Thursday, May 31, 2012

And They Are Gone

The halls were less crowded and the noise level was reduced. I guess we miss them already. The Class of 2012 is about 24 hours away from being alumni. The senior set the tone for the building. They determine the undercurrent that is an important part of the atmosphere of the place. They establish the standard. And then they are gone. The first day without them is fun to witness. For a bit the juniors try to imitate and usually try too hard. The real emotion of the building is not red shirts and hats but a feeling, a sense of confidence and earned respect. The voice is a little too loud and a little too "notice me" attitude to really take the place of the graduating class. It takes the summer months to grow a bit and discover its own voice and sense of being. The seniors are the leaders. We are very fortunate to have experienced a great group of outstanding young women and men to lead each in his/her own way and collectively as responsible, caring, supportive people. Seniors demonstrate the walk and less of the talk. They go about their business knowing they have purpose and meaning in this world. The younger grades watch and observe waiting for their "inner" being to be exposed and understood. And now they are gone. It is for us remaining to celebrate the time together. But just as important, to find our new voices and strengths. Each year is dynamically different. That is a new adventure and new excitements and thrills. For the next few days and weeks we will remember and honor this year and our seniors. August 27 marks the beginning of a new day and the journey continues.

The future is now & SW Alumni is there

Former SW student Brian Ignaut (SW Grad 2004) started works for SpaceX. Talk about a career that didn't exist a few years ago... From his Facebook page: "30 years old: the average age of those who designed, built, and launched the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft. With iconic stories of bold exploration so often coming from our past, here's to our generation taking an active role in bringing the future back to the future.",0,7864281.story Holli Hoffman IB MYP Coordinator
Chuck Aoki (Southwest Class of 2009) officially made the 2012 USA Wheelchair Rugby Team - he'll be heading to London in August.

His Facebook post thanks every teacher, coach, trainer, friend and relative that helped him on his journey.

Chuck's younger brother is currently a freshman at SW.

Holli Hoffman

IB MYP Coordinator

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Celebration Spanish Style

Well the Class of 2012 finished with finals and tests and classes today. Thursday is graduation practice and Friday is graduation. But today it was our version of "running with bulls.". I never know the exact right way to deal with all this. I like the celebration, the feeling of relief and closure. But I don't want anyone hurt and want to protect body and property. So I fuss and look stern and attempt to moderate feelings. So today the Class of 2012 said "good-by.". The only real "damage" was way too much trash in the commons and some hallways. Noone seemed to be damaged. I am sure you can participate in the event via Facebook or YouTube. We want to celebrate with them but our job as adults is to make every attempt to protect them even from themselves whether they want that or not. Where did the four years go? It was only yesterday that they entered and during the days struggled and rejoiced and participated and watched. In a couple days we will document their accomplishment of another milestone on their way to adulthood and responsibility -- graduation from high school. It is necessary and something that should be. We wish them well.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Join the Debate Team

Southwest Debate Team

General meeting is Wednesday, May 30th in Mr. Hoselton’s room E116. Debate is a fantastic way to sharpen the college ready skills of research, presentation, quick thinking, teamwork, and argumentation. Do you have questions? Send your student to the meeting May 30th or you can contact me at

Class of 2012 All-Night Senior Party

Senior Party SWHS All-Night Senior Party

All seniors are invited to attend the All-Night Senior Party immediately following the graduation ceremony on June 1. This will be a fun, safe, end of the year event for the Class of 2012 to celebrate together. Register your son or daughter by Friday, May 25 to be eligible for the early bird fee of $40. The price goes up to $50 after May 25. Registrations were mailed to all seniors in early May. You may also download a registration form in English, Somali ,or Spanish from the SWHS website.

For more information about the event and to download a registration form, click :

Register now for the Southwest High Graduation Party! June 1-2 starting at 10:30 p.m. right after the graduation ceremony. Stay up all night with friends. Cost is $40 if you register on or before May 25. $50 after May 25th. Financial assistance is available.

Class of 2013 Graduation Date

The Class of 2013 will Graduate on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Long Weekend

Hope you have plans to spend time with family and friends.  This is a long three-day weekend with no school on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.

We just finished the last five-day of the 2011-12 school year.  Next week is a four-day one for grade 9-11 and a three-day one for seniors.  The following week is two days of finals for grades 9-11.

Graduation is Friday, June 1 at 8:00 pm.

Last day for grades 9-11 is June 4.

Have a great and relaxing and SAFE Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Southwest Caroline Hooper BestPrep Teacher of Excellence

BestPrep identifies teachers from Minnesota who exemplify the work "to prepare our students for future success."

At the honor luncheon on Wednesday Caroline Hooper, Social Studies and AVID teacher was recognized as one of the Teachers of Excellence.    BestPrep's mission is to best prepare Minnesota students with business, career and financial literacy skills through experiences that inspire success in work and life.

Caroline was honored for her work with students and teachers of the past five years.  She was originally involved in the Technology Integration Workshop.  Over the years she has incorporated many other business and finance programs in her classes for students.  Her students are involved in eMentoring, the Stock Market Game and Classroom Plus.

Congratulations Caroline Hopper.  An honor well deserved!

SW International Baccalaureate Reception

Wednesday was the IB celebration and reception for the Class of 2012 International Baccalaureate Candidates.  Forty-six outstanding students and their families were honored for the commitment and dedication to move through the IB program.

The reception, in the words of coordinator Dick Schwartz "is to acknowledge and congratulate these students' families for supporting their students with guidance, patience, perseverance and love."

This four-year journey is one of scholarship, service, academic achievement and self discovery.  The students enroll in classes, participate in service projects, reach out and support others and are examined by others throughout the world. 

The outstanding Southwest IB program would not be possible without the support and efforts of many parents, numerous volunteers, hundreds of testing proctors and, perhaps, most of all, Mary Costello.

Congratulations to all the International Baccalaureate Candidates and their families.  We are proud of you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seniors -- Attend the Senior Overnight Party

Families and Friends

I believe that it is very important that we all encourage all seniors to attend the Senior Overnight Party.

As many of you know, last spring my youngest first cousin was involved in a serious car accident the night of his graduation in Texas. For reasons only known to him, he decided to not attend his senior party at the last minute and he was out driving around with some friends. He was not driving the car, but he suffered the most injuries. He was in a coma for over two weeks and now he lives in a rehab facility that has patients with traumatic brain injuries.

He is currently learning how to hold a spoon again and learning skills like brushing his own teeth. He had been accepted into Texas A&M and now he will never be able to pursue that dream or any other dreams. The damage to his brain is such that the doctors believe he will never walk again and have the ability to form speech.

This tragic accident continues to tear at my family and I do not want to see any other family experience this kind of loss. So, please encourage our seniors to attend the party. I believe every year across the country stories like mine happened because teenagers will be teenagers, so let’s try to keep ours safe.

A Concerned Family Member

Lakers at the Lake with Music

Southwest Lakers at Lake Harriet with Music and Tuedsay was the Bands!

Great performances on a lovely evening.  Full family entertainment with a fantastic show by very talented students under the direction of Keith Liuzzi, Greg Lewis and Eric Sayre.

This is the second night of a series of four to open the outdoor entertainment summer program for the Lake Harriet Band Shell.

Wednesday night is a full evening of dance with several hundred dancers gracing the stage with performance starting at 7 pm. under the guidance of Collen Collahan Russell.

Thursday night concludes the music series with an evening of Choral music under the direction of Nathan Knoll.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

School's New State Rating System

May 22, 2012

Dear Families,

To help achieve MPS’ vision of every child college and career ready, we wish to share in‐depth school performance information to increase transparency, provide equitable access to information and – most importantly – support and encourage family engagement in our school improvement efforts.

MPS monitors the performance of each school through a comprehensive accountability system. We also use other state and federal performance measures to understand how our schools can better meet students’ needs. We know that each of our schools has room to gain better results for students and accomplishments to celebrate. We are working with urgency to implement gap‐closing strategies, especially at schools that  have the farthest to grow, and to raise academic achievement for all students.

We want to help families better understand the school performance measures we use to help make our
schools stronger. For that reason, we are excited to launch two new performance tools to help you learn
more about the progress we are making at your school and across the school district:

 MPS Online Scorecard: This online tool allows you to see how we are progressing as a whole toward school district goals and how performance varies within the school district. View the scorecard
online at

 School Progress Reports: This report shows the progress each school has made on the same measures, indicates how individual schools are performing and shares the strategies schools are
using to improve their outcomes and/or continue their high performance. View the school progress
reports online at

I believe these accountability tools will help us in our work to become a more transparent and data‐driven school district. Having quick access to rich data in an easy to understand format will only enhance our work to fully implement my top priorities ‐ focused instruction and teacher evaluation.

In February, Minnesota learned that it was one of 11states to receive a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. I am intentionally informing you about MPS’ new performance measurement tools on the same day that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is releasing its new performance ratings and designations for 2012‐14. More information about MDE’s new ratings and designations is attached to this page. With the release of our new tools, you will have quick access to more district and school performance data than ever before.

Your school does not have a new state/federal performance designation at this time.

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

No single factor should be used to measure a school’s performance. We hope these new tools will help you better understand the progress of MPS and our schools. We need you to continue to be engaged in your child's academic progress. It is always important to look at your child’s test scores and other class work and talk with your child’s teacher and principal to learn more about their efforts to meet your child’s needs.

Every child deserves to attend a great school. It is my priority to ensure that every neighborhood has strong  school, every school has strong school leaders and every student has an effective teacher. Thank you for engaging in your child’s education and for supporting the success of Minneapolis Public Schools.

Bernadeia H. Johnson
Superintendent of Schools

Monday, May 21, 2012

Southwest Music at the lake

Southwest Music at Lake Harriet Monday evening with the start of the Southwest Music Series.

Monday was the Jazz Workshop, String Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and the Big Band.  A grand night of music under the clouds, sky and airplanes on Lake Harriet.

The music series continues each night through Thursday starting at 7 pm.

Tuesday will the Instrumental Concert with the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Stan the Man & His Casual Band.

Bring the entire family for a wonderful evening with very talented Southwest music students.

Dessa Southwest IB Graduate Speaker at U of M

1999 Southwest IB Diploma graduate Margret Wander was the speaker at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities graduation ceremony.  Dessa (Margret Wander) is a spoken word artist, radio host for Cities 97, author and MC from Minneapolis.  She is best known as a member of the hip-hop collective Doomtree.

Dessa wanted graduates to make their own choices and to understand failure and success.  Listen and watch the commencement speech:

SWHS - Test Free Day Monday May 21

This is the first day in the past several weeks when there is no IB or AP test scheduled.  That is not to say that there are not other tests in classrooms up and down the hallways.  Just no standardized tests for college recognition today.  But we will be back at it tomorrow.

The cooler temperature is nice for today.  Can't guarantee tomorrow but it is pleasant today.

We will be conducting some other tests this week.  We continue to practice safety for our stduents and community.  So, we will practice lock down and fire drills even this week.  We always hope we never have to make any of these official but practice just in case.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lakers at the Lake next Four Evenings

Bring the entire family and perhaps a blanket. Southwest fine arts will be at Lake Harriet the next four evenings. Great family entertainment with jazz, choir, dance, orchestra, wind ensemble and lots of students displaying their marvelous talents to open the music season at the Lake. Don't forget the dance concerts the following week. Great fun, music and fantastic display of student work. Donations will be collected each night to continue community support for Southwest performing arts.

Southwest Prom 2012

Pastels were the color of the evening. Thie beautiful art work and location of the 2012 Prom - walker Art Center - match the lovely flowing gowns of the evening. Long dresses, many with open backs paraded the halls and swirled on the dance floor. Many of the lively colors were matched by the men's same-color vests. Tuxedoes were in fashion and those were also in numerous colors including the always fashionable black and whites. The evening was delightful except for some rain at the beginning. There was a long stairway climb to and from the dance floor. Way too many sweets continued to be delightfully displayed by a wonderful group of wait staff. Colors, music and fantastic location made this a special celebration for the Class of 2012 and 2013. Temporary tattoos were probably the newest entry into the Prom fashions. The introduction of spring colors presented a colorful display as compared to the more traditional black formats. Basic black remains stunning but a rainbow of pastels splashed against the Walker's white walls was equally as spectacular. Into the history books enter an evening of music and friends. Congratulations Class of 2012.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Southwest Young Artist's Party at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Fantastic show!  Large crowd enjoyed the show with hundreds of pieces of artwork.

The show included refreshments, a silent auction and great chances for community building.  Cecily Spano presented student work in the grandest manner with wonderful artists statements and gorgeous displays,

The Southwest Jazz group provided entertainment for the party attendees.

Fencing at Southwest

Are you interested in Fencing at SWHS?

A few students and their parents are exploring the possibility of starting a fencing club at SWHS. The club would require the support of a group of parents, and may involve getting a trainer.

Students or parents interested in a fencing club at SWHS can contact Logan Schade or his dad, Barry Schade, 612-377-8152 or

Lake Harriet Concert Series May 21- 24

Lake Harriet Concert Series this week!

• Orchestra and Jazz Band - Lake Harriet - Mon, May 21 – 7pm

• Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Stan the Man and his Casual Band- Tue, May 22 – 7pm

• Dance Concert at Lake Harriet – Wed, May 23 – 7pm

• Choir Concert – Thursday, May 24 – 7pm

SWHS Softball Fund Raiser May 20 7- 10 am

Softball Fundraiser

Please come to the breakfast and help support our fastpitch program. You can buy tickets at the door or from any fastpitch player.
 There is also a raffle held at the breakfast. Famous Dave’s in Linden Hills 43rd and Upton Ave So.
Sunday, May 20th, 2012 7:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.

SW Band Out in the Community

Performances by SWHS music groups:

• Plan B from Outer Space plays on Saturday at noon in front of Famous Dave’s in the Linden Hills Business District.

• The SW Pep Band is playing at the Metrodome for the Tubman Fundraiser 5:30-7:00pM.

• On Sunday, the SW Marching Band leads the Linden Hills Festival Parade at 11AM (43rd and Xerxes)

• Uncommon Sense plays in Linden Hills Park at Noon.

Halfway into the Weekend

Over three hundred students were testing the morning with formal IB and AP exams.  Another 500 or so where taking unit tests and other exciting Friday routine events.  Another 300 are involved in a variety of fitness post-exams that will move on to a report.  The remaining are trying to stay focused.

It is noon on a very pretty Friday end-of-the-week day too slowly moving into the weekend.  The should be considered punishment by itself.  Pretending to be serious is difficult on the rainiest of days.  Trying to sufficiently express Biology expressions for the Bio IB exams is cruel.  Oh, the life of a high school student.

Summer will be here and in a few short week we will be yearning for a return to the days of our friends.  Again I suppose the curse of the young, never be satisfied with what is.  Tomorrow seems brighter.  But that sure is exciting.  We are half way through the day and still attempting to soak in the knowledge.

Don't forget the Young Artist's Party at MCAD starting at 6 pm tonight.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

End of a Good Week

Another week of IB and AP testing.  Not exactly the high point in the high school career but does bring some closure to courses.  Everything doesn't have to end in a test but it does seem to be the educational ritual.

The beginning of the week demonstrated some potential for hot, humid days in the desks.  Those are killers.  But as we move closer to the weekend it appears that we have maintained the sun and experienced slightly lower temperatures than anticipated.  Was windy as you know this afternoon and that may have blown away the rains and storms.

Friday is another full school day.  Students may have some appointments that keep them away but we do continue on and have tests all morning.  Young artist's Party at MCAD for Friday evening cap a full week of arts events before we move into a full week of activities at the band shell.

Prom is Saturday night at the Walker and that should be a delightful and lovely evening for our juniors and seniors.  The school year marches to conclusion.  It has been exciting and another wonderful academic ride for our students.

Friday, May 18 6-9 pm Artist's Party at MCAD

Young Artist's Party

Young Artist’s Party: Friday May 18, 6-9pm at MCAD Come celebrate SWHS IB art students and their work at the Young Artist’s Party.

Held in the second floor gallery at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, this fun event is open to all. There will be a gallery of student art on display, appetizers and beverages, and a silent auction.

Suggested donation $10/person. Proceeds will help buy supplies for Southwest’s art department.


Sunday, May 20, 7-10 am Fastpitch Breakfast

Softball Fundraiser

Please come to the breakfast and help support our fastpitch program. You can buy tickets at the door or from any fastpitch player.

Famous Dave’s in Linden Hills 43rd and Upton Ave So. Sunday, May 20th, 2012 7:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.

There is also a raffle held at the breakfast. Raffle tickets are $10 each. Can buy raffle tickets from players or at the event. Raffle will include an Ipad2 along with other great prizes. (need not be present to win)

All You Can Eat Adults - $10.00, Kids 8 and under - Free

Thursday and Almost There

The predicted rain (not yet happening) might reduce the humidity in the building.  Heat is not something the building deals with well.  It gets hot and humid by 1:00 pm and because we are closed at night, the building stays that way.

Not wanting the airport landing patterns changed, but air conditioning on these days would be great.  But these are great stories waiting to be told to children many years from now.

Seniors are in the count-down fever.  Senior Finals are Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday May 30.  Wednesday is the last day of classes for Seniors.  Senior Practice is Thursday May 31.  All fines, fees and financial obligations need to be completed by this time.

The Class of 2012 Graduates at 8:00 pm on Friday June 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In between Concerts

Choir Concert last night and Band Concert Thursday night.  Film Festival is tonight, Wednesday.

Next week it is art of the park Monday through Thursday.  Something for entertainment for the entire family every night of the week.

Yes, it stays busy at Southwest.  Tons of great kids supported by great families and a wonderful community.

Area C Advisory Meeting May 17 6:30 pm

Area C Parent Advisory Council Meeting (flier)Thursday May 17, 2012

Washburn High School - Music Room

enter door #5 - 49th street parking lot


Last Meeting of the Year

we're celebrating our DPAC reps and alternates

• MPS Nutrition & Culinary Services - What's New; organics recycling, buying local, preparing meals at schools - Bertrand Weber, Director - "Ew turns to "Yum" in MPS School Lunch Lines

• Go-To Cards - Coming Fall '12 - Courtney Cushing-Kiernat

• Q&A - Theresa Battle, associate superintendent

childcare available - interpretation in Spanish & Somali

Monday, May 14, 2012

This afternoon was a hot one

The building does not deal with hot or cold. Fortunately the night temperatures are still cool. That equals releif for the morning hours but after lunch is hot regardless. Water is the secret. Drink water to make it tough the hot times. This has been a good year for moderate weather. It was hot today but that is actually late in the school year. Nthe rest of the week is supposed to be in the mid-70s which is tolerable. Dress accordingly but do wear some clothes that cover the essentials. School is not a time at the beach. So Dress with. Bit of modesty and self respect. It is hot but school remains a public arena nnd not like your back yard.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

SW Musical Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 pm

What a fun evening! For those who want a different view: think of the three witches in MacBeth or the role of the Chorus in Greek Tragedy. That will resolve the issues for the serious minded. For the rest of us, the energy of the cast is infectious! The voices are delightful, the movements enjoyable and the interaction of the characters is exciting. The show is a another wonderful production of talented students working together to present an evening of entertainment for all. The actual plot is a bit gruesome but that gets covered with a romance, the bad guy getting his due and a strange happy, joyful ending. Bring the entire family to the Southwest Second Act production of Little Shop Of Horrors. Productions are Saturday night at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Class of 2012 After Graduation Party

Senior Party

Register now for the Southwest High Graduation Party! June 1-2 starting at 10:30 p.m. right after the graduation ceremony. Stay up all night with friends. Cost is $40 if you register on or before May 25. $50 after May 25th. Financial assistance is available. Information?

Sophomore and Junior Parents!- What goes on at a Senior all night party? Sign up to help with the Post-graduation party – Friday, June 1st and find out! Email Joan Leverenz at or click here to learn more

Film Fest May 16


Wednesday 7 pm in the auditorium. Advanced tickets on sale in the commons and by the front door during lunches Monday-Wednesday pay 3 dollars save 2 dollars..

Official entry and rules are available here more information on the film festival is available on Mr. West’s site.

May 18 SW Art Show at MCAD

Young Artist’s Party: Friday May 18, 6-9pm at MCAD

Come celebrate SWHS IB art students and their work at the Young Artist’s Party. Held in the second floor gallery at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, this fun event is open to all.

There will be a gallery of student art on display, appetizers and beverages, and a silent auction. Suggested donation $10/person. Proceeds will help buy supplies for Southwest’s art department.


SW Patrick O'Connor Honored by Williams College

Recipient of Olmsted Awards for Secondary School Teachers Announced

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 8, 2012 – Williams College will award its annual George Olmsted, Jr., Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching on Saturday, June 2, at Ivy Exercises.

Each year, Williams College seniors nominate high school teachers who played influential roles in their lives and their learning. A committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students chooses winners from among the nominees. Recipients of the award receive $3,000, and an additional $2,500 is given to each recipient’s school. The Olmsted Prize was established in 1976 with an endowment from the estates of George Olmsted Jr. and his wife, Frances.

Patrick R. O’Connor, Southwest High School, Minneapolis, Minn.

Williams senior Alison Pincus’ love of history was ignited in O’Connor’s History of the Americas course. “Mr. O’Connor was the only high school teacher I ever had who truly treated his students like adults,” Pincus said. “By this I do not simply mean that he acknowledged his students as mature, responsible individuals, but also that he created an environment in which the opinions of each student were genuinely valued and nurtured.”

A social studies teacher at Southwest High School since 1992, O’Connor has also taught courses in government, economics, and urban education. He was named Minneapolis Teacher of the Year in 2003-2004. “Mr. O’Connor practiced something I so rarely saw in my high school teachers: restraint,” Pincus said. “He saw the value in letting students share their opinions even before he chose to interject his own, and in doing so promoted an atmosphere of critical thinking that rivals what I see in my Williams courses today.”

Southwest High School Principal Bill Smith said of O’Connor, “Over the years, students have recognized him as one of the major positive influences in their lives. He is highly respected by his peers and students. Patrick is a professional, caring teacher.”

O’Connor said he feels it is an essential part of his job to make students feel welcomed in the classroom. “If students look forward to being in my class and I can interact with each student as an individual, my teaching will be much rewarded,” he said.

Little Shop of Horrors - A Fun Musical

Check out the wonderful cast and crew of the last musical for this school year, "The Little Shop of Horrors."

Productions are at 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights and a 2:00 pm Sunday performance.

Great fun and delightful music with a fantastic group of singers, dancers, musicians and stage crew members.

Time to be Careful

Yesterday's Star Tribune reported that a new study by the American Automobile Association Foundation indicates that the more teenage passengers that are in a car the greater the risks.  Teenage drivers are involved "almost four times more often than older drivers." according to the report.  The report continues, the risk of accident increases "by almost half when a 16- or 17-year old driver has one teenage passenger, it doubles with two teen passengers, and it quadruples with three or more young passengers."

As the snow and ice are gone and we approach longer daylight hours and the summer, it is more likely the teenage driver will be on the road more often.  As we approach the Prom and Graduation season, there will be more teen drivers.  This is a great time to talk about safely and responsibility.  Every year the Start Tribune reports a horrible accident involving teens.  Let's encourage our children to be safe.

Statistics do not have to be facts in your family.  Practicing safe driving habits is important all year long and for all drivers.  Let's be careful out there.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another Beautiful Day

Looks like it is finally moving in the delightful time of the year -- spring.  The warmer temperatures are here.  Physical education is outside and more classes find reasons to study trees and read poetry.

Yesterday afternoon - immediately after school - we experienced an electrical failure.  It was scattered throughout the building.  Some parts had power while others did not.  We did experience computer failure as the electric was off while some computers were still operating.  Hopefully we did not lose a message from or to you.

We will continue to use door 4 until all repairs are complete.  Thank you for your understanding.
We slowly move to the end of the school year.  Please remind students we have several remaining days to the school year.  We need to stay focused on what is important and finish in a strong manner.  There will be many other warm and wonderful days.

Graffiti on Front Door

A couple young people spray painted the front door late last night.  Graffiti is interesting as an act of rebellion.  It is a shame that we have to waste resources on this type of vandalism.

Probably more disappointing is that these young people left their home and did this.  I trust that families are aware of their children's coming and goings.  Thus, these children were out past curfew and their families either did not know or permitted it to happen.

Children make bad decision.  Two young boys together make worse decisions.  It is for the adults to guide and protect the young.

With all the needs we have, it is silly to waste resources like this.  I know we do not condone this in our neighborhood.

The thrill of being young or the pain

For many of our students the idea of high school is one of preparation, some great times with friends, and activities and sports.  For many others it is one more thing to get over until....

We strive to encourage our students to connect and get involved.  For each individual that is a different set of ideas,hopes and dreams.  That may be sports or good grades or many friends or great combinations of all of these.  The main concern is to provide opportunities and experiences. 

Thankfully the vast majority of our students find friends and activities.  We attempt to identify the various happenings for each student.  Those would do not seem to be connected to something, we attempt to determine what might be interesting and who might be a good contact.  I am sure we miss some, but it seems that over the course of the year we find the influences and connects of our students.

For some the influences of the other side of things is too strong.  Some of that is party, drugs, hanging out or just disconnecting with family and perhaps society at large.  That is a constant struggle.  By the time the student is 15, 16 or 17, many decisions get made that are difficult to counteract.  The pull of laziness, despair, "good times" or just anti-adult is too great.  We continue to work with all of our students and their families.  All of us in the community see the results of these "disconnects." 

As a family and a community we need to continue our efforts to connect with our youth.  We needs to provide positive opportunities and experiences.  There is too much temptation out there just to leave it to chance or maybe it will happen.  As a family do we do things together any more?  Are there some families rituals?  Do we know the whereabouts of our children at night?  Do we concern ourselves with their doings and grades?  Growing up is difficult and it takes all the help we can provide.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Four Day Week

So, the first day of a four day week is filled with threats of rain. Once I get outside and look forward to a potential decent evening it starts to rain. The thrill of a heavy test week and five days of energy in four. But we love those three day weekends. Never want to talk poorly of the weather. It may just get its feeling hurt and the it might be 80 by Thursday. What it is you say? It is going to be 80 on Thursday. Well, that proves that point. The building was never built for these hot days and all the additions don't add to the comfort. Those in the East building are the lucky ones with windows and some natural lower level cool spots. IB nd AP testing continues. For many students these are dollar days. Given that they gain college credits with high scores, these days have high financial returns. In another few days we will administer the MAP. Don't you just love all those initials. I think we should add some numbers and then we could omit words. But in the meantime... Registration is almost completed. Most of thinking of summer plans. Hopefully you are thinking about which night you are going to see Little Shop Of Horrors. Great little musical and delightful cast and crew. Much more before we finish this school year. And only three more days this week.

Southwest Number 1 - Third Year

We are pleased to share with you this news items.

Southwest, South and Henry named top high schools by U.S. News and Weekly Report

U.S. News and Weekly Report today released their list of top high schools. Southwest High School was named the number one high school in the state. A total of three MPS high schools received medals in the rankings.

• Southwest High Schools was ranked #1: #163 Nationally Ranked (gold medal)

• South High School was ranked #24 #948 Nationally Ranked (silver medal)

• Henry High School was ranked #28 #997 Nationally Ranked (silver medal)

The report reviewed 21,776 U.S. public high schools; 145 Minnesota schools made the rankings. In the U.S. News Best High Schools 2012 rankings, Minnesota has 7 gold medal schools, 42 silver medal schools, and 96 bronze medal schools.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No School for Students Monday May 7

There is no school on Monday May 7 for most of the Minneapolis students.  It is May so there are a few AP and IB tests on Monday and those will proceed as scheduled.

The day is a professional development day and the teachers have workshops all day.

This past Friday, May 4 also marked mid-term for the final quarter of this school year.  Families will be notified of only students earning a D or F so far this quarter.

Morp Celebrates Luau Party

Let the celebrations begin.  In keeping with the Hawaiian Luau, 9th and 10th grade Southwest students partied into the night.  This past Saturday was the 9/10 Morp with a Luau theme.  Mixed with the dancing was volleyball, a Tiki Food Bar with lots to eat, various contests and fun with friends.

The evening rain stopped long enough for the partiers to enjoy the court yard and the entire areas was cool and breezy for the evening activities.  Dancing was an important part of the celebration but the majority of the time was spent by all enjoying the company and having fun.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Prom and Morp

oh, the delights of spring.  If you are a junior or senior prom is one of those events that marks the end of the year and another step closer to something -- adulthood, college, career, getting away - whatever.  So that is the event. For some families that means renting cars, buses (sometimes maybe planes), hotel rooms and all kinds of other amenities for the "big" night.  I am not exactly sure what parents think are happening in those hotel rooms but at least they are not on the streets.  At least that is the excuse I hear. But if you are a 9th or 10th grader what do you do?  The Junior/ Senior Prom (May 19 at the Walker) is for juniors and seniors.  But I have been dating this girl/boy for twelve years and the entire year is ruined.  No the Junior/Senior Prom is for juniors and seniors.  One of these days I am going to ask Student Council to find a more descriptive name so there is less confusion about you attends. So back to the 9th and 10th.  Since you can't go to the Prom I guess you are going to the Morp.  That is the big event that is somehow suppose to make up for the fact that you are in the 9th and 10th grade and not in the 11th or 12th grade in which case you would be going to the Prom which is really what you want to do.  Well the Morp is this Saturday evening here are school.   Yes, the Morp is May 5.  It is called the freshman and sophomore gathering.  It has the theme this year of a Hawaiian Luau.  So we have volleyball games and other events planned.  For those attending it should be fun evening for friends. There is nothing incorrect about events for kids.  The surrounding activities sometimes can be very questionable.  High School Proms have the reputation for being dangerous (highest evening of teenage traffic accidents) and many timed not the fun occasion original planned.  Somewhere we need to keep all of this in balance.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Welcome Class of 2016

The cycle is set in motion.  Last night was the first of two for the registration of the Class of 2016.  That is exciting.  It is the rhythm of educational life.  Welcome to the greatest adventure on earth - four years of high school.

This is the first official high school experience.  But, oh, how quickly it goes.  Last night I said welcome and in a brief moment I will be shaking their hands as they march across the stage at graduation.

Every year, I say they are too young, too small, too frightened.  It will never work.  How did this happen?  Those are my own plies and personal doubts raging against time.  But it all moves on.  August 27th will be here and we will once again teach and learn.

It is an exciting time for families and students.  High school is an important milestone and increases in importance as our world struggles with technology, problems and social ills.  But for the moment, let's enjoy the adventure.  If you are the parent of an older child, please welcome these newcomers.  Let them in on your secrets.  How did you survive those early years?

Encourage students and families to get involved.  There are sports and clubs.  There are volunteer opportunities for families.  If you are part of a school organization, reach out to these new Lakers and encourage them to be a part.

Welcome Class of 2016.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Histroy Day Awards

Southwest was well represented at the State History Day competition Sunday. The following senior group performance made it past the elimination round and earned the award Honorable Mention:

Mara Hopfesnperger, Dayton Smith, Dylan Thomas, Austin Demko and Abdi Malo.

Student Sammie Coffler also earned Honorable mention for your entry in the web site category.

Nonie Kouneski

NBCT Social Studies

Southwest High School

Film Festival May 16

SWHS 2012 Film Festival will be May 16th at 7pm in the Auditorium

Want to share your short films? Yes. What to win awesome prizes? Heck yes!

Submit your films by May 11th in the categories of Drama, Comedy, “Short Shorts” (under 2 minutes) and completely original film.

Official entry and rules are available here more information on the film festival is available on Mr. West’s site.

Young Artist's Party May 18

Young Artist’s Party: Friday May 18, 6-9pm at MCAD

Come celebrate SWHS IB art students and their work at the Young Artist’s Party. Held in the second floor gallery at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, this fun event is open to all.

There will be a gallery of student art on display, appetizers and beverages, and a silent auction.

Suggested donation $10/person. Proceeds will help buy supplies for Southwest’s art department.


Unsettled Weather and Kids

And the weather pattern appears unstable and chance of storms or maybe decent temperatures or maybe not.  One look at the morning weather predictions gives a person a fair idea of the "weather conditions" in a high school.

Right now it is damp and humid and cloudy and maybe going to rain.  Thus, we are loud and confused inside.  Outside it can't decide to rain or not maybe spring or let's jump right into summer.  So inside we are trying to figure out if this is the end of the season or what should I be doing or do I have a prom date or what time is the bus.

This Friday, May 4 marks the midterm of the last quarter of the 2011-12 school year.  Right on schedule we have weather that can decide what it will be.  Storms, rains, heat, humid, dry are all mixed together for the finish of the school year.  So it is with the students.  The barometer wildly up or wildly down, we react.  That is just the way it is.  Spring is a flurry of mixed weather patterns.  And we feel everyone of them inside the building.