November 17, 2019
Note from the Superintendent
It has been more than one week now since voters approved our referendum request with 57.4% yes votes. We are incredibly grateful for this vote of confidence and support in our schools, our staff and our students. Now we can begin planning to Build Our Future!
Funds will be used to address projected enrollment growth throughout the district; provide safe, secure and healthy learning environments for all students through investments in our aging facilities and infrastructure; increase opportunities for students by creating a single unified grades 9-12 high school; and create flexibly-designed learning spaces to support student-centered instruction. (You can read the full press release here.)
Thank you, White Bear Lake Area Schools community, and thank you to everyone who took time to learn about the referendum, share information with others and go to the polls.
We have a lot to do, and you will hear from us very soon on what the process will be moving forward!
Wayne A. Kazmierczak, Ph.D.
In Photos: Exciting opportunities
Community members gathered for Safety Information Night where they could learn from the White Bear Lake Police Department about mental health, human trafficking, internet safety, youth drug trends and awareness, and teen driving laws and safety. Attendees were also able to enjoy a free dinner together before the breakout sessions. The experience can be seen in this video. The communal experiences continued, as all were invited to attend the Career Pathways Expo event! At this opportunity, attendees could apply for and explore high demand jobs, connect with local organizations about ways to get involved at the Community Volunteer Fair and learn about offerings at the Transition Resource Fair. The community opportunity was featured in this video.
There were even more rewarding experiences! Students throughout the district honored those who have served and are serving our country at Veteran's Day. Early childhood students and community members celebrated at a Veteran's Day program where community members could enjoy an Appreciation Coffee and Donuts opportunity, learn about services for veterans and their families from Ramsey County Services Director Maria Wetherall and participate in a flag ceremony and patriotic sing-along. Early childhood students and community members, who are a part of the Ukulele Bears group, had fun singing together in a beautiful melodic blend! Check out the celebration in this video. Central Middle School students also were able to gather to honor veterans at their annual assembly. The seventh grade band played the National Anthem to start the assembly. Then, the students were able to learn from veteran Barry Henriksen about the history of Veteran's Day and what it means to serve our country. Henriksen even showed the students pictures of their time serving in Iraq. At the end of the assembly, the Central winners of the Patriot’s Pen essay contest were announced, which were Miriya Nguyen, Ashley Fisher and Lily Konetchy. These students will move on to the district level contest.
The opportunities continue throughout the district, as the White Bear Press provided a sneak peek at the WBLAHS Fall Musical "Aida," which debuted this weekend. Tickets for the last few performances of the White Bear Lake Area High School’s production of “AIDA" at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21-23 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 23 are available to purchase at this link.
Key Club students and Kiwanis recently teamed together and gave out pumpkins for donations of any kind in a White Bear Lake Township neighborhood. Kiwanis then generously offered to give Key Club the proceeds of $400. They recently celebrated and presented the money to the club. The donation will help fund future key club projects. One example of a project they completed this year was making homeless care packages to distribute to people in need around the Twin Cities area. Last year, the South Campus Ambassadors group changed to become an official Key Club. Key Club International, founded in 1925, is the oldest service program for high school students. Often referred to as simply Key Club, it is a student-led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through serving others. They are part of the Kiwanis family, a global network of volunteers, specifically Stillwater Kiwanis who are their sponsors.
Lakeaires Elementary Principal, Mr. Krusemark, was recently getting all wrapped up during the first grader's fall party. Students were celebrating the various traditions that fall brings to our community. In other celebratory news, Birch Lake Elementary students recently celebrated their successful "Sock-Tober" where they worked on collecting new socks for people in the community and donated them to St. Andrew’s Community Resource Center. The representative from St. Andrew’s joined the students at an all-school assembly to receive the sock donation. The rewarding exchange can be seen in this video.
The WBLAHS - South Campus gymnasium was packed with yogis, as the community came together to enjoy being active and stretching at Family Yoga Day. Mayor Jo Emerson and the White Bear Lake City Council have proclaimed the second Saturday of November White Bear Lake Family Yoga Day, making this the perfect time to celebrate the health and wellness of our community. Third through fifth grade students have also been stretching their muscles as they have been embracing being active at Girls on the Run. They celebrated their hard work by participating in a big race recently at the Mall of America.
From one active story to the next, four high school students recently signed letters of intent for their post-secondary and athletic plans! The four students who signed are:
- Thomas Rodriguez Jr. - Lacrosse, University at Albany (SUNY)
- Mackenzie Ternes - Soccer, Augustana University
- Madeline Verkerke - CC and Track, University of Minnesota Duluth
- Kayla Anderson - Soccer, South Dakota State University
Other students have also been embracing opportunities! Senator Wiger visited with high school students to hear their feedback about a conference they attended in October called “Nothing About Us Without Us: Centering Youth Voices to Lead System Change.” It was a student-led summit where students across the Suburban East Conference came together to discuss needs and develop action plans with their adult allies. The students shared their positive impressions of the conference with Senator Wiger. They also shared ideas about how to make their school more welcoming for students of color. The important conversations continued, as students, staff and a community member recently came together to discuss the definition of student agency. Each participant played an important part in sharing what this means in alignment with the district’s Strategic Plan. During this opportunity, they were able to participate in a collective learning experience to understand others’ definitions of student agency and discuss why it is important to the future of education throughout the district. After defining and discussing what student agency meant to each person, there was an opportunity to understand the exciting next steps in the future of learning in White Bear Lake Area Schools.
A great tune
Recently, Ceramics 1 students from South Campus participated in their annual fall field trip hosted by White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA). The students created their first pottery wheel projects at school and brought the bowls to be fired at WBCA. The method of firing used is called Raku, a modified version of a Japanese style of low-fire pottery. During the process, the pieces are removed from the kiln at its hottest temperature (1900 degrees Fahrenheit) and placed into a chamber, covered with combustible material (paper) and let to cool in a reduction atmosphere. This causes beautiful reactions in the glaze colors. The students also had an opportunity to learn and experience labyrinths, learn about ceramics from the Mata Ortiz area of Mexico and learn about Guatemalan textiles. Other students in the district will get to enjoy fun upcoming art opportunities, as well, as the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF) recently awarded six Ryan Family Art grants to elementary school teachers in the district, totaling $5,519. Read the full story here.
Choir students and staff recently received some exciting news about their accomplishments! Choir teachers Wendy Suoja and Eliza Snortland sent in audition recordings for 29 students interested in the ACDA Regional High School Honor Choir. This year, 979 students from Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin auditioned for the group, and nine students from White Bear Lake Area High School were chosen! They will travel to Milwaukee and spend March 4 through 7 singing with some of the strongest musicians in the Upper Midwest. Additionally, two more students were chosen as alternates. In other great choir news, 20 students from WBLAHS - North Campus auditioned for the ACDA MN 9-10 Honor Choir and eleven were selected! These eleven singers will get to rehearse and perform with the strongest singers in Minnesota in February! Go Bears! The teachers said they were incredibly proud of the students who were selected and were equally as proud of every other student who auditioned. From musicians to alumni authors, those wanting a copy of alumni author David Gehrenbeck’s book, "White Bear High School: Celebrating the Centennial of a Building 1918-2018", can pick them up from the Superintendent’s Office. The books are $20 and checks are payable to David Gehrenbeck.
From White Bear to Washington D.C., district representatives recently were excited to celebrate Lincoln Elementary for being named as one of 362 schools throughout the country to be named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019 at an awards ceremony in the nation's capitol. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Only ten schools in Minnesota are being recognized in the program this year.
WBLAHS alumnus Ben Keller was recently featured in a Luther College publication for their work on the soccer field. Congratulations to the White Bear Adapted Soccer Team who will be playing in the State Tournament that will take place on Nov. 22 and 23 at Stillwater High School. Four high school students recently signed letters of intent for their post-secondary and athletic plans! 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 November 12 School Board Meeting, the School Board congratulated the following students and staff members for their accomplishments with:
- Girls’ Cross Country
- Boys’ Cross Country
- Adapted Soccer
- Unified Flag Football
Check out the experience in the November 15 edition of The Week in 62.4 Seconds video.
Past Meeting Highlights
October 28 Work-Study
November 12 Regular