Sunday, April 30, 2017

May 5 Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—is a holiday commemorating the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). 

A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

Please remember some of our students and families may have scheduled parties and other festivities on this day and weekend.

Strut Guitar Festival at Southwest Saturday, May 6, 10 am to 9 pm

Swim Coach Chris Aarseth Honored as MN Coach of the Year

Southwest Swim Coach Chris Aarseth honored as Minnesota Coach of the Year for the Class AA Girls' Swim Program

A Must See - Girl Shakes Loose at Penumbra

GIRL Shakes Loose

Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri’s

A powerful, coming-of-age musical and world premiere
Directed by May Adrales

Why is it so hard to grow up? GIRL is a good girl: smart, beautiful, and a little rebellious, or, as her family would say, “hard-headed.” For the most part, she has played by the rules, finishing college and then graduate school. She is perfectly poised for success, but something is in her way. Floundering in love, life, and career, GIRL goes on a journey to discover what she’s missing, but wherever she goes, there she is. Eventually, GIRL learns that what she’s seeking is herself: powerful, grounded, and so much stronger than she thought. A groundbreaking new musical by Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri, GIRL Shakes Loose is the soulful story of one woman’s search for herself. Featuring the lush poetry of Sonia Sanchez and a stirring original score, you won’t want to miss this world premiere. Brimming with hope, humor, and headstrong passion, you’ll cheer GIRL on, remembering your own journey along the way.

Southwest Graduate John Jamison

John Jamison is one of the supporting members of a fantastic cast for Girl Shakes Loose.  Great songs and wonderful dance moments.

A meaningful and fun show.  Adult language and themes throughout.  Might be a adults' night out event.

Show Your Teacher Appreciation

Here Are 2 Ways You Can Show Your Appreciation For Teacher Appreciation Week This Year!
1)   We are planning a HEARTY BREAKFAST for our SW teachers and staff on Thursday, May 11th.  It is a LATE start day but we will need breakfast food donations dropped off between 7 and 7:30 in the Main Office.   I know many parents at SW like to cook/bake so make your favorite breakfast recipe and the SW staff would be delighted to enjoy it!  We're thinking egg-bakes, breakfast burritos, coffee cake, grits, fruit - you get the idea. We will gladly accept purchased items as well.  Breakfast will be served in the Commons and we will need 4-5 Volunteers to help that morning.  If you can make a food donation or volunteer to help, please let me know!

2)  The following is a wish list from our teachers if you would like to show your appreciation in this way.  You can designate your donation for a specific teacher/classroom or to be shared by all. 
  • Tissues 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dry erase markers
  • Pencils
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Spiral Notebooks – single subject, college rule
  • Colored pencils/markers
  • Staplers with/without stapler
  • Scotch tape with/without dispenser
  • Index cards
  • Glue sticks
  • Pocket folders
  • Masking tape
  • Poster boards
  • Cleaner for dry erase boards
  • Electric pencil sharpeners
We appreciate any supplies or donations you can give in honor of our teachers at Southwest!  If you want to make a donation to purchase any of these items, please make your check out to the Southwest PTSO or you can donate online via your Myschoolanywhere account.  Supplies or donations can be dropped off in the Main Office and we will disburse them.  

Thank You!

Janice Peterson
Parent Liaison/Volunteer Coordinator
Southwest High School

Congratulations Southwest Robotics!

Congratulations Southwest Robotics!
The Southwest High School Robotics Team 2129 Ultraviolet was selected as one of 8 Alliance Captains in the playoffs at the Northstar Regional Competition in early April!

We had a great season this year and we are now actively recruiting team members to help with the team business plan, media/design, video production, and fundraising as well as those interested in programming, engineering, and the strategic design process.

Follow us on Twitter @swrobotics, and visit our website to learn more about how to join or support our team!

Calling all Parents interested in leadership roles at Southwest!

Southwest is in the midst of a transformation. 

We are now a Community Partnership School (CPS), which is still developing governance and decision-making roles through the formation of a specific committees and a governing body, the Leadership Council (a new version of the old Site Council).

Please consider what might be your best leadership roles at the school. As you may have heard, the Leadership Council is looking for new members, but maybe more important are the committee positions, where the real discussions and decision-making takes place before their recommendations are brought to the Council for an up or down vote.

There are many facets of school life which will need committee involvement, and even the Council doesn't know exactly what some of those committees are yet, as this undertaking is still being created as they work through the CPS conversion at their monthly meetings.

Leadership meetings are every second Monday of the month at 3:30 in the SW Media Center, and open to the public. It can be an inconvenient time for some parents, but is the most convenient for teachers, staff, and admin, who make up a bulk of the Council. If you cannot attend these meetings, someone from the PTSO will be attending, and we will have opportunity to meet evenings for updates and next-step discussions.

Please email to join our leadership team!

Audition for Next Year’s Choirs!

Audition for Next Year’s Choirs!

Auditions for NEXT year’s choirs are happening.

When:  May 1st - 12th, after school.

Where: Sign up on the choir office door

Pick Up: an informational sheet (also on the choir office door)

Tour with us next year: The destination has not been revealed, but we’d love it if you come with us!  

Contact person: Mr. Fisher 

VOLUNTEERS still are needed at Southwest to Proctor the IB/AP Exams

VOLUNTEERS still are needed at Southwest to Proctor the IB/AP Exams
which begin on Monday, May 1st through Friday, May 19th.  

This is an IMPORTANT opportunity to volunteer at Southwest and NO experience is necessary.  The Exams will be given at Southwest High School or at Lake Harriet Methodist Church.  PLEASE consider helping our students and test administrators for these very important Exams.   

We're using (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming SignUps.
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
1) Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on

Note: does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact me at or at 612-668-3072

Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age May 2, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Screenagers:  Growing up in the Digital Age May 2, 2017 at 6:30 pm

“Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.” (

This event is hosted by SWHS Title One Program.  We will show the documentary and provide opportunities for questions and discussion.

The event is free.  Students and parents are encouraged to come.  Refreshments provided

Any Questions contact Mary Chapman, 612-668-3030

Wallin Education Partners

Wallin Education Partners

So much more than a scholarship

Before I ask for your help, I ask you to read Cara's story. Her experience provides personal insight into how the generosity of donors and the support provided through our program helped her during the most difficult time of her young life. 

Cara grew up in North Minneapolis and lived with her mother who was a janitor at a nursing home.  From an early age, Cara knew that she wanted to go to college and chose Southwest High School because she knew that she would be more likely to get into a good college.

It took two bus transfers to get to school each day but she worked hard and took advantage of many opportunities offered at Southwest.  Everything changed for Cara when her mother passed away from cancer during her junior year.  Cara moved in with her father - an even longer bus ride - but she continued her studies and graduated from Southwest High School in 2014.   

Cara's dad was retired and not able to help with the cost of college, so she was thrilled when she received a scholarship from Wallin Education Partners.  The scholarship includes financial aid and a wide range of service including the support of a dedicated advisor, a relationship that turned out to be pivotal.  When in her sophomore year of college Cara's father died, her advisor, Peggy Pluimer, was the first person Cara called.  "Peggy would know what to do", she recalls.

With no siblings or parents, Cara thought she was alone.  Except that she wasn't.  Peggy stood by Cara at her father's funeral, and was there for her every step of the way.  Cara knew that the donor who  provides her scholarship was also in her corner.  When asked what Wallin Education Partners means to her, she said  "I always have someone to motivate me, to keep me going and someone that I can make proud."

And proud we are.  Cara has been accepted into the Public Policy and International Affairs program at the University of California, Berkley this summer, with plans to go to law school after graduation.

Cara's story is similar to hundreds of scholars in our program and demonstrates the impact that the generosity of our donors has on the lives of young people. Please consider a donation to help other students who like Cara have overcome remarkable challenges yet continue to persist and thrive.  Thank you. 

Stela Center
Director of Development
(952) 345-1916


Seeking Host Families For Next School Year

Hey Everyone:

I'm reaching out this morning because we're still looking for Southwest High School (SWHS) host families for 2 of the 4 Chinese students who have been accepted to attend SWHS next school year through a program called iNECS with which we partner.  We have worked with this school for several years and currently and in the past had wonderful students.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with iNECS, here's some info...

Next school year SWHS will continue its partnership with iNECS, a Chinese international student program. The iNECS mission is to build relationships between American and Chinese public high schools and their students and families, to provide the opportunity for Chinese students to participate in an American educational experience, and to offer American students opportunities to enjoy study and travel in China.

As opposed to participating in a foreign exchange program, iNECS students choose to come to the U.S. as international students and as 12th graders. The students are then eligible to graduate from SWHS and their ultimate hopes are to attend a U.S. college. 

One big difference between hosting one of these Chinese international students vs. hosting a student through a typical foreign exchange program is that with this program, the host family is paid an $8,000 stipend to offset the costs of supporting a teenager for a year. Because this stipend is considered support for the student, and not income for the family, the stipend is not taxable. 

The students arrive in the U.S. shortly before the school year begins in the fall and leave a few days after graduation.

As the counselor for all foreign exchange students at SWHS, I will work with these students throughout the school year as a support. There is also a local iNECS Area Coordinator who works with and supports host families throughout the year.

Please contact me if you're interested!

Jenny Moore, MA, LSC
Licensed School Counselor
SWHS, grades 10-12, student last names A-D
MMSCA Board, President Elect

Southwest High School
3414 W. 47th St., Minneapolis, MN, 55410

phone: (612) 668-3053
fax: (612) 668-3128

Southwest Swimmers Baxley, D'Emanuele, Knutson & Neibuhr Honored At State Banquet

Attached is picture of Southwest swimmers Maya Knutson, Peyton D'Emanuele, Elle Niebuhr, and Amelia Baxley. 

These Southwest Swimmers were recognized by the MN Swim Coaches Association as All-State athletes and honored at this weekends banquet. 

Thanks and Congratulations,

 Chris Aarseth
Swim Coach

Southwest Assistant Swim Coach Bill Centner Honored by Minnesota Swim Coaches Association

Minneapolis Southwest Boys Assistant Bill Centner was honored by the MN Swim Coaches Association for dedicated service this weekend at the all-state banquet. 

Thanks and Congratulations, 
Chris Aarseth Swim Team Coach

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday May 4 Southwest Foundation Fund Raiser at 1010

Have fun at the 1010 while supporting Southwest's great students on Thursday, May 4.

Can't Attend? 
Please Give Now!
We need every family's support this year

Please join us for a great party to benefit Southwest 
on Thursday, May 4th!

5/4 @ the 1010

Thursday, May 4, 7-10 p.m., 1010 West Lake Street

Free food (compliments of Cafe Ena and our co-hosts), free drinks, conversation, and music from Southwest's jazz and guitar groups (Perihelion Trio, Below Zero Quintet, and Awesome Sox).

Amazing Silent Auction with contributions from area businesses and talented Southwest parents and alumni including R.F. Moeller jewelers, Izzy's Ice Cream, Williams Pub, YogaFit, MacPhail, Patina, Sunnyside Gardens, Linden Hills Co-op, Dunn Bros. Coffee, Great Harvest Bakery, Steady Hand Farm, Salon la Terre, Mall of America, the Lynx, Kowalski's, Isles Bunn and Coffee, Wild Mountain, Milkweed, Forever United Soccer, Surdyck's, and Larue's. Amazing art, too!

News update from Principal Bill Smith on how your support helps academics, arts, and athletics at Southwest. 

Give and buy to help us fund our grants to Southwest! 
We take charge cards!

Thank you to our hosts Dawn and Tim Prinsen

Thank you to our co-hosts:

Christa Anders & Tom MacLeod
Lonny Auseth & Kathleen O'Hara
Dan Bartholomay & June Thiemann
Chris Bercaw & Mary McKelvey
Bronwyn Cole and Ken Cole
Marla Cumming & Mike Cumming
Ross D'Emanuele & Nicole Valentine
Dan Froehlich and Liz Froehlich
Una Edwardson & Eric Edwardson
Blaire Hartley & Joe Sweet
Karen Knapp & Steve Knapp
Nikki Lindberg & Erik Lindberg
Tricia Marden & John Marden
Jill McLemore & Brad McLemore
Melissa Pederson
Kathy Jo Peterson & Jerry Peterson
Kate Raver & Scott Raver
Nancy Rose Pribyl
Kristin Ruffner & Mark Ruffner
Kim Schoenecker & Dave Schoenecker
Rebecca Skoler & Steve Stovitz
Laurie Willhite & Jeff Willhite

Please like us, share our event, and tell us you are going on Facebook

Can't attend? Give here:

Can't Attend? 

Reason to Talk as a Family about 13 Reasons

COMMENTARY 419505493

There's no reason to buy '13 Reasons Why' imagery

The Netflix show is wildly popular with teens, and they are talking about it. But parents need to step in. 
In short, if there’s a teen in your life with access to Netflix, he or she is probably watching or at least talking about “13 Reasons Why.”

The Jed Foundation and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) have published a set of talking points that can help start your conversation. You can download them at

Lauren Abdill, of Minneapolis, is a crisis counselor and master of social work student at the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University.

Southwest Families:

As you may be aware, "13 Reasons Why," first a book and now a Netflix series, has captured the attention of viewers of all ages for its graphic portrayal of a teenager who commits suicide.

As professionals in the areas of mental health and student well-being, we want you to be supported with the best information possible.

The series deals with the sensitive subject matter of rape, bullying and suicide.

In framing discussions around this series, we ask that you consider information available at the links below. 

We are here for you. Please contact us if you need help or additional resources:

Connie Overhue, Social Worker 612-668-3055
Southwest Counselors: 612-668-3050

Kreisjugend Orchestra from Ludwigsburg Germany Needs Host Families

Southwest High School is proud to host Kreisjugend Orchestra a wind band from Ludwigsburg Germany area.  

This group of students ages 14-21 has toured internationally since 1986.  The last big concert tours led the orchestra to South Africa in 2003, Ireland in 2005, South Korea in 2007, Chile 2009, South Korea 2012, and Romania 2015.  

This is their very first USA tour and they are choosing Southwest High School to visit!  

We are looking for host families for these fine young musicians.  

What an unforgettable experience for your family.  You could provide your student with new friends that may lead to a trip to Germany someday!  

Please sign up today to host 2 or 4 students during their stay in Southwest Minneapolis June 5-11.  

For more information email Katy Linne at  To go directly to the sign up list click on: 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Southwest Instrumental Program - Seniors' Home Concert

I will quote our Instrumental Director, Reid Wixson – “WOW!”

I keep saying it but I repeat you missed a great one.   123 fantastic students on stage with the finale’ being the Southwest Fight Song.

29 seniors were recognized and honored for their talents and contributions to Southwest music and the Arts.

Directors Greg Lewis and Corey Needleman bring an extra dimension to a strong program under the direction of Reid Wixson.

World Known Composer and 1961 Southwest graduate Libby Larsen wrote a piece specifically for the Southwest Orchestra Commissioned by the Southwest Foundation and tonight was it World Premiere Performance.

The talent displayed was outstanding.  Representing the 2017 seniors and all the instrumental musicians tonight, Adrianna Thompson’s Violin solo with the Southwest Orchestra was a show stopper.  Any experienced audience member would agree that the performance would compare favorably with any professional instrumental performance in the Twin City.  And those are some of the best in the world.

Congratulations and good luck to all the seniors.   Thank you to all our Southwest Instrumental Music Students for a wonderful evening.  We are so proud!

Maybe you can catch the next performance the last week in May at the Band Shell.

Bill Smith, Principal
Southwest High School

Riley Swain Honored with Rose Rees Peace Award

Riely Swain and His mother Kari Raasch

National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota
Rose Rees Peace Awards

The Rose Rees Peace Awards have been given annually since 1935 and are named in honor of Rose Rees who dies that same year while serving as President of the Minneapolis Section of the National Council of Jewish Women.  Rees' passion for international peace and cooperation was a guiding principle for her at NCJW and at the World Affairs Council of Minneapolis where she was founder.

NCJW Minnesota is proud to acknowledge on graduating senior from each participating high school who shares Rose's special interest in and commitment to service and social justice.  The winners of the award are nominated by their teachers and are honored at an awards ceremony.

Southwest Riley Swain was honored at the Rose Rees Peace Awards. He is an exceptional student who will be attending Columbia University next year and I am confident will have a part in making a positive difference in this world. This is what IB is all about - developing young people who will make a difference. 

The awards luncheon was amazing and truly showed that we can have hope in the next generation. 

2017 Rose Rees Peace Award Honorees

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Southwest Students Brave the Chill to Explore Global Mindedness

Watt Munisotaram Cambodian Buddhist Temple
Buddhist Temple Trip

Despite the 45 minute lateness of the buses and the less than desirable weather, the trip went off without a hitch. 

Nearly 100 SW students, represented Southwest well (per usual) and wandered around in shivering amazement at the physical and spiritual splendor of the temples, all while learning about the Cambodian monastery culture, religion, and its arts. 

Nashville and Southwest Collaborative Concert

JPII Band & Orchestra Host Collaborative Concert with Minneapolis Southwest

On Friday morning, April 21st, Pope John Paul II High School and the JPII Band and Orchestra programs welcomed Southwest High School from Minneapolis, Minnesota for a collaborative concert and clinic program.

Under the baton of Mr. Jordan Tupper, Director of Instrumental Music at JPII and Mr. Reid Wixson, his counterpart at SWHS, the combined band and orchestra programs presented a challenging and exciting program for the rest of the student body. 

Students from Minnesota were treated to welcoming Southern hospitality, a brief combined rehearsal, and then all present were thrilled by a 80 participant band and 30 member orchestra concert.

As the student body settled into their seats, the award-winning SWHS jazz ensemble provided an entertaining program. Mr. Wixson led the combined orchestras in a performance of Yukiko Nishimura’s Petite Suite: Beautiful Flowers.   

Mr. Tupper then led the combined band programs in Video Games Live featuring the video game soundtracks of Halo, Civilization IV and Kingdom Hearts. To see a video of their performance, please click here!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Please Support Southwest Foundation

Annual Campaign Update

Please help the Southwest Foundation reach its goal! The Annual Campaign funds the grants we've promised to the teachers and staff at Southwest for this school year. This year the Foundation funded the most and greatest variety of good ideas ever! 

We are funding projects in academics, athletics, and the arts that the MPS budget does not provide and the teachers and administration know kids need. These include: Project Success, Link Crew, after school activities like Model UN, Spoken Word, Japanese Club, Dare 2 Be Real (anti-racist student leadership club), the Auditorium Tech, student coffee shop, books, equipment (lots of graphing calculators for classroom use) 9th and 10th grade play, curriculum, field trips, 9th Grade Academy and more!
If you haven't given yet, please give here.

Thank you to the many families, alumni, and community supporters who have given already. The names of our donors to the 2016-17 Annual Campaign (gifts July 1, 2016 to present) are on our website.

Volunteer to be a Proctor -- We Need Your Help

Volunteer to be a Proctor

VOLUNTEERS are needed at Southwest to Proctor the IB/AP Exams beginning on Monday, May 1st through Friday, May 19th.  This is an IMPORTANT opportunity to volunteer at Southwest and NO experience is necessary.  The Exams will be given at Southwest High School or at Lake Harriet Methodist Church.  PLEASE consider helping our students and test administrators for these very important Exams.   

Janice Peterson, Volunteer Coordinatory, is using (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize the upcoming SignUps. Janice says, "Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our SignUp on

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on" does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Janice and she can sign you up manually.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Janice at: or at 612-668-3072

Thank you!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Congratulations to Southwest Students Eligible for College Credit in World Languages

Five Southwest students participated in the Bilingual Seal testing on Saturday March 11th.  

They are now eligible for state recognition for their language skills. Gold and Platinum Seals are contingent upon English Language Art credit requirements for graduation, and so will be officially awarded upon graduation.

They will also be eligible for college credit from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities upon enrollment in a MnSCU school and requesting credit.

Caballero Benitez
Gold Seal
MnSCU 3 semesters credit     
Gold Seal
MnSCU 3 semesters credit     
Gold Seal
MnSCU 3 semesters credit     
Gold Seal
MnSCU 3 semesters credit     
Vivas Zamora
Gold Seal
MnSCU 3 semesters credit     

A letter was sent on Friday to inform students of their results and share information on how to access MnSCU college credit.

Please congratulate them, and celebrate the linguistic assets our students bring to MPS!!

Japanese World Language students are planning to test for the seal purpose. I look forward to updating you on those results later in June.

IB DP exam results will be counted toward this as well. We will have to wait for the results to become available in summer.

Thank you for your support and work!

Ayumi Stockman
World Languages Content Specialist
Multilingual Department

Minneapolis Public Schools