostendorf, Birch Lake, 2nd grade and Katie Anderson, Birch Lake 4th grade, each received a grant to help students learn to use different mediums and different techniques to paint and create paper using different application methods.
      • Stacy Brodt, Lakeaires, 5th grade, received a grant to benefit 5th graders that will explore graphic novel beginnings and the components of a graphic novel. Students will then have the chance to create their own graphic novels.
      • Aimee Pollard, Hugo, Speech-Language Pathologist, received a grant for several speech-language students to work with arts and crafts to functionally work on children's receptive as well as expressive language skills. Children will be making sock puppets for their speech-language lessons.
    • Bleed Orange and Black T-shirts - find out how to get one by contacting the Foundation Office (651-407-7696). Cost is $10.


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 Jake Mueller and Natalie Strauss for becoming the Section 4AA Head and Assistant Girls Swim/Dive Coaches of the Year.
  • November Recognitions
    • Daylight Saving Ends - November 6
    • Election Day - November 8
    • Veterans Day- November 11
    • American Education Week / Geography Awareness Week - November 14-18
    • Education Support Professionals Day - November 16
    • National Parental Involvement Day - November 17
    • Thanksgiving Day - November 24

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