Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Classes stable

The majority of our classes are in good shape and off and running. With the fair and holiday attendance has varied each day. Thus, a bit difficult to determine actual numbers at this point. We are confident we can meet the needs of our students but it does take a few regular days to see what will balance.

We had an unexpected retirement right at the start of the school year. It effects five classes of upper level biology. We have been working rapidly to find a quality replacement. Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Rumppe we have provided a solid start to the school year. Regardless of the best plans, things happen.

In the next two days we should have schedule changes complete and the students in the appropriate classes. Student support will begin next week with tutoring in almost all core subjects at all levels. We want students to be successful at high levels.

Parent programming start the middle of next month. We have good sign up already. Registration was in the opening packets.

Continue to check the Southwest web site for more information. The Parent Portal is active. Attendance phone calls have started. This has been a good opening.

Laker Athletics

Girls Swim and Dive Time-Trials
Boys 9th and JV soccer at St. Paul Johson


Boys Varsity Soccer at Henry
Cross Country At St. Kates
Volleyball at Henry

9th Grade Football at Home Vs. Eden Praire
Followed By Remember the Titans on the big screen in the stadium (bring the family around 7:30-8:00)

Varsity Football vs. Edison hosted by us at Augsburg, 7:00pm

The morning begins

At this hour (7:30 am) there are about 250-300 students in the building. That would include zero hour classes, weight room, early use of gym (athletics) and students reading in hallway, waiting on media center to open and talking with teachers. And this is only the third day of school. As the school year continues it really gets busy at these before hours.

Walk down almost any hallway and there is some student sitting probably next to locker but not necessarily reading or working on homework. On many mornings there are one or two groups of students working together. Learning is important here. The students are serious about their work (and their play).

The building is hot already. The inside termperatures have to be 20 degrees higher than the outside weather. Air does not move well through this building. The humidity already is felt as one sweats just standing typing.

This is still a quiet time and the thing begins to come alive throughout the building. Doors opening/ closing. you can hear voice sounds down the hall. The sounds of a school begin - lockers, doors, kids, voices, noises.

We are in the beginnings of day three.

Laker Minnesota State Fair Winners

This years Minnesota State Fair winners
Currently on display in the education building
Kirsten Wiard-Bauer digital photography
Reagan Bryan color photography 1
Reagan Bryan digital photography 1
Lauren Roseberry digital photography 1
Chloe Anderson color photography 1
Jessica Lieberman digital photography 1
Sam Klinger computer graphics 1
Madilyn Bodine digital photography 1
Rachel Haukkala B/W photography 2
Jamil Masroujeh color photography 2
Stephanie Foreman robitics engineering 2
Rachel Haukkala computer graphics 3
Ben Coldwell digital photography 4
Vienna Larche digital photography 4
Emily Kinnunen digital photography 4
Rachel Haukkala digital photography 4
Alicia Thrall digital photography 5
Gaby Monge digital photography 5
Anna Norcutt-Preuss B/W photography 5
Rachel Haukkala color photography
Noah Lenker B/W photography
Victoria Oelrich digital photography
Heidi Nelson digital photography

Laker Band at the Fair

The Southwest HS Marching Band performed in exhibition in the MN State Fair Parade last Friday. Andrew Machamer and I worked with 30 plus students during Band Camp (August 15-25) in preparation. Though a relatively small group, they show great Laker spirit as they marched and played for the crowds on the parade route through the fairgrounds. Our newest songs are Power of Love and Hot, Hot ,Hot. We’ll be entertaining again at the First Friday Picnic. See you all there.

Happy first week.

Keith Liuzzi
Instrumental Music Director

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day Two is History

Well we made another day closer to college and the world of successful career opportunities. A wonderful day and cooler than first day.

Wed. Is suppose to be cool but Thurs. Is going to be the summer story. High temps and high humidity. But we are ready for it. Thes are the days we dream about in January.

Homework should gave started by now. Don't let them tell you there is none. We are in school and packing in the instruction and learning opportunities.

See if I can find some photos of tomorrow.

a Bit Cooler

For Day Two the building temperature is better. The himidity remains high but at least we are not at 92 which is the prediction for the end of the week.

Numbers are difficult to determine due to the fair and holidays and other factors that keep students and families away for this week. We will continue to monitor as the days continue and the enrollment stablizes.

Classes are moving along and instruction is definitely happening. I am guess all the kids have homework by now. We are back in school.

Runaways Auditions Today, Wed. & Thursday

If you are a 9th or 10 grader you can audition today, Wednesday or Thursday at 3 pm in the auditorium for the wonderful hit musical Runaways.

This is the special Southwest Footlights Musical exclusively for 9th and 10th graders. Lots of stage parts and great needs for behind the scenes theater work.

For more information contact Nathan Knoll, Choir Director or come to auditions tonight, Wed. or Thursday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day Two Better Than Before

Second day should be great! All the action has started and now it builds. If there was not homework last night there will be tonight.

Teachers are loading the class syllabi on their web pages so you can where it is all going.

Not that it has started it will move all too quickly. Day one quickly becomes finals and graduation. We must treasure each moment.

Good First Day

The end of day one was a little confusing with buses. But that should work its way out by tomorrow.

Kids and staff did well today. Yes, your student may have homework today. We are in school and learning is what we do!

Thank you for another great day. If you had problems or have suggestions or questions, please let us know.

This is going to be another fantastic year!

Takes time to settle

A different lunch schedule gave us a few bumps in a rather decent day so far. Tomorrow we will be on the time schedule kids remember. I think it will settle into something more routine in a couple days.

Hopefully you hear good stories about today. It seems like it is going well.

Off to a Great Start

Not too bad a start. Typical minor confusion at the beginning. I think the 9th graders did very well. The orientation program definitely makes a difference.

It will take a few days to determine actual enrollment numbers. We know there are students out for a variety of reasons.

Almost ready for the first lunch.

Even all the buses except one ran on time this morning.

We are off to a great start.

Driest Dqy of the School Year

We are looking forward to a great start to another fantastic school year. Students get their correct schedules first thing in the west gym. We hand out paperwork for 15 minutes and the it is off to class.

It is an exciting time of the year. The beginning has a tendency to be an indication of the finish. We know this is going to be a good year for all our students. There will be some nervous and anxious moments but we continue to build on each day.

Have another great year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

We Start on Monday, August 29

The heat and humidity is returning. It must be time for school to start.

The exciting new school year begins at 8:30 am on Monday morning, August 29. Student schedules are available in the West gym immediately before school. Be prepared for your bus a few minutes early those beginning days.

We are ready for a full first day of school. Make sure you have something to write on and with. That is all the first day school supplies you need. Check out the district web site for lunch information, menus and payment options.

Please have that wonderful conversation about fashion and being in high school. What was cute in kindergarten just is too short for high school. Having your underwear sticking out all over the place is fun on the beach. In high school it is just immature. As a learning/teaching institution we are serious about our work. The vast majority of our students want to learn and be secure throughout the day without disturbance and nonsense.

Let's have another fantastic year!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Needed: PR Intern for Southwest

PR Intern Job Description:

Public Relations and Promotions Intern

Responsible to building Principal

The Public Relations intern will assist in the planning, development and implementation of public relation and marketing activities. The purpose is to promote the numerous student activities occurring throughout the year. These would include athletics, clubs, special events, theater and the fine arts.

Duties will included but not limited to:
• Create media list and contact telephone numbers and email addresses
• Coordinate with Communications Committee to determine client needs
• Prepare and distribute news releases
• Track media coverage
• Assist with Southwest Marketing to potential students and families
• Assist with alumni relations
• Plan and coordinate special marketing events appropriate to season such as:
o New student orientation
o Information fair for new families
o Alumni special gathering
o Career fair
o Fine arts events
o Athletic special events
o Others as developed

there aer no benefits with this position but does receive a stipend. Email Dr. Smith with resume or questions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fantastic Start

What a great day!

First about 300 9th graders were welcomed by over 125 juniors and seniors for a fun and rewarding morning adventure. Met lots of new people, toured the building, got their first high school schedule and developed pride in being a Laker.

The evening was filled with students and families. Over 500 people share a night of fun and food getting acquainted with other families joining the high school experience.

A great start to another fantastic Laker school year!

Picnic at 6:00 pm at SWHS

The pavilion is under renovation and we had to move picnic to the high school this year. The program will start in the auditorium at 6:00 pm and move quickly to the commons and links for a pot luck picnic.

The evening is meant to be informal. Families and students are encouraged to tour the building. The students have their schedules. They can find their rooms. In many cases, the teacher will be in the room. Stop by and say hello.

Orientation this morning appeared to be a big success for all the students involved.

Orientation about finished

Just getting into the building tours and finding classrooms. The higher wind helped cool the building as much as possible. Still a hot, humid morning.

Kids seem to be having fun. They meet new friends and get acquainted with a few juniors and seniors. At least next week they will see some familiar faces.

Has been a good morning. Another great start to the school year.

While at the State Fair

This year being the centennial State Fair Art Exhibition, the organizers said it aimed to represent the highest quality of MN art.

There are two pieces with SW connections in the state fair art exhibition in the next 12 days.

Lydia Bickal who just graduated last spring has a paper sculpture piece in this show. First, it's very unusual and rare for high school student to have work accepted in this exhibition. Secondly, the sculpture category is always more competitive ( even U of MN professors had rejections) and rarely has any works that are folk artsy. This is not the case in the painting/drawing categories where in most years, there are always a few pieces that makes you scratch you head. ( MN folk artsy nice?) Lydia's piece is actually a 3 year journey in the making- a rare focused development for teenagers.

The piece is in column 14 display area, on the left side when you walk in( you see red numbers high up on the display wall indicating the area of display. )

The second piece is by Larry Risser, a retired SW English teacher. Some of you older folks might remember Larry. He has a digital color photography in the column 12 display area.

It's inspiring and encouraging for all of us. Old dogs can learn new tricks as the saying goes. ( Actually Larry and I talked about photography even when he was busy teaching English; it had been a dream and goals of his for many years.)

Enjoy the state fair in the next 12 days and if you happen to be there, it's good to take in some beauty while eating junk food.

Ben Zhao,
Southwest Art Teacher

Fun morning 9th grade orientation

9th graders start at 8:30 in the auditorium and move through a series of activities the rest of the morning. Organization is provided by Project Success and Link Crew.

Junior and Seniors are members of Link Crew and welcome incoming 9th graders and work to assist in that transition. Normally is a fun morning.

The day ends with a picnic for parents and families starting at 6 pm.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011-12 Lunch Prices

Lunch prices for grades 9-12 are $2.10

The lunch lines donot handle cash. Your student needs to have an account with a balance and uses a number code to record his/her purchases.

Internet: Minneapolis Public Schools uses a service called PayPAMS, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service allows you to make payments to your child's cafeteria account using a Visa, MasterCard or Discover card.

This service has other features available that allows you to receive e-mail reminders when your childs account is getting low, and allows you to set up an automated payment system. Deposits made on PayPAMS can take up to three (3) school days.

To register for PayPAMS you will need the following information:

Your child's Student ID number or Cafeteria PIN number. If you need assistance with this information please contact the Nutrition Center at 612-668-2820.

A summer Discovery for the Heart

Summer experience from Simon Whitehead, Physical Education teacher

I recently disovered through website postings that I had relatives on my Fathers side - a cousin in France - something that I had never known before as my Dad was very secretive about his past.

My Cousin is a distinguished Royal Navy Captain, who fought with Prince Andrew in the Fauklands war and was also captain of the HMS VICTORY (Nelson's Flagship) which still sits in Portsmouth Harbor. He, though, discovered that my father had a previous marriage and that I had three half siblings, one of which was still alive and kicking living in Canada.

We contacted Anne ( my unknown half-sister)much to her surprise, and arranged to get together. So in August we packed up the Family and visited my sister just north of Toronto. It was a delightful visit which took place on an Island. Many Canadians have cottages on small Islands and use pontoon boats to get back and forth.

She is a lovely lady - 68 and a retired Nurse and we compared photos and exchanged stories etc. Their family, after her parents split, had escpaped from the bombing in England to Kenya during the war returning years later. When she met and married her Husband John. They emigrated to Canada in 1968 and her family pretty much were bitter about this and promptly abandonded her. So she was impressed that someone was actually trying to find her!! It was a great visit and solved many mysteries about my Dad's side of the family.

Tuesday Morning

Workshop week continues. Morning activities in the building and afternoon across the district.

Student schedules will be available to 9th graders Wednesday morning as part of the orientation. Grades 10-12 schedules will be available after 1:00 pm at the front desk by door 3.

At this time the Parent Portal should be active no later than Friday. Thus, if you are out of town or away you can see your schedule on Parent Portal by Friday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome back

PTSA started the year off with a welcome back to staff and then a board meeting what a wonderful group! The community is what makes us strong. We have an excellent staff but we also have supportive and demanding parents and community, it all works together to produce excellence.

Tomorrow is another busy day. But Wednesday is the fantastic day when new student scone in for orientation in the morning with junior and seniors. Then at 6:00 pm we have a short meeting with new parents and then a great picnic for an opener. Just a fun time.

Without the kids we are an empt building. The excitement continues to build.

And so it begins

Today is the first day of the 2011-12 School Year beginning with Teachers Workshop Week.

All the fall sports have started. Summer Bridge is completed. 9th graders start orientation this week with Project Success. 9th grade orientation is scheduled for Southwest on Wednesday the 24th. Incoming students picnic in the evening of the 24th at 6:00 pm

A new school year is off and running. All the thinking and plans and ideas are now going to move into action.

This is an exciting time of the year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Big Weekend - the one before the last of this summer

Hope this has been a big weekend. One more and the 2011 summer will be a memory. Trust you create some wonderful memories and made lots of lasting friends.

Teacher workshop starts the week of August 22.

9th grade orientation is also the week of Aug 22 with four days of activities. You need to register through Project Success. You can use the Minneapolis district or Southwest web site. You can register for all four days and any one day.

9th grade Orientation at Southwest is Wednesday morning the 24th stating at 8:30 am at Southwest. 9th graders will receive their schedules, find their rooms, become an official Laker, have fun and meet new people. Please register on line.

Grade 10-12 receive their schedules after 1:00 pm inside door 3 at the high school.

Families, friends and students can tour the building August 24 from 1 - 8:30 pm.

Incoming student family picnic on the 24th starting with a program in the auditorium at 6:00 pm and moving to a picnic on Beards circle.

School starts for all students on Monday August 29.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Camp 2015

Pleanty of time left to register for Camp 2015. The entire program is put together by Project Success. You can register for one day, any number of the days or all four.

Please make sure you register for Wednesday August 24. The is the 9th grade registration at Southwest High School.

Program starts at 8:30 at the high school

Camp 2015 and Wednesday the 24th

Students can register for one day or all four. Camp 2015 is organized by Project Sucess for all the 9th graders in Minneapolis public schools.

Wednesday of that week, August 24 will be 9th grade orientation at Southwest High School. Register online for that day and be ready to start at 8:30 at the high school.

9th graders will get their schedules, visit classrooms and have a full morning of activities. Breakfast and lunch are available.

Grades 10-12 pick up schedules after 1 :00 pm

See all 9th graders at Southwest High School, Wednesday August 24.

Looking for PR Intern

Public Relations and Promotions Intern

Responsible to building Principal

The Public Relations intern will assist in the planning, development and implementation of public relation and marketing activities. The purpose is to promote the numerous student activities occurring throughout the year. These would include athletics, clubs, special events, theater and the fine arts.

Duties will included but not limited to:
• Create media list and contact telephone numbers and email addresses
• Coordinate with Communications Committee to determine client needs
• Prepare and distribute news releases
• Track media coverage
• Assist with Southwest Marketing to potential students and families
• Assist with alumni relations
• Plan and coordinate special marketing events appropriate to season such as:
o New student orientation
o Information fair for new families
o Alumni special gathering
o Career fair
o Fine arts events
o Athletic special events
o Others as developed

There is an hourly stipend with this position but no benefits.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day Two of Bridge

Another Great Day! What excitement and adventure. The Graduating Class of 2015 is getting ready to make their mark on the history of Southwest. What great kids! wonderful students! just nice people!

The summer Bridge Program is an exciting program to introduce Southwest High School to its incoming students. We want students to be welcomed and feel safe within a complex and new building.

Next Week the Project Success Camp 2015 is happening. Register for one day or all four. Wednesday is a key day for all 9th grders. It is a morning at Southwest and the official orientation. Students will meet all the 9th graders and many juniors and seniors. Register online or just show up, Wednesday August 24. Students will receive schudules at that time. All other grade schedules after 1:00 pm

Family picnic at 6:30 pm at the school on the evening of the 24th. Program at 6:30

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First day of Summer Bridge

What a great beginning! Almost 200 new 9th grade Lakers! What an exciting day. Yes, we are still getting ready for the start of school but purple pride continues. I think they were glad to be here and meeting new friends.

If you missed Wednesday, do't worry about it. We have room for you. We start at 8:30 am in the cafeteria. Come join us!

MIddle of the Week - almost here

State Fair starts a week from tomorrow.
Summer Bridge for incoming 9th graders starts today.
All Fall sports' practices started this past Monday.
Teachers start workshop week this coming Monday the 22nd.
Incoming student orientation Wednesday the 24th
All schedules ready after 1:00 pm on Wednesday the 24th
School Starts!!! Monday the 29th.

The sunrise is later each morning and the sunset is earlier each evening.

Yes, time marches on and we are ready for another exciting school year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day for Students August 29

The first day for all students is Monday August 29, 2011. School begins at 8:30 am

Transportation will send out information directly to your home prior to the start of the school year IF you are eligible for a school bus. For transportation information 612-668-2300.

Students eligible for Go-Cards will receive them after 1 pm on Wednesday the 24th or the first day of school.

Student schedules will be available on the 24th. 9th graders will receive theirs as part of the orientation program. All grades will be available after 1 pm on the 24th.

If you have not previously registered, you need to contact district placement office: 612-668-1840.

If you have been placed at Southwest and have not completed a schedule contact the counseling office for an appointment - 612-668-3050.

The school office is open regular business hours 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Pool Spectator Entrance - Upstairs

This is a view from the first floor of the East building or the level above the old pool entrances.

The spectator viewing bleachers will be above the pool and entered through this set of doors from the first level.

Renovations continues and is on schedule. The pool will be closed this entire year. It is scheduled to reopen prior to the start of the 2012 school year.

The renovated pool are will be a great addition to the entire city swimming program.

School Supply List for - School Year

There is no high school school supply list. In high school students take six classes from six different teachers. Because the individual schedules are different the supply needs of each student will be different.

What every high school student needs is a pen and something to write on. I would suggest a spiral notebook to begin. Some classes will require journals and that might be a composition book or spiral notebook. Other may have daily notes and those might fit best in binders that be divided into different sections. Some may encourage computer use for homework and other assignments.

Bring something to write with and something to write on the first day of school and you will be set. Each class will provide you a list of needs to meet the assignments in that class.

Backpacks are allowed. Many students carry them throughout the day. Some classes require that you stack them in a corner and you are not allow to go through the lunch line with a backpack. I caution not to plan on carrying too much stuff, they do get heavy. And the backpack and the stuff you put in them are your responsibility.

Target has the red card and hopefully you have designated Southwest to receive the donation from the red card. Office Depot also gives the school credit for your purchases so tell them at the check out line that you go to Southwest.

Check the web site for other details and information/

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Supplies Needed

Community have been fantastic in previous years. There is no reason to believe this year will be different. In two weeks our students will be returning to school and anixous to start another successful year. We try to help as much as we can.

As you go shopping and have ability to do a little more think of Southwest. What do we need?
* kleennex
* hand sanitized
* desk wipes and cleaner
* spiral notebooks
* pens and pencils
* loose leaf notebook paper

In advance, thank younger thinking of Southwest students.

Southwest Web Site and beyond

We are now into the 2011-12 school year. New information is on the web site as the teams are new, the clubs have changed and various leadership roles are new and different. Check out the Southwest web site:

Each sport has a web master and if you are involved in that sport (or club) I hope you know that person or at least who to contact. The individual sport sites will have pictures and schedules and all the news. If your club or sport does not have a current site and a current web master please let me know and we can gt your trained.

In an attempt to keep you up to the minute, there is a twitter: drbill02. I have not found how this is a helpful tool at the moment but I keep trying to get it a chance.

Communication is important. Over the years I have learned that you cannot do enough, in the right format, at the right or for the right people. So you have to do it all the time, in all kinds of formats and try to reach everyone somewhere and somehow.

Keep those email message coming.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Southwest Junior part of Lyndal Park Peace Garden ceremony

MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 8, 2011) — Amid a lush garden accented by a Japanese bridge, a group of Minnesotans honored the lives shattered by an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan 66 years ago.

“We must never forget the nuclear bomb has the potential of destroying the world. We must never ever again have nuclear warfare”, said JoAnn Blatchley, Convener of the Minneapolis St. Paul Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee.

The Hiroshima Commemoration at Lyndale Park Peace Garden took place the morning of August 6th and included a moment of silence at 8:15, which is the time the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. The bomb killed approximately 140,000 people.

Some were killed instantly, others died of radiation later. Nagasaki was bombed three days afterwards. Close to 74,000 people were killed and about the same number injured in that attack. Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945.

“We are trying to prevent another nuclear war. Our focus has been to engage people both young and old here in the Twin Cities so that it’s always in our minds and hearts there will never be another nuclear war,” explained Blatchley.

This is the 26th year the Hiroshima commemoration ceremony has taken place at Lyndale Park Peace Garden. Although remembrances of the bombings happened for many years before, it was 26 years ago a stone from Hiroshima was donated to build the Japanese bridge in the peace garden. Later, a stone from Nagasaki was added.

As part of the 2011 commemoration, Storytellers Elaine Wynne and Renee Weeks-Wynne performed “The Legend of Sadako and the 1,000 Cranes”. It is the true story of a child who suffered from the bomb’s radiation and died, but not before inspiring hope for peace by folding 1,000 paper cranes.

A statue of Sadako stands at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Southwest Minneapolis High School student Quincy Powe visited the site during an exchange trip to Japan. He shared his experiences during the ceremony. Powe didn’t know much about the memorial before his visit and was very surprised.

“When I got there I saw clothes, disease, their bubbly skin, parts of their bodies torn off. The experience was life changing, sad, scary, I didn’t know what emotion to feel because I wasn’t expecting that and it was overwhelming,” said the 16 year-old.

Powe said the lessons about the bombing in Hiroshima didn’t stick with him in elementary school. Seeing the evidence and the stories depicted at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum made a lasting impression.

“Seeing innocent people, especially kids who didn’t know what was going on with government or war, were hurt, their lives destroyed. They had to live with that, the burning, wanting water, wanting the hurting to stop. It was hurtful and saddening experience for me,” he added.

Powe is sharing his impressions of Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum with friends and neighbors and he hopes to expand his audience once school starts again. The high school junior says the trip not only changed his thoughts about history, but also about the future of nuclear warfare.

“As I was looking at pictures and materials at the Memorial Museum, I realized this can kill a lot of innocent people. It made an impact on me and the way I look at nuclear weapons. No country should have them. They need to be abolished,” he said.

This year’s commemoration events take on a sharper focus with the recent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant after a devastating tsunami in March.

“It has definitely been on the minds of people here,” commented Blatchley.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Blatchley read a message from the Mayor of Hiroshima, which mentioned the fear and distrust of nuclear power created by the fallout at the Fukushima plant.

“I think we have not seen the end of what is going to happen with Fukushima,” said Blatchley.

The 2011 Hiroshima Nagasaki “Days of Remembrance and Response” events started with a tea ceremony called a Chanoyu. In addition to the Hiroshima Commemoration, a procession called “Living in the Nuclear Age” traveled from 40th and Bryant South in Minneapolis to the Spirit of Peace sculpture in the Lyndale Park Peace Garden.

The group was led by Women in Black. Veterans for Peace, Chapter 27, then led the Ceremony of 11 Bells. The Days of Remembrance concluded with the Nagasaki Commemoration at Como Park. The event included a moment of silence for Nagasaki, St. Paul’s Sister City.

Participants ended with a ceremonial walk through the global Harmony Labyrinth. All of the events were organized by volunteers. Blatchley says she is especially encouraged by the involvement of young people, such as Quincy Powe.

“So these events we offer in community help us to remember the tragedy and the uselessness of the bomb,” she said.

The excitement builds

Every day there are another 50 students back in the building. By the end of the week we will have a full house and school doesn't start until the 29th. I am sure that it is the challenge of learning that draws them back early.

The fall sports season officially begins Monday the 15th. All the forms must be complete and physical on file prior to starting practice. For more information, check out the Southwest web site. Most sports have individual web pages for more specific information.

I talked with Robert this past week and I swear he grew four inches over the summer. Tiara I did not even recognize. I thought she was an alumni just wandering around. What happens in these three months. They left as such youngsters and return as young adults.

Then I meet the new Lakers. First they are not familiar yet. In another few weeks I will recognize faces and hopefully learn lots of names. But right now they look so young. I know that passes all too quickly. And so it continues. Another new school year and a new student body.

Now none of the staff have aged. This new grey hairs and new set of aches are not signs of another yea. The building is almost ready. The pool will take many more months but will be great once open. Gyms are redone and almost ready to go. Still working on repair from leak in E05 but expect that will improve. Just about like every previous summer.

The excitement continues to build. Each day in August is one closer to the opening and renewal of friendships and meeting new ones. It is a familiar repeat cycle of growing up. And it is a great adventure!

Friday, August 12, 2011

New look for Southwest entrance. In an attempt to reduce the erosion, improve the aesthetic look of the front entrance and to plant more oxygen producing attractive plants, a new low wall.

Thanks to the efforts of Liisa Schmitt (Liisa Schmitt Landscape Design) and her wonderful group of faithful garden volunteers the plants were planted this past couple weeks. In spite of record heat and high humidity days, the work went on. Thanks to the tremendous effort of many numerous and dedicated volunteers.

In the coming years the new entrance will be flowing with plants. The small hill will stay in place and hopefully off the sidewalk. Still some bits of clean-up to deal with but a wonderful addition to the entrance of the high school.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gymnasium Floors Refinished

West Gym floor almost finished. The floor, sanded, sealed and now lines repainted will receive more coats of sealant before ready for action this fall.

Both the East and West gym floor have will refinished and will be ready for action with the start of the school year.

Absences for religious observances

Dear Families:

Re: Student absences for religious observances

Ramadan, a major religious holiday for our Muslim students, families and staff, will be observed during the first week of school, August 29 – September 2, 2011. Students in grades 1-12 start school on August 29. Kindergarten students start school on August 31. Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan in which Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset, could be August 31 and September 1.

As a religiously and culturally diverse school district, we are concerned about the education of all of our children. The policies and procedures schools put in place for excused absences and ways to make-up work will appropriately address students who may miss school due to religious observances.

Absences for religious reasons may be excused if a parent or guardian notifies the school in writing. In your note, include the number of days your child will miss school, the dates he or she will be absent and the reason why.

In the case of Eid, it may be best to notify your child’s school when teachers return to work the week of August 22-26, 2011.

School activities during opening week
Opening week activities are a time for school staff to establish rituals and routines; give parents and students information about school schedules, classroom and school procedures and safety information; and assess students’ reading and mathematics levels. During opening week, school staff get to know students and students get to know each other.

During high school opening week, students receive their classroom schedules (available for 9th grade during orientation August 24 and after 1 pm for all other grades -- Schedules will also be available for all grades the first day of school), textbooks, locker assignments, course information and general school orientation about events, policies and procedures.

What students and families can do to get missed school work
Parents and guardians can contact their child’s school or teacher the week of August 22-26, 2011, (612-668-3088) to learn about what their child will miss during an absence.

Tips for students include:
• Find out what was assigned during your absence
• Arrange for a study buddy in each class to copy the lecture notes from someone reliable. (Try talking to a couple of classmates.)
• Access class information via the class portal on the MPS website
• Contact your teachers to get any handouts distributed while you were gone.
• Turn in any homework promptly when you return from your absence.

Procedures vary among schools, but generally assignments are available in a student’s classroom before or after an absence and online on the parent portal and teacher websites.

Activities to acquaint students to school
Your child’s school will send a back-to-school newsletter that will include important information for you and your child. If your child will be absent the first week of school, there may be opportunities before school for you to get information about the first week of school. Read the newsletter or contact your child’s school to find out if any of the activities below will be available.
• Goal-setting conferences with parents during teacher opening week
• Orientation activities for ninth-grade students
• Open houses during teacher opening week

We look forward to working with you and your child to make this school year a great year. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school or our office.


Theresa Battle
Associate Superintendent Area C

Bill Smith, Southwest High School Principal

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pool Renovation Moving Along

The locker rooms are completely renovated. This is a view inside the door looking into shower.

A view on the south side of the pool looking up to the new set of bleachers with entrance from the hallway on the first floor of the East building. The bleachers are above the pool level.

The Southwest pool renovation is moving along as scheduled. The renovation includes locker rooms, diving well, viewing bleachers, new decking and lots more. Right now the pool is completely covered in order to have machinery to work on the walls and ceiling.

Even with the excitement of new construction, the girls swim team season will be a mix of practices and tournaments in different sites. Since all the city teams previously swam at this pool, there are adjustment for all the city swim teams.

The Southwest pool is the only existing high school pool in the city. Thus, it is used by all the city teams. This is the first year for the newly configured two city teams -- east and west.

The new pool is expected to be finished by the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Gym Floor Reconditioned for Start of School Year

New coating, lines and wax. Both the East and West gym floors were refurbished this summer. Both were sanded and brought back to a wonderful fresh condition.

The numerous coats of seal dried and then lines were painted. Then more coast of seal. They are currently drying and then some more coats were be added.

Summer has been a time for cleaning and getting ready for another exciting school year.

Stop Bullying

Secondary Bullying Reminders
Middle and high school students ranging in ages 11 – 16 responded similarly to elementary age students. What is noticeably different is the use of technology in bullying behavior and responses to bullying behavior. Students and youth in this age group are also more likely to make an attempt to address the behavior on their own or with the help of a friend before turning to an adult for help.

Do you know what bullying looks like?

When a “let’s hate ____” petition is being circulated and your name is at the top
When most of the kids in the math class got a text to make mooing noises at another kid as she makes her way to her desk
Putting a book bag in one seat, your feet in another, and a purse in the next empty chair to keep certain, other kids from sitting at your table
Calling someone a name every time you see them, all day, every day
Going out of your way to bump or shove the same kid in the hallway, at the lockers, anywhere you can get away with it
Posting means things on a FB wall
Tweeting rumors

Do you know what to do if you see a classmate being bullied?

Tell them to chill
Walk away
Tell a teacher
Stop by the counselor’s office
Call or text my mom and dad

Do you know what to do if you are being bullied?
Tell them to back off
Keep walking
Talk to a teacher or coach
See the school nurse

What can parents and families do?
Listen. Make time to talk to your children and Listen.
Document the incident. Have students print out chat logs or FB postings.
Talk to a teacher you know, school counselor, social worker or administrator.

Copied from a Bullying Prevention Program prepared by the American Federation of Teachers.

Not Too Late Fall Athletic Registration

What a wonderful first night. Last night was the official Fall Sports Registration Night. Meet the coaches, get all forms cleared, chat with team mates -- all part of a busy evening here at Southwest. Again looks like a record turn out but we still want you to participate.

There is still time to complete all the forms - including physical - and turn them in to the Athletic Office. Official first day of practice is August 15th.

Go online for all the forms, information about Southwest athletics and the individual fall sports. There is coach contact information. Several sports also have their own individual web pages with booster information and pictures.

Get involved - get active -- become another part of the Laker Championship athletic program.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Study

Response to question -- what advice do you have for incoming students and families>

Such a good topic, and good timing! I have a student starting his senior year, as well as an alumni that is starting his 3rd year of college. My college student has said on more than one occasion that while "prepping" him for college - the one thing that was missed by both middle school and high school - was HOW to study! It would have been nice to have every incoming freshman take some kind of study skills class or touch on it in one of the core classes. It would have prepared him much better for college.

posted anonymously

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What do you suggest?

Some of the best advice fr incoming students and families is right out there. Many of you have been there, done that. Hope about sharing you bits of wisdom and experience?

How do you shift from elementary Mom (Dad) to high school parent?
How do you influence reasonable choice of clothes without all the conflict and drama?
How do you let go of your baby?
At what point do you let them accept responsibility for their actions - or lack of?
What is support and what is babying?
How can I not be a helicopter parent?
How do I protect my child and let them grow?
When do I step in and be the parent and rule enforcer?
How do I get them to ______ without nagging?
When do I start to worry?
What are the tale tell signs of _______?

You are the experienced ones. I am sure there is a parent student out there who has been through it. What can we share with our incoming or younger students and families. Email me and I will post the wisdom. If you do not want your name used, so indicate.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fall Athletic Registration August 9 Tuesday

Fall Athletic Registration
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Southwest High School

3:00 pm to 6:30 pm

West Building -- enter through Door 13 OR 15

Please bring completed forms and fees.

Forms are available from Athletic Office or the Southwest web site.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to stay in College

The big conversation for many years has been go to college. A decent goal that everyone develop the skills to be prepared, increase options. Now the concern is how to stay in college.

According to recent research staying in college is more difficult than getting there. To some degree there are specific rules and procedures to follow and one gets in college. Apply, find the money, have a high enough GPA and ACT and then select the college. Staying there is more attitude and behavior.

Yes all students need academic skills. There is a major question in the research about how much and howhigh. But assuming every one that gets in is at least meeting the entrance requirement. Why do some remain the necessary years and why do other bomb out? Well the research suggests that number one is that many students and families do not recognize that college is different than high school. Duh?

The two absolutely necessary academic skills determined by research are writing and research skills. Again there is a question about how prepared the average high school students is with either of these academic skills.

The most important skills for college success are self-direction, self motivation, study skills, group work, time management and organization. Not particularly surprising. Those are the skills necessary for almost any career. They are learned skills and can be developed and improved. None of these skills are related to genes or past history or poverty or family life. What the research is suggesting is that college readiness is more than a bunch of courses and good grades. Learning to think, organize thoughts, communicate your ideas and be motivated are equally important.

Southwest has a long history with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaueate courses and study. Fortunately these are a strong curriculum and academically sound but they also require students to think, create, apply and inquire. Not saying that we do it all perfectly but it is comforting to have research confirm that this is the right path.

Do we support the learning of those skills as teachers and parents. Are we seeing that our students understand self-direction and motivation (responsibility)? Do we push writing and research? Do we challenge our students and children to accept responsibility for what they are doing. Or do we skim through a quarter and then with a couple extra credit projects get by?

Are we preparing students to enter college or complete college?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We will be ready

There is stuff everywhere. Chairs, desks and dirt are all out in the hallways. The quest to finish gains momentum each day. The humidity does not help the wax dry. The heat and humidity make each move a dance of sweat and energy. The work and the building is hot.

So we are trying to get ready. Both gym floors are being redone. We will appreciate the finished product but right now is a question of will be they be ready by the 15th and that is a question. The pool renovation project continues. Progess is being made and appears to be on schedule.

We experienced a heating problem in E05 this summer and are now dealing with water damage and clean up. Working against tmie is never a good situation. If we have to we can move the classroom around until the repairs a complete.

Working on air conditioning in band room in order to deal with band camp. We believe that will be okay with almost two more weeks to go.

The planting on the new wall at front entrance continues. Volunteers are always needed to help with that project.

Summer is a relaxing time for much of the school staff, but many are also working.

We will be ready in aboaut 26 days!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pay attention to school fashions.

We are slowly moving into the fall school season. The new fashion lines are on display. You can decide whether you like the new colors or not. They will change I six weeks so it is okay one way or another.

Moms out there...... Please remember your darling babies ave grown a bunch over the summer. They need sizes that cover major parts of their bodies -- whether they want that or not. If the bottom of the pockets is sticking out of the bottom of the shorts they are a bit too short. I am sure your child has a cute belly. I am not sure we need to se it to believe it. Tops need to have straps. We really don't want. Fashion malfunction.

School is for mental development. We would like to focus on learning and teaching and not on how embracing a person can look. I know the fashions are interesting. At a party, sitting in your front room, or going to the beach is an excellent place to strut your stuff. School has a different purpose.

Sign up for Southwest Student Directory

Make sure the correct information is in the 2011-12 Southwest Student Directory. You can sign-up on line at:

OR complete the forms that come home the first day of school.

Complete all the necessary information prior to September 1st if at all possible.

Your Support Remains Important

Community financial support for Southwest High School has been tremendous. Over the past five years individuals, families and friends have contributed over one million dollars to the education of Southwest students and programs. Every single dollars has gone to directly benefit the educational opportunities of Southwest students.

Textbooks seven years ago were older than the students. Information was extremely dated and books were in terrible condition or did not exist for all students. As a result of your support all students in all classes have recent textbooks in all subject appropriate to the subject and needs of the classroom. In many cases textbook did not exist for those classes and now do. Special Education, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement classes are examples.

AS the students enrolled in more advanced and upper level classes the needs of AP and IB courses demanded additional textbooks to meet the needs of the increased numbers. The amount of technology support in the classrooms for students and teachers increased as well. All classrooms have interactive white boards, audio enhancement systems, and data projectors. The number of computers available to students continue to increase.

Your financial support remains important. We cannot depend on state support to meet the needs of our students. The district formula budget does not meet the needs of special education, Advanced Placement or IB students and classes. In the next few week the Southwest Education Fund will be seeking your support. I will continue to highlight what has been done in the past and where are the current needs.

Together we can make the difference.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Sparrow: A Novel

Mary Doria Russell is the author of this science fiction best seller, The Sparrow: A Novel. Set in the future, the novel explores the concepts of being human and having faith.

With a science background Russell brings a technical sense to the writing without getting lost in big words and jargon. She provides enough science to be plausible and of interest to those is astronomy and space travel but not too much to slow down the adventure. It is a alien space travel adventure mystery. A team travel but only one returns.

Good summer read and does offer some interesting questions. Has been a popular book club selection. Different parts could strike a lively discussion.

35W Memorial Opens Today

The 35W bridge Memorial opened today. For over 100 individuals and many family and friends the memorial brings the memories of the highway tragedy. For families with a lost the memorial has personal and emotional implications. For many who were on the bridge but survived the memorial may be one of hope and promise. For many police or fire fighters or other first responders the memorial may be a symbol of what can be accomplished through training, courage and working together. To the many who provided assistance in many ways the memorial may bring some closure to a terrible accident.

There are Southwest families with direct connections to that tragic event. Some were on the bridge and some with family members and friends at risk. We hope they find a sense of relief and conclusion to this horrible event.

For a community this memorial should serve as a reminder that we need trained and prepared personnel and equipment to respond to emergencies when needed. We need public services that require inspections and protection. It is a reminder that every moment is precious and the unexpected can and does happened.