In this season of appreciation, there is much for which to be thankful.
At the top of the list is an appreciation to the community for approving the district’s bond referendum request with 57.4% yes votes earlier this month. With this vote of confidence and support in our schools, our staff and our students, we can now begin planning to Build Our Future!
The bond funds will be used to address projected enrollment growth throughout the district; provide safe, secure and healthy learning environments for all students through investments in our aging facilities and infrastructure; increase opportunities for students by creating a single unified grades 9-12 high school; and create flexibly-designed learning spaces to support student-centered instruction. We have a lot of planning ahead of us for the construction projects that will be taking place throughout the district, and we will soon be sharing information about what the engaged process will look like moving forward.
Also on the docket for appreciation is the level of individual support shown to our schools, programs, staff members and students by individual community members. Sometimes the support is calendar-specific, with community members recently being welcomed into the schools to speak to students about Veteran’s Day, for instance. Other examples happen on an ongoing basis. Each week throughout the school year, Reading Buddies volunteers come into our schools to read with our students. And every year, our parent volunteers are working diligently to raise funds for specific school initiatives - and to raise “fun” for students through school carnivals, fun runs and rollerskating nights to name a few. We appreciate the time and energy these individuals give in order to enrich our students’ experiences.
Many thanks to the community organizations and businesses that also play a role in supporting our students, whether it is through the Lion’s Club donating dictionaries, Donatelli’s offering a “Take-over Experience” to our Willow Lane Elementary fifth graders, or Cup and Cone offering orange ice cream treats. This list is just a sampling of the level of support shown to our school community by organizations and local businesses, and the efforts are always humbling.
Another organization, the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, specifically supports the school district through grants, scholarships and support of initiatives. With the change of seasons, an important Foundation initiative that is especially relevant these days is The Closet, a resource for district families in need that provides anything that can be worn from head to toe. The Foundation is currently accepting donations of new and like new winter items in various sizes, including coats and boots. Thank you to those who have been able to support the school community by helping our students and families in this important way.
Terrific things, worthy of celebration, are happening at each of our buildings. Thank you to our entire community for your support of all of our students - from our earliest Early Childhood classrooms to our special education students transitioning out of high school.
Your support is something for which we are grateful at all times of the year, but the feeling is especially strong this fall. Thank you.
Dr. Wayne A. Kazmierczak is Superintendent of White Bear Lake Area Schools