November 6, 2016

Saved for Your Generation

One morning this week, our high school juniors and seniors filled the auditorium, leaning forward and listening intently.

Images of maps, graphs, and photos of international leaders filled the screen. The presenter, a career American diplomat, described the world we live in, but with depth and insight far greater than newspaper headlines, media clips, political soundbites, or social studies textbooks.

What historical factors influence current views about America's place in international affairs? How do the viewpoints of former presidents John Quincy Adams and Woodrow Wilson still influence today's decisions?

Which world powers are growing in economic and political strength and which are in decline, and why?

Given political, social, economic and environmental issues today and in the near future, what careers are especially promising for today's high school students, and why?

Back in their social studies classes, students were eager to discuss what they had heard. One high school social studies teacher summarized discussion as follows:

"Students seemed most interested in the development of China as a world power. They were especially ...talking about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the New Silk Road Railroad ...

They shared...thoughts about emerging technologies; many seemed uneasy about the development of tech and the future of robots; and the weapons from space fascinated them too. 

One student commented ... surprise about the pollution levels in India and China and was happy that our cities were so far down on the list."

At the end of the presentation, the diplomat responded to thoughtful questions from students, and before sending them back to classes, observed, "These are the challenges that will be up to your generation to solve!"

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


In Photos: Vadnais Heights Elementary Color Run!


Student News

Active in the Community

Students throughout White Bear Lake Area Schools have been especially active in our communities recently. At the elementary level, students and families ran and raked their way to benefit our schools. Vadnais Heights Elementary hosted their Color Run last Friday evening. More than 350 runners from the community participated in the event, which kicked off an evening of dancing in the gymnasium.

The running events continued on Oct. 29 when Otter Lake and Lincoln Elementary Schools held their annual Bear Scare Fun Run. Students and staff members dress up in costumes and get some exercise to benefit the schools, with proceeds being shared between the parent leader organizations at the two buildings.

On Oct. 28, Lincoln Elementary students also had the chance to participate in some active community service. Hug-A-Heart volunteers, including Lincoln students, staff and community members, raked leaves for 18 elderly residents who needed help with their autumn yard maintenance in White Bear Lake. Find White Bear Press coverage of the experience here.

As our youngest learners were active in the community, our high school students have been running toward achievement. On Nov. 5 the Girls and Boys Cross Country teams went to State at St. Olaf College and placed 12th and 16th respectively. In other cross country news, Patty Percival won the Section 4AA Head Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year and Dave Percival won the Section 4AA Assistant Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year.

If all of that activity makes you want to stretch, mark your calendars for an important yoga event, which is expected to be world record-breaking! The BearPower event, which ties the district to other community partners in support of getting students and families eating well and moving, will host the first annual family yoga day on Nov. 12 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at WBLAHS South Campus. The event will cost two dollars per person and all of the proceeds will go to Solid Ground, a local NGO.

Learning Through Experience
In the past few weeks, students and staff members hosted visitors and attended events where they were able to teach and learn through experience. On Nov. 3, a group of Russian educators and professionals toured district schools to observe the many levels of our special education programs and learn about the district's community service initiatives. From watching students who receive services in a variety of disability areas to visiting classrooms where students are fully included in a general education setting, our Russian guests take a glimpse at our successful support systems. Pictured at right are the Russian visitors Dr. Lovett, standing below a quilt that a group of students from Russia sent the district a few years ago. The quilt now hangs in Central Middle School.

On Nov. 1, Transition Plus student Carlos Martinez shared his remarkable story of recovery to about 50 parent advisory committee members. Martinez was diagnosed with Left Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). After a traumatic incident in 2013, he was left with limited physical abilities, but regained all of his cognitive abilities. Since then, with the help of our Transition Plus program, Martinez has learned crucial independent living skills and is now enrolled in Century College classes. Carlos' presentation took place at the Parent Advisory Council meeting in conjunction with the Student Transition Fair hosted at South Campus this week. Find a 62.4-second video highlight of the Fair here.

Important lessons have been learned outside of the school building as well. White Bear Lake Area High School students had the opportunity to attend a White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where they heard the co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, Mike Veeck speak. White Bear Lake businessman Bill Foussard sponsored a table for the student group so they could learn from this rewarding experience.

Hands-on learning experiences are part of what makes our schools so unique. These experiences become even more enriching when our schools build partnerships with local businesses and organizations. On Nov. 1, White Bear Lake Area Schools was honored with a 2016 Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation (VHEDC) Partnership Award for the district's partnership with Du Fresne Manufacturing. For eight years, the district's work with Du Fresne has allowed students to learn about the manufacturing process and different careers in the field through touring their facilities. Click here to watch a video highlighting this important partnership.

Knowledge Is Power
Earning the power of knowledge often takes practice. Our Central Middle School mathletes' diligent practice has paid off. At two recent meets, Central's math teams, comprised of Declan Moore, Aaron Barton, Aria Zia, Aidan Shepler, Joey Thomalla, Brendan Griffin and Oliver Harvieux, placed first and second out of seven teams. In the Burbs division, sixth-grader Joey Thomalla is currently ranked first overall and seventh-grader Declan Moore is ranked second overall. 

Also demonstrating that knowledge is power, Oneka Elementary students learned a powerful lesson about energy conservation. On Nov. 3, Nikki Neutron and The Energized Guyz presented an interactive comedy for grades K-6, teaching students what energy is and how to stop energy from being wasted.

In the art world, learning techniques from around the globe is a powerful educational tool. Last week, students at Vadnais Heights Elementary school created art inspired by Chinese culture, tying in with their study of Chinese as their world language. Thanks to the generous support of their PTO, Vadnais received a week-long art residency with Lisa Servatius, an independent art instructor who developed art lessons for each grade level - not only teaching the fundamentals of art but also relating them to the traditional Chinese art process, technique and subject matter. Pictured at left is a third grade student drawing a dragon with rich oil pastel colors. 

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


Activities Updates

Boys and Girls Cross Country teams went to State on Nov. 5 at St. Olaf College. The Girls Cross Country team placed 12th overall and the Boys Cross Country team placed 16th overall. Patty Percival won the Section 4AA Head Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year and Dave Percival won the Section 4AA Assistant Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year! Activities Director Tim Hermann was recently recognized as MnIAAA (Mn Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association) Region 4AA Activity Director 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 News

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting minutes and agendas can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
November 14 Regular 7 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

  • Saved for Your Generation

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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