Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Impressive Bears


Student News

Innovation and Collaboration

Matoska International students were hard at work last week piecing together a school-wide project. With help from professional artists at Artlet 26 studio, students spent three days designing and constructing mural panels which will be displayed around the building. Each panel depicts one of the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) themes. Watch the artwork come to life in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

High Schoolers in the Outdoor Education and Recreation class are building custom fishing rods from scratch. Last week, students prepared and marked where the guides will go along the spine. They also installed the tip top ring to their rods. These features on the rod hold the fishing line in place. Get a closer look at the project in this video

Something is beginning to bloom inside a science classroom at Area Learning Center. Students are monitoring their vertical garden! They constructed and installed the setup using recycled water bottles. Students planted lettuce seeds and are actively watering and waiting for the plants to sprout out of the soil. Their hands-on activity was highlighted in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". Meanwhile, students from WBLAHS and the ALC were recently featured in the White Bear Press for their participation in the YMCA Model United Nations program.

Willow Lane Elementary students were visited by a special guest last week. University of Minnesota Gopher Men's Basketball player Parker Fox stopped by during their Student Summit. With the theme this month being perseverance, Parker shared his story with students about overcoming a devastating leg injury that took a year to recover from. When he finally did, the same injury happened to the other leg leaving him sidelined for a second year. Parker also signed autographs and helped lead several inspiring chants with students and staff.


Exploring Interests

High school students in the Biomedical Engineering class were invited by WBLAHS graduate, Sydney Beck (now a Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Minnesota) to attend a STEM Outreach Event sponsored by Medtronic. The class heard from U of M undergraduate and graduate students about their journey in engineering, internships and work experience thus far. Medtronic employees guided students through a hands-on activity in Materials Identification within the Medtronic Failure Analysis Lab. WBLAHS students left with a first-hand look into a leading global medical device company and with a glimpse into a career in the biomedical, chemical & material sciences industries. 

In Visual Media Art and Design,  Sunrise Park Middle School students are learning about visual identity and graphic design. For this assignment , which was captured in this video, students created designs for Mariner Middle School. They researched the mission statement of White Bear Lake Area Schools and the historic Mariner High School. Then, students learned how symbolism and graphic design show up in posters and graphic t-shirts. Last week, they finalized their designs, so when future students walk through Mariner Middle School they can see things made for kids, by kids. Students, staff and community members are also invited to celebrate the history of Sunrise Park Middle School during a Sunrise Sunset event. It’s taking place from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 at Sunrise Park Middle School. Find additional information here.

The list of middle school successes continues. The Middle School Musical production of Disney's “Descendants: The Musical" debuts this week, with performances taking place at the District Center Community Auditorium April 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and April 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale here. Also, the White Bear Press featured a fun Mariner connection between current Sunrise student Kai Combs, who will be an eighth grader at Mariner Middle School (at the current South Campus) in the fall, and his grandfather Rick Olseen, who was at that building in the first graduating class of Mariner High School in '74.

middle school musical flyer and screenshot of article

Lakeaires Elementary students are learning a new skill! The Yarnbee ladies have volunteered their time to teach a small group of students how to crochet. The students are enjoying their lessons and getting to be creative. The group is working on making a bag and some students even crocheted outside! Other students took part in a different craft. They learned about woodland creatures and made little 3D foxes.

Speaking of exciting yarn projects, Vadnais Heights Elementary third graders channeled their inner artist last week. Students learned about looms and the art of weaving. They constructed their own looms out of cardboard and painted them using different color schemes. Students then applied the techniques they learned to create funky fiber weavings. Check out their creations in this video.

The district’s youngest Bears and their families in Normandy Park’s Early Childhood Family Education classes (ECFE), welcomed in the warmer weather earlier this month. During their Spring Fling event, students enjoyed various activities with their families, arts and craft projects, and explored sensory materials while playing and learning together. These exciting activities were captured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds"

Impressive Accomplishments

Eight Otter Lake Elementary students participated in the Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge earlier this month. The problem-solving competition included both individual and team components. This year’s event included 94 student participants with 24 teams competing. Three Otter Lake students placed in the individual fact-drill portion of the competition: Carter Nelson - third place, Liam Walsh - sixth place, and Caleb Buege - eighth place. Winter Wells, Nina Rundquist, Noah Whipple-Eastman, and Carter Nelson placed tenth in the team event. Dagny Masterton, Liam Walsh, Caleb Buege, and Walter Johnstone were on the 11th place team.

The WBLAHS Robotics team competed in the MN 10,000 Lakes First Robotics Regional Competition. The biggest highlight of the event came on the first night after the Bright Bears won their first three matches and were ranked first overall. Following three days of competitive matches, the Bears finished with a rank of 17. The team also qualified to participate in playoff alliances where they joined other teams to compete in a group bracket. Bright Bears closed out regionals by winning the Autonomous Award, given to the team that has the best autonomous programming. Find additional details about the competition here. In other robotics news, the community is invited to a season celebration and open house event. Join members of the Robotics team and learn more about the program on Saturday, May 4 at 12:30 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. See two Dynamic Robots built by the high school and middle school students, and meet and visit with mentors, coaches, team members and parents. Find more details here.

The Boys Track and Field team took first place at their most recent home meet. The Bears hosted ten Suburban East Conference schools during the outdoor competition held at the WBLAHS Stadium. Some notable highlights include: Caleb Anderson winning  both the 100 dash and 200 dash, Keith Johnson placing second in the 200 and Matt Hunter who also placed second in the discu. Find additional details from the White Bear Press. The Girls' Track and Field team also hosted a home meet placing third out of eight teams. The 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams took first place. Read more team highlights from the White Bear Press.

WBLAHS students and brothers Dov and Galvin Nathanson recently attended NASA's space camp in Alabama. They were two of 12 participants selected from a highly competitive nationwide pool of high schoolers. At the conclusion of the camp, Dov was awarded the Right Stuff medal, the only award handed out during the experience.

Last week's double rainbow made an appearance and provided a terrific backdrop for a Boys' Lacrosse scrimmage at the WBLAHS Stadium. In other lacrosse news, the WBLAHS Girls' Lacrosse team won their season opener against Hill-Murray 14-3. Find additional details here. Plus, WBLAHS hosted a East-West Lacrosse competition last weekend which was highlighted by KSTP-TV.

Congratulations to the six educators from across the district who were recently announced as White Bear Lake Area Educators Teacher of the Year finalists: Hannah Allen, Paige Kazak, Katie Solem, Michele Norcross, Ashley Peterson and Melissa Wickert. The six were chosen from the list of 2024 class of WBLAE Teacher of the Year nominees who submitted written responses to a series of questions regarding teaching and learning as well as their personal educational philosophies for consideration by a panel of readers. They will interview with members of the community, administration and their fellow teachers before a White Bear Lake Area Educators Teacher of the Year is named later this spring.

screenshot of six adult headshots

The White Bear Lake Area High School Speech Team had great success at the MSHSL State Tournament this weekend. Junior Praise Oyekunle finished 8th place in the state in Poetry and senior Sanyu Mwass was the Champion of Drama. For the second year in a row, senior Mariam Elias Danjuma was the Champion of Prose.

Three students with award medals


Math and Science Lessons

Willow Lane Elementary second graders discovered healthy habits with Nutritionist Jackie Mart. She read students the book, "What's So Yummy? All about Eating Well and Feeling Good" by Robie H. Harris. Students were also introduced to fun exercises, drew foods they love to eat and activities they enjoy taking part in, and worked together to make yummy snacks through a recipe they can also try at home with their families! This visit stems from a classroom lesson about the human body. Meanwhile a group of Lakeaires Elementary Extended students explored a biology lesson and learned about their brains and what part helps them with what function. They made brain hats and wore them proudly. 

Oneka Elementary first graders enjoyed a math lesson together as one grade-level. Students learned about probability and estimation as the tried to guess if there were a greater or lesser number of objects in three different jars. The first graders also broke into groups to play a game focused on adding up different coin values. 

Speaking of coins, Sunrise Park Student Council led a Coin Drive competition to raise money for the White Bear Lake Food shelf. Over $700 was raised with sixth grade bringing in the most money! Advisories also held a competition. Mr. Gednalske's advisory won bringing in $113.70 earning an ice cream party! 

 Activities Updates

The Boys Tennis Team defeated Park in a recent match up. Find additional details here. The Girls Lacrosse Team won their season opener against Hill-Murray. Read more here. The Boys Track and Field Team took first place at a ten team home meet. Find highlights in the White Bear Press. Meanwhile, the Girls' Track and Field Team had two relays place first at their home meet. Read more here. Eight Otter Lake Elementary students placed in the top 12 at the Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge. The WBLAHS Robotics Team wrapped up a regional competition with a rank of 17 earning them a spot in in playoff alliances.

Senior community members (age 65+) who live in the District are invited to participate in the Senior Activities Pass program and enjoy complimentary admission to most school activities. Find out how to receive your free pass 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.

School Board News

School Board Student Recognition

During the April 8 School Board regular meeting, School Board members celebrated students who have represented the district in various activities, including: Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Hockey, Boys’ Swim and Dive, Wrestling, and high school and middle school Knowledge Bowl. Watch the video here.


Upcoming School Board Meetings

School Board Regular Meeting Subscribe to Alerts
Community Room 112, District Center

Past Meeting Highlights

Apr. 8 Regular Session

Mar. 25 Work Session

Mar. 4 Regular Session

School Board News Posts

celebrating staff

The district's 2023-24 retirees were sent off in style with a luncheon in their honor this week. The celebration honored employees for their combined 815 years of service to the district and community. Find a video recognizing this year's retirees here.

group photo with Jim Galvin

Jim Galvin, long-time coach, teacher, and community member, has been honored by White Bear Lake Area Schools for his decades of service to the school community. The White Bear Lake Area School Board voted at its March 4, 2024 meeting to name the fully renovated White Bear Lake Area High School gymnasium “Galvin Court.”

White Bear Lake Area School District - ISD 624 Logo

At December’s Regular School Board Meeting, representatives from the Be SMART awareness campaign and local law enforcement leaders presented information about a program developed to bring together parents and all adults concerned about kids, guns, and safety. The White Bear Lake Police Department, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and White Bear Lake Area Schools are teaming up to share an important message about proper gun storage and safety.

Calendars approved

At the November 13, 2023 School Board Regular Meeting, the School Board approved the following calendars:

  • 2024-25 Academic Calendar
  • 2025-26 Academic Calendar
Board approves “Mariner Middle School” beginning Fall 2024

At the February 13, 2023 School Board Regular Meeting, the White Bear Lake Area School Board approved a committee’s recommendation to change the name of Sunrise Park Middle School when it moves from the Sunrise Park neighborhood to the current White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus building in the fall of 2024. The new name, Mariner Middle School, is a nod to the District’s past.

Updated Strategic Plan Approved

At the August 8, 2022 School Board meeting, the Board heard an update of the District's Strategic Planning process and approved four updated strategies.

District News

General Information

District-wide News Posts

adult headshot

The White Bear Lake Area School District is pleased to announce that Susan Herder has been chosen to serve as the district’s Director of Technology and Innovation. She will begin her new role on July 29.

photo collage of summer fun!

The July 14 issue of the Community e-Newsletter is now available! The publication covers student and staff successes, School Board news, and school and Community Education offerings.

screenshot of isd624 Instagram profile

White Bear Lake Area Schools is now on Instagram as well as Facebook. Find us at for 624 Facts shared daily!

Free Senior Activity Pass

Senior community members (age 65+) who live in the District are invited to participate in the Senior Activities Pass program and enjoy complimentary admission to school activities.

June 27 Marketfest sponsorship

District representatives will be back this summer at Marketfest, which runs Thursdays, June 13 - July 25 in Downtown White Bear Lake. Stop by the district’s booth for pencils, bear paw tattoos and fun conversation!