In Photos: Bears Working Together
With Welcome to White Bear month coming up in January, schools throughout the district are preparing to welcome next year’s students. Elementary principals have been busy recording messages to incoming kindergartners and their families. Watch this video to get a glimpse at our elementary and district programs, community partnerships, benefits of being a Bear and more! Enrollment for the 2024-25 school year is open. Those who have incoming kindergartners are invited to contact us at 651-407-7674 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure your on the list and receive enrollment information in the mail! Additional kindergarten information can be found here, and enrollment information can be found on our website at isd624.org/enroll.
Speaking for enrollment, fifth graders across the district will soon begin enrolling in their first set of middle school classes as they prepare to start sixth grade next fall. High school music students traveled across the district showcasing their talents to fifth graders. Band, orchestra and choir members performed different pieces and songs and answered questions about the three music options the future sixth graders can choose from. Their performance was captured in this video.
Another collaboration took place at Matoska International last week. Kindergartens and fifth graders partnered up for a dance unit in their gym class. Students learned classic and modern dance moves including the do-si-do and seesaw, the Macarena, the mixer and more! Their exciting and entertaining lesson was captured in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".
Progress on construction projects happening across the district continues and can especially be seen at WBLAHS - North Campus, which will house students in grades 9-12 in Fall 2024. Currently, work is being done on the new game gym. Crews are putting in the flooring and installing the new scoreboards. Community members can follow along in the district’s Building Our Future Facilities Process to see all projects happening right now, what's been completed and the projects still to come.
Groups of students got together with Principal Russ Reetz, who will lead White Bear Lake Area High School next fall when students in grades 9 through 12 come together. Their meeting was highlighted in this video. The high schoolers gave important input on a variety of questions. On the agenda were conversations about core values and school pride, along with logistical topics like the bell schedule and communications.
High school junior Andrew Klier was recognized for his achievements in his automotive career pathway courses. Representatives from Ford Motor Company surprised him with a personal congratulations for completing over 200 courses on Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE). According to Ford Motor Company, they are not aware of any other student ever completing this many modules while still in high school. Along with the additional completed, Andrew will be on track to become a certified Ford Technician following graduation. His accomplishment was highlighted in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds" and by local TV news station WCCO.
Birch Lake Elementary fifth graders wrapped up their lessons with local law enforcement officers who instructed them through the D.A.R.E. Program. Family members were invited to a program graduation ceremony last week. Several students also earned special recognition for their participation in the program.
Students at North Star Elementary gave a special tour to Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Willie Jett during a visit to their building last week. It was in partnership with the commissioner's initiative to visit districts around the state. Students spoke to the commissioner about the unique concept of their building and what they are learning about in their classes. The tour that they led showed off their gym, learning commons and learning studios.
The Varsity Bowling team participated in the State Bowling Tournament early this month placing 17th place out of 24 teams. Branden Schmid competed in the Boy's State Singles Tournament finishing fifth place out of 85 bowlers. He also made the First Team All-Conference Team and placed third in the team event.
District grad Will Hamilton recently won a silver medal competing in wheelchair racing in the 2023 World Abilitysport Games that took place in Thailand. Hamilton also took part in the game's opening ceremonies which can be viewed here. Watch Hamilton take home the silver medal here.
The WBLAHS Boys' Hockey team recently defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 1-0. Goalie Leo Gabriel secured a shutout with 31 saves. His accomplishment was highlighted by Let's Play Hockey. The White Bear Press also covered additional details from the game.
WBLAHS student Jordan Humphrey was named the winner of the Walter Nathan Literary Initiative's Poetry Contest at the University of Minnesota. He is pictured with U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon after having read his poem in front of over 550 CIS students from around the metro. Ada Limon was doing a poetry reading when Jordan's award was announced at the CIS Literature Field Day.
The WBLAHS Fall Musical cast, crew, pit orchestra, adult volunteers, and staff recently received high accolades for "Little Shop of Horrors" in the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Awards program. With scores of Outstanding (the highest possible) in 11 of 12 categories, they tied the highest in our WBLAHS history over the past 15 years. With extensive construction happening at the current WBLAHS - North Campus building this year, the production was performed at the District Center Community Auditorium. The show will return back to its usual location next year, when North Campus becomes WBLAHS and houses students in grades 9-12. It is expected that the fall 2025 show will take place in the WBLAHS Performing Arts Center, which is currently under construction and will be completed during the 2024-25 academic year.
In other theater news, Matoska International third, fourth, and fifth graders performed Giants in the Sky through our partnership with Lakeshore Players Theater. Students rehearsed after school and the student backstage crew helped prepare the set and props to bring this show to life! They performed three shows at Hanifl Theather to friends, family, and community members. Kindergartners, first and seconds graders are up next. They will be putting on a production of Rainbow Fish in May.
Willow Lane Elementary ELL Assistant Michele Koniszczuk was knighted last week by the Winter Carnival Royal Court. King Boreas (Leo Lewis) and Aurora, Queen of Snows (Liv Swenson) presided over the knighting and spoke about Mrs. K's incredible kindness saying, "Mrs. K is very kind and caring. Her genuine warmth toward students is evident by how much they adore her. She always has a positive attitude and a kind word to share. She lifts up others through her encouragement and she works hard to make everyone feel valued and welcomed. Mrs. K's light shines brightly at Willow and she is an esteemed member of the Willow family."
North Star Elementary students and staff held a special assembly last week to recognize their hard work raising money during the Kids Heart Challenge. They raised over $15,000 for the American Heart Association! To celebrate their achievement, students pied their teacher Mr. Hoeg in the face during the assembly.
Otter Lake Elementary Student Ambassadors met with their mentors to work on a service project centered around spreading joy. Together they challenged their artistic abilities to make different winter themed crafts which will be displayed at various senior centers in the community. Their activity was highlighted in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".
A group of Willow Lane Elementary students presented the founder and owner of My Very Own Bed, Michael Allen, with a check for $400. They represented the organization in the Minnow Tank competition, an empowering service learning project that teaches students about leadership, confidence, kindness and teamwork skills. Their presentation to a panel of judges earned them second place in the competition securing the donation to their charity of choice.
The Senior Center's Ukulele Bears performed cheerful music last week. The group held a practice with dozens of members showing up ready to learn and harmonize together. They played various songs from classics to seasonal tunes for any who stopped by the center. If you missed out and want to listen to the group while enjoying coffee and a treat they will be performing again from 10-11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 18.
WBLAHS - South Campus was turned into a Winter Wonderland last week ahead of winter break. The Student Leadership teamed worked hard to transform the school by creating various props and decorations. They also planned themed dress up days for their classmates to take part in. Students also enjoyed special snacks, movies and music performed by a DJ during lunches.
Transition Education Center also enjoyed Winter Wonderland activities last week to engage students in dialogue and promote a sense of community. Several of the activities were captured in this video. The Student Leadership Team judged an ugly sweater contest and a door decorating contest. Students also enjoyed different snacks, movies and hot chocolate throughout the week.
The Bears Wrestling Team went two for three in a home quad meet. Find additional details here. The Boys Hockey Team outplayed Cretin Derham Hall in a recent game. Find game highlights here. The Girls Hockey Team also took home a win against Hastings. Read more here. They also defeated Roseville/Mahtomedi in overtime. Find additional details here. The Girls Basketball Team had an impressive showing against Irondale, shooting 14 three pointers. Find additional details about their win here. The team also clipped East Ridge for another win. Read more here. The WBLAHS Fall Musical cast, crew, pit orchestra, adult volunteers, and staff secured scores of Outstanding (the highest possible) in 11 of 12 categories in the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Awards program for their production of "Little Shop of Horrors".
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
Upcoming School Board Meetings
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.
At the November 13, 2023 School Board Regular Meeting, the School Board approved the following calendars:
- 2024-25 Academic Calendar
- 2025-26 Academic Calendar
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.
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.
At the March 28, 2022 School Board Work Session, the White Bear Lake Area School Board unanimously approved a Resolution Supporting Commitment to Equity and Inclusion.
The district’s plan for changed attendance boundaries was approved at the Feb. 14, 2022 Regular School Board Meeting.
Community members are invited to stop by throughout the academic year for an informal chat with Superintendent Kazmierczak over a cup of coffee.
- Feb. 22, 2024 from 12-1 p.m.
- May 7, 2024 from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
The February 11 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.
It's time once again to celebrate professional excellence as part of the White Bear Lake Area Educators’ Teacher of the Year program. The process begins with nominations from community members, families, students and colleagues. Nominations close at 4 p.m. on Feb. 19.
The White Bear Lake Black Student Union's annual showcase in honor of Black History Month will take place Thursday, Feb. 15 at WBLAHS - South Campus (3551 McKnight Rd, WBL). Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. and the show will commence at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, and donations are appreciated. Find the flyer here.
The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation hosted a fundraising breakfast in the White Bear Lake Area High School Union area. After enjoying a breakfast together and hearing district staff members describe ways the Foundation’s support has impacted various district programs and classrooms, attendees enjoyed tours of the completed portions of the building.
A Building Our Future Update 2023 video was recently created and shared out to the community. This fourth annual update video provides an overview of progress that has been made across the district since the comprehensive facilities review and planning work began in 2018 and the community supported the Building Our Future Bond Referendum in 2019.