Community e-Newsletter

August 25, 2019

Note from the Superintendent

Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! District families will receive Beginning of the Year letters from the district soon. The piece contains important legal notices and updates about what is new in our schools, including a bond referendum that will be voted on Nov. 5. Additional information can be found here.

Wayne A. Kazmierczak, Ph.D.

Bond Referendum logo

In Photos: Summertime Excitement

A collage of students and adults enjoying summertime opportunities

Student News

Summer explorations

Students recently celebrated their success with the GenZ Connection Program this summer at their closing event. The GenZ Connection Program is a paid, experiential learning program that allows students to get hands-on experience and see all of the career possibilities in Manufacturing, Engineering and Automotive industries. The opportunity was recently highlighted in this video. Students also enjoyed getting hands-on experience with construction as they learned about it as a career choice as part of the MN Trades Academy! In other fun Career Pathways news, industry partners recently gathered at the Employer Breakfast to talk about important learning opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in areas they are interested in. Community members also 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. 

Students in front of Cup and Cone with Dr. K

There was recently a great opportunity for community members to enjoy an ice cream treat and conversation with Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak at Cone with Dr. K. Check out this fun video that Dr. Kazmierczak filmed with Bear earlier this summer to tell people about the opportunity at Cup and Cone. In other fun opportunities, White Bear Lake Area Schools welcomed new educators to the district this week during a 2-day training. Sessions included student testimonials related to the Community Core Values, round table discussions, presentations from district departments, and curriculum-related question and answer sessions. New educators also spent time in their buildings with their principal supervisors.

Fun times

Oneka Elementary recently received a fun new addition to their building. When students come back this fall, they will be able to experience a unique treehouse structure in the Media Center where they can enjoy a fun place to gather and read books. The structure is hoped to spark students' imaginations and inspire them to spend time reading! The treehouse was built by WBLAHS grads Dave and Allysa Nadeau, who own Lake Life Furniture LLC. The two also come from longtime "Bear" families and have two daughters who will attend Hugo/Oneka. In other creative news, Industrial Technology Teacher Fred Feirn recently wrote this article about how greatly enhancements in technology are benefiting student learning! From articles to podcasts, preschool teacher Jenny Hanlon recently spoke in this episode about navigating positive homework routines as a family for those who have students heading back to school.

Students giving thumbs up in front of car with officer

Students recently were able to enjoy a fun experience of getting to play with pets, including a turtle! They were also able to have fun learning from officers about the White Bear Lake Police Department. Speaking of learning, meet new principals Lori Mosser and Cathryn Peterson through video introductions that were recently shared with Hugo/Oneka and Central staff members and families. In other Central-related updates, one Central Middle School student will be performing their dance “call me a princess” at the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m.! Congratulations and go Bears! 

Enjoying opportunities

In other visitor news, district representatives recently attended a Chamber event where they connected with Governor Tim Walz! The fun opportunities continue as an All-School Reunion, 100 Year Celebration of WBLHS and Dedication of the Washington School Bell event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Sept. 28 (Homecoming weekend)! Festivities include a pancake breakfast, alumni car show, District Center tours, photos with Bear and the Bell, and book signing with author and White Bear graduate David Gehrenbeck. Complete details at Festivities started this summer with construction of the Washington School Bell monument. The bell was just recently secured in the display! The display is located in front of District Center and will also house a White Bear statue. The display is an Alumni Association gift/project. The fun news continues as Birch Lake Elementary principal Jonathan Luknic recently sported their Rec t-shirt on the equator. Go Bears! (Submit your Rec t-shirt pics to!)

Washington School Bell being hung in display at District Center


Activities Update

The Bears U16 softball team recently won the state tournament, making them state champions! The Bears U16 baseball team recently won a St. Cloud tournament with an 11-0 score in the championship game. 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

Upcoming Meetings

Past Meeting Highlights

July 15 Regular

August 12 Regular


District News

General Information

Parent Notices

  • Hugo land purchase agreement approved by School Board - At its August 12 regular meeting, the White Bear Lake Area School Board approved two purchase agreements for land in Hugo that recently became available. The purchase agreements are contingent upon a successful bond referendum on November 5 that would allow the district to build a new K-5 elementary school in Hugo, convert Oneka from grades 2-5 to a K-5 elementary, and convert Hugo Elementary from grades K-1 elementary to a northern Early Childhood location. Read the full press release.
  • 2019-20 Activities Calendar - The 2019-20 events were recently uploaded to the school and district website online calendars. The Activities Calendar publication should have recently arrived in families' mailboxes!
  • Health and Safety Notifications - Learn more about White Bear Lake Area Schools' 2019-20 Health and Safety Notifications.
  • Free/Reduced Lunch Applications - Your children may qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. To apply, complete the Application for Educational Benefits either online or using a paper form from your school. A new application must be submitted each year. At public schools, your application also helps the school qualify for education funds and discounts. Please check out this flyer for more information.
  • Bear’s Bulletin - Check out the latest Bear’s Bulletin edition with district updates, new hire information and upcoming events.
  • Back to School - We're excited to welcome students back on Tuesday, September 3. Check out school supply lists.
  • Food Permit Form - If you are planning an event that will serve food in a WBLAS building this year, please remember to complete the WBL Food Permit Form to ensure your event meets Health Department requirements. Examples include Carnivals, Fundraisers, Bake Sales and Community events. Find more information here.
  • Native Times - Enjoy the most recent issue of the Natives Times Newsletter
  • Career Pathways Newsletter - Please enjoy the August 2019 Career Pathways Newsletter!
  • Grandparent(s) and Me Class - Families are invited to enjoy a great opportunity for grandparents (or grand friends) to interact with their young learner and meet other grandparents in their community. Teachers will set up the classroom with intentional learning games and activities to enjoy together both inside and outside. Learn more.
  • We Are Hiring! - The district is hiring for a variety of positions. Find the online application page here.
  • Stay connected! - Join White Bear Lake Area Schools' social media circles - FacebookTwitter and YouTube.
  • 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!

Awards and Honors

  • Congratulations to the Oneka Extended Day team on successfully completing the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Program (MAAP). This is a rigorous process aimed at ensuring quality out-of-school time programs that create welcoming environments for families, offer students an abundance of opportunities, and emphasize social and emotional learning and development. Go Bears!

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

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.

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. The FREE Activity Pass for community members can now be picked up at the Senior Center (2484 East County Road F, White Bear Lake), as well as the District Center (4855 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake)!
  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! Find the online application page here.

Support WBLAS Students

  • Be a Bear! The district currently has many staff openings available! 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.
    • Homecoming BearPower 6.24K Family Fun Run/Walk - All families are welcome to attend the Homecoming BearPower 6.24K Family Fun Run/Walk at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at WBLAHS - North Campus. Interested volunteers can sign up here. View this flyer for more details.
    • Harvest Party - Community members are invited to the free Harvest Party from 12 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 22 at the White Bear  Area YMCA Community Garden (2100 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake). Check out this flyer or visit this Facebook page for more details.
  • 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.
    • Bear Legacy Fundraiser - All are invited to the 2019 Annual Bear Legacy Fundraiser event at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 11 at  the Vadnais Heights Commons. Learn more.