Community e-Newsletter

Note from the Superintendent

We are excited to welcome our youngest elementary students (grades K-2) back for in-person learning this week, and for their grades 3-5 classmates to be joining them in person on Feb. 1!

As elementary students come together again, it's a good time for a reminder of self-screening measures.

Go (Stay Healthy) Bears!
Dr. K

list of COVID-19 symptoms


In Photos: Important lessons

collage of student and adult photos

Student News

Lessons learned

Students in the district’s Bear FUNdamentals program learned about Japan this week, with lessons taught by district staff member Risa Sato Knoche. Students enjoyed seeing photos of Knoche’s family and home in Japan, learning a few Japanese words and completing lessons about Japanese New Year. They also created their own Kendama games and Hagoita, a Japanese badminton game. Knoche, who hails from Japan and has worked in the district for three years, also Japanese culture through camps with the district’s Extended Day program.
young student playing Kendama
Families have recently attended virtual "Welcome" events to learn about the district's offerings and register their children for the 2021-22 school year. Those who missed the events or would like additional information can find Welcome to White Bear info here. The landing page contains links to early childhood, elementary, middle school and high school program pages.
Incoming tenth grade students have the opportunity to register for a new Ethnic Studies class that was recently approved at the School Board. See a video pulled together to let students know about the new course here.
Ethnic Studies Class video thumbnail
White Bear grad BJ Kirschhoffer and his father are learning more about efficiently tracking polar bears, working together to figure out a "Burr on Fur challenge" of making a radio tag stick to a bear. See the complete White Bear Press story here.
polar bear with radio tag
Although they weren't able to perform the interactive song in the way the group has done in years past, the WBLAHS Windjammers recently perfected and performed White Winter Hymnal in a virtual fashion. They pulled off the choreography in video with great style and creativity! Enjoy the performance of the small ensemble eleven juniors and seniors students here.
grid of 11 students singing
When Vadnais Heights Elementary students return to school in person, they'll find that the hallways look a bit different. While students have been learning from home, an artist has been in the school painting book characters throughout the building along with greetings to  students and staff members in several different languages. Principal Sara Svir included a mention and reveal of the hallway in last week's Kindergarten Tour/Meet events, and the incoming kindergartners and their families enjoyed seeing the fun, inviting additions to the decor.
hallway mural of characters saying hello


Community engagement

The district's Senior Program will continue to be a pick-up location for the Re-Grow WBL effort. In December, staff and volunteers handed out more than 300 meals, and NewTrax delivered another 63. The Senior Center staff also organized a holiday gift bag for 90 of our Senior Center members. Donations came from individuals and local businesses and 90 were distributed. Although it was a difficult day weather-wise, it was very rewarding for staff and volunteers!

cars lined up in snow

In similar drive-thru fashion, a group of senior parent volunteers hosted a “Senior Pick Me Up Day” at WBLAHS-South Campus before Winter Break. Local business support from Carbone's, Bear Nutrition and Caribou Coffee in Downtown helped make the initiative possible. See fun photos of the day here.

adults holding motivational signs at drive-thru event

White Bear grad Steve Engstran was recently highlighted in the White Bear Press for his 30 years of service to the community as a White Bear firefighter/EMT. Engstran capped off a career on a memorable date with a shift that ended at midnight on the first day of 2021. He also serves the community by serving as a City Councilman and a WBLAHS basketball announcer. Read the complete article here.

firefighter equipment and portrait

The White Bear Press recently included an article from Director Tim Maurer, who covered ways the Community Services Department continues to serve community members of all ages. See the complete article, which highlights safety precautions, childcare options, learning opportunities for all ages, and a request for community feedback, here.

One of the ways our youngest learners show their engagement in community is by sporting Bear Wear. We're thankful that whenever we put out requests for Bear pics, fun photos always seem to find their way to us. Enjoy a few photos below that have come in recently - a little one in their "I'm a Bear" shirt, a granddaughter showing off a personalized gift featuring the new White Bear watertower (named "Olgie" by the little one, a big fan of the bear who keeps watch over the city), and a throwback pic taken circa 1989. Go Bears! Have a pic you'd like to submit? Send it to us at!

photo collage of children in bear shirts


Planning ahead

We are excited to launch our Elementary Distance Learning Academy this week, with Amber Walsh serving as the principal for the remainder of the year. Walsh, who currently serves as a dean at Central Middle School, served as an elementary principal earlier in her career. A landing page of information can be found for DLA families here. Welcome to the Elementary Distance Learning Academy, students and families!

thumbnail of Distance Learning Academy page of website

The 2021-22 Academic Calendar was approved at the January 11, 2021 School Board meeting. The 2022-23 calendar will be presented for discussion within the next couple months as construction timelines and project staging are being finalized.

Community members recently attended a virtual "Coffee with Dr. K" event, submitting questions that Dr. Kazmierczak addressed during a livestream event. A Q&A doc of the conversation can be found on the district website.  The next Coffee event will take place from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on April 6. Details of the event will be shared as the date approaches.

Coffee with Dr. K over a white bear image

The district's Community Services catalog will arrive in residents' mailboxes this week. Th publication includes January - May learning opportunities for community members of all ages and a Bear's Bulletin flip-book that includes 2020 Annual Update pages. See the publication here.


School Board News

Upcoming Meetings

The remainder of the 2020-21 School Board meetings will 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 Regular Meeting Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room 112, District Center
School Board Regular Meeting Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room 112, District Center

Past Meeting Highlights

January 11 Regular Meeting

December 14 Regular Meeting

District News

General Information