Saturday, April 30, 2011

PROM tips for Parents

Prom Night Pointers for Parents

1. Talk with your child about his/her plans. It’s not too early to start.
2. Meet with other parents of your child’s prom group.
3. Know who is driving and emphasize safety.
4. Say no to post-prom hotel rooms.
5. Know SWHS’s prom rules located in the student handbook on the school website:
6. Take stock of or remove the alcohol in your home.
7. Discuss curfew and be awake when your child gets home.
Remember that the Smart Choices Safe Students committee has a yahoo parent discussion group. Join us at:

U of Mn Production with Partner Southwest

A Rubber Room
The Southwest Fine Arts department is proud to announce an artistic partnership between Southwest Theatre and the University of Minnesota Theatre Department. “A Rubber Room” is a site specific performance work about the lives of teachers placed in re-assignment centers known as rubber rooms.

The workshop will perform here at Southwest for 24 hours starting at 7:00 P.M. Friday May 6 and ending at 7:00 P.M. Saturday May 7.

The University’s resident artist and director is the well known and respected Gulgun Kayim. Our school has been chosen to partner with the University’s theatre department because of our well known fostering of smart and sophisticated artistry. She and her students are involved in significant research, and their preparation for this performance work is and has included the interviewing of teachers who have been exiled to these rooms.

This production includes a community conversation scheduled to take place in the days following the performance. Southwest students will be performing with the University actors.

Tutoring Available Tues & Thurs

Tutoring Available Tuesdays and Thursdays After School

As an additional academic support for students through May 26th, AVID tutors will be available in the media center every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00pm until 4:00pm.

There will be 3 of them (Laura Hennings, Frank Hennick & Kevin Scott). There is no appointment necessary and ALL students are welcome to attend.

Friday, April 29, 2011

All-State Choir

Siri Keller and Gigi Globus were selected to participate in the Minnesota All-State Choir.

Over 1800 students across the state competed for approximately 200 openings.

Siri and Gigi will rehearse for a week this August and perform at St. Olaf College and Orchestra Hall.


Girl Scout Gold Award

The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys will honor 135 young women with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award that a Girl Scout may earn.

Among those are two Southwest High School students, Lexi Roberson and Hannah Berg.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Fresh Front

We are in the process of designing a fresh front for the main entrance to the building. We are looking at plants and walls and pretty stuff.

You can be a part of the redesign. You contributions and donations would be greatly appreciated. We want to "dress up" to the main entrance and give a new and positive look to the high school.

Please send your check and donation to Southwest High School Front Wall, 3414 West 47th Street, Mpls, MN 55410.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rains Return

April Showers bring May Flowers. Or at least that was a saying when I was young. Could just be an excuse to put up with the rain. We are gladly moving through alternating warmer and cooler weather. The lower temperatures are great for school days. The bright, hot days of summer come soon enough and the building gets very warm.

Also with the signs of warmer weather we see a whole bunch more skin. Please remind your children that we need to keep the mid-drifts (stomach areas) covered and delightful spring tops need to have straps. We do not want any fashion malfunctions. Shorts should at least cover the top part a leg a bit. They really don't have to be that short to let us know you are wearing shorts. State law requires that shoes be wore at all times in public buildings. Flippers, soles with straps or long plastic boots are fine.

Less than 30 school days left. We start the grand month of May and our annual ritual of testing everyone and anyone. If you want to be a part of this wonderful experience and proctor an examine or help out in some way, please call teh IB/AP office 612-668-3059.

Friday, April 22, 2011

To Be Young

The daily news can frequently be depressing. The death of young people always brings a hurt pain. Life should be precious. Being young should be fun and a great adventure.

Unfortunately for some it is apparently not. I think we all remember those difficult years. What do I look like? Nobody likes me. I have no idea what I am doing. I am not good at - you fill in the blank. I am too short/tall, skinny/fat, ugly/underdeveloped, too slow and on the list goes. I now I am not ready to repeat those years (that makes the assumption I am past them now).

Watch your children. I know that is an obvious statement. Are there sudden swings in emotions without a return? More time alone than previously? Sudden complaints about people, things, events? Children make changes as they develop but you know when a particular change is so out of character. Ask questions. Let your child know you are there regardless.

Bullying is not a new issue. Kids have not been nice to one another for many years. This is not a new social issue. But now it is quicker and possibly more wide spread. The social networks do as much harm as they do good. One crazy remarks gets picked up instantly for everyone to see from this point to forever.

If you have concerns face them directly and quickly. Talk to your faith leader, trusted friend, counselor or school social worker. You know the bounces your child makes on a regular day. One or two twists do not mark a troubled teenager. But watch and listen to your children. There are events we cannot alter regardless of our diligence or continuing love. But we can hug that kid today and remind him/her there are many around who care.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring is in the air

Somewhere in the United States. Welcome to another winter wonderland. I think we should be preparing for winter break but instead we are headed toward AP and IB testing. What fun!

Lots of school left and plenty of time to get those grades into the upper levels which can better reflect the brilliance that we all know is there.

About seven weeks left. Don't let the momentary throw-back weather lull one into believing there is still time. Yes, we have about a quarter left, but yes, we need to get it and keep it in gear for a strong finish to another great school year.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No School April 22, 2011

There is no school for students on Friday April 22, 2011.

That would be a great time to finish all those unfinished projects and assignments. This week talk to your teachers and find out what is missing from the past nine weeks. Then on Friday you will have all day to get all of that finished and complete the school year in a very positive manner.

Lots still going in for the remainder of the year. Many of our juniors and seniors will have IB and AP tests over the next seven weeks. During that time, we will administer almost 2,000 tests. Most of those tested will receive college credit for their efforts.

If your son or daughter is a current 9th or 10th grader, please make sure he/she is signed up for at least one IB and/or AP class. College tuition is expensive. Take a high school class, study and earn college credit at the same time.

Many Southwest students enter college with many credits earned in high school. This is money earned and saved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Interesting weather

School people are probably the only ones who appreciate a cooler spring - especially Monday through Friday. These just above freezing mornings are not appropriate for spring weather but they do make nice school days. The warmer temperatures are tough around 1 in the afternoon. The building holds all the heat of the bodies moving about and humid increases. Not the mixture for a pleasant learning environment. But we will continue as the days warm and the season advances into spring. Once again, it would be helpful if you would have a glace at your child as she/he leaves the house. I know I getting old but there is more skin showing in some of the fashions than I think necessary. The current fashions are a bit on the ugly side but I guess that is the way it for a couple more weeks. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Young Naturalist Award

Ryan Heltemes won the Young Naturalist Award, from the American Museum of Natural History, for his research and extended essay - in Biology – “The Effects of DEET on Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates.”

He will be awarded a trip to New York to tour the museum, and a cash award of $2500.

STATE Tests are over -- Not for the make-ups

You probably heard the sigh of relieve as we finished the second day of state mandated testing. That is two difficult mornings for our students and staff. Thank you for the wonderful parent volunteers who took time from their schedules to help with monitoring. The fours hours would not work without the efforts of so many of our families and friends. Not we spend some days doing the make-ups. Those absent students, fortunately not many, still need to complete the tests. For us this is really the beginning of the testing season as we quickly jump into Advance Placement and IB testing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cool Mornings Warm Afternoons

School people are probably the only ones who want some cooler weather through about June 10th. The morning started about 38 and that was a great school day beginning. The building does heat quickly with over 2,000 people moving about. The odd mixture of clothing is interesting. I am worried about the girls with blue legs. I think there is some blood restriction and there could be medical concerns. The cooler morning temperatures have nothing to do with clothing selection. The common theme of less is better seems to be the choice. Because of the cooler weather in the morning and warmer temps in the afternoon we are now finding jackets and other outer wear throughout the building. You might remind your students to bring home the items they took to school in the morning. For some it is to remember what one wore out the house when Mom was watching versus what I show up in at school. We will continue to attempt to hold it together. Regardless of what you hear around the dinner table we are still teaching and providing academic opportunities for students. There continues to be some homework and quizzes and tests and projects. We still have nine weeks of school.

Spring Sports GPAs

Southwest Athletics continue to produce championships and excellent opportunities for students. We are more proud the academic achievements of our busy athletes. Sprin Sports Average Grade Point Averages: Spring Sporsts Total all Sports 3.347 Boys Basebal 3.261 Girls FastPitch 3.473 Girls Lacrosse 3.491 Boys Lacrosse 3.035 Girls Track 3.419 Boys Track 3.215 Girls Golf 3.480 Boys Golf 3.253 Boys Tennis 3.294 Girls Badminton 3.546 Congratulations to all the Spring Sport Athletes and their academic success.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Responsibilities and expectations

For learning To take place there needs to content, some method of instruction and a willing learner.

In the coming weeks we will be talking more about all of this. The home, student and instruction are tied together if there is successful learning. Each group ha both responsibilities and obligations. In the simplest example, the state law requires the parent to enforce regular school attendance by the child- compulsory schooling.

There are also expectations. The student has expectations of his/her family and of the school (teachers). The teachers have expectations of the student and the family. And naturally the family ha expectations of the child and the school. Thus, the three are linked together in the prose of learning. Frequently there are assumptions that the other knows and understands the assumptions. That frequently is not true. The, it is important that responsibilities, obligations and assumptions are clearly understood by all involved.

In what we are calling Building Tomorrow, the family, student and school have important roles to play in preparing our young people to be globally competitive as adults. We will be developing strategies to engage all the involved in discussions and agreements to move this forward.

In general the three components are:
Engage and involved families,
Active student learners, and
Empowering instruction.

In the next few days I will introduce and expand each topic. I will also attempt to encourage your participation.

Warm weather and less cloth on bodies

Now that we are actually seeing spring temperatures we are also seeing more of your children than we probably should. Please have a little conversation about family values and the difference in looking nice and looking goofy.

Tops need straps. Those little strings can't be that hot and they might prevent a fashion malfunction. The wrap around skirts are really shorts but they are brief on material. I hope the cost was by the yard but probably not. It is that time of year and at the start we go over board a bit. Many of the skintight fashions just can't be comfortable so I guess there is a price to look like you are imitating badly dressed fashion models who can't get a job.

Please take a quick look at the pieces of cloth that your children are wearing to school. Most are just humorous but many are embarrassing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

PTSA Speaker - Teen Decision Majing 7 pm Tuesday April 12

This is Your Brain on Adolescence - Teen Decision-making
Ken Winters, Ph.D.
As the parent of an adolescent you have no doubt wondered at times what your teenager was
thinking when he or she made a decision or acted in a certain way. Ken Winters, Ph.D., Professor in
the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, will discuss how adolescent brain
development influences decision-making and behavior, including risk-taking. His talk will include how
this information can make you a better parent. There will be time set aside for questions and answers.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Media Center – East Building

The information above can be found online at:

New Opportunities

Next year there will be some changes in the Southwest administrative structure.

Ellen Stewart will be leaving us and moving to new opportunities and challenges. We appreciate her work this year and have benefited from her experiences and guidance. We wish her the very best.

Bruce Gilman will be joining us as Principal on Special Assignment. Once this school year is completed we will work out the details and responsibilities. Welcome Bruce.

Friday, April 8, 2011

TALENTFEST 2011 Friday April 8

TALENTFEST 2011 Friday, April 8, 7:00-9:30 PM $5 admission Talentfest is SW’s annual spring talent show. This year, there is an amazing array of 80 student performers. Talentfest is always a fun and energetic display of the wonderful diversity of talent at SWHS. It is a family show, so everybody is invited.

Art/Theater Fund Raiser

Flower Fundraiser for Art Theater Trip to New York This year dedicated art and theater students are taking a trip to New York to cap off their experiences here at Southwest. We want to take everyone we can! Many people need help making this trip possible for them. Some of these kids have never been on a plane or even out of state! These types of trips can be life changing for some kids. Please help make this experience a reality. We'll thank you and you'll remember how you helped each time you look at your beautiful garden!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 30 Community Education Clean-Up Day

Saturday – April 30th
Who:  Anyone who is interested (and we do need help!)
What:  A community-service project to clean-up around Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet,
and Minnehaha Creek.  This environmental program is sponsored by the Southwest Community Education Advisory Council and the Southwest
“Green Team”.  Juice, coffee, & rolls will be provided in the morning from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m., and a deli-lunch will be served from 12:30-1:30 p.m.  We’ll have a variety of Green Team environmental college fair-style presentations before lunch,
When:  Saturday, April 30th.  The clean-up is from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Where:  Meet in the hallway connecting our two buildings at 8:30 a.m. (Door #1 & #15)
Why:  Because we need people who care about the Earth.
How:  Please contact us by Thursday, April 28th to confirm that you want to help
   Call (612) 668-3100, or email us at  Thank you J!
You can email us (see above) or sign up in the Community Education office.

Soup with the Supe Thursday April 21 6-8 pm

Soup with the Supe An evening with Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson Thursday, April 21, from 6-8 p.m. North Commons, 1800 James Avenue North Come enjoy dinner and conversation with Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Johnson and her leadership team to learn more about her vision for our schools. • Food and childcare provided no charge for ages 3 and up • Hmong, Spanish and Somali interpreters available Hosted by the Parent and Community Council for Area A For more information, please contact Lynne Crockett, Area A Community Liaison, at or 612.242.7144. Everyone Welcome! Soup with the Supe Ib qhov kev koom nrog rau tus thaj khus loj Bernadeia Johnson Thursday, 4 hlis tim 21, thaum 6-8 p.m. North Commons, 1800 James Avenue North Tuaj noj ib pluas hmo thiab nrog tsev kawm ntawv nroog Minneapolis tus thaj khus loj thiab nws cov coj tham kom paub ntau ntxiv txog nws lub zaim muag rau peb cov tsev kawm ntawv. • Yuav muaj zaub mov noj thiab neeg pab zov menyuam dawb • Yuav muaj neeg los txhais lus pab rau lus Hmoob, Spanish thiab Somali Txais tos lawm ntawm pawg Parent and Community Council rau thaj chaw A Yog xav paub ntau ntxiv, thov hu rau Vang, Tus txhais lus Hmoob, ntawm 612.668.0238 los yog Yeej Zoo Siab Txais Tos Txhua Leej! Soup with the Supe “A comer sopa” con la Superintendente Una cena con la Superintendente Bernadeia Johnson Jueves, 21 de abril de 6-8 p.m. North Commons, 1800 James Avenue North Venga a disfrutar de una cena y una conversación con la Superintendente de las Escuelas Públicas de Minneapolis y su equipo de liderazgo. Durante este evento usted podrá obtener más información acerca de la visión que tiene la Superintendente de nuestras escuelas. • Se proveerán servicios de guardería para niños de 3 años en adelante completamente gratis. Todos son bienvenidos. • Tenderemos disponibles intérpretes de español, hmong y somalí. El evento está patrocinado por el Parent and Community Council for Area A (Consejo de padres y miembros de la comunidad del área A) Por favor, comuníquese con Tania al 612.668.0226 si necesita obtener más información o si necesita servicios de interpretación en español. ¡Todos están cordialmente invitados! Soup with the Supe La Kulan Kormeeraha Guud Fiid/cawo aad la hadal wadaagayso Kormeere Guud Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson Khamiis, Abriil 21, 6-8 fiidnimo. North Commons, 1800 James Avenue North Imow la sheekayso, lana cashee Kormeeraha Guud ee Dugsiyada Dadweynaha Minneapolis Superintendent Johnson iyo Hoggaankeeda maamulka, si aad in badan uga ogaato aragtideeda ku aaddan dugsiyadeenna. • Cunto iyo xannaano carruur lacag la’aan ah • Turjubaanno Afafka Soomaaliga, Spanish iyo Hmong ayaa diyaar ah Waxaa xiriirinaya Golaha Tashiga Waalidka & Bulshada Nawaaxiga A (Hosted by The Parent and Community Council for Area A) Haddii aad macluumaad dheeraad ah u baahan tahay, fadlan kala xiriir Adem, Turjubaannada Soomaaliga ama 612.668.0231. Qofkasta ayaa iman kara!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Legislative actions

The current K-12 education bill moving through the legislature would deal a harsh blow to urban school districts such as Minneapolis Public Schools. In the Senate bill, MPS would lose $17 million in aid over the next two years. In the House bill, MPS would lose $27 million over the same time period. The House bill also raises Minneapolis property taxes by $22 million over two years. Both House and Senate bills cut spending to at-risk students in order to fund only a modest increase in the general education formula.

These monumental cuts would be detrimental to our students and families. If signed into law, this legislation would greatly hamper our efforts to close the achievement gap, provide a high quality education and meet the diverse needs of all of our students.

We use the state’s investment in integration and compensatory aid wisely and we spend local resources above and beyond those provided because we recognize the importance of the programs this aid funds. The cuts proposed by the legislature eliminate and redistribute funds at the expense of our state’s urban centers. While the bills freeze funding streams for compensatory education and special education, the majority of the cuts come from the elimination of integration aid. In the House bill, funds are taken from Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth not to aid in closing the state’s budget deficit but for redistribution to other districts.

Under the proposed legislation, we would need to cut up to $27 million from our current budget. All of the following would be at risk:
• Elimination of school choice; funding supports integration of our schools through the school choice system
• Elimination or drastic reduction of all-day kindergarten
• School start times may be impacted due to possible need for a tiered bus route system
• Classes sizes would increase due to a reduction in staffing
• Fewer resources for supplemental academic support, prevention and behavioral support services and counseling support

If you are concerned about the risks that this education bill potentially has for Minneapolis Public Schools, you may wish to contact the governor and legislative leaders as soon as possible to express your opinion.

Governor Mark Dayton
Telephone: 651.201.3400
Toll Free: 800.657.3717

Representative Kurt Zellers, District 32B
Telephone: 651.296.5502

Senator Amy T. Koch, District 19
Telephone: 651.296.5981

You may also wish to contact your own legislative representatives. To identify your legislators, visit:

We are committed to our mission: we exist to ensure that all students learn. We know that we cannot do this work alone and we rely on the commitment of students, families and community members to help us meet our goals. We also depend on our elected representatives to execute fair judgment for the good of all, not to the harm of those in need. Thank you for all that you do in support of our schools, our students and families.

Southwest Senior - " Beat the Odds"

Southwest High School senior Alexander Glaze on March 11 was awarded a $4,000 “Beat the Odds” scholarship from Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) – Minnesota. Glaze not only ‘beat the odds’ tackling his high school assignments and tests over the past four years, but was also recently granted acceptance to Stanford University, which he plans to attend in fall 2011. “I am extremely proud to be a part of the Stanford class of 2015,” Glaze said. “I am very excited and it feels good to know that whatever direction I choose to take, Stanford will help me get there.” Children Defense Fund – Minnesota recognizes four local teens annually who have overcome extreme adversity including painful family separation, poverty, illness, loss of family and abuse to succeed in school and life. Glaze’s high school counselor, Mary Morseth, who nominated him for the award, said, “In my 30 years as an educator, Alex is one of the most outstanding students I have ever known.” Glaze has dealt with family addiction, rejection and homelessness but has managed to become a leader and scholar. He and his twin sister were removed from their mother’s home when they were eight years old due to her addiction. Their father was granted custody, but, in Glaze’s words, “My father never really cared about me.” His mother died from a drug overdose when he was in ninth grade. “Although my mother was an addict,” Glaze said, “she supplied me with more love and care than I could have asked for.” Glaze has worked part-time to provide for his own food and clothing since he was in ninth grade. On his eighteenth birthday, his father asked Glaze and his sister to leave and never return. A family friend took them in, allowing them to stay in school. “Although my life has been filled with adversity, in my opinion, it has made me a better person,” Glaze said. “I learned early on that hard work in high school would be the only way I could improve my situation. I made up my mind that I would try to get the best grades I could, no matter what.” Glaze’s hard work has paid off. He will graduate from Southwest High School this spring with a 3.5 GPA and a 30 on his ACT. He has taken numerous advanced courses, been involved with student government, played football and was nominated twice to attend the national Youth Leadership Council. After college, he plans to attend graduate school or law school. Glaze will be the first person in his family to attend college.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Haiku winners' ceremony was held at the Minneapolis Central Library

The Haiku winners' ceremony was held at the Minneapolis Central Library this past Sunday.

And the winners were:

Emily Brunmeier (Mr. Rees) First Place
Dipping down to drink
Willow tree beside a lake
Little leaves rejoice

Roz Foreman (Mrs. French) Second Place
Shadows of leaves fall
On the path in front of me
Guiding me along

Griffin McEnery (Mr. Rees) Third Place
Wind blows through the tree
The branches sway back and forth
The last leaf falls down

Honorable Mention
Najma Hassan (Mr. Rees)
Nora Kane (Ms. Marsnik)
Abbie Thill (Ms. Marsnik)
Amber Rose (Mr. Rees)

Adult Division
Megan Marsnik - Second Place
Leafless branches reach
Like grandma's gnarled finger
Through blue to the white

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 7th at 7pm at the Artists Quarter

--------------------------------------------------------------- Live at the Artists Quarter April 7th at 7pm
Aaron a Jazz Quintet comprised of Southwest student musicians and Captain Wizard and His Dinosaur Band a Jazz Funk Combo of Southwest student musicians, will open for Chris Lomheim Trio, who starts at 9 pm. Chris Lomheim was a founding member of The Illicit Sextet. His own trio gigs (including the recording The Bridge) demonstrate a monster imagination and talented intensity that make him one of a kind.

April 5 Nordic Skiing Chipotle 5 pm

Chipotle fundraiser
WHAT: A fundraising dinner for Nordic Skiing
WHEN: Tuesday, April 5th, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
WHERE: Chipotle at Lake & Excelsior
HOW: Show us your flyer and 50% of the proceeds will benefit Southwest HS Nordic Ski Team
You can download a flyer here

Win an iPad2 Fastptch baseball. Famous Dave's April 10

Eggs, Pancakes and an iPad2 - Sunday, April 10th!
Mark your calendars for Southwest Fastpitch's Second Annual "Breakfast at Famous Dave's", which will be held at the Linden Hills location on Sunday, April 10th, from 7:00 am - 10:00 am.

Breakfast tickets are only $8 and includes a delicious breakfast buffet with coffee, juice and more.

Continuing with the raffle tradition, you can also buy tickets for the "Home Run Raffle" where the grand prize is the newly released iPad2! Raffle tickets are only $10 each ... what a great deal!

Tickets for the breakfast and the raffle can be purchased from any Southwest Fastpitch player or by contacting Coach Brian Badenhoff at

Please join us for this great Southwest Fastpitch fundraising tradition!

See you at Famous Dave's on April 10th!

Tale treat 2011 April 8 - 7 pm

Friday, April 8, 7:00-9:30 PM
$5 admission Talentfest is SW’s annual spring talent show.

This year, there is an amazing array of 80 student performers.

Talentfest is always a fun and energetic display of the wonderful diversity of talent at SWHS. It is a family show, so everybody is invited!

This week is mid term of the semester

Semester grades are the grades placed on the permanent file and used for ranking and grade point averages. In order to keep you informed of the academic progress of your student, we post mid-term profess reports.

After the 4th of April you should be able to see mid-term progress reports in all subjects. Letters will mailed to families of student earning a D or F for the mid-term progress report.

Even with letter grades being posted at the mid-term period this is not the final semester grade. Credits and finals grades will be posted at the conclusion of the school year. If you have questions concerning grades or credits, please email the specific teacher or your counselor.

Now that pre-registration for next year is completed it is important to make sure your student is making sufficient progress to move successfully to graduation.