Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Spot A Bear!

Welcome back from Winter Break, Bears - we are excited to have students back in the buildings for 2024! Thank you to our students and families who were able to answer the call put out during our Winter Break Video, with Bears being spotted near and far. One of our submissions made it to us from as far away as Paris! 

Student News

New Year, New Opportunities

Students at Lincoln Elementary are tackling a school-wide project which was highlighted in this video. While visiting the media center, classes are taking turns writing their favorite books on notecards and adding them to the “Books that bring me Joy” wall! Students are having fun discovering different books and learning what students throughout their building love to read! 

Eighth grade band students and high school students who are members of the group, North Winds, practiced together before their concert which took place on January 9. Their rehearsal was previewed in this video. Students worked through their modern and contemporary pieces as well as a composition called “Due North” that was composed solely for Minnesota band students. Meanwhile, eighth grade choir students from both middle schools were introduced to high school choir. 

WBLAHS - North Campus geography students worked on a global economy map last week. Students researched their favorite brands and companies that sell items like clothing, electronics and food, learned where the items are manufactured and distributed from, and mapped out the path it takes their items to reach stores closest to our community. This unique lesson was featured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

Members of the WBLAHS Black Student Union will lead a local program tomorrow morning (Monday, Jan. 15) as a part of Parkview United Church of Christ’s “Martin Luther King Jr. Community Event for the Northeast Metro”. Students of the Black Multicultural Society at Century College will join our students for the program, which will include music, personal stories, poetry, skits and a panel discussion led by Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt. Find more information here.

Bear Care School-Based Health Center has extended their hours! Find information about the Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic, located at WBLAHS - North Campus but available to all district families, here. Bear Care now also offers Nutrition Counseling. See a flyer for this new service here. Meanwhile, WBLAHS grad Jessica (Nadeau) Miehe '03 was highlighted in a recent White Bear Lake Magazine issue for her efforts with the Bear Care Clinic located at WBLAHS - North Campus.

Registration is open for Youth Enrichment classes. There are opportunities for students of all ages to enjoy activities such as coding, acting, chess and so much more! Find more information here

Service In Our Schools

Oneka Elementary student council members are working on a school-wide project. For the month of January, they are focusing on taking care of their building! Students were seen in this video creating posters and slideshows to present their ideas to classes around the school to encourage them to participate. Some of their ideas include: picking up trash, cleaning up the lunchroom and cheering for classmates.

Central Middle School students in Ms. Ruddy's classes used their time before Winter Break to conduct a service project. They channeled their inner artist to decorate paper placemats for residents of Cerenity Care in White Bear Lake.  The director of Cerenity mentioned to Ms. Ruddy that the residents loved seeing the winter-themed designs the students drew. 

Lakeaires Elementary students spent time making cat and dog toys for the animals at The Bond Between (formally secondhand hounds) before Winter Break. The staff at The Bond Between appreciated the handmade toys so much, they even shared these photos of PK the cat and Rocky the dog playing with them! Students used felt and t-shirts to make the pet toys.

Speaking of animals, Area Learning Center and Insight students and staff were visited by Ollie the therapy dog. As seen in this video, Ollie attends classes regularly to connect with students while promoting positivity and confidence. Students and staff love having him near to reduce stress during the school day. Ollie also spreads smiles around the building when he greets students in the hallway.

In The Spotlight

The White Bear Lake Area High School Varsity Cheerleaders and middle school team both took first place in their respective division at the University of Minnesota Cheerleading Championship. The Varsity team placed first out of seven competitors and the middle school team placed first out of five. The White Bear Press highlighted the competition. Meanwhile, the Bears Varsity Competition Cheerleaders are preparing for their trip to Nationals which is being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida in February.

White Bear Class of '75 member Steve Chapin was recently highlighted in the White Bear Press for his involvement as a master boat builder consultant for the sports drama "The Boys in the Boat" based on the events of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Chapin is the exclusive boat builder of the Pocock classic rowing shell, a boat famous for its delicate but solid, steam bent cedar hull. The design was originally created by legendary boat builder George Pocock who was a member of the University of Washington rowing team who won gold in the 1936 Olympics.

WBLAHS grad Jessica (Nadeau) Miehe '03 was highlighted in a recent White Bear Lake Magazine issue for her efforts with the Bear Care Clinic located at WBLAHS - North Campus. Read the article here. The school-based Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic is located at WBLAHS - North Campus, but is available to all district families. Learn more here

adult in front of Bear Care Clinic sign

Several Bear Wrestlers placed in the top eight during the Rogers Holiday Matness tournament. Christian Carlson advanced the furthest finishing second in his respective division. As a team, the Bears placed 16th out of 32. The White Bear Press highlighted the team's recent success.

Exciting Lessons

Preschoolers across the district took part in a clothing unit last week. Students at Tamarack learned how clothing is made and had the opportunity to sew their own neck warmers to keep them warm when playing outside. This fun lesson war featured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". They also learned how different animals stay warm in the winter.

Our youngest Bears and their families in Normandy Park's Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes were moving and grooving during their Winter Wonderland event. Students explored themed sensory materials and enjoyed different craft stations all while playing and learning together. Find more information about our Early Childhood Programs on the district's website

It's not just students and staff having fun in our Extended Day programs, families are also getting involved! Family Nights are being held across the district. At Lakeaires, families decorated cookies in the cafeteria and painted art magnet tiles in their makerspace. Elementary schools plan to host similar events later this spring. 

Community Happenings

As we prepare for more snow flakes to fly, we want to remind families that if winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, alerts will be sent to families in three ways as soon as a decision is made:

  • A SchoolMessenger phone message and email will be sent to all guardians. A text message will be sent to those who have opted in to receiving texts from the district. (Instructions for opt-in here.)
  • A message will be posted on the homepage of www.isd624.org.
  • Messages will be posted on the District's Facebook and Twitter pages.

For school closings, early dismissals and late starts, call the School Closing Hotline at (651) 407-7540 or watch/listen for information on these media outlets:

With the snow and cold weather comes a reminder of the invitation to join us to use the WBLAHS - North Campus Field House walking track. The facility is open for community use from 6-9 p.m. each Monday through Thursday. The opportunity is free, and we ask that those who join us wear clean, dry shoes. Meanwhile, the district's Hippodrome Indoor Open Skating opportunities (6:45-9 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-3 p.m. on Sundays) were recently highlighted in the White Bear Press "Around The Lake" section.

The field house was one of the many projects completed as part of the district's Building Our Future Facilities Process. A 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. 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. 

 Activities Updates

The Boys and Girls Nordic Ski Teams Teach placed 35th in the Mesabi Invitational, which had 52 boys teams and 48 girls teams. Find additional details here. The Bears Gymnastics Team placed fourth out of nine teams with a season-high score of 135, in the Princeton Invitational. Read more about the meet here. The Boys Swim & Dive Team won their home opener against Forest Lake. Find highlights here. The Bears High School and Middle School Cheer Teams took home first place at a recent competition. Find details here. Several Bear Wrestlers placed in the top eight during a recent tournament. Learn more here. The Girls Basketball Team remains undefeated in the SEC following a win over Park. Read more here

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

Thank you, Gray!

During the January 8 School Board meeting, district leaders and school board members showed their appreciation for Gray Seever. Gray has served the district behind the scenes by videotaping School Board meetings, and helping with other video projects through the district and the local community cable channel, for the last 25 years. As he heads off into retirement, we wish him well and thank him for his decades of service to the district and the community.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

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

Jan. 8 Regular Session

Dec. 11 Regular Session

Nov. 27 Work Session

School Board News Posts

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 Logo (Multi)

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.

District News

General Information

District-wide News Posts

photo collage of end of school year activites

The June 16 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.

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! New this year is an “Orange Out” photo at 6:30 p.m. on June 27 on 4th Street!

Michele Norcross 2024 White Bear Lake Area Educators Teacher of the Year slide

White Bear Lake Area Learning Center Teacher Michele Norcross was named the 2024 White Bear Lake Area Educators Teacher of the Year at a celebration and recognition event. The Language Arts teacher was chosen from an impressive slate of 6 finalists from throughout the district.

adult headshot

WBLAS is pleased to announce that Kristen Nelson has been chosen to serve as the district’s new assistant director of early childhood programs, a position that was vacated when current assistant director Darcy Rodriguez accepted a position as the new early childhood family education specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education.

notice of WBLAHS Community Open House on Aug. 29

Those who are interested in touring the renovated White Bear Lake Area High School are invited to mark their calendars for a Community Open House event from 3-6 p.m. on Aug. 29. Additional information will be shared as the event approaches.

adult headshot

The White Bear Lake Area School District is pleased to announce that Jenni Sjosten has been hired to serve in the role of High School Associate Principal - ALC at the district’s Area Learning Center. Sjosten will step into the role this summer upon the retirement of Gretchen Harriman, who has led the ALC for the past 12 years.