May 6, 2018

Student News

  • In photos: Career Pathways Experience at St. Paul College
  • Making splashes
  • Eye-opening experiences
  • Showcasing skills
  • Future-focused
  • Lending a hand
  • 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: Career Pathways Experience at St. Paul College

Student News

Making splashes

There have been many exciting opportunities students have been involved with districtwide in partnership with H2O for Life and the Race 2 Reduce initiative, focusing on educating stakeholders about local water resources and water conservation. At Otter Lake Elementary, two fifth grade teams participated in the FIRST Lego League. This year's theme was hydrodynamics, and the teams were challenged to solve problems with water usage. Fourth grades students were able to receive Enviroscapes lessons at both Birch Lake Elementary and Matoska International. These Enviroscapes provide a watershed model for students to physically see the effects of pollutants running over a landscape. There were also recently Water Warrior camps at Oneka Elementary and Birch Lake Elementary. Activities explored topics such as snow science, aquatic food webs, surface tension, and the global water cycle. In other fun news, Race 2 Reduce lessons in all grades were implemented during Fix a Leak Week, during which classes throughout the district could embrace lessons and activities to explore tips for water quality and conservation. The water fun continued as students at Lincoln Elementary, Hugo Elementary, Oneka Elementary and Birch Lake Elementary could participated in Race 2 Reduce activities for Extended Day with hands-on lessons looking at individual water footprints, human impact on waterways and water chemistry. 

In other exciting news, two White Bear students also recently won prizes in the 2018 Poster Contest with Race 2 Reduce! Student work continued to be showcased as the 2018 Aqua Fair took place at Otter Lake Elementary where families and community members could splash into spring at the event with a student video contest, theater presentation, games and prizes, and a Walk for Water. Compassion was at the forefront of many Matoska International students' minds as they completed their Walks for Water to benefit Prathmik Vidhyalaya School in India. Second grade students at the school also enjoyed nature and planted in the Giving Garden beds, where half the food grown will be given to local food shelves. District families are invited to help in the gardens by coming to the new "Garden Club" meeting Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m. through the summer on the Spruce Street side of Matoska International. Students at Sunrise Park Middle School also recently worked hard and raised money for H2O for Life. In other middle school news, families recently enjoyed fifth grade orientation where they could learn more about opportunities in their coming years. The Central Middle School experience was captured in this video. While some middle school students were on stage welcoming incoming sixth graders, high school students will soon be stepping into the spotlight to perform for high school students and adults in the community with the 2018 White Bear Lake Area High School Spring Play, "Antigone in Munich." Learn more about performance times.

Eye-opening experiences

Students at WBLAHS - South Campus were given an opportunity to remember how each day is not promised and to live every moment to the fullest by attending the school's Mock Car Crash. Students were able to witness what it may look like to lose someone in a car accident, due to driving under the influence, by watching fellow classmates act out what that scenario could look and feel like. After the Mock Car Crash, there was an assembly where students could come together and learn more about the importance of safe driving. Thank you to Suburban Community Channels for capturing the student safety reminders in this video. While the Mock Car Crash was a reminder of the importance of following the law, students at WBLAHS - North Campus got a closer look at how a K9 team works in law enforcement, as approximately 90 WBLAHS - North Campus Criminology students were able to learn more from St. Paul Police Officer Brady Harrison and their K9 partner, Eddie. Eddie is the National Champion K9 of 2017. Congratulations to Oneka Elementary student, Savannah Marling, who was announced a winner for the Minnesota D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Statewide Poster Contest! On the topic of wellness and safety, there is a new electronic form to report concerns regarding a student's well-being: mental health, chemical use, social isolation, bullying, harassment, etc. 

While some students embraced safety lessons, others at Vadnais Heights Elementary embraced the opportunity to participate in a video pen pal project with a class from Taiwan. Their friends from Taiwan have shared about their country, culture, school and activities through video. They've asked students at Vadnais Heights Elementary questions about food, activities, winter and more. Students in the class answer them back and ask questions themselves to learn more about Taiwan. Watch this video to see the students hard at work. In other fun news at Vadnais Heights Elementary, students have been working on building bridges. Students had the opportunity to learn more about building sturdy structures by crawling across a bridge they created that was linking desks. Check out this video of the experience. The activity was in conjunction with their second engineering unit on building bridges. A parent of a student in the class is a civil engineer and came into the classroom to share their knowledge of their profession. During the bridge building activity, students were able to perform different jobs to successfully construct the bridge that would support students' weight as they climbed through it. Elementary students throughout the district also recently enjoyed end of the year orchestra concerts!

From concerts to kindness, the movie "Wonder" continues to have a lasting impact on those who watch it. Students at Central Middle School recently watched the movie and afterwards, they created cards and sent them to children who are currently hospitalized. "Wonder" is about a child, August Pullman, who has facial differences and enters the fifth grade where August attends an elementary school for the first time. The movie inspires students to stand up against bullying and act with kindness. The middle school students were told to write positive messages to remind hospitalized children of how great they are. Their efforts were recently highlighted in this video. Acts of compassion continued as high school students embraced their Ambassadors project and purchased household goods from Walmart to donate to Solid Ground that they raised by making dog biscuits in class.

Showcasing skills

Approximately 50 juniors and seniors from WBLAHS - South Campus visited St. Paul College to experience a Career Pathways event that was the first of its kind. Students were able to sign up for one of four Career Pathways during their visit to the college, which were Construction, Healthcare, Information Technology or Advanced Manufacturing. They could split into groups based on the pathways and were able to experience an in-depth look at what a career in that field would look like. Students could embrace various opportunities such as carpentry, surgical technology, computer programming, web design and CNC machining. The opportunity was made possible through a WBLAEF Bear Grant and a Hallberg Engineering sponsorship. Also in St. Paul, Transition Education Center students, who are a part of the Exploring Social Studies class, were able to explore the Minnesota State Capitol where they had an opportunity to learn about government processes. They also were able to experience people embracing free speech and freedom of assembly first-hand while they were there. In other fun news regarding Career Pathways, students were able to share their voices on a student panel during the Career Pathways Advisory Council meeting.

Twelve students from Otter Lake Elementary embraced their interests as well recently by participating in the regional Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge. The problem-solving competition for fifth and sixth-graders included both individual and team components. Their three teams placed 12th, 21st, and 26th. At Hugo Elementary, students embraced lessons, as they learned about the importance of being nice and not bullying others through the Kids Against Bullying presentation with puppets. In other news at Hugo Elementary, early childhood students recently had an opportunity to showcase their skills, as they learned more about the alphabet and acted as meteorologists for the Hugo News. Check out the experience in this video. Other early childhood students at Tamarack Nature Center enjoyed art lessons, as they learned about color mixing and creating their own pieces of work. While some students explored art and put together forecasts of the spring weather, others hopped outside and enjoyed the sunshine at the Spring into Action event at Lakeaires Elementary. More fun was to be had recently at the elementary school as families gathered for an Ice Cream Social/Art Walk where they could enjoy dessert together and also shop through the Book Fair. The fun was captured in this video


It was recently Decision Day at WBLAHS - South Campus! This was a time for celebration, as students in the senior class declared where they will be attending college, if they are entering the military or joining the world of work. Students were able to indicate their location of where they will be in the fall on maps in the cafeteria during lunches. In other celebratory news, students participated in the AVID Senior College Signing Day, which was another opportunity to celebrate students' plans after high school. The experience was captured in this video. While students were able to celebrate plans after high school, they could also focus on giving back to others by participating in the National Honor Society's Blood Drive. Speaking of celebrating, White Bear Lake Area High School and Area Learning Center seniors were recognized along with their honored educators at the 2018 Excellence Event. The fun evening was highlighted in this video. Thank you to Suburban Community Channels for capturing the 2018 Excellence Event in this full video

Administrators and students came together to celebrate students who represented the Area Learning Center at the annual MAAP STARS Spring Conference. During this opportunity, students could showcase their skills in the Minnesota Standards, along with showing their life, artistic and career skills. Students are evaluated by business leaders on either an individual basis or in teams. With more than 400 students from around Minnesota participating, this gives students an opportunity to receive recognition for their hard work. At the MAAPS STARS Recognition Breakfast, staff and students were able to enjoy a meal together and a brief program to celebrate the students' accomplishments. Speaking of recognition, congratulations to Chemical Health Specialist Jennifer Funk for being named the 2018 Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award recipient. Learn more about the recipient. In other celebratory news, middle school students recently participated in the State History Day 2018 event at the University of Minnesota! 

Lending a hand

It was revealed early on in the year homelessness was something Matoska International's school community cares about. As a school, they donated their mid-winter leftover Lost and Found items to Joseph's Coat in St. Paul so people in need could have access to winter clothing at no cost to them. They also did an essential needs drive and donated those items to the Listening House in St. Paul. This is also when they did a spare change drive and used the money to make over 1,000 Sandwiches for the Sandwich Man organization, which were given out in April to those who are without homes and food after shelters have closed. They are using the remaining funds from the spare change drive to purchase essential needs items for a local organization serving some White Bear families. In other news at Matoska International, students have been embracing an animal adaptions unit where they have been observing animal skulls to determine what the animal ate, where it lived, how old it was, how it died and its brain capacity. The University of Minnesota Marine Biology Club visited and talked about marine animal adaptations and human impact on marine environments along with another University of Minnesota student, a White Bear graduate, who also stopped by to talk about invasive species! The White Bear graduate brought zebra fish embryos that students looked at under the microscope, a variety of butterflies, a preying mantis and some crabs. 

Students at Oneka Elementary embraced the idea of lending a hand to others too, as those a part of B.O.S.S. (Bears Official Service Superheroes) organized a field trip to Feed My Starving Children. Together, they packed 87 boxes, 18,792 meals, and fed 51 kids living in Guatemala for a year! There were other fun opportunities at elementary schools as students celebrated Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day by creating their own creative work, and offering it to the community by placing the poetry at local businesses. The fun was captured in this video! While some students wrote poetry, others got BearPowered and were able to participate in a delicious activity for the School Challenge where students tasted veggies at Hugo Elementary, and other elementary schools recently throughout the district. The School Challenge is focused on encouraging students to Try for Five fruits and veggies every day. In other fun news at Hugo Elementary, Janie Briggs hosted a Painting, Poetry and Punch Celebration for parents and students, which was possible because of a grant. 

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 2018 White Bear Lake Area High School Spring Play, "Antigone in Munich," will be performed for high school students and adults in the community on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. Learn more.

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
May 14 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
May 21 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center 
June 11 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

  • Student Support Services Director - Lisa Ouren recently accepted the Director of Student Support Services position to begin in July when current director Kathleen Daniels retires. Lisa has served as a student support supervisor in our district since 2014 after coming to us with 21 years of experience.
  • 2018 Senior Schedule Change - Due to mandatory classroom hours being lost during Snow Days, and the already shortened school year for seniors due to ACT testing, the Senior Class End of Year Schedule has been modified slightly. View the changed schedule.
  • Student Well-Being Tip Line - There is a new electronic form to report concerns regarding a student's well-being: mental health, chemical use, social isolation, bullying, harassment, etc. 
  • Wellness Event Rescheduled - Learn more about the importance of promoting mental health and wellness in students, families and the community at the Wellness Event, which was rescheduled due to weather, that will now be held on Monday, May 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Central Middle School. 
  • Self-Care Series - Those between the ages of 11 and 24 years old are invited to the Self-Care Series. These free community workshops help individuals learn how to make self-care a part of their everyday lives through fun opportunities. View the flyer for details and upcoming dates. 
  • Family Well-Being Resource Fair - All Ramsey County Families are invited to a Family Well-Being Resource Fair on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Roseville Area High School in the cafeteria. Please see these flyers (English and Spanish) for details related to event meal, childcare, kids activities, transportation, prizes and more! Learn more about the Family Well-Being and Resource Fair talking points.
  • 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
  • WBLAS Career Pathways Newsletter - Enjoy the latest edition of the WBLAS Career Pathways Newsletterand a Special Edition.
  • 10% Discount - Use promo code BLOOM18 for 10% off your next order of purchasing White Bear gear! Sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats and more are available to buy from The Official Shop of White Bear Area Schools
  • Monthly Mental Well-Being Series - The first four sessions of the monthly Mental Well-Being Series took place and district staff and families are invited to attend future monthly presentations. The fifth session in the monthly series will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23 at WBLAHS - North Campus. View the flyer for more information.
  • YMCA Communities Host Home Program - The YMCA Communities Host Home Program matches families who want to provide space and support to a homeless youth. This provides teens and young adults a safe, stable place while they work with a YMCA staff towards self-sufficiency. To learn more, attend an upcoming information session. View this flyer for more details.
  • PowerUp Press - The spring edition of the PowerUp Press is available. Also, view a full list of PowerUp Week (May 5-12) events. If families are interested in a new spring activity, learn more about the 2018 PowerUp Recipe Contest and visit this website to join. 
  • Spring Cleaning - Families can donate new or gently used items to the Birch Lake Garage Sale. Donations can be dropped off on Friday, May 18 from 4-8 p.m. and the Garage Sale will be open for shopping on Saturday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. View the flyer for more details.
  • All-Night Senior Party - Volunteers are still needed for the All-Night Senior Party that is happening on Friday, June 8 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. If interested in purchasing tickets, donating a food or prize item or volunteering for a shift, view this flyer.
  • 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.

  • Community Forum on Seniors Celebration - Join community members for a brief update of ongoing initiatives in service to area seniors followed by tours of the new Lakeshore Players and Children's Performing Arts Theatre on Wednesday, May 16 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Hanifl Performing Arts Center. The event is free, but registration is appreciatedLearn more!
  • 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 Family Breakaway Bike Ride - Join families and community members at the free BearPower Family Breakaway Bike Ride event on Saturday, May 19 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Otter Lake Elementary. Sign up and view this flyer for more 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.
    • 2018 Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award - Congratulations to Chemical Health Specialist Jennifer Funk for being named the 2018 Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award recipient. Learn moreabout the recipient and the 2018 Lynn Mielke additional outstanding educator nominees.

Support WBLAS Students:

  • 2018 WBLAHS Spring Play - The 2018 White Bear Lake Area High School Spring Play, "Antigone in Munich," will be performed on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. Learn more.
  • Matoska Art Enrichment Spring Art Show - Matoska International will hold its 20th annual Spring Art Show Open House and Silent Auction on May 8, from 5-7 p.m. in the school gymnasium. This fundraiser for the art program features a display of 1000+ items of student artwork, many beautiful items available for purchase, as well as dinner catered by Donatelli's. The school is located at 2530 Spruce Place, White Bear Lake, Minnesota. All are welcome. There is more information available at this website.
  • 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

  • Congratulations to Chemical Health Specialist Jennifer Funk for being named the 2018 Lynn Mielke Distinguished Educator Award recipient!
  • May Recognitions
    • May 7-11 - School Nutrition Employee Week
    • May 6-12 - Teacher Appreciation Week
    • May 8 - Teacher Appreciation Day
    • May 9 - National School Nurse Day
    • May 19 - Armed Forces Day
    • May 28 - Memorial Day

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