Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Audit, PPS HS sports opportunities for girls

On the May "Start a new post," an Anonymous parent wrote:

There is an editorial in today's P-G, "The other Pittsburgh Promise," regarding girls and high school sports. This independent "audit" is a sham. When PPS looks in the mirror this summer, the mirror will crack. This is nothing but more smoke and mirrors.

the parent of a female athlete

- Here is the link to the article:

It says that the auditor is independent and is the athletic director at a HS in Central PA. Anon parent, can you explain why you don't expect a fair evaluation?


Anonymous said...

So far the only "audit" we have seen, is a 40 page questionnnaire that the team members had to fill out and return to the coach or athletic director. No one has seen or talked to the woman conducting the audit. Meanwhile, school sport seasons are just about finished. Look at all the forfeits in girls' softball. Peabody and Westinghouse in particular, must not have enough players to field a team. Money is being wasted on coaches who don't have enough players.
Wouldn't face to face communication with players and parents make more sense? Do you really think players are filling out this 40 page questionnaire? Can the majority of them even understand it? I doubt it. It is geared more to the college level.
The $10,000 for the audit is money down the drain. She will tell the PPS to do better, and PPS will say we will. It is just more PR crap.
City League athletics are in a sad state of disrepair.

parent of athlete

Mark Rauterkus said...

An overhaul of all sports is needed. The entire approach needs some serious attention.

This is one of the prime reasons people move out of the city.

Questioner said...

A member of the school board is director of the Women and Girls Foundation (www.wgfpa.org). Maybe you can contact her about this issue. Let us know what happens.

Questioner said...

Re: the overhaul- part of this is deciding how sports will work with smaller high schools. It seems like it would be best to decide this BEFORE committing to and deciding on locations for additional smaller schools. Different schools may join together but the logistics seem to be difficult if the schools are not very close together. Problems were reported this past year.

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a male athlete, I don't know that boys in the city have it so great either when it comes to sports. I was asked by our school principal to represent the parents of male athletes in this audit but I have not heard anything since that request. What is unequal about the athletics? Do the boys have better facilities or coaches? For volleyball, we have one coach for 23 players. If the coach is sick, we have no practice. I would like to see a strong sports program starting in elementary school that will help develop kids.

C-parent said...

Based only on a very brief conversation with my daughter, I wonder if the purpose of the questionnaire was made clear to the kids. If I understood her, she thought it was about more money for girls' sports.

I would like to see more evening games in sports like volleyball and basketball for girls. Games where Senior Recognition happen at half-time should NOT be games played immediately afterschool. Sports is a nice backdoor way to parent engagement.

Anonymous said...

This is the Superintendent's quote from the 4/28 Excellence for All meeting.

Questions: What is being done
about the sports programs for the schools?
MR: It is important to get the sports program working better; the program is in “ripening” stage. Sports programs in city schools are being investigated as part of the 10-year sequence plan which is not quite ready to be shared with the public. Mike Gavelik and Derrick Lopez will be the staff members who present it once it is ready. Curriculum and principals were the first and most critical areas to be dealt with but sports programs are now rising to importance."

10-year sequencing plan? not quite ready to be shared with the public... Mike Gavlik is part of the problem with athletics.

I recall that the newspapers said that Heather Arnet is part of the impetus behind the audit. But what good is that going to be in the long run anyway. Bellefield paid her lip service that's all.

Mark Rauterkus is correct. An overhaul is needed.

If done correctly, sports starting grade school on up, could be such a positive for our children.

parent of an athlete

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately too many of the coaches are in it for the money. Look how many coach 2 or 3 sports. You can't do justice to the individual teams this way. Maybe PPS should open up coaching positions to the most qualified candidates like alot of the suburban schools do? You don't find coaches out there coaching multiple sports. The PFT just wants that extra cash perk for its members. Forget quality and the kids, it is the extra paycheck that counts.

a parent

Questioner said...

Re: "Sports programs in city schools are being investigated as part of the 10-year sequence plan which is not quite ready to be shared with the public."- where is the public input here? It sounds like this is a completed or nearly completed plan that will be shared with the public. And again, there is no real indication that it is being coordinated with facilities planning.

Parent One said...

Facilities Plan. The meetings are this week. Tell me who matched schools and fields together for middle grade soccer? Brookline K-8 hosted a game at OLYMPIA PARK in Mt. Washington! I have called schools to get the names of fields where middle grade soccer will be played and the staff at the schools could not tell me the street address let alone how to get there.

Questioner said...

Stay tuned for comments on the facilities plan.

Anonymous said...

Look on the PPS web site under employment opportunities and scroll down to coaching. There are NUMEROUS job openings. Why are there so many openings? How can there be any program continuity with coaches coming and going? No wonder our sports programs are so bad.

fixit said...

I am not sure why the original poster suspects a less than fair audit. It is frustrating that the year is almost over and there has been no status report on the audit. Perhaps the auditor is doing her normal job and conducting the audit in spare time. Parents don't just have comments, there are questions too. Why is it that some girls' teams can fundraise or get financial support that allows them to have cool warmups and matching duffles with the team logo on them? Schenley girls always looked good in matching everything. Is it still that way? Does the training for coaches include how to start a booster club and turn it over to members to run? Does training include how to fundraise?

Could somebody direct the auditor to this blog?

Questioner said...

We will work on making the auditor aware of these comments.

fixit said...

Again, I say thank you. Operating a blog like this one is the ultimate in volunteer work.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The overhaul part is about EVERYTHING -- frankly. This is much more than a combo sports team or dozens of them.

Sports should not be a back-door way to parent engagement -- sports should be the RED CARPET, the FRONT DOOR, the LIGHT-on, the here we go jump into parent and community engagment. Sports present the lowest rung on the ladder that many can easily do. This starts the parade.

Mark Rauterkus said...

In the pending, Take Your Father to School Day, May 22, we'll have a questionaire. It includes a question (so far) that is:

Would you consider joining a city-wide sports booster group? Yes, Maybe, No.

I wonder if it gets into the question list. If the question list gets into the hands of the visitors to the school that day. And, finally, if the data shows people care to be engaged in a city-wide sports booster group.

I've got hope that this will hit a nerve and open up some floodgates to all sorts of things that benefit our kids, the schools and our greater community.

Earl Weaver said...

"Take Your Father to School Day"????
What genius thought of this one?

The reason sports are in disarray is because the kids largely don't come out. We have a generation of lazy, sit in front of the video screen kids and if they do come out, the lack the impetus to work hard and play the game properly. Few have the concept of team, and fewer understand the idea that to be an athlete, one needs to be a student first and live by the rules.
It's wildly fascinating that there are some who want to once again put this all of the teachers. Hey, Mr.Roosevelt would applaud you. (And the PFT? Are there some who think that Pittsburgh teachers still have a union????)

Whittle down the number of sports according to the school. Poorly participated sports should be shoved out the door at each school.

And as for the A.D.....Pittsburgh used to have some good, hard working and visionary directors in George Cupples and Bob Pajak. Like everything else in this district, that was yesterday.

Questioner said...

Why is it again that if so many teachers are complaining about their union, they cannot manage to elect new leadership?

Anonymous said...

Questioner, you apparently don't understand the idea of PFT politics.

On one hand, anyone running outside of the Union's "Slate of Candidates" has no opportunity to campaign and is certainly NOT privy to mailing lists of teachers, something that the PFT could provide.
On the other, secret ballots and the like make elections quite questionable, to say the least.

The PFT's entire process is something akin to what one sees in the election of social club officers. It's very much "Cosa Nostra"--i.e., "Our Thing". And it's meant to stay that way.

Most teachers know this, most see that Tarka and the gang have no power whatsoever, and most have thrown in the towel.