Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: Fall Fun!

Student News

Go Bears!

October 2-7 was Homecoming week for White Bear Lake Area Schools! Theme days and spirit activities took place throughout the district, including a community event with Bounce Houses and food trucks at WBLAHS - South Campus which can be seen in this video. Students, staff and community members also participated in homecoming festivities at the parade and football game. 

large group of middle school students in parade float

Two new members were inducted into the White Bear Lake Area High School Athletic Hall of Fame last weekend. The event was captured in this video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". 2012 graduate Angie Guenther Petruk was a decorated Track and Field athlete in both high school and college and also ran Cross Country and played Basketball for the Bears. Wayne Slocum, whose family accepted the award on his behalf, began the Cross Country program at the high school in 1954 and served as head coach for the Track and Field team for a combined 26 years.

The district's fields have played host to other types of recognition happening in the district recently as well. White Bear Lake Area High School girls soccer team celebrated a staff appreciation night during on of their recent home games, with each player choosing a district staff member to accompany them and pose for a photo opp. It was a great opportunity to recognize the awesome work, encouragement and support our staff provide to our students.

Our little learners model their own Bear pride, with incoming kindergarten students receiving "I'm a Bear!" shirts when they enroll and smaller "I'm a Bear" shirts sent to toddlers as a reminder to families to participate in screening at age three. The smallest of them all is the "Born to be a Bear" onesie, shown off below by an adorable newborn Bear! We are always looking for photos of our youngest community members showing off their Bear Wear. Email photos to us here and you may just find your little one featured in a District publication! 

District Kudos

The WBLAHS Boys Cross Country team won the 38 team Maroon Griak race on Friday, September 22. Leading the Bears to victory was Senior Luke Williams finishing 3rd out of 341 runners and Junior Vaughn Larson placing 11th. Find additional details from the White Bear Press. The WBLAHS Girls Cross Country Team placed 11th at the same invitational. Find additional details here.

At the first Community Services & Recreation Advisory Council of the school year, the Advisory Council honored current White Bear Lion and former WBLAS Principal Bob Lundberg, who stepped down from the council at the end of the 2022-23 school year after 38 years of service representing the WB Lions Club. 

The Bears football team secured their first win of the season over East Ridge 42-29. The game was completed one day after it started, due to increment weather. Find additional details about the game here.

White Bear Lake Area High School has been named to the 2023 AP School Honor Roll with South Campus being honored as a Silver member. The AP Scholar Honor Roll recognizes schools whose AP programs are delivering results and broadening access for students. Schools can earn the Honor Roll recognition annually based on their ability to increase their school’s college-going culture, to provide opportunities for students to earn college credit, and maximizing college readiness. White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus:

  • Achieved Silver status for college culture with 55% of the Class of 2023 experiencing 1 AP class before graduation.
  • Achieved Gold status by 37% of the Class of 2023 earning college credit with an AP Exam score of 3 or higher.
  • Achieved Gold status by creating opportunities for 11% of the Class of 2023 taking a total of 5 AP courses across their high school years, with at least 1 taken in 9th and 10th grade.

Creative Minds

Author Eli Miletich visited Transition Education Center last week. Students read his book, Hairless Hamsters From Outer Space, in class and were excited to ask the author questions about the story and his journey to becoming a writer. His visit was captured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds".

The Senior Center was filled with activities last week, including a Ukulele Bears practice session. The musicians played a variety of songs, ranging from toe-tapping tunes to more solemn and traditional, for a special guest Superintendent Kazmierczak. The experience was highlighted in this video. Dr. K was at the Senior Center for a special Coffee with Dr. K event. Additional Coffee with Dr. K events will take place throughout the year at Caribou Coffee in Downtown White Bear Lake on November 15 (4-5 p.m.), February 22 (12-1 p.m.) and May 7 (7:30-8:30 a.m.).

Central Middle School students are studying the Jeffers Petroglyphs in southwest Minnesota in their Minnesota Studies class. The site contains more than 5,000 ancient rock carvings of animals and humans by Native Americans. As part of their lesson, students created their own rocks using plaster and molds, then used different tools to carve images.

students doing petroglyphs projects

Working Together

Teamwork was the theme of a recent all-school assembly at Willow Lane Elementary. Students and staff surprised Principal Menier with t-shirts that say “Believe” on them, as his favorite phrase to tell the school is "I believe in you". The shirts were donated, along with a $10,000 check, by White Bear Subaru. The students also listened to guest speaker Taylor Heise, the first round draft pick for the Professional Women's Hockey League and former Minnesota Gophers Women's Hockey player. The Minnesota native spoke about the importance of teamwork and working together to achieve a common goal. The exciting event was highlighted in this video

It was a packed room when district leaders joined White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce members for their Morning Networking event last week. Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Tim Wald and Principal Russ Reetz, who will lead White Bear Lake Area High School next fall when it houses grades 9-12, provided an update from the district, including information on the construction projects and what is next for White Bear Lake Area Schools.

The Rotary Club of White Bear Lake is partnering with the White Bear Lake Area Schools and Mahtomedi Schools to increase awareness and training of Naloxone as a life saving measure through a workshop to be administered via Zoom from 6:30-7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Attendees will have access to receive a free Naloxone kit by scanning a QR code at the end of the presentation. White Bear and Mahtomedi residents are asked to register for the virtual event at mahtomedi.ce.eleyo.com. See the flyer here.

flyer for Oct. 24 Narcan virtual training

Otter Lake Elementary's Student Ambassador Program is looking forward to a year of service after enjoying their first meeting last week. Students kicked off the program by hosting a Connect and Chat activity in which Student Ambassadors met with mentors from the community and District Center. Students and mentors used a set of questions to guide their conversation, allowing the students to develop conversational skills as they get to know others. They also volunteered at Cub Foods yesterday, bagging groceries. The group will meet once a month and will participate in activities such as playing games and completing engineering challenges.

elementary students meeting with adult mentors

Last week, Hannah Harriman joined the district’s Transition Education Center (TEC) monthly community meeting. Hannah, who is DeafBlind, spoke to all TEC students about her life experiences, job experiences, and school/college experiences, including accommodations and the importance of self-advocacy. Hannah is a tremendous advocate for young adults with disabilities, so it is fitting that her visit came during October's Disability Employment Awareness Month in Minnesota, which recognizes the skills, experience and dedication that people with disabilities contribute to the labor force and our state's economy.

four adults posing together

 Activities Updates

The Boys Cross Country Team took home the first place trophy at the Maroon Griak race. Find additional details here. The WBLAHS Girls Cross Country Team placed 11th at the same invitational. Find additional details here. The Girls Tennis Team finished the regular season with a 7-10 record. The Bears Football Team secured their first win of the season. Find additional details here. The Bears Volleyball Team has won four straight matches lifting their record to 8-5. The Boys Soccer Team picked up their first victory over Forest Lake 3-2. 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

School Board Student Recognition

During the September 11 School Board regular meeting, School Board members recognized students for state and national-level honors on the Fishing Team and Trap and Skeet Team. 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

Sept. 25 Work Session

Sept. 11 Regular Session

Aug. 28 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.