Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Possible Books as Gifts for Young Person

Author Lehman Riley has created a children's book series that is delightful in following the stories of Papa Lemon. Whilte introducing important recent history to its readers, the Papa Lemon series is also an introduction to the multicultural world of facts and people. Sometimes the stories have been overlooked or not given the important place in history they deserve.

The 5-book series would be a wonderful gift for any intermediate grade child in your family or neighborhood. The reading level is around 5-7 grade and the stories are interesting while the books are small with wonderful illustrations.

The books are available on-line and through most local book stores.
Book 1 - Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King
Book 2 The Dangerous Escape for Slavery
Book 3 World War II, the Navajo Wind Talkers
Book 4 The Life of Babe Didrikson
Book 5 The California Gold Rush

The books are fun to read, educational and delightful.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Travel -- Please Share

Where did you spend your summer away from school time?

Email me picture(s) and some information about your doings this summer and share.

Email your adventure highlights to:

Will post throughout the summer and year to share your adventures.

11 grade HL 1 Summer Reading

IB HL 1 (eleventh grade)
• In addition to Outcasts United, IB HL1 students will be required to read ONE of the following books:

• A Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

• Good Women of China by Xue Xinran

• The Mexican Revolution by Adolfo Gilly

ASSIGNMENT: For each book you read (Including Outcasts United), take 3 or more pages of notes. What interested you? Did it raise any questions about historical events? Did you learn anything new? Did this affect you in an emotive or academic way? How would you characterize the writer’s style? Record facts, if intriguing to you. TYPE your notes and save them, as you will need them for a later presentation. Print a copy to turn in on the first day of school.

For more information check out the teachers' web site on the Southwest web site.

Camp 2015 for incoming 9th Graders! and Project Success

The Minneapolis Public Schools wanted to do something extra special to help students transition from middle school to high school. This is a free, voluntary four-day experience done at the Minneapolis Public Schools. Project SUCCESS is excited to be a part of this event. We hope your student will participate. The activities will take place place August 22nd - August 25th and the entire event is at NO COST to students and families, thanks to the Minneapolis Public Schools.

We are offering 4 days full of fun activities. You can select one day or all four — it's up to you! Here is what your student has to look forward to:
DAY 1: MONDAY, AUGUST 22 — Student Conference Day at Minneapolis Convention Center

DAY 2: TUESDAY, AUGUST 23 — Team Building Activity Day at Washburn High School

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24 — Orientation at Student’s New School -- for those attending Southwest -- it will be AT SOUTHWEST HIGH SCHOOL!

Day Three is students' FRESHMAN ORIENTATION. The day is designed to welcome your student to their new school community, let them meet their new principal and some of their new teachers, learn about their school culture and get a head start on the year ahead.

Your student will go to the school he/she is registered to attend. If your student is not registered at a high school, please call the Minneapolis Public School Placement Office at 612-668-1840.

8:00 a.m. transportation pick-up

9:00 a.m. meet at student's High School

2:00 p.m. event ends and transportation pick-up

2:30 p.m. transportation drop-off

DAY 4: THURSDAY, AUGUST 25 — Mississippi River Paddle
Please call today! Space is limited on DAY FOUR.


BY MAIL: Fill out the registration form and waivers included in the brochure mailed to your home, or print out the brochure from the link on this page, and send them to: Project SUCCESS, 1 Groveland Terrace, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55403.

ONLINE: Click on the link to the right and register online, or print the forms and waivers. If you register online, please be sure to print the waivers and return them by mail.

BY E-MAIL OR PHONE: Make your reservation by e-mail at or by calling 612-874-7710. When you call or e-mail, please leave the following information:

* name of student
* name of parent/guardian
* address
* phone number
* the school your student will be attending in the fall
* which days of 2015 you wish your student to attend
* please note if your child has any special needs.


This event is FREE OF CHARGE and made possible by Minneapolis Public Schools.


For the events, you can provide your own transportation, or there will be bus pick-ups at 18 designated Minneapolis schools. If you need bus transportation, please indicate WHICH SCHOOL you would like your student to be picked up from on the registration form. If you are providing your own transportation, students may be dropped off up to 45 minutes before the start of the activities.


Lunch is provided each day at no cost to you (and it will be yummy food...mmmmmm)!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book - Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Although this is book of fiction it is based on serious research and depicts actual events and some people. The book follows the events of the main character, Rachel Kalama starting at the age of 5 and moving through her life, the teens, loves, marriage, children and grandchildren. The book is about the leper colony of Hawaii and the lives of those forced to live out their lives. It is also about the people who worked on the island to help and serve.

The book is also about the turn of the century Hawaii and its transition from a remote island far away to a property of the United States. This is an interesting background to a book about forced separation and loss of customs and traditions.

No book about leprosy (Hansen's disease as it was called then) and the people suffering from the disease cannot be sad. But it is a book about survival and strength and relationships. In parts it is a book of a young girl forced to grow up outside the family and in strange places. It is also a book about history and change. Sometimes the best of intentions are wrong and there is pain and suffering as an outcome. It is also a book about the strength of people and working together.

A good summer read and one you might overlook as you review titles and one-sentence reviews.

For a more complete review of the book:

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Book to Read - Mindset by Carol Dweck

If you read only one book this summer, let me suggest one - Mindset by Carol Dweck.

It is an easy to read, easy to understand book with a powerful message - your intelligence and abilities can be improved and are continuing developing.

I don't want to ruin your reading the book or over-simplify the concept, but in simple terms, people seem to believe in one of two manners about intelligence - fixed mindset or growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent are simply fixed traits (you were born with it or not). They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent (or lack of) instead of developing them. They believe that talent alone creates success - without effort.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work -- brains and talent are just the starting point.

We have all heard it - "I was never any good at ___" You can fill in the blank. Somehow that is suppose to justify not trying or just giving up. Math is probably of those maligned school subjects There is this impression that some people just good at it and some are not. But the facts suggest that with effort and work, even math is possible to understand and all of those harder subjects also.

Mindset is something that might be helpful to you and your family. We influence our children in how they view themselves and the world. If our children believe they can develop themselves through effort and work rather than accepting the "I can't" way out, many options open before them.
Check out a book at your neighborhood library.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Personal Projects

If you have a student who finished the 9th grade this past school year, please check and see if he/she is planning on completing a Personal Project. Information was distributed this spring during school.

The Personal Project can be on anything of interest to the student. The process is more important than the product. Planning, development, and implementation of an idea. Yes, there is some research. Yes, it can be about anything. Are you interested in gardening, photography, traveling, witches, magical kingdoms or famous tourist spots in Minnesota? Well any of these and millions more would be great topics to start a Person Project.

The student needs to keep a journal to log her/his work, trial and tribulations about the project. Does not have to be daily entry but should help the student remember where he/she has been and done.

More information is on the Southwest web site under MYP:

For more information contact Holli Hoffman, MYP Coordinator.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Reading List in Addition to Outcast United

Summer Reading Lists for Southwest Students 9-12
In addition to the extra reading that some grades and programs (IB, AP) may require, the entire school (grades 9-12) will be required to read Outcasts United by Warren St. John.

The following is a breakdown by grade and program as to the required summer reading:
9th Grade
 All incoming 9th graders will be required to read Outcasts United by Warren St. John
 Fall Assignments will vary according to class

10th Grade
 All incoming 10th graders will be required to read Outcasts United by Warren St. John
 Fall Assignments will vary according to class
11th Grade
 All incoming 11th graders will be required to read Outcasts United by Warren St. John
AP Language and Composition
 In addition to Outcasts United, AP students will be required to read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Please communicate with Mr. Lee or Mr. Rees regarding summer assignments that will coincide with these books.
 In addition to Outcasts United, IB HL1 students will be required to choose and read from the following list of summer books and complete the given assignment for each book. The assignment will be on the SW website, along with copies that were handed out in class. If you have any questions, you can contact Ms. Marsnik, Mr. Dundon, or Mr. Ferris
Please choose ONE of the following books:
 A Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
 Good Women of China by Xue Xinran
 The Mexican Revolution by Adolfo Gilly

IB HL 1 (continued)
The texts that IB HL 1 students will be responsible for NEXT YEAR (2011-2012) are listed below. It is suggested that these be purchased and to have them before the year begins.
 Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Ficciones by Luis Borges
 Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
 Othello by William Shakespeare
 Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
 The Inferno by Dante Alighieri Translated by John Ciardi
 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12 Grade
All incoming 12th graders will be required to read Outcasts United by Warren St. John
AP Literature and Composition
Summer Reading for Advanced Placement Literature and Composition
1. Read Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Be prepared to discuss. Reading is mandatory. No writing is required.
2. Students may choose to read and write about up to four books from a prescribed reading list. The more you read over the summer, the less homework you will have during the school year. You may not get credit for re-reading books previously assigned in school. To access the prescribed list, go to the Southwest web site. Go to A)Teacher Pages B)Marsnik, Megan C) click on the link: AP choice book list.
3. For each choice book read, write a 1-2 page book report.
A. In the intro, be sure to list the title, author, and give a brief plot summary.
B. In the next 2-5 paragraphs, review important themes or discuss literary choices made by the writer.
C. In the conclusion, summarize your overall impression of the book. Would you recommend it? Would you not recommend it?

The summer reading list/assignments have been handed out to incoming seniors. If you did not receive one, please see Kennedy, Marsnik, Dunham, Dundon, or Ferris for the sheet.
Here are the books 12th grade IB will read next year – along with the preferred edition and ISBN or ASIN numbers.
Crime and Punishment - Norton , ISBN: 978-0393956238
King Lear - Folger Library, ISBN: 978-0743482769
Beloved - Vintage, ASIN: B002MPRUH2
New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver - Beacon Press, ISBN: 978-0807068779
Scarlet Letter - Norton, ISBN-13: 978-0393979534
Fifth Business - Penguin, ISBN-13: 978-0141186153
Walk in the Woods - ISBN-13: 978-0307279460
Canterbury Tales - Penguin, ISBN-13: 978-0140424386

Information should be available on Southwest Web Site and within each individual teacher course web information.

First Day of Summer

Regardless of the weather outside, this is the first day of summer. Hopefully you have found your way to the library and enjoyed new adventures. The recent storms provide numerous opportunities for volunteer clean-up work and organizations in the Twin Cities need extra hands during day time hours.

Rooms at school are slowly being cleaned. First they are emptied and then cleaned. Wax is removed and re-coated. All the furniture is cleaned and then returned to fresh, bright rooms. This first month is the messy one with furniture out in the halls just that looks of disorder and confusion. But all part of the process to get ready for the new year.

Head custodian John Lynch is retiring at the end of June. He has dedicated over 31 years to this school and district. We will miss him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A the summer starts

Well it now has been a full week after the end of school - today is the start of week two. It is also the start of Summer School. The Southwest Super Summer Program has been in operation now for two weeks and people are talking about summer vacations. So... that makes it officially summer. If the work is used in a variety of manners, it must be true.

Don't forget to read and read. The common book is Outcast United. If you go on line there are lots of resources to go along with the book. Some of fun facts. The additional stuff gives you another look at real people. Warren St. John in a journalist and the book is about real people and real facts.

I am working on finding the other suggested readings that I know students are anxious to get started. Getting ahead is a wonderful happening during the summer months. Once I find out the titles, I will make sure they are on the web site.

Hopefully you share some title of exciting books you read this summer as well. If you still are buying books in hard copy, once you finish it you might think about giving it to our Book Shelf and sharing with others.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Front Appearance for Southwest

Construction began this past Monday and will continue for about another week with the first phase of the retaining wall. The area will be landscaped. The concern is erosion and appearance. Rains and weather have continued to erode the hill side in front of the school. The general appearance has been in need of repair.

Part of being the good neighbor is care of property. Southwest is proud of its students and place in the community. This is a small step to continue our efforts to be a caring and responsible neighbor.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And they are digging in the dirt.

Construction started today on the front hill outside door three. Hopefully you will see a more attractive entrance to the school. If you want to support that development, we will be happy to accept your donation. Just label your check - wall of success. In advance, thank you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

State Track Champions

Two Southwest students earned State Titles at the Minnesota State Track Meet this past Friday.

Evan Gray teamed third place in the Triple Jump.

Tatyana Pashibin, Southwest Junior, earned first place and the state Championship in the High Jump. Tate in addition to be a fine athlete, gymnastics and track, is also an accomplished Southwest Debater.

Congratulations Evan and Tatyana.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Project VoiceScape SW Junior

New York — June 1, 2011 — The Adobe and PBS Foundations, together with the PBS series POV, are pleased to announce that 15 projects by 22 teen filmmakers will receive grants from Project VoiceScape, a collaboration between the Adobe Foundation's global signature philanthropy program Adobe Youth Voices and POV, public television's longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films.

Project VoiceScape encourages middle- and high-school students nationwide to use digital media tools to create compelling stories about issues and concerns important to them. The 15 winning projects will be awarded $2,000 each in completion funds, and the students will be mentored by award-winning documentary filmmakers. In addition, three finalists will be selected and featured on the POV website (, PBS Teachers website ( and Adobe Foundation websites. Project VoiceScape grant recipients will be honored at an event in Washington, D.C., in October 2011 (details to be announced).

"Project VoiceScape received 250 applications, with program content ranging from immigration to the environment, identity, disabilities and women's history," said POV Executive Vice President Cynthia Lopez. "It was clear to the editorial committees that these young people are on the pulse of what is important in today's society. The choice was a difficult one, but we are thrilled to announce the 15 films selected for completion, and look forward to mentoring the next generation of documentary filmmakers producing innovative work for public media."

On of Project VoiceScape's winning programs:

Southwest Junior Morgan Wilcock Minneapolis, Minn.
"This Gay and Age" (working title): The evolving expectations surrounding teen gays and lesbians due to stereotypes and media influences.

Congratulations Morgan

Off to an Adventure

Three Southwest students are part of the Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) program. AMIGOS is an international, independent non-profit organization that sends high school and college students to Latin America for volunteer abroad opportunities.

AMIGOS is a leadership and educational program. Kelly Thorpe, Mariah Oxley and Claire Nyquist will be Volunteering this summer with AMIGOS. More than 700 teenagers and young adults from across the country are part of the program.

A Quiet Place

I came in at the regular time. Crossed off the date on the calendar, made coffee, check the over night messages and emails -- you all have a regular morning, workday routine. That is how this morning started. But it is so quiet.

On a normal day by this time there would be a dozen teachers or so around, at least a couple hundred kids, the morning custodial crew, food service and all the other people who make this place happen. On my walk from the car to the office in the morning I normally pass three or four students, backs against the lockers finishing up homework or studying to get a start. This morning there was on the empty hallways.

Summer cleaning will start. Boxes will pile up outside rooms today as we prepare for the transition of this past year to the next. Books are back in the media center and equipment will get stored for the summer. The Southwest High School we know will stop for a couple months and the place will be quiet.

It has been another good year. For many, this year of maturing has made a huge difference and for some they are off to their next adventure and for many they advanced one more level on that ladder of reaching adulthood and learning.

In 81 days they all will be back in force. But for one day, the place is quiet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

End of School Year

The end is bitter sweet. There are screams and shouts and tears. The school is a big deal to the vast majority of our students. This has been a good school year and there are many friends and memories here.

Thank you for your support and help throughout the year. It takes a demanding and supportive community. We are proud to be an important part of the lives of these young people. Together we can accomplish a great deal.

Thank you for another wonderful year.

Go to the library - read a bunch - have fun - visit the blog

thank you

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Was a Hot One

Well, made it through the majority of the spring days, but today was a hot one. Record setting 102 temperature with more heat in the building and greatly increased humidity. On top of that was first half of finals.

Wednesday is the second half with periods 4, 5 and 6. Thankfully the heat will be more normal. A good finish to the school year.

Grades are always a topic. I do wish we would talk more about learning and less about grades. Although I will admit that those students who work hard and keep up with the work do not seem to be the complainers. I can't tell you the vast array of causes of poor grades at this time of year. The most popular is the teacher. Now, the fact that the student has not completed a homework assignment in six weeks is immaterial. Fortunately, there are not tons of these. Our student and families work hard and accept responsibility for mistakes and personal choices.

Another great school yea!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spotlight Awards Hennepin Theatre Trust Announcement

Southwest High School and Hennepin Theatre Trust Announce
New Spring 2011 SpotLight Musical Theatre Program Honors

Honored Students will be featured in the June 6 SpotLight Showcase

MINNEAPOLIS - Southwest High School and Hennepin Theatre Trust today announced the new spring 2011 honorees from Minnesota high schools recognizing theatre accomplishments by school and category for the 2010-11 SpotLight Musical Theatre Program. Now in its sixth successful year, SpotLight is a Hennepin Theatre Trust initiative which supports high schools that present musical theatre—from classics including Singin in the Rain to Disney’s Camp Rock. The SpotLight honors recognize achievements by students and schools in categories including performance, production and community engagement. This year a record number of schools is participating, from across the Twin Cities' metro area and, new in 2010, into greater Minnesota. Collectively, these high school musicals are made possible by the collaboration of almost 4,000 students and are seen annually by an estimated 100,000 audience members.

Southwest High School presented Les Miserables in March and for its achievements is receiving the following honors:

Overall Outstanding Production
Overall Outstanding Performance
Ben Tracy as Marius Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Carter Bellaimey as Jean Valjean Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Jenny LeDoux as Cosette Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Sarah Shelley as Fantine Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Tyus Beeson as Javert Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Anna Kay as Madame Thenardier Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role
Louis Umbarger as Thenardier Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role
Francesca Dawis as Eponine Honorable Mention Performance in a Leading Role
Joshua Kirk as Gavroche Honorable Mention Performance in a Supporting Role
Kristian Lee as Enjolras Honorable Mention Performance in a Supporting Role

Current honorees from high schools who presented musicals in Spring 2011 are from:
Alexandria/Jefferson Senior High School, Andover High School, Benilde-St. Margaret's School, Blaine High School, Blake School, Calvin Christian High School, Champlin Park High School, Columbia Heights High School, Concordia Academy, Cretin-Derham Hall, Eastview High School, Hill-Murray School, Lakeville South High School, Main Street School of Performing Arts, Park High School, Richfield High School, Rogers High School, South St. Paul Secondary School, Southwest High School, St. Francis High School and Washburn High School. A comprehensive list of school participants is included at the end of this press release and a complete list of the Spring and Fall 2010-11 honorees by school and category is available by request and online at

Southwest High School and its musical theatre students will also be featured at SpotLight’s culminating event, the sixth annual SpotLight Showcase set for 7 p.m., Monday, June 6, 2011 at the Orpheum Theatre. This professionally produced gala evening celebrates and honors high school musical theatre accomplishments, including those cited here, by featuring dynamic student performances mixed with awards presentations. This year nearly 1000 students will be performing. In addition, the names of two students selected to represent Minnesota at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York will be announced that night. Tickets, available for only $15, are on sale now in person at the State Theatre Box Office, by calling 1.800.982.2787 and through VIP ticket packages including additional restaurant tours, programming and gift offers are also available online.

Linda Eder, the SpotLight spokesperson, Broadway actress and Drama Desk-winning vocalist who will help host this year’s Showcase, commented, “When I was a student at Brainerd High School, participating in musical theatre and choir helped define my life and provided vital skills for a successful and fulfilling career in the arts. I look forward to joining Hennepin Theatre Trust in celebrating these amazingly talented young students at the SpotLight Showcase.”

Hennepin Theatre Trust, owner of the historic State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres, is a non-profit organization devoted to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the Twin Cities. The Trust established the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program after recognizing that none existed in Minnesota to honor excellence in high school musical theatre.

SpotLight is much more than an honors program. SpotLight’s benefits include the opportunity to work year-round with theatre educators and musical theatre professionals who offer training, insight through critical feedback, on-site school workshops and a collaborative conference. A group of evaluators is retained by the Trust to assess each production with constructive written commentary and nominate honorees. Categories include outstanding performance in leading, supporting and featured roles, outstanding performance by a chorus, dance ensemble and student orchestra, outstanding overall performance of a musical and outstanding overall production of a musical. Shows are not compared or ranked against each other, so categories may have multiple honorees. Schools annually apply to participate and pay a nominal administration fee.

New in 2010-2011 is the SpotLight Distance Learning Initiative which allows schools from greater Minnesota to easily participate through live video classes. These seven schools are located in Alexandria, Bemidji, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Melrose, Moorhead, Rochester and Winona.

School Participants in the 2010-11 SpotLight Program
Andover High School: Into the Woods
Bemidji High School: Footloose
Blaine High School: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Blake School (Minneapolis): Little Shop of Horrors
Calvin Christian High School (Fridley): Les Míserables
Centennial High School (Circle Pines): How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Champlin Park High School: Singing in the Rain
Chanhassen High School: Crazy For You
Chaska High School: Grease
Columbia Heights High School: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Concordia Academy (Roseville): Fiddler on the Roof
Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul): The Pajama Game
Eagan High School: Hairspray
East Ridge High School (Woodbury): Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Eastview High School (Eagan): Thoroughly Modern Millie
Edina High School: Anything Goes
Forest Lake High School: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Fridley Senior High School: Once Upon a Mattress
Glencoe-Silver Lake High School: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Hill Murray School (Maplewood): Disney’s Camp Rock
Irondale High School (New Brighton): Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Jefferson Senior High School (Alexandria): Grease
Lakeville North High School: Thoroughly Modern Millie
- more -

Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2010-11 SpotLight Spring Honors, p. 3

Lakeville South High School: Bye Bye Birdie
Main Street School of Performing Arts (Hopkins): Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show
Maple Grove Senior High: Aida
Mayo High School (Rochester): Disney’s High School Musical
Melrose Area High School: Footloose
Minnetonka High School: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Moorhead High School: The Who’s Tommy: A Rock Opera
Mound Westonka High School: The Spitfire Grill
Park High School (Cottage Grove): Bye Bye Birdie
Richfield Senior High School: Grease
Rogers High School: Godspell
Roseville Area High School: Zombie Prom
Shakopee High School: Oklahoma!
Southwest High School (Minneapolis): Les Míserables
South St. Paul Secondary School: The Apple Tree
St. Francis High School: Into the Woods
Tartan Senior High School: Little Shop of Horrors
Thomas Jefferson High School (Bloomington): Oklahoma!
Totino-Grace High School (Fridley): The Wizard of Oz
Visitation and St. Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights): Damn Yankees
Washburn High School (Minneapolis): Seussical the Musical
Wayzata High School: Hello Dolly!
White Bear Lake Area High School: West Side Story
Winona Senior High School: The Drowsy Chaperone

Educators who wish to participate in the 2011-12 SpotLight Musical Theatre Program should contact Melissa Koch, Director of Education and Community Engagement, at 612.373.5696 or through email at The application deadline will be October 1, 2011. SpotLight is made possible by private donations and corporate contributions. If you wish to support this program, additional information about it and sponsorship opportunities is available at

Southwest High School is an International Baccalaureate World School that works to serve the needs of all students with particular emphasis on preparing students for college. Ninety-Two percent of the class of 2011 will attend post-secondary education. The Washington Post recognized the excellence of Southwest by naming it the top public high school in Minnesota.

HENNEPIN THEATRE TRUST, owner of the historic State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres, is a non-profit organization devoted to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the Twin Cities. The Trust’s activities include Broadway touring productions, the related Broadway Confidential series, SpotLight Musical Theatre Program for high schools, Critical View student reviewer program, Teen Ushers, the Access Program and Kids’ Night. For more information, visit

Down to the wire

Monday, June 6 is the last full six-period day. Tuesday will be FINALS in periods 1, 2 and 3 only. Each class is two hours long and there is an extended passing time between periods.

On Wednesday, there will be FINALS in period 4, 5 and 6 only. Lunch will be served both days in school.

The school year is down to two classes and three school days for staff and students. I think it has been a good year - exciting and productive.

Thank you for all you have done to make this year another successful year for your son and daughter.

In 84 days, we start again.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Graduation Class of 2011

What a wonderful celebration!

Jason, Lazarus, and Carter did a fantastic job in challenging the class to ask why, be yourself and remember. The Southwest Singer brought a tear and the Wind Ensemble was fantastic. Mr. fresco made us laugh and then we celebrated with the seniors.

It was a night of celebration, joy and conclusion. In a bit over two hours we moved from high school seniors to alumni. With a little bit of dance, a song in our steps, salutes to the crowd and some tears we received the diplomas and took our place in the adult world. With some joy and fears we move to the next step of our young lives.

Class of 2011 graduation was fun and exciting. On we go!

Friday, June 3, 2011

First really humid day

School people are probably the only ones that request kind of lousy weather until the middle of June. School just is a nicer place when it is not this hot and humid. The building was not build for ventilation and there is no air conditioning.

But this year was lucky -- not exactly sure that is the correct phrasing because it would have been better with decent weather particularly on the weekends and we really could have missed the tornado. But today is the first really miserable day.

But the seniors are home practicing and the halls are a bit less crowded. We can deal with it for today. Mostly it is review and getting ready for finals.

Finals are Tuesday and Wednesday and then we are finished for the 2010-11 school year.

Southwest Physics on Channel 11 6 am News

It is on -- The Big Finish! Sherwood Bergseid and four students are on Channel 11 News right now! Big experiment at 6:55 am.

Peter Centner just finished his part of the interview.

Always exciting and learning is fun.

Check out the news and Southwest teacher and students.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Instrumental backgrounds from SW

Keith Liuzzi, the best instrumental Southwest music teacher, has several of his students playing music and being background for Channel 5 ads for the upcoming Moody Blues concert

Listen for the sounds of Southwest.

Friday 6:55 am physics

Sherwood Bergseid, master physics teacher and a couple students will be live on Channel 11 news at 6:55 am.

Get up in the morning and start your day right!


We don't have class colors - officially. But if you were a junior yesterday, you are wearing red today. Now that makes since if you assume since the seniors are gone and you are the next year senior, so that makes you a senior now.

Juniors are in blue normally. There was very little blue today and I don't think any was intentional. But red was the color. It is great to see the transitions. Those in leadership roles yesterday and gone (maybe not completely forgotten). The new leaders are marking out their places and roles. They are stepping out of the shadows and into their own spotlight.

The building is tremendously more quiet and the halls less crowded. Losing over 400 students from the total does make a huge difference in the feel of the building. We miss their spirit but physically with them out of here, we have more room.

Well, these days will be over shortly. One more this week and three next are all that is left of the school year. Tuesday and Wednesday are Finals so those will be different days as well. Every year seems to be shorter and pass more quickly then the one before. But in 87 more days we will be back to full speed and it will all start again.

Parent & Student 2011 Survey -- Please complete

The 2011 Parent/Guardian Survey is now in homes.

Parents/guardians, please complete the survey.

As of last Friday, the overall response rate was very low (at approximately 14%). Results from this year’s Parent/Guardian Survey are likely to appear on the new school progress reports.

Please note that although the survey is set to close this Friday, June 3, parents/guardians will be receiving a Robocall this week from Communications informing them that we will be accepting surveys through the end of the school year.

MPS Parent/Guardian Survey
c/o Survey Systems Inc
790 5th Street NW
New Brighton, MN 55112-9713

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jane Fields at or at 668-0576. Please click here for more information about the 2011 Parent/Guardian Survey. (For the click here, please direct them to this page:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A modest relapse

Ok, so I don't like the end of the school year.I want to celebrate with the seniors, rejoice with the other students and enjoy the finish of another fantastic year in the lives of our children. It is one series of banquets and numerous special events. I think the band shell concerts are wonderful. There is much to do in May.

But I also think about the seniors and their leaving. I know it is a process and necessary part of growing up. Part of it is that they are comfortable. I know them. I have been with them for four years, watched them grow into leaders and nice young adults. I am spoiled. I worry whether the incoming ones will be okay. They are a lot of work. I know the parents and the questions. I like this bunch.

Part of me is glad to have these four years to share with all the students and families. Another part is thrilled that some of the younger ones will be growing up and learning their places. Another part is scared of starting all over. I like the newness and the challenge. But I miss them and some of their foolish ways. I miss the music and the screams. I want it both ways.

So I stopped blogging. Avoidance is an option. But tomorrow comes and the sun rises again.the juniors will be seniors. The new fresh persons will be wonderful and the cycle of life continues.

The seniors -- class of 2011 -- ran the halls of Southwest today for the last time as students and being a Laker. I wanted to run with them and in front of them. I wanted to protect them and lead them. I wanted them to be safe and happy. But didn't. I stood along the side and waved. I waved good-bye and good luck. I waved because I knew I was watching the leaders of tomorrow taking their rightful place in the scheme of things. I waved because I did all I knew how and now they must move to the next stage, the next grand theater of life. I hope they are prepared. I hope they have the tools for success. I hope they will be happy.

Tomorrow they will not be in school as students of Southwest and I wish them well.

The challenges and the excitement and the opportunities continue.