After fourteen years at Southwest, twenty years in Minneapolis and fifty years in education I am retired at the conclusion of this calendar year. However, I will never stop being a teacher/learner.
I am proud and humbled having been the principal of Southwest High School. The student, parents, community members and staff are absolutely fantastic. These years will always be the highlight of my professional career. The student accomplishments over the years demonstrate clearly the heights that are possible within an urban public school supported by its education community.
Southwest is an Arts infused International Baccalaureate school and the learning, participation, activity, involvement, graduation rates, proficiency rates and college success rates provide the evidence of school success and demonstrate the effectiveness of all students doing their best. With community, parents, staff and most importantly, student support excellence is a reachable goal.
Within this continuum I am proud to have been a part and believe strongly in the motto, which I believe is a camper's, leave it better than you found it. I can safely say I tried. I will always treasure our times and the memories. They and you are and will be special always.
This is a time of celebration and reflection. I am with my family and continuing my learning journey. I ask that we stay focused on the children and their/our future.
I thank each and everyone of you for wonderful memories. May the blessings of your faith be bestowed upon you.
I trust you will understand my request for time and privacy. Let's concentrate on tomorrow and our children.
Monday, July 24, 2017
It was a tremendous season this past year for the Girls Southwest Swim & Dive Team.
This week the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association released its national Power Point Team rankings. The National Dual Meet Team Ranking Program uses a system called power points. This point system allows for comparison of the quality of performances across strokes, distances and events.
So how exactly does the power point system work? The power point scale ranges from 1 to 1100 points. It ranks each swim, for example a 50 Freestyle with a time of 30.99 may have a point total of 40 points whereas a 50 free with a time of 25.99 may have a point total of 75.
The faster the time -the higher the points, and the stronger you are as a team. We put forward our best dual meet line up using the best times we had from the season.
This year the program had 376 teams submitting entries. The entries were then divided into gender, school type (public or private), and then school size. Our girls finished 10th overall in class 7.
The results will be posted on the NISCA site within the next month, or so, and will appear in the fall issue of the NISCA journal, and they are now official.
This was a wonderful accomplishment for the girls and I commend all their hard work and efforts. I look forward to this upcoming season and I wish all graduating seniors luck on their future endeavors.
Chris Aarseth, Swim Coach
Friday, July 21, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Incidents in and around the city in recent weeks can be disheartening and disappointing to say the very least. The morning newspaper headlines bring more sorrow and anguish. Globally, nationally and locally we are hearing of tragedy after tragedy. As adults we struggle to cope let alone understand. As a family member we want to comfort, explain or answer our children.
The Blog has dealt with anger, hurt, sorrow, pain and suffering numerous times over the years. There are no words that can take away what has happened or who was harmed. Taking the next step or seeing through the sunset onto the morning can be tremendous challenges.
A few blocks away from here was another incident of horror that stretches understanding, shatters a sense of safety and questions what is really happening in our worlds. Neighbors, friends and family experience the hurt and loss. Numerous community members know the people involved. The hurt spreads through the community.
Below are some thoughts about listening to children. Please share with your spiritual leaders and hug one another. We can find strength and comfort in one another.
8 Ways to Help Your Grieving Student
• Give grieving students the opportunity to tell you what happened and how they feel.
• Encourage them to work with you to make modifications and accommodations to their schoolwork. This will help them voice what they need and how they are feeling. Grieving is a process. Make sure you are patient and give them adequate time to resume a normal workflow. Putting too much pressure on them too quickly may result in an emotional breakdown or school avoidance.
• Don’t distort the truth or lie to kids about tragedy. Children will often see through lies and will feel more alone and confused with their feelings because they know you don’t want to talk with them about the truth. Knowing the truth will help kids begin to heal because they have a complete understanding of events.
• Encourage children to ask questions about death or the traumatic loss. Often if things are not discussed, children will create their own, inaccurate interpretations of events. For example if a child’s parent commits suicide, the child may falsely decide that they caused it somehow. Helping children understand the event will insure that their interpretations are accurate, as painful as the truth may be.
• Understand that we all grieve differently. There is no right or wrong way to do it. There may be a great deal of anger, the need for vengeance, and an ongoing sense of worry for your student. Always remember that it is hard work for your student to grieve. You are only able to be helpful in supporting them in their process.
• Encourage “active coping” techniques, which refers to taking action to seek out help when one is hurting. Be straightforward with your student that you really want to understand what they need and how they are feeling. Give them time and encouragement since they often may not be able to express themselves or let you know what they need right away.
• Connect them with a place to go outside the classroom if they become upset. This may be the school psychologist or counselors office, the librarian, whoever seems like they will be most helpful. Let the student know they are free to leave the class whenever they feel like they need space.
• Make sure you manage your own grief appropriately. The death of a student, teacher, or staff member can affect you as well as your students. Keep in mind that you need to take care of yourself as well, and if you need to miss school or take time to get help yourself, you will be much more effective at helping your students in the long run. Remember that they are learning from your response. It is perfectly appropriate to cry softly with your students or express your sadness, but if you become hysterical it may be more upsetting for them. Go through your own process but make sure to take time away if you are not okay.
How to Encourage Other Students to Help a Grieving Friend
• Make sure to clarify their understanding of the event in the life of their friend.
• Reassure them that their own families are safe.
• Be aware that children that have experienced loss may be triggered by their friend’s loss; they may need support in coping with painful memories.
• Talk to students about how to give condolences to their friend. Tell them what to say and what not to say. Help them make cards or write letters.
• Prepare children that their friend may act differently for a while.
• Encourage them to play with their grieving friend, and that doing fun things after school may be a welcome distraction.
Dealing with death is a difficult, but inevitable part of being a teacher. You are in a position to be of immense help to your class and teaching them healthy coping skills. -- Kit Richert, Ph.D.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Victory Memorial Parkway (or, Victory Memorial Drive) is a section of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The parkway runs along the northwestern and northern boundaries of the Camden community.
The Victory neighborhood in Camden derives its name from this parkway. Trees and memorials located throughout the parkway were established to honor the memory of the servicemen of Hennepin County. A statue of Abraham Lincoln, flanked by flowering trees, greets visitors passing along the northwestern curve of the parkway. A wide central boulevard provides a recreational park that sees much activity during the warm seasons.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017