Sunday, April 29, 2012

Viva City and 600 Voices

Southwest Choirs joined with the choirs from across the city to produce an outstanding program of song this past week.  Viva City was an all-city secondary music event featuring middle school and high school students.  Ober 600 voices made music that evening with a small student orchestra in the pit.

It was a great event for all the students, families and the entire city.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Class of 2016 Registration

In-coming 9th graders will register either May 1 st or May 3 depending on last name. First half of the alphabet is Tuesday and the rest Thursday.

We are excited to welcome our new class in the adventure of high school. Curriculum information is available on the web site.

From 6 - 7 pm, prior to registration there will be an academic showcase. Teachers will be available to answer questions about courses.

Starting at 7:30 pm there will be information available about sports and clubs as well.

Family volunteer and involvement information will be available. Meet other families and get ready for the ride of a life time. See you at Southwest.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Week

Another weekend.  There are not that many of them left in this school year.  I try never to wish time away.  I believe that time is precious and we need to make use of every second.  But it sure does fly by.

This is the end of the third week of the last nine week grading period.  Might be good time to check the parent portal and remind child that school is still in session and passing the last quarter is a reasonable goal.

Thankfully the vast majority of our students still have the eye on the prize.  But it is tempting.  This colder, wet, snowy weather helps curb those spring fever moments.

AP and IB testing continues in earnest.  That means lots of trips to test locations.  We have almost  out grown most places so that will be a next year problem.

Whatever you can do to keep the students focused for the next few weeks will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Proud of Our Students!

I wanted to share this note emailed to me by a very nice person on the plane who lives very far from here. We know we have great kids and staff but it is very nice to hear about it from someone who is not connected with us. We are also proud of our students. We think they are being prepared to deal with a wide variety of situations. Dr. Smith- I was a passenger on Delta Flight 2019 which left LaGuardia on Sunday evening and soon thereafter made an emergency landing at JFK. I just wanted to compliment your students and the adults who were chaperoning them. They stayed calm (or appeared to from a distance). During our several hour stay at JFK, the adults wisely kept the students at a gate next to the one from which we were departing. This not only kept the students together but kept them from being annoying and/or disruptive to the rest of the passengers. I am on the Board of Directors at _______________ High School in __________ [not in Minnesota]. I hope our students are never in a situation such as the one we were in on Sunday evening but if they are, I hope they and the adults traveling with them act as well as the Southwest students and adults did. Travelor on same plane

Fads Are Okay Sometimes

Putting holes in your body seems to be the big thing. Okay, so it has been around for a very long time. It is a worldwide common experience. Ear rings, nose rings and wide variety of other body located rings have been part of the human character for eons. So that is not the news. Our particular concern at the moment is health and safety. I would be foolish not to be aware that piercing happens at numerous parties and sleep overs. There are a variety of methods and means. to think that every pierced body part is completed in the sanitary medical facility is a bit naive. But I would like to think that the parties involved are concerned about infection and other health factors. Nowadays one can purchase all the necessary piercing equipment and supplies online. That may make it more convenient but not necessarily safe. If the individual chooses to have holes in his/her body I would hope it can be done in a manner that will not inflect other health hazards. Yes, we are aware that some of our students participate in piercing themselves and each other. In a few cases there seems to be some money exchanged for the services. I encourage all families to have a conversation about personal safety that includes the risks of infection and other blood carried diseases. We do not need to be fashion security but we are concerned about the health of our students and society. If you have questions please consult with your family doctor or health assistant. Please feel free to call the School Health office with concerns about students health, 612-668-3037.

Back to Normal Whatever that might be.

Being in a high school is normally sufficient excitement. The 13 to 19 age group present enough challenges without outside help. We are thrilled all the music and dance students, staff and parents arrived home safe, tired and in good spirits. Going through an emergency landing is a big deal. Being about six hours late is a big deal. The trip was a fantastic experience for all. It would nice next time to have a bit less drama. The long-term story potential for any trip usually is in itself all that is needed for many years to come. We made the Washington Post, the radio, television and TV. Not a bad day's work. But the story about Southwest being the number one high school in Minnesota was also carried by the Washington Post a few months ago. I suppose that is what grabbed the attention this time. Now we are back to school and IB and AP exams. May 1 is the college notification day. April is almost over and we are moving too quickly to graduation. The trip was great. The delays frustrating. The experience priceless.

Monday, April 23, 2012

State Tournament Finalist

Speech Meet News   The Speech Team had 2 students (Madelaine Foster and Avi Gori) that qualified for the State meet that was held this past weekend.   Avi ended up making it to the final round, which is amazing. Madelaine chose to attend the NY trip and did not participate. In the end, Avi ended up in 8th place for State for Extemporaneous Speaking (a very difficult category since it combines research, knowledge, poise, and of course, speaking ability).   Please congratulate her for a job very, very well done. We had a great season and this was the icing on the cake. Thanks to everyone for your support.   SW Speech Coaches    

A Weekend Memory

The Choir and Dance group is safe and okay. Start with that idea and we can communicate about the New York City trip.

Because of the size of the group, students, staff and parents, we used two planes to travel to New York City. In spite of the late departure for one of them out of Minneapolis, the trip was deemed an exciting set of days together for the music students.

On the return trip the group of students delayed on the first leg of the trip experienced another set of delays. The plane experienced mechanical difficulties and landed in New York City shortly having take-off from New York City. For anyone who has ever flown, this can be a nervous situation.

The group arrived at the premature destination and spent the next couple hours in an unplanned gathering. The staff, parents and students cooperated and worked together for this to be as pleasant as it could be under the circumstances. They were provided some refreshments and efforts made to get the group moving toward Minneapolis.

Early Monday morning the music students, parents and staff arrived exhausted and tired from a long delay and then flight from New York City to home. Rather than a 10 pm return it was a 3:30 am arrival. All were safe and glad to be home.

Each trip is an experience and filled with memories and stories. This trip will provide that group of students an entire series of stories they can share and retell for many years to come. Thankfully, it has a happy ending.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Keith Liuzzi Dakota Jazz Teacher of the Year

The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education presented Southwest instrumental teacher, keith Liuzzi with the 2012 Jane Matteson Award for Outstanding Jazz Educator at a bunch program today at the Dakota Jazz Club. The program continued to note that Keith has been the Instrumental Music Director at Southwest for the past 17 years and assembled a number of jazz combos and influences numerous students. One of the Southwest student working with Keith now is Joshua Jones. Joshua ia a junior saxophone player who is in several jazz gropus at SW. He was also selected to be part of the prestigious Dakota Combo this year. The Dakota Combo provided a part of the entertainment for today's program. Keith and the various jazz mucisians showcase each week on Jazz 88 KBEM Radio during the one-hour program - Jazz at Southwest.

Tune In to Southwest Jazz

SW Jazz on KBEM Tune in to Jazz88 FM every Tuesday night at 7PM to hear “Jazz at Southwest”, our own radio show featuring SW jazz musicians and hosted by senior, Morgan Wilcock.

World Language Credit Meeting April 25

Earning High School Language Credit in Four Weeks: How It’s Possible Participants in a summer four-week “high school credit” session earn credit equivalent to an entire school year. This webinar will help students, parents, and teachers understand how it works: the balance of academics and fun, the schedule, typical content and activities, and determination of class level. We’ll talk about how credit is awarded and how to talk with teachers and school officials about it. Date: April 25, 2012 Time: 7:30 p.m. CST Presenter: Denise Phillippe, associate director for program and staff development. for more information and registration:

Smile Newtwork Update

Smile Network Update: On April 20th two Southwest students departed for Guatemala to assist the Smile Network International mission taking place in Santiago, Guatemala. Jane Thompson and Rachel Nethercut have been looking forward to their trip ever since January, when the Southwest Student Council completed their fundraising campaign to benefit the organization. While they are in Guatemala, Rachel and Jane will be helping the medical team collect information about patients and their journeys to the mission site. On Tuesday April 24th, they will participate in a live skype conversation with their classmates in the Southwest Auditorium. They will answer questions and provide insight into what the lives of the patients are like. Many 3rd hour classes will be attending.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What a Beautiful Weekend

It has snowed, rained, been windy and both hot and cold. So, we live in Minnesota and we understand that if we wait an hour it will change.

Spring is in the air. That is the good thing in most cases. April is coming to a close and with the advance of May it brings Prom and Testing and AP and IB Testing and end of the school year. Graduation is not that far away. June 1 will be here before we know it.

And things get a bit restless. The warmer spring weather makes all the hearts think of places they would rather be. Hopefully you can continue to enjoy your young people at home to hang in there. The long summer will happen soon enough. Let's have a great finish to a fine school year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Testing makes us all a bit edgy

Sitting in a room for over three hours knowing that this is key to the rest of your life is no picnic. Not sure that is what we should be doing to teenagers but that is state law.

The state mandated tests have some reasonable purposes. We will be taking tests of some importance the rest of our lives. Some extremely important and others mildly so. But that is what we did today and will be doing tomorrow.

So the afternoon gets to be a bit much for everyone. The is a tension release and excitement and nervousness and just pent up energy. So the afternoons of these two days are a little on the crazy side. We try to conduct business as usual but that is just a exercise we do.

The students appear to understand the importance of this experience. For some that is totally fightening. School has not been a strong suit and now the stakes include no diploma. For others it is just another day. They understand school and following the directions is not all that difficult.

But this too shall pass and we will be on to Thursday and back to the duties of study and skill building. But those afternoons seem long.

Parent Advisory Area C April 19

Area C Parent Advisory Council Meeting

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Windom Dual Spanish Immersion - media center
5821 Wentworth Ave. South

6:00 - 8:00pm - dinner/discussion meeting

"World Languages Across the District"

guest: Jan Kittok, MPS lead for World Languages

childcare ages 3 & up, all children welcome
interpretation in Spanish and Somali



Congratulations on being the recipient of the following SpotLight Awards:
Overall Performance:
Overall Production

Leading Role:
Nathalie Young as Tracy Turnblad

Supporting Role:
Jake Folsom as Edna Turnblad
Sam Rosenstone as Link Larkin
Will Plunkett as Corny Collins
John Jamison as Seaweed J. Stubbs

Honorable Mention
Charlotte Anderson as Penny Pingleton
Meredith Casey as Velma Von Tussle

Featured Role:
Honorable Mention:
Ben Tracy as Wilbur Turnblad
Kate Porter as Prudy Pingleton

Notes: Individual award winners will be invited to perform at the SpotLight Showcase on June 11, 2012.

Outstanding Individual Honorees are also eligible to compete for the Triple Threat Award.

In general, an average ranking of “excellent” receives an Honorable Mention. An average ranking of “outstanding” receives the Outstanding Award. There may be more than one winner in each category.

Overall Outstanding Productions may be invited to perform a medley at the SpotLight Showcase – please
anticipate this potentiality and keep piano, bass and drum parts.


Monday, April 16, 2012

7 Period Information Meeting Wednesday April 18

There will be an information/discussion meeting in the Media Center on Wednesday, April 18 starting at 6:30 pm.

This will be a general information meeting to answer questions and listen to comments and ideas. Specific course selection and registration information is available on line or through your student's counselor.

GRAD MCA II Testing begins Tuesday

The State Mandated testing is Tuesday and Wednesday. 9th, 10th and 11th graders must take the writing, reading and math tests Tuesday and Wednesday.

These are important and are graduation requirements. Students need to be well rested. Breakfast Tuesday and WEdnesday morning is important. We want students to do their best. Writing and Reading must be completed at the proficient level to secure a diploma.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Be on the Radio and Earn Money

Youth Reporter Opportunity for Parent Voices Talk Radio Show
Parent Voices Talk Radio Show is a weekly broadcast media format designed to inform a target audience of Minneapolis Public Schools Parent and Community members about the importance of Parental Involvement.

The objective of the programming is to communicate and explain Title I funding resources for education and family support within Minneapolis Public Schools. 

For more information:

Soup with the Supe April 14 noon - 2 pm

Superintendent Dr. Bernadeia Johnson will host “Soup with the Supe” this Saturday, April 14 from noon - 2 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center , located at 4055 Nicollet Ave. S.
Please note that this location changed since the original communication. Attached is a flier with more detailed information.

“Soup with the Supe” is a way for Dr. Johnson to listen to the questions, comments, ideas and concerns of the MPS community. She would appreciate your attendance to help greet the community and assist with ensuring a great event.

Please bring your spouse, kids, or any family member who might like to meet the wonderful people you work with and the families who choose MPS.
The food will be good and the conversation will be great.

Southwest Winner Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers announced the 2012 National Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners.

Lauren Skager is the 2012 winner with her Mixed Media piece entitled Muchrooms. This was also displayed at the Viva City program this past month at the Central Library. Ben Zhao is Lauren's art teacher.

National Award winners represent the top 1% of submissions to the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year more than 200,00 works of art and writing were submitted to regional programs. From these 13,000 received Gold Keys. Only 1,600 of these artists and writers received Awards at the national level.

These final national winners are invited to attend a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 1 and to participate in showcase events at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Congratulations Lauren Skager

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Talentfest 2012

Talentfest 2012 is this year's annual spring student talent show.

The show Talentfest 2012 will be Friday night, April 13 from 7 - 9:30 PM.

Admission is $5.

2012-13 Course Registration Information

Course Registration Information

Course registration time is upon us. Students attended a Course Fair on Thursday, March 1. At the fair, they received their Selection Cards. Students are encouraged to discuss their options with their families and then turn in their cards to a teacher or a counselor.

Additional information, including the course catalog, grade level registration sheets and registration timeline, can be found on the SW website under “Academics.”

GRAD/MCA-II Testing Schedule

Schedule for Southwest High School Spring Diploma Assessments (GRAD and MCA-II)
What grades that will be testing?

9th Grade – GRAD/MCA-II Written Composition;
10th Grade - GRAD/MCA-II Reading;
11th grade - GRAD/MCA-II Math;
12th graders - some still needing to pass one of the previous 3 for their diploma.

Test Dates: Are spread over 2 days: April 17th & April 18th

What will Happen on those Days:
April 17th: Testing from 8:30-11:25 - Classes Start at 11:30 w/ Period 1, 2 & 3
April 18th: Testing from 8:30-11:25 - Classes Start at 11:30 w/Period 4, 5 & 6

Robotics Team - The Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet Competing at Minnesota North Star FRC Regional

The Southwest High School's FIRST Robotics Team, the" Ultraviolet", will be competing in the Minnesota North Star FRC Regional at Mariucci Arena, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus on March 29 - 31st.

The name of this year's challenge game is" Rebound Rumble". All FIRST events are free and open to the public! Come and see what our robot can do. These team members would love to see friends and teachers come out to cheer them on. To check on the best time for you to attend,

click on Hope to see you there!

NHS Food Drive week of April 15

Southwest NHS will be carrying out a neighborhood food drive beginning Sunday, April 15, and lasting for one week.

NHSers will go door-to-door, collecting non-perishables and dry goods, with all donations going to the Sabbathani Community Center.

Any questions should be directed to NHS advisors Stamatka Platikanova or Bob Rees.

Vtzlav Unhinged Theater in the Black Box

Vatzlav (Unhinged)
Performances are April 10 through April 14th at 7:00 PM

Vatzlav, by the distinguished Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek is a farce, a satire, and at the same time a sparkling, hilariously funny, and original creation. In it,

Vatzlav, a twentieth century everyman, has the hang-ups of the modern world. He seeks the fame, fortune, and glory guaranteed to him by Providence, the right of all free men.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Southwest Chess Team Second in the State




Alex Adams (coach) and José Fresco (supervisor)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What to expect in high school?

Welcome to high school! Letters have gone out to eighth graders and their families. The excitement of making that move into high school is a time honored event. We all know the main event is graduating form high school. But it is tough to graduate from high school if you don't start high school.

I found this web site that might provide some thoughts or discussion starters. I do not endorse any of the various products but the thoughts of a strong connection between student, family and school is important.

Good luck. The children of Minneapolis are fortunate to have such outstanding options.

High School: What To Expect in 9th Grade -
Freshman year is about adjusting to high school and choosing an academic program.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seven period School Day Info/discussion April 18 6:30 pm

Southwest is moving to a seven period day for the 2012-13 school year. Information and conversation have been swirling around for several years. It appears this is a go for the next school year.

In order to attempt to answer questions or listen to comments, I have reserved the Media Center for Wednesday evening of the 18th at 6:30 pm.

This will be a questioning and listening opportunity. Since all of this is relatively recent we have much to be planned. However, we want to listen to your ideas and your questions as we work through the various possibilities.

Drafts will be presented to Leadership Council this afternoon. Faculty and others have copies of the draft documents as well. More information will be presented as available.

Welcome Back to the Beginning of the End

Today is the first day of the last quarter of the 2011-12 school year. Six months ago we started with promises, dreams, goals, aspirations and even some desperation. Not really a long time ago but seems part of ancient history.

9th graders have it almost figured out by now. For far too many it is rather late in the game and it will take summer school to get back on track. For many it has been another exciting and meaning step forward. That may for most to bigger dreams, college or more options. The four years of high school go by so quickly and are so important.

State mandated testing is the next couple days. For the majority who have been academically preparing themselves along the way these test are just another step toward graduation. However, they need to be passed. Sleep helps. A good breakfast tomorrow and Wednesday morning is a good aid. The most important is a positive attitude. If you think you can't you are probably correct. Approach the day in a serious but positive manner. You have been preparing for these days all year.

April is also the month of pre-registration. Hopefully you and your student have been haing those conversations about his/her future.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

State Required Testing April 17 and 18

Science:  MCA or MTAS (grades 5, 8 and high school)

Diploma Assessments
The Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) are the state tests that fulfill Minnesota's high school graduation requirement for students who entered eighth grade in 2005-06 or later. These tests measure essential skills in Writing, Reading and Mathematics for success in the 21st century. If a student does not pass the first time, retests are available.

Students who do not pass the Mathematics GRAD are eligible to receive a high school diploma if they:
Pass/complete all state and local coursework and credits required for graduation by their school board.
Retest until they pass the mathematics GRAD or take at least two retests, whichever comes first.
Participate in math remediation (tutoring) offered by the district.
To be eligible for a diploma from a Minnesota high school, students who entered grade 8 in 2004-05 or earlier must pass the Basic Skills Test (BST) in reading, mathematics and writing. Students who have not passed the BST by April 2012 (the last retest available) must pass the graduation assessment being taken by Minnesota students at that time.

On-Line practice test available
• Familiarize students with the format of the test. Item samplers help students become familiar with the format of the test and provide examples of the types of questions that are on the test. You can find item samplers for each grade and subject on the Minnesota Assessments portal. (Go to > Student/Family > Item Samplers.

For Students to use practice test on line:
1. go to

2.  leave both "guest" boxes checked.

3.  don't type anything into boxes.

4.  Click on start.

Make sure you are using Firefox

Thank you Mike Ries, Media Specialist for helping put this together

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1 inbetween quarters and Start of Last Quarter

April Fool's Day - the day of pranks and jokes and silliness.there are many times I have thought that day might have named especially for me. I would be surprised if I am the only person feeling like that at times.

We are on break from high school. 3/4 of the 2011-12 school year is completed. The sports season changes. The Spotlight musical is behind us. We are taking a pause before the move forward to graduation and the completion of another school year. Where has the year gone?

Breaks I the process allows for reflection and renewal. this has been another good year. Several city sport champions, numerous award winners, several high honors in History day, robotics, speech, debate, and math team. Scholarships are being announced daily. Many of our seniors have presented themselves well on ACT and SAT. A good number of underclass students have earn awards and honors in their various activities. Another good year at Southwest.

But also a time of pause to look to new promises and new opportunities. For seniors it is that first step of moving on to college or a different adventure stepping toward adulthood. For the other classes it is time to talk about registration for next year's classes. For some it might be trying to figure out how to stay out of summer school. Frame it may betraying to raise the GPA and tenth.

Regardless of the past three quarters or three years or whatever the time might have been, another year is moving on. I trust we will continue to make good use of the time and the experiences and the opportunities.