December 31, 2017

Student News

  • In photos: Giving blankets a new home
  • Invaluable lessons
  • Busy Bears
  • Exploring interests
  • District-wide opportunities
  • The Week in 62.4 Seconds
  • Activities updates


School Board News

  • School Board Meetings


District News

  • General Information
  • Awards and Honors


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In photos: Giving blankets a new home

Student News

Invaluable lessons

Hut, hut, hike! Fifth grade students at Lincoln Elementary took a trip to the Vikings training facility to learn about force and motion. The experience was recently captured in the December 15 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Students were able to ask questions to Kevin McDermott, who is a long snapper for the Minnesota Vikings. They were curious about Kevin's diet and experiences on the field with other players. After talking with Kevin, they were able to watch science experiments involving a balloon and dry ice. While they learned from their seats, they were later able to run onto the field and learn first-hand what force is by pushing weights on mats across the green ground with their classmates. The trip wrapped up with everyone getting to tour the locker room. Students and chaperones spotted out and took pictures in front of their favorite players' lockers.

Pictures were taken of the hard floor looking quiet comfy at Oneka Elementary, as students had blankets covering the ground while they tied 86 of them together to donate to the Yellow Ribbon Network. The Yellow Ribbon Network is a centralized file management system that has information regarding the eligibility of military and veteran families seeking assistance. This network helps individuals give back to service heroes by collaborating with non-profits to ensure families are getting their needs met. This service project allowed volunteers and students to spend time working together while contributing to a great cause. Students even presented their blankets to showcase their hard work at a Hugo City Council meeting. Students at Oneka Elementary were not the only ones busy crafting blankets. Volunteers and students at Lincoln Elementary were hard at work as they tied together 50 blankets and made crafty decoration candy canes for their winter Hug-A-Heart event. The blankets were given to a program called Infant Layettes, which distributes them to places such as Solid Ground and Caring and Sharing Hands. 

High school students at WBLAHS - South Campus were also busy giving back, as they wrapped and packaged donations that were given to Casa de Esperanza, which is an organization meaning "house of hope." The experience was recently captured in the December 15 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Casa de Esperanza is a shelter for Latino women and their families. Organizations and volunteers collaborate to provide gifts to Casa de Esperanza, serving those who are less fortunate and experiencing challenging times. Every year, the Spanish department leads the charge and gets others involved in raising money, buying presents, wrapping them and delivering them to families in need. Latino families submit a wish list and participants at WBLAHS - South Campus can adopt the family to try to give them what they are looking for. This has been a tradition at the school since 1995 and was started by Marcia Wellstone Markuson, a Spanish teacher. 

Busy Bears

Sunrise Park Middle School students and staff members were busy with fun activities and opportunities before enjoying their Winter Break. Fifty-five ​eighth grade Earth Science students had an opportunity to explore some of Minnesota's Earth Science first-hand when they took a field trip to Minnesota's Iron Range. Students started by learning all about Minnesota's geology at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. They then observed several open pit mines as they traveled to the Soudan Underground Mine. At the Soudan Underground Mine, they experienced the life of the miner, traveling by cage 1/2 mile underground and riding the rails 3/4 mile to the last and deepest area that was mined. Also, at Sunrise Park Middle School, students celebrated International Food Day by exercising their cooking skills and preparing delicious food.

While students were having fun with cooking, other students in Sunrise Park Middle School's FACS classes enjoyed decorating gingerbread houses. The Life Skills/Community-based Instruction class also decorated graham cracker houses that they built. Eighth grade students at Central Middle School baked gingerbread cookies and personalized them with various sprinkles and frosting. The experience was recently captured in the December 21 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. The staff judged their final products. Sixth grade students at Central Middle School also had labs where they prepared a variety of foods. Great memories were brewing, as aspiring Central Middle School students/baristas, who are a part of the Central Beans crew, learned how to make coffee thanks to a partnership with the VHEDC and Starbucks in Vadnais Heights. This experience was also captured in the December 21 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video

Sixth grade students at Sunrise Park Middle School were able to conduct a fun experiment about static electricity. While science was underway, eighth grade students in Paul Meuwissen's Robotics class manufactured simple gear mechanisms and looked at relationships in physics. In other fun news, Phil Sundblad currently has the new CNC router up and running, which he received through a STEM grant. This CNC router is a computer-controlled machine that cuts various materials. With all of the activities and unique experiences students were enjoying, choral harmonies could also be heard throughout Sunrise Park Middle School, as choir students prepared for their successful performances at WBLAHS - South Campus. High school students were also staying busy with a variety of performance opportunities before Winter Break. With the hustle and bustle around Sunrise Park Middle School, students practiced relaxation in Yoga Calm. The experience was recently captured in the December 15 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video

Exploring interests

South Campus students in Kelly Knutson's Career Investigations and Marketing classes recently visited Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis. The event was part of a mentorship program sponsored by BestPrep of Minnesota. At the event, students met their mentors, had lunch with them and took a tour of the Thrivent Financial facility. Over the past seven weeks, students in Knutson's classes communicated via email with mentors at Thrivent Financial. Each email had a different topic related to class concepts and mentors replied with personal stories and advice. Knutson explained, "The mentorship was a great extension of each class, but more importantly, it gave students the opportunity to learn from business professionals. Also, it showed students the importance in giving back and hopefully they will pay it forward during their careers."

Students have another opportunity to interact with industry experts at the 2018 Lunch and Learn series that will take place in January for ninth and tenth graders. This is an opportunity for students who are interested in Manufacturing, Construction, Healthcare or Information Technology Career Pathways to meet with like-minded peers, as well as industry professionals to learn more about a specific career field. This would give students not only the opportunity to network with those in the field, but also explore their areas of interest further. Learn moreabout the Lunch and Learn series. Six students from the White Bear Lake Information Technology Career Pathway recently focused on their areas of interest when they participated in the Microsoft Event for young women interested in pursuing a career in Information Technology. The SPARCS (Sustaining Passion, Ambition and Resolve for Career Success) Event was hosted by the MN State - IT Center of Excellence. Students were offered the opportunity to participate in IT skill building, fun activities with other peers with tech interests and engage with professionals in IT. The event was a great way for the students to network and experience a variety of hands-on activities involving data analysis, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing software related to modern business. 

District-wide opportunities

Students at Oneka Elementary were collecting items to fill boxes for children, who are less fortunate, to give them a "birthday party" in a box. Each box contained items to give a child a birthday party, including cake mix, frosting, gifts, cards, wrapping paper, etc. Second grade families donated all of the items and the students decorated and filled the boxes before Winter Break. The boxes were donated to The Closet. While students exercised their decorating skills at Oneka Elementary, third grade students at Vadnais Heights Elementary perfected their poem writing abilities. Students were able to recite and share poems they wrote with families and friends. The experience was captured in the December 21 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Throughout the month of January, White Bear Lake Area Schools will be hosting a variety of informational events and open houses to help you learn more about our district and register for the 2017-18 school year. Find a complete listing of activities. View a video that covers what White Bear Lake Area Schools offers as choices in the K-5 programs.

High school students have the choice to participate in Math Mondays at WBLAHS - North Campus. Students can enhance their math skills during Math Mondays. The opportunity was recently captured in the December 21 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Math Mondays started after the second quarter. There are roughly five to six math teachers in the Media Center helping students from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. each Monday. Math Mondays are for all students at WBLAHS - North Campus. They can come up and get help with math, receive test help, make up tests, do test corrections and take advantage of homework help. They work with their peers and teachers encourage students to work together collaboratively with people from their class, as well as other classes. 

On the topic of working together, district-wide Cultural Liaison with the Latino Community Briana Santoscoy, in collaboration with Birch Lake Elementary staff members and families, and also with Community Services and Recreation, hosted the first Latino Family Convivio (get-together) at Birch Lake Elementary. Families and staff shared food, learned a lot about ways parents and families can be involved at Birch Lake Elementary, and heard informative presentations about upcoming classes and new opportunities offered through Community Services and Recreation. Families got to know each other as kids played with their friends from school, and attendees finished the night with games and a piñata! Students at Transition Education Center also recently enjoyed a school experience, as they took a trip and explored the Minnesota State Capitol building. This was a learning experience for the Exploring Social Studies course. 

The Week in 62.4 Seconds

Enjoy The Week in 62.4 Seconds videos highlighting weekly district activities throughout the school year.



Activities Updates

The White Bear Lake Area High School Theatre program recently heard word that they received group and individual accolades, including Outstanding Overall Performance, from the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight program for their production of "Footloose - The Musical." The students will perform on the Hennepin Theatre Trust State Theatre stage in June for the Spotlight Showcase. Jan. 13 is White Bear Lake Girls Hockey Day. All White Bear Lake girls hockey teams will play back-to-back and end with the high school Junior Varsity & Varsity games. The games start at 11 a.m. at the Vadnais Sports Center.

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

Date Type Time Location
January 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 
January 22 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
February 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 

For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here.

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.

Parent Notices

  • WBLTA Teacher of the Year Nomination Form - Please consider nominating an educator who will represent all of the dedicated teachers throughout White Bear Lake Area Schools and compete in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. You may use this form to nominate a teacher. Nominations are due by 4 p.m. on January 8, 2018.
  • Welcome to White Bear - Opportunities to hear about the district's offerings, from early childhood to high school, are available in the month of January. Find a complete listing of 2018 registration events here.
  • Family-to-Family - On Wednesdays, starting on February 7, 2018, community members are invited to attend Family-to-family from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus, which is a free 12-week class for family members and friends of individuals with a serious mental illness taught by trained family members. Learn more
  • 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.
  • Stay connected! - 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!

Senior Program Updates:

The White Bear Area Senior Center is a program of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation Department.

  • 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.
  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! See additional information here, and find the online application page here.

Partnership Updates:

  • 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
    • BearPower Open Gym - Come check out featured friends at Open Gym. Learn more.
  • 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.
    • Be Someone's Angel this Holiday - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation launched a campaign to fill the shelves at their 'Closet' to help keep children warm this winter. Drop off new winter wear at White Bear Lake City Hall, Vadnais Heights Elementary or Oneka Elementary through Jan. 1. Items of greatest need are sizes 5-18 of the following: coats, boots, socks, girls' leggings, boys' cuffed jogger sweatpants/khakis, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts or make a tax-deductible donation to WBLAEF's Holiday Angel Program online on WBLAEF's website and they'll purchase needed items. All funds raised support families in need in White Bear Lake Area Schools. Learn more about donating to the Angel Fund and see a flyer

Support WBLAS Students:

  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! See additional information here, and find the online application page here.
  • Bundle Up Bears - Families and community members are invited to the free Bundle Up Bears event on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy music, hay rides, ice skating and food options. Register today

Awards and Honors

  • Congratulations to Kristine Abrahamson from Otter Lake Elementary, who was nominated by Lee McGrath, and Huy Nguyen from Sunrise Park Middle School, who was nominated by Steve Asper, for receiving recognition and $100 for their classrooms for their hard work as part of the WBLAEF's Staff Appeal Excellent Educator program. Read the full list of Excellent Educators that were nominated during the 2017 Staff Appeal!
  • Congratulations to the educators who have achieved Google Certification in the past couple of months:
    • Allison Theissen - Birch Lake Elementary
    • Mandira Randall - Central/Sunrise Park Middle Schools
    • Ben Craig - ALC
    • Mathew Stephens - WBLAHS - North Campus
    • Megan Rengo - WBLAHS - North Campus
    • Jennifer Schweizer - Sunrise Park Middle School
    • Carla Triggs - Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International
    • Christine Moren - Oneka Elementary
    • Jane Jahnke - Oneka Elementary
    • Carrie Carlson - Otter Lake Elementary
    • Megan Hibbard - Otter Lake Elementary
    • Jenna Marty - Hugo Elementary
    • Abby Tuckner - Hugo Elementary
    • Kate Jensen - Vadnais Heights Elementary
    • Barb Bliss - Vadnais Heights Elementary
    • Shannon Nicholas - Lincoln Elementary
    • Greg Hjelm - Lincoln Elementary
    • Jennifer Storhaug - Birch Lake Elementary
    • Abby Kath - Lincoln Elementary
    • Beth Clymer - Lakeaires Elementary
  • Congratulations to four new National Board Certified Teachers: 
    • Rita Leonard, WBLAHS - South Campus 
    • Keith Steadland, WBLAHS - North Campus 
    • Deb Thibault, Oneka Elementary
    • Stephen Bates, Hugo Elementary
  • January Recognitions: 
    • January - Welcome to White Bear Month
    • January 22-26 - Paraprofessional Recognition Week 

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