June 3, 2018
- A Note from the Superintendent
- In photos: Walk for Water at Vadnais Heights Elementary
- Active Bears
- Gardens galore
- Trips near & far
- Applause-worthy accomplishments
- The Week in 62.4 Seconds
- Activities updates
School Board News
- School Board Meetings
- General Information
- Awards and Honors
A Note from the Superintendent
As the 2017-18 school year comes to a close this week, we have much to celebrate and many to thank.
Throughout the year, our strategic planning process, initiated with the input of students, staff, parents and community members, has helped us create a road map of where we want to be in the future. Within eight strategies we will increase student agency, expand opportunities, foster engagement and partnerships, build capacity, embrace cultures, enhance educational experiences, engage families, and ensure social and emotional growth for our students. Working this summer and into the fall, we will implement change through a phased approach to move our already great programs to the next level.
In 2017-18, we saw many recognitions and distinctions earned throughout the district, with students and staff members honored at state and national levels in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities. As a district, we recently received word that we received a financial stewardship award for the eighteenth consecutive year. It is support given throughout the system that makes us all stronger and allows individuals and teams to accomplish these great feats.
We have also seen a nation touched by tragedy this year, with school shootings being more common than any of us would ever hope. This spring, our district served as an example to others when our students respectfully traveled to City Hall, meeting with city leaders and earnestly discussing student safety and security. The students' actions increased momentum that had already been started in the district, resulting in additional school security measures being implemented this spring that will continue throughout the summer. School safety will continue to be a topic at the forefront as the district embarks on a facilities planning process this fall, engaging with the community to plan facilities and programs that will ready us for the future.
I hope you continue your connection with the district throughout this summer, whether it is as involved as enrollment in a Community Services and Recreation class/activity or as simple as a visit to an elementary school playground for a trip down the slide. If you want to be assured a smile and conversation, and a pencil and temporary tattoo, be sure to stop by the district's Marketfest booth in June and July!
Thank you all, from students and family members to staff and community members, for the part you continue to play in the district's success.
Wishing you a safe and rejuvenating summer!
Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak
In photos: Walk for Water at Vadnais Heights Elementary
Vadnais Height Elementary students are learning about the power of giving back to others. Recently, students gathered for a Peace Summit where they learned about the importance of empathy and kindness. The leadership team, WE Believe, kicked off the Walk for Water initiative at the Peace Summit where students were posed with the goal of raising money to help those who don't have access to clean water. The WE movement encourages change-makers to make the world a better place, and the money raised from their effort will be contributed to WE communities. Vadnais Heights Elementary students participated in the Walk for Water by walking with a gallon of water or a 4-8 pound backpack around the school to gain empathy what it is like for those who travel hours each day to collect dirty water for their families. The students raised $1,566! Go Bears!
Kindergarten through first grade students picked up hula hoops, jump ropes, and raced their friends during the Hugo Field Day. Families gathered around to cheer on their students, as they enjoyed the activities with their classmates. Elementary students throughout the district also participated in Track and Field Day where they raced with their friends and competed against students in the other elementary schools. While some students ran in the field, others walked and biked to class for Otter Lake Elementary's Walk/Bike to School Day! Recently, other students had the opportunity get active, as the Bear FUNdamentals partnered with White Bear Dance Center to provide a new and exciting "Move and Groove" experience! White Bear Dance Center visited all five of the Bear FUNdamentals classrooms and taught a 30 minute class focusing on balance, direction-following and dance! Other students at WBLAHS - North Campus were able to focus and have fun at the same time as Justice Anderson, a Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice, came to visit Criminology classes! Elementary students at Matoska International were also able to enjoy a visitor, as Congresswoman McCollum attended the end-of-the-year Matoska Exhibition. At the Matoska Exhibition, fifth grade students presented their projects that covered topics they are interested in and have been working on in groups for the last couple of months.
Gardens have begun to bloom all throughout the district. FLEX students have been enjoying time out in the hay bale garden at Central Middle School. The experience was capture in this video. FLEX is the District's middle school program, providing after school programming during the school year and full-day programming on most non school days and during the summer. The students have been watering, planting, and learning about the importance of giving back to the community, as half of the harvest will be donated to the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf. Students were busy with other maintenance work at Central Middle School, as the White Bear Lake Area High School - North Campus Ambassadors embraced a project to work on a rain garden at the school. The students worked with the district's Operations/Maintenance Assistant Kevin Fernandez and the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization's Education and Outreach Coordinator Nick Voss to organize the project. There will continue to be improvements made to the garden throughout the summer.
From the garden to the classroom, Sunrise Park Middle School seventh grade students celebrated International Food Day in health class. Students were able to share foods that they like from their culture or heritage, and things they want others to try. They also learned to use chopsticks. Students throughout the district had another exciting food-related opportunity, as they were able to try a new Super Slaw Salad during lunch. The experience was captured in this video. They were able to get BearPowered and enjoy this new menu item in collaboration with the PowerUp School Challenge. Nutrition Services featured the five vegetables that students taste-tested in their classrooms including cucumbers, celery, red peppers, yellow squash and red cabbage with homemade Southwestern dressing. While some students embraced eating well at school, other families in the district focused on mental health and wellness at Central Middle School for the Wellness event. Families were able to attend breakout sessions on topics including parenting and autism, chemical health trends, anxiety and stress awareness.
It was an exciting time at Birch Lake Elementary, as Giving Gardens built, donated and delivered an adapted garden bed for the school's garden and the students in the CUBS (Creating Unique Bridges for Students) program. The experience was captured in this video. This garden bed is on wheels and can be raised and lowered, making it easily accessible for students in wheelchairs or a chair. The students along with their peers, will participate in planting vegetables and take care of the garden while at school. They will be donating half of the vegetables to the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf. In other exciting program-related news, District leaders recently visited Mold Craft with VHEDC to accept $3,000 for the Gen Z Connection: Skills and Careers in Manufacturing program. Last year, Mold Craft collaborated with VHEDC, White Bear Lake Area Schools, Ramsey County and other community partners to create the Gen Z summer internship program for four White Bear Lake High School Manufacturing Pathway students. This summer, the Gen Z internship program will include eight students and eight manufacturing companies. Learn more about this opportunity. There was also recently a Gen Z kick-off event for families, businesses, students and community partners to celebrate the start of the internship program.
Trips near & far
Hugo Elementary students were able to step behind the counter at Domino's and make their very own pizzas. Students could make their crusts, pick out their toppings, and enjoy the delicious meal after it was cooked to perfection. The cooking experience was captured in this video. This opportunity gives students an idea of what it would be like to work in different jobs, while giving them hands-on learning experience with food. While a group of students cooked their pizzas, the others were busy writing "thank you" notes to Domino's for the opportunity. From Domino's to Washington D.C., Central Middle School students had an opportunity to travel to the nation's capitol and explore its offerings. An experience closer to home was an exciting one, as Lincoln Elementary fourth grade student Clara Blauer earned a perfect score of 20 in the third of three meets in the 2018 WordMasters Challenge™, which is a national vocabulary competition with nearly 150,000 students involved annually. The WordMasters Challenge™ is designed to encourage students to learn a set of new words and then use the words to complete analogies. Learn more about the accomplishment in this press release.
Students at Oneka Elementary did not even have to leave the classroom to have a global experience. This spring, students in second through fourth grade at Oneka Elementary wrote pen pal letters to students at Colegio San Alberto Magno in Madrid, Spain! The students wrote letters in Spanish about their likes and dislikes and their favorite colors, food, animals and school subjects! The Spanish students responded by writing their letters in English, which was great practice for writing basic information in the language the student groups are learning. Special connections were made when one student receive a letter from a student with the same name and another student shared the same birthday with her penpal. From words to art, Matoska International and the Explorations classes at Lincoln Elementary were able to recently enjoy visits to the White Bear Center for the Arts!
It was a bittersweet yet exciting time as middle school and high school AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students gathered for the AVID End of the Year Celebration at WBLAHS - South Campus. The evening started off by showing AVID families this video, where families and district representatives shared their positive experiences with the program. Two White Bear graduates, Farris Al-Humayani and Zac Villarreal, both spoke to the students and encouraged them during the next steps in their journeys. There was a presentation of AVID students, seniors and pins. There was also career, college and scholarship awards announcements where students could be recognized for their hard work and celebrated for their future endeavors. Students were able to invite an honored educator who had an impact on them during their school career. The experience was captured in this video. In other celebratory news, families and graduates gathered at the American Indian Graduation: Honoring Ceremony where they could recognize seniors for their accomplishments while enjoying food and dancing! For a list of more graduation events happening throughout the district, click here.
The celebration continued as early childhood students had fun at their End of the Year Party at Normandy Park Education Center. Families were able to enjoy music with Bob the Beachcomber. They could also enjoy delicious snacks, fun games and sensory play! While some students played outside, others were able to listen to District Cultural Liaison Malia Yang-Xiong, WBLAHS - South Campus and District representative Mee Yang present about Hmong culture and language to Vadnais Heights Elementary third grade students. This presentation was in celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The experience was captured in this video. One middle school student has also been busy doing great things as Erma Ramirez, a Sunrise 8th grader, raised over $500 for a friend who is ill. Erma did this by hosting bake sales at band & choir concerts and selling donated flowers at Awards night.
Students were not the only ones celebrating accomplishments in the district. The 2017-18 retirees gathered at the White Bear Lake Area School District 2018 Retirement Recognition Dinner, where they were honored for their collective 858 years of service to the community. The experience was captured in this video. During the event, this video was shared in recognition of the forty retirees and honor them for their contribution to the district. See the list of employees in the event program. Others were recently honored for their service, as the White Bear Baseball team honored those who serve the White Bear community and invited veterans, law enforcement, and first responders to the first Service Day at their final home game. The team also dedicated a new flag and flagpole to late Ramsey County Deputy Sheriff Ron Valento, who had a connection to the program. Go Bears!
The Week in 62.4 Seconds
Enjoy The Week in 62.4 Seconds videos highlighting weekly district activities throughout the school year.
The White Bear Baseball team honored those who serve the White Bear community and invited veterans, law enforcement, and first responders to the first Service Day at their final home game. Community service members and Veterans joined the team on the field for the National Anthem and the installment of a new flag and flag pole in centerfield. The Boys' and Girls' Track Teams both earned the Suburban East Conference championship. This is the first conference championship for the Girls' team since 1999. The accomplishments were featured in this White Bear Press article. Go Bears!
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.
|June 11||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
|July 16||Work-Study||5:30 p.m.||District Center|
|July 16||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here.
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.
- 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.
- Seven Generations Teachings - Community members are invited to attend the Seven Generations Teachings presented by James Vukelich on Tuesday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus in the auditorium. James works as an Indigenous language specialist, and has spent years working to record and preserve the Ojibwe language, which has been passed through generations of Indigenous North American people since the Ice Age. View this flyer for more details.
- 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.
- R.E.A.D. - Community members are invited to participate in Ramsey County Library's R.E.A.D. program from Saturday, June 9 through Sunday, August 12. 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.
- Helping Kids Grow Through Challenges - Community members are invited to attend Helping Kids Grow Through Challenges: Understanding Brains and Tailoring Treatments, which is a conference on Monday, July 23 at Dellwood Country Club from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Learn more about registering.
- Sandcastles and Creatures Building Contest - Families and community members are invited to the free Sandcastles and Creatures Building Contest, sponsored by the White Bear Center for the Arts, on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at Memorial Beach on White Bear Lake. The contest is an official Manitou Days event. View this flyer for details.
- Lil' Cubs Football Camp - Students who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade and love the game of football are invited to attend the Lil' Cubs Football Camp. View this flyer for more details.
- Summer Activities in Ramsey County - Check out all of the free summer activities available in Ramsey County including summer camps, movies and concerts.
- Free CompTIA A+ Certification Class and Test - Those who are interested in information technology can enjoy an opportunity to receive free training and preparation for the CompTIA A+ Certification test. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 19th Annual Golf Tournament - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's 19th Annual Golf Tournament is coming up on Monday, June 25. Visit their website to register!Spring/Summer 2018 Theatre Productions - See a variety of springtime theatre productions to be performed by district students here.
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.
Awards and Honors
- Forty retirees were recently honored at the district's Retirement Dinner, with a collective total of 858 years of service. See the list of employees in the video and event program.
- WBLAHS Business Education Kelly Knutson received a Teacher of Excellence Award sponsored by BestPrep.
- Sunrise Park Middle School Principal Christina Pierre was recently named the Capital Division Middle School Principal of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).
- The White Bear Lake Area School Board recently received Excellence in Financial Reporting awards from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) and Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the highest forms of recognition given in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. ISD 624 has received the awards for eighteen consecutive years. See the press release here.
- The Lincoln Extended Day team successfully completed the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Program (MAAP). This is a rigorous process aimed at ensuring quality out-of-school time programs that create welcoming environments for families, offer students an abundance of opportunities, and emphasize social and emotional learning and development.
- The Communications Department received a Northern Lights Award (the "gold medal" level) from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) for the district's "2017 Annual Update to the Community" publication.