Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Great Things Happening

Student News

Spreading Kindness

Birch Lake student council members are empowering their peers through kindness and acts of service. Students met to brainstorm potential service projects and landed on a winter clothing drive that will happen in December. Council members also worked on details of their Kindness Club, aiming to spread joy throughout the school through kind words, good books and their High Five Friday activity where they greet students with a positivity tunnel as they walk into the building. Their recent meeting was highlighted in a video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

Students at Willow Lane Elementary are also brainstorming different ways they can pay it forward after a kind donation from White Bear Lake United Methodist Church and other anonymous community members allowed every student to take home a new book from a recent book fair. Some ideas students have come up with include drawing a picture and writing a kind note for someone, delivering cookies to a friend and helping their siblings with homework.

The joy of reading was spread throughout kindergarten and first grade classes at Lakeaires Elementary. The two grade levels took part in a book swap. Students spent weeks collecting books from home that they’ve read over and over to donate to the activity. Students had fun picking out several new reads to take home from the 1,300 books that were donated!

The White Bear Press recently highlighted current teachers Deb Hibbard and Megan Hibbard-Larsen, along with the late Allen Hibbard, for their service to the community as three generations of teachers in White Bear Lake Area Schools. Deb commented saying what makes White Bear Lake Area Schools special is that it is grounded in tradition. 

Lastly, Lincoln Elementary students spread kindness into their community during a food drive. Through the support of families and community members, they raised over $450 and collected more than 30 boxes of food and personal care items for the White Bear Area Food Shelf.  Students enjoyed filling the principal's office with canned goods throughout the week of the drive and having the opportunity to give back.


Empowered Lessons

Central Middle School seventh graders enjoyed a Veterans Day Assembly last week with special guest Major Barry Hendriksen, who spoke to the students about his experience serving in the military. The event was captured in this video. At the end of his time with students, Major Hendricksen announced the three winners of the Central Level of the VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest. They will move on in the VFW’s contest. Central Middle School teacher Carrie Reisdorfer was also chosen by the White Bear Lake VFW as the VFW Teacher of the Year. Reisdorfer will now continue on to the VFW district level of the program. Meanwhile, Central Middle School student Annabel Popp was recently named the winner of the White Bear Lake Lion's Club Peace Poster contest, an international program. Annabel will now move on to the district level of the contest.

Lakeaires Elementary Extended Day students worked on a special project for local veterans. This is the seventh year have created a Veterans Day poster for the White Bear Lake VFW. Students enjoyed honoring and paying respects to our local veterans by making this heartwarming poster for them with an added sweet treat: they tapped candy to the poster!

Vadnais Heights Elementary students learned last week with Nirvana Yang, one of the district’s Educational Equity Specialists. Students took part in hands-on activities, watched videos and listened to stories related to the Hmong New Year and were able to ask questions about special foods eaten and clothing worn during the celebration. Watch their lesson come to life in this video.

District leaders accompanied a team from Wold Architects and Engineers, the firm that designed the majority of the district’s construction projects made possible by the community’s support of the 2019 bond referendum, to present at the EDspaces “Designing the Future of Education” national conference. The annual event is described as the place where leaders and innovators unite to drive the future of learning environments, where technology, space and pedagogy converge. The district’s presentation focused on the design and construction of North Star Elementary, which opened in Hugo in the fall of 2022. North Star Elementary was carefully planned from the perspective of both the physical space and the pedagogical perspective to support student agency and flexibility.

Speaking of the bond referendum, construction continues at WBLAHS - North Campus, which will house students in grades 9-12 in Fall 2024. Work is currently being done on the remaining half of the building which will include additional educational spaces, a new area for music and art, a theater and more.  Meanwhile, Central Middle School and District Center staff are enjoying the new views of Price Field. Construction on the field wrapped up earlier this fall in time for students to enjoy the field and the eight lane track. 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.

Impressive Accomplishments

Four members of the WBLAHS Girls' Swim & Dive team broke the school record in the 200 Medley Relay at the Section 4AA meet on Nov. 11. Congratulations to Lucy Borofka, Ella Maas, Charlotte McIntyre and Lily Jenkins who now hold the record with a time of 1:53.68. which was last set in 2017. The team placed 6th with several girls finishing in the top 8 ad top 16 in almost every event. Find additional details in the White Bear Press.

The Bears Varsity Competition Cheerleaders are headed to Nationals in Orlando, Florida. The team competed at the UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) 10,000 Lakes Regional Competition at Minnetonka High School. The team earned scores high enough to receive a bid to the National High School Cheerleading Championship happening at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando in February.

Here's another impressive accomplishment from our high schoolers! Ten students participated in National Signing Day at South Campus. The exciting event, captured in this video, centers around student-athletes officially committing to an NCAA Division I or Division II school by signing a letter of intent to play for a sports team at their chosen university or college. Congratulations to our students!

The White Bear Press recently highlighted the impressive showing from the WBLAHS Boys' Cross Country Team as they finished 6th place at the State meet. Senior Luke Williams finished 21st and was named an all-state athlete. Find additional team details here. The White Bear Press also highlighted the three members of the Girls' Cross Country Team for their participation in the State meet. 

Mariner High School grad Mike Gebeke was highlighted in an article by Minnesota Athletes for his achievements in track and field at  the high school, collegiate and international-levels. Gebeke was a State champion in the 1600-meter run in 1979 and was the Big Ten Champion in the 1000-yards Indoor race and the 1500-meter outdoor race for the University of Minnesota, becoming the first Gopher to win an indoor crown in 10 years. Find additional highlights on his athletic career here

Lastly, WBLAHS grad Calla Frank, a University of St. Thomas Women's Hockey goaltender, recently received the Sterling Trophy WCHA Goaltender of the Week. During the game that earned her this recognition, Frank helped St. Thomas to a 4-1 win over Minnesota State allowing a single goal. Frank is currently 3-3 with 137 saves for the Tommies this season. Find more details in this Let's Play Hockey article.

And last but not least, White Bear Lake Area Schools recently received the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The district also received the Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO). These awards are the highest form of recognition a governmental agency can receive and represent a significant accomplishment for the finance department and its staff. This year’s recognition marks the 23rd consecutive year the district has received both awards. See complete information here.

Getting Creative

Several special guests visited Oneka Elementary last week. Titambe, a West African drumming and dance ensemble, performed for students. The group introduced students to the different instruments they play and taught students a traditional dance. This exciting event was captured in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

Vadnais Heights Elementary students were movin' and groovin' during a special gym class. Once setup, their teacher turned off the lights and revealed they were playing disco bowling to wrap up their bowling unit! Under the disco and string lights, students partnered up and bowled in their lanes aiming to get a strike! 

Lincoln Elementary second and third graders in Ms. LaFrinier’s class took part in a hands-on lesson about Ancient Greece civilization. Students practiced their vocabulary words by establishing a movement that relates to each word in order to help them remember what it means. They also studied the city of Sparta and learned about spartan warriors and their culture. The lesson was highlighted in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

 Activities Updates

Four members of the Girls Swim & Dive Team broke the school record in the 200 Medley Relay at the 4AA Section meet. Find additional team details from the meet here. The Boys' Cross Country Team finished sixth at the State Meet. Find additional details here. Three members of the Girls' Cross Country Team participated in the State Meet. Read their article here. Ten high school student-athletes signed Letters of Intent on National Signing Day committing themselves to play a chosen sport for an NCAA Division I or Division II school. The Girls Hockey Team defeated Eagan 6-0 in a recent match up. Find additional details here. The Bears Varsity Competition Cheerleaders are heading to Nationals after receiving a bid during a regional competition. Registrations are now being taken for the Nov. 29 & 30 WBL Cheer Basketball Season Youth Clinic. Find information 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

Calendars approved

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

School Board Student Recognition

During the November 13 School Board regular meeting, School Board members recognized students for state-level achievements. Watch the Student Recognition video here.

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

Nov. 13 Regular Session

Oct. 23 Work Session

Oct. 9 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.