Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Impressive Bears

Collage of impressive projects and initiatives

Student News

Accomplishing greatness

Even though this year’s State History Day experience looked a bit different, it was another great success! Congratulations to all Central and Sunrise Park Middle School students who showcased their work, including three Sunrise Park Middle School students (Annika Hellmark, Ella Stadtherr, and Noura Rezk) who qualified for National History Day this year! This was an extremely special year with Noura Rezk being a repeat as a State Champion (which was also impressively accomplished in 1994 and 1996 by Carol Hinz and their partners for their displays of Lighthouses of the Apostle Islands and Eyes on the Stars:  Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II). Additionally, Annika Hellmark was passionately connected to their topic of C. Walton Lillehei, who is an American heart surgeon known as the “Father of Open Heart Surgery.” Annika conducted interviews with numerous people including former patients of Dr. C. Walton Lillehei (including Tom Anderson, current University of Minnesota Board of Regents Member), one of the few surviving surgeons who worked with Lillehei (Dr. James Moller, who gave Annika a tour of the Lillehei Heart Institute), and Lillehei's son (Dr. Craig Lillehei, a surgeon at Boston Children's Hospital). Annika even just received a congratulations letter from Joan Gabel, the President of the University of Minnesota. Annika is following in their ninth grade sister's footsteps (Kajsa was also a State Champion who finished third at the 2018 National History Day for their individual exhibit on Tinker vs. Des Moines).

Student giving thumbs up in front of project

More incredible contributions were at work. Matoska International Physical Education Teacher Ben Butters has been determined through the pandemic to follow through with the school’s annual Walk for Water, even if it meant pulling off the initiative virtually from families’ homes and neighborhoods. Ben was creative and kept families engaged, where they exceeded their fundraising goal of $4,500. They nearly doubled their goal raising almost $8,000. H2O for Life recently interviewed Ben to learn about all of Matoska’s great success with this initiative. Check out the blog. One Matoska kindergarten student even recently had fun with their Water Walk around the area with their family where they raised more than $200 to be donated to the Nyaka School in Uganda, Africa. The money will be used to build a well. Check out the experience in this fun video!

Two children standing by water

Stepping up

Former Willow Lane Elementary and current WBLAHS-South Campus student, Kolby Bachmeier, recently put up two duck houses at Willow Lane Elementary as part of their Eagle Scout Project. The great projects continued! Staff members are continuing to serve families throughout the district by providing them with meals, and were recently recognized for their hard work with yard signs for School Lunch Super Hero Day. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) even made it possible for classroom equipment to go home with the meal bags on Wednesdays in May! Recently, students were able to receive jump ropes and orange frisbees that they had fun playing with outside. Birch Lake Elementary Physical Education Teacher Scott Hoeg even has been coming up with snippets for students to learn how to use the equipment. 

Student standing next to duck house project

From one important offering to the other, families throughout the White Bear community will be receiving diapers in thanks to a recent Diaper Drive where people donated supplies to help others. Staff members recently made deliveries to families in need and the other diapers are stored in the Community Baby Closet for access. The Community Baby Closet is located at Normandy Park Education Center and is open Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. or by appointment, which can be made by calling 651-653-3100. The giving back continues. In lieu of their traditional Charity Week this year, the White Bear Lake Area High School Student Council recently organized a Week of Service where they are raising money for the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf! They have exceeded their goal of $2,000, which means Language Arts Teacher Josh Lane will be shaving their beard! Learn more about their initiative. In other kinds news, WBLAHS - North Campus staff members helped a duck and their ducklings move from the home they created in the outdoor space in the center of the building to their new safe home in a pond in the great big outdoors. Check out their neat journey! WBLAHS - North Campus staff members were also recently busy sending students a fun message to remind them how much they are missed during this time!

Collage of staff members holding messages for students

Fun moments

Birch Lake Community Care students recently had a surprise visitor during morning recess  - a Jessasaurus Rex! Jess was a friendly dinosaur, and the students thoroughly enjoyed their visit. High school students have also been having fun while they are simultaneously stepping up in a big way. Students are creating videos and sharing them on social media to raise awareness and money to help Navajo Nation, which is being extremely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have been creating videos to share what they are willing to do to promote awareness for Navajo Nation during this time, and have already raised more than $1,600. Check out this fun video of students spreading the word to give back to others!

Student smiling at camera

Congratulations to the students who were recently selected as winners for the Manitou Days Writing Contest! In other exciting news, staff members and students are continuing to work hard using 3D printing to create PPE for others. This great initiative is in partnership with a local healthcare company where staff members and students are creating small batch 3D-printed face shields in accordance with the National Institute of Health's specifications for donation to local hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Twin Cities area. They are even printing ear savers for childcare workers and members of the community that wear masks at work every day! 

Staff member holding box of PPE

Honoring Bears

Students recently celebrated School Lunch Hero Day by making a creative “thank you” banner to express their gratitude for feeding students throughout the district each day. In other exciting news, congratulations to Central Middle School student Naomi Rediger, as they will be honored at the end of May at the Virtual Law Day Essay Recognition event for being one of the winners in the Law Day Essay Contest. This year’s contest was themed Your Vote | Your Choice | Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100. From essays to artwork, Central Middle School students recently had fun in Genius Hour coming up with creative projects that had an art connection, such as creating a dog house and making wings for a person. The exciting art news also continued, as seven Central Middle School students were also recently selected to be published in the Celebrating Art Spring Contest edition. While some middle school students worked on art, Oneka Elementary students recently had fun interviewing Jana Shortal who is a reporter and co-anchor of Breaking the News on Kare 11. During the interview, they asked Jana about what their typical day looks like, what they have been doing during quarantine and any advice they may have for students! 

Students interviewing adult

The fun news continued, as Vadnais Heights Elementary students have been enjoying a countdown to kindergarten in a letter style. They were recently on the letter "H" for Hawaiian Day. One student is from Hawaii and they joined their dad while they played a song for students on the ukulele. This was a fun way for students to listen to the song while also learning a bit about Hawaii. Check out this cool video! From one cool song to the next, WBLAHS - North Campus students recently played an excerpt from Fantasia in this video, which was a part of a piece they were planning to play on their tour to Chicago this spring! 

Child and adult smiling while adult holds ukulele

Families recently celebrated their students’ success this school year at the Otter Lake Bear FUNdamentals End of the School Year Celebration. Families had a 10 minute slot to stop by, to ensure social distancing protocols were being followed, and then they had fun taking pictures, picking up their certificate, summer goodie bag and last learning bag! In other fun updates, Director of Technology and Innovation Steve Asper stopped by the Community Care - Tier 1 and Tier 2 Childcare site at Oneka Elementary and taught the students some fun new songs. The students enjoyed singing along with the guitar, and even learned a song in French. The impressive accomplishments continued! Central Middle School student Talia Domschot received the Everyday Young Hero Award for exemplary community service! Youth Service America recognized Talia as an Everyday Young Hero for their efforts to raise funds to help construct a water catchment tank and latrines for Nasaruni Academy in Narok Town, Kenya. Talia had purchased ingredients, made and sold dog biscuits, making $1,125, which went towards helping students in Kenya gain access to water, sanitation and hygiene education! From one project to the next, students at the Community Care - Tier 1 & Tier 2 Child Care site at Willow Lane Elementary recently had fun getting creative with creating a mythical golf course and fun art projects.

Student standing in front of %22Bear FUNdamentals%22 banner

Activities Update

Before the May 11 School Board Meeting, students were recognized by the School Board for state- and national-level honors in History Day, middle school music, the M3 Math Challenge and MAAP Stars. Go Bears!

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 May 11 School Board Meeting, students were recognized by the School Board for state- and national-level honors in History Day, middle school music, the M3 Math Challenge and MAAP Stars. Additionally, this year's Student Liaisons, 11th grader Jennifer Adams and 12th grader Madison Carroll, were recognized at this week's School Board meeting. Thank you for your service, students! The recognitions can be seen in this video (starting at 10:28)! 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.

School Board Regular Meeting Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room 112, District Center

Past Meeting Highlights

April 27 Work-Study

May 11 Regular

District News

General Information