November 12, 2017

Student News

  • In photos: WE Day
  • Growing and giving
  • Fun friendships
  • Community experiences
  • Exercising the mind
  • The Week in 62.4 Seconds
  • Activities updates


School Board News

  • School Board Meetings


District News

  • General Information
  • Awards and Honors

A Note From the Superintendent
This past week, the local operating levy renewal question passed overwhelmingly by an 80% to 20% margin, which reflects an unprecedented level of support by our community. Additionally, the four community members who won open School Board seats are: Don Mullin, Jessica Ellison, Kim Chapman, and Deborah Beloyed. Congratulations to our incumbents (Don and Kim) and to our newcomers (Jessica and Deborah)! We are appreciative for the ongoing support and collaboration with our community, as we courageously build the future. Thank you for positively shaping our students' tomorrows. 

Wayne Kazmierczak, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

In photos: WE Day

Growing and giving

An ocean full of change-makers and almost 250 White Bear Lake Area Schools representatives packed the Excel Energy Center for WE Day. At the event, students and adults learned how they can truly make a difference in the world and make it a better place. Elementary, middle and high school students cheered, smiled and reflected together. The experience was recently captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. World-renowned speakers and performers shared stories and experiences to inspire students to take positive actions by being the change they wish to see in the world. This event provides students with an opportunity to follow their passions while devising plans about how to give back to causes on either a local or global scale. Students learned how they can turn their thoughts into concrete actions on their journey to support charitable organizations or causes they choose.

Matoska International is growing and supporting causes in exciting ways. The school just received four new raised garden beds. The beds were donated by Giving Gardens. Giving Gardens is a local non-profit organization that donates raised garden beds with the requirement that at least 51 percent of the food grown goes to a local food shelf. Students and teachers will be planning over the winter about what exactly they will be growing next season. Students will be able to better understand nature by being able to watch something develop from a seed, into a plant and finally into food. The new gardens will allow students to embrace growing and giving together in a refreshingly organic way. Recently, Matoska International's families and hardworking first grade students worked together to collect an abundance of food for the district's annual Food Drive. Last year, the schools throughout the district brought in 16,000 pounds of food and $5,000 for the White Bear Lake Emergency Food Shelf.

Speaking of giving to others, more than 170 students and 100 adults volunteered at Lincoln Elementary for the annual Fall Hug-A-Heart event. Students picked up rakes and walked to houses in the Lincoln Elementary neighborhood to assist community members in fall clean-up. This is the fifth year of the event. This benefited residents who needed help with their autumn yard maintenance in White Bear Lake. Students at Sunrise Park Middle School also expressed their kindness towards other by uniting and creating a kindness chain. This activity was a positive reminder and continuation of the messages shared during Unity Day, which were about the importance of showing others the impact they can have by being kind. While middle school students expressed kindness, high school students were honored at the Breakfast of Champions event at WBLAHS - North Campus. 

Fun friendships

Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary didn't have to travel far to observe furry friends they might experience at a petting zoo. Twenty five goats were roaming around The Bear's Backyard at Vadnais Heights Elementary with purpose, as they chomped on buckthorn for several days. The Bear's Backyard is the area on the western portion of Vadnais Heights Elementary used as an outdoor classroom for many educational areas of instruction. Goats are a great way to address buckthorn. They are eco-friendly, quiet, naturally fertilize and best of all they reduce the production of seeds by consuming seeding stems; therefore, invasive plants, like buckthorn, cannot sprout as the immature seeds consumed do not survive passage through the goat's digestive tract. Using goats is a cost effective way to address buckthorn and it will be paid through money collected from students turning in Box Tops for Education.

While there may not have been goats at Central Middle School, the Commons area was full of laughter and smiles as the students tested out their skills with the game "Uno." Students in the Avid Program and the Functional Academics Program spent time with one another while enjoying the game. The experience was captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. The objective of the game is to match the color, number, or the symbol of one's card with the discard pile. When a player has just one card in their hand they must say "Uno." Whoever gets rid of their cards the fastest is the winner. While the middle school students had fun with this game in school, other students in the FLEX program embraced their day off on Monday, Nov. 6 and explored the Mall of America. 

Community experiences

Students were kicking off their Sunday shoes during the first weekend of performances of "Footloose The Musical." They have been working hard at rehearsals to perfect their songs and dance numbers. The experience was recently captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. The story is about a student, Ren McCormack, who moves to the small town of Bomont where the Reverend has convinced the town to outlaw dancing because of a previous tragedy impacting their community. Ren and the Reverend's daughter, Ariel, work together to help the town heal while making dancing acceptable again. There are three more performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16-18. View a sneak preview of the show. Congratulations to the cast and crew for another sold out production. 

Families could receive a sneak preview of important safety tips, as The White Bear Lake Police Department visited WBLAHS - South Campus to educate families and answer their questions at the free Safety Information Night. Adults were able to learn more about topics such as mental health, human trafficking, Internet safety, youth drug trends and awareness, and teen driving laws and safety. See more fun pictures on the White Bear Lake Police Department's Facebook page. Families will have another opportunity to take preventative steps to ensure youth between 14 and 18 years old are safe by signing up for the Play for Patrick Free Youth Heart Screening on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. The screens include opportunities such as checking of height/weight, blood pressure, EKG (electrical current of the heart) and CPR and AED training. The Schoonover family is working to help educate and inform families about heart defects after their son Patrick Schoonover was playing in a hockey tournament, collapsed and responders were unable to revive him. It was later determined Patrick had numerous heart defects that caused his early death. More information about the event can be found about volunteering and registration on the Play for Patrick website.

Other community members enjoyed shopping for beautifully crafted necklaces, mittens and bags, which were just a few of the items for sale at the Annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale. Families gathered for another community-building event at the Senior Center and Normandy Park Education Center. Early childhood students, veterans and families were invited to enjoy a flag ceremony in honor of Veteran's Day. This was a special time for people to express gratitude and show respect to those who have served. There was also a veteran aid and benefits presentation for individuals to attend after the flag ceremony. Students of all ages, parents and community members will have an additional opportunity to gather together and learn at the 4th Annual Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase at WBLAHS - South Campus on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 5-7:30 p.m. See the flyer and register today.

While the community gathered at several exciting events, it was National Community Education Day on Thursday, Nov. 9, which is a recognition of the district's programs that serves residents of all ages. Community Services and Recreation offers a variety of classes for community members of all ages. They offer a range of different activities including Adult Coed Volleyball, Grandmasters of Chess, ACT Preparation and Driver's Education. One of the fun opportunities that is being offered to middle school students currently is the American Sign Language classes. The experience was recently captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. During the first session, students learned how to sign the alphabet and their own names. Students were able to practice introducing themselves to their friends and other participants using sign language. Learn more about fun classes being offered throughout the district. 

Exercising the mind

Families had a calm and relaxing, yet energizing morning this Saturday. Community members gathered together and learned a few poses at Family Yoga Day. Mayor Jo Emerson and The White Bear Lake City Council have proclaimed the second Saturday of November White Bear Lake Family Yoga Day. This was an opportunity for individuals to celebrate the health and wellness of the White Bear community. LifeCore Yoga provided the class instruction, as families learned the importance of balancing and meditation. Yoga has not been the only form of exercise families have been enjoying throughout the White Bear community. Families dressed up in costumes and participated in the BearScare Family Fun Run/Walk at Otter Lake Elementary. The event was recently featured in the White Bear Press. While Mayor Jo Emerson played an important part in making Family Yoga Day happen, she also recently visited Transition Education Center to talk about city government and voting.

Creativity was flowing at Birch Lake Elementary. Heidi Walsh's fifth grade classroom was able to participate in the Tile Project. They were able to learn how to draw a self-portrait by examining their facial features and etching it out on a piece of paper. The experience was recently captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. They carefully crafted their ears, nose and eyes by reflecting on how those features would look on a piece of paper. After they drew with pencil, they filled in the portrait with colors. These masterpieces will then be crafted into tiles, compiled together and hung in the hallway. This is a fun opportunity for students to see their friends' and their own drawings when they walk into school each day. While students had fun expressing their artistic talents in the classroom, they also had an exciting experience after school at Birch Lake Elementary's Family Fun Night. 

Early childhood students were also able to have fun at the first-ever STEM Early Childhood Night at Normandy Park Education Center. The experience was captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. STEM is a curriculum that focuses on providing students with opportunities to gain skills while exploring science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Families could identify different smells in jars, play with a rainbow mixture and explore ramps to race balls. While early childhood students were able to enhance their STEM skills, elementary students received a special gift to inspire new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Students received new reading materials at Willow Lane Elementary. Subaru donated 150 books as part of a Subaru Loves Learning Event. The books will be given to classroom libraries. 

Middle school students had a fun activity happening in their classroom. Okello Sam spent time with all choir students at Sunrise Park Middle School. The students learned about the culture and music from Uganda. He taught them how to play drums, that he makes, as well as a song in Swahili and a dance from Uganda. The students also learned about how children in Uganda learn. Okello visits Sunrise Park Middle School every other year to spend time with the students. He has a foundation in Uganda called Hope North. Hope North helps orphans, former child soldiers, and young victims of Uganda's civil war achieve peace and success through education, inspiration, and personal development. For more information visit Hope North's website. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade AVID students at Sunrise Park Middle School were also busy creating hope for hurricane victims by raising money during an exciting and successful fundraiser. The students planned, coordinated and executed an after school carnival/fair in which they raised over $1,000. The students determined that the money they earned would be sent to the Red Cross - Puerto Rico. 

The Week in 62.4 Seconds

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



Activities Updates

Section Champ boys' and girls' cross country teams both competed at the state meet. The boys' cross country team placed fourth out of 16 teams at state. This was the highest finish for the boys in 20 years. Senior Ben Vanderbosch was 23rd overall and All-State. White Bear grad and current Northern State University senior running back Nick Truen was named the NSIC Offensive Player of the Week and featured in this 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 News

2017 Election Results
The White Bear Lake Area Schools community voted on a 10-year Local Operating Levy Renewal and four School Board seats on November 7. The levy renewal was passed by a sizable margin, 80% to 20%. The following School Board candidates received the highest number of votes: Don Mullin, Jessica Ellison, Kim Chapman and Deborah Beloyed. 


See the complete election results here. (Please note results are unofficial until certified.)

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

Date Type Time Location
November 13 Regular 7 p.m. District Center 
November 27 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 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

  • Strategic Planning Update, Opportunity to Get Involved - A 30-member Strategic Planning team met Sept. 18-20, 2017 and identified draft beliefs, mission, objectives, and strategies. See the full details here. After a process that will take place this fall and winter, School Board action on the Strategic Plan is expected in March, 2018. The next step in the process involves forming Action Teams, which will develop action plans for each of the eight strategies (listed below in the form). Action Team meetings are tentatively scheduled to take place 6-8 p.m. on the following evenings: Nov. 16 & 30, Dec. 14, Jan. 4 & 18, and Feb. 1. Action Team meetings will take place at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus. If you are interested in volunteering on an Action Team, complete the registration form.
  • 4th Annual Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase - Students of all ages, parents and community members are invited to the 4th Annual Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase at WBLAHS - South Campus on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 5-7:30 p.m. See the flyer and register today.
  • White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA) Sponsored Contests - All high school students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate in two annual contests sponsored by White Bear Center for the Arts. Complete information on the WriteNow! High School Writing Contest and the High School Visual Arts Contest and Exhibition are on the WBCA website. Contest deadlines are later this winter, with awards receptions in the spring.
  • Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council (PAC) - Learn how and when to get involved in the Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council, which acts as an advisory body to the district through the Student Support Services Administrative Team on behalf of students receiving special education services.
  • 10% Discount - Use promo code HOLIDAY2017 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.
  • Play for Patrick Free Youth Heart Screening - Free heart screenings are available for youth between the ages of 14 and 18 years old at the Play for Patrick Youth Heart Screen on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. Register today
  • Culver's Night - Families are invited to stop by for dinner and to support a good cause, as Lakeaires is having a Culver's Night (new location on White Bear Avenue that is near the freeway) on Monday, Nov. 13 from 5-7 p.m. Ten percent of the profits go to the PTO and students will be volunteering. 
  • Dementia Friends - Attend a one-hour session of a face-to-face discussion to become a Dementia Friend, learn more about dementia, and consider a practical action to help someone in the community. Learn moreinformation.
  • Open Gyms - There are several opportunities to enjoy Open Gyms throughout the district:
    • On Wednesday nights at Normandy Park, there will be Open Gyms held from Nov. 1 through March 7 (except for Nov. 22 and Dec. 27) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $3 per child and $7 per immediate family. There will be a free night sponsored by BearPower on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Learn more
    • There will be Open Gyms held from Nov. 1 through March 7 (except for Nov. 22 and Dec. 27) from 7-9 p.m. with volleyball at WBLAHS - North Campus and basketball at WBLAHS - South Campus. Learn more.
    • There are Open Gyms at Oneka Elementary on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 through March 8 (except for Nov. 21 and 23 and Dec. 26 and 28). There are also Open Gyms on Sundays from Nov. 19 through March 4 (except for Nov. 26 and Dec. 31) from 1-5 p.m. There is a Family Dance on Sunday, Nov. 19 from 3-5 p.m. to kickoff the fun. 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 Ambassador Program - If you are a member of the White Bear Lake community and have an idea about how to make it easier for your community to eat better and move more, BearPower has an opportunity for you. Learn more about the BearPower Ambassador Program.
    • Family Dance - The community is invited to move and groove at the free Family Dance on Sunday, Nov. 19 from 3-5 p.m. at Oneka Elementary in the gym (registration is not required).
  • 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 launches a campaign on Monday, Nov. 13 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.

Awards and Honors

  • November Recognitions:
    • November 13-17 - American Education Week and Geography Awareness Week
    • November 15 - Education Support Professionals Day
    • November 16 - National Parental Involvement Day
    • November 22-24 - Thanksgiving Break
    • November 23 - Thanksgiving Day

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