Saturday, January 16, 2010

Girls sports- please post

On the Title IX post Anonymous wrote:

"If every parent posting comments gave all their school friends the pure website address and a thread for anonymous comments on girls' sports it would prove interesting."


Questioner said...

Here's your thread- pass it on.

Anonymous said...

Why in PPS are there so many males coaching girls' sports? Aren't there any females available? Many schools have men coaching one, two, or even three girls' sports. Does PPS do anything to recruit female coaches for girls' sports? In the suburban schools you don't find coaches coaching multiple sports. You can't do justice to your team if you are going sport to sport to sport season IF you are doing it right. It shouldn't be all about the money.

Look in our high schools and see just how many coaches coach more than one sport. Alot of money goes into interscholastic athletics. Are we getting our monies worth?

anonone said...

In middle school you don't see what anonymous describes, in some schools with a stable staff teachers coach the same sport year-to-year. I think one possible cause of what anonymous questions is "societal" roles and the fact that some sports require long hours to be a coach. As much as it pains me to say, women/parents still fulfill the reponsibilities of child-rearing that "require" the traditional skills of a Mom. Males are more able to commit the hours to coaching because Moms are home doing both jobs as parent to their own kids. Add to that the fact that the small bump to income is an incentive for anyone to be a coach particularly as retirement age approaches.

anontwo said...

At the agenda review meeting the other night there was discussion about equity issues. It was mostly Mr. Brentley, Ms. Shealey, and Dr. Lane who participated in the discussion. If I get it, equity is "those schools needing more, get more." As it should be. The topic was discussed because of a donation from the Colfax PTA (or PTO) to purchase computers.

I think the Title IX audit will show that there is less disparity between boys' and girls' sports within a building BUT greater disparity between girls' sports from one high school to another. For example, some girls' teams have warmups with players names embroidered and of a quality that says "expensive." If these come from team fundraisers, is it fair to point it out as an equity issue? Probably not. It is an unavoidable product of parent/community support.

I can only imagine conducting the audit as a bear of a project.

Anonymous said...

The PPS Can Not Attrack Coaches for many reason's. The PPS is 30 years behind the WPIAL Schools In $$$$$$, The Facilities in the PPS are horrible, 30 years behind the suburbs, no or little parent innvolvement,( Boster's $) and very low coaching pay. Be thankful for how much time some PPS coaches put in, its below minum wage if you are doing it correct. I agree people should not coach 3 sports, that is about the money, but sometimes no one applies or PPS employees have to behired before outsiders.

PPS Coach

Anonymous said...

Despite all the "odds" the PPS coach mentioned, it all comes down to how much each individual coach cares enough to give that time and effort. It shouldn't be about the money. And you might be surprised to find that in some sports we aren't behind the suburban schools in coaching salaries.

There is no interscholastic athletic accountability in PPS. That is why you find such disparity in the high schools. Who oversees how much time and effort is expended? Some teams don't practice everyday, some don't field teams with the number of players they are contractually supposed to have, some don't play the number of games they should, yet these coaches make the same salary as the coaches putting forth their time and effort despite so-called "odds."

With the contract changes coming with the Gates' money, maybe it's a good time to overhaul the way we run our PPS athletic program also.

Questioner said...

Anon 2:20, can you be specific about the problems w/ facilities- do you mean gyms, pools, running tracks? What kinds of problems? If possible can you identify where?

Strangely, the facilities report that cost $500M does not have a category in the "facility condition index" for athletic facilities.

Anonymous said...

Fields, Field Houses, Access to Tracks, Locker Facilities at practice facilities, Lack of modern weight rooms, One Gym ect, ect. Less Sports programs for all compared to the Suburbs

Anonymous said...

Money, Money, Money, MONEY. There are some really nice gyms in PPS. Carrick and Westinghouse come to mind. Each school went through a reno around the same time if I remember correctly. Cupples is a nice enough facility that teams like The Passion use it for their home field. I know Theresa Colaizzi considered making the most use of the Cupples facility a personal project, maximizing its use, yet there are likely more events that can be held there than we are currently allowing.

To be continued...

Mark Rauterkus said...

FWIW, I'm presently coaching a girls sports team in the city because the women coach who has been there had a baby this month.

Mark Rauterkus said...

IMNSHO, the biggest problem with PPS Sports is the City League. The city league is like an iron curtain around the city. We need more opportunities to compete, day by day, with the suburban schools. That would help curtail the downward spiral.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to understand why no board members are asking about this report, or explaining what the delay is.

Anonymous said...

Knowing Mark R. I have no qualms about his coaching abilities or organizational skills or influence over kids. I can't say that about all parents who might consider themselves qualified to coach a sport. Some serious filters are needed. The PG did a story some time ago where they determined the coaching positions pay less than
.25 an hour. I have been to girls' games where coaches from city teams travel to scout the competition. It is not an easy job when you are dedicated to it, and dedicated to the players. That said, what should be done to minimize the amount of lost instruction time needed for travel to games/meets? The coaching pay might drop to .05 an hour or maybe -.25 an hour if instruction time is given priority. Not everyone is altruistic to the level of Mark and coaches of his ilk. What would happen to the coaching pool?

So much to ponder...

Mark Rauterkus said...

The word, "overhaul," comes to mind in terms of PPS sports. There are some great aspects within the city. No doubt. But, all in all, there is a long way to go.

Lost instruction is fixed, in part, by holding games in the evenings and on weekend. Even SUNDAYS should be used as a time for practices and competitions if desired. Sure, some games can be scheduled after school. But now, too much is done in school time.

But, what we might talk about here, on an educational blog, is but just the tip of the iceberg to what a real overhaul could discuss and eventually do.

Parent said...

My best guess as to the delays in releasing the report is that the district has no intention of improving access to sports for *any* child in the district, male or female.

One of many things that a move to smaller (and 6-12 schools end up having smaller high school components, even if the total number of students is similar to a high school) schools does is allow them to phase out many, many things like electives, sports, activities, clubs -- anything that requires paying teachers or coaches for any activity that isn't related to PSSA scores.

Never mind the benefits of having all these sorts of things in terms of keeping kids in school, doing well in class, having exposure to adults who are choosing to spend hours of extra time with them...

There is no plan to provide more opportunities or options for students in these areas, they're just hoping to let a lot of them die out before people notice that they're gone.

Anonymous said...

Which then makes it awfully difficult for public schools to compete when parents attend private school presentations and are dazzled by the interesting offerings.

Observer said...

It is distressing when anyone mentions the idea of Gates money as promising. As stated repeatedly over the last few weeks, the issue of "teacher effectiveness" is a facade that occasionally gets shredded thanks to the reality of PSSA scores, SAT scores and the effort to gloss over all of the warts via the Pittsburgh Promise program, that inflates grades at the expense of academic honesty and integrity. Spend a few months in the system, and you realize that a great shell game is being played for public consumption. This latest tact--blame teachers, get rid of dissenting and "older" teachers, close more buildings, employ merit pay, govern grading, provide curriculum in a can to be used verbatim--seems only to be understood by teachers and a few clear-thinking parents/citizens who understand that the district is run in corporate fashion, rife with people NOT in the classroom and expert in spinning information.
What a great time to be a coward who couldn't hack it as a teacher.
Please excuse my rant, as it is sad when someone would look forward to "Gates money." Indeed, walk a mile in my shoes or at least try to, for more than one day.
Another comment in a moment.

Observer said...

Once again Mark, I take great exception to your comments. I am cognizant of the fact that one's perception is one's reality, but it appears to me that yours is so out of whack with the reality of the district that you are truly out there where the buses don't run.
George Cupples and Bob Pajak, two gentlemen who preceded the current athletic director, were friends of mine. Both had a long background in not only athletics, but also teaching. Both knew the city neighborhoods inside and out. Both supported their coaches when they were right and both took exception to coaches who either did it wrong or schools that didn't put the effort into fielding teams.
This was especially true for female athletics.
It's noteworthy to me that once again you are making commentaries about an overhaul. At times, I have to wonder about the goal of such comments. Are you mindful of the types of students who matriculate to Westinghouse? Oliver? Langley? Do you understand the types of situations involved at Peabody? If so, then just what is the problem?
Additionally, the overall gist of the conversation again seems to be female adults coaching female sports. This is a universal problem. Why are so many female teams coached by men? The answer is simple---women don't apply.
You seem to forget that this isn't an organized sports entity we are discussing, but rather, a school district. The needs of academia should trump the needs of the athletic department. In both regards, the needs are best understood and rectified by teachers and not average adults who wish to get involved in coaching.
As a whole, and incorporating all corners of the city, the overall problem with athletics in Pittsburgh is the complete lack of recreational programs that take place during the summer and provide kids opportunities to learn before ever getting to a school setting. Where are the organized football, basketball and baseball (among myriad other sports) programs offered? Why are they in one community and not another?
Your comments about "overhaul" would be better directed to new Park and Rec Director Radley. If you want a new day in city athletics, it begins at the ground level, and that ground level exists beyond what schools can provide.
Just like good and caring parents can erase the idea of apathy in students, good recreational programs can provide the spark of interest that builds school programs, as well.
Your comments continue to misidentify the root cause for the problems we have in athletics. Your comments tend to make me believe that your perceptions fail to see the bigger reality so evident in numerous city neighborhoods---no programs, no outlets.

Questioner said...

Oh Observer, this is a really harsh reply to someone who really cares about the situation. Sure the district would benefit from better feeder recreational programs, but are you saying the district's sports program does not need an overhaul?

And would better city opportunities require more money? The city seems pretty strapped for cash right now.

Mark Rauterkus said...

In many private schools, students MUST play on a varsity sports team.

In PPS, the trend seems to be the opposite where it is close to impossible to do so, in some situations, (CAPA especially).

New teachers in one district/school, so I heard, HAD to agree to coach a sport before being hired.

In PPS, the Gates efforts (with including the realm of teacher recruitment) was devoid of the notion of sports, fully. It never crossed the minds of the Assist Superintendent.

Families depart the city every year, and have done so for a long time, because of sports and opportunities with extra-activities. The suburban experience, generally, is not on-par with what occurs in the city.

That shrinking student popluation in PPS (outward migration, etc.) is not generally hooked to lifestyle and a holistic attitude for students and families in the PPS. These are the roots of many problems as to why people leave. And, why they begin to fade into poor classroom performances.

Anonymous said...

To Observer:
You mentioned Cupples and Pajak. What kind of job does Mike Gavlik do in comparison?

Anonymous said...

One rumor is that the 9 high schools (soon to be fewer with some combining) are going to be divided into just 3 athletic teams instead of the 9 and join the WPIAL. So for example maybe Langley, Oliver, and Perry "feeder" students would be 1 team and compete in a WPIAL section with schools nearby. ie. Seton-LaSalle, Bishop Canevin, Northgate, Carlynton, etc.

Rich Fitzgerald has been advocating this for a few years now. It makes sense with the school closings/combinations and would save PPS money and make us more competitive with the suburban schools. Perhaps money saved could be utilized towards summer athletic programs for all of our students. Maybe there would be a matching grant out there to help fund this idea.

Parent said...

There are several problems with "combining" schools to create teams -- the first of which is that most organizing bodies have rules against it.

(Is it North Allegheny that has a 9/10 and then an 11/12 school so that they don't have to have two high schools for the district? Rumored to be due in part to the pressure to have a competitive football program -- if you split into two HSs, you split up your players as well)

Another problem is the logisitics. You have to have really motivated kids who want to go back and forth to different schools not only for meets (and that requires a longer bus route if kids at three schools have to be picked up = more missed school time) but for practices. That's not the way to entice borderline kids, kids who may not be sure that they can do it.

Again, I think this is another of those tempting ideas hung out there to get parents and others to go along -- which will then vanish as the changes are actually implemented. As they happen, we'll hear that there isn't enough interest to warrant the money in x sport or y sport. It's easiest to get rid of things during times of change -- and once they're gone it's nearly impossible to reconstitute it.

parent said...

Observer -- your obsession with insulting Mark Rauterkaus and every single posting he makes undercuts your believability on other topics. I like a lot of what you have to say and consider it a valuable addition. But, when I read something like that it really makes me question your judgment.

Okay, sorry, not the time or place to discuss personalities, but honestly? Some things you should just say to whoever you know "in real life" and not commit to writing on a bulletin board!

Observer said...

Towards the end of Bob Pajak's tenure as AD, his office was brought under the supervision of an administrator who had little background with sports. At that point, I tended to believe sports in the city was somewhat doomed, at least in terms of supervision. I brought both gentlemen into the conversation because my feeling was that first and foremost, both seemed to always prioritize what was right for the students, but moreover, both seemed to understand the nature of the district and each individual neighborhood. As such, each understood the dynamics that went into coaching at various schools.
I am not sure about Mr.Gavlick as much, as I feel a great deal of what he does now has its own oversight. It would seem to me that he does not have the opportunity to wield as much authority as his predecessors.
I will apologize to Mark, Questioner and parent with regards to the 'buses' attempt at humor. I can grant that every individual who takes the time to make a commentary here is a caring adult. Why else would you be here? I simply felt that the vision behind some of the postings here came from personal perceptions that did not begin to address the overall city at large.
Again, I have to wonder what the problem is here. I still believe that the root starts with recreational programs that should be available across the city. I still think that many of the comments here are more applicable to Parks and Rec officials.
parent, your thoughts about commenting on personalities is somewhat mystifying to me. My response was with regards to beliefs and not personalities. Again, I simply maintain that comments applicable to students who go to an Allderdice or Brashear per se simply can't begin to address the same backgrounds of kids coming from the North Side or Homewood.
To that end, I would take Mark's thoughts one step further---kids who grow up with a plethora of recreational opportunities tend to stay out of trouble and become much better-rounded students, who are much more eager and ready to take part in interscholastic sports.
You are correct as well, parent, in asserting the limitations of a message board. Tongue in cheek humor can easily pass for harsh insults, and apparently rebuttal can pass for obsession, when nothing of the sort is the case.
Please re-read my comments. Good day to you.

Observer said...

And to be a teacher I want to thank Mark, parent and Questioner...and all others here. We need more like you, from across this city. Our kids need you.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I don't give Citiparks a free pass. I was on the tail of past chairs from City Council with Citiparks oversight for many years from Gene R, to Patrick D to Theresa Smith. Twice I ran for city council so as to buck to be in that role. And, Tom Murphy got a PIIN from us (Pgh Interfaith Impact Network) in public about youth and rec centers and access to technology.

BTW, my kids play basketball in The Hill with Ozanham for past summers. I was glad to teach at Kingsley and Ammon Rec in summers too.

The reality statement is a crock.

BTW, combined teams are not too much of a problem -- in terms of the RULES. We'll see more of that. Presently U-Prep, Sci-Tech and Schenley kids swim under the same team = Schenley.

FWIW, a Schenley ice hockey or field hockey player can join Dice's teams, etc.

There are limits with how far the rules stretch. But, the real problem is the time of day, the travel, the lost opportunity, the coordination, the stress for the kids.

The directors of PPS and Citiparks sports do wonderful jobs. They care. The make chicken soup every day and don't get but chicken droppings. It isn't a personality thing. It is a system challenge. Reform, here, does not require replacements as per those in top administrative posts. I'm not bucking for that.

Anonymous said...

It is commendable that you have coached teams at Ammon and at Kingsley but I fear that this is not the point. There have been generations of lost children who have never made it to these places because unfortunately, no framework has been in place to introduce them to various sports. For every caring adult like you who coaches, ten turn away from the opportunity. I think that's the point and it certainly has merit. I don't think you can get a sense of the problems in extremely depressed parts of this town that are overlooked by the system until you have spent palpable time there, in the schools and on the streets.
How do you bring baseball, basketball, football, volleyball and swimming to all parts of the town? I don't know. I do know that you don't close rec centers and pools, at all costs.