September 25, 2016
Strategies for Success
One week before the official opening of school, more than 600 sixth graders walked, biked, or bused to school for a special orientation to their new "big" schools.
All were invited for a morning with eighth graders. You may think,"How cool is that?"
But there is more; the eighth graders were trained as "WEB" (Where Everybody Belongs) leaders. Their job was to welcome, encourage, and support new students, and promise to support the sixth graders during the year.
What did we see and hear that morning? Shy, cautious boys and girls walked quietly through the doors before 9 o'clock. Three hours later, as students poured out of the buildings, we heard laughter, and saw obvious signs of new friendships.
What went on inside the schools? By mid-morning, WEB leaders were meeting in classrooms with small groups of sixth graders.
What did they do? Learned names, talked about feelings, asked questions, found common interests. And played games.
In one intriguing game, eighth grade leaders challenged sixth graders to what looked like a simple, intuitive game. The sixth graders were challenged, engaged, and confident. But they always lost to the eighth graders.
The eighth graders explained, "We won because we knew strategies that you did not." The eighth graders then explained their strategies to choruses of "cool" and "so that's how you did it!"
But now the real lesson. "Can you think of strategies that will help you succeed in middle school?"
After a brief moment of silence, unusual even for 11-year-olds, the sixth graders responded,
"I guess we should be organized."
"We'd better do our homework every day".
Then after another moment of quiet came the wisest lesson of all:
"It's important to be kind to everyone."
Michael Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
In Photos: WE Day Minnesota!
Several of our schools were chosen to take part in this year's WE Day Minnesota, which is part of a national movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world.
Support the Bears
It's no secret our district and White Bear community have a tremendous amount of Bear pride, but this month is when we truly "bleed orange and black" - it's Homecoming! This year's Homecoming Week will take place October 3-8 and the theme is "Wipe Out Woodbury," as our varsity football team will go head-to-head against the Woodbury Royals during the Homecoming football game on Friday, October 7. Before that match-up, there are a number of other happenings during Homecoming Week where you can support the Bears, including the daily "dress up" school days throughout the week, coronation and the annual Homecoming Parade, to name a few. A more detailed schedule of events can be found here. The fun doesn't stop after Friday's game either - gather your family, friends and neighbors for the BearPower Homecoming Celebration 6.24K run/walk Saturday, October 8. The first 500 to register will get one of the new BearPower winter headbands. Click here to learn more!
There are many other opportunities beyond Homecoming where you can support our Bears throughout the school year. For instance, the student-ran coffee shop, Central Beans, is back in business for the the 2016-17 school year. It's a unique shop where Central Middle School students make and deliver coffee orders to staff at both Central and District Center. District staff can go through the Central Beans websiteand click on the coffee order form tab to place an order and a beverage will appear at their door. The orders are personally delivered by Central students between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The coffee shop started back in 2013 when three Central teachers brainstormed how they could develop a student work opportunity on-site. A grant application was then submitted to the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation and its committee graciously accepted this proposal and awarded the school with the Brocious Grant. To get the ball rolling, students were invited to submit a logo design and name for the coffee shop, thus Central Beans was born. Besides the convenience for staff to have a hot cup of Joe brought to their doorstep, Central Beans has continued to be a great opportunity for students to gain "real-world" work experience. A training schedule was developed, which touches on job interviewing skills, the job duties themselves, food safety, social skills, a cost analysis math lesson and equipment care and use. Students have been training for the past five weeks in preparation for Central Bean's to open its doors for the school year and are now ready for business!
Transition Education students will soon be starting a very similar work experience, taking on trash and recycling duties at District Center. The team of 2-3 students plan to come by District Center every weekday between 8-10 a.m. with their job coach. This is one of many opportunities students at the Transition Education Center are given to participate in a work experience within the schools. This work experience is paired with an employment course and is based on their needs and interests. Students start out by training with a job coach and then the support fades as they gain independence and meet their goals.
Opportunities for all ages
The White Bear Lake Area School District offers many opportunities for students of all ages, including the seniors in our community. The White Bear Area Senior Center recently hosted its open house - introducing the community to the Senior Center, its staff and local volunteers, many of whom were there representing programs throughout the community. After a social hour, was the re-dedication of the Senior Center library, now officially known as "Libby's Library." The new name comes from 20-year Senior Center volunteer Libby Tweedale, a remarkable woman who spent years as the head librarian, office assistant and In Stitches leader for the Senior Center. It was an emotional dedication as district staff, the community and Libby's family shared stories of how much she's given to the community through her volunteer work. Senior Center staff then handed the scissors over to Libby to cut the ribbon, unveiling the updated library space for the first time to the public. Also at the open house, was the unveiling of the Tree of Life plaque, which serves to memorialize and honor community members and supporters of the Senior Center. It's proudly displayed in Libby's Library and was designed and created by Don Pakko, who leads Senior Center's woodcarving group.
From our eldest students to our youngest, we often witness the power opportunity. Most recently in two of our special education students in the district's Early Childhood Program, Lydia and Bode. The two have been faced with independent mobility challenges, an obstacle in which students at the University of Delaware were determined to tackle. The college students came up Go Baby Go, a program that modifies PowerWheels cars for young students with special needs to give them independent mobility. Lydia and Bode's families applied online for a grant to receive these custom cars, and now the two have their very own modified PowerWheels with the gas pedal on the steering wheel (on a touch pad) for them to move about. Volunteers from all over took the two students' measurements and needs, then customized the cars to each child. The group of volunteers also adapted the cars to provide seating support and positioning since both students are challenged with independent sitting balance. As you can tell by the photo shared by Lydia's mother, Lydia is loving her new, bright-pink ride!
A university here in Minnesota also created an opportunity for students at Vadnais Heights Elementary recently. Children's author Zetta Elliott visited with Vadnais fourth grade students, discussing the writing of diverse children's books through a program at St. Catherine's University. Arrangements were made through the University for Ms. Elliott to visit the school and share her writing and stories with our students.
62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year.
Homecoming week is taking place October 3-8, with the Homecoming football game happening Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m. against Woodbury. The Harvest Bowl football game will take place Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m. against Stillwater.
The National Scholastic Press Association granted the 2016 Matoskan (WBLAHS yearbook) with a First Class highest honor, earning 425 out of 500 possible points.
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 meeting minutes and agendas can be found here.
|September 26||Work-study||5:30 p.m.||District Center|
|October 10||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
|October 24||Work-study||5:30 p.m.||District Center|
For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here
- Strategies for Success
- In Photos: WE Day Minnesota!
- Support the Bears
- Opportunities for all ages
- 62.4-second video updates
- Activities updates
School Board News
- School Board Meetings
- General Information
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.
- 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!
- Indigenous Peoples' Day - The district is recognizing October 10 as Indigenous Peoples' Day (also known as Native American Day). It's a day celebrated throughout the United States to promote Native American culture and to commemorate the history of Native Americans and their contributions to our community!
- 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.
- Join the Parent Advisory Council for Special Education! The district is looking for parents who would like to participate on the PAC! The group meets three times during the 2016-17 school year, with the first meeting taking place Tuesday, October 4 from 6:30-8 p.m. For additional meeting information and more on the PAC, click here!
- 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.
- Food Care Program - Willow Lane Elementary is now participating in the Food Care Program where children under the age of 18 can eat a free meal after school. The meals will be available at no separate charge to all enrolled children from 3:45-4:15 p.m. on school days. The goal of the program is to increase the opportunity for children to eat a variety of nutritious foods.
- 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.
- 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 BearPower Homecoming Celebration 6.24K walk/run is right around the corner! Join family, friends and the community Saturday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. to show off your Bear pride! Click here for further event details.
- 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.
Support WBLAS Students.
- Winter Wear Clothing Drive - Be a great Bear and drop off your winter wear during Homecoming Week (October 3-7) in downtown White Bear Lake! Click here for details.
- 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
- Matoska International will be hosting its fall event MatoskaFest Saturday, October 1 from 11- 2 p.m. There will be a 3K Color Run and a variety of fun fall activities!
- The district is recognizing October 10 as Indigenous Peoples' Day (also known as Native American Day). It's a day celebrated throughout the United States to promote Native American culture and to commemorate the history of Native Americans and their contributions to our community!
- 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.
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.