Community e-Newsletter

Reminder of School Closing Notification Process

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:

In Photos: Impressive Bears

 

Student News

Celebrating Success

The WBLAHS Girls' Basketball team wrapped up their season with a trip to the State tournament. The White Bear Press highlighted their game against Hopkins in the quarterfinals of the tournament where the Bears played in front of packed stands filled with enthusiastic fans. The WBP also highlighted their matchup against Lakeville North in the consolation bracket. The Bears finished with a 22-8 record and were the Suburban East Conference and Section champions.

Two WBLAHS Speech Team members qualified to compete in the National NSDA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa June 16-21. Mariam Elias-Danjuma and Sanyu Mwassa will be taking their Duo Interpretation piece, "40 Year Old Version'' by Radha Blank to the tournament. Their piece placed second at the Central MN District National NSDA Qualifier. Sanyu was also the champion in Dramatic Interpretation while Mariam took second place in the Program of Oral Interpretation. Central MN is one of the most competitive districts in the nation and the NSDA tournament is the largest academic competition in the world. At the Eagan Wildcat Speech Tournament on March 9, teammate Alexander Her received the 2024 Anker Anchor Award for Excellence, Empathy, and Encouragement. Sanyu, Mariam and Alexander also qualified for the NIETOC National Speech Tournament happening in May in Omaha, Nebraska.

WBLAHS sophomores Jinet Demanou and Calli Lacktorin became the first White Bear females to compete in a national tournament. It follows another first that happened in February when they competed in the MSHSL section tournament to earn letters in wrestling. Their successes on the mat were highlighted by the White Bear Press.
 
Speaking of successes, several high school coaches were honored with high accolades in their respective sports. WBLAHS Wrestling Assistant Coach Jeffrey Isaac was named Assistant Coach of the Year for Section 4AAA, White Bear Lake Area High School Girls' Hockey Co-Head Coaches Claudia Verkerke and Jeanette Bealke were named Section 4AA Coaches of the Year, and Mark Domschot was named the Section 4AA Assistant Coach of the Year.

For the past 10 years, Willow Lane Elementary has hosted a "Hunt for the Great Flake". They've modeled their medallion hunt after the medallion hunt that takes place during the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

This year, it was hidden somewhere inside the schools' Extended Day spaces. After two weeks of deciphering the clues and searching high and low, students Lauren and Rylynn found the medallion hidden in the playroom bookshelves!

Retired WBLAS band teacher Mike Snell was recently highlighted in a Quad Community Press article about the Saints of Swing band, which he has directed since it formed in 2012. The band has 22 members who range in age from 35 to 70. Snell was quoted in the article saying, "The talent across the group is nothing short of amazing, and the fact that we have it concentrated right here in our own local community is just incredible.”

In The Spotlight

Birch Lake Elementary third-fifth graders are practicing their lines, dances moves and snapping ahead of their production of The Addams Family! The play follows Wednesday Addams and her father Gomez Addams who are keeping a secret from the family. Everything unravels one fateful night when they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents whom no one in the family has met. Show dates are March 27 and 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hanifl Performing Arts Center. Find ticket information here

Junior leaders at Matoska International Extended Day created their own newsletter club called Junior Junction. A few weeks ago they set out to interview their peers to discover what they love about Extended Day. The students compiled their answers together in this fun video highlight! Registration for School Year Extended Day (Pre-K-5) opens at 11 a.m. on April 1. Find enrollment information here.

Speaking of videos, Central Middle School student Lucy Miehe created an informational video that gives district families and staff an inside look at Bear Care located at WBLAHS - North Campus. It walks viewers through the services the clinic provides and you'll meet the staff members who work there. Find more information about the Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic here

WBLAHS senior Talon Pederson was recently in the spot light for his Eagle Scout project. He constructed a memorial bridge at Otter Lake Dog Park to commemorate deceased dogs. The White Bear Press highlighted his hard work. “This will be something people can connect over,” Pederson told the paper. “It will help show others in the community how much they care for their dogs in a public display.”

Lincoln Elementary students completed their first service project within their school Houses last week. Each house is represented by a color and characteristic: Fidus (Red House of Responsibility), Quantum (Orange House of Respect), Compassio (Yellow House of Compassion), Fortitudo (Green House of Grit) and Unitatis (Blue House of Unity). The houses split up into groups, each making four tie blankets which were donated to Cerenity Senior Care. After all the blankets were tied, students wrote notes to the residents.

Exciting Opportunities

Willow Lane Elementary third graders are participating in a leadership project called Minnow Tank, inspired by the TV show Shark Tank, which teaches the value of service, teamwork and persuasive speaking. Last week, students collaborated on different challenges through problem solving, encouraging each other, and demonstrating self-control before being placed in their Minnow Tank teams. There activities were featured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". The groups will then create presentations hoping to convince a panel of judges to select their charity of choice as the winner to receive a monetary donation.

High school students who are members of FIRST Robotics team are applying the final touches to their robot. They are preparing for the Regional Competition, taking place April 4th through the 6th at the University of Minnesota, where they will face teams from around the world competing in a skills course. Students are conducting practice runs, testing mechanisms and making new enhanced parts for the competition. Their hard work was captured in this video. The high school students are also mentoring and working with middle school students who are building their own robot. 

Over Spring Break, Oneka Elementary Extended Day students and staff celebrated Pi Day (March 14 aka 3.14). Students used a color number system to make a paper chain that showed the kids how large the number pi actually is. Fun activities like this are available to families looking for care over the summer break as well. Registration for Summer Extended Day and FLEX Program opportunities opened March 1, with the program running from June 12 - August 16. Find additional information here. More information on summer programs can be found here.

Central Middle Schoolers celebrated Pi Day in a different way. In their math classes, students played games to determine if numbers are rational or irrational. They also created irrational and rational bracelets that represent the mathematical symbol, held a memorization competition and enjoyed a slice of pie!

Community Experiences

WBLAHS grad Rick Johnstone, owner of Cup and Cone, mentioned working at the famous family business as a Central Middle School sixth grader in a WCCO news story.  It aired March 20 in celebration of opening day for the local hotspot. 

High school orchestra students were visited by professional jazz violinist Randy Sabien last week. He helped students work through different techniques for playing various songs, answered questions and played alongside them. 

Sunrise Park Middle Schoolers are discovering different career paths through the “I Do Rad Things” speakers series. As seen in this video, students listened to Ben the Baker talk about the challenges and successes of running a business and the opportunities students can find being an entrepreneur.

Something exciting took place over Spring Break at the White Bear YMCA, home of the WBLAHS Boys' and Girls' Swim and Dive teams. New starting blocks were installed at the pool! The orange and black blocks, complete with wedges, will provide pivotal training for our swimmers during their seasons.

Also during Spring Break, some of our Seniors joined others from Mathtomedi and North St. Paul for a field trip to the State Capitol. They took a guided tour of the building, had lunch at the Rathskeller and explored the newly refurbished halls.

 Activities Updates

The Girls' Basketball Team wrapped up their season with a trip to the State tournament. Find additional details here. The White Bear Press recently highlighted the naming of the WBLAHS gymnasium "Galvin Court" in honor of legendary basketball coach and math teacher Jim Galvin. Two Girls' Wrestling Team members qualified for a National tournament. Read more here. Also heading to Nationals are two members of the Speech Team.

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

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

Mar. 4 Regular Session

Feb. 26 Work Session

Feb. 12 Regular 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 exciting district-wide happenings

The April 7 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.

Coffee with Dr. K logo

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.

White Bear Lake Area School District - ISD 624 Logo

The district’s most recent four-year graduation rate, released today by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), shows White Bear Lake Area Schools topping the state’s graduation rate by 5.7 percentage points, with 89.0% of 2023 seniors earning their diploma within four years.

The 2023 graduation rate at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus, which does not include students from the district’s Area Learning Center (ALC) or Transition Education Center (TEC) programs, is 94%. The Area Learning Center’s graduation rate of 73% is the highest ALC rate in the area. This most recent ALC rate is an increase of 9 percentage points over 2022 and 22 percentage points since 2021.

Bench covered in snow

If winter weather is so severe that schools need to close, families will be alerted via phone, email and text to those who have opted in to receiving texts from the district. (Instructions for opt-in here.) The message will be posted on the district's website and social media accounts, and the information will also be available on local media outlets.