January 18, 2013

College Prep 101

At Sunrise Park Middle School, eighth grade students have begun to explore their many options for life after high school graduation. To give students a behind the scenes look at various professions, the school has implemented a Career Speaker Series featuring individuals in diverse occupations. In its fifth year, the program has included guests such as NHL goalie, Dwayne Roloson, and U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Jim VanOverbeke. A new speaker is featured every other week, and this winter's upcoming line-up includes: Tim McNiff from Kare 11 News, local guitarist and composer, Billy McLaughlin, and the honorable Anoka County Judge Doug Meslow.

Eighth grade students also had the opportunity to explore local post-secondary institutions this December. As part of the third annual College Week, students chose to visit the University of Wisconsin - Stout, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Century College or Anoka Technical College. The campus tours allowed students to get a close up look at the dorms, classrooms, professor offices and of course, the cafeteria.

Other College Week activities include a dress up day where students and staff proudly display a jersey or other apparel from their favorite college team. While in the building, college fights songs can also be heard echoing over the announcement system between classes. Whatever path students chose to pursue after graduation, Sunrise Park Middle School is working to ensure that their students are challenged and supported.

Literacy on the Move

Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary School are experiencing a creative, new approach to building their literacy skills: Movement. After receiving a grant through the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, members of the Children's Theatre Company's Early Bridges program were invited into the classroom. A professional teaching artist visited each kindergarten class and instantly grabbed students' attention with puppets and other fun surprises. The kindergartners were transformed from listeners to active storytellers, using interactive songs, chants and hands-on activities to develop their skills.

You may have read the story, The Mitten, by Jan Brett, but few will ever experience it in the same way as the Vadnais Heights kindergarten classes. After receiving a separate grant through Walmart, instructors from the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts were invited to promote creation, performance, education and celebration of movement as a form of storytelling. As the book was read, students got into character and acted out scenes from the book. "We did our own animal movements for fox, hedgehogs, owls, mice and bears... it was fun!" said kindergartner Sophia Volmann.

Vadnais Heights Elementary leverages its many partnerships to promote student development. Currently, second grade students are taking water safety lessons at the YMCA, fifth graders are participating in an upcoming Camp Voyageur retreat and all students joined in the yumPower Challenge to promote healthy eating on January 17.

Activities Updates

After winning the last four games, the Girls Basketball Team is currently tied for second in the Suburban East Conference with Park High School. Congratulations to the Boy's Basketball Team for winning its past two consecutive games. The Bear Wrestling Team won a recent duel at Mounds View High School by an impressive score of 50-12 on January 10. The Boys Swim & Dive Team secured its first win of the season against North St. Paul Polars on January 8.

White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.

A comprehensive 2012-13 District Activities schedule can be found here.


Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

Upcoming meetings

Date Type Time Location
Monday, January 28 Work-Study  5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, February 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, February 25 Work-Study  5:30 p.m. District Center Room 201
Monday, March 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112