Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: February Fun

Collage of students enjoying experiences

Student News

"I Love to Read" Month

Lakeaires Elementary students have been cozying up with their books "Under the Sea" for “I Love To Read” Month. Students have been able to read their book in the front entrance hallway of the school that is decorated to make students feel as if they are reading under the water and next to fishes, dolphins and coral. The students were even able to enjoy a visit from Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak who had fun reading with the students. The important reading celebrations continued as Lincoln Elementary students were recently able to enjoy a visit from award-winning children’s author Mary Bleckwehl! They were able to learn more about the process behind publishing and writing a book!

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak reading to students

Turning the page, Otter Lake Elementary students had an exciting day kicking off their sports-themed readathon with special guests - Bear and members of the Gophers Football Team. Check out the excitement in this video. After the kickoff, students were able to enjoy their first reading session. During the weeks of the readathon, students have fun with daily reading sessions and special events along the way. Ten fourth grade Otter Lake Elementary students also recently presented their fall science investigations at the University of Minnesota's Ecology Fair. The projects all used the Otter Lake restored prairie in their investigations and focus on pollinators. The adventures continued, as WBLAHS - North Campus students enjoyed some quiet reading time, which they participate in every Wednesday. 

Gopher football team members and Bear smiling at camera

In other reading updates, families recently kicked off "I Love To Read" Month by enjoying a free storytime event with Washington County Librarian Shelby Dupre. At this collaborative event, children and families participated in storytime, made a winter craft, received a free new book and took a literacy tip "Activity Calendar" home to practice literacy skills. They also hosted a "Literacy Night" event recently in partnership with the Ramsey County Library. Early Childhood hosted these two events to network with both county library organizations to ensure all families in the district had an opportunity to connect with their local library.

Community members listening to adult read a book

Learning opportunities

Sunrise Park Middle School students were excited to pick up their gear and head outdoors for boot hockey. The wintery experience can be seen in this video. Also at Sunrise, representatives from the Winter Carnival recently visited the school to knight a student! In other fun news, ALC grad Lucas Moren was recently highlighted as a success story by Construction Career Pathways. From one successful story to the next, elementary staff members recently enjoyed an important professional development day together. Staff members weren't the only ones gaining important professional knowledge recently. Willow Lane Elementary students took over Donatelli's where they are working as cooks, servers and hosts. Check out the fun experience in this video. They worked hard preparing for their jobs by writing resumes, cover letters and they even interviewed for their positions with the Donatelli's managers. Willow students will be working at Donatelli's during the lunch hour (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ) each Tuesday left in February (Feb. 11, 18 and 25) and March 3. Stop in for a terrific meal and great service! Learn more.

Student smiling at the camera in Donatelli's kitchen

Early childhood families had the opportunity to beat the winter blahs and have some summer fun during this cold season at their Beach Party. Students were encouraged to wear their summer gear and come toss beach balls, play in the sand and water and enjoy a frozen treat. In other Early childhood news, a FREE Community Baby Shower, for parents of new babies birth to six months old, is taking place Wednesday, April 22 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Call the Early Childhood Program at 651-653-3100 to RSVP, reserve free childcare for siblings, or get more information. Learn more. Speaking of opportunities, in the Feb. 2 Community e-Newsletter Video Edition, students shared their ideas about school design in "If I Built A School." Students continued to share their voices,  as middle school students were recently able to participate in the Latino Unidos Leadership Conference, led by high school students, which can be seen in this video. This was a time for students to meet with their Latino classmates and friends, share their stories and talk about changes they want to see in school based on their experiences.

Exciting experiences

Roughly 100 Matoska International first grade students had a great time visiting the White Bear Center for the Arts. This field trip was possible due to a Ryan Family Art Grant from the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, allowing students to enjoy a gallery show, scavenger hunt and art experiences. The gallery show was a fun adventure for the students, as they were able to learn about the artists, Mary Ann and Gary Carlson, who created sculptures using antiques, old musical instruments and repurposed items.

Student smiling at the camera at the White Bear Center for the Arts

High school students had fun with their One Act Play, "Sleepless in Siena", as they recently held public performances for the community to enjoy. This was a  colorful show filled with modern references that had audiences laughing from start to finish! Check out a bit of the production in this video. While some could enjoy performances, other students at schools across the district recently enjoyed celebrating Global Day of Play. This was an opportunity for students to have fun with a day of unstructured play where they could spread toys out around the room, enjoy crafts, play board games and have fun playing freely. Their excitement can be seen in this video.

Students playing game with teacher

Creative fun

Our incoming kindergarten students, class of 2033, have enjoyed receiving Welcome Packets, complete with notes from their new school and "I'm a Bear" t-shirts! Speaking of Bear spirit, WBLAS staff members recently volunteered at Solid Ground by donating food and preparing a "taco bar" for residents. They served approximately 80 people and prepared 14 "to go" containers for individuals unable to make the meal (also an additional six containers to leave for families the following day). This was just the start, as they have another group volunteering in two weeks!

Student wearing "I'm A Bear" t-shirt holding note

Students have been having fun with wellness! Recently, seventh grade students at Sunrise Park Middle School put together slides about wellness to share with secondary students throughout the district. Additionally, students enjoyed local daikon radishes that were served at all district schools. From veggies to art, students received recognition as part of the Scholastic Art Awards, which is a highly competitive art show for students in 7th - 12th grades. Students that receive a gold key in the state competition have their artwork displayed on the University of Minnesota campus and their artwork is forwarded on for consideration at the National Scholastic Art Awards. Congratulations to the following students for being recognized this year at the Scholastic Art Awards:

Central Middle School Students

  • Mia Binsfeld - Gold Key (advancing to national competition), Silver Key, Honorable Mention
  • Isabel Celski - Honorable Mention
  • Isabella Femrite - Silver Key
  • Kate Harrington - Honorable Mention
  • Natalie Jahnke - Honorable Mention
  • Tho Nguyen - Honorable Mention

Sunrise Park Middle School Students

  • Xanthea Carlson - Gold Key (advancing to national competition)
  • Jessica Grann - Honorable Mention

White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus Students

  • Ly Fastner - Gold Key (advancing to national competition)
  • Rebekah Lillo - Honorable Mention
  • Helen Nelson - Honorable Mention
  • Heidi Trinh - Honorable Mention
  • Lilly Vanderwood - Gold Key (advancing to national competition)

Speaking of artistic accomplishments, community members flexed their creative muscles as they participated in Coffee and Canvas Fanciful Peacock. The artists stroked their paint brushes creating beautiful paintings of their own versions of the majestic peacock bird.

Community members posing with their art projects

Activities Update

Central Middle School eighth grade student Lily Pederson recently competed in Texas where they achieved their score needed to officially become a junior elite gymnast. There are currently fewer than 25 junior elite gymnasts in the entire country. Lily placed 1st All Around with a score of 52.7. 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.

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