November 11, 2018

Student News

  • In photos: Lincoln Elementary's Hug-A-Heart Event
  • Active Bears
  • Passion and performances
  • Invaluable experiences
  • Fun gatherings
  • 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: Lincoln Elementary's Hug-A-Heart Event

Student News

Active Bears

Step by step, Vadnais Heights Elementary students had fun racing to the finish line at their Be Strong Run. Color was flying as the students laughed with their friends and had fun being active. Check out the colorful excitement in this video. Many students had prepared for the event by training as part of the Vadnais Heights Elementary Run Club, which was held after school in the beginning of the school year. The Be Strong Run was a time for all students to celebrate the rewarding and fun feeling of moving and playing with their classmates! Lakeaires PreK and kindergarten students were also active and participated in their annual Costume Walk where they could have fun with their friends during the school day. The fall fun continued, as Hugo Elementary first graders celebrated fall with pumpkins they decorated as their favorite book characters! 

WBLAHS - North Campus students, who are spending their first and second fall seasons in the United States, also had fun with carving pumpkins and learning more about the uniquely American tradition. With fall comes many leaves, and Lincoln Elementary students stayed busy helping their school's neighbors with fall clean-up at the annual Fall Hug-A-Heart event. It was recently a relaxing and refreshing morning as community members gathered for another fun event, Family Yoga Day. This is a great way to honor how Mayor Jo Emerson and the White Bear Lake City Council proclaimed the second Saturday of November White Bear Lake Family Yoga Day. This opportunity has been an exciting way for families to celebrate wellness in the community while learning many new yoga tips and tricks from LifeCore Yoga! 

Passion and performances

The upbeat music and energetic dancing in the White Bear Lake Area High School's Production of "Mamma Mia! The Musical" captivates audiences from the opening scene to the final song. "Mamma Mia! The Musical" takes place on a Greek island where main character, Sophie, dreams of a perfect wedding. In order to make Sophie's wedding perfect, it must include Sophie's father giving them away. There is one problem - Sophie doesn't know who their father is. Sophie takes matters into their own hands and secretly invites three possible fathers, who Sophie found after looking at their mom's old diaries. Sophie is left with a challenge to figure out who Sophie's father is, which turns into a fun and lively story that leaves many audience members wanting to both dance and sing along the entire time. A sneak preview of the production can be seen in this video. There is one more weekend of performances left that take place at 7 p.m. on November 15-17 and 2 p.m. on November 17. Tickets have been selling out quickly and may not be available for much longer.

In other exciting news, students throughout the district have been embracing election season as an opportunity to learn more about constitutional rights and processes. WBLAHS - South Campus students were trained in and served as student election judges for Ramsey County on Election Day! This was a first for White Bear students who were able to serve at various voting precincts throughout the White Bear area. Other high school students joined in on the voting fun, as WBLAHS - North Campus even had a mock election set up where students could vote and get a feel of what it will be like to go the polls when they are of legal voting age. The experience was captured in this video. While some were able to take a "trip to the polls" other WBLAHS - South Campus students traveled to the White Bear Center for the Arts to learn more about raku firing. Raku firing is a process where materials are removed from a kiln at red heat and are placed in containers of the combustible materials. After being set in these materials, the smoke blackens raw ceramic surfaces and reacts with special raku glazes, creating a predictable yet captivating surface.

Invaluable experiences

For the past seven years, Russian educators have visited White Bear Lake Area Schools for the day to see the teaching and learning happening at the buildings. This year, seven Russian educators stopped by classrooms to learn more about many areas of interest including special education service delivery models, related services, and instructional strategies. Check out their fun visit in this video. It was also fun to learn that Russian visitors from a couple of years ago ended up taking back ideas about Sunrise Creations, the card creating opportunity at Sunrise Park Middle School, and implemented it into their own schools in Siberia. They even were able to check out the quilt at Central Middle School that was exchanged in The Friendship Quilt Project where the White Bear Lake Rotary Club and community of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia collaborated in a quilt exchange. After visiting the buildings, the educators were also able to learn about district-wide departments and initiatives such as White Bear Lake Area Schools' Strategic Plan. 

There were other learning opportunities happening throughout the district, as community members gathered for Safety Information Night where they could learn about important topics presented by the White Bear Lake Police Department. The evening kicked off with a free pizza dinner! After dinner, adults were able to attend breakout sessions that covered topics such as mental health, human trafficking, internet safety, youth drug trends and awareness and teen driving laws and safety. Check out the event in this video. From Safety Information Night to Family Game Night, families at Birch Lake Elementary could enjoy games and activities to take home to practice numeracy skills! Sunrise Park Middle School students were also able to enhance their skills in Spanish class by celebrating the Day of the Dead, where they danced, learned more about the holiday and created paper skulls. 

Fun gatherings

The aroma of fresh baked goods filled the Senior Center, as community members gathered for the annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale. Artisans were able to offer their unique gifts to community members that were handmade by seniors. This was also an opportunity for community members to check out the Craft Corner and shop for fun and one-of-a-kind household items! The annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale wasn't the only fun gathering happening in the district. Oneka Elementary students recently enjoyed their Attendance Breakfast, which is a time for students to celebrate that they have been at school every day, all day for the entire month with their friends and a caring adult they could invite. The fun was captured in this video. Each student who has perfect attendance gets a certificate and each classroom teacher picks one student's name out of a hat to participate in the Attendance Breakfast that takes place every month! This is a great way to celebrate the important impact attendance has on learning! In other celebratory news, Lakeaires Elementary won the traveling trophy for being the school that had the most participants at the BearPower Homecoming 6.24K Family Fun Walk/Run! Congratulations, Lakeaires!

This month has been an exciting one, as WBLAHS - South Campus hosted a Food Drive and collected a large donation for the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf! There were many school participants throughout the district including Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International, Otter Lake Elementary, Sunrise Park Middle School, WBLAHS - North and South Campuses, WBL Area Learning Center and Willow Lane Elementary. In other accomplished news, alumnus Peder Solberg was highlighted in a South Dakota State University publication for their participation in Mayo's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship! Check out the article. From accomplishments to more fun, families recently enjoyed coming together at Sunrise Park Middle School for AVID Family Night! The great experiences continued, as staff members throughout the district enjoyed professional development opportunities. Transition Education Center staff members even listened to a Metro Transit presentation that taught them about using the city bus and light rail, and better understanding how to support students to use these modes of transportation. Now that staff members feel more comfortable, they hope to take Transition Education Center students into the community to learn the skills and increase their independence.

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



Activities Updates

Congratulations to the adapted soccer team, as they won against Robbinsdale in the playoffs and will be going to the Adapted Soccer State Tournament at Stillwater High School on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17. Both the the White Bear girls' and boys' cross country teams competed at the Minnesota MSHSL Cross Country State Championships! In other exciting news, the WBLAS Unified Bowling Team will be competing at the 2018 State Bowling Tournament on Sunday, December 2. 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

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

Date Type Time Location
November 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
November 26 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center 
December 10 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

  • November 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 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 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:
      • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Caribou Coffee, Downtown WBL
      • 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
  • Monthly Staff & Community Mental Well-Being Series - District staff and families are invited to attend monthly presentations focused on mental well-being. The second session of the series is "Suicide Identification and Intervention (QPR--Question, Persuade, and Refer)" by NAMI-Minnesota and will be held at District Center on Wednesday, November 28 from 7-8:30 p.m. Learn more about upcoming series opportunities. 
  • 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 second meeting is on Thursday, November 29 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.
  • Walk to End Hunger - The White Bear Senior Program has a team walking to raise money for the White Bear Lake Meals on Wheels program. The initiative is a community service that delivers nutritious meals to your home with the help of volunteers. Meals on Wheels helps elderly/disabled individuals, who are unable to prepare meals, stay connected to their communities, remain healthy, and live independently, for as long as possible. See a link to the White Bear team here. Find information about the district program here.
  • Upcoming cultural learning opportunities and celebrations:
    • Native American Heritage Month Speaker - All are invited to celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November with a free teaching by Dream of Wild Health on Tuesday, November 13 from 6-8:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. This is an opportunity to celebrate the legacy and learn more about American Indian and Alaska Native cultures while honoring the many Native people for their contributions to this Nation. Check out this flyer for details.
    • Ojibwe Language and Culture - Join Hope Flanagan and WBL Indian Education, as they explore Ojibwe culture and language through numerous teachings and activities. Come learn and practice Ojibwe conversational skills while deepening cultural understanding through a variety of teachings. This free opportunity will take place at WBLAHS - North Campus from 6-9 p.m. throughout the 2018-19 school year. The first class is on Tuesday, November 27. View this flyer for more information and event dates.
    • Dakota Language and Culture - Come learn and practice Dakota conversational skills while deepening cultural understanding through numerous teachings by Justin Kurta at the free Dakota Language and Culture classes throughout the 2018-19 school year. The next class will take place on Tuesday, December 4 at WBLAHS - North Campus from 6 to 9 p.m. Learn more
  • Pop-Up Hiring Event - There will be a Pop-Up Hiring event on Thursday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the District Center Auditorium (4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake) where attendees can learn about working for White Bear Lake Area Schools, all in one-stop. Kids are welcome to play while attendees apply, gather information, and even interview for positions. Check out this flyer for more details about the opportunity.
  • Randy Shaver's TakeDown Cancer event - White Bear Wrestling is hosting Ryan Shaver's TakeDown Cancer event at their meet, which takes place on Friday, December 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the WBLAHS - North Campus gym. View this flyer to learn how you can support the efforts by either donating items for the raffle or purchasing raffle tickets. All proceeds go directly towards cancer research and patient aid programs.
  • Transition Resource Fair - The Ramsey County Suburban Community Transition Interagency Committee (CTIC) is excited to offer the Transition Resource Fair to staff, families and students on Thursday, November 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the WBLAHS - South Campus Cafeteria. This event serves both Ramsey and Washington County families with an emphasis for students with disabilities grades nine and above. Typically there are around 25 community organizations that cover independent living, housing, county and vocational rehabilitation services, advocate services, employment services, etc. This year, the Transition Resource Fair will run alongside the Career Pathways Expo at WBLAHS - South Campus, giving families an opportunity to learn more about a wide range of career fields and in-demand jobs in the area. Check out this flyer for more information.
  • Career Pathways Expo - All are welcome to attend the free Career Pathways Expo at WBLAHS - South Campus on Thursday, November 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. where families can meet industry professionals, explore hands-on demos and learn more about Career Pathways. View this flyer for details.
  • Native Times - Enjoy the most recent issue of the Natives Times Newsletter, sent to district Native American families, here.
  • 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.
    • Winter Farmers Market - Community members are invited to get BearPowered and enjoy the White Bear Lake Winter Farmers Market happening on Saturday, December 8 and Saturday, January 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. indoors at Tamarack Nature Center. View this flyer for details and check out the Facebook page
  • 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.
    • The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF) recently awarded six Ryan Family Art grants to elementary school teachers in the White Bear Lake Area School District, totaling $4,650. Check out the photos! The following grants were awarded:
      • Enhancing Literacy Through Art - Cheryl Baker, Otter Lake Elementary. This project will enhance students' ability to apply watercolor techniques that they have learned during watercolor classes through the White Bear Center for the Arts. 
      • Enhancing Core Instruction Through Art Expression - Mary Liang, Otter Lake Elementary. This project will enhance kindergarten students' ability to apply watercolor techniques that they have learned during their watercolor classes through the White Bear Center for the Arts. 
      • Sending a Message: Pairing Written and Artistic Expression - Erin Maas, Chelsea Feider and Ashley Peterson, Matoska International. This project contains a cross grade level paired writing and artistic piece. Third graders will write personal narratives. Each fifth and first grade student will then have an opportunity to interpret the personal narrative and turn it into an art form. First grade students will use watercolor or tempera paint. Fifth graders will be given many choices as to which medium they would like for their artwork. 
      • I've Got Talent - Kelly Pylkas-Bock, Kelly Coorough, Alison Davies and Shannon Fulton, Matoska International. Using the conceptual idea that people use the arts to express feelings, points of view, and to connect with the world around them, the final thematic unit of the year is to teach literacy, math, visual arts, and engineering through the lens of design principles and elements. Mini-lessons will be designed to teach line, shape, form, color, balance, repletion, emphasis and movement. 
      • Oneka Elementary Art in Residence Mobility Project - Kathy Berlin, Oneka Elementary. New equipment will transport art supplies efficiently throughout the two-story building into 26 classrooms, during the Artist in Residence Program. 
      • Artists Around the World - Kelly Humphrey, Lakeaires Elementary. Students will learn about many artists around the world and their different styles and mediums used. Students will create their own work of art inspired by the artist studied and will create six unique pieces of art inspired by the artist they learned about each month. 
      • Birch Lake Theater Program - Allison Theissen, David Nestrud, Susan Fick and Jenny Storhaug, Birch Lake Elementary. This program, with participation from Children's Performing Arts, will benefit 65 students in third through fifth grade. 

Support WBLAS Students:

Staff Love Your Melon Signup - The WBLAHS gymnastics team is selling Love Your Melon hats as a fundraiser. The description of the item is available here and a step-by-step ordering guide here.

  • "Mamma Mia! The Musical" tickets - There is one more weekend of the White Bear Lake Area High School's Production of "Mamma Mia! The Musical." The rest of the performances are at 7 p.m. on November 15-17, with one more matinee at 2 p.m. on November 17. Tickets have been selling out quickly and may not be available for much longer.
  • Escape the Library - Families and community members are invited to come have fun at the Escape the Library event on Saturday, December 8 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at WBLAHS - North Campus. Children must be 10 years old and admission is $10 per person. All proceeds will go towards WBLAHS - North Campus's MakerSpace. View this flyer for details. 
  • Wrestling Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser - The 2018 Wrestling Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser will take place 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 at WBLAHS - South Campus. View this flyer for details.
  • 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 Early Childhood Naturalist Heidi Faris, who works with the district's "My Nature Preschool" and was named the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education's Formal Environmental Educator of the Year! Heidi was recently recognized for this accomplishment at an awards ceremony where they applauded Heidi for making a significant impact in the White Bear community and encouraging excellence in the field of environmental education in Minnesota!
  • My Nature Preschool, a collaborative preschool program through WBLAS Early Childhood and Tamarack Nature Center, has been listed in the acknowledgements section of a new book published called "Nature-Based Learning for Young Children: Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Budget" to be recognized as one of the leaders in high quality, nature-based preschool programming. This book was created to act as a guide to programs who are interested in incorporating nature into their curriculum. WBLAS Early Childhood teacher Jenny Hanlon helped start Dodge Nature Preschool in 2000 with the two authors of this book. Jenny shared stories for this book to highlight some of the exciting opportunities happening at My Nature Preschool at Tamarack Nature Center! Go Bears!
  • November Recognitions:
    • Native American Heritage Month
    • November 11 - Veterans Day
    • November 11-17 - Geography Awareness Week
    • November 12-16 - American Education Week
    • November 12-18 - School Psychology Awareness Week
    • November 15 - Education Support Professionals Day
    • November 15 - National Parental Involvement Day
    • November 21-23 - Thanksgiving Break 
    • November 22 - Thanksgiving

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