October 9, 2016

Time to Dream

Remarks for Induction of Students into the Central Middle School Junior National Honor Society 
October 6, 2016

If we were to travel from White Bear Lake west to the Mississippi River, and then turn north along the river for about 100 miles, close to the west bank we would see a wood frame house more than a century old. 

From the front porch of this old farmhouse, we could watch the Mississippi River flow south to the Twin Cities, and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

Behind this house are giant oaks, maples and pines, and further on, a gully leading down to Pine Creek, which meanders through the farm, emptying into the Mississippi River just south of the house.

The boy who lived in that house 100 years ago was by all accounts a hard worker and a serious student. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence from his later life that even early on he demonstrated scholarship, leadership, character, service, and citizenship. These are the very qualities for which you are honored tonight... 

(Click here to read the entire message.)

In Photos: Homecoming celebrations!


Homecoming wrap-up

From week-long activities, to a rowdy sea of orange cheering on our football team - this year's Homecoming Celebration was another one for the books! The fun kicked-off Monday at nearly all of our schools with a full week of daily "dress-up" days at school. WBLAHS students could be spotted roaming the halls covered in "Bear wear," or in a full pant suit depending on the day's theme, which was noticeable when both the North Campus and South Campus student bodies assembled for midweek Homecoming pep fests. Both high school campuses played host for these action-packed events, where we witnessed performances from the high school drumline, the cheerleading team, the danceline, high school choir and more! That energy was carried through to Friday for the annual Homecoming Parade and evening football game. Then on Saturday, BearPower capped-off Homecoming Week with its annual BearPower 6.24K Homecoming Celebration walk/run. Covered in orange, runners from across the district and community hit the pavement and crossed the finish line - wrapping up another successful Homecoming Celebration!

Also during Homecoming Week, our middle schools participated in an activity called "Kindness in Chalk." Students arrived bright and early to cover the sidewalks outside of their schools with positive messages for their peers. Students left with smiles and chalk covered knees as they filled almost every inch of the pavement. Our students took this welcoming activity to the next level by bringing instruments and pompoms to cheer students on as they walked through a tunnel of peers. Though a very fun Homecoming activity, the objective of this was to ensure students feel welcome and safe as they enter their place of learning. This event and the WBLAHS pep fests were highlighted in the most recent 62.4-second video update. 

Though students and staff likely wore most of their orange clothing for Homecoming Week, hopefully they haven't packed it away just yet! Orange "Bear wear" will make for the perfect ensemble on Unity Day, which takes place Wednesday, October 19. Unity Day is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month and has been recognized in the United States since 2011. Generally, individuals, schools, communities and businesses wear or display orange to show support for those who have been bullied. We encourage students and staff to wear orange Wednesday, October 19 for this important cause. Here's a fun video of District students, staff and those in the community who've pledged to wear orange on Unity Day!

Once a Bear, always a Bear

Though we know our students go off to do great things beyond White Bear, it's always fun to recognize student success even long after graduation. On October 14, WBLAHS alumnus Jon Anderson and alumna Andrea Peterson will be inducted into the White Bear Lake Area High School Athletic Hall of Fame. During Jon Anderson's career as a Bear, he earned a total of nine letters; three in soccer, three in baseball and three in hockey, and played on conference championship teams in baseball and hockey, as well. Jon was named as All-Conference in both soccer and hockey and was selected to the All-Metro team in hockey his senior year. Andrea Peterson is a WBLAHS athlete from the class of 2003 who participated in three sports beginning in her eighth grade year and earned twelve letters during her playing career as a Bear. Three of those letters were earned in girls tennis, four in softball and five in girls hockey. She was selected as captain twice, an All-Conference player seven times and was honored as an All-Metro and All-State hockey player for her efforts in her senior season. Click the following links for the entire Hall of Fame bios for Jon Anderson and Andrea Peterson

Another White Bear Lake Area High School graduate was celebrated recently, with a surprise from one of our band teachers. Band director Shannon Anderson gathered together current band students to surprise WBLAHS alumna Ferol Grode for her birthday. When Ferol was a student at WBLAHS, she loved marching band music and loved the band at South Campus. So much so, she often tried to run into the band room in the mornings when she would hear them practicing. Ferol's mom Patty, and many others, were moved to tears when Mrs. Anderson and her students pulled off the surprise performance. Ferol was so happy, excited and appreciative - clapping, laughing and blowing kisses to the band. Her mother says that Mrs. Anderson and the band members gave much more than their time and talents that day, but a memory Ferol will cherish forever.

While those alumni are enjoying a trip down memory lane, a number of our current students are starting to think about their next steps beyond WBLAS. Our high school councilors recently organized a well-attended College Admissions Panel with more than 120 students and parents in attendance. Five representatives from several different colleges and universities explained the admissions process, provided tips and fielded questions from the audience. The counseling department will be hosting three additional college panel events throughout this school year. The next event will be a financial aid information session, held on November 15 in the WBLAHS - South Campus theater. Sunrise Park Middle School students also got an inside-look at college life recently, at a "Gopher Experience" field trip. The students on the trip experienced the University of Minnesota through the lens of Gopher Athletics history. Students toured TCF Bank Stadium, learned about important stories in Gopher history with regards to race and gender issues, spent time with current student athletes and experienced the college campus. This field trip is connected to the school's National History Day participation and partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. History Day is a classroom history project, but it's also a gateway to other adventures, including the Gopher Experience field trip.

Sixteen students from Leipzig, Germany are currently in the midst of a "Bear experience" field trip - visiting White Bear as part of the German-American Partnership Program (GAPP). During their three-week stay, the GAAP students will be soaking in some national and local culture through a variety activities. From field trips, to the classroom, the GAAP students have a packed schedule where they'll be busy exploring our state, community and school district. Recently, the GAPP students toured the White Bear Lake Police Department, Fire Department and City Hall. The tour was given by a WBLAHS graduate and WBL police officer who participated in the GAPP program when he attended WBLAHS. White Bear students are also learning a lot from the German visitors, not only from their one-on-one interactions, but through presentations. The GAPP students prepared a variety of presentations about German culture for our high school, middle school and elementary classrooms. In June, students from White Bear Lake Area High School will visit Germany, and will be hosted by the families whose students have lived for three weeks as part of an American family. 

Safe Routes to School

Nearly 200 Minnesota schools and thousands of students participated in International Walk and Bike to School Day on October 5, including the entire student body at Lakeaires Elementary School. On that morning, all Lakeaires students were dropped off roughly three blocks from their school to be greeted by cheering staff, a police officer and others who were there to make sure students had a fun and safe walk to school. This annual event sponsored by Minnesota Safe Routes to School encourages students and parents to get outside, increase their physical activity, teach pedestrian and bicycle safety, reduce traffic congestion and strengthen connections between families, schools and communities while walking and biking to school. It's an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike-friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Walk to School Day also encourages parents and community members to begin thinking about the walkability and bikeability of their neighborhoods. For more information on this initiative, click here. Oneka Elementary is also doing a similar "drop off and walk" event in the coming days.

62.4-second video updates
Enjoy 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year. Archives are available here.

Activities Updates

The Harvest Bowl football game will take place Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m. against Stillwater. Bring a non-perishable food item (which will be donated to the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf) for free admission.

WBLAS alumnus Jon Anderson and alumna Andrea Peterson will be inducted into the WBLAHS Athletic Hall of Fame on October 14.


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
October 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
October 24 Work-study 5:30 p.m.  District Center
November 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center


For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here

Superintendent's Message

  • Time to Dream

Student News

  • In Photos: Homecoming celebrations!
  • Homecoming wrap-up
  • Once a Bear, always a Bear
  • Safe Routes to School
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • 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

  • Tickets for the WBLAHS Fall Musical, "Mary Poppins," will be available to the public on Oct. 14 here. The show will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 11-12, 17-19 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 12 at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater.
  • The cast and crew of the 2016 WBLAHS Fall Musical "Mary Poppins" invite families to join them for a Practically Perfect morning from 10 a.m. - noon on Saturday, November 5 at the WBLAHS - North Campus cafeteria. Presale tickets will soon be available for $10 per person here or will be for sale for $12 at the door. Keep an eye out for additional information to be coming soon.
  • Annual Transition Fair - The White Bear Lake Area Schools, in conjunction with other districts, will be hosting its annual Transition Fair which will include a variety of resources and information for families, students and staff on numerous topics including: independent living, employment, supported employment, post secondary options, mental health, county services, vocational rehabilitation, social security and more. The event will take place Tuesday, November 1 from 4-7 p.m. in the WBLAHS - South Campus cafeteria.
  • Dyslexia Awareness Month - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently signed a proclamation declaring October as Dyslexia Awareness Month. Click here for resources on how to navigate a school system when a child is struggling with reading or Dyslexia, and here to learn about the warning signs of Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia Awareness event - This first-annual Dyslexia Awareness event is taking place October 16 and is geared toward helping families learn, network and talk about the struggles some readers face and the resources that are available in and out of school. Click here for details.
  • Parent Safety Night - Join the District along with the White Bear Lake Police Department Thursday, Nov. 10 for Parent Safety Night to discuss a variety of topics including; youth drug trends and awareness, internet safety, mental heath support and safe routes to school. The event will begin with a free dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by breakout sessions starting at 6:30 p.m. Click here for further details.
  • Lights Off After School event - Oneka Extended Day will be hosting a family event Tuesday, October 18 to celebrate "Lights On Afterschool." Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. For further event details, see this flyer.
  • Fall Welcome Back Conferences Survey - Elementary families are invited to complete this survey to provide feedback about the Welcome Back Conferences, which took place August 29th and 30th. All elementary families are requested to complete this survey, whether or not they attended Welcome Back Conferences. If you need a paper copy, please contact your child's school office.
  • 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!
  • Child safety tips - In light of the recent happenings and strong focus on child safety, we wanted to highlight a great article posted on the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. Please take some time to read this link to find out ways to "Keep Kids Safe."
  • Testing for lead in water - With testing for lead levels in water being an item in the news these days, we want to let our families know that our schools are tested every 5 years as recommended by the Department of Health. While it does not happen often, whenever a fixture does test high we immediately shut the fixture off and replace it with a lead free fixture. We then have the fixture retested to ensure it's safe before turning the water back on. Specific questions about the water testing process can be sent to Health and Safety Coordinator Dan Roeser.
  • Harvest Bowl - Cheer on the Bears while fundraising for the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf at the upcoming Harvest Bowl football game Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m. against Stillwater! Bring three non-perishable food items to donate and receive free admission! Click here for the event flyer.
  • 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.
  • FREE Community Baby Shower - You and your baby are invited to join other parents of new babies (birth to six months old) for a FREE Community Baby Shower happening Tuesday, October 18 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Normandy Park Education Center. Click here for further details and to RSVP.
  • Get to know NAMI - Hear first-hand how the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affects the lives of children and adults with mental illness and their families at its upcoming event which will be held October 18 at 7 p.m. at District Center. Click here for further event details.
  • Library Open House - The Ramsey County Public Library in White Bear Lake is hosting an exclusive open house for 624 families! The open house will take place Thursday, October 13 from 6-8 p.m. Get ready for games, door prizes, books and more!
  • Attention Volunteers! On Location TV19 is seeking volunteers to help with its mobile productions covering a variety of school programs. Click here for details.
  • The 2016-17 Activities Calendar can now be viewed online! A paper copy was mailed out to District families. Community members who would like a printed copy of the calendar can pick one up at their neighborhood school or District Center. A request can also be made by email to Jody Reber (please include your full name and address in the email so we can mail you a copy).
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Save the Date! The Bear Legacy fundraising event will be held on Friday, October 14 at the North Oaks Country Club. More details to come. Click here for details!
    • 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:

  • Tickets for the WBLAHS Fall Musical, "Mary Poppins," will be available to the public on Oct. 14 here. The show will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 11-12, 17-19 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 12 at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater.
  • Oneka Extended Day will be hosting a family event Tuesday, October 16 to celebrate "Lights On Afterschool." Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. For further details, see the event flyer.
  • Cheer on the WBLAHS varsity football team while fundraising for the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf at the upcoming Harvest Bowl WBLAHS football game Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m. against Stillwater! Bring three non-perishable food items to donate and receive free admission! Click here for the event flyer.
  • 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

  • October Recognitions
    • National Principals Month - October
    • National Custodial Worker Day - October 2
    • Homecoming Week - Oct. 3-8
    • World Teachers Day - October 5
    • National School Lunch Week - Oct. 10-14
    • National Boss's Day - Oct. 17
    • National Safe Schools Week/National School Bus Safety Week - Oct. 17-21

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