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Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Spreading Bear Cheer

Photo collage of students and community members spreading Bear cheer

Student News

Above & beyond

Two Vadnais Heights Elementary students recently received a spectacular birthday surprise from their teacher! Teacher Mark Theissen drove by and did a happy birthday shoutout to 7 year-old twins Rayla and Dessa Sowles for their birthday. The birthday surprises continued, as students drove in a surprise six-car parade to wish Willow Lane Elementary Fourth Grade Teacher Gregory Swenson a happy birthday!

Students surprising teacher for birthday by holding signs in their vehicle

Oneka Elementary, Birch Lake Elementary and Willow Lane Elementary staff members also recently had fun walking into school and enjoying surprising greetings! Birch and Oneka staff members were greeted by signs created by the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative to thank them for being on the frontline. These signs are being placed at the various locations offering essential services to families, with Willow Lane being next on the list to receive the messages of gratitude. Additionally when Oneka and Willow Lane Elementary staff members stepped onto the sidewalk recently, they were welcomed with messages of thanks from families who drew creative and bright images with chalk on the sidewalk. The sentiment put a smile on the faces of those staff members who are serving the community in this new way during this unusual time. Staff members and community partners recently thanked all staff members in this video for their hard work providing essential services to families during this time.

From creative sidewalks to the bright lights, WBLAHS - South Campus has been lighting up the stadium every Monday at 20:20 (8:20 p.m.) for 20 minutes to honor the senior class. Other Vadnais Heights Elementary, Birch Lake Elementary and Hugo and Oneka Elementary teachers recently honored their students by forming a teacher parade of their vehicles and driving past their students. This was a fun way for students to wave to their teachers and be encouraged during their Distance Learning Period.

Student and adult holding "Thank You VH Teachers"
Teacher waving to families from their car
Parade participants smiling at the camera

Awesome activities

Early childhood students recently had fun with a variety of activities including a creative counting exercise where they practiced their counting using cereal to keep track! Central Middle School band students also recently had a unique opportunity to interview composer William Owens. This was such a special experience because William Owens is a prominent composer for band, having written more than 200 pieces. Several sixth and seventh grade students recently spent an hour interviewing them virtually where they were able to gather good advice from the musician and ask them questions they had.

Adult speaking in video

The fun online experiences continued, as Birch Lake Elementary staff members have been having a great time preparing for the Birch Lake Staff Flipgrid Friday series where they make creative videos to show their families. This is a fun way for the staff members to culminate their week and keep in touch with families. Check out these fun videos. In other video fun, students recently giggled their way through a Turkey Tango dance that can be seen in this video! On another musical note, Director of Technology and Innovation Steve Asper recently visited Willow Lane Elementary and led students in a fun song while playing the guitar!

Adult cheering "Go Bears"

Distance Learning fun

Lakeaires Elementary Teacher Stacy Brodt has been getting creative with Distance Learning with their fifth grade students. Stacy modeled the growth mindset that students should have during this time with their dog, Lucy! Check out the great lesson! The creativity continued, as early childhood students have been having fun with singing familiar songs, hearing teachers read books and seeing their friends in online class. Families have also passed along their appreciation to staff members for bringing normalcy and safety during this unusual time. 

Dog and adult filming lesson for students together

Schools are continuing to get creative in making their everyday routine a fun way to connect online. Hugo Elementary students recently had fun doing their Classroom Pledge together through their own video clips. This pledge is an important reminder to students to always be kind, respectful and caring. Speaking of caring, one early childhood student recently expressed their gratitude and exercised their creativity by writing a thoughtful note to their mail carrier! Another early childhood student also embraced their creativity and thoughtfulness and made a “wish you well” board at home to use with their family! The creative, adventurous and exciting activities have been truly endless for early childhood students. Check out this great compilation of all of the fun families are having with learning, both indoors and outdoors, during this time.

Student holding a "wish you well" board they created

From early childhood to high school updates, Career Pathways Navigator Jenny Moore and WBLAHS Senior and Healthcare Career Pathways student Mitch Loberg recently were featured on Minnesota Public Radio to share how students are making the best of their opportunities during the COVID-19 situation. In other Career Pathways news, WBLAHS Teacher Derek Doescher has been working on Success Story Friday’s for their students where Derek interviews various professionals about their backgrounds and stories. Derek has interviewed several individuals including Seneca Little where they discussed “Finding Your Why”, Twin Cities Woodworker/YouTuber Matt Cremona and Matt Smoyer from Buerkle Honda in White Bear Lake. This is a great way for students to hear others’ stories to help them stay connected and motivated during this Distance Learning Period. 

Adult talking on video

Fun opportunities

In these days of social distancing community engagement via window dressings, we invite you to join the fun in creating a White Bear Window for friends and neighbors to enjoy from afar while they walk the neighborhood. Create your own "Go Bears!" Bear, or decorate the one provided here, to display in your window. Email pics of your White Bear Window display to communications@isd624.org for the chance to be included in upcoming district share-outs. Go Bears!

Window display with bear and hearts

Students recently delivered donated masks and head coverings to the Free Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic that were made by the Guthrie and a St. Kate’s faculty member. With there being so many donated masks, some will be used by the Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic and the rest will be donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. Dashing to another impressive story, one family even recently practiced their track skills by racing one another. From racing to musical accomplishments, WBLAHS teacher Fred Feirn and their neighbor, Freddie Mercury who sings in a Queen tribute band called Crown Jewels, recently got together in a socially distanced way to create a fun video!

Adults singing and playing guitar

Community efforts

Community members have been hard at work serving their fellow Bears. In March, Meals on Wheels delivered 1,324 meals. This was a combination of frozen and hot deliveries to 76 community members throughout the White Bear Lake Area School District. The service continues as the Senior Center will be offering a traveling library where they are delivering books to community members. All community members have to do is call into the Senior Center at 651-653-3121 and they can put together the number of books and genre they want. Volunteers then deliver the book bags. In other connection news, the Senior Center is also focusing on Connecting Generations Across the Community. They are working with some middle school students to have a writing buddy program. They will deliver notebooks between seniors and students and they can ask each other questions about many different topics.  They are also going to try and have the seniors ask the students questions in the book and the students will respond to the seniors via video. This will be a fun way for the buddies to connect!

Meals On Wheels volunteers working

In other fun news, the Daisy Troop Girl Scouts recently gave staff members delicious cookies to thank them for providing families with essential services at the Community Care - Tier 1 & Tier 2 Childcare sites during this time. Go Bears!

Staff members giving thumbs up over table full of cookies

Activities Update

Students were recognized by the School Board on April 13 for state and national honors in Alpine Ski and Scholastic Art Awards! The White Bear Press recently published the White Bear Lake Area High School gymnastics awards. Congratulations to Kayla Anderson for being named the 2020 Athena Award Winner. This award is given in honor of an outstanding senior female athlete and is based on both excellence in individual sports or for participation and accomplishments in team sports. Kayla is an outstanding athlete in soccer and basketball, while also being involved in participating in several school activities, volunteering in the community and achieving being on the A-Honor Roll. Kayla will be attending South Dakota State University to play soccer while majoring in Education. Go Bears!

Picture of Athena Award Winner

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 April 13 School Board Meeting, students were recognized by the School Board for state and national honors in Alpine Ski and Scholastic Art Awards. Go Bears!

Upcoming Meetings

In light of Governor Walz's Stay at Home Executive Orders issued on Wednesday, March 25, the White Bear Lake Area School Board will be meeting by telephone conference call or other electronic means under Minnesota Statutes 13D.021. During the time that the School Board is meeting by electronic means, those who would like to provide comments during Regular Meetings may submit their comments using the White Bear Lake Area Schools - Public Forum Comments form linked to the posted meeting agendas. Public Forum Comments will be read during the meeting. Public Forum will be open up to 30 minutes (3 minutes per speaker, 10 minutes per topic, no more than 3 speakers per topic as a general rule). Comments should be brief, and repetition of public comments already expressed at the same meeting should be avoided. Comments will be read in the order they were received.

(Meeting via electronic means) - School Board, Regular Meeting @ DC Subscribe to Alerts

Past Meeting Highlights

March 23 Regular

April 13 Regular

District News

General Information