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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 video. Purchase 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.