At Vadnais Heights Elementary, all fourth grade students have been working hard the past few weeks learning about endangered species and how to secure a better future for them through Project Based Learning. Each student chose an animal from the endangered species list, researched their adaptations, habitat, status and efforts for preservation. Students used their research to graph average life expectancies of various animals, created informational books on Bookcreator.com, made digital collages, and constructed a potanimal (potato animal) to represent their chosen animal. All fourth grade students participated in a Google Hangout with a real life zoologist from Como Zoo. Students learned about Zoo Keeper Allison’s background, how they became a zoologist, along with research and efforts that Como Zoo is working on to preserve our Polar Bears. Students successfully completed their projects recently by proudly sharing their final Project Based Learning findings with special guests including family, friends and retired staff members.
From one project to the next, WBLAHS - South Campus students are enjoying BearWorks jobs where they are creating BearWorks cards for every occasion. Students are labeling, die-cutting, designing, embossing papers and gluing and assembling the unique, handmade cards. This is a great opportunity for students to learn job skills, and can be seen in this video. BearWorks cards are available in the WBLAHS - South Campus main office during school hours. From creating cards to toy boxes, Thrivent and Habitat for Humanity recently collaborated with Sunrise Park Middle School to help WEB Leaders enjoy a service project where they constructed toy boxes for the Habitat homes they build. The experience can be seen in this video.
The spirit of serving
Central Middle School students recently enjoyed their first service event for their Central Serves student group. They will be holding monthly sessions with students to enjoy sorting clothing for The Closet (a resource for district families in need), decorating Meals on Wheels bags and making door hangers for Cerenity Senior Care and other organizations. The service experiences didn't stop there as Central students also recently visited Feed My Starving Children to help provide meals to those in need throughout the world while building a community of learners with the class and give students the opportunity to be out of their comfort zone to work as a team to help others. The teamwork continued, as Central Middle School students also recently had fun making gingerbread cookies in FACS class. They were able to plan, make and bake the dough. Then, they were able to sprinkle their unique touches by decorating their delicious cookies. The experience can be seen in this video.
From one exciting experience to the next, WBLAS Career Pathways and the Gen Z graduates participated in a panel designed to share the WBLAS framework that many school districts are attempting to replicate as they continue to explore and expand career pathways opportunities. Career Navigators Jenny Moore and Michael McGarthwaite lead innovative programming to support high school graduates to be career and college ready upon graduation, as well as address the unique workforce issues in the NE Metro area. Seniors Kevin Lundgren, Gavin Tschida and Harris Brekke completed the 2019 Gen Z Connections program last summer within the WBLAS Career Pathways program. Gen Z Connections is a paid, experiential internship that provides students opportunities to learn and explore a variety of different careers in the Manufacturing, Engineering and Automotive Industries.
Otter Lake Elementary students recently were able to enjoy a quilt-making experience together. Fourth grade teacher Kristine Abrahamson recently read students the story "The Patchwork Quilt" by Valerie Flournoy and Jerry Pinkney. In the story, the main character, Tanya, and their grandmother decide to make a quilt using piles of fabric that belonged to other members of the family. By the end of the book, the quilt becomes a story of the family's love and dedication to each other. Students made their own patchwork quilts after reading the book by writing four stories that have special meaning to them, events that they will never forget. After writing the stories, they created illustrations for each one. The final step was putting it all together so it resembled their very own patchwork quilt. The experience can be seen in this video.
In exciting performance news, the White Bear Lake Area High School choirs will host a new tradition, with singers from grades 9th-12th performing a concert in the North Cafeteria called "December Dinner" on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17. While the choirs perform, the audience will eat a three-course meal served by Donatellis. Tickets are available for purchase at bit.ly/DecDinner. Additionally, students throughout the district have been having fun performing in a variety of concerts!
Leading the way
Willow Lane Elementary students have been making a big impact at their school through their Leadership Team roles. The Student Leadership Teams are created by students who have an idea about how to make Willow Lane a better place. Students started the Anti-Bullying Team to help put an end to bullying and spread kindness. Check out the students hard at work in this video. Other leadership teams include the Cleaning Team, the Mentor Team, the Summit Team and the Make Your Day Team. While students enjoyed leadership opportunities, so did staff members. New educators were able to enjoy a New Educator Professional Development opportunity where they could learn from Strengths-Based Coach Alissa Daire Nelson. Alissa encouraged educators to focus on their strengths, reflect and harness their awesomeness. In other awesome news, families, students and staff recently gathered for a parent engagement session where they were able to collaborate regarding the district's Strategic Plan.
The WBLAHS wrestling team had a great showing at their recent "Turkey Tussle", which was featured in this White Bear Press article. 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.
The Week in 62.4 Seconds
Enjoy The Week in 62.4 Seconds videos highlighting weekly district activities throughout the school year.
School Board News
School Board Recognitions
Before the December 9 School Board Meeting, the School Board congratulated the following students and staff members for their accomplishments with the:
- Unified Bowling Team
- Varsity Bowling Team
Also, during the December 9 School Board Meeting, retiring Board Members Ellen Fahey and Scott Wilson were honored.
Check out the experience in the December 13 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video.