Why are we so big?

On Thursday September 30, The Anchor sat down with Southwest Principal Dr. Smith to discuss why Southwest enrolled many more students that expected this year.

In the beginning of last year’s school year, the Minneapolis Board of Education sat down and created the Changing School Options plan. This new initiative, which was voted on unanimously, was designed to cut transportation costs as well as redistribute students. The CSO plan split the school district into three distinct school attendance zones, each with two high schools: Zone one with Edison and Henry (North is a specialty school*), zone two with South and Roosevelt, and zone three with Southwest and Washburn.

Within each zone each high school is assigned its own districts in whose resident students have first priority to that school. Second priority is given to students from the rest of the zone. Southwest is assigned the districts 3A, 3B, 3E, and 3G, and also draws second priority students from Washburn’s districts 3C, 3D, 3F, and 3H.

Although the main reason for these changes was to reduce busing expenses, the CSO was also designed to redistribute students amongst the high schools.

“The district wants the larger schools like us [Southwest] and South to be smaller, and the smaller schools like Washburn and Roosevelt to grow bigger” summarized Dr. Smith.

This however, as Dr. Smith went on to explain, was based off of old statistics on where people went when they had free citywide choice. These predictions did not account for the students from Windom, who previously went to Washburn, but after the changes were included in district 3G with Southwest as their priority school.

Another major contributing factor to the unexpected number of students at southwest was that of the returning students who choose to take the city bus system to get to Southwest rather than receive free transportation by going to another school. Although the district did predict that many students would choose this path, they did not predict the large amount that chose to use this option. According to Dr. Smith, there are over two hundred students currently using public buses to get to and from Southwest.

These students along with the iffy predictions of the school district led to a larger enrollment than expected. The district predicted and budgeted for 1690 students at Southwest this year, with 400 freshmen, but instead Southwest wound up with nearly 1800 students and 460 freshmen.

Dr. Smith dispels the rumors that the Newsweek article that praised Southwest is the cause of the extra students as wishful students, and that in the cases of students that transferred from private schools to Southwest, the economy was most likely to largest contributing factor in those decisions.

Dr. Smith maintains a school blog that discusses school events and the school district has a full description of the zoning system. Links below.

*Specialty schools offer a citywide program that is available to students from all zones. South has the All Nations and Open programs, and North offers the IB Diploma and Certificate programs as well as the Summatech program.

Ringing the Bell

Southwest Football Team Attempts City Conference Title

On September 2nd, the Southwest football team opened up their season on a strong note against Edison; the final score was Southwest 68 Edison 12. This could possibly have been the opener of a season where the team could take the conference title for the first time in 36 years. This Friday, October 15th, the team will try to attain the title of “City Champs” against Washburn, at the Washburn Stadium at 7 PM.Their season has brought them a 5-1 record, losing to Edina in their second game. The team will go into Friday’s game with fire. Although Washburn has more wins and history on their side, Southwest has great team dynamics, not to mention the “best quarterback in the city”. Aryton Scott will lead the team as the talented senior quarterback. He has been recognized by the Star Tribune, Kare 11, and Minnesota Preps, for his impressive performances throughout the season. John Biezuns, the new head coach of the team, believes 100% that Southwest could take the title. Continue reading


Review of Halo Reach

I can honestly say that about a week before Halo Reach was to be released I was not very excited.  When I think of planet Reach, I already know exactly what happened,  I played the beta, and I have spent many a weekend on Halo 3.  So about a week before Bungie’s swan song to their Halo series was to be released I was left asking myself, “What are they going to do to impress me?”  The answer:  A lot.

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I Hate Hamlet

Give Shakespeare a Chance

I Hate Hamlet,” which ran in the Southwest Black Box from October 5-8, was more or less what it sounds like—a fluffy, snarky comedy brimming with witty theater jokes and comedic routines. But the title is in one way misleading; by the show’s conclusion it becomes clear that playwright Paul Rudnick’s objective is not to undermine the Bard’s famed drama, but to glorify high theater from a backward point of view. Continue reading