Friday, November 5, 2010

Opportunity for input on PPS sports programs

From the PG:


Anonymous said...

They need a complete overhaul to compete in the WPIAL! Open up coaching positions to the most qualified - not just PPS teachers for a start. Coaching jobs should not be about teachers picking up extra bucks, but for the student-athletes. Get someone in charge at the Board to oversee athletics who knows what he or she is doing. Make coaches accountable. Don't be afraid to get rid of the coaches who aren't trying to run good programs. It will be interesting to see if these meetings are just more PR lip service or they are really try to improve athletics.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of hooey from a daddy coach who knows it all. The coaches who "aren't running good programs" are usually found at schools which either have few kids who want to get involved or few kids who can make the grade. Yeah, by all means, sign up at those kinds of schools and get back to me in a year or two, dad.
"To compete in the WPIAL"???
That's utter insanity in itself. You'll occasionally get a great hoop team among the boys and girls, but that's about it. There'll be no "competing".

As far as someone in charge, George Cupples was a good man in charge. Bob Pajak was a good man in charge. Few of the schools who ventured out to play WPIAL teams during their years in charge found much success.

I love thread like this. Know it alls like this should be coaching in their communities so as to provide the schools with a talent base that's been developed early on. That's how WPIAL programs flourish. They should be petitioning the mayor for better facilities, for better programs--across the city. That's how the entire endeavor will improve.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 9:53 sounds like one of the City League "coaches" coaching more than one sport for the paycheck. PPS is trying to "better" the teachers, so why not coaches also? "Few kids who want to get involved or few kids who can make the grade," if we keep making excuses, then why keep putting the money into our athletic programs (coaching salaries, transportation, facilities, the athletic director's salary, faculty managers' salaries, etc.)? Let's just cancel athletics and save alot of money. We can just run intramural programs. It would save millions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:37 --

That's my guess as to what's going to come from the district -- an accounting that says it's not worth strengthening the programs, but that the money will be spread more equitably by using it for intramurals or...for hiring more consultants, though they're unlikely to say that second one out loud.

It's another way to avoid a tax increase or cutting consultants or administrators -- cut out sports and then just watch as the money vanishes into the abyss.

Many other programs have disappeared this way (how many middle schools still offer shop or home ec?)

Questioner said...

Anon 9:53, would it be more constructive to make the same points in a less insulting way?

Mark Rauterkus said...

PPS has been in the a mode that seems to only try to "manage decline."

If sports are dropped, the decline would accelerate, for sure.

If sports reform brings less hope in terms of competitive balance, then the decline will continue too.

The outward migration needs to turn around -- and with sports (and all afterschool activities), IMNSHO, there is an opportunity to stop the decline and loss of student population.

Of course, its sports as well as INTRAMURALS, EXTRA-MURALS, and music, etc. that needs to be a part of the mix for the opportunities for the students, from HS on down to the wee ones.

If PPS cuts sports, the district would die quickly.

If PPS does sports reform poorly, the district dies.

If sports reform is done well, with that complete overhaul, with the Citiparks cooperation, with the volunteers energized, with the coaches hired by talent/skills and big accountability elements -- then PPS can begin to build spirit and rebound in many ways.

Frankly, playing with our kids is not that expensive.

City kids and their school sports teams can compete with the WPIAL schools if competitive balance is understood and implemented. Fifty other things have to happen too, but landing the programs in the right classifications is MANDATORY and should be a prime discussion point.

WESTINGHOUSE, for example, can play against SINGLE A teams in the WPIAL. Same too with LANGLEY. Likewise, Obama/Schenley's girls volleyball squad can play in AA in the WPIAL -- if there is NO "Coop".

But it all goes down the drain when they combine ("coop") the sports teams so athletes from 1 or 2 or even 3 schools are bussed into another schools for sports participation. Those teams are then playing against the 'big boys' of the WPIAL (NA, PH, WH, BP, USC, etc.) Then we'll have hooey multiple times every week until everyone quits.

Hope to see ya all Monday at 6 pm at Oliver HS.

Questioner said...

But realistically, how do you avoid combining schools when schools like U Prep and Sci Tech don't have enough participants to field teams?

Charter school students get to participate in sports at their feeder pattern schools w/out it being considered "combining." An argument could be made that schools like sci tech and capa are very much like charter schools. It's harder to make that argument w/ U Prep since most students are feeder pattern students.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:37, I suspect that most city coaches have forgotten more about athletics and children than you or any non-teacher who wants in on a coaching job will ever learn.
Yeah, the city is trying to "better" teachers alright. I always have to marvel at those who wish to drop into the gutter to make their points.

I try to remember that this site is for the trade off of information and then it is posts like yours that give me the cold slap across the face that in its truest form, this site is for parents, first and foremost. I've said repeatedly that when it gets down to it, you really get no sounding board or sympathy from parents, and your commentary--among many others in many threads--reinforces it.

As to "competing" with other WPIAL schools, never. Simply put, never. This decision should not be about the one school that can compete in this sport or the one school that can compete in that one. It should be about the trouncing that all of the other schools will take on a game by game basis.

As for teacher/coaches...they went to college. Not only did they pay their dues in the classroom and in terms of tuition, most paid their dues as players and as assistants at some point. I don't think any teacher or any coach owes you or any other parent on this site an apology for your inability to get into coaching or teaching through the back door. Go to college. Learn about young people. Learn how to instruct.

If that's not feasible, go coach a little league program. This city is in desperate need of adults all over to work with kids on a recreational level. Getting kids into worthwhile activities should be the greater good we all work towards, even if it means dwelling in anonymity.

I'm sure you're already out there working with the kids, right?

Mark Rauterkus said...

There are enough kids and potential participants at Sci-Tech and another set at U-Prep. Those schools, and even CAPA, could field teams. Not every sport. But many and plenty of them.

But, those participants would want a few things from PPS:
- not needing to get yanked around to practice.
- not needing to wear another colors other than their school.
- playing with their school mates
- getting to practice on time
- playing in front of peers and teachers
- staying close to support school work
- having a decent chance to play games and win.
- good coaching and team building with school spirit blended into the mix.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Another key to avoiding coops (avoid combining schools when schools like U Prep and Sci Tech don't have enough participants) is to build programs, year-round ones, that develop players, fitness, and athletes.

Intramurals, Extra-murals, jamborees, clinics, JV programs, rich middle school experiences.

It would be okay to take some schools and some sports off the grid, so to speak, in terms of PIAA sports for a couple of years to build capacity.

Kids at CAPA should row, year-round, for example.

Questioner said...

That sounds awesome! Is it only money that stands in the way? If so, can we maybe trade a couple of consultants/residents/fellows for all this?

Questioner said...

Also, when U Prep was planned it seems like all the things listed were anticipated. The school was going to offer the full range of middle and high school sports and there was no mention of combined teams, traveling to other schools to practice, etc. What happened?

aparent said...

Whatever you do to overhaul sports, don't rob kids of instruction time. Of course, if you can teach a class while en route to a game or come up with some other way to avoid loss of classroom time you can be a hero to all. Even now, kids are on buses at times going to a game and they have to wait hours to eat a meal. So before anyone "ups their games" and works toward WPIAL membership, fix these problems first.

Oh and BTW, recent grads I have queried about WPIAL participation don't seem ready to endorse the idea. Maybe all the plans needed to get ready need five years worth of implementation time before joining. Do you know what the budgets for sports in PPS are now? Talk to yur principals before you attend the athletics reform meetings to be prepared.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Of course students should not be missing so much time for sports. Evening games and matches -- rather than those at 3:15 -- are the norm in WPIAL schedules. On a more radical note, I love Sunday games and meets as well.

Mark Rauterkus said...

UPrep -- but what about Westinghouse too? Same issue, new years. Those who are going to go to the new Westinghouse w single gender academies might have only sports coops to deal with. Playing w Allderdice teams or Pgh Obama teams is on the table. Is that in the sales presentations now?

Questioner said...

The difference is- no one has made promises about sports at the new Westinghouse. To udnerstand where we are and where we are going, it would be helpful to know what happened at U Prep. They chose a mascot and team colors; presumably the plan was for them to play with school mates, stay close to school to support work, etc. What happened? Can it be fixed?

Mark Rauterkus said...

UPrep had to grow into grades 9 to 12 over the years. Same for Sci Tech. It really isn't fair to play varsity without any seniors. I do think they could have been into JV Teams. Now the push comes as it has all 4 years in the school.

Questioner said...

For Sci Tech there was never a promise of complete sports teams- the web site said that if a student "really wanted" to play a sport, he/she could join a U Prep team.

The point about JV seems key. U Prep will have seniors next year, but what difference will that make if they are just starting in a sport- how can the school go from no teams to a varsity team? Is the plan still to offer a complete range of HS sports? Why were no JV teams started with this goal in mind?

Anonymous said...

On PPS website under "news and notes" is a power point about athletics. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Does any know that currently the PPS practice is in place to allow any student who passes more courses than he/she FAILSm is eligible for any team sport?

This was stated by the PPS Assistant Supt. of Secondary Schools and confirmed by the Deputy Superintendent at the Nov. 9, 2010 Education Committee Meeting.

The senior Board Members were shocked and dismayed as Policy was legislated years ago that required students to have a "C" average to be eligible for sports.

Clearly the present practice is in direct violation of PPS Policy.


Anonymous said...

So the co-op idea between schools is not etched in stone? Didn't Schenley have a complete amalgamation of schools within their teams this year? Does this mean that it is possible that each school will have their own teams, or is that far fetched?

Mark Rauterkus said...

The killing of Schenley High School in a phase out and the opening of Pgh Obama, Sci-Tech and U-Prep in a phase in made the only city sports coop occur. The coop has been a failure on a few most important fronts. Participation at Sci Tech and UPrep has been next to nothing. This has proven to be a model worth not repeating. Of course we can work to insure that coops of sports teams among schools can be taken off the table. A fight brews, perhaps, but it is a worthy one and there has always been some outrage over the option since it was hatched. School spirit, student idenity, time lostn and competitive balance are but a few of the reasons to NUKE coops in the reform efforts now.

Anonymous said...

The students seem to be really against the coop idea. The mention a whole team missing an extra class so they can pick up one or two people from another school, and a loss of school spirit from having to play under another school's name.

Anonymous said...

Anon November 9, 2010 9:18 PM

More proof that Derek Lopez is incompetent. He had no idea.

Anonymous said...

Lopez, Lane and Lippert are all clueless. And yet...with so many millions already on the table, we'd be fooling ourselves to think that one of these people won't be the next superintendent. It's like the union vote on the past contract offer. Ballots were mailed and collected as window dressing. The fix was in. Same with this opening.

Money shouldn't be the huge part of the education process where our kids are concerned. Sadly, it's here and no one is telling Gates or Broad to take a hike.

I would have.

I'm with you Mark. Let every school field it's own teams. Allow kids to have a true high school experience. If they don't have numbers to field teams, so be it.

And kill this WPIAL idea now.