September 2, 2018

Student News

  • In photos: Convocation - Future in Focus
  • #BackToSchoolBears
  • Chasing goals
  • Boating & BearPower
  • 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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Welcome to 2018-19!
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! District families will receive Beginning of the Year letters by mail during the week of September 3. The piece contains important legal notices and updates about what is new in our schools.

Find electronic versions below:
English version
Spanish version

In photos: Convocation - Future in Focus

Student News


District staff members came together to kick off the 2018-19 school year at the Opening Convocation event - Future in Focus. Student performers included the WBLAHS drumline, WBLAHS cheerleaders and senior Emy Marier, who sang the National Anthem. Speakers included School Board Chair Don Mullin and 2018 Teacher of the Year Maggie Clark. The main bulk of the program was Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak, who provided highlights of the work being done at the buildings/programs before working with colleagues to tell the story of the Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Facilities Planning process and a crowd-based innovation platform we will be implementing with staff members this year called The Big Sleuth. This video was shown at the event to capture the excitement around the Strategic Plan that is shaping the future of White Bear Lake Area Schools. The back to school fun continued as students in elementary, middle school, high school and at the Transition Education Center and Area Learning Center all enjoyed activities and opportunities to prepare for the 2018-19 school year. Check out the August 31 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video to see the excitement at Convocation and other welcome back events that happened last week throughout the district.

In other back to school news, the #BackToSchoolBears Facebook Challenge has begun and families are invited to submit their favorite back to school pictures for a chance to win a Cup and Cone treat hand-delivered from Bear. Include #BackToSchoolBears and @isd624 (then click on White Bear Lake Area Schools to tag the district) in a post, whether it be your first day of school pictures or from your office, explaining why you are looking forward to the 2018-19 school year for a chance to win the ice cream treat. Learn more about the #BackToSchoolBears Facebook Challenge on the district's website. Staff members recently enjoyed the New Educator Induction event where they were introduced to the district and able to connect with other new educators. They even put on White Bear Lake Area Schools Recreation Department t-shirts and cheered "Go Bears!" for the camera! While some educators enjoyed the New Educator Induction opportunity, others participated in the Summer Innovation Camp where participants could learn more about innovative pedagogy. 

Chasing goals

It is an exciting time at Otter Lake Elementary, as a groundbreaking event recently kicked off the start of an outdoor learning area being built on the north side of the building. Stay tuned this fall to see students enjoying the space in an edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video. Community members recently enjoyed a meal together, as Vadnais Heights Elementary began welcoming in students before the official start of the school year with its annual neighborhood picnic. Generous donations, of school supplies and backpacks were given out at the event and provided by Trane, St. John in the Wilderness and Community of Grace. Trane, a heating, ventilating and air conditioning manufacturer, celebrated 40 years of their Control Center by donating 40 backpacks and having staff stuff them full of crayons, markers, folders, notebooks, highlighters, pencils and rulers. Speaking of picnics, families enjoyed the Choir Fundraiser Pizza Picnic where they ate dinner, played yard games and listened to live music from several choir students. All proceeds from the event will help offset the cost of the WBLAHS - South Campus Choirs' New York trip in April. While some families gathered to enjoy a meal together in White Bear, the Minnesota State Fair is also in full swing and families could enjoy food and viewing district students' artwork that is on display in the Education Building at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. 

There were more get-togethers recently happening, as community members enjoyed a beautiful, breezy day exploring White Bear Lake on pontoons at the Community Boat Ride event. Volunteers drove the boats around the lake and gave others the gift of exploring what life is like floating on the water. While some people recently enjoyed summer boating, fall is right around the corner and it is not too early to start training for the BearPower Homecoming 6.24K Family Fun Walk/Run. This free event will take place on Saturday, October 6 at 9:30 a.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. There are two courses to choose from including a 6.24K (3.87 miles) route and/or a 1 mile walk/run. Register today! While some are running towards their next goals, others are chasing their dreams in a different way. The next time you pick up a book to read, you just may spot a familiar White Bear face. Alumna Anika Reitman is featured on the front cover of the "Becoming Bea" book by Leslie Gould. Anika has made chasing their dreams become a reality, as Anika moved out to California after graduating and has successfully landed several modeling and acting opportunities. Anika can also be seen in acting roles in various television shows and short films. 

Boating & BearPower

Alumnus David Gehrenbeck, who has given back to the district in countless ways through the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, continues to give back. He and White Bear Lake Historical Society Executive Director Sara Markoe Hanson recently delivered two class picture frames to Dr. Kazmierczak to add to the photos on display on the second floor of District Center. The '49 grad is currently writing a book to celebrate the 100th anniversary of District Center, which opened its doors in 1918. The book is expected to be published in the spring of 2019, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the first graduates from the building. Speaking of District Center, it was recently an exciting night at the building at the August 13 School Board meeting, where the district acknowledged a great accomplishment as White Bear Lake Area Schools recently received a District of Distinction Award for its Race to Reduce Partnership. Leaders from H2O For Life and legislators who were instrumental in securing funding support were in attendance for the Board meeting at which the award was presented. 

From conversation to vegetation, community members are invited to enjoy fresh, local produce at the free BearPower Harvest Party event on Sunday, September 23 from 12 to 3 p.m. The meal will be served starting at 12 p.m., while it lasts. Two local chefs, Ben Pratt, owner of Ingredients and the Burger Bar, and Matt Ellison, Corporate Chef at Bonfire Restaurants, recently met at the White Bear Area YMCA Community Gardens in preparation for the BearPower Harvest Party. The meal will include soup and grilled veggies prepared by the local chefs along with homemade bread prepared by White Bear Lake United Methodist Church. Families will also have the opportunity to enjoy activities together by learning gardening and seed saving tips. Read this flyer or visit this Facebook page for more details. 

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


Activities Updates

Lincoln Elementary 5th grader Allie McLean competed in the second round of a Minnesota State Fair amateur talent show contest. In other fun news, the White Bear Lake Area Schools Mountain Bike Team volunteered to help keep the trails maintained at the Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail. 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
September 10 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
September 24 Regular/Special 5:30 p.m. District Center 
September 24 Work-Study 5:45 p.m. District Center


For highlights from the most recent Board meeting, click here