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. First hour class starts at 8:30. Breakfast starts at 8:10. Students who want time in the morning to eat breakfast, go to their lockers, say hello to friends or connect with a teacher about an assignment should plan accordingly.

How do I create a lunch account?

It is very important that all families complete the Educational Benefits paperwork. All students need to apply by December 1st!


  • Generates millions of dollars in funding for Minneapolis Public Schools and our schools, students, and families.

  • Determines benefits for students and families such free bus cards and discounted internet service, free standardized test fees (AP, IB, ACT, etc…).

  • Please note that due to a federal waiver, all students will receive no cost breakfast and lunch for the entire 2021-2022 school year.

· Please go to https://family.titank12.com/ TODAY! Thank you.

Are students allowed off campus for lunch?

All students are permitted to leave the building for lunch, but this privilege can be revoked by Southwest Administration at any time. Students who go off campus for lunch must be to their next class on time. Students can bring their own lunch or purchase lunch. All food must be eaten in the cafeteria while in the building.

What lunch do I have?

There are three lunch periods at Southwest. Your lunch period will be determined by your schedule. You will be notified of which lunch period you have.

How can I monitor my student’s grades and attendance?

We encourage parents to use the parent portal to see how their student is doing and if there are any missing assignments. While many teachers update the portal weekly, all are required to update the parent portal 4 times per quarter, so do not expect to see a change from one day to the next. For directions on how to create a parent portal account and more, please go to http://parentportal.mpls.k12.mn.us. You will need your child’s student ID number. Also, please join us for parent conferences on October 15 and 16, 2019. Conferences are a great way to meet your child’s teacher and plan together for your child’s success.

What supplies do students need to purchase?

Students need to have notebook paper and pocket folders for handouts. Students should choose an organizational system that works for them, such as a large 3-ring binder with dividers and folders or spiral notebooks and pocket folders for each class. Students should have pens (black or blue only), pencils and highlighters. Students will want a backpack or messenger bag to carry their supplies and books. Students are also encouraged to purchase a graphing calculator. Students should talk to their math teachers about calculator specifics. If a student needs any help with acquiring supplies, please contact the Counselors or Social Workers.

Students are required to provide their own lock for their school locker.

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

How much time is allotted for passing time?

It is very important that students be in class on time and ready to learn. 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, so students should keep moving to be on time.

My child is in a class they did not choose/do not want.

The Southwest Scheduling Team works 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 at the link here: https://tinyurl.com/SWHSSchedulingInfo.

How do I get a locker, bus pass, student ID and computer log-in?

Lockers are assigned to each student through their 2nd hour teacher. (See information about a lock in the above question regarding supplies.) Students are not to share lockers nor have more than one locker.

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.”

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. Bus passes and school IDs are distributed at the beginning of the school year. Dates and times for distribution and other information is available on the Southwest webpage: https://sites.google.com/mpls.k12.mn.us/swhsbuscardinformation/home. For questions regarding bus cards, please contact our Bus Card & ID Coordinator, Aimee Boone, at aimee.boone@mpls.k12.mn.us or 987-9212.

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, Kristine Vick (Kristine.vick@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-668-3042). If your child has a medical condition, please contact our School Nurse, Cheri Bladholm (cheri.bladholm@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-668-3037). If your child has a 504 Plan, please contact Janelle Vogel (janelle.vogel@mpls.k12.mn.us) or 612-668-3052.

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 child continues to struggle, contact their counselor (email is usually best) to determine if there is something more the counselor can do to support your child to be successful.

How do I know who my child’s counselor is?

Counselors’ caseloads are based on the first letter of their last names. They are as follows:

Jenny Moore: 9th-12th, A–Di and all foreign exchange students Donte Wilkins: Career & College Center Coordinator

Andrea Baldwin: 9th-12th, Do–K TBN: Career & College Center Coordinator

Shelly Landry: : 9th-12th, L–Q Leif Kurth: Counseling Clerk

Clinton Ferguson: 9th-12th, R–Z Janelle Vogel: Counselor, System Support

What should I do if my child has to be out of school for a trip or 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 (https://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/athletics). Southwest hosts an activity/club fair on the Friday of the first full week of school. 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. Here is additional information on activities: https://sites.google.com/mpls.k12.mn.us/swhs-student-actvities/home

Who do I contact if my child is sick?

Please call the attendance line at 612-668-3088 to leave a message about your child’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 Ms. Anne-Michele Alexis 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 child saying what time the student is to be excused and the reason for leaving. Your child 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 child 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. It is highly recommended that students use a school issued Chromebook as these are set up to work with our Southwest Wi-Fi properly.

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 and welcome parent input! If you would like to get involved, please add your name to the PTSO mailing list. You can find more information at the link here: https://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/Parents. Email any questions to SWPTSO@gmail.com.

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 the Community Education catalogue.