Monday, October 31, 2016

Race, Gender Gaps Persist in Computer Science Education

Race, Gender Gaps Persist in Computer Science Education

With increasing support from public and private investors, including well-known companies like Google and Facebook, more K–12 schools are offering computer science (CS) classes across the country (up 25 percent since last year). Many students have the opportunity to learn CS now, but research shows that structural and social barriers still persist that keep minority students from learning CS skills. Google for Education, in partnership with Gallup, released several reports today on the status of CS education in the United States.

The latest Google-Gallup study titled “Diversity Gaps in Computer Science” points to a race and gender gap in K–12 CS education. According to the report, Black and Hispanic students “face discrepancies in access and exposure to CS classes and to computer use at home and at school,” despite their parents being more likely to want them to learn CS compared to White parents (92 percent versus 84 percent respectively). Black students are also less likely than White students to have CS class at their school (47 percent and 58 percent respectively).

Other key information includes:
  • Girls are less likely than boys to be aware of CS learning outside of school, and less likely to be encouraged by teachers or parents to learn CS skills; and
  • It is rare for students to see computer scientists that resemble them in the media, especially for female and Hispanic students.
The report looks at various social barrier that can hinder participation for underrepresented groups in CS, including CS stereotypes in the media; lack of encouragement to learn CS; and misconceptions from parents and teachers that students may not be interested in CS education.

For another report, “Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K–12 Schools,” Google and Gallup surveyed more than 1,600 students, 1,600 parents, 1,000 teachers, 9,800 principals and 2,300 superintendents. Among the highlights are:
  • More schools have CS classes this year, with 40 percent of principals reporting they offer CS classes at their schools;
  • More than nine in 10 parents believe that opportunities to learn CS are a good use of school resources;
  • Relatively few (three out of 10) parents and teachers have expressed their support for CS education to school administrators; and
  • Positive perceptions of CS education and careers persist among all groups.
The set of reports also includes older reports like “K–12 Computer Science Education: U.S. State Reports,” which summarizes the status of CS education for the 11 states surveyed in 2015.
Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S.” examines perceptions about CS as well as opportunities for students to become more involved.
Another report titled “Searching for Computer Science: Access and Barriers in U.S. K–12 Education” argues that exposure to technology is vital to building student confidence for CS.
Lastly, “Women Who Choose Computer Science – What Really Matters,” published in 2014, looks at four factors that influence young women to pursue CS careers (which includes social encouragement, self perception, academic exposure and career perception).
To access any of the reports for free, visit the Google for Education site.

About the Author
Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at                     

Southwest ONLY Has School on Thursday, November 3, 2016

This is a message from Southwest High School.

Southwest High School students will have a regular school day on Thursday, November 3.  

This school day is for Southwest students ONLY.  

Please be sure your student arrives at school at 8 am as we are having 1st quarter finals in math, social studies, world languages, fine arts and tech ed classes.   

There is no school for students on Friday, November 4 as this is a grading day for teachers.  

 School will resume at 8:00 am Monday, November 7.

If you have questions, please call 612 668-3030 during regular school hours.

This  has been a message from SWHS.

First Quarter Final Schedule

Final Schedule for 1st Quarter

Tuesday,  November 1, 2016
·         English
·         Science
·         Health/PE
·         T.O.K./Psych

Wednesday, November 2, 2106
Approximately 350 students are taking the PSAT on Wednesday, mostly 11th graders. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016
·         Math
·         Social Studies
·         World Languages
·         Fine Arts/Tech Ed

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Southwest Performing Arts

We would appreciate your support for the SWHS Performing Arts Council and here's why...
October 30, 2016

Dear Southwest Performing Arts Family,

Have you ever watched a group of actors create an entire world on a stage? Then you have witnessed creativity.

Have you ever held your breath when a young musician stepped forward to share a solo? Then you have seen courage.

Have you ever marveled at a dancer’s embodiment of joy or pain? Then you have felt connection to the human condition.

How do they do it? Practice.

Creativity. Courage. Connection. These are the gifts of practice. Students receive and develop these gifts when they participate in the performing arts at Southwest. And more than half of the student body participates!

We are grateful to the district for the incredibly talented performing arts teaching staff at Southwest. However, the district’s financial support only stretches to provide staff salaries. The SWHS Performing Arts Council has committed to raising funds for the following essentials:

·        Sheet music and instruments

·        Lesson scholarships

·        Performance rights for musicals

·        Guest choreographers, composers, and artists

·        Commissioned works

·        Accompanists

Please join us by supporting the performing arts at Southwest with your financial contribution. We ask that every family participate by contributing whatever amount (no amount is too big or small!) We are a volunteer run, 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, so your gift may be tax deductible. You can donate online by clicking here or write a check payable to "SWHS Performing Arts Council" and send it to the address found at the bottom of this email. We are so grateful for your support!

The world we live in today is full of challenges which can be met with creativity, courage, and connection. We are full of hope for the future because we’ve seen at Southwest how practicing the performing arts can change lives for the better. Your financial support will make a positive impact, not only on students and programs, but on the world.

Creativity. Courage. Connection. Now it’s our time to practice!

Thank you for your support,
Leandra Peak, President

SECRETARY Laurie Jacobi   TREASURER Gail Puzak    PAST PRESIDENT Cotty Lowry

Amy Clay, Annika Crosby, Julie Durand, Bonnie Gruen, Debi Mattson, Paul Pirner, Steve Prince, Carrie Voda

Margaret Berg, Colleen Callahan-Russell, Bryan Fisher, Ruth Lemay, Reid Wixson

Providing volunteer and financial support to enrich the performing arts education experience of every student

Copyright © 2016 SWHS Performing Arts Council, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because your child participates in the SWHS Performing Arts: music - theatre - dance!

Our mailing address is:
SWHS Performing Arts Council
Southwest High School
3414 47th St W
Minneapolis, MN 55410

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Used Prep Book Drive

Used Prep Book Drive!!

Collecting the following books: 

● AP test prep books 
● IB test prep books 
● ACT prep books 
● SAT prep books 
● AP/IB study guides 
● Used class reading books
 (purchased outside of school) 
And any other used school books! 

Every year countless students purchase these books, but often only need to use them for a month or two. If you have any of these books you are no longer using, consider donating them for students who cannot afford them. 

They can be dropped of in the bin by the main office.  Collecting them from October 24th- November 2nd!

Southwest Debate

Southwest Debate Update and Tournament

Topic 2 is just beginning for Southwest Debate. Interested students should attend debate practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:05-4:30 in Ms. Hooper's room #208.  We love to have new debaters.

Southwest Debate is hosting a debate meet on Saturday November 5 for area high schools. 

We are in need of adult volunteers to help serve food and serve as judges. 

If you have questions or want to help please email Caroline Hooper at

Spoken Word Guest Artist at Southwest, November 4 at 3:15 pm

TruArt Speaks Guest Artist during Spoken Word

When? 3:15-4:45 on Thursday November 4  

Where? The Garages

What? Artists from TruArt Speaks will engage participants in a Spoken Word workshop              

Southwest Winter Sports Information

Gymnastics captains practice starts Monday, October 31st
3:15-4:30 on M-t-w-th

Join The Lakers Wrestling Team
  1. Captains Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 PM in the wrestling room.
  2. Turn in your paperwork ASAP.
  3. There will be a Preseason Potluck Supper & Parent Information Meeting Thursday, November 17 at 6PM in the school cafeteria.
  4. First official practice is Monday, Nov. 21 at 3:30 PM

Questions? Coach Paul Porter

Nordic Ski Team Kick-Off November 7th - Information Meeting for Athletes and Parents
Monday, November 7 at 6:15 p.m. in the Commons.  New and returning skiers join us to ask questions, pick up registration forms, learn about volunteer opportunities, and meet the coaching staff. We are looking forward to another exciting season! If you have questions, contact booster club president Linda Kerker at

Once on This Island - November 3-5 Curtain at 7 pm - Southwest Footlights Musical

Once on This Island: Nov. 3-5, 7 pm. The 9th and 10th grade Footlights Musical is a Caribbean folk tale of love and loss, with spectacular calypso music and vibrant sets. Advance tickets on sale now!

Sometimes We Have to Ask Why?

These are strange times.  But, when is there not strange times?  I do not claim to have all the facts nor claim to understand everything that is happening or the various claimed ramifications of these events.

photo copied from Urban Cusp FaceBook site

However, I do get a sense of what are the obvious perceptions or feelings as we watch events unfold.

I work with teenagers and have for the vast majority of my life.  They see, hear, feel and try to understand the world and their place in it.  They question identities and roles.  Teens press against the "standards" and rules of that older generation.  It doesn't matter if it is their parents, their religion, customs, authority in general or just because.  That is what teens have been doing for thousands of years.  Maybe, that is their job.

This is current events.  This is today's news.  This is our reality and what is happening in our country now.  Sometimes we have to questions, why?

Black Lives Matter.  Pipe Line Protest.  Enough is Enough!  
Presidential Debates. Political TV Ads.

I ask myself -- 
If I was sixteen what would I think?  
What would I do?  
Where would I direct my anger and confusion?

I believe strongly in the Rule of Law.  I respect and honor the concept of trial by jury.  I have read and reread the Constitution.  I will abide by the decision of the courts, the people and the election.

I know I do not have all the information, facts and data.  I watch the news, read the newspaper and try to be an informed citizen.  Sometimes I have to ask, WHY?

Southwest HS grad Jake Sullivan looks back and ahead to White House

It’s been a long journey in a few short years from Southwest High School in Minneapolis to Washington for Sullivan. From deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, to policy advisor to President Obama, those steps through the Oval Office never got old.

“I never once when I walked through that door forgot about the awesome opportunity and the awesome responsibility that came with that,” said Sullivan.

It’s a journey he gives great credit to his teachers and neighbors in southwest Minneapolis for all the lessons in seizing opportunities when they present themselves.

“People here have a deep sense of community and a commitment to serving their community whatever it may be, their neighborhood, their city, their state, their country. And, that sense of service is something that everybody touched me here,” said Sullivan.

During his time at the State Department, Sullivan traveled to 112 countries with Sec. Clinton. He started the difficult negotiations under Clinton to end Iran’s nuclear program.  He finished those negotiations with a signed treaty under Sec. John Kerry.

Sullivan also believes his instilled sense of Minnesota sensibilities has made him a better diplomat.
“Minnesota is a place that is passionate about human rights, about democracy, about all of the things that have made this country great,” said Sullivan. “So, I learned to balance as a diplomat, recognizing that other people in the world see things differently, but never giving up on, or getting too far away from the core values that I think make our state and our country great.”

Since leaving government in 2014, Sullivan has been teaching at Yale University. He’s taking a break from teaching this semester to assist the Clinton campaign where he’s served as a general advisor and debate coach. But he has strong thoughts on the world threats facing the next president, whoever is elected. He believes radical Jihadist terrorism both overseas and their sympathizers in America are the biggest challenge

Friday, October 28, 2016

5 Things Parents Should Do When Teenagers Are Applying to College

5 Things Parents Should Do When Teenagers Are Applying to College

By Diana Simeon

College applications … there is a lot to juggle, there is a lot of stress, and there is a lot of emotion. And while parents should not be applying to college for their teenagers, there are important ways that they can (and should) help. This is especially true for seniors at big public schools, where access to the college counselor may be limited (or non-existent). Students at private schools tend to get a lot more support through the college process. Here are our top 5 ideas for how parents can help with college applications.

1. Help Pick Schools

Building a list of colleges to which to apply is an important task and one in which parents should take an active part. There are many (many) colleges to pick from and teenagers can get overwhelmed. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll want to be sure your teenager is applying to a college that you’ll be willing for her to attend.
Start the process by talking with your teenager. Together, come up with the criteria for colleges on the list. What can you afford? (Be sure to run the net price calculator for every school you’re considering.) What region of the country? (Remember, further away means higher travel costs.) Where can your teenager reasonably expect to get in? While it’s perfectly fine for teenagers to include a few “dream schools” on the list, parents will want to make sure that they also include a couple of realistic options. (Include at least one school that is both an academic and financial safety.)

2. Provide Financial Guidance

Only you know what you can afford to pay toward your teenager’s tuition. Be up front with your teenager about this number (even if it’s zero), and stress the importance of not taking on too much debt for college. Parents must provide a guiding financial hand for teenagers when it come to college costs; too many young people are shouldering too much debt for college … don’t let your teenager join their ranks.
Parents should also probably not expect the average teenager to fill out the FAFSA or other financial aid forms. Instead, sit with your teenager and fill out the forms together. Thanks to changes to the FAFSA, it takes about 15 minutes.

3. Check In Regularly

Teenagers are busy, especially during senior year of high school. While your teenager should be in charge of applying to college — and making deadlines — parents can provide support by talking with teenagers about deadlines and other to-dos on a regular basis.
A great idea: hold a regular, weekly meeting during admissions season to review what needs to get done that week (and, yes, it’s okay to nag your teenager to get those tasks done).

4. Add Polish

It’s not appropriate for parents to fill out their teenager’s application, and it’s especially not appropriate for parents to write the essay. But parents can certainly help their teenagers put their best foot forward by brainstorming ideas for essays, reviewing drafts, and proofreading the final application (as well as helping them prepare for interviews). So, go ahead and grab your red pen to help make sure your teenager dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s.

5. Play it Cool

You’re nervous. Your teenager is really nervous. But parents can help by playing it cool during the college process. Try not to make your anxiety about your teenager’s college applications the topic of every conversation this fall (with your teenager and especially with friends and family). It only creates stress. In fact, experts recommend parents limit the college talk to a few times a week and even then keep it focused on the nuts and bolts.
The bottom line: you can help your teenager do a good job on his applications — and get them submitted on time — by being a practical, calm presence during the application process. Remember that no matter what happens, it will work out. Your teenager can be happy and successful at many different colleges. If you believe it, they will too.

Diana Simeon is managing editor of Your Teen and writes frequently about the college admissions process.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grand Opening with Firecracker - Three More Nights - Curtain at 7 pm

And the tradition continues.  The Miss Firecracker Contest is the first Unhinged Theater show in the new second floor Black Box.  A great slapstick comedy with wonderful characters, a couple falls, a bit of risque jokes and body motions,  It has it all joined with a fun evening of laughs for the entire audience.

Interesting and creative set design and use of space.  This is the first show of the season and set the bar for the following shows.

Join us in a fun evening of laughs and giggles - curtain at 7 pm - Thursday through Saturday.

Looking for Already Read Books for Lending LIbrary

Have you read a good book recently?   And no longer need it?   But really want someone who will appreciate it to get it next?

Well, Southwest has a bookshelf in a hallway that holds all these novels, short stories, poems and other travel, adventure, mystery and exciting books waiting on a good home.

Drop your well-read books at the main office and we will put them, kindly, on a bookshelf that is open to students, staff, guests and visitors.

New Members Southwest National Honor Society

National Honor Society
New members

Samira Ahmed 
Kasia Bednarski
Anna Bergstrom
Ari Bogen-Grose
Jane Carlson
Maria Chiang
Codell Christensen
Paige Christenson
Emily Christiansen
John Christopherson
Oliver Clay
Virginia Culhane
Isabella Dalsing
Owen Dean
Julia De Georgeo
Piper D'Emanuele
Haley Downham
Giselle Durand
Lilly Dutton
Sophia Dwyer
Fiona Edwardson
Billie Forester
Kate Fraser
Izzie Gagliardi-Grabau
Cole Graber-Mitchell
Emma Grabowski
Sara Green
Olivia Groth
Mitchell Hockenberry
Jaweriya Jama
Liang Jiang
Jordan Kaplan
Strom Keehn
Lucy Kegley
Ava Kian
Daniel Lane
Maya Larson
Maddie Launstein
Olivia Leighton
Zaylie Ledermann
Ginny Lindberg
Emma Loftesnes
Claire Loomans
Izzie Mack
Lucy Mayer
Ruby McLemore
Kelly McNamer
Maggie McNamer
McKinsey Montgomery
Grace Murray
Mia Naselaris-Custis
Carter Olson
Kajal Ondich
Skylar Owens
Hema Patel
Mark Pekala
Isabel Peterson
Joe Peterson
Georgia Pharris
Spencer Rasmussen
Abby Raver
Lily Richmond
Claire Ringwald
Alison Rosengren
Morgan Schoenecker
Zoe Seipp
Camryn Simmons
Paige Simmons
Sienna Simmons
Peyton Smith
Anais Stordahl
Laurel (Dylan) Struwe
Julia Stuart
Allison Sundeen
Leyla Taghizadeh
Katie Waller
Gabrielle Weld
Audrey Wiesner
Claire Wilson
Ginger Wodele

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mpls High School Jazz Festival Friday, October 28 at North High School

You are all formally invited to attend the Mpls High School Jazz Festival on Friday October 28th at 7pm at North High School.  

Corey Needleman, Southwest Instrumental music teacher, has led the charge as our entire high school band staff in collaboration with KBEM-FM Jazz 88 has organized the event which will bring together over 200 students from every high school in our district to participate in workshops and clinics.  

Throughout the day, students will be shuffled to form jazz ensembles that represent a mix of students from each school, building community across the district.  

The event culminates in a concert that is open to the public and will also feature guest artists, the Adam Meckler Orchestra (you can check them out here:  

Adam and his band will be mentoring and teaching our kids all afternoon, giving them a truly professional jazz perspective.  One of his musicians had to back out recently because he got a call to play the Bon Iver tour at the Hollywood Bowl - yep, they’re THAT good.  

Thank you for supporting jazz education and I hope that you will take time to join us on Friday evening at North High School at 7pm!

Reid Wixson
Director of Instrumental Music
Minneapolis Southwest High School

Register for CPEO at Southwest - Begins Wednesday, October 26

We have an exciting opportunity at Southwest called Connecting Parents to Educational Opportunities or CPEO!  

CPEO is an orientation program in the MPS Office of Family and Community Engagement, which helps parents become equal partners in their student’s education. 

This exciting opportunity is only available at select Minneapolis Public Schools and will begin at Southwest October 26 – December 14, 2016. 

The program consists of seven classes, once a week on Wednesdays, from 6-8:30 pm.  

There is no cost, dinner and childcare are included, and the program will be offered in English, Spanish and Somali.  

Please come this Wednesday, October 26, if you wish to take this class – you do not have to be pre-registered.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hot Notes on a Cold Night, Saturday, January 21, 2017 - Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendars for THE best party of the year!

Mark your calendars! Hot Notes on a Cold Night Cabaret, otherwise known as THE party of the year, is Saturday January 21!

It is also THE performing arts fundraiser of the year. As you may know, we raise funds for everything our kids need other than teachers’ salaries. Even down to the sheet music. There are many ways that you can help us right now to make this night a major success.
1. DONATE! Consider donating items for the Hot Notes Silent and Live Auctions. Reach out to friends and family who may have gift cards, merchandise or services to auction... we can combine smaller items for fun baskets. Larger gifts can be in the Live Auction. No gift is too big or too small and all are tax deductible.

HOST! Consider hosting a Great Gathering event. These fun little parties and events offered by SWHS parents can be anything from a pizza party or game night in your living room to a Bike and Brewery tour. Tickets are sold at Hot Notes for a set price (no bidding).

VOLUNTEER! Join our Hot Notes Auction Team and help solicit donations from our community partners. It is a fun committee requiring very little effort but yielding very big results. Many hands make light work. We especially encourage Freshman/Sophomore parents to join our auction team. Join with a friend!

Please feel free to contact us with any contributions, questions, or comments.

Thank you!

Heidi Rich and Bonnie Gruen
Hot Notes on a Cold Night co-chairs

Copyright © 2016 SWHS Performing Arts Council, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because your child participates in the SWHS Performing Arts: music - theatre - dance!

Our mailing address is:
SWHS Performing Arts Council
Southwest High School
3414 47th St W
Minneapolis, MN 55410

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You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list