Sunday, July 31, 2016

7 Tips for Sleep-Deprived Teens This School Year

7 Tips for Sleep-Deprived Teens This School Year

By Jane Parent and Diana Simeon
Does anyone get enough sleep? Are all of our teens sleep-deprived? More than one study has found that the majority of teenagers are not getting anywhere near the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours a night, thanks to a variety of factors, including school start times before 8:00 a.m.

Sleep is a cornerstone of wellness for all of us, but especially for teenagers. “Getting by with six or seven hours is fraught with peril,” says Dr. John Schuen, a pulmonologist with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who’s worked on pediatric sleep issues for more than two decades. Indeed, the list of risks for sleep-deprived teens is long—and ugly. Not only do tired teenagers do worse at school, they’re also at risk for higher rates of obesity, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues.

Sleep-Deprived Teens

This school year, why not help sleep-deprived teens get more sleep? We’ve got 7 top tips to help.

1. No screens at bedtime

You’ve heard this before, but the bottom line is that screens and sleep do not mix. In fact, there’s mounting evidence that screens cut into sleep by as much as an hour per night. The truth is that for many teenagers it can be tempting to be on their devices late into the night. What’s more, the light emitted by a screen is like a wake-up call for our brains. “It stimulates the centers in our brain that help us stay alert during the day,” explains Schuen. Some teenagers can turn off their devices on their own. “Others may need a parent to step in,” he says.

2. Limit sleepovers to Friday nights

Think of staying up late at a sleepover like flying coast to coast. Your teenager will be jet-lagged. “Even though you can physically move your sleep clock by staying up later, your natural sleep clock can only move about an hour a night,” explains Schuen. “That’s why we get jet lag.” So by sticking with Friday nights for sleepovers, your teen has Saturday and Sunday night to recover before having to get up for school on Monday.

3. No caffeine

Teenagers are much more sensitive to caffeine than adults or even twenty-somethings. “Caffeine will last in a teenager’s system for hours longer,” explains Schuen. So talk to your teenager about the ramifications of drinking caffeinated beverages, like coffee, soda, and especially so-called “energy” drinks—Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar—which can contain high, sometimes dangerous, levels of caffeine.

4. Get back to a school schedule a couple of weeks early (and stick with it)

Especially if your teenager has gotten into the habit of staying up late and sleeping in over the summer, be proactive about moving his sleep clock back well before the first day, recommends Dr. Sasha Carr, a licensed psychologist and sleep expert with Off to Dreamland Sleep Services. “I recommend getting back into a reasonable schedule about two weeks before school starts, so it’s not a shock to the system.” On the weekends during the school year, encourage your teenager not to sleep in too long on Saturday and Sunday mornings. That will make Monday tough.

5. No naps

Some sleep-deprived teens are in the habit of staying up late, rising early for school, and making up their sleep deficit with an afternoon or early-evening nap. It’s a bad idea. “Napping during the day is not helpful because it fragments sleep,” Schuen explains. “Instead, encourage your teenager to stick it out and go to bed earlier.” In other words, 30 minutes more sleep in the afternoon is not as beneficial as adding 30 minutes of sleep at night. “Your teenager will be much better rested if she adds that sleep at the end of the day,” says Schuen.

6. Have a bedtime ritual

You can’t control when you fall asleep, but you can create an optimal environment for sleep to take place. “Create a ritual that signals to your brain and body that it’s time for sleep,” recommends Carr. Turn all computers, smart phones and devices off at least 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Take a warm shower. For girls, Carr recommends something as simple as a lotion with a particular scent that she only uses at bedtime as a cue to the brain that it is time for sleep. For boys, perhaps changing into clothes that he only wears at bedtime.

7. Beds are only for sleep

Your son or daughter’s bed is not the home office. “There is this idea of `stimulus control’ which suggests that time spent in bed should be associated with sleeping, and that any activity in bed other than sleep is counterproductive to sleep and can actually condition someone to have problems sleeping,” explains Carr. “You do not want your brain to associate your bed with work or studying or any other activities that stimulate rather than calm your brain at night.” Instead, prepare a pleasant, comfortable separate space that is conducive to studying so your teenager associates a bed with sleep—and only sleep.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Greatly Improved Back of School - Door 15 at Beards Circle

What a difference!  The pictures are of the back of Southwest High School.  The location is Door 15 and the north side of the commons in the center section.  I am standing on Beards Circle.

More walking space, increased green space and more attractive entrance to the school.  Many students and visitors enter through this back entrance (Door 15) because of parking and the arrival of special needs buses.

Bicycle racks will be installed before the beginning of school for all the riders.  A new fence with decorative plants is installed on the north side of the parking lot off to the left (east) of the pictures.  This area also contains the loading docks for the school and kitchen.  The trash and recycling dumpsters will be moved to this location and out of the west parking lot.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

10 Tips to Fight Fair with Your Teen

10 Tips to Fight Fair with Your Teen

by Jane Parent
Teens really know how to push your buttons, don’t they? And they don’t care about fighting fair – they fight to win. Parents can use a disagreement with their teen, however, as a teachable moment on how to fight fair.

“Teens can be emotional and unreasonable,” says Dr. Brittany Barber Garcia, PhD, a pediatric psychologist. “Their raging hormones, egocentric world view, and developing brains can put them on a collision course with adults.” But even in the heat of the moment, advises Dr. Barber Garcia, parents can model positive behavior for their teens by showing them how to handle conflict face-to-face and disagree respectfully. They can also provide teens with the emotional feedback they need to learn how to moderate their own behavior.

Tips to Fight Fair

In those heated moments, says Dr. Barber Garcia, remember these 10 tips:
  1. Keep your cool. As a parent, how you act is even more important than what you say. Instead of throwing fuel on the fire by getting angry, try to stay calm as much as possible. Take a breath. Think before you speak. Don’t let your emotions get the upper hand.
  2. Zip it. “It’s really important to think about your own reactions in the moment,” says Dr. Barber Garcia. Stick to the facts, provide rationale for your position and avoid name-calling or accusations such as, “You’re so lazy.” “We don’t mean to do it,’ says Dr. Barber Garcia, “but it happens.”
  3. Listen. Sure, some things aren’t up for negotiation—but your teens want the chance to be heard. So show respect for their opinions.
    "Your teens want the chance to be heard. So show respect for their opinions."
    Demonstrate that you are listening by reflecting back what they said. For example, say, “I’m hearing you say …” or, “It sounds to me like …”
  4. Ignore your buttons. Oh yeah. Your kids know exactly how to get you riled up and push your buttons. Remember, you’re the adult. Try to let things slide instead of taking the bait.
  5. Don’t get personal.“Teens will be very quick to hear something accusatory—’You made this mistake,’ ‘You did this wrong,’” cautions Dr. Barber Garcia. Get in the habit of focusing on your own experience by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. “I feel hurt when I cook a nice meal and my family won’t eat it.”
  6. Be real about emotions. Sarcasm is a big “no,” says Dr. Barber Garcia, because it undermines true emotions. Even a nervous laugh or smile can be unintentionally hurtful.
  7. Meet in the middle. Sometimes you need to compromise so everyone can win. Think in advance about where you’re willing to give up some ground so you and your teen can both feel good about a decision.
  8. Table the discussion. When emotions are running high and the argument is going nowhere, don’t be afraid to end the conversation temporarily with a promise to come back to it another time—maybe after dinner, or on Saturday morning.
    "Don’t be afraid to end the conversation temporarily with a promise to come back to it another time."
    Sometimes parents may need a timeout together to talk and make sure they’re on the same page. It’s okay to take a step back if you need time to work things through. This will show your teen it’s preferable to calm down and come back to the conversation with a fresh perspective, but …
  9. Check in. Don’t let angry feelings fester, and don’t withhold love after an argument. Give teens time to figure out how they feel, and then check in with them to see if they’re ready to reconnect. If they’re still hurt or confused and it seems they’re not yet ready to reconnect, respect that. But after some time has gone by—maybe a day or two—circle back and work with them to repair the relationship.
  10. Don’t over-apologize. If you really lost control or said things you shouldn’t have, you may need to say you’re sorry, and it’s good to model for your children when it’s appropriate to apologize. But you don’t need to apologize for disagreeing or having a fight.
Dr. Brittany Barber Garcia, PhD, is a pediatric psychologist with Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Southwest Front Sidewalk CLOSED

Sidewalk in front of Southwest High School is CLOSED!

The sidewalk directly in front of the main entrance on W. 47th at Southwest High School is closed.  The old sidewalk is going to be removed.  A new sidewalk will be installed to replaced the cracked and broken older sidewalk.

Sorry for inconveniences.  The new, fresh sidewalk area will greatly improve the walk in the neighborhood for our two-legged and four-legged friends.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Laker Underwater Mural at Door 5 - A Wood Creation

The Mural at Door 5 in the west first level of Southwest High School is huge!

The Lakers needed a covering for a two-story blank wall.  And we went after the right artists to put together a colorful and dynamic presentation.  Gina and Sophie Wood are the fantastic artists who designed and painted the wall.

The entire project was created and finished during second semester of the school year.  Working before and after school and during art class limited the time for these two talented seniors to complete studies and the art project.

The important part of the creation was a colorful and fun image at the entrance for visitors and students.  It is extremely difficult to come through the door and miss this image.  We are proud of our creative art students and thankful that Gina and Sophie had the talent and creative energy to produce this fine public art work for all our enjoyment.

Gina and Sophie Wood

Class of 2010 Graduate in Accident, Zach Adams

Zach Adams, SW alumni Class of 2010 and was a math student teacher a few years ago.  

Sadly, Zach was involved in an accident Sunday and is in serious condition.

Below is the Caring Bridge site his family set up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Pokemon Go

By Diana Simeon

Pokemon Go has been all over the news this week. Here’s our quick take on what parents really need to know, plus tips for how your teenager can play it safely.

1. What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go is what is called an “augmented reality” game, which means that what you see when you play looks like the world around you (literally), but that world has been augmented in some way (in this case, by little monsters called Pokemons). Pokemon Go is based on the original Pokemon (short for “pocket monster”) video game, which was released in the 1990s.

2. How Does it Work?

Players download Pokemon Go to their phones. The game uses the phone’s camera and GPS to show a view of a player’s surroundings. (Depending on a player’s settings, this view will look real or animated.) If a player is walking down a street, then she sees that street. If the player is in Central Park, then he sees Central Park. You get the idea. The game then augments this view with Pokemon characters. Characters are “placed” using GPS, so all players see the same characters. The goal is to spot and catch these Pokemon characters.

3. What are the Safety Concerns?

Like texting, Pokemon Go can distract players from the real world around them. The animated view does not show a real-time view of a player’s surroundings; in other words, there are no “real” cars or people or other dangers displayed on the animated Pokemon Go screen. Note, the real view does show the real world around a player (cars, bicycles, people, your messy bedroom, etc.). Still, there have been reports of players running into roads and, in popular tourist spots, crashing into other players.

  • Remind teenagers that while playing Pokemon Go, they must be ware of their surroundings at all times. Players must look where they are walking with their own eyes, rather than relying on the game to be their eyes.
  • Talk to teenagers about going after characters that may be in dangerous spots. For example, one mom told us that in her hometown, there’s a “water” Pokemon at the bottom of a waterfall, which can only be reached by climbing over a safety barrier.
  • And, please also remind teenagers: Pokemon Go should never be played while driving.

4. What are the Security Concerns?

Right now, there are two main concerns.

PRIVACY: Like many apps that use GPS, Pokemon Go knows a lot about a player’s whereabouts. According to the game maker’s privacy policy, Pokemon Go can collect your email address, IP address, your recent web history, your username, and your location.

GOOGLE: Players who sign up for Pokemon Go using a Google account have been unwittingly handing over access to almost all of their Google account data. While it’s now common to sign up for apps using Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts, typically only “basic” information is available to the app. Not so with Pokemon Go and the amount of Google data in particular that Pokemon Go can access is concerning security experts. That includes access to Gmail, Google Drive, search history, Google Maps, and private photos on Google Photo. Note: The company has now released a fix to this issue, but players must sign out of the game, then sign back in to enable that fix.

  • Check your privacy settings for Pokemon Go. For iOS, go to Settings, then scroll down and find the Pokemon Go app. For Android, click Settings, then Device Settings, then Apps. Then scroll down to Find Pokemon Go.
  • Understand that this game tracks a player’s location at all times. Many apps use location-based data, including popular social media platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram. Oftentimes, you can turn location sharing off and still use most of an app’s features. Not so for Pokemon Go.

5. What Else Do I Need to Know?

Pokemon Go can be a blast when played responsibly. An easy way to start the conversation about Pokemon Go: ask your tween or teen to show you how it works. This is a great way for your teenager to share what she loves about Pokemon Go, while also creating the opportunity to talk about what concerns you may have. Good luck!

How to Get Merit Scholarships for College

Wondering how to get merit scholarships for college? These 5 steps will get you started.
By Joanna Nesbit

When it comes to paying for college, there are two types of financial aid. The first is need-based aid, which is awarded based on a family’s income (the lower your income, the more you’ll get and vice-versa). The second type is non-need-based aid, which is also called merit or scholarship aid. This is not based on a family’s income.

Many middle- and upper-income families will not qualify for much—if any—need-based aid (though middle-income families may qualify for need aid at private colleges), so merit aid is about the only way to help lower the amount they’ll pay. Because let’s face it, paying full price for a college education is cost prohibitive for even upper-income families. Here are five steps to help your student get merit scholarships.

How to Get Merit Scholarships for College

“Merit aid is money that colleges use to attract students who meet the institution’s profile goals,” explains Cecilia Castellano, vice president of Student Strategic Planning at Bowling Green State University. Typically, these will be students whose grades and SAT/ACT scores fall at the higher range of a college’s accepted applicants. But merit aid also is awarded for less obvious attributes, such as leadership, community service, music, geographic diversity, and sports, Castellano says. At the end of the day, colleges want to improve their reputation and national ranking. One way to accomplish that goal is to use merit scholarships to attract exceptional students.

1. Be a Good Student

It helps to be a top scholar with an AP course load, standout SAT/ACT scores, and extracurricular activities. However, top students shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they’ll get merit aid wherever they apply. Highly selective colleges don’t offer merit aid because accepted students are all standouts, and these colleges can charge for their brand name. They offer need-based awards only. Generally, students looking for merit money will do better applying to lesser-known colleges with higher acceptance rates.

B students can also qualify for merit scholarships at the right colleges, especially if they stand out in other ways. “B students will want to look for colleges where the average GPA is lower,” advises Paula Bishop, a private college financial aid advisor in Bellevue, Washington. Look for colleges where the student’s grades and test scores fall in the top third or quarter. Higher acceptance rates don’t mean lower-quality students; they simply lessen the pressure to be an academic superstar.

2. Research, Research, Research

To find colleges where your student will stand out, Bishop advises families to do their research, specifically using what’s called the Common Data Set. This is an annual survey in which colleges report all kinds of statistics, including enrollment, class size, and how much—and the types of—financial aid they award. Search for “[college name] + common data set” to find the information.

3. Check out

Another option: check out the website, which will show you how to use common data sets combined with data published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics to search for colleges offering merit aid. Don’t automatically nix a college for its sticker price. A lesser-known private college might offer a robust merit award. Generally, public schools don’t offer much merit aid, but that varies by state.

4. Don’t Forget to Check a College’s Website

Bishop recommends also searching merit scholarships on college websites themselves. Some list scholarships clearly. Boise State University, for example, offers automatic scholarships to resident and non-resident students who meet specific criteria. Other schools are less transparent and trickier to predict, but you can use a college’s net price calculator (search the name of the college and net price calculator to find it) to input a variety of test scores and grades to see what pops up for merit aid. If a school’s calculator doesn’t ask for grades and scores, it likely doesn’t award merit aid. Before getting excited about a particular college’s merit opportunities, do consider whether the college is realistic for your student’s grades/scores.

5. Ask Around (Really)

And, finally, talk to your friends with older kids. Find out where they applied and whether they received merit aid. Word of mouth is valuable and can help uncover colleges you’ve never heard of.

Joanna Nesbit is a freelance writer based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes frequently about parenting and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Family Fun, Parenting, and elsewhere.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Farweel Season for the U of MN Centennial Show Boat Summer Theater

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat and Event Center is the "summer" home to the University of Minnesota Department of Theater Arts and Dance. Each summer they put on 80 stage performances, but the Showboat is also available September through May for private rental.

The Showboat boasts a spectacular 225-seat theater and two luxurious Victorian reception rooms. This unique floating Mississippi River palace is completely heated and air-conditioned for all Minnesota weather.

Farewell Season opens July 7, playing through August 27. **Tickets NOW on sale. Don't miss our final melodrama "Under the Gaslight!" with those fun musical song + dance **routines between scenes. "Great fun for the whole family ages 8 to 80.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Underage Drinking: 5 Ways to Talk About it Realistically

Underage Drinking: 5 Ways to Talk About it Realistically

By Cathie Ericson
“Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” There are few areas where that adage rings truer than with underage drinking. Here are the facts: It’s illegal. Most parents don’t condone it. It’s unhealthy. The best tactic is to delay it as long as you can.
In fact, there’s a lot of evidence that parents should strive to keep their younger teenagers away from alcohol because it damages the developing teenage brain.

But here’s another fact: Many teens are drinking. According to a Call to Action on Underage Drinking from the U.S. Surgeon General, by age 18, more than 70 percent of teens have had at least one drink. And they typically don’t stop at one. The report also found that teens are more likely to binge drink than adults: On average, teens have about five drinks on a single occasion.

Updating the Conversation on Underage Drinking

That’s why we thought it was time to offer some realistic advice on underage drinking. There’s no doubt that this conversation will look different in every family and will depend on the age of your teen and your own individual values. But if your goal is safety, it’s imperative to know what to do when you suspect that your teen may be exposed to situations where underage drinking is occurring. Here are some steps you can take to help.

1. Offer strategies beyond zero tolerance.

You must open the lines of communication, and keep them open. “You might even say, ‘It’s illegal, and it’s unhealthy, but if you do drink, you have to be safe,’” says Dr. Marjorie Rosenblatt, a physician in Rye Brook, New York. While parents should stress that they’d prefer their teenagers not drink, a zero tolerance message does not help teens because they will be less likely to call for help when they are in trouble if all alcohol is taboo.
“Hey, I know parties with this group can get rowdy. What’s your plan if it gets out of control or the person you’re riding with ends up drinking?”
And it’s not a one-and-done conversation, adds Dr. Tori Cordiano, a clinical psychologist in Beachwood, Ohio, who suggests seizing on any openings where you can share your views on underage drinking. “They know a lecture when they hear one, so make sure it’s multiple, short conversations,” she says.
An important part of the conversation should be helping teens think through other options. Cordiano suggests casually saying, “Hey, I know parties with this group can get rowdy. What’s your plan if it gets out of control or the person you’re riding with ends up drinking?”
You also might want to give your teens tips on how to look like they’re drinking, if that makes them feel more comfortable, says Rosenblatt. “Drinking is so glorified and glamorized that there is immense social pressure, and kids want to fit in.” They can nurse one beer all night; they can have seltzer with lime; they can drink anything out of a red Solo cup.
You can also help them think through what to say if kids are pressuring them, such as, “My mom would kill me, and I can’t risk missing out on the next party.” Or, “The coach will bench me if I’m caught.”

2. Lay down a few inflexible rules.

Even if you know underage drinking is going on, there are some situations that can’t be tolerated. Here are three to give your teen:
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. Offer them alternatives, from a no-questions-asked policy to an Uber app on their phone, says Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum, author of the Drug Policy Alliance’s booklet, Safety 1st: A Reality Based Approach to Teens and Drugs and Alcohol.
BINGE DRINKING IS DANGEROUS. Talk to them about moderation.
YOU HAVE TO HELP A FRIEND IN TROUBLE. Rosenbaum shares the following clear directives for your child: Never let a friend pass out while lying face up because she could choke. Reposition the friend so she’s lying on her side, and don’t leave her alone. When in doubt, call 9-1-1.
In 33 states and the District of Columbia, your teen won’t get in trouble for underage drinking by calling 9-1-1 for a peer in a medical emergency, thanks to what are known as “Good Samaritan” or “medical amnesty” laws. Many colleges also have such policies.

3. Let them know they should always call you.

Situations can get out of control very quickly, and teens need to know that if something is going badly, it is always in their best interest to call a parent for help, says Cordiano. You may have a conversation later (much later) about the poor judgment, but impress upon them that they shouldn’t hesitate to call for a ride or any other help.

4. Don’t be the parent who hosts the party.

There is a common attitude among party-holding parents that it’s fine if they take the keys so no one will drink and drive. The theory is that they want teens to be safe and experiment at home.
However, says Cordiano, “it’s not a safe experimentation, and it’s breaking the law.” She believes that it encourages teens to drink to excess, and that the parents are then giving teens their stamp of approval. “It never turns out to be as controlled as parents expect,” she cautions.
That’s not to say that you can’t demystify alcohol by letting them have a glass of wine at home, where it’s a safe environment and you’re trying to model moderation, says Rosenblatt. Everyone knows the kid who went to college, discovered alcohol for the first time, and went amok. However, Rosenbaum stresses that this should only be if a child has shown curiosity. “There’s never a reason to introduce alcohol.”

5. Know when there’s a problem.

Consider moderation and context, says Rosenbaum. “If your kid is otherwise doing well in life—for example, their grades are good, they are participating in sports or clubs, and they have a social life—don’t panic because they are occasionally using alcohol.” However, she says, if it’s being used on a daily basis or in the wrong situations, like before school or when alone, that can indicate an abusive pattern where you should seek help.
The bottom line, says Rosenbaum, is that even though we all want our kids to be abstinent, in the end you can’t always have that. “So what is your Plan B? What is your fall back? Personally I’ve always felt that the health and safety of my kids was the No. 1 priority.”

Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. Read more about Cathie at

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Great American Author James Baldwin

Frequently there are no words that can explain or describe what is happening and how one feels.  This past days have been ones of confusion, hate, rage, pain, sorrow, grief, reaction, and nothing.  One of my lifetime favorite author/playwright has been and is James Baldwin.  So I share you his words because I cannot find mine. 

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ”

“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”

“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

“The time has come to realize that the interracial drama acted out on the American continent has not only created a new black man, it has created a new white man, too. No road whatever will lead Americans back to the simplicity of this European village where white men still have the luxury of looking on me as a stranger. I am not, really, a stranger any longer for any American alive. One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced, with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is also something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today. This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”

Lake Harriet Trolley and Improv Theater

 Photo from Dave Premack

Murder Mystery on the Lake Harriet Trolley!

 You are invited to get your theatre fix this (or next) weekend with an interactive improv murder mystery on the Lake Harriet Trolley line. 

The show features Southwest students and graduates Claire McPartland, Ben Murphey, Jonah Edelman, Zoey Norling, Bella Blackshaw,  Zach Christensen, Chloe Brevik-Rich, George Petermeier & Kate Westrum (she went to Breck).

For 6 summers now a group of top-notch young performers have staged a murder mystery on the Lake Harriet Trolley.  

Come down and ride along to a hilarious production where someone gets murdered! Who did it...? The glamorous actress? The jealous understudy? The secret crush? Join us and help solve the mystery!  

This is a great night of laughs for the young and old at heart; for a first date or a date night; for families and for friends- everyone is welcome and all will enjoy!  

These shows have a history of selling out so reserve your ticket ahead of time before it's too late! 

Shows are Friday, Saturday & Sunday July 15-17 & 22-24 at 9pm.  

Tickets are $15 and there is a 2-for-1 student rush for unsold tickets 10 minutes prior to show time. Purchase online at

More info on the murder mystery can be found at the event Facebook page at:

Dave Premack  | 
Community School Coordinator
Southwest High School
Minneapolis Community Education   |   Minneapolis Public Schools

Southwest Change in Front Door and Main Entrance

Original main door to Southwest High School in 1940.
The main entrance was changed April 2016

Newly constructed main door to Southwest High School
Previously was walkway and door into "Link."
New entry way, sidewalk green space to be in place by fall 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Landscape Started at Southwest

The Southwest High School addition and renovation project started almost two years ago.  The work extended over the entire school lot.  That is a two by one city blocks of structure, a little grass, some limited parking spaces and a huge school building.

Now we are in the process of putting it back together.  One quick appearance change will be the plants surrounding the parking lots.  Required by city ordinance a fence in installed and plants (green space) is established on the perimeter of the parking lot.

Landscaping for the front will not begin until fall and appropriate time to plant trees and other plants.  The interior part of the project is projected for completion August 25.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Southwest Andrea Kloehn - 2016 National Honor Ensembles

November 10-13, 2016 – Grapevine, Texas

The NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles represent the top performing high school musicians in the United States. So much more than a musical ensemble; it is a comprehensive, musical and educational experience. 

The ensembles will meet at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas under the baton of leaders in the field of music education. The NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles are represented in the following components:
  • Concert Band
  • Mixed Choir
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Jazz Ensemble
Dear Mr. Reid Wixson,

Congratulations! Your student Andrea Kloehn has been selected as a member of the All-National Honor Ensembles Symphony Orchestra, Flute. This selection is a reflection of your teaching excellence and your student’s hard work and dedication. 

Congratulations to Andrea Kloehn, 2016 National Honor Ensembles

Communicating with Teens: 3 Ways to Keep Your TeenTalking

Communicating with Teens: 3 Ways to Keep Your Teen Talking

Communicating with teens isn’t always easy, but these ideas can help.

By Mercedes Samudio, LCSW
As a parent coach, I often see parents battling their teens over topics that could have been addressed with more effective communication. And I often see teens struggle with life issues that they could have been avoided had they reached out for support from their parents.

By the time children are teenagers, they have learned how their families communicate. They have learned what things get praised and what things get shut down. They have learned that how they express themselves may or may not be well received. And, unfortunately, many teens have developed a sense that no matter what they say they will not be heard correctly (or that what they say will be taken out of context).

The good news, however, is that all is not lost. Parents can still improve the process of communicating with teens, even if they haven’t been successful in the past. Here are three strategies that you can use to open up the lines of communication with your teen. These strategies will also help you model for them how to communicate with others.

Tips for Communicating with Teens

1. Create a space for communication.

An effective way to create a safe space for your teen to open is to set up one-on-one time with them. I encourage you to not have an agenda, but let your teen know that you want to hear anything she wants to talk about; that what she says will be heard and not taken out of context; and that if she wants your opinion or help finding a solution, she can ask. A great follow-up: a few days after the one-on-one time, ask how things went with whatever your teen shared or show interest in whatever he talked about by asking about it. When teenagers know they have a safe space to talk, they will often use it.

2. Learn to accept how your teen communicates.

While I advocate teaching teens to learn appropriate ways to express themselves, I also encourage you to let your teen communicate the best way they know how initially. As they share their ideas and feelings with you, too much nitpicking about how they’re communicating can shut the conversation down. When it comes to communicating with teens, letting them express themselves the way they feel comfortable will get the communication going. If they say things that you don’t understand, ask for clarification. If they say things or use language you don’t agree with, inquire about their reasoning for using that term or phrase and suggest another way to say it that will convey the same point. The idea is to get them talking so you know how they express and process things. Then you can guide them to using more effective communication skills.

3. Manage your reactions.

Some things that your teen may share with you will be intense and some things trivial. But no matter what your teen shares, be aware of how you’re reacting to it. Teens can sense subtleties in your tone and expressions just like adults can. And, if they think you’ll overreact and/or not take them seriously they’ll be more likely to shut down instead of open up! Think of it like this: If they came to you with the issue they trust you to help guide them through solutions and their feelings about the issue.
What I encourage parents to do is to acknowledge for your teen, learning to communicate needs, thoughts, feelings, and ideas can be difficult at times. Even when we know exactly what we want to say, a lot gets lost on the trail from our brains to our mouths. That’s an issue you have as well as your teen. When we normalize the complexity of communicating for our teens, it takes the weight off them having to say things the right way all the time! And it’s the first step to helping your teen realize that they don’t have to have it all figured out to talk to you!

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW, is a parent coach who supports parents as they discover and unlock their unique parenting powers. She truly believes that when parents feel empowered they can be great guides for raising healthy and happy children! She is a leading parenting expert, certified in nonviolent child-raising and attachment parenting, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day, Daily Parent, Parenting OC Magazine and Kids In The House. Learn more about Samudio at her website, The Parenting Skill.