Community e-Newsletter

Note from the Superintendent

With a busy two months of school already completed this year, the calendar turns and the Nov. 5 Election Day is quickly approaching. It is crucial for our families to make it to the polls to vote in this important school-related election on or before Tuesday, Nov. 5. If you are unsure where to vote, visit https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Bear holding a "Go Vote Bears" sign



Information about all early voting locations can be found here.

As a reminder of items on the ballot, this election season White Bear Lake Area School District residents are voting on two school-related items:

  • three School Board seats are up for election
  • the community is voting on whether to provide funding for building needs across the district

If approved, the bond funding would provide space for our resident enrollment growth throughout the district, improve school safety and security, address deferred maintenance needs and update classrooms for more flexible learning spaces.

The Comprehensive Facilities Plan is the result of a tremendous amount of discussion and planning over the past year, with a 90-member committee made up of community members. The plan positively impacts all of our buildings and students. It provides more programs and opportunities for all residents, aligns with the district’s Strategic Plan and is financially sustainable. A list of projects to be completed at each building can be found here.

If the referendum fails, the growing resident enrollment that is projected in the coming years will lead to overcrowded schools, higher class sizes, and insufficient space for educational and community programs. Critical safety, security and maintenance needs will not be addressed. The district’s current split-campus high school experience will continue. Learning spaces will not receive updates to support student-centered instruction.

Find complete information at www.isd624.org/Bond2019, and remember to vote on or before Nov. 5.

Go (Vote) Bears!

Wayne Kazmierczak, Ph.D.
Superintendent

2019 Bond Referendum logo

In Photos: Exciting Adventures

A collage of students enjoying exciting adventures

Student News

Embracing kindness

Central Middle School Students celebrated Kindness Week recently through a variety of activities. Throughout the week, students were encouraged to wear an inspirational favorite t-shirt, participate in an act of kindness, and read a children's book focused on kindness in their home base classes. Students enjoyed reading the book "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed", which can be seen in this video. To conclude the week, students were encouraged to wear orange for a School Spirit and Orange Out Day to show solidarity for treating others with respect. In other kind news, Unity Day was also recently celebrated in the district, as students put on their best orange outfits. Birch Lake Elementary students continued the kindness recently by celebrating "Sock-Tober", led by their Student Council, where they have been working on collecting new socks for people in the community and are then donating them to St. Andrew’s Resource Center. Positivity continued to be spread throughout the district, as community members gathered for Diwali Tea together recently. Diwali is the Indian festival of lights that marks the victory of good over evil. This event is part of the Many Faces opportunities, which aims to build community through storytelling while recognizing, honoring and embracing all cultures with humility and respect. At the Diwali Tea event, community members could enjoy conversations, tea and snacks, which can be seen in this video.

Community members smiling at the camera at Diwali Tea event

From tea to baking, community members also recently gathered to enjoy the Annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale at the Senior Center. At this event, attendees could enjoy shopping around the Annual Craft Corner Gift Shop Sale, featuring items handmade by seniors. There was also an opportunity to shop for delicious baked goods at the annual event. From bake sales to artistic experiences, Matoska International's kindergarten students recently enjoyed a fun art opportunity with a parent volunteer! They had fun with an International Baccalaureate art lesson, teaching students to be open-minded and risk takers. Kindergarten students had fun creating paper cutout landscapes. Check out the exciting experiences and masterpieces in this video.

Student working on art project

Outdoor learning

It was an exciting time at Otter Lake Elementary, as the community celebrated at the ribbon cutting ceremony for their new outdoor classroom! After three years of planning, fundraising and determination, the Otter Lake Outdoor Classroom Committee invited others to celebrate the completion of this great opportunity for students. This was possible due to an E3 Grant from the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, which is a grant to help students' understanding and attitudes toward science, the outdoors, the community and the world. Teachers will be able to take students outdoors and provide them with opportunities to explore, observe the weather, read in nature and learn about animals and their habitats in authentic ways. Students will also be able to use the learning space for Otter Lake's pollinator program, which is an added value STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) unit for fourth graders where they can conduct research on plant pollination. The outdoor classroom was constructed on the north side of the school, which faces the native prairie, existing woodlands and the Otter Trail. The Prairie School is now complete with student seating and a prairie style steel pavilion to establish a creative work space for students to investigate the environment. The seating was designed and built by Eagle Scout Brady Welsh whose mother is Sue Welsh, a second grade teacher at Otter Lake Elementary. This outdoor classroom was an investment by the school community to inspire creative exploration of the environment for decades to come. In other environmental news, Lincoln Elementary and Birch Lake Elementary students recently had fun raking and helping out community members with fall clean-up.

Otter Lake Elementary Outdoor Classroom

Community members had fun dressing up and participating in the Bear Scare Fun Run! This was a great way for families to have fun being active while also supporting Otter Lake Elementary and Lincoln Elementary. Families could choose from three exciting routes they could race their friends in while wearing their costumes. Dashing to the next fun update, Vadnais Heights Elementary students have been enjoying running and staying active after school by participating in Run Club. The experience can be seen in this video. Students' hard work and preparation paid off when they were able to participate in the colorful Be Great Run recently! The fun continued as early childhood families were invited to a Family Costume Party where they could enjoy family time together while dressing up. In other fun news, WBLAHS alumnus Drew Larson was recently highlighted in a Bethel University publication for their role on the varsity football field. Off of the football field, third through fifth grade students have been embracing being active at Girls on the Run. They have been busy training away for their big race that will take place on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Mall of America.

Community members running at Bear Scare Fun Run

Upcoming opportunities

High school students are dancing and singing away in preparation for their fall musical "Aida." This production is about an enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, who becomes romantically entangled with the Egyptian captain, Radames, which is a forbidden love. Aida is forced to find balance between their heart's yearning for Radames and Aida's responsibility to lead their people. A behind-the-scenes preview of the rehearsals can be seen in this videoPurchase tickets today. Performances will be taking place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15-16, 21-23 and a matinee on Nov. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. Free tickets are available to seniors for the 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Nov. 16, but tickets should be reserved through the regular ticket process. The Saturday, Nov. 16 matinee will have an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

Students on stage in rehearsal for the Fall Musical - "Aida"

Sunrise Park Middle School students have been busy in their classes building projects! The fun experiences can be seen in this video. The eighth grade Manufacturing students are finishing their animal bank projects and starting their cutting board projects. Through these experiences, students learn a lot about machine usage, gluing and applying different finishing products. Sixth grade students have also been busy, as they are designing an eraser cube puzzle on Autodesk Inventor. This is helpful for using a drawing software and understanding the different ways to look at objects in 3D. Speaking of fun hands-on experiences, community members are invited to enjoy the Career Pathways Expo from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at WBLAHS - South Campus. All ages are welcome to this fun and free event where there is something for everyone. At the event, attendees can 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. Learn more

Students working on cutting board project in class

Fun times

WBLAHS - North and South Campus band students recently enjoyed having the Romm Trio visit their classrooms. Ronald Romm is a founding member of the world famous Canadian Brass quintet. The trio that visited WBLAHS - North and South Campus features the Romm family including Ronald (father), Avis (mother) and Aaron (son). The musical experience can be seen in this video. From one visit to the next, Lakeaires Elementary recently enjoyed learning from a visitor they had from Ghana. Cecelia Ewool was an exchange student in high school and lived with the family of Lakeaires Teacher Sandy Whitby. Cecelia and their husband Edmund came back for a visit to Minnesota and Cecelia presented information about Ghana to many classes on October 21 and 22. Cecelia shared about the geography, history, landscape, plants, animals and the flag of Ghana. Students also had a fun opportunity to ask their visitors questions!

Musicians performing for students

Central Middle School FLEX students have partnered with production at District Center for a job opportunity. FLEX is an after school program and students have been hard at work organizing paper and making copying as easy as possible. They are paid for their time in bear cards, which they turn in to purchase fun items including scrunchies, treats, pencils and toys. They are also working on new art to hang and will be adding some funny copy room memes to brighten others’ days. Speaking of fun days, other Central Middle School students were recently able to enjoy a field trip to H.B. Fuller, which is a global adhesive manufacturer. H.B. Fuller has a nature preserve and engaged students in identifying native and invasive plants. Two of the invasive plant types seriously affecting the metro and outstate areas are common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn. Once thought of as a decorative hedge plant, these plants are affecting many plant and animal habitats. As they prepared for their visit, the seventh grade students were introduced to a variety of globally invasive plants and animals. These exotic types of plants and animals are spreading faster, taking over forests and wetlands, and affecting the diversity of native species around the world. Students spent half of their time engaged in an outdoor lesson and the other half pulling buckthorn out of the nature preserve.

Two students participating in outdoor project

Staff members have been busy too throughout the district serving as experts in ther fields. District elementary world language teachers Ariana Lowther (Otter Lake Elem), Natalie Huffman (Oneka Elem) and Brita Larson (Hugo Elem) presented at the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Culture statewide conference last weekend. Additionally, Community Services Programmer Tracy Cook, Cultural Liaison Briana Santoscoy and Director of Community Services Tim Maurer recently presented at the annual Minnesota Community Education Association State Conference. Their session was called "The Beginning of an Equity Journey", where they shared White Bear Lake Area Schools' equity commitment journey and how community education can support this work through our programming, community engagement and outreach efforts. The White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services and Recreation team played an instrumental role in the planning of the Minnesota Community Education Association (MCEA) Annual State Conference. In collaboration with colleagues in the northeast metro, they scheduled dynamic keynote speakers, developed professional learning education sessions, and provided networking and continuing education opportunities for community education teams across the state. 

Three teachers smiling at camera at statewide conference

The fun experiences continued! KARE 11 Meteorologist Laura Betker recently visited Lincoln Elementary and presented to students. The students also did a "weather minds" video that was shared out on Friday's newscast, which can be found here. The students learned about KARE 11, reporting, the technology behind sharing the weather and weather concepts. Laura performed multiple experiments and demonstrated the science behind weather conditions, giving students a better scientific understanding. Students then had an opportunity to ask a variety of questions involving weather, reporting, and science. From science to art, high school students recently visited the White Bear Center for the Arts to learn about raku firing while enjoying other creative experiences. Raku firing is a process where materials are removed from a kiln at red heat and are placed in containers of combustible materials. After being set in these materials, the smoke blackens raw ceramic surfaces and reacts with special raku glazes, creating a beautiful and unique surface.

KARE 11 Meteorologist conducting science experiment for students

Activities Update

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. 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.

Bond Referendum Info to Know...

Informational graphic about details to know for the upcoming Bond Referendum
Informational graphic about early voting information regarding upcoming Bond Referendum
Informational graphic about the district's projected enrollment
Informational graphic about tax relief measures regarding the Bond Referendum
Informational graphic about a positive review from the Minnesota Department of Education regarding the Bond Referendum
Info to Know - Vote Early by Mail information
Info to Know - Impacts All Buildings and Students information
Info to Know- Public Meetings information
Info to Know - Sample Ballot information
Info to Know - Solutions informational graphic
Info to Know - Go Vote Bears informational graphic
Info to Know - Early Voting in Person informational graphic
Info to Know - High School informational graphic
Info to Know - Community Organizations informational graphic
Info to Know - Facts informational graphic
Info to Know - Early Voting Locations informational graphic
Info to Know - Current Capacity informational graphic

12 Facts Every Voter Should Know

The October 27 Community e-Newsletter Video Edition was a video showcasing 12 Facts about the November 5 Bond Referendum, as shared by district students.

School Board News

Upcoming Meetings

Past Meeting Highlights

October 14 Regular

October 28 Work-Study

District News

General Information

Parent Notices

  • Building Bond 2019 Referendum Update - On November 5, White Bear Lake Area School District residents will vote whether to provide funding for building needs across the district. If approved, the bond funding would provide space for our growing enrollment, improve school safety and security, address deferred maintenance needs and update classrooms for more flexible learning spaces. We invite you to become more familiar with the bond referendum, which impacts all of our buildings and students, by visiting the district's website (www.isd624.org/Bond2019).
    • Bond Referendum Public Meetings - Materials shared at the Bond Referendum Public Meetings that took place on Sept. 24, Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 can be found below:
    • WBLAS Referendum Proposal Receives Positive Review from State Department of Education - The Minnesota Department of Education has given its stamp of approval to White Bear Lake Area School District’s bond referendum proposal that will come before voters on November 5, 2019. View the full press release.
    • SCC Interview regarding Bond Referendum - The Suburban Community Channel recently interviewed Superintendent Kazmierczak about the upcoming Bond Referendum. Check out the interview in this video.
    • Star Tribune article regarding Bond Referendum - Dr. Kazmierczak was recently interviewed for a Star Tribune article about school elections happening this fall.
    • Go Vote Bears - It is crucial for our families to make it to the polls to vote in this important school-related election on or before Tuesday, Nov. 5. If you are unsure where to vote, visit https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.
    • Community groups endorse Bond Referendum - On November 5, White Bear Lake Area School District residents will vote whether to provide funding for building needs across the district. If approved, the bond funding would provide space for growing resident enrollment throughout the district, improve school safety and security, address deferred maintenance needs and update classrooms for more flexible learning spaces. Learn more
  • No School on Election Day, November 5 - Please remember that November 5 is a No School day in White Bear Lake Area Schools. The decision for Nov. 5, 2019 to be scheduled as a No School Staff Professional Development Day was made when the calendar committee was creating the 2019-20 calendar approved by the School Board on December 10, 2018. The decision was made in response to parents and community members who expressed safety and security concerns related to the potential for the mixing of community visitors and students in those buildings throughout the district that serve as polling locations during elections.
  • SchoolMessenger sign up for text capabilities - Our district utilizes the SchoolMessenger system to deliver district-wide and school-wide voicemails and emails regarding notice of emergency closings, attendance and nutrition services notices, general upcoming events, and other important announcements from the district or school. Families have the ability to opt in to text message notifications that will be shared (to those who opt in) when school and district messages are sent regarding emergency closings, attendance and nutrition services notices, general upcoming events, and other important announcements from the district or school. Follow these steps to sign up for the text notifications.
  • “AIDA” WBLAHS Fall Musical Tickets Available - Tickets for the White Bear Lake Area High School’s production of “AIDA” (being performed Friday, Nov. 15 - Saturday, Nov. 23) are available to purchase at this link.
  • 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!
  • Emergency School Closing Notifications - If winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, guardians will also be alerted in three ways as soon as a decision is made:
      - A SchoolMessenger phone message and email will be sent to all guardians. A text message will be sent to those who have opted in to receiving texts from the district.
     - A message will be posted on the homepage of www.isd624.org.
    - Messages will be posted on the District's Facebook and Twitter pages.
    Find complete information here.
  • Career Pathways Newsletter - Please enjoy the November 2019 Career Pathways Newsletter!
  • Upcoming events:
    • Safety Information Night - Parents are invited to Safety Information Night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 at WBLAHS - South Campus. The free Information Night is an opportunity for parents to enjoy a free dinner and learn more about mental health, human trafficking, internet safety, youth drug trends and awareness, teen driving laws and safety. Free childcare is available for those in need. To register for daycare, please email Sergeant John Vette at JVette@whitebearlake.org and include your children's names and ages. Learn more.
    • Career Pathways Expo - Community members are invited from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 13 to enjoy the Career Pathways Expo event at WBLAHS - South Campus (3551 McKnight Road, White Bear Lake). At this event, attendees can apply for and explore high demand jobs, connect with local organizations about volunteer opportunities and receive transition resources and information. View this flyer for more information.
    • Children's Sleeping Habits - Families are invited to learn more about children's sleeping habits at a free early childhood event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7 at District Center. View this flyer for more information.
    • Movie Night - White Bear Indian Education will be presenting Movie Night at 6 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Dec. 18 at District Center! View this flyer for more information.
    • Monthly Mental Well-Being Series - District staff and families are invited to attend monthly presentations focused on mental well-being throughout the school year. The third presentation will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the District Center Community Room 112. The topic will be Adverse Childhood Experiences & Relational Trauma: What it is, how to identify it and how to heal from it by Family Resources Recovery Experts. Find more information on the district's website.
    • Winter Market - The Winter Market will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 9, Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 at Tamarack Nature Center. This is an opportunity for community members to shop for fresh produce from local farmers and producers. Learn more.

Awards and Honors

  • November Recognitions:
    • Nov. 10-16 - Geography Awareness Week
    • Nov. 11 - Veterans Day
    • Nov. 11-15 - School Psychology Awareness Week
    • Nov. 18-22 - American Education Week
    • Nov. 20 - Education Support Professionals Day
    • Nov. 21 - National Parental Involvement Day
    • Nov. 27-29 - Thanksgiving Break
    • Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving Day
  • 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.

  • Senior VoiceCheck out the latest edition of the Senior Voice.
  • Resources Guides - Stay informed about the latest community offerings for seniors in the community with these three guides:
  • 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

  • “AIDA” WBLAHS Fall Musical Tickets Available - Tickets for the White Bear Lake Area High School’s production of “AIDA” (being performed Friday, Nov. 15 - Saturday, Nov. 23) are available to purchase at this link.
  • Annual Wrestling Spaghetti Dinner - All are invited to enjoy the Wrestling Spaghetti Dinner from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4 at WBLAHS - South Campus for $8 per person.
  • 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.
    • Family Yoga Day - Families are invited to enjoy Family Yoga Day where they can celebrate the health and wellness of the White Bear community from 9 to 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 at WBLAHS - South Campus. View this flyer for more details and register today.
    • Winter Market - The Winter Market will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 9, Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 at Tamarack Nature Center. This is an opportunity for community members to shop for fresh produce from local farmers and producers. Learn more.