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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