Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dance to the Sound of Science

You really needed to see this one. The 9th grade science classes are part of a national program using physical movement (dance) to express, explain, demonstrate, learn science. The project started as a graduate class for Ph.D. research scientist class. How does one take abstract concepts and make them real?

The 9th graders attended a program at the Crowles Auditorium and experienced firsthand the blending of dance and science. Now the 9th grade young scientists are working with our Dance Company to put it all together.

So today it was out into the halls and commons trying to physically display gravity and energy and force and equilibrium. And it worked!

This will continued to be developed into a program for your pleasure and some video tapes and who knows what is next. The students went from being part of an auadience watching Ph.D. candidate scientists dance to making their own experience to being one in twenty years. Who knows.

2012-13 Class Information

Parents have the opportunity to learn more about classes for the 2012-13 school year. On Thursday sessions will be 5:15 to 6:00 pm and repeated at 6:30 -7:15.

Presentations will be by grade and in separate rooms. Check the posted signs to locate the exact location.

On Friday March 2, the presentations will be 9:45 to 10:30 am and 1:15 to 2:00 pm.

Information is also on line at the Southwest web site.

Thursday 4-8 and Friday 9-4 Conferences

Thursday March 1 is a regular school day for students. Conferences start on Thursday night at 4 pm and go to 8 pm.

There is no school for students on Friday, March 2. Conferences are 9 am to 4 pm on Friday.

Hopefully, we will see you on Thursday or Friday.

What a Mess

But we made it through the day. Winter reminds us that we need to be careful as we drive, park and walk. It definitely was wet and messy. Tomorrow promises to be a bit nicer but probably will still be sloppy and in many sports, slippery.

Winter temperatures freeze water. That makes it slippery. Let's stay alert and aware of potential problems. We want everyone to be in school safely and in good condition.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And the Snow Begins

The weather people like to predict the weather -- big shock!

Now let's see if it really does begin to look and feel like a normal Minnesota winter. Based on the reports you should be buying bread and water. Make sure you have blankets in storage and be prepared to hunker in for the duration.

I think they forget a couple basic facts -- one they are seldom correct and two this is Minnesota. The kids are already planning the parties. Sleds are being dug from this side spots in the garage. If there is a big storm do you think we are going to stay home and miss it?

But just in case.... You need to pay attention to the news tonight and early morning. We do not want you to send your children out to a closed school. Be careful of those early morning bus pick ups. Ice and Snow make for a bad and unsafe mix. Check the conditions before sending the kids out.

We have heard it before..... but this might be a correct time. Be safe!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ice and Snow Makes It Go Slow

The ice covered by snow makes for a very slow commute this morning. Take extra time getting any where. The main streets are covered and slippery. The side streets are worse. Be carful driving and walking. It is not too cold bit it is sloppy, wet, icy and slippery. Take extra time to drive, to park and to walk. Be very careful this morning.

School is running on regular time today. Be careful.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

About 13 Weeks Left

When you are over 40 the months become rather small percentages in the total. In fact one month represents about .002% of your life thus far. However if you are 16, that one month is almost a life time.

When you are young the difference in a day might as well be a year or several years. There are less than 70 school days left this year - in fact 64 days. Those limited days are crowded with plans, adventures, dates, moments to remember, moments to forget.

Looking back on those days they seem like a blink. But remember living them? At that moment, at that time there was nothing more important, nothing bigger, nothing more promising, nothing more frigthening.

Each, single day is important in the life of a young person. Let's use them wisely.

Speech Earns Honors at Centennial

The Southwest Speech Team gathered in the wee hours of the morning to journey to the Centennial Cougar Invitational Tournament. Competing with 38 other schools and over 850 individual speakers, the team pulled off 7 awards by the end of the long day.

Congratulations Southwest Speech Team

Dramatic Interpretation
Abby Harnack – Honorable Mention

Extemporaneous Speaking
Sophia Deady - Honorable Mention
Vince Puzak – 5th Place Honor Finals

Humorous Interpretation
Chloe Brevik-Rich – 7th Place Honor Finals
Sarah-Kate Stone – Honorable Mention

Original Oratory
Brodin Jentz – 5th Place Honor Finals

Prose interpretation
Simi Parker – 7th Place Finals

Dan Ferris, Speech Coach

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mid-Term Third Quarter

This past Friday was the last day for mid-term grades for Third Quarter. For those students earning a D or F in a class a report will be mailed home this week. Parent teacher conferences will be Thursday and Friday. There is a full day of school for students on Thursday and no student school day on Friday.

Parents can secure a .schedule from their children or get one at conferences. During conference we are also distributing the parent surveys. Puck up one with your name at conferences. We will collect them the same day if you complete it. You can return the survey by mail if you so desire.

Still time to savage the quarter if your son or daughter has not figured it out so far. If you cannot make conferences, please check the Parent Portal or contact teacher for more information. The year is speeding by. Make sure the grades are where they should be. No reason to spend the summer making up what should have been accomplished now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Visual Arts Booster Club Feb 28 at 7 pm

Visual Arts Booster Club There will be a meeting to start a visual arts booster club Tuesday, February 28, at 7:00 pm in room 20.

Speech Night Fund Raiser Feb 29 at 7 pm

Cicero Night! Southwest Speech team in performance February 29th (Weds.) 7pm Black Box
Join us for a celebration of Southwest’s oratory talents to help raise funds for the Speech Team. Please come and support the program and enjoy the display of an immense variety of
forensic and creative skills. There will be music, concessions, and oratory Splendor. Donations appreciated.

IB Parent Meeting Feb 28 at 7 pm

IB Parent Meeting- Tuesday, February 28, at 7 PM in the Southwest Media Center
Dick Schwartz, Diploma Program Coordinator and TOK Teacher, will present a "crash course" in Theory of Knowledge for all parents/guardians of Juniors now pursuing the IB Diploma. The Theory of Knowledge course is one of the core components of the IB Diploma Program and all IB Diploma Candidates are required to take it. Starting next school year, Theory of Knowledge will become available to juniors and seniors who are not pursuing the IB Diploma. Therefore, ALL grade-level parents/guardians are invited to attend.

SW Baseball Feb 25 at 6 pm

Southwest Baseball Silent Auction & Fundraiser
Date: Sat, Feb 25, 2012
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 pm
Location: Minneapolis Officer's Club
395 Highway 5 and Post Rd
Fort Snelling, MN 55111

More info at:

FTC Robot Competition Feb 25

FTC Robot Competition
Sat, February 25, 8:00am – 5:30pm

Prior Lake High School (map) Saturday, February 25, 2012 - All day FTC Robot Competition with the small robot at Prior Lake High School. 8:00 am to 5:15 pm. Concessions available. Everyone invited!

Support Swim Team 6 pm At Richfield on the 24th

Please come support the mens swimming and diving team at 2AA SECTIONS!!!
Friday, February 24: 6pm - Swimming Finals at Richfield Middle School

Conferences March 1 and 2

Conferences are March 1st and 2nd, next Thursday (4- 7:45pm) afternoon and Friday (9 am to 4 pm).

Parent Teacher conference planning sheets are available in English, Somali and Spanish.

Parent and familu surveys will be available at the information table for your to complete.

As part of Parent-Teacher conferences, parents and students are invited to hear some of our student jazz musicians performing in the Black Box beginning at 7PM.

Stop in for as long as you like (one tune or a full hour) and enjoy some good jazz combo music (Ellington, Miles Davis, etc.).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On More Day to Mid-Term

Friday the 24th is the last day for material to be completed prior to mid-terms being calculated. Next week all families with students at this mid-point in the quarter earning a D or F will be mailed a Mid-Term Report.

If you aer interested in know your chlid's mid-term grade, check the Parent Portal or contact your child's teacher.

One wya or another, grades are important. Hopefully the grades reflect learning. So if you child is not learning the material more effort, focus, practice or concentration may be a needed change.

Do forget the Friday the 24th is the last day prior to third quarter mid-terms.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Next year school Calendar

Nothing is Official at this time! I know there are several mixed messages out there about the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Two proposals were discussed at the early February Board of Education meeting. There are several key points involving the start of school, winter and spring breaks and the end of school. The calendar probably will be on the Feb. 28 Board of Education Meeting.

More information is availabe at:

At this point -- Nothing is Official.

The anticipated opening date for the 2012-13 school appears to be Aug 27 for most schools. That is a guesstimate based on the best available information pending Board of Education approval.

Winter Came back

Finally some snow to complain about in Minnesota. But a quick reminder that normal winter weather is difficult for travel.

The hill on 47th coming up to school can be a major problem. If there is snow on the side streets you are better to stay away from that hill especially first thing in the morning with buses. Students were pushing numerous cars to move them from in front of buses.

Take the extra time to park and walk to school. Get up a bit earlier on days that are predicted snow. If there is no snow to worry about use the extra morning time to study.

Be careful walking on the sidewalks and the streets. Yes, snow is slippery. Because of the warmer temperatures, there is moisture under the snow and that is probably ice which make footing uncertain.

Be cautious and safe. Send a little extra time and get to school without the bumps and bruises.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Southwest Secret Ingredient -- You!

Much is being said about public education from political campaign trails to local blogs and our own Star Tribune.  Longer years, longer days, more technology, less technology, better teachers, newer teachers, small schools, home school, and the list goes on.  Not one of these has any support from any research in the last 40 years.

A strong, meaningful curriculum, solid instructional delivery and willing students are the factors necessary for a good school.  Lots of people and sales folks want to put labels and names to these factors but the essence of these three are what we need to stress to improve teaching and more importantly learning.  What do we need to teach, how and who is learning.  Without straying from the point, add assessment (how do we know) and you have focused instruction.

I believe there is a secret ingredient at Southwest.  The ingredient is expectation.  I know there was not a shock and burst of surprise. Without a doubt Southwest over the years has been fortunate to secure and maintain a solid curriculum, foster and support great instructional staff and motivated and encouraged students.  But the real reason for success as been all of that mixed with a heavy dose of expectation.

Our community continues to send students to Southwest with the expectation of a quality education.  Our staff expects and demands of themselves and each other well-planned and meaningful daily lessons.  Our staff expects students to come with a wide variety of academic abilities, some unwillingness and needing reason and motivation.  Our staff and students expect to provide and receive support.  Our students arrive with their own expectations mixed with teen age rebellion, typical youth vigor and energy and fear of not knowing who and why they are.

It is up to us - the staff, students and community to maintain the expectations.  Once we assume this one or this group is lost or helpless, what we have been over the years is gone.  If we mistake the behaviors and appearances of being young as some intellectual sign of defeat we have forgotten our our development and certainly our professional calling.  The late to class, the sagging pants, the head down and hood up, the noise and laziness are outward signs of inward confusion.  If we expect that behavior they will more than oblige.  Yes, as long as there are teens there will be adults struggling with them.  It is a daily struggle.

We cannot control the nature of the wonderful students who enter our doors.  Public education, in fact, encourages all to enter.  Let us control what we can- the curriculum, the instruction and the expectation. Let's continue to strive to encourage and to motivate students to be the willing academic learners.

Let's encourage our students,familis and community members to work with us in building an improved tomorrow.

Thank you
Bill Smith
Principal Southwest High School

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Feb 29 - Speech Presentations -- Donations Needed

Come out and support the Southwest Speech Team

In addtional to begging for donations, the Speech Team will present many of the member's cuttings and presentations for audience entertainment.

A fun evening starting at 9 pm in the Black Box. Cicero Night is the annual Speech Team fund raiser.

See many talented SW students perform their award winning presentations, cuttings and interpretations.

Speech Team Places Sixth in Tournament

Southwest Speech Team traveled to the Farmington Tiger Invitational Tournament. The awards winner are:

Creative Expression – Madelaine Foster Honorable Mention
Prose – Arfa Alam and Abby Hamack Honorable Mention
Extemporeus Speaking -- 2nd Place Avi Gori and 5th Place Vince Puzak
Poerty -- Genny Pfister Honorable Mention
Duo -- Gigi Rich and Io Irvin Honorable Mentions
Discussion – 3rd Place Mariah Oxley, 3rd Place Maya Lassiter, 4th Place Nathaniel Larson and
Mohamed Mohamed Honorable Mention
Humorous – 2nd Place Piper Shatz-Akin and Vienna Larche Honorable Mention

Long Weekend

No School on Monday. Hope the entire family is enjoying the unusual weather even with winter prediction for Monday.

Parent Teacher Conferences are 4-7:45 pm on March 1 and 9- 4 on March 2. Please plan to attend.

Course fair for the 2012-13 school year for students in grades 9-11 will be March 1. Family information for pre-registration and courses will be scheduled during the conferences.

Think about which night will be you Southwest Musical Hairspray night.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Math Team Year Season Results

Math Team Results
The Southwest High School Math Team finished the regular season on a high note on Monday. Five of the Minneapolis high schools and one charter school met up at Southwest High School for the fifth Math Team meet of the year.
Some statistics from the meet:
•           121 total students from six schools in the Minneapolis division participated.
•           60 Southwest students participated individually at the meet.
•           59 of the Southwest students scored at least one point. That represents our highest ratio of relative success at any math team meet in my career as a coach. I’m very proud of our students.
•           Southwest earned the majority of the top individual scores at the meet.
•           Thirteen students from Minneapolis earned at least 10 points…nine of those students were from Southwest.
•           The varsity team (official scoring team) earned 89 of a possible 136 points, finishing in first place within the division.
•           The junior varsity team earned 64 of a possible 136 points. That is good enough to unofficially finish third in the division.
•           The varsity team finished the year with 378 of a possible 680 points.
Official state rankings can be viewed at
The cumulative rankings are located by clicking on the meets and standings tab on the top of the page

Check in with the Nurse

Attention Students and Parents, an important message from the school nurse:
If you do not feel well and want to go home- get a pass and see the school nurse (Mrs. Walker).   Mrs. Walker is available in the health office; room 117 during the school day.   Students who call or text parents outside of the health office will not be excused for their absence. Questions; please refer to your Student Handbook page 13.    Per school policy, students are required to be seen & evaluated by the school nurse before calling a parent to go home.  Therefore, the initial call should be placed from the health office not the classroom

Speech on Stage Feb 29

Cicero Night!  Southwest Speech team in performance February 29th (Weds.) 
7pm in the    Black Box
Join us for a celebration of Southwest’s oratory talents to help raise funds for the Speech Team.

Please come and support the program and enjoy the display of an immense variety of
forensic and creative skills.

  There will be music, concessions, and oratory Splendor.

Donations appreciated

Baseball Fund Raiser Feb 25

Southwest Baseball Silent Auction & Fundraiser
Date: Sat, Feb 25, 2012
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 pm
Location: Minneapolis Officer's Club
395 Highway 5 and Post Rd
Fort Snelling, MN 55111
More info at:

9th Grade Academic Success Workshop Feb. 23

Freshmen Academic Success Workshop 
Workshop will take place Thursday, February 23 from 3:15-4:15pm.  The topic of the workshop is understanding your learning environment.  Students will start out in the Career Center (room 104) and move throughout the building completing different tasks in different classroom environments.   All freshmen are welcome and bus tokens are available.  If students have questions, they should talk to their counselor, a CCC coordinator, or Ryan ( from Project Success. 

Men's Swimming Section

Please come support the mens swimming and diving team at 2AA SECTIONS!!!
Wednesday, February 22: 6pm -  Swimming Prelims at Richfield Middle School
Thursday, February 23: 6pm -  Diving Competition at Oak Grove Middle School
Friday, February 24: 6pm - Swimming Finals at Richfield Middle School

Exciting day Friday

Friday is the beginning of a long weekend. Some of already started out of town.

Hopefully, there is fun and adventure planned for the weekend. Normally this would be a fun winter break, but without the snow and cold it all seems out of place.

We are going to have a Code Red DRILL today. We are required to have several throughout the year. This is a DRILL.

Getting close to the end of a quarter. Time to remind students to get their classes in order. Need those good grades.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions about Proposed Calendar

Frequently Asked Questions: 2012-13 School Calendar (2-16-12)
1. What changes are proposed to the 2012-13 school calendar?
In 2012-13, the Minneapolis Public Schools are proposing two different start dates for two different groups of schools. Students in grades 1-12 at 16 schools identified as “high priority,” would begin the school year on Monday, August 20. This would add nine days to the calendar. Kindergartners at these schools would begin on August 22. High priority schools include Anishinabe, Bancroft, Bethune, Broadway, Cityview, Edison, Folwell (program moved from current Ramsey site), Green Central, Hall, Hmong International Academy, Lucy Laney, North, Olson, Pratt, Sheridan and Wellstone.
Students in grades 1-12 at all other schools would begin the school year on Monday, August 27. This would add four days to the calendar. Kindergartners at these schools would begin on August 29.
The 2012-13 calendar proposal also includes a winter recess of seven school days rather than previous years’ winter recess of 10 school days.
2. Why were these changes proposed?
Minneapolis has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation and we all have a stake in helping every student succeed. This proposal represents a proven strategy to increase the amount of instructional time we are providing students, particularly at sites where academic performance is lower than at most other schools. When combined with other key strategies developed at school, research shows that additional time in the classroom can help students improve their academic performance, which is why it has been one of MPS’ priorities in negotiating the teacher contract.
3. What does “high priority” mean?
High priority schools are those that rank among the lowest 25% in MPS in terms of both student achievement and student academic growth. One of the many strategies the school district is using to help improve achievement at these schools is to lengthen the school year and provide students with more instructional time.
4. How many school days are required by law?
In 2012-13, MPS has proposed 176 instructional days at most schools (181 at high priority schools). The state requires that students have at least:
 425 instructional hours for kindergarten (equivalent of 170 days @ 2.5 hours)
 935 instructional hours for grades 1 - 6 (equivalent of 170 days @ 5.5 hours)
 1,020 instructional hours for grades 7 -12 (equivalent of 170 days @ 6 hours)
5. How many instructional days did MPS offer in 2011-12 compared to other area school districts?
 Harvest Prep 196 days
 Richfield 175 days
 St. Anthony 174 days
 Brooklyn Center 174 days
 S. Wash. Co. 174 days
 Rosemount 174 days
 N. St Paul 173 days
 Lakeville 173/175 days
 St. Paul 173/175 days
 MPS 172 days
 Eden Prairie 170 days
Other urban school districts:
 Baltimore 180 days
 Boston 180 days
 Charlotte-Mecklenburg 180 days (185 for 2012-13)
 Houston 180 days
 Memphis 180 days
 Philadelphia 181 days
 San Francisco 176 days
 St. Louis 176 days
6. Is it legal to start school before Labor Day?
State law requires school years to start after Labor Day. However, there are several exemptions to that law that provide school districts with the flexibility to develop an appropriate local calendar. MPS has legally started school before Labor Day during several recent school years.

2012-13 proposed calendar Letter to Families

February 16, 2012

Dear Families:

I am writing to provide additional information about the proposed 2012-13 school year calendar. On February 14, the Minneapolis Board of Education received a recommendation on my behalf regarding the 2012-13 school year calendar. The recommendation includes a proposal to have two different school start dates for two different groups of schools. For Anishinabe, Bancroft, Bethune, Broadway, Cityview, Edison, Folwell (program moved from current Ramsey site), Green Central, Hall, Hmong International Academy, Lucy Laney, North, Olson, Pratt, Sheridan and Wellstone, we are recommending that students in grades 1-12 would begin the school year on Monday, August 20, adding nine days to the calendar. The rest of the school district would begin the school year on Monday, August 27, adding four days to the calendar.

Minneapolis has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation and we all have a stake in helping every student succeed. This proposal represents a proven strategy to increase the amount of instructional time we are providing students, particularly at sites where academic performance is lower than at most other schools. When combined with other key strategies developed at school, research shows that quality additional time in the classroom can help students improve their academic performance, which is why it has been one of MPS’ priorities in negotiating the teacher contract. Final approval of this calendar is pending the result of teacher contract negotiations.

We know that changes to the school calendar have an impact on you and your family. The development of the calendar was informed by parent and staff surveys as well as a representative committee of administrators, teachers and parents who shared their suggestions and recommendations. While we know extending the instructional year will benefit students who are struggling, we are also confident that it will have a positive impact on students who are excelling. It is my firm belief that developing two calendars is a necessary step in closing the achievement gap. We need your support and partnership to put this strategy in place.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the calendar recommendation at its meeting on February 28, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room at 807 NE Broadway in Minneapolis. To learn more about the recommended calendar or provide feedback, please contact Minneapolis Public Schools at 612.668.0000 or Thank you for your continued engagement in your child’s education.


Bernadeia H. Johnson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jazz on 88 FM KBEM

Jazz At Southwest Team,

Hello everyone. I hope that all of you have enjoyed the first two episodes of Jazz At Southwest. This is the first time in the history of KBEM that we have dedicated an hour-long series of shows to highlight the amazing music program at Southwest. I am extremely grateful that you have allowed us to share our audience with your very talented students and children. In case you missed it the first two episodes of the show are posted on our webpage here…

As we continue to record more shows we will be expanding the show to a YouTube page after we add a few more upgrades to our studio set. KBEM is here to serve the students of the Minneapolis Schools first and foremost and this show meets our mission like no other program we broadcast.

On March 13th we will be in our Spring Pledge Drive and have the opportunity to broadcast the show live! We are looking for a few volunteers to answer phones that night from 6:30 – 9:00 PM if we do the live. We are able to do an extended two hour show that night from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM to help raise money for KBEM and to continue production on this show. If you are available to help and would like to record a testimonial about why listeners should support Jazz At Southwest please contact me I would really appreciate it! We are also looking for business sponsors that can help support the production of this show. If you know of any interested businesses in the Southwest naiborhood that would like to sponsor the show we should try to arrange a meeting with them to talk about creating some on air promotions.

Thanks again and please if you have any feed back about the show let me know and be sure to catch every episode of Jazz At Southwest Tuesdays at 7:00 PM only on KBEM 88.5-FM Jazz 88!

Robert Hayles
Jazz 88 FM

Monday, February 13, 2012

Speech Team Cicero Night Feb. 29 - 7 pm

All of you are invited to the Speech Team's Cicero Night on Feb. 29th at 7:00 pm.

Cicero Night is a chance to see the many facets of the Speech Team, as they present a myriad of oratory presentations, including prose, poetry, humor, informational, extemporaneous, and creative expression.

You will laugh. You will cry. You will learn something. And hopefully you will donate money since that is one of the functions of Cicero Night, in addition to showcasing the amazingly talented students that work feverishly each week to get up at 5 am on a Saturday to compete in far away locations.

Please help support the Speech Team and the students of this school by attending this very special leap year event.

Dan Ferris
SW Speech Coach

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Southwest Speech Team Takes 2nd Place

Southwest Speech Team - Second Place Jordn Invitational

Creative Expression
Madelaine Foster - 4th

Ian McGillivary - 3rd
Nathaniel Larson – 2nd

Extep Reading
3rd Eden Messner – 7th

Dramatic Duo
Brodin Jentz and Madeline Foster – 2nd
Elizabeth Rinde and Sedrick Peers – 4th
Gi Gi Rich and Io Irvin – 5th

Extemp Speaking
Avi Gori - 1at
Sophia Deady - 2nd

Humorous Interp
Piper Schatz-Akin – 1st
Chloe Rich- 2nd
Mariah Oxley – 4th

Informative Speaking
Austin Van Cleave - 4th
Joe Hanson - 6th

Sophia Deady - 1st
Alexandra Nicome - 2nd
Genny Pfister - 7th

Abby Harnack – 3rd
Simi Parker – 5th

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter is BACK

Dress warm and be careful of the walks from the bus stop and the car. Wind chill makes it below freezing and bare skin can be damaged very quickly with frostbite and cold.

Be safe. Throw and extra blanket in the car. Make sure you have scarf and gloves if you do have to walk. The cold might be here for a day or two but you the cold can be dangerous in a matter of hours.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Southwest In the NEWS -- FAFSA Help

I just wanted to let you know that School Matters is online and has been airing on Minneapolis cable channel 15 over the past week.

Watch Channel 15 for the School Matters spot. Or go to the Minneapolis web site and click on School Matters on TV.

“College and career readiness must be at the forefront of students’ minds from the moment they enter school until the day that they toss their caps in the air,” said Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson. “To help support our graduates, MPS will improve support for students and families to complete applications for college admission and financial aid.”

Financial advisors from La Conexion of the Americas, H & R Block, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), the University of St. Thomas and additional businesses and colleges will be on hand to help families complete tax forms and the FAFSA at the FAFSA February event on February 12 from 2 - 5 p.m. at MCTC.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Support the Arts throughout the District

Support student artists at Viva City February 8 - April 25.
MPS invites students, families and community members to Viva City, a premiere arts event showcasing local up-and-coming local artists – who happen to be our very own students!

Now in its 18th year, Viva City celebrates student achievement in visual and performing arts by presenting a culmination of months of classroom learning about the arts.

Exclusive pieces of visual artwork are selected from each Minneapolis school and are professionally hung for display at the Minneapolis Central Library February 8 – March 28. For the first time ever, the rising student stars will travel to three intimate venues across the city – the Cedar Cultural Center, the Capri Theater and Henry High School – for special jazz, theater, fringe and choral performances.

The full schedule is as follows:

February 8 – 29: Middle School Art Exhibition
Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Gallery. 300 Nicollet Mall

February 22, 5 – 7 p.m.: Middle School Special Reception
Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Gallery. 300 Nicollet Mall

March 5 - 28: High School Art Exhibition
Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Gallery. 300 Nicollet Mall

March 7, 5 – 7 p.m.: High School Special Reception
Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Gallery. 300 Nicollet Mall

March 14, 7 p.m.: Jazz performances by grades 5 – 12
Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.

Mar. 15 at 7 p.m.: Theater performances by students in grades 9 – 12.
Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway Ave.

Mar. 16 at 7 p.m.: Fringe performances by students in grades 9 – 12.
Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway Ave.

Apr. 25 at 7 p.m.: Choir performances by students in grades 6 – 12.
Henry High School, 4320 Newton Ave. N.

Students also participate in “Session Days,” working with established artist mentors to learn about the professional practices of their chosen art form, gain an understanding of what advanced courses in their discipline will be like and consider their transition to college and a career.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Spirit Week and Dance

Well, another exciting high school adventure is now history. Winter Spirit Week is behind us and the first with no snow in a long time. Have to make due with the spring like weather.

Pep Fest was fun and the various dancing and dodging skills of students were unveiled. Lots of screaming and yelling. Only one break in the fun spirit by a few malcontents at the end of the fine event. Some people continue to demonstrate their immaturity.

The dance was great fun at the top of the IDS building. Pack with over 650 students and a great number of supportive parents the dance was fine and a great view over the city.

The fashion show was interesting - as always. Generally a bit on the dressed up side - fancier than normal. The basic female attire was a tube dress. You know those elastic one-yard wide pieces of material. Way tight and tiny. So for the female members of the party, the evening was spent pulling up and down.

The major male attire was dressy. Not many coats - was hot - but ties and dress shirts and pants. Guys wear comfortable show, Women wear heals too tall and then bare feet once they get in the door.

The evening was exciting and filled with jumping and dancing and moving about. By the end of the evening the windows were steamed and sweaty was the general description of people. Probably too much sugar with the dessert tables but they were attractive.

Fun finish to a good week sponsered, planned and delivered by Student Council.

Speech Honors in Two Categories

The Southwest Speech team traveled to the Prior Lake Invitational joining 22 other school throughout the metro area.

Southwest Speech team finished 9 in overall scores with two first place winners.

Avi Gori earned first place in Extemporaneous Speaking and Vienna Larche earned first in Humorous Interpretation.

Other top scores were posted by:
Extemp Speaking - 7th Vince Puzak and 8th Sophia Deady
Simi Parker placed 8th in Prose Interpretation

Congratulations to Speech Team

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cell Phone Secutiry at School

Cell phones are easy to turn into cash. As the previous post from the Minneapolis Police in a recent issue of the Start Tribune, stated, reports of cell phone thefts have increased.

At school it is a good habit to be aware of where you place your cell phone. Placing a cell phone - or ipad or calculator - in an open back pack or sticking high outside your pants pocket is not a safe location. Sitting it beside you at lunch is an easy mark for someone looking to make a quick buck.

Getting college ready means being prepared for college. Being responsible for your personal belongings is an important lesson to learn. You can't just leave your "stuff" all over the place and expect it to be there when you remember you left it.

As these expensive devises get smaller they are easier to misplace. A non-zipped pocket of a back pack is just asking for trouble. Walking down the hall or sitting in a hallway or next to a desk does not insure security. If you have an open zipper on the bag, it is open to theft.

Learn to protect your belongings. Put expensive equipment safely away in a closed (and locked) compartment. Don't be an easy mark.

Police Warn Cell Phone Owners about Theft

A rash of cell phone and smart phone thefts across the city have police warning phone owners to be vigilant.

In many cases, thieves have stolen phones out of owners' hands, sometimes while the owner is using the phone and distracted by it.

In the downtown area last month, the police learned of 12 robberies of cell phones. In 10 of those cases, the victims had the phones snatched out of their hands. In two of the cases, someone asked to borrow a phone and then ran away with it, said Sgt. William Palmer, a department spokesman.

Police encouraged phone owners to download software -- available for some phones but not all -- that allows the owner to track the phone or make it useless if it's stolen.

Other tips:

1. Record your phone's serial number. It can help police recover the phone.

2. Before anything happens, install or activate a function to find your phone in the event it's stolen.

3. Report a stolen phone to police. Call 911. In some cases, a 911 operator may send you to 311 to complete the report.

4. Pay attention to your surroundings.

5. Call 911 on suspicious activity.

6. If you witness a theft or robbery, call 911 and stay around to provide officers with a suspect description.

KBEM JAZZ Radion Tuesday 7 pm

Jazz from Southwest

Morgan Wilcock and Peter Centner two students from Southwest High School host the new show. Featuring jazz and funk student band combos from Southwest it’s a fun night of music, conversation and anything else these talented students decide to do.

Join KBEM every Tuesday at night 7:00 PM starting February 7th for Jazz At Southwest High School and look for archived shows and playlist to be posted online after each broadcast. Brought to you by the Minnesota Arts and Legacy Amendment. For more information about Southwest High School click here.

Jazz At Southwest Bands

Saturn’s Rings (now being called “Josh Jones and the Dynamics”)

Josh Jones, Aidan Sponheim, Emmett Sponheim, Lucas Herrera, and Philip Timmons. Nina Spring subbed on bass with this group for the 3rd show.

Stan the Man and His Casual Band

Brodin Jentz, Will Longendyke, Caleb Likely, Will Klenk, Jon Porter, Jon Riddle, Peter Centner and Maya Powell.

Plan B from Outer Space

Denny Carlson, Drew Stinson, Avery Frisk, and Levi Schwartzberg.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spirit Week is Another Legend

The 2012 Winter Spirit Week is now behind us. All the memories of team and winter events in non-winter temperatures. Pepfest went week except for the normal bunch of strange people who want to chant nonsense about freshmen. Other than that was a good week.

Not sure where January went. We have about 77 more school days. It all just speeds by and the moments are memories all too soon.

Winter Dance Saturday night. Should be fun and in the stars on top of the IDS building it should be a great view of the city unless there is fog which has been the case the past several nights.

Seniors FAFSA Time

Seniors and Families

FAFSA time is upon us! Join us at one of our FAFSA help sessions to get assistance completing your FAFSA.

These are walk-in sessions where professionals will be available to assist you as needed.

The 5 sessions below take place in the AchieveMpls Career & College Center, room 104, at SW.

Date Time
Feb 7 5:30-7:30
Feb 15 2:30-4:30
*Feb 21 5:30-7:30
*March 8 2:30-4:30
March 20 3:00-5:00

*Note: we are hoping to have tax professionals in the center to answer questions.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chess Team Checkmates

These are some of the accomplishments from the Chess team. Congratulate them when you see them.

1. 2011 - Second in State (after Eden Prairie). Wes Cannon, Josh Jones and Peter Bertel placed in the top 20 individually.

2. Josh Jones (our 4th or 5th ranked player) – Went to the “Check it Out” tournament for the Mpls. Public schools and was the top player this year.

3. Three time State Champions in the past 6 years. Always placing within the top 4 schools in Minnesota.

4. Multiple individual trophies for Wes Cannon, Will Cannon, Isaiah
Paguyo, Peter Bertel, Connor Robinson, and Josh Jones.

5. National champions in the under 1,600 ratings section in 2007 and 2008. Second place in 2009.

State is on March 31st and April 1st at the Crown Plaza hotel in St. Paul. We are confident that we will place within the top 3 teams.

National Championships are this April 13th, 14th and 15th for the first time ever in Minneapolis at the Hyatt in downtown. Looking forward to State and National championships this year.

Jose Fresco
Spanish Teacher
Chess Team Coach

We Start Early

As I walked from my car to my office I encountered girls running halls, the sounds of basketballs in the gym. Four students were studying something - looked like science. Two more students were on their way to the band room. This does not count the two classes that actually operate prior to the start of school.

The doors open at six am. Within minutes there are kids in the weight room, down the hall to lockers and books and then study. Several practice times start that early. All of that continues until 10 pm. We are non-stop at Southwest.

In addition to the huge number of activites - theater, sports and clubs - which involde students every open hour, there are huge number of adults. Some of these are spectators, many are parents, friends, and community members. Community Education at Southwest has a large following and these adults enjoy the services and use the facilities. This is a very cost-effective building.

We are Southwest.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Open House at the Pool

Tonight is the time to check out the renovated Pool at Southwest. There is time for an open swim. Diving competition is a great event to watch. Swim competition begins after diving.

Remember the spectator bleachers are on the upper level over the pool.

Come out and see the pool and support your swimmers!

Sports Day is SUCCESS

Onto Day Three of Winter Spirit Week. Day three was Sports Day. We have numerous athletes in the group so there were numerous outfits of sports including the underwater kind, skateboarding and various forms of running outfits.

Thursday is Pride Day which is another name for class colors which we attempt to discourage but never succeed. Then Friday is Laker day which we hope is purple day with a pep fest at the end of the day.

The weather has been very nice and spring-like. I think all of us are waiting for a Blast of winter. At least there is ice on the rinks and lakes.