Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Bears in Motion


Student News

Igniting Creativity

A friendly competition of rock, paper, scissors took over North Campus. Both students and staff took part, earning an orange beaded necklace for every win. The winners from each classroom then competed in a final challenge held in the field house to determine the ultimate rock, paper, scissors champion. Jeremiah Yarbrough was declared the winner! Watch a few rounds of the contest in this video.

Lakeaires Elementary students used different art mediums to create some amazing works of art! They used chalk and sandpaper. The students had fun getting messy and encouraging each other to show off their own unique artistic abilities.

Matoska International kindergartners had a special guest visit their classroom last week. Author, illustrator and former White Bear student Joseph Kuefler read his book, “The Digger and the Butterfly” to students, showed them how he wrote the story and answered questions about being an artist. He also did a drawing demonstration of one of his characters which was captured in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". Speaking of artists, Matoska students showed off their works of art during the school's Art Show. Families and community members were invited to walk the halls and visit classrooms where student's masterpieces were on display.

Sunrise Park Middle Schoolers showed off their creative sides through a door decorating contest. In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, students designed different doors around the building with positive quotes, various pop culture and historical figures and nature themes. 

The district’s Community Auditorium was filled with rhythm on Monday during the District Night of Jazz event. The high energy program was captured in this video. Middle and high school students performed a number of pieces during their sets, with several musicians also performing solos. Their compositions ranged from classic jazz music to modern day songs.


Important Lessons & Service

Willow Lane Elementary fifth graders “took over” local restaurant Donatelli’s in White Bear Lake. They are working as the cooks, servers and hosts over the lunch hour. See the student's hard work come to life in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". The students will be serving up terrific service once again from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on May 21. A portion of the tips students earn will be donated to a former Willow Lane Elementary student who is battling brain cancer. 

Students in our Transition Education programs helped pack meals for the KID Pack Program, a partnership between the district and White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf. Their efforts will help provide students at our nine elementary schools with a weekend’s worth of meals to take home on Friday. See the students in action in this video

Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are giving back to fifth graders across the district by helping them prepare for their transition to middle school. Last week, middler schoolers gave tours of Central Middle School and the soon-to-be Mariner Middle School, currently WBLAHS - South Campus, and answered questions about a typical day in middle school. Fifth graders were also treated to musical performances by middle and high school choir, orchestra and band groups. In other Central Middle School news, for the second year, the school has won a cash prize in the Minnesota Department of Education's "Escape the Vape" for having the highest percentage of participating students.

Third graders at Willow Lane Elementary wrapped up their Minnow Tank project, inspired by the TV show Shark Tank, which teaches the value of service, teamwork and persuasive speaking. In groups, students created presentations which they presented to a panel of judges hoping to convince them to select their charity of choice as the winner to receive a monetary donation. This year's winning group researched and presented about the charity Hopekids. Second place went to Habitat for Humanity and third place to My Very Own Bed.

Matoska International students walked to Bellaire Beach last week as part of an environmental lesson and fundraiser for the organization H20 for Life. Students brought bottles full of water and emptied them into the lake. Meanwhile Students in the district's Early Childhood Programs took on an important lesson. They tackled how to handle different emotions by watching a performance about conquering fears and taking care of their friends by lending a helping hand.


Applauding Accolades

Congratulations to Michele Norcross for being named the White Bear Lake Area Educators’ 2024 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made during a celebration and recognition event earlier this month. The Language Arts teacher at Area Learning Center was chosen from an impressive slate of six finalists. The event was highlighted in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds" and by the White Bear Press.

White Bear Lake Area High School students joined the more than 4,000 high school students from across the country in participating in the VFW Auxiliary’s Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest. The contest began in 1979 to recognize up-and-coming artists and encourage patriotism in youth. Local place winners in this year’s competition were: Karly Heimbach (first place, artwork pictured below) and Mia Binsfeld (second place).

North Star Elementary students laced up their running shoes as part of their school's annual fundraiser. The PTA partnered with MyBooster to host a Glow Fun Run in the gym. Students walked or ran laps around their gym which was decorated with inflatables and neon lights. Students also wore special shirts and as they rounded each lap, a staff member added a tally mark on the back of their shirt to count how many laps they could do in a set amount of time. The school celebrated the completion of their fundraiser by spraying silly string at their principal Mr. Schmidt and several other staff members.

Willow Lane Elementary kindergartners gave themselves a round of applause last week as the 2023-24 school year begins to wrap up. Students gathered to celebrate WIN (what I need) successes as a kindergarten team. They looked at the growth they've made in their literacy skills and the hard work they've put in this school year to be excellent learners and peers.

The WBLAHS Robotics Team's successful season celebration and open house event was highlighted in the Around the Lake spread of the White Bear Press. Community members joined members of the Robotics team at South Campus to learn more about the program, see two Dynamic Robots built by the high school and middle school students, and meet and visit with mentors, coaches, team members and parents.

Recently-retired WBLAHS wrestling coach Craig Nasvik was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame Banquet. Read more here. In other recognition news, 2009 WBLAHS grad Rachel Drake was recently highlighted by Running Magazine, including a mention of White Bear Lake being her hometown.


Getting Outside

Bears across the district are enjoying the wonderful weather from those in our early childhood program to high schoolers! The junior class took over the lunchtime hour at South Campus last week for a fun afternoon of outdoor games, an inflatable obstacle Course, bingo and so much more! Over at Lakeaires Elementary, students involved with Girls on the Run celebrated the end of their program by running a 5K with their running buddies. Girls on the Run is a national non-profit organization whose program is designed to strengthen third to eighth grade girls’ social, emotional, physical and behavioral skills to successfully navigate life experiences.

Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary are enjoying different activities together both outdoors and inside their building. While outside, several students soaked up the sun and drew beautiful artwork with chalk! Meanwhile in gym class, their Phy Ed teacher set up a "Scooter City". Students had so much fun scooting around the obstacles. Fourth and fifth graders had the opportunity to perform community jobs as bus drivers, cruise directors and law enforcement for their classmates.

The district was represented at White Bear Lake’s Touch-A-Truck event! Students, families and community members had fun checking out the Nutrition Services truck and a yellow school bus. WBLAS staff were also on-hand to share information with community members about the district and pass out pencils, bear paw tattoos and apples!

High school students at WBLAHS - South Campus checked out different employment options through a Career Pathways exploration exhibit featuring an Army medical vehicle. The activity was captured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". The program works with local industry partners to create academic offerings based on their specific workforce needs and offers real-world experience in an industry of choice. 

Vadnais Heights Elementary students, staff and families welcomed the nice weather during their Spring Extravaganza. Attendees enjoyed musical performances by students in grades K-3 and craft projects. There was a parent engagement event with a community service project to promote kindness.  Students also wrote kind messages with chalk around the building.


Mark Your Calendar

The WBLAHS Spring Play, a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is being performed May 24-26. Due to ongoing construction at WBLAHS, the performances will take place at Irondale Senior High School Auditorium (2425 Long Lake Rd., New Brighton, MN). Find ticket information here.


The district's Community Services & Recreation Department is once again hosting their “Bear's Explore Outdoors” event . Community members are invited to enjoy a number of activities from yard games to fishing and listen to a performance from the Senior Center's very own Ukulele Bears! It's taking place from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31 at Bald Eagle-Otter Lake Park (5785 Hugo Rd, White Bear Lake) Find more information here


 Activities Updates

The Girls' Lacrosse Team rolled in three straight wins last week. Find additional details here. The Boys' Lacrosse Team also secured a win a recent matchup against Roseville. Find highlights here. The Bears Softball Team beat Centennial 1-0 in their final regular season game. Learn more here. They take a 14-6 record into Section 4AAAA play starting Tuesday and Thursday. The Bears Baseball Team defeated Park during a home game. Find additional details here. The Boys' and Girls' Track and Field Teams each placed fourth out of eight teams at the Section 2AAA True Team meet. Several individuals and relays placed in the top eight. 

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

School Board Student Liaisons Arianna Vann-Cook and Lydia Kleinhans were recognized at the May 13 Regular School Board meeting for their participation and commitment to this important student role with the School Board. Other students were also recognized at the meeting for state and national accomplishments at Minnesota History Day,  Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards and MAAP Stars (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) in a May Student Recognition video. 


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

May 13 Regular Session

Apr. 22 Work Session

Apr. 8 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 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.