January 28, 2018
- A Note from the Superintendent: Superintendent's Thoughts on a Snow Day
- In photos: Tamarack Nature Center Cookout
- Reaching for the stars
- Serving up skills
- Bundling up
- They've got the beat
- The Week in 62.4 Seconds
- Activities updates
School Board News
- School Board Meetings
- General Information
- Awards and Honors
A Note from the Superintendent
Superintendent's Thoughts on a Snow Day
With Monday's unpredictably predictable forecast and a snow day on the books, my superintendency is starting to feel "real" rather than "new" at this point.
Some of you reached out with questions about Monday's decision to remain in session through the school day, so it may be a question more of you pondered as well. I invite you to read below for a glimpse at what goes into what can seem like a simple decision.
Student safety is always our top concern, and the decision to remain open Monday was made with student safety at the forefront. Based on the information provided by the National Weather Service on Sunday night and Monday morning, it was reasonable for us to plan to remain open the full day. When the storm shifted to the north, it was too late to execute an early release and ensure all of our families would be able to arrange for the unexpected childcare need that would have caused.
The very idea of "student safety" is a complicated issue with many interwoven factors, including questions of: can our municipalities ensure roads are passable; will children be dismissed to an empty house if school is unexpectedly cancelled; will students who rely on school lunch have food at home; will all of our families, especially those who speak languages other than English, receive and be able to understand the ramifications of school closing/dismissal messages? While many of our families do not need to think in terms of these questions, it is a very true reality that some do - and it is the district's role to make the best decision for all of our students. The decision to close schools is not one that is made lightly.
Please know that any parents who are more comfortable with their students being home during inclement weather are certainly able to keep their children home or pick their children up early from school. The District supports those decisions that are made for the safety and health of students. There are no negative consequences, and our schools work with families to assure that work is made up when an absence is safety-related.
I hope you will accept my appreciation for the respectful way district students, families and staff members handled Mother Nature's snow-filled reminder of the season.
In photos: Tamarack Nature Center Cookout
The Tamarack Nature Center Cookout was also featured in this week's White Bear Press (page 17). See the issue here.
Reaching for the stars
The daytime felt like a starry night at Otter Lake Elementary. Students recently had an opportunity to enjoy the Star Lab where they could learn about constellations and the solar system. Before the Star Lab, students were able to learn about the phases of the moon, which helps them better understand the planet that they live in. In the Star Lab, they were able to hold Styrofoam spheres on sticks to simulate what the moon is doing and what it looks like during different phases of traveling around the Earth. The experience was recently captured in the January 19 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. The Star Lab is a beneficial way to spark students' imaginations and broaden their perspectives about their surroundings. While elementary students spent time gazing at stars, middle school students embraced the opportunity to express their heritage.
Middle school students at Sunrise Park Middle School are continuing to put hard work into Community Service Projects. At Sunrise Park Middle School, one student established a Cultural Awareness Day where the student body was encouraged to wear clothes and hair styles of their heritage. Other students at Sunrise worked with the White Bear Lake Area High School Basketball program to arrange for a food drive to take place in conjunction with the varsity boys' basketball game vs. Mounds View that will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30. Attendees who bring three food shelf items to donate at the door will receive free entry into the game. See a flyer for the event here.
Serving up skills
Students at Transition Education Center don't even have to leave the building to experience different cultures from around the world. The class Bon Appétit provides students with the opportunity to learn about different countries' culture, landmarks, language, and cuisines. They have studied countries all year-long such as Italy, Germany, France, India, Greece, Thailand and are currently learning more about China. They have been focusing on China by preparing a variety of tasty recipes. Recently, they made Asian lettuce wraps. During the process they cut onions, prepared the lettuce, and cooked the meat to contribute to the tasty meal. The experience was recently captured in the January 19 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Bon Appétit allows students to enhance their cooking skills while simultaneously expanding their global awareness.
Area Learning Center students displayed the skill of perseverance this week, as staff, families and students celebrated the hard work and accomplishment of mid-year graduates at Thursday's commencement ceremony. Along with their diploma, each graduate was served a handshake and kind words from their advisors. The ceremony was recently highlighted in video here. Congratulations to our newest graduates, and Go Bears!
The district's Student Support Services Department is hosting a series of monthly presentations to help staff and community members learn skills focused on mental well-being. The first session, a screening of "Children's Mental Health: The Whole Story," will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31 at WBLAHS - North Campus. The monthly presentations will focus on topics such as depression and anxiety, brain responses and student supports, and transgender youth and gender diversity in schools. Find additional information here.
A preschool class at Tamarack Nature Center spent many weeks discussing and experiencing what animals and humans need to do to adapt to the colder temperatures. Students looked for signs of animals out on their adventures to see which ones adapt, migrate or hibernate and spend a lot of time imagining animals staying warm in their dens since they can't put on the extra layers of clothing. Students also gathered sticks they embraced an adventure of building a fire to see and experience another way one can adapt in these colder temperatures. Students also gathered branches on their adventure to bring back to the indoor classroom to saw into smaller pieces for their toasty fire that was highlighted in the White Bear Press here (page 17).
Early childhood students weren't the only ones bundling up to embrace the winter weather while having fun. Tamarack also provided lessons to students at Vadnais Heights Elementary, who learned about predators and prey, looked for evidence of animals in the Bears Back Yard, and learned how animals adapt to survive in their environments. Throughout the district, elementary students climbed snow piles, slid down snow-filled slides, and played impromptu games during Wednesday's snowy outdoor recess. See footage of Birch Lake Elementary students enjoying winter in Friday's issue of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video.
They've got the beat
The White Bear Lake Area High School Cheerleading team kept the rhythm at a Send-Off Performance on Thursday, as the team did one the last celebratory run-through of their routine for friends and family before heading to Dallas to represent the district at Nationals this weekend. The team is a regular at the nationwide competition. Back in Minnesota, Willow Lane Elementary students enjoyed the music and the company on Friday night when they were joined by members of the MN Rollergirls team at their PTO rollerskating night at Saints North. Students enjoyed open skate, games, and fun photo opps with their guests.
One classroom has been the opposite of quiet, as students prepare for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Students in the drumline have been hard at work preparing for their performances during Super Bowl Live, which is a 10-day concert series on Nicollet Mall. They are perfecting their performances by focusing on their presentation and striking the right rhythm, down to the very last beat. The rehearsal experience was recently captured here. They played in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, Jan. 26 and will be back there again on Saturday, Feb. 3. The exciting opportunity was recently featured in a White Bear Press article. In other football news, students at Lakeaires Elementary recently had fun celebrated the Vikings' hard work with an all-school Skol chant that can be seen here! Lakeaires joined schools across the district and the state in showcasing Purple Pride.
The Week in 62.4 Seconds
Enjoy The Week in 62.4 Seconds videos highlighting weekly district activities throughout the school year.
WBLAHS - South Campus hockey players Sydney Shearen and Ashley Healy surpassed the 100 point mark this year. Only five players in history have accomplished this feat prior to Ashley and Sydney.
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 Meetings
School Board meeting agendas, packets, minutes highlights and videos/audio files can be found here.
|January 29||Special*||5:30 p.m.||District Center|
|February 12||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
|February 26||Work-Study||5:30 p.m.||District Center|
|March 5||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
* The items that were on the agenda for the January 22, 2018 Work-Study meeting, which was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, will be addressed at the Special Board meeting that will take place at 5:30 p.m. on January 29, 2018 at the District Center Community Room 112.
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.
- Digital Backpack information is emailed to parents every other Thursday and available here.
- The Senior Program has two guides available for seniors. Read the White Bear Area Guide to Senior Housing and the White Bear Area Guide to Senior Transportation.
- The latest edition of the Senior Voice is available online.
- Monthly Mental Well-Being Series - District staff and families are invited to attend monthly presentations focused on mental well-being. The first session in the monthly series will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at WBLAHS - North Campus. See the flyer with complete series dates here.
- A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota - Community members are invited to read "A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota" and then listen, discuss and learn from others in community conversations. Learn more.
- 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.
- Native Times - Enjoy the most recent issue of Natives Times Newsletter, sent to district Native American families, here.
- Fraud and Scam Prevention presentation - The White Bear Lake Area School District and the White Bear Lake Police Department have partnered to offer a fraud and scam prevention informational session to community members from 10-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 26 at the White Bear Lake Area Senior Center. See the flyer here.
- 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.
- Creating Dementia Friendly Communities - CLASS is bringing together members from all parts of our community to understand how well we are serving people with dementia and their family and friend caregivers and to explore how the community can act together to become dementia-friendly. View a flyer and invitation for dates, times and locations. Please join us for a meeting to share your ideas and knowledge on how we can create a supportive environment for people living with dementia.
- Fraud and Scam Prevention Presentation - The White Bear Lake Area School District and the White Bear Lake Police Department have partnered to offer a fraud and scam prevention informational session to community members from 10-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 26 at the White Bear Lake Area Senior Center. See the flyer here.
- 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.
- White Bear Center for the Arts provides programming to all members of the community to educate new and established artists, cultivate the understanding of art and its many forms and celebrate the joys of art. For more information on this community partner visit their website.
- Fun and Free Family Events - Community members are invited to enjoy the exhibition "Start the Songs, Tell the Tales" through Feb. 16. Learn more.
- 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.
Support WBLAS Students:
- Free admission to Jan. 30 game - Attendees at the Jan. 30 Varsity Boys' Basketball game may bring three food shelf items and be admitted into the game for free. The initiative is one launched by Sunrise Park Middle School students. See additional information here.
- History Day Showcases - The History Day Showcase at Central Middle School will take place as an open house from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 8. Sunrise Park Middle School's History Showcase Night will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1.
- 39th Annual Night Club - Community members are invited to the 39th Annual Night Club event that will take place in the cafeteria at WBLAHS - South Campus on Saturday, Feb. 17. Learn more and purchase tickets online!
- Spring Theatre Productions - See a variety of springtime theatre productions to be performed by district students here.
- Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! See additional information here, and find the online application page here.
Awards and Honors
- Sunrise Park Middle School teacher Lindsay Lamwers is one of six people scheduled to be recognized by Northeast Youth and Family Services at their Service to Youth Awards event on Feb. 8.
- February Recognitions:
- February - Black History Month
- February 5-9 - National School Counseling Week
- February 17 - National PTA Founders' Day
- February 19-23 - Minnesota School Board Recognition Week