During my campaign four years ago, I stated that I would be a constant voice for educational equity. I believed then that education in the 21st Century needs to meet the needs of ALL students. No matter our color, background, abilities, or zip code, I want our students to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. Below are some of my priorities from four years ago and the progress made.
Implementation and assessment of the Equity Plan to address the achievement gap in the White Bear Lake School District.
The new District Strategic Plan was developed during 2017-18 with more than 200 volunteers consisting of students, families, staff and community members. From this work a focus on equity was determined to be a top priority to address the achievement gap and inequities within the district. Several new initiatives, protocols, and strategies were developed; the equity audit, BARR (Building Assets Reducing Risks), restorative dialog and practices, teacher training, 4-way equity decision making protocol, student data analysis (academic, discipline, SPED referrals, suspensions), a new Achievement and Integration Plan and team (formerly WBWF), and a focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
Increase mental and physical health services and support available to students and families through co-located services and working in conjunction with local health providers.
The White Bear Lake District has made huge strides in providing these services to our students and families, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. A Support Hub was developed and is on the district’s website. It provides a centralized place for families and community members to access information on crisis services, basic needs, mental health and well-being, physical health, social emotional learning and more. Some service highlights include:
- Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic – WBLAS is partnered with the St. Catherine University Nursing Department to provide students with free health assessments and treatment. The clinic is a School-Based Health Clinic within the North Campus. Services include preventative and acute care, mental health referrals, nutrition counseling, health assessments and sports physicals, and testing services.
- Curbside COVID-19 rapid testing through the Bear Care Health and Wellness Clinic
- Additional Social Workers in schools
- Partnering with community mental health providers for referrals
- Bear Care Mental Wellness Support Line
Evaluation of current facilities and assessment for the future
The rapid growth in the White Bear Lake District on the North end, the changing population demographics on the South end, and the aging facilities made this evaluation crucial. Fast forward through
- Two demographic studies
- Traffic survey
- Land purchases in Hugo
- Board approval for a bond referendum
- Successful community support and passage of the bond referendum in 2019
Construction has been underway for over a year on the new gym facilities at South Campus and Lincoln Elementary, the new elementary in Hugo, the new transportation site in Hugo, and now work begins at North Campus! Every building within the district was evaluated and every building will see mechanical/structural improvements and remodeling.
See progress and project update at: https://www.isd624.org/about/building-our-future