December 9, 2018
A Note from the Superintendent
Always assume schools are open and in session, unless you hear or see differently from a source listed below.
We know that closing schools, dismissing early and starting late can be disruptive, especially for working families. Student and staff safety are our primary concern. Ultimately, the decision to send children to school remains with families. 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.
How is the Community Notified?
For school closings, early dismissals and late starts, call the School Closing Hotline at (651) 407-7540 or watch/listen for information on these media outlets:
If winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, parents will also be alerted in three ways as soon as a decision is made:
- A SchoolMessenger phone message and email will be sent to all parents.
- A message will be posted on the homepage of www.isd624.org.
- Messages will be posted on the District's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Please visit the district's website for more information.
Wayne A. Kazmierczak, Ph.D.
In photos: Matoska International Math Time
It was a busy couple of mornings, full of generosity, as Birch Lake Elementary students were hard at work cutting, tying, and folding blankets to be given to families in need throughout White Bear. The Student Council members were excited to give back by making warm and colorful keepsakes to provide warmth to others this winter season. The students' hard work was highlighted in this video. The blankets are being given to "The Closet," which is a resource through the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation that has an ample supply of jackets, mittens, hats and scarves for families in need in White Bear Lake Area Schools. Should you know any families who could benefit from the generosity of our community, please contact "The Closet" or visit this website for more information.
Families recently had fun at WBLAHS - North Campus, as they took advantage of the Escape the Library event. Participants were able to solve puzzles, find clues, and figure out how to escape rooms, with various themes, in 50 minutes or less. All of the proceeds went towards WBLAHS - North Campus's MakerSpace. The Escape the Library event was not the only opportunity for families to recently gather at WBLAHS - North Campus. Families were invited to the Community Holiday Feast and Conversation where they could enjoy food and participate in a student-led Intentional Social Interaction experience! While some enjoyed experiences conversing together, one Matoska International student is soaring to new goals. Fifth grade student Abigael Edwards will be attending a USA Luge Selection Camp on ice in New York this December at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. Abigael tested out their talents earlier this year at a White Castle USA Luge Slider Search opportunity in Minneapolis where it was discovered that Abigael has a knack for fast speeds down a hill. Abigael will be one of 70 selected from 700 trying to earn one of seven USA Luge Junior Development Team spots! Good luck, Abigael and go Bears! In good company, the city of White Bear Lake was recently selected as Minnesota Monthly's 2018 Best Minnesota Town!
Matoska International students are taking the phrase "get your mind moving" to a whole new level. Students have been able to enjoy a bike desk while they are working in class! Check out the awesome opportunity in this video. This is a way for students to simultaneously focus, get wiggles out, and have fun while learning! The fun continues at Matoska International, as students have been enjoying new boats out on their playground. The students have loved being able to play in the boats and have fun letting their imaginations run free in the new additions to the playground. Beartown Auto Body even donated the paint job on the blue boat to add a fun splash of color to the students' outdoor play space! Other students have been playing in a different way, as they have been showcasing their performance skills at various concerts happening throughout the district, including at Vadnais Heights Elementary where second and third grade students enjoyed their music concert!
From playing instruments to skating indoors, students at Oneka Elementary have been loving every moment of getting to learn how to roller skate at school through lessons in their Physical Education class. Check out the excitement in this video. The students were even able to recently enjoy an all-school skate event where they could showcase their new skills at Saints North, a Roller Skating Center in Maplewood. On December 14, students will enjoy their final skating event by celebrating their Bear Bucks, a school-wide initiative to acknowledge students demonstrating core values, at an all-school skating extravaganza. Central Middle School's sixth grade AVID scholars and some Sunrise Park Middle School eighth graders were recently able to enjoy a unique experience by taking a field trip to Century College! In other exciting news, a variety of district initiatives were included in projects that recently received grant funding from the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation. Check out the recipients in this White Bear Press article. Go Bears!
Cooking up learning
The aroma of breakfast burritos recently filled the WBLAHS - South Campus hallways, as Reading for Life students cooked up a breakfast they were able to later enjoy. While eggs were being cracked and cooked, other students were frying the hash browns that would compliment the burritos. The opportunity can be seen in this video. The experience was a perfect time for students to enhance their life skills by becoming further acquainted with the kitchen through preparation, cooking, and cleaning. In other breakfast news, it was a fun morning at Vadnais Heights Elementary as many enjoyed Doughnuts with Dad. Students could invite a buddy - dad, grandpa, uncle or guardian to enjoy a fun breakfast together! Middle school students could also enjoy fun experiences together, as nearly all Central Middle School sixth graders could participate in an Inventor's Fair where they had to come up with an invention that solved a problem and could present about their solutions!
There was more fun happening throughout the district as Sunrise Park Middle School students were laughing, as they participated in a fun activity to further learn vocabulary in Spanish class through the game Hot Seat. The fun was highlighted in this video. Two students were in chairs in the front of the room with their backs to the SMART Board and the rest of the class acted out the word they saw on the board. The first of the two students to guess the word received the points. They were also able to continue the learning fun with doing actions to the new story they heard for the first time. While middle school students learned more about Spanish vocabulary, WBLAHS - South Campus students were able to hear from more than 60 speakers at the Annual Career event where they explored various interests and opportunities for their future. Check out a video of the experience.
School may be out for the day, but students at Willow Lane Elementary are staying busy with a variety of learning opportunities after school. The fun was captured in this video. Students have the chance to participate in book clubs, opportunities to improve writing and math skills, as well as art enrichment and physical activities. There are basketball teams that are able to dribble, shoot and score with their classmates, which has been a fun experience with students being able to enjoying moving with their friends. From trips down the basketball court to holiday shopping experiences, Vadnais Heights Elementary School Student Council members had fun with a trip to Walmart to shop for the Vadnais Heights Lions Club's Canned Food and Toy Drive. Learn more about the experience.
Speaking of friends, for those who know of friends and family members looking for a job, White Bear Lake Area Schools is hiring! The district recently hosted the Pop-Up Hiring event where individuals could apply for jobs, learn more information about open positions, and even enjoy interviews. Check out the experience in this video. There are many district employment opportunities that you can learn more information about here. There are also other types of exciting opportunities right around the corner with January approaching, which means Welcome to White Bear Month is almost here. Throughout the month of January, White Bear Lake Area Schools will be hosting a variety of information nights and open houses to help you learn more about our District and registration for the 2019-20 school year. Find the complete schedule of activities here.
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 Cross Country Team, along with Coach Wilson and the Percivals, recently supported those competing at the NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Championships together, which was the national meet held in Madison, Wisconsin! Congratulations to WBLAHS - South Campus senior Hannah Wickstrom, who broke a 21-year dive record! Furthermore, congratulations to the WBLAS Unified Bowling Team that competed at the 2018 State Bowling Tournament and did a great job with an impressive medal count, including earning nine gold and seven silver medals! 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.
|December 10||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
|January 14||Regular||7 p.m.||District Center|
|January 28||Work-Study||5:30 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 2019 White Bear Area Guide to Senior Housing and the 2019 White Bear Area Guide to Senior Transportation.
- Check out the latest edition of the Senior Voice.
- The latest edition of the Community Bridge Consortium newsletter is available.
- 2019-20 Calendar - A complete 2019-20 calendar, linked here, was reviewed and approved at the December 10, 2018 School Board meeting.
- WBLTA Teacher of the Year nomination - The educators of White Bear Lake Area Schools teach by extraordinary example - they allow students to not only follow their dreams, but give them the skills necessary to become the role models of the future. Please consider nominating an educator who will represent all of the dedicated teachers in our district and compete in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. You may use this form to nominate a teacher. Nominations are due by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 9.
- Welcome to White Bear events - Throughout the month of January, White Bear Lake Area Schools will be hosting a variety of information nights and open houses to help you learn more about our District and registration for the 2019-20 school year. Find the complete schedule of activities here.
- Monthly Staff & Community Mental Well-Being Series - District staff and families are invited to attend monthly presentations focused on mental well-being. The fourth session of the series is on Tuesday, January 15 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater, which will be a presentation called Using Mindfulness to Increase Well-Being and Effectiveness in the Classroom and at Home by Heather Hessel. Check out the details for this upcoming event.
- January 15 Coffee with Dr. K - Community members are invited to stop by and chat with White Bear Lake Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak over a cup of coffee between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15 at the Downtown White Bear Lake Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels (4733 Highway 61, White Bear Lake, MN). There is no set agenda, so please feel free to order a coffee from the barista and find Dr. K in the meeting room to join the conversation!
- Upcoming Coffee with Dr. K events:
- 7:30-8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Caribou Coffee, Downtown WBL
- 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 at Caribou Coffee, Downtown WBL
- 7:30-8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 16 at Caribou Coffee, Downtown WBL
- Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council (PAC) Meetings - The purpose of the Special Education Parent/Staff Advisory Council is to act as an advisory body to the district through the Student Support Services Administrative Team on behalf of students receiving special education services. The PAC is scheduled to meet four times during the 2018-19 school year and the third meeting is on Thursday, January 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 206 at District Center (4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake). View future meetings on the district's website.
- Wellness Committee Meeting - For those interested in attending, the next White Bear Lake Area Schools Wellness Committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 5 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the District Center (4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake), in Room 201. For more information, please view the Wellness Program page on the district's website.
- The Top Secret Project - Adults are invited to attend The Top Secret Project event, which is a unique program designed to help parents recognize unfamiliar hazards in a teen's domain that are often in plain sight. The free event will take place on Monday, January 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus. Learn more.
- Adult coed volleyball - Get your friends together to play adult coed volleyball on Wednesday nights at Oneka Elementary! Teams play 6 versus 6 with 3 men and 3 women. This is a self-officiated recreational league. The league is scheduled to start in late January. For more information, visit this website.
- Bundle Up Bears - Families are invited to the free community Bundle Up Bears event on Saturday, January 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus. There will be music, hayrides, photo opportunities, ice skating and more! Visit this Facebook page for more details.
- Parent and Child Gym Time - Families can enjoy activities set up in the gym at Normandy Park Education Center for free on Wednesday, January 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Family Movie Night - Join White Bear's Indian Education community for a free Family Movie Night! All are invited to to attend and come watch Disney's "Brother Bear" on Tuesday, January 15 at 6 p.m. in the WBLAHS - South Campus auditorium. View this flyer for details.
- WBLAS Career Pathways Newsletter - Enjoy the latest edition of the WBLAS Career Pathways Newsletter.
- We Are Hiring! - The district is hiring for a variety of positions. Find the online application page here.
- Stay connected! - Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brosious Grant Recipients - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation awarded $23,855.28 total to eleven Brosious Grant recipients!
- The Closet - It is important to remember to dress warmly on these cold winter days. The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, through "The Closet," has an ample supply of jackets, mittens, hats and scarves. Should you know any families who could benefit from the generosity of our community, please contact "The Closet" or visit this website for more information. Members of our Foundation and other volunteers will then contact the family and make confidential arrangements to help those who do not already have warm clothes. In collaboration with the district and the WBLAEF, the White Bear Lake Police Department will be accepting gift card donations this holiday season to benefit "The Closet" and families in the White Bear Lake Area School District. Throughout the month of December, there will be a gift card donations drop box in the lobby of the White Bear Lake Police and Fire Department (4701 Highway 61 North, White Bear Lake).
- Holiday Angels - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation is pleased to announce their annual Holiday Angels program is in full swing, which is a special fundraising initiative for the Angel Fund of the WBLAEF. Honor someone special to you while sharing with those in need, right in White Bear Lake Area Schools through the Holiday Angels program. Fill out this form to give back.
- WBLAEF receives grant - The WBLAEF recently received a grant from the Edina Realty Foundation that will be used to cover the expense of winter coats, boots, hats and mittens, backpacks, school supplies, basic food and clothing, and even temporary housing for students and families in need. Additionally, the White Bear Lake Rotary Club and Trollhaugen Ski Resort recently held a coat drive for The Closet (a WBLAEF program) where community members donated approximately 300 coats. Whether the result of a job loss, unexpected medical expenses or any number of situations, the needs of our students and families increase each year. All donations from local businesses, civic organizations and families are appreciated, which meet the needs of students and families in the White Bear area.
- Support WBLAS Students:
- Donatelli's Takeover - Willow Lane Elementary fifth graders are taking over Donatelli's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday in February (Feb. 5, Feb. 12, Feb. 19 and Feb. 26) and Tuesday, March 5. Stop in for a terrific meal and great service! All tips above and beyond the 15% will go to HopeKids, a charity that supports children with cancer. View this flyer for more details.
- H2O for Hope - Otter Lake Elementary fifth grade students are raising money to provide clean water in Haiti by hosting the H2O for Hope event, which is a coffee and donut drive-thru on Friday, January 11 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Otter Lake Elementary. Check out this flyer for more details.
- Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! Find the online application page here.
- December Recognitions:
- December 24 through January 1 - Winter Break
- January - Welcome to White Bear