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FAQ’s for Southwest Families!

FAQ’s for Southwest Families!

What time do students need to be at school?
Students should arrive at school early enough to get to their 1st hour on time.  Breakfast starts at 7:45.  First hour class starts at 8:05.  Many students want additional time in the morning to eat breakfast, go to their lockers, say hello to friends or connect with a teacher about an assignment. 

How do I create a lunch account?
Families can create a payment account and/or apply for Free/Reduced Lunch online at www.schoolcafe.com or by visiting our district Culinary & Wellness Services  Department – link here:  http://nutritionservices.mpls.k12.mn.us/ (Students can also create an account by visiting the staff in our cafeteria.)  On the website, you will find information on prices for breakfast and lunch offerings and the variety of payment options. If you have questions, please call our Main Office (612-668-3030). 

Are students allowed off campus for lunch?
Ninth and tenth grade students are not allowed out of the building for lunch.  Students can bring their own lunch or purchase lunch.  All food must be eaten in the cafeteria. 

What lunch do I have?
This will be determined by your 5th hour class.  You will be notified of which lunch period you have. 

Is there a way for me to me to see how my child is doing in their classes?
Yes!  We encourage parents to use the parent portal to see how their student is doing and if there are any missing assignments.  Most teachers update the portal weekly, so do not expect to see a change from one day to the next.  For directions on how to log on and more, please go to http://parentportal.mpls.k12.mn.us.  You will need your child’s student ID number. 

What supplies do students need to purchase?
There are no specific supplies we ask students to have.  Students need to have a notebook and file system that works for them.  This might be a large loose leaf notebook with dividers and folders or spiral notebooks and file folders for each class.  It is whatever the student is comfortable with so that they can stay organized.  Students should have pens (black or blue only), pencils and highlighters.  Students will want a backpack or message bag to carry their supplies and books. 

Students are required to provide their own lock and may bring one from home or purchase one from the school for $6.

If the student is in a Physical Education class (e.g. Fitness for Life, Beginning Dance), they will need to bring appropriate clothing and sneakers for class.

How much time is allotted for passing time?
There are five minutes for passing time.  Southwest is a big school - it is not always easy for students to get from one class on one side of the building to other.  Students should keep moving and listen for the two-minute warning bell.  

My child is in a class they did not choose/do not want.
The Southwest Counselors work very hard to give students a schedule that meets students’ academic needs, meet graduation requirements, prepare for college and career, and let students explore areas of interest to them.  It is not always possible to give students all of the elective classes they want due to constraints of the master schedule.  Information about how to request a schedule change can be found here: http://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/Counseling

How do I get a locker, bus pass, student ID and computer log-in?
Lockers are assigned to each student through their 1st hour teacher.  (See information about a lock in the above question regarding supplies.)  Bus passes, student IDs and computer log-ins are available in our Media Center.  Students can either get a pass to visit the Media Center from their teacher or go before or after school. 

Per MPS Policy 5680:
“Student lockers are school property and remain at all times under the control of the school; however, students are expected to assume full responsibility for the security of their lockers. Periodic general inspections of lockers may be conducted by school authorities for any reason at any time without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.”

How do I know who my child’s counselor is?
Counselors’ caseloads are based on grade level and first letter of their last names.  They are as follows:

Shelly Landry – 9th Grade, A-Z
George Mountin – 10th – 12th, L-Q
Jenny Moore – 10th -12th, A-D
Janelle Vogel – 10th – 12th, R-Z                                       
Kate Van Pernis – 10th – 12th, E-K                  
Danielle Jastrow and Katie Hanson - Career & College Center:
Clerical:  Barb Mahal                                                           

Who do I contact if my child has an IEP or 504 Plan or needs support for a medical issue?
For Special Education Support (IEP), please contact our Special Education Coordinator, Josh Zoucha (joshua.zoucha@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-668-3118).  If your child has a 504 Plan, please contact Connie Overhue, Social Worker (connie.overhue@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-688-3055).  If your child has a medical condition, please contact our School Nurse, Cheri Bladholm (cheri.bladholm@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-668-3037).

My child is struggling in class – who do I contact?
Your first contact should be the teacher of the class in which they are struggling.  Give the teacher a day or two to get back to you.  If your student continues to struggle, contact their counselor (email is usually best) to determine if there is something the counselor can do to support the student to be successful. 

What should I do if my child has to be out of school for a special occasion?
If your child is going to be out for more than 2 full school days, the absence must be pre-approved.  Students can get a Pre-approved Absence Form in the main office that they need to take around to all teachers and their Assistant Principal to sign.  Absences due to religious reasons must be called in before they occur in order to be excused. 

How does my child get involved with sports or clubs/activities?
There are a variety of athletics throughout the year for students of all abilities.  Please visit our Southwest Athletic Department website for more information (http://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/Athletics).  Southwest hosts “First Friday” on the first Friday of the school year (September 8th).  During a special lunch, all clubs and activities have tables set up where students can learn what the clubs are about and sign up, if they wish. 

Who do I contact if my child is sick?
Please call the attendance line at 612-668-3088 to leave a message about your student’s absence.  Students returning to school from a professional appointment need to bring in a note from their doctor’s or clinic’s office to have the absence excused. If a student is ill for 3 days, we require a doctor’s note or parents need to contact our school nurse to return to school.  If you have any attendance questions, please call Christine at 612-668-3030. 

Where can I pick up my child?
Please note that there is limited parking around Southwest and there is not a dedicated pick up area.  Make sure you follow all parking restrictions. 

  • During the school day: If you are picking your child up during the school day please send a note with your student saying what time the student is to be excused and the reason for leaving. Your student will show that note to his/her teacher before class starts in order to leave class on time, and then bring the note to the Greeter’s desk (Door #1) to leave the building.  We cannot call your student out of class from the main office unless it is an emergency.
  • After school: If you are picking up your child after school, please determine a meeting place ahead of time on Abbott Ave. or 46th Street ONLY.  Please do not wait on 47th Street, Chowen Ave., Beard Ave. Circle or any of the school parking lots, as these are areas dedicated to city and district transportation.

What are the rules for cell phones/tablets/laptops?
Students are only to use electronic devices for educational purposes while at school.  The school is not liable for lost or stolen devices.  Because of this, we recommend that students do not bring these items to school unless they know they will be using it in a class or for an assignment.  

Per MPS Policy 5210:
A. High School students may possess personal electronic devices at school, or at school events off campus. Unless the device is being appropriately used under ¶ II B below, the student shall secure the personal electronic device either out of sight or holstered and turned off.

B. High School student use of personal electronic devices is limited to:

  1. Before and after the regularly scheduled school day;
  2. During the student’s scheduled lunch period;
  3. During passing time between classes;
  4. During class time when the classroom teacher permits the use for educational purposes only; and
  5. During the school day by permission from the school principal or principal’s designee for personal purposes.” 

How do I get involved?
We love our parent volunteers!  If you would like to get involved, please contact Janice Peterson at Janice.peterson@mpls.k12.mn.us.  

What if I want my student to take Drivers Ed?
Drivers Ed is often offered through Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education program.  Please check out their website (http://commed.mpls.k12.mn.us/) or watch your mail for their Fall catalogue.