Community e-Newsletter

School Resource Officer (SRO) program update

The district emailed families with an important School Resource Officer (SRO) program update on Monday, Sept. 18. See the update here.

Additional information related to this SRO change:
Our first priority is to ensure the safety of students and staff trusted in our care.

Safety upgrades were a focus of the facilities work made possible by the 2019 bond referendum, which has allowed us to implement a variety of upgrades district-wide since that time: the addition of secure entrances at all of our buildings, advanced security and video surveillance systems, and increased emergency communication tools and capabilities for staff members. The new visitor sign-in process implemented in all of our buildings this fall is another proactive step that has been taken to identify and allow for better screening of building visitors.

Directly related to the change in SROs, please be assured that building administrators will continue to have access to officers who had been previously serving as SROs, along with other officers, should the need arise. In the September 18, 2023 White Bear Lake Police Department media release, Police Chief Dale Hager committed to continue to work closely with us. During school hours, police officers will respond to calls related to the school district and will be encouraged to conduct regular walk-throughs at schools daily, as often as the officers’ call loads will permit. Officers will also place an emphasis on patrolling the neighborhoods around our schools in order to minimize response time and will frequently park at our middle and high school buildings.

We value the relationship we have with our local law enforcement agencies and are in support of the School Resource Officer program returning as soon as possible. We remain in close communication with police and will continue to work together to ensure the safest school environments possible.

In Photos: Working Hard and Having Fun

Student News

Teamwork

Visual Media and Design students at Central Middle School are being inspired by the world around them as they learn the basics of photography. Students brought an object to class and practiced using forced perspective to make their different subjects look smaller or bigger through the lens. This lesson was highlighted in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds"

Otter Lake Elementary students are discovering the power of music! Second graders were seen in this video learning a group game using a stretchy band to explore teamwork and their voices. Students also worked on understanding beats and rhythm within songs using scarves and movement.

The district’s youngest bears, from birth through preschool, began their educational journeys earlier this month. Students in the early Childhood Program, with locations throughout the district, are creating lasting memories as they explore their classrooms, enjoy hands-on activities and make new friends. Their first day of school was captured in this video.

Central Middle School students are getting back in to the swing of their school day schedules with a recent visit to the Media Center. Students browsed the shelves for new reads and were reintroduced to the book checkout system and process.

Mark Your Calendar

Get ready to show off your orange, black and white! White Bear Lake Area Schools is celebrating Homecoming 2023 the week of October 1. Spirit activities and theme days will take place at schools throughout the district both during the school day and after. Enjoy an assortment of home sports games on Thursday, October 5 before the football game and parade on Friday, October 6. And don't forget to gear up by ordering homecoming apparel on Smartschoolk12. Scan the QR code below for Homecoming information or click here.

The WBLAHS Volleyball Team invites you to their Youth Night event on Monday, September 25 at South Campus. The event starts at 7 p.m. Kids can wear a White Bear Lake Rec t-shirt to get into the game for free! Find additional details here.

Please join the WBLAHS Football team in raising money to fight cancer. During the week of September 25-29, the team is asking all elementary school classes to donate any dollar amount. The class with the most donations will win a pizza party with the football team! You can also join the team for their Tackle Cancer game on September 29 at 7 p.m. More information can he found here.

White Bear Lake Area Schools students searching for new opportunities for exploration, discovery and growth should check out our Youth Enrichment classes happening this fall. Scan the QR code below or click here to learn more. 

In The Spotlight

WBLAHS North and South Campus students and brothers Galvin and Dov Nathanson recently competed in the World Deaf Wrestling Championship in Kyrgyzstan. Dov won gold for Freestyle (the first USA Gold since 2001) and Galvin won two silver medals in his division. Their contribution helped Team USA win Bronze for the Team category.

The WBLAHS Girls Swim & Dive team took first place out of five teams at the Polar Bear Invite on September 9. The team co-hosted the Invite with North High School. The Bears won nine of the 12 events scoring 588 points combined. Find additional details from the White Bear Press. The team also recently took second place out of 12 teams at the Tartan Invite on September 16. 

A district student-based serve project was spotted in White Bear Lake Magazine. Our Week Without Walls Spring Break opportunities were highlighted in their most recent issue as well as a photo submitted by retired White Bear Lake Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Lovett. His submission was the recent winner of a contest, titled "Sometimes You Just Need Patience," featuring his granddaughters fishing on a Lake Avenue dock.

WBLAHS senior Riley Gallagher has been named a Semifinalist in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Nominated seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for a chance to receive a National Merit Scholarship that will be offered next spring.

Creative Minds

WBLAHS senior Mia Binsfeld recently learned she is one of only 308 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP Drawing Exam, receiving the maximum score on each portion of the exam. With this outstanding accomplishment, she of course received the highest possible score of 5 on the AP Drawing Exam. Binsfeld has received numerous art-related awards during her time in White Bear Lake Area Schools.

WBLAHS - South Campus astronomy students found an innovative way to present their projects to their classmates. They set up a “living museum” in the media center which was featured in a recent video issue of "The Week in 62.4 Seconds". Students were able to walk from exhibit to exhibit listening and learning about the different research topics including the Aztec calendar.

Band, choir and orchestra classes are in full swing at Central Middle School. Students are working through different skills including learning how to read sheet music, finding their rhythm and voices, and practicing harmonizing together. Their lessons were highlighted in this video.

Lakeaires Elementary students are excited for winter-time activities, specifically playing hockey! But until the ice can form, students played mini games of hockey on their cafeteria tables with sticks they made from popsicle sticks and used buttons as pucks.

Alumni Highlights

Alumnus Will Hamilton has been selected to represent the United States and compete in the 2023 World Abilitysport Games in Thailand in December. He has also qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team Trials that will take place next July in Chula Vista, California. Learn more about his achievements from the White Bear Press.

The White Bear Press recently shared that WBLAHS grads Julie Mahre and Laura Stypulkowski were inducted into the Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Hall of Fame.

WBLAHS Volleyball Coach Mackenzie Leverty and her dad, Hutchinson Volleyball Coach Dennis Piechowski, were highlighted in the Hutchinson Leader after the Bears faced the Tigers in a friendly competition on the court. Read more about the match here.

Nature Activities

Lakeaires Elementary students took part in a hands-on learning experience when they were visited by the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. Students learned many interesting facts, including the lone star tick can make someone allergic to red meat for up to 10 years. They also learned that mosquitoes need stagnant water to grow.

Vadnais Heights Elementary fifth graders were visited by experts from Tamarack Nature Center who helped them explore their Bears Backyard Classroom. They searched for clues in nature to determine how many different types of plants, insects and animals call their outdoor classroom home. 

Meanwhile, 4th graders at Vadnais Heights Elementary were seen in this video exploring the Engineering Cycle Method in their science class. They applied the steps by working together on a plan to create a water filter. Students experimented with rocks, sand, coffee filters and other materials to try and make murky water cleaner. During their analysis, students discussed what they observed about the filtered water versus the murky water and how each group's filters worked. 

Important Lessons

Third Graders in Ms. Hardings class at Lakeaires Elementary received a lesson on Hispanic Heritage Month from parents of their classmates. They listened to their guest speakers share stories about traditions they grew up with and were able to ask questions about their culture.

Transition Education Center students also learned interesting facts about Hispanic Heritage Month. Students watched a video explaining the history and importance of the month. They also created hojalata art using markers and tin foil to decorate the hallways in their building.

Students at Sunrise Park Middle School made papel picado in honor of Mexico's independence day, which is September 16. Students used tissue paper to create different designs to decorate their classroom.

Visitors from Indonesia stopped by Otter Lake Elementary and Transition Education Center last week to learn more about Inclusive Education. The guests interacted with students and conversed with staff about the district's special education programming. This group was invited to the U.S. for a professional exchange program, International Visitor Leadership Program, as guests of the U.S. Department of State.  Their focus is on Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities. 

 Activities Updates

The Girls Swim and Dive Team placed second of 12 teams at the Tartan Invite. The Girls Soccer Team defeated Park 3-0. Find highlights here. The Boys Soccer Team tied Roseville 1-1 in a hard fought game. Find details here. The Girls Cross Country Team placed seventh of 12 teams as a recent Lakeville invite. Read more here. At the same invite, the Boys Cross Country Team finished sixth out of 18 teams. Read additional details 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

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. 11 Regular Session

Aug. 28 Work Session

Aug. 14 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.