December 16, 2015

White Bear Lake Area Schools has been honored by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a Local Government Innovation Award, which recognizes the creative ways counties, cities, and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. The initiative for which the district has been recognized in this 9th annual award process is Courses that Count: Partnering to Reduce Remedial Coursework, facilitated in partnership with Century College.

The program is a collaborative response to state and national trends that reveal three out of four students who enter two-year colleges must complete remedial work in language arts, mathematics, or both before enrolling in college level courses that count toward their degrees. White Bear Lake Area Schools and Century College partner to offer dual enrollment math and reading courses at WBLAHS so students can enter college without the need to take remedial courses.

“This partnership creates an excellent opportunity to better align the secondary and postsecondary curriculum,” said Michael Berndt, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Century.

“I am honored to be part of this collaborative process with Century College,” said WBLAHS mathematics teacher Susan Stephan. “It is exciting to work with Dr. Delia Samuel at the professional level and also help students develop their math skills each and every day, and it is satisfying to see these students grow mathematically over the course of the school year.  What a wonderful opportunity both White Bear Lake and Century are providing these students.”

The new math and reading courses, which began in the fall of 2015, have a total enrollment of 145 students. In addition to the financial savings in tuition costs, students are gaining confidence and seeing themselves as college students. “This course has helped me strengthen my math skills and build my confidence in math,” said student Allie Gruber.

“We continue to share learning and look for ways to achieve additional joint goals,” said Assistant Superintendent Sara Paul.

The partnership will be among those formally recognized at a ceremony and reception on Thursday, December 10, at 4 p.m. at the Humphrey School.

White Bear Lake Area Schools also received the Local Government Innovation Award in 2010 for its partnership with the White Bear Center for the Arts, through which the district’s elementary students receive art lessons taught by a professional artist.