Community e-Newsletter

Commitment to Support and Unity

As you may know, on Wednesday night our high school administrative team was notified that messages from an anonymous Instagram account and group chat were directed towards several of our students of color. The language used was racist, hateful, and threatening and resulted in students not feeling safe at school. We are working closely with our partners in law enforcement to identify the responsible party as quickly as possible. 

During recent years we have asked our students to give voice to their experience and have been listening closely. Our students, in particular our students of color, have expressed concern about racism within our schools. Our recent Equity Audit Report provides valuable student insight and further evidence that racism has created an unwelcoming environment for many of our students and negatively impacts all of our students. A team of students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members are in the midst of helping us create the district's first-ever Equity Action Plan (EAP) that will help us to advance systemwide equity initiatives.

The deliberate, disgusting actions of some are not consistent with the core beliefs of our school district, nor are they consistent with any part of our mission statement, especially the key attribute that ours is a culture that respects diverse people and ideas. These actions are not consistent with our equity commitment: To nurture the whole student, we disrupt systemic inequities by recognizing, honoring, and embracing all cultures with humility and respect. 

Please be assured that as a school community we stand united in our commitment to ensure a safe, respectful environment for our students. Racism and racist behavior will not be tolerated. The outpouring of support for our students of color provides hope that we can become the community that all of our students deserve. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak, Superintendent

In Photos: Conversations and collections

collage of students and staff members

Student News

Getting outside

A group of 25 Environmental Club volunteers, WBL Career Pathways, and Manley Gardening & Landscape, LLC came together recently to clean up the WBLAHS - South Campus Peace Garden. The Minnesota Department of Education Race2Reduce Grant is supporting the redevelopment of the outdoor space at South Campus. The WBLAHS Environmental Club will leave a legacy for years to come by creating a sustainable and environmentally-friendly outdoor learning lab that all students and staff can use. The team will share final results in June 2021!
 
students starting garden
With the weather turning warmer, the April School Nurse's Update covers many important topics, including symptoms of COVID, seasonal allergies, variant strains, mitigation strategies and a Parent FAQ re: determining close-contacts.
screenshot of part of nurse update information
The White Bear Press recently featured Water Warriors involved with the H2O for Life program in White Bear Lake Area Schools. The students are doing what they can to fight for clean water across the globe, including hosting a socially distanced community water walk planned for June 6. Read the full article here.
 
students receiving large check

Hugo Elementary students recently collected boxed goods for the Hugo Food Shelf. Before the items were turned over, students celebrated out on the blacktop by watching a domino run of all of the collected boxes. The collection contained a total of 663 boxes of food that weighed in at 602 pounds when the donated goods were dropped off at the Hugo Food Shelf. 

cereal boxes lined up as dominoes

Important conversations

The video of the March 30 Informational Presentation is available on the district's YouTube channel and on the School Start Time Change informational page of the district website, www.isd624.org/SchoolStartTimeChange. At the event, guest speakers Dr. Rachel Widome, Dr. Con Iber and Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, experts from the University of Minnesota, presented important information related to the proposed change and answered attendees' questions. The proposal to change school start and end times, starting in the fall of 2021, is on the April 12 Regular School Board Meeting agenda as an action item.
 
thumbnail of informational presentation video
High schoolers led middle school students through focus groups this week to talk about supports that are important to the student experience. The team is gathering information to build a student mentor program, the Anchor Program, that we are excited to be launching next fall. The program is made possible through a United Way grant.
 
students and staff in focus groups
Members of the Middle School and High School Student Advisories met with Superintendent Kazmierczak and other district leaders during the last couple of weeks. The conversation covered varied topics including current events, the school start time conversation, Bear logos and the construction project for the unified White Bear Lake Area High School building. The high school meeting was covered in last Friday's issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds."
 
middle school students meeting with adults
White Bear graduate Justin Smith's recent White Bear Press article, "Technology is a game-changer," chronicles ways technology has played a role in helping him participate in regular activities. Smith is a disability rights advocate, blogger at JustinSmithWrites.com, and speaker about accessibility and living with a disability. 
 
adult in front of a computer with specialized technology
White Bear Lake Area Schools played host to the last "Coffee with Dr. K" event of the school year in the rain-out location of the Community Room at District Center last week. Community members stopped by for an informal chat about a variety of topics over a cup of joe with Superintendent Kazmierczak and district leaders. Footage was included in the district's weekly video.
 
coffee being poured into cup

Connections

For the past decade, students in Amy Corner's Oneka Elementary classrooms have made a connection with White Bear Lake resident Don Moore, who does a read-aloud in her class every Thursday. Now that visitors are not coming in to the school buildings, "Grandpa Don" as he's known by the students, visits the classroom via videoconference. Read the full article in The Citizen here.
group of elementary students in front of screen with adult videoconferencing
A few White Bear grads are in the spotlight of a recent White Bear Press article about nuptials gone awry due to COVID-19. Read about the grads' flexibility in finding new venues, changing reception dates, and re-envisioning the special day altogether here.
two adults in nature

 The district's Senior Program is hosting a Parking Lot Rummage Sale from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on May 22 in the Normandy Park Education Center parking lot. Those who wish to reserve a spot to sell can do so through the district's Community Services Registration platform here.

Special Attention

Industrial Tech Teacher Dan Rossiter was recently selected as a recipient of the 2021 Vern Vick Memorial Award. Each year, this award is presented to individuals who have contributed to the support and empowerment of Ramsey County’s youth through personal, academic or career development.
 
portrait of adult
Each year, the White Bear Lake Area Educators go through a Teacher of the Year process. The following White Bear Lake Area teachers were named recently as finalists in the 2021 Teacher of the Year process: Robert Anderson, Brietta Hutson, Kendall Gonzalez, Mary Maloy, Kathy Berlin and Elizabeth Ulmer. The finalists continue on in the Teacher of the Year process and the winner will be announced later this spring.
 
 
six teachers in their classrooms

The district's Community Services Summer Catalog includes the Bear's Bulletin, a flip-book companion to the catalog that includes district/school updates and notices of upcoming events. The recent Spring 2021 issue included a call for pics of students in their Bear Wear, and the community did not disappoint. Those who wish to do the same may email photos to communications@isd624.org - you may find your little one(s) featured in a District publication!

babies and young children in Bear shirts

Activities Update

The WBLAHS Baseball Team will host its Home Opening tomorrow, Friday, April 12. Middle School Athletics seasons will start tomorrow as well.

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

Upcoming Meetings

The April 12, 2021 School Board Work Session Meeting will be conducted in person at District Center, with social distancing measures being put in place.

The remainder of the 2020-21 School Board meetings will continue to be viewable via electronic means. Livestream links are available on the district's online calendar and will be posted on the Meeting Materials page the week prior to each meeting.

School Board Work Session (Meeting in-person, viewable via electronic means) Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room, DC 112
School Board Regular Meeting (Meeting in-person, viewable via electronic means) Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room, DC 112

Past Meeting Highlights

March 22 Work Session

March 1 Regular Meeting

District News

General Information