February 21, 2016

"And Now, The Rest of the Story"

These familiar words were a tagline of American radio journalist American Paul Harvey. Harvey invited listeners to join him behind the headlines to better understand stories in the news.

In an era of 24/7 news, social media posts and tweets within seconds of breaking news, stories come to us like crashing waves. Only rarely does a story come like a quiet pool, where we are invited into the depths. 

Last month we attended a community dinner at one of our elementary schools. Guests were warmly welcomed by high school students, courteously escorted to the gymnasium by other students and served dinner by students. 

Arriving in the gymnasium, young children eagerly headed for a craft and play areas, staffed by...yes, you are correct, by high school students. 

The dinner was made possible by a suburban collaborative of the county and school districts, with the purpose of encouraging genuine community engagement, transcending differences of age, race, culture and language.

Four generations gathered around the tables. Guided by student emcees and discussion questions, guests listened to one another talk about what helped them succeed in school and learning, and about facing and overcoming obstacles.

More than one hundred community members arrived as families or neighbors. They departed as friends, grateful for the conversation and the sense of community.

But what about the 14 and 15 year-old students who spent months planning the event, serving as hosts, servers, emcees and translators with such confidence?

As we listened to students reflect this week, we learned they felt respect, trust and appreciation. Perhaps the adults behind the scenes were worried, but not so the students. 

"We knew we were well prepared...and could count on one another and the adults who mentored us. We knew what we were doing was important."

These are lessons we would all do well to remember.

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

62.4-second video updates

Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year.



Activities updates

Girls' Basketball Captain Alison Hinck has been selected by the Girls' Basketball Coaches Association to play in the All Star Game in April.

Click here for a schedule of all fall sports contests. 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 Recognitions

 

Before the February 8 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized the following students and staff:

  • Honor, all-conference, or all-state band students
  • Honor, all-conference, or all-state choir students


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School Board Meetings

 

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
February 22 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center
March 14 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
March 28 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center


For highlights from the most recent School Board meeting, click here.

 

In Photos: Willow 5th grade Donatelli's experience!

Special visitors

White Bear students and staff are continually stretching boundaries when it comes to innovations and partnerships, and the exciting outcomes of such efforts are ones to celebrate. This is the primary purpose behind the annual Legislative Breakfast - to share and celebrate how the community and district have come together to make great things happen, and to discuss future opportunities. Area legislators, School Board members, WBLAS staff and students recently gathered at WBLAHS - South Campus for this event, starting out with breakfast and time to mingle with one another. Students and staff then took turns presenting on specific initiatives in which they've played role in and how their efforts have made a difference for our community. The ConnnectED Partnership with Suburban Ramsey County Libraries was highlighted first. Sunrise Park students shared how they now use the new joint library card system for anything from homework help to leisurely reading. For more information on this initiative, you can watch this video - which was presented recently at a White House Conference (this conference was covered more extensively in a previous edition of the e-Newsletter). Other partnerships highlighted at the Legislative Breakfast were the district's water conservation efforts, including its role in passing a bill last session, and the high school's new Manufacturing Pathways Program, to name a few. The Legislative Breakfast was also featured in our most recent 62.4-second video update.
 

Prior to this, some well-known Minnesota lawmakers came to visit our Willow fifth grade students - Governor Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith. Governor Mark Dayton was invited to White Bear by Willow fifth grade student Alexina Erickson, who wrote him a letter asking him to come and have lunch at Donatelli's restaurant. Though, this wasn't an invitation to dine together. For the past eight years, Willow fifth grade students have been helping out at the local restaurant, taking on jobs such as a host, server or cook. The students spend months preparing for this opportunity, with their teachers showing them how to write resumes, cover letters and how to nail an in-person interview. The restaurant owners then interview each of the students, then decide which jobs would be the best fit for them. Each student is also given the chance to invite a "VIP" guest to come and enjoy lunch during the student's work shift. Needless to say, Governor Dayton accepted Alexina's invitation and she was the server at his table. He and Lt. Gov. Smith came in for lunch and exchanged business cards with Alexina and her fellow Willow fifth grade students who were also on the job that day. This particular day at Donatelli's was featured in a recent 62.4-second video update and also on WCCO-TV. If you're in the mood for some Italian food and great service, Willow students will be working at Donatelli's every Tuesday afternoon for the next few weeks.

Our ALC Insight Recovery Program also hosted special guests recently, giving students and staff a different perspective on the dangers of addiction. Martha Wegner and David Hay shared their experiences living with addiction. Martha shared readings from her book, followed by a question and answer session with the two of them. "Dear David: Dealing with My Son's Addiction One Letter at a Time" is Martha's account of how her son David's addiction to drugs affected his family. The content is based upon letters she wrote to David after he walked away from a treatment program in 2014 and disappeared. David is a 2014 graduate, and was recognized as an Academic Achiever as a senior. Martha and David also shared their presentation with ALC staff during a recent professional development day. 

Warming hearts

We know that February is I Love to Read Month as well as the month of Valentine's Day, so passing around Valentines with personalized messages for students to read couldn't be more fitting. This is what the BOSS and student council students at Oneka Elementary did as part of a special activity called We Are Love. As a gift to every student in the building, BOSS and student council students hand crafted and wrote kind messages on Valentine cards, then hand delivered them to each student from one classroom to the next. The students chose this activity not only because of Valentine's Day, but because they wanted demonstrate what they learned at WeDay a few months back. WeDay is a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities. WE Schools is a year-long program that nurtures compassion and gives people the tools to create transformation and social change.
 

Oneka and Hugo students were also warming hearts, quite literally, during another recent activity called Jump Rope for Heart. Throughout an entire school day, classes of all grade levels packed the gymnasium for a variety of jump rope and hula hoop activities. Students checked their heart rate after 30 seconds of activity, to see how such activities can really get their heart pumping. Besides practicing these heart-healthy activities, they raised money for the American Heart Association, too. The money is still coming in and the grand total has yet to be determined, but so far the two elementary schools have raised over $5,000 for the American Heart Association by participating in Jump Rope for Heart. Students and staff were excited to get some exercise while raising money for those battling heart disease. This Jump Rope for Heart activity was also covered in our most recent 62.4-second video update.

Educational performances

Performances are just one, of multiple ways our seventh grade students can complete their History Day projects. Every year, seventh grade students at both Sunrise Park and Central Middle Schools take part in a research project that relates to an annual theme. This year's theme is; Exploration, Encounter and Exchange. Students picked an American History topic back in October, conducted months of research, then were able to present their findings with either a performance, website, exhibit board, paper or documentary. Central Middle School recently held their History Day Showcase event where all of these research projects were either performed or on display. Community members were invited to walk through the sea of exhibit boards, check out the websites and watch live performances from our seventh grade students in costume. The best projects from either middle school will compete on March 12 at WBLAHS - South Campus at the regional level, then the state level competition will take place May 1 at the University of Minnesota. Central's History Day Showcase was also featued in this 62.4-second video update.

Meanwhile, a few of our WBLAHS students recently sharpened their performing skills at a Newsies Clinic put on by the Spotlight Musical Theatre Program in the Twin Cities. Our students were given the rare opportunity to take a Dance Masterclass led by cast members from Newsies. WBLAS students Tom Perreirra, Julito Cabrera, Per Swenson and Sisloob Lo took part in the clinic and spent time with the famous performers.
 

 

Superintendent's Message

  • "And Now, The Rest of the Story"


Student News

  • In Photos: Willow 5th grade Donatelli's experience!
  • Special visitors
  • Warming hearts
  • Educational performances
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities

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