September 13, 2020
Note from the Superintendent
As we begin this school year, which looks different than any we’ve weathered in the past, I want to take a moment to thank you, families. Your partnership as we serve students in a new way, whether you have chosen the hybrid learning model or distance learning for your student(s), is appreciated.
Our staff members have put an immeasurable amount of work into preparations for the successful start to the school year - both in the forefront and behind-the-scenes - and we are excited to welcome everybody back this week as we learn together in this new way.
Wayne A. Kazmierczak, Ph.D.
The fall rhythm
Willow Lane staff members recently joined together outside and got back into the rhythm of the school year, literally. Staff members drummed on the bottom of buckets and made a beat together with the drummers who were visiting and leading them in the musical experience together. This was a refreshing and unique way to kick off the school year together as a team.
Staff members were recently welcomed back at the 2020 Convocation Experience event. During this virtual event, staff members could enjoy student performances, a video message from School Board members, a fun handwashing video reminder from cheerleaders, an overview of opportunities and updates from Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak and a message from keynote speaker, educator and innovator Caroline Hill. After the presentation, staff members could learn more and enjoy an engaging live Q&A session with Caroline Hill.
Heading back to school
While the start of the school year looks different than most, staff members and fellow students are getting excited to welcome each other back, whether it will be online or in-person. Information about what the school will look like can be found directly on the district's isd624.org/Fall2020 website, which has a Return to School Guide, a Fall 2020 FAQs doc, a list of all district-wide communications sent out to families, and additional resources including a newly-added Face Covering Guide. Those who are looking for general back to school details can find school supply lists, free/reduced lunch applications, Skyward Online Family Update information and calendar links here.
In addition to the district-provided updates, local members of the local media have also covered this year's unusual circumstances. Dr. Kazmierczak was recently interviewed in this video by the local Suburban Community Channels team, talking about getting students back to school safely this fall. Otter Lake Elementary Principal Cynthia Mueller was contacted by the White Bear Press and offered some words of advice as families prepare for learning this fall in this article.
Our youngest learners will also be heading back to school this week. Spots are available at all of our Early Childhood preschool locations. Please see the website or stop by Normandy Park Education Center to register for classes!
#BackToSchoolBears Facebook Challenge
As we begin school this week, families, staff and community members are invited to share back-to-school pictures, along with why they are excited for the school year, on Facebook.
Those who include the #BackToSchoolBears hashtag will have a chance at being featured in a Sept. 27 Community e-Newsletter #BackToSchoolBears photo collage!
White Bear Lake Area High School senior Ava del Castillo entered a painting into the Minnesota State Fair K-12 Artwork & Photography Contest and made it into the virtual showcase, which is quite an accomplishment as only the top three artworks in each category are featured in this virtual display. The entire showcase can be viewed here.
Painting a picture with words, WBLAHS - South Campus student Rachel Lonn recently won second place in the 2020 Minnesota Youth Constitutional Forum Essay Contest. Rachel had to identify the largest flaw in the American constitutional framework and propose a change. Their essay is linked here.
In alumni news, 2002 White Bear Lake Area High School grad Tim Ngo was included in a recent White Bear Press article as a volunteer at Mel-O-Dee Stables, where he found Reins of Love and his purpose in life. In August, the band Ember Island, comprised of five recent WBLAHS grads, performed in the Marketfest "Music in the Park" event. The former WBLAHS band percussionists play a variety of music from the 60s to today, switching instruments regularly (including banjo and mandolin), employing lots of vocal harmonies and sharing their love of music with their audience.
White Bear Lake Area High School is excited to welcome Marla Zitelman as their new head girls’ tennis coach (learn more). The girls' soccer team won a recent match vs. Forest Lake (see article). Go Bears!
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.
School Board News
Past Meeting Highlights
August 10 Regular
August 24 Work Session