Community e-Newsletter

In Photos: #BackToSchoolBears

Thank you to those who participated in our #BackToSchoolBears fun for a chance to be highlighted in today's Community e-Newsletter! We hope that Early Childhood families will post #BackToSchoolBears photos in the coming days, as our littlest Bears begin their 2023-24 early learning experiences this week!

Student News

Welcome Back Bears!

District staff members came together to celebrate Opening Convocation, kicking off the school year and preparing to welcome students and families back-to-school. It was a great opportunity for staff members to reconnect, meet their new co-workers and get inspired with the theme of "Embracing Change!" See a video that debuted at the event, and was shared as last week's Community e-Newsletter Video edition, here. And with the 2023-24 school year starting, we're excited to share "The Week in 62.4 Seconds" videos each Friday on Facebook. See last week's video here, and "like" the district on Facebook to see upcoming issues!

Sixth and Ninth graders headed back to school one day early to get acquainted with their new buildings, teachers and schedules. Students played transitional activities, toured their schools, made new friends and met with their teachers. Leading the pack were upperclass students who were chosen to serve in mentoring roles for this incoming group of middle school and high school students.

White Bear Lake Area Schools’ elementary, middle school and high school students began the 2023-24 academic year last week as well. This school year is on track to be filled with new opportunities for students and staff to succeed, excel and challenge themselves. Bears of all ages are already learning and growing with their teachers, reconnecting with friends and forging new relationships and skills during their educational journey through WBLAS.

Kathy Baker, who served as Sunrise Park Middle School's first principal from 1993-2007, visited with current Sunrise staff members while they were preparing to welcome students to Sunrise's "last first day" last week. In the Fall of 2024, the students/staff will move to Mariner Middle School, located at what is currently WBLAHS - South Campus. Sunrise will eventually house District Offices, Early Childhood, Transition Education Center and the Senior Center.

Lakeaires Elementary kindergarten students enjoyed a fun activity during their first week of school. They worked with the Extended Day program, making their own fishing lines and fishing using magnets. It was a great outlet for creative discovery while making new friends as they began 2023-24 and their elementary years.

Early Childhood Program staff members participated in a very fun "welcome back" activity when they came back together to begin the 2023-24 school year. As the summer began, team members took home a Bear of their very own, accompanied by an invitation to share pictorial evidence of time well spent. The photos were compiled into a presentation to be shared with colleagues in August. The collective Bear pics showcase a fun variety of landmarks and landforms from around the world!

collage of Bears around the world

District Kuddos

A variety of district students received ribbons of accolade at the State Fair this year. Three Sunrise Park Middle School students - Eva Segroves, Emma Nomura, and Carmen Sikich - received ribbons for their art projects. 2023 graduates Celia Furhman and Astrid Schroeder also received high honors.

The WBLAHS Girls' Swim & Dive team won their dual meet opener against Park High School last month. It was also the team's first victory in nearly five years. The Bears won all three relays as well as five individual events. The White Bear Press highlighted the team's successful meet.

The WBLAHS Boys' Cross Country Team finished fourth out of 20 teams in the Rosemount Invitational. The Bears were led by senior Luke William who placed third. Find additional details in a White Bear Press article found here.

The White Bear Press recently highlighted White Bear Lake Area High School student Sanyu Mwassa as their featured Emerging Artist. Sanyu is a member of the high school Speech Team, where she has participated in several national tournaments. 

In The Community

Our Community Services and Recreation summer programs and sports, including baseball and softball, have came to a close as the new school year begins.  Several fall sports are now starting up, including basketball, flag football, soccer, and volleyball. Find more information here. There are also many opportunities for middle schoolers to participate in fall activities. Those details can be found here.

WBLAHS Principal Russ Reetz and his twin, Mounds View High School principal Rob Reetz, were interviewed on KARE 11 before calling the prep football game on Thursday, September 7. See the entertaining conversation here. Find highlights of the game between the Bears and the Mounds View Mustangs here.

WBLAHS senior Ivory Drusch was recently highlighted as a 2023 Senior Spotlight Student by White Bear Lake Magazine. Read more about Ivory and her goals for the school year here

The WBLAHS Girls' Swim & Dive Team invites students and members of the community to their Youth Night event on Thursday, September 21. The event starts at 5 p.m. at the White Bear YMCA with fun activities for kids including learning the team cheers, a t-shirt contest, chuck-a-duck and more! Find additional details here.

Community members are invited to shop the Flea Market sale at the Senior Center from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 30. Enjoy the wide variety of items and have a bite to eat from the food truck. If you're interested in selling, find information here.

Students in the Transition Education Center (TEC) are open for business with their Bear Boards and More initiative. District staff and community members are invited to check out opportunities to purchase cutting boards and tumblers that have been hand-made made by TEC students themselves. Find additional information in the specific order forms: boards and tumblers.

collage of cutting boards and tumblers

 Activities Updates

The Girls Swim & Dive Team won their dual meet opener and it was the team's first win in nearly five years against Park High School. Find additional details here. The team is also hosting a Youth Night at their September 21 home meet at 5 p.m. at the White Bear YMCA. Come learn the team cheers, enjoy a chuck-a-duck contest and be with the team during the meet. Find more details here. The Girls Volleyball Team are 3-1 after a recent win against Mahtomedi. Read more here. The Boys Cross Country Team finished fourth out of 20 teams in the Rosemount Invitational. Find more information here. The Girls Cross Country Team finished ninth out of 15 teams at the same meet. Read more here. The Girls Tennis Team won their match against Centennial. Find highlights here. The Girls Soccer Team scored late in their game to defeat Andover. Find additional details here. The Bears Cheerleaders are hosting a Youth Clinic this fall. Learn more here. There is also an opportunity for students age 3-6 to participant in cheerleading. Additional details can be found here. The Cheer Team is also selling custom Apple Watch bands. 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. 

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

Aug. 28 Work Session

Aug. 14 Regular Session

July 10 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.