June 17, 2018

Student News

  • In photos: 
  • 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: Congratulations 2018 graduates!

Find additional photos of the graduation ceremonies here:
Transition Education Center Graduation
Area Learning Center Graduation
White Bear Lake Area High School Graduation

Student News

Go graduates and go Bears

It was a bittersweet and exciting time for graduates throughout the district, as they celebrated their accomplishments at graduation ceremonies, cherished memories and envisioned the next steps of their lives. Students in the Bear FUNdamentals program had fun celebrating their graduation from the year-before-kindergarten full-day program. The exciting celebrations continued, as fifth grade students also enjoyed a rewarding time together. At the fifth grade graduation ceremonies throughout the district, graduates were honored for their hard work. It was also a time for families and staff members to wish students well as they enter the next steps of their educational journey, middle school. Some students were even able to enjoy time signing classmates' yearbooks after the ceremony.

Graduates lined the stage and grabbed their diplomas at the Transition Education Center Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony was focused on the theme of the movie "The Greatest Showman," which encourages everyone to dream big and chase their goals. Director of Student Support Services Kathleen Daniels is soon retiring and was a speaker at the event and encouraged the 20 graduates, as they enter the next chapters of their lives. This year's student graduation speaker was Emily Eide who spoke in a video about fun memories from Transition Education Center and their dreams for the future, with one being wanting to travel to Hawaii. Emily's graduation speech can be seen in this video. After the ceremony, graduates were able to take pictures together with their family members and loved ones to forever cherish the moment!

Area Learning Center graduates waited outside of the WBLAHS - South Campus auditorium, as their family members filled the room, awaiting for their students to walk onto the stage. Student speakers Mercedes Haglund and Tyler Salisbury spoke about their academic journeys and thanked others for contributing to their educational careers. Graduates were acknowledged for for receiving special recognitions such as MAAP Stars Participants, STRIVE Scholarship Recipients, Students of Excellence and Early Middle College Participants. Sydney Sather was recognized for being an Academic Achiever and the Lion's Club Scholarship Recipient. Each advisor called up graduates and shared stories about their positive characteristics and memories that each individual made during their time at the Area Learning Center. Congratulations to all 58 of the graduates from the Area Learning Center!

This year, the White Bear community celebrated 524 White Bear Lake Area High School graduates. The graduates had an opportunity to visit their former elementary schools for the Senior Walk, where they received high fives from current students and connected with their past teachers. Gowns were zipped, tassels were secured and hats were perfectly placed, as White Bear Lake Area High School graduates eagerly stood in line outside of Aldrich Arena, ready to grab their diplomas. Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak congratulated the graduates and talked about the district's exciting future with the Strategic Planning process. Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak also wrote more about the Strategic Plan in this Town Life Magazine article. At the ceremony, this year's student speakers were Leah Gebeke, Ryan Hall-Hunt and Yajaira Lansiquot. Each year, there are Bear Awards given to students who are selected by the White Bear Faculty and Administration. The 2018 Bear Award recipients were Connor Barton for academic achievement, Kaylie Rusler for leadership and Sydney Peterson for community service! Hear from the newest group of White Bear Nation Alumni exactly what being a White Bear grad means to them in this video. View this video to watch the entire White Bear Lake Area High School Graduation Ceremony. Also, check out the June 8 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video for more graduation ceremony coverage. Congratulations to all of the 2018 graduates throughout the district who finished one chapter of their lives, and are looking forward to their next journeys!

Pawsing for fun

Matoska International students recently had fun with furry friends, as they worked with four therapy dogs and their owners on a weekly basis. Every child received 15 minutes of independent reading time with the dogs each week. Both students and volunteers, Joan Phalen with their golden retriever, Cooper, and Laura Fruci, with their dog, Gioia, benefited greatly from the experience. The volunteers even donated Magic Tree House books about rescue dogs to each member of Erin Maas's class. Students were even writing their own book series with the therapy dogs as the main characters. In other fun animal news, other students were able to enjoy a fishing experience together before the end of the school year! Teacher Craig Nasvik took them out on a boat where one student even caught a Northern pike! 

Lakeaires Elementary students experienced a rewarding opportunity, where they celebrated all of their hard work. Step Up Reward Day has been a Lakeaires Elementary Student Leadership tradition for more than 10 years. This event focuses on celebrating above the line behavior as the school year comes to a close. This year, it was a collaborative effort between student leadership's Step Up Reward Day and Physical Education Teacher Nancy Krocak's Field Day Frenzy. The two days of fun-filled activities were combined for this year's Step Up Field Day. Students had a multitude of outside activities to choose from such as kickball, Jumbo Jenga and Ladder Golf. The day ended with several games of all school BINGO for prizes. The fun outside continued, as other students in the Bears Track Camp enjoyed running around the track, exploring the hurdles and learning more about jumping during their first full week of summer.

Soccer & surprises

Otter Lake Elementary students had fun being active and reading, all at the same time. Students were able to participate in a book walk where they read the story "Scoot" together along the Otter Trail. The book walk wasn't the only opportunity students had to get active at the school. Tony Sanneh, former professional soccer player, surprised fifth grade student Rayme Nyembwe and their fifth grade classmates by putting on a soccer clinic! Earlier this year, Rayme testified before the Minnesota Senate, serving as an advocate for water conservation. Sanneh is the President and CEO of the Sanneh Foundation, and wanted to recognize Rayme for all their hard work while also teaching other fifth graders soccer skills. The Sanneh Foundation is focused on providing positive environments for youth to flourish as productive adults. While visiting the school, Sanneh presented fifth grade student Rayme and their family an award! At the end of the clinic, Sanneh gave soccer balls to the students, which concluded an exciting experience.

From one exciting moment to the next, Matoska International has been making leaps and bounds in water conservation initiatives! The school received the first metro SWCD Campus Groundwater Conservation assessment, with the help of students and staff members. After the findings were presented early this spring, the school made 16 inexpensive water-saving improvements within a week, which has started to save 664,797 gallons of groundwater (during the water fixtures' lifespans that were used to cut down on unnecessary water usage) and $3,109 for the district! Students and staff will continue focusing on making water-saving improvements to conserve the natural resource, benefiting the environment. While Matoska International staff members and students focused on water-saving improvements, other students in the district took science to a whole new level, as they launched a bear into space before the end of the school year. This was an opportunity for students to learn more about high altitude ballooning and the logistics behind sending any object high into the sky! The bear was presented to Transition Education Center staff members to thank them for their contributions to the district and dedication to helping students achieve excellence. Speaking of excellence, Lincoln Elementary's "Hug-A-Heart" volunteer initiative was recently represented in the White Bear Lake Magazine.

Unforgettable opportunities

Attendees at the Manitou Days Parade saw a parade float of district students who won the Manitou Days Writing Contest! The White Bear Lake Area Schools Manitou Days Writing Contest winners were Emma Bjornson, Isabella Femrite, Colin Greene, Vanessa Johnson, Jemal Jumayeva, Alexa Moser and Maisie Whitby. Lakeaires Elementary fifth grade students Kylie Schachtner and Jamie Herring both earned runner-up awards for the Manitou Days Button Contest! This summer, there will continue to be more exciting opportunities for students. There will be more than 100 White Bear Lake Area Schools students participating in paid experiential learning opportunities, internships, or summer camps related to Career Pathways. Read this press release for more details. In other fun summer news, district representatives recently enjoyed the first evening of Marketfest in Downtown White Bear Lake. Visit the district's booth on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. until the end of July to meet staff members, receive a Bear Paw decal, fun pencil and other district resources.

It was an unforgettable experience for Sunrise Park Middle School student Kajsa Hellmark who witnessed their History Day project come to life! Kajsa was able to meet Mary Beth Tinker, who was involved in the United States Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines, which Kajsa studied for their History Day project. The Tinker v. Des Moines case involved students who wanted to wear black armbands in opposition to the Vietnam War. They were told that they would be suspended for wearing the armbands and they wore them anyways. When the students were suspended, the families embarked on a court battle where the case was taken to the United States Supreme Court. The students won the case because it was agreed students' free rights should be protected when at school. Tinker and Kajsa met at the University of Maryland, as students were attending the 2018 National History Day Contest in Maryland! Congratulations to Kajsa for receiving third place at the 2018 National History Day Contest, which is Sunrise Park Middle School's second year in a row having a student earn third place. It was also an exciting time as Tricia Dennis embraced a performance on Fannie Lou Hamer, where Tricia soaked in the History Day moment.

Creative moments

It was a rewarding time for Sunrise Park Middle School eighth grade student Sara Williams who raised money to support the special education program at Otter Lake Elementary. Sara recently presented Otter Lake Elementary Principal Cynthia Mueller and Special Education Teacher Theresa Stender with a check. Sunrise Park Middle School Principal Christina Pierre and Associate Principal Matt Menier were also at the presentation with Sara's family to celebrate the accomplishment and thank Sara for their dedication. Community members also showed their commitment to creative opportunities. Participants enjoyed free Rattle Making Classes offered to those interested, which were taught by Wayne Manthey. While some community members made rattles, others are participating in free Ribbon Skirt Making Classes. The Native American ribbon skirts are regalia items that are worn by Native American people of many tribes and traditions. It takes all three of the classes to complete a ribbon skirt. Community members also recently enjoyed the Seven Generations Teachings where participants could learn from James Vukelich, who works as an Indigenous language specialist, and has spent year working to record and preserve the Ojibwe language. This was an opportunity to learn more about the basic teachings of philosophy and way of life with the Ojibwe language, which the concept is also known as "The Seven Generations." Learn more about other upcoming opportunities in the June edition of the Native Times Newsletter

The creativity continued, as White Bear students who are in the Summer Academy had a chance to visit the White Bear Center for the Arts and explore their talents. The Summer Academy is an educational experience that inspires and challenges students for three weeks in the summer. They were able to pick a picture and then create their very own artwork by establishing characters and turning a story they came up with into a visual scene. They also learned about the concepts of overlapping, scale and placement. While some students learned more about art, others performed on the Hennepin Theatre Trust State Theatre stage. Students shined, as they showcased a medley of their songs from "Footloose," which they performed last fall. The fun was captured in this video. Congratulations to Sisloob Lo who performed and competed for the 2017-18 Spotlight Education Triple Threat Award. 


The Week in 62.4 Seconds

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



Activities Updates

Erika Townley earned two silvers in hurdles at the 2018 MSHSL State Track Meet, which was highlighted in this White Bear Press article. Ben Vanderbosch ran in the 1600 and got on the podium while hurdler Conor McManamon also saw success as Conor reached the finals in both hurdle races. The boys relay team broke the former team state record, which was featured in this White Bear Press article

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 Recognitions
Before the June 11 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized students and staff involved with the following:

  • MathWorks Mega Math Challenge
  • Girls' Golf 
  • Boys' Golf (not pictured)
  • Trap and Skeet Shooting
  • Girls' Track 
  • Boys' Track 
  • Archery

School Board Meetings
School Board meeting agendas, packets, minutes highlights and videos/audio files can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
July 16 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
July 16 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 
August 13 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

  • Meal refunds - If your child is graduating or moving out of the District, please click here to complete the Request for Refund form. If you would like money transferred to a sibling, please indicate so on the form. If the remaining balance is less than $5.00 please call 651-407-7523. Paper copies of the form may also be found in your child's school office or kitchen. For more information on the Nutrition Services Angel Fund, please click here. Click here to access meal charge procedures.
  • Support resources - We are very fortunate to have our student services team (counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, chemical health) available during the school year to support our students' mental health and well-being. The staff will be heading out for the summer, but wanted to make sure you had resources available to you if your family has a need for support. As always, if there is an emergency situation always call 911. If it is not an emergency, but you would like to talk with a licensed mental health professional, you can call the county crisis teams. They are staffed 24/7. A licensed mental health professional can talk with you by phone and/or meet in your home, assess the situation and give guidance on steps that can be taken to stabilize the situation.
    • County Crisis Numbers
      • Ramsey County Crisis: 651-774-7000
      • Anoka County Crisis: 763-755-3801
      • Washington County Crisis: 651-777-5222
      • Crisis Text Line (TXT4Life): Text MN to 741741
  • Free Summer Meals - There are free summer meals available throughout the community for kids and teens who are 18 years old and younger. Learn more here. Also, learn more information about finding free summer feeding sites throughout the state on Summer Eats Minnesota's website.
  • 2018 Encuesta Fin del Año para las Familias Latinas de White Bear Lake - Mientras llegamos al fin de este año escolar, estoy colaborando con el Departamento de Comunicaciones del Distrito Escolar de White Bear Lake para solicitar información que ayudará al distrito a servir a nuestras familias Latinas en la mejor manera. Favor de tomar cinco minutos para completar esta encuesta anónima. Utilizaremos la información que comparten para planificar la manera en que comunicaremos con nuestras familias Latinas durante el próximo año escolar 2018-2019. Encuentra la Encuesta Aquí. Mil gracias por su ayuda y su tiempo. Briana Santoscoy - Enlace Cultural para el Distrito Escolar de WBL y la Comunidad Latina.
  • Native Times - Enjoy the most recent issue of the Natives Times Newsletter, sent to district Native American families, here.
  • English as a Second Language webpage - There is now an English as a Second Language page on the district's website available to provide more information about joining the community of adult English learners in a comfortable, friendly environment. 
  • ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences): Building Self-Healing Communities - Community members are invited to attend a free training to learn more about the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study findings representing a shift in human understanding of health and well-being. The training is on Tuesday, July 17 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Register today
  • R.E.A.D. - Community members are invited to participate in Ramsey County Library's R.E.A.D. program this summer. Learn more about various opportunities to participate! 
  • Free Farmers Markets - All are welcome to Free Farmers Markets throughout the summer at both Redeemer Lutheran Church on Tuesdays and Willow Lane Elementary on Saturdays. Learn more about dates and times.
  • Summer Activities in Ramsey County - Check out all of the free summer activities available in Ramsey County including summer camps, movies and concerts. 
  • 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
    • Family FUN Night - You and your family are invited to attend Family FUN Night on Thursday, June 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lions Park.

Support WBLAS Students:

  • Big Fish, A New Musical - White Bear Lake Community Players Theatre presents "Big Fish, A New Musical," which will be performed on July 27-28 and August 2-4. Learn more about the production 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 principal Christina Pierre has been named the Capital Division Middle School Principal of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). View this press release for more details. 
  • July Recognitions
    • July 4 - Independence Day

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