Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Prepare for Our Future -- Building Tomorrow - One Student At A Time

Southwest High School
Building Tomorrow
Who Are We?     Who Do We Want To Be?

A group of staff, parents, students and community members are exploring the possibilities of what might be.  Superintendent Johnson announced the Partnership Zone Schools as one possibility for a portfolio of schools.  Southwest is exploring what that might mean.

If you are interested in joining this group, please email me and I will send you the meeting dates for this summer and information about self-governing schools.

Southwest High School is committed to International Baccalaureate - Diploma Program and Middle Years Program, Advanced Placement and Avid.  We also believe Southwest is a performance school in the broadest of definitions.  Thus, Fine and Performing Arts infused into IB for grades 9-12.

The group is reviewing what is the best of what has been happening as well as those areas that could improve.  We need the voices of our community and future.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stadium Lights Ground Breaking - Turn On The Lights

Turn On The Lights
Lights are a reality at the Southwest High School stadium.  The ground breaking ceremony occurred today with alumni and major donor Harvey Feldman and his favorite coach's wife Jan Peterson in attendance.

Harvey, Southwest Class of 61, dug the first hole in the ground for the towers to placed at the stadium in July.  Harvey noted this was for the students, family and community.  He said he was grateful for the influences of his coaches and team mates.

Harvey started the project with a challenge to other Southwest Alumni -- what can you do?  contributions to the projects and the Southwest Foundation continue to be accepted.

The Southwest Foundation supports the entire Southwest program.  Future plans include aid conditioning for the heavily used auditorium, new dance class facility and floor, continued improvements to field and gymnasiums.  Send you contribution to the school address marked for the Southwest Foundation.

In the past the Foundation, booster groups and community members have financially supported the new auditorium, weight room, class furniture, text books, technology and numerous classroom supplies and materials.

Boosters, District and Community Bringing Steinway to Southwest

A spectacular demonstration of collaboration, cooperation and commitment.
An effective partnership between the district, music boosters and the Southwest community.  The District allocated $8000 for the project and lent us another $5000 so we could get the piano sent to New York last year.  District capital funding is allocating $15,000 for the asbestos removal and door enlargement.  These are the less glamorous parts but vital to the project.

I think it’s a powerful symbol of the arts renaissance that is happening in Minneapolis.  When Ruth LeMay started she was the only choir director in the district.  Next year Roosevelt is adding vocal music so every high school will offer instrumental and vocal music.  Southwest is on track to take our place alongside some of the biggest vocal programs in the state.
When the district purchased these Steinway pianos in the 30’s or 40’s, Minneapolis and St. Paul were the biggest games in town.  The All-State choirs were made up almost entirely of city students.  Then the cuts happened and the pianos got destroyed.  Thankfully someone stored them instead of disposing of them.

Maybe something like: The Steinway Project represents the best of what we hope to accomplish in supporting arts education.  School, booster groups, district and community leaders partnered with parents and businesses to restore a world class instrument for the Southwest community.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Make the Most of Summer 2013

2013 Summer

The late start of a more typical summer season may have enhanced the final arrival.  We are not out of the storms and winds and may think differently about what is good weather and temperatures.

We are sliding out of June and into July.  In 62 days the students will be in desk enjoying the heat of September that should have been here in June.  Still plenty of time.

Don't forget our local libraries.  They are air conditioned and waiting for you.  You might want to check ahead for exact hours.  Open hours are different at the different branches throughout the city.

Tow wonderful zoos are in the area and there are numerous fantastic parks.  Most of the parks have recreational activities for all ages.

Enjoy the experiences and the time to explore.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome Class of 2017 Summer Dates

Thursday, Aug 22, 2013

  • Student activities with Link Crew 4-7pm
  • Parent Information Sessions 4-7pm
  • Parent/Student & Staff meet and greet 7-9pm
NOTICE -- August 22 is for BOTH student and family.  Important and informational activities for the entire family.

First day of School is Monday August 26, 2013.

The Southwest High School Main Office Opens Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gordon Parks and the Choice of Weapons - One MInneapolis One read

"People in millenniums ahead will know what we were like int he 1930's and the thing that, the important major things that shaped our history at that time.  This is as important for historic reasons as any other." -- Gordon Parks

Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks is the One Minneapolis One Read -- the common book for the city, the Minneapolis School District and Southwest High School.  For more information about this program check out --

"At its heart, One Minneapolis One Read is a community-driven effort with individuals, neighborhood groups, educators, businesses and nonprofits all coming together to make this a truly citywide read.
“A Choice of Weapons” is available in paperback at local independent and chain bookstores, online booksellers and Minnesota Historical Society Press. It’s also available through Hennepin County Library."

The book is published by the Minnesota Historical Society.  Information about the book and One Read are available at MHS in addition to a tremendous amount of other fascinating exhibits and materials.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Student Go-To Pass Program

This is copied directly from the district web site.  For more information contract District Transportation Services
Student Go-To Pass Program
Minneapolis Public Schools is pleased to announce that it is expanding its Metro Transit Go-To Card Program in fall 2013 to include eligible high school students at Southwest and South. We are excited about this opportunity and continuing its success. 
What is the Go-to Card program?
  • A Go-To Card is a durable, plastic pre-paid fare card that allows for unlimited rides on city buses and light rail to and from school instead of riding the traditional yellow school bus.  The cards can be used after school hours for other student activities.
  • Students may also use their Go-To Cards for extracurricular activities before and after school hours.
  • The Go-To Card program is an expansion of the successful Go-To Card pilot program. 
What are the benefits of the program?
  • It offers students scheduling flexibility and access to a wide variety of learning opportunities in the community.  
  • Students will have more opportunities to remain at school for academic programs, sports and other activities beyond the regular school day.
  • Personal language-specific service will be provided by Check & Connect staff.
  • The program supports improved student attendance and retention.
How do they work?
  • The Go-To Cards will allow student users to ride the bus or train from 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.
Who is eligible?
  • Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch and are within the 2-mile walk zone of their school.
  • Students who attend a high school outside of their attendance zone and are not transportation eligible will not be eligible for a Go-To Card. 
  • All transportation eligible students will receive a free Go To Card.  These are students who are within the attendance zone of their school, but outside the walk-zone.  Also, students who are enrolled in a city-wide program and outside the walk-zone of their school.
When will my eligible high school student receive the Student Go To Pass?Eligible students will be notified through the mail in August 2013, the same time frame as for other students. Students will need to go to their high school the week prior to school starting to pick-up their Student Go To Pass and student I.D. At this time, students and parents will be asked to review and sign the transportation code of conduct.
If I have specific questions concerning my student’s Go To Pass or transportation route, who can I contact?Metro Transit is adding and adjusting routes and times to better serve Minneapolis Public School students. Routes can be planned at Check and Connect staff will be available to assist with route planning when students pick-up their Go To Card Pass the week prior to school starting. Students and families can also talk with Check and Connect staff at their specific high school or a bilingual staff member.
What are the next steps?
  • Download the flier to let others know about the program.
  • Complete the School Lunch Eligibility form that will arrive by mail in July 2013.  This is critical in identifying students who qualify for free and reduced lunch and a Go-To Card.
  • Attend future Go-To Card events that will review transportation safety, routes and questions.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Looking for Members Class of 1943, '53, '73 ,83 & '93

Looking for members of the Southwest Classes of 1943,1953,1973,1983 and 1993
Where are you??
Where are the reunions?
Who are the reunion chairs?
How can classmates contact someone?
Southwest Alumni -- time to come to the aid of your classmates

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Please Use Your Red Card and Support Southwest

If you are out shopping this summer, please, remember to use your Target Red Card.

Hopefully you have designated Southwest as your charitable contribution. Target donates a portion of each purchase to your chosen organization.

Go to the Target Red Card web site to determine your chosen organization. Consider making Southwest High School your favorite.

Southwest does not endorse Target stores but definitely will accept the check from your purchases!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Helping Form the Dream

What if?  Do you want to be part of a school group that is working together to answer that question?

We are exploring several options for the coming years - 2014 and beyond.  If you are interested in adding your voice to the conversation, please email me and I will send you a schedule of the meetings this summer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

And the Summer is HERE

Maybe.... Sun is supposed to be part of summer and normally is a given.  Not this year, so far.

Maybe in the coming days there will be more summer-like weather.  Right now we need to appreciate the cooler rainy days and do what we can to plant and sing and enjoy the moments.

In 77 days the students will be back in school.  Yes, that is exciting!

Don't forget those summer reading lists.  They are listed by course on the Southwest web site:

With 77 days of summer, there should be sufficient time to read them all.  Ok, so maybe some of them.  The library is a great place and is air conditioned when those days hit that require such.

Have a great and enjoyable time.

2013 Common Book - A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks

2013-2014 Common Book


Southwest High School is pleased to be joining the One Minneapolis, One Read book conversation this year by choosing A Choice of Weapons as the SW Common Book for 2013-2014.
In this autobiography, Gordon Parks tells how, at age 16 when he moved from Kansas to St. Paul, Minnesota, he managed to escape the povery and bigotry around him and to launch his distinguished career by choosing the weapons given him by "a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred." In 1999, Parks, the first African-American to work at Life magazine and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film, told an interviewer, "I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera."
Where to get the book? A Choice of Weapons can be checked-out from local libraries, purchased at local bookstores or online at and
This is a great way for all SW Lakers to unite. So, get your copy of A Choice of Weapons this summer and read it before school starts.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Parent Responsibilities and Expectations

In the past couple weeks two commentaries were printed in the Star Tribune regarding Parent Portal and more important - the role and responsibility of the parent.

The first was by Beth Ewen May 31, 2013 "Dropping out of the Minneapolis 'Parent Portal'

The second listed as Counterpoint was by Seth Kirk and titled "Tune in to the Minneapolis 'Parent Portal."

Both are available

Both have great points (in my opinion) and should be reviewed by all families.  I do not believe these to be opposites.  Each encourages responsibility and communication.  Both indicate an interest in the efforts being student centered.  What we enforce for a five-year old is different than what we expect of a 15-year old.

The first line of communication for each was parent to child.  Families that talk have more opportunities to determine the level of difficulties or problems.  Many times that talk is the parent talking a eyes rolling of young person but that is communication.  Yes, many teenagers do not roll their eyes at their parents or elders.

The important issues are ones of communication and getting the job done.  Who is responsible for the work and what are the lessons to be learned? What are the gradual steps necessary to learn responsibility and time management?

The link between the school and home must be strong and supportive.  The school and home share a very precious investment in the future of this community.  The child does not need to be a problem in the middle.  Communication is important and some are more comfortable with one form as compared to another.  The important part is to communicate and maintain an ability to hear and feel.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Final Finals Today

In 83 more days Students will return to the halls of Southwest High School.  And they will be very different children.  Three months will have post and over 25% of the total student enrollment will be first timers.

And the excitement rings the air.  The last four finals for the 9-11 graders is happening right now.  The clock moves so slowly and yet so quickly.  In five hours this school year is over and in a blink of the eye and entire four-year experience is gone by.

The year has been full of bumps and jumps.  We still struggle with social media.  Privacy continues to be an issue that is a problem for all ages.  The young continue to "revolt" against their elders and the cycle of life continues.

Another good academic year.  We are moving into a reflection, planning year.  The summer is going to be busy as it is every year.

Have a good and relaxing break before we do it all again.

Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate Awards

The following students who have earned a State of Minnesota World Languages Proficiency Certificate in Spanish or Japanese. 
In order to be eligible, students must demonstrate proficiency at an Intermediate-Low level in all four modalities (Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening) on a standardized Language B exam. 
Most of the students who earned the certificate actually scored above that level in some of the modalities. 


Soren Anders-MacLeod

Kennedy Borman

Sophia Chadbourn                          

Samantha Coffler                            

Sarah Edinburgh

Martha Elliott

Ian Evans                                      

Isabelle Falk                                   

Narangarav Ford

Miles French

Alma Gonzalez-Diaz                          

Adele Gordon

Arazu Kian

Joshua Kirk                                     

Cleo Krejci

Madeline Kaye

Benjamin Lane

Owen Lazur                                    

Griffin McEnery                                

Anna Moskowitz

Kyle Munshower                              

Kristina Newland

Cristina Lorena Nueleanu

Emma Price

Margaret Puzak

William Ragatz

James Rokke

Anna Ryden

Martina Sarver

Mackenna Savage

Meghan Schwob

Jonah Shaw

Sam Sinkler

Jackson Smith

Esther Swanson

Rebecca Tincher

Ella Willford

Isak Keller

Samuel Gaines


To put this certificate in perspective, this is the equivalent of testing out of the first year of college level language classes.  The U of M gives a year of advanced standing to students who can demonstrate an Intermediate-Low level.   Many of these students have done this as 9th graders, which is quite impressive.  The results are based on the STAMP test, which students took in class during May.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Don't Forget to Use Your Target Red Card Credits for Southwest

If you shop at Target anywhere (not just Minneapolis) and use your Red Card, Target donates dollars to Southwest High School.

That is if you listed Southwest High School in your settings for the Red Card. Please make sure your donation dollars are going to Southwest High School.

Grandparents are in Florida or California or Canada or Kentucky?  That is okay.  If they listed Minneapolis, Minnesota Southwest High School as their sponsored school, those donation dollars would be supporting your child - their favorite grandchild.

Have some time? What If?

What if??

Do you have time in the afternoons and/or evenings this summer?

Are you interested in exploring possibilities and challenges?

Are you interested in doing some strategic planning with Southwest High School?

We are looking for parents, community members and non-graduated SW students.

Send me your email (summer contact) information.

We are planing on exploring and reviewing what might be.

What If?

Eric Sayre and the Guyana Lutheran Music Academy

 I hope everyone’s year is wrapping up nicely. As you may have heard, I will not be returning to Southwest next year. I am sad to be leaving such a passionate and supportive group of staff, students, and parents, but I am eager to begin my next adventure…

Next year, I will begin to work fulltime on a very meaningful project of mine: The Guyana Lutheran Music Academy ( After two years of working afterschool and on weekends, my team and I are now well underway with plans to open a full-time music academy in New Amsterdam, Guyana, September of 2014.  The academy will accommodate 240 students a week, taught by a team of four U.S. teachers traveling to Guyana for 10-month stints.  The Guyanese Lutheran Church has already generously donated a school building and housing for our teachers!

I will spend this next year, still in MN, building the program, continuing to design the curriculum, and finishing up our fundraising needs (only $115K to go!).  I will actually leave for Guyana in the late spring of next year.

I am excited to move forward, but still very sad to be leaving.  I have always been and will remain deeply invested in the Southwest music program and its students, and hope to return to it someday soon.

If you are interested in staying informed of our progress, please email me at

Thanks, and have a great summer!

Eric Sayre
SW Band Director

Class of 2013 Making It Big

2013 Southwest Graduation at mariucci Arena

The Class of 2013 is on the Megatrone!  Thank you for all who attended and joined in the celebration.  It was a grand evening and I trust all family and friends had a good time celebrating with the graduates.

Off into the world go another set of excited and wide-eyed young people.  We wish them our best.  We trust they are prepared to problem-solve, be flexible and continue learning.  There is much to be done.

As I often say:  The Leaders of tomorrow were sitting there Saturday evening.  We know our future is in good hands.

SW Junior Nathaniel Larson American Youth Leadership Program

Introducing AYLP Singapore & Malaysia Class of 2013

Date: May 14, 2013
Contact: Rachael Taft

Cultural Vistas Unveils the AYLP Singapore & Malaysia Class of 2013
18 U.S. high school students selected to study sustainable development

NEW YORK – Cultural Vistas is pleased to announce the selection of the 2013 class of the American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) with Singapore and Malaysia, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.

The 18 U.S. high school students and two educators selected to participate in this funded, yearlong program represent 15 different states, plus Washington, D.C. During the program they will gain firsthand experience and knowledge of the people and cultures of Singapore and Malaysia, with a specific focus on the two nations’ approaches to sustainable development.

The students are currently in the midst of the virtual component of the program, performing research and collaborating together online on various pre-program projects to orient them to the cultures of each country and the environmental issues they will encounter. At the end of June, they will come together in Los Angeles for a pre-departure orientation, and on July 1 they will fly to Singapore to begin their three-week immersion experience, which includes a series of educational and cultural workshops, team-building exercises, community service activities, university lectures, sightseeing, and homestay experience.

"It is a true honor to be a part of this important endeavor in Malaysia and Singapore. The pre-departure work has been meaningful and instructive," said Nora Laberee, an AYLP student participant and Medford, N.J. native. She added the things she looks forward to most on the trip are "exploring the natural beauty of these countries, representing the USA with enthusiasm, making new friends, and gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the sustainability challenges there and elsewhere on this blue planet."

Upon returning to their hometowns, students will implement education and service projects in their communities involving the skills and learning they acquired during the exchange.

"Mostly applicants ask what a program can do for them, but in the case of AYLP, we get the chance to share our experiences with our communities with a post-travel project. This is one of the reasons I am excited about AYLP," said Nathaniel Larson, a high school student from Minneapolis. "This program combines elements of our topic of study – sustainable urban development – with interaction of the culture of Singapore and Malaysia, a duo that is, to me, irresistible."

This marks the third year of the American Youth Leadership Program, and the first with Singapore and Malaysia as the destination countries. Cultural Vistas previously administered American Youth Leadership Programs conducted in Japan for more than 60 American students and educators during both the summers of 2011 and 2012.

The American Youth Leadership Program with Singapore & Malaysia Class of 2013

Cosmo Albrecht, Castle Hills, Texas
International School of the Americas
Chase Ammon, Washington, D.C.
School Without Walls
Kirsten Brodeen, Ft. Collins, Colorado
Rocky Mountain High School
Valerie Cazeau, Laurel, Maryland
Atholton High School
Noah Gallant, Bethany, Connecticut
Amity Regional High School
Patrick Goff, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Academy
Julianne Rose Goodman, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Bergen County Academies
Derek Kiy, San Diego, California
Canyon Crest Academy
Nora Laberee, Medford, New Jersey
Nathaniel Larson, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Southwest High School
Forrest Malcolm,
Pembroke, North Carolina
Purnell Swett High School
Justin Rebollo, Las Vegas, Nevada
West Career and Technical Academy
Ashley Reed, Hudson, Ohio
Hudson High School
Samuel Robbins, Midlothian, Virginia
Manchester High School
Mara Sherline, Baltimore, Maryland
Bryn Mawr School
Josue Tovar, Nevada, Iowa
Nevada High School
Sophie Westbrook, Lawrence, Kansas
Lawrence Free State High School
Jamie Withorne, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Washington High School
Kristen Bright, Statesville, North Carolina
South Iredell High School
Mary Stewart, San Antonio, Texas
International School of the Americas

Learn more about the American Youth Leadership Program with Singapore and Malaysia at

About Cultural Vistas
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and designated sponsor of Exchange Visitor Programs, Cultural Vistas has facilitated professional exchange programs and services for visitors coming to the United States, and Americans seeking overseas experiential learning opportunities since 1950 — Learn more at

Follow @CulturalVistas on Twitter

About the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The ECA fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations through a wide range of academic, cultural, and professional exchange programs — Learn more at 

Follow @ConnectStateGov on Twitter