Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Athletic recommendations released

From the PG:



Anonymous said...

No surprise - joining the WPIAL put on hold because of money.

Regarding the hiring of the most qualified coaches, (even if an "outsider"), it will be interesting to see the PFT's response.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The video of the meeting is on my camera.

The entire report as well as the executive plan and an Astarino field and gym study should be made online now too.

A sit down interview of an athlete (Erik) is also online and will play on PCTV21 too.

Discussion is most desired by me.

In the end of the day, my thoughts:

The political will to act in this realm is weak. To make bold moves is far from happening. So the plan will crash at the board and administration levels. Hence, if the greater political will does not develop, then the next best opportunity is to pick up some bits from the crash and make modest district-wide advancements. Now, should there be a crash and burn or else a crash and evaporate --- then the same will unfold with PPS in the years to come.

I am not happy on a number of different fronts.

Mark Rauterkus said...


Old Timer said...

The PFT is a branch of PPS in all regards. On the contrary, John Tarka sold out his rank and file eons ago, for reasons only he and his inner circle will ever know.
"The most qualified coaches" tag opens up a can of worms and I am hopeful that most principals or athletic directors are cognizant of the fact that teachers are trained to understand the physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological growth, development and well-being of students, while lay people simply are not. If we are to determine the "most qualified" this thinking should be at the top of the list, and I will be sure to reinforce that idea whenever and wherever I can.
I've enjoyed the banter that has gone on during this debate. Most of it is either so exaggerated or self serving that it numbs the mind, and most of it is provided to stimulate the thinking of parents who simply don't know. Those wanting to be coaches but who are not teachers continually beat the drum that there are many who coach as a way to augment their paychecks. You'll find this everywhere--city or WPIAL--but that number has slipped tenfold over the years, unless we are talking about running the golf team.
I have to question the motive of any non teacher who wishes to become a coach at the school level, especially in PPS. I have to wonder if it simply comes down to ego. Does it come down to pushing one's own kid further? And please, tell me that we will see these applicants at schools whose programs have been either doormats...or dormant...over the years. Let me see these qualified coaches truly making their mark by building programs from the ground up.These are types of schools and programs that need non-teacher "most qualified coaches".
George Cupples would never have allowed this proposal to get past the discussion stage. Bob Pajak would have had a good laugh.
I'm interested to see these "most qualified coaches" doing their thing in schools replete with incredible student apathy, in schools where there are no recreational programs that give kids a background in the sport before they ever reach HS, in schools that have limited facilities.
Then we can see if being "most qualified" equates to being a real coach.
As far as the WPIAL merger--good decision at this point. If you're not going to go 'all in', you're going to get murdered on the field.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Old Timer, don't pound the messengers nor the motives of others, please. Go to the message. Go to the policy too.

Attack the problems. Beat another drum yourself. For example:

Great coaches, like a great teachers, are trained to understand the physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological growth, development and well-being of students.

Teachers don't have an exclusive on good coaching.

Granted, there are bad coaches from both the ranks of the teachers and non-teachers.

Presently, it is IMPOSSIBLE to build a program from the ground up by a non-teacher. Those PPS applicants, as you pointed out, can NOT come to PPS schools over the years. That would take an INVESTMENT on the part of the coach as well as some lattitude from the janitor and school administration (mainly principal).

But that is like building a house on sand. Principals move frequently. Permits are pulled willy-nilly.

And most of all, a UNION TEACHER can bump a coach any year. Any teacher in the system gets to bump the non-teacher coach.

With investments, there is a risk to reward consideration. Today's PPS is harsh (to say the least) for getting those great, renegade, program-building coach *and non-teacher) to engage. When the qualified coach gets to the point of 'making a mark,' all can be taken away, at a whim.

The potential is here, but the conditions are harsh.

By the way, the #1 champion on the reform committee as to changing the eligibility constructs of PPS is another old timer, Vern P.

And finally, Mr. Cupples and Mr. Pajak might have found themselves in the same situations we are today -- without a choice. The mandate from the newly hired sports reform 'master mind' is to get proposals past discussion stages. Things have now gone to the board, check.

He, Mr. House, did his job.

Then came a comment from a board member last night. He (Board Member, Tom S) wants to go over matters within the proposal with a fine-tooth comb. So perhaps that is a stab for this to enter a REAL discussion stage.

The choice is ours.

Anonymous said...

This article was a shame.

How does a Superintendent get a free pass that she wants to study the findings? Ummm, isn't that your job to review this stuff before it comes forward to the Board and public? Isn't that why pps has a FULL TIME EMPLOYEE doing nothing but studying athletic reform?

Really - what were you doing while you were Deputy Superintendent and now Superintendent for an additional four plus months?

fixit said...

Re: Non-teachers as coaches.

There are design flaws on both sides. Students left behind in a late day class while their teacher is off coaching a team get shortchanged. Lost instruction time is a big issue. Fix it.

Non-teachers who are not part of the school day are scheduling practices and enforcing attendance rules with no knowledge or consideration of school day demands. If an AP teacher offers a review after school the day before a major test is it fair that a coach holds that missed or shortened practice against a player? Fix it.

There is a multitude of scenarios to be considered during any discussion of altering the eligibility for coaching.

MR is in a class by himself in terms of time and commitment to sport. Not many non-teacher/coaches could match what he does and not many employers would allow the flexibility of schedule MR enjoys. I once read a tweet from a non-teacher volleyball coach (possibly volunteer) where he said he was smashing serves the kids could not return and he ended with "ooops". Frankly, it was a con on the side of the ledger in the non-teacher coach thoughts for me.

Questioner said...

Updated PG article:


Anonymous said...

How is it that the WPIAL/suburban schools successfully hire "non-teacher" coaches?

Also, what about hiring/keeping retiring PPS coaches? Should they too be considered outsiders/non-teachers?

Mark Rauterkus said...

A long time PERRY HS boys basketball coach retired form the classroom. He could NOT coach the team, despite his wishes. I think he then took a job in a WPIAL school so he could continue to have an impact on the lives of young people -- in basketball.

Meanwhile, it happens in other places. The Frick Middle School swim coaches, now retired, have continued to coach that team, thankfully.

Explain that? Just putting more details to the question above.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The Mike White article in the P-G had this statement:

The athletics overhaul committee, which included coaches, school athletic managers, school board members and school administrators, was formed in August ....


The formation was in April 2010. Jake moved into Pittsburgh in August 2010.

But, the list of who was on the committee did not include "PARENTS" nor a few other important populations. Plus, the students have not been part of the discussion yet, unless you watch the TV show done outside of PPS. I sounded off on this in a letter to Dr. Lane -- and the same mistakes are made again. Those in the PG are not HER mistakes, but the voices from the kids in school town halls have not come, as asked for.

Anonymous said...


Read between the lines. Sadly, for the student-athletes sake, nothing is going to change. PPS just paid lip service to the situation. They have no real intention of making any major changes to overhaul athletics. Sad but true. This was all just more smoke and mirrors. And as far as the Title IX evaluation, they should have immediately started to implement changes. They didn't have to wait for this committee and a report. Surely one of those well paid administrators (or even Mike Gavlik) could have come up with an initiative on their own.

Mark Rauterkus said...


Anonymous said...

Regarding the eligibility grade point average - I believe the PIAA requirement is a 1.0. Years ago, Karl Kohlman of Ozanam, petitioned the Board to raise ours to a 2.0. We aren't playing with the same grade rules as other PIAA schools.

I disagree with Mark Brently. Don't raise the gpa, lower it to a 1.0. Get students involved in a sport and use it as leverage to get them to buy into the system. The sport is the carrot to getting them involved in school. Once that happens, then tutoring, study halls, etc. can follow. If a "high" gpa eliminates them from the start, we've lost them for good.

Anonymous said...

And three of the Ass't/Assoc./Etc. Superintendents sitting in the room at the Education Meeting on Athletics Reform are/were Physical Education Faculty; yet, they nothing to contribute to the session?

Anonymous said...

We continue to talk as though kids cannot be motivated to learn unless extrinsically rewarded or punished. The reality that we've lost sight of is that every kid inherently wants to learn and in fact IS learning all of the time. Poor grades, suspension, detention, expulsion, 10th periods, "interventions", removal of music, arts, athletics only serve to further marginalize, ostracize, drop out, alienate, victimize, disenfranchise, etc. our young people. Opportunities to develop productive futures based natural talents, desires, goals are closed off by school administrators in PPS who believe that "one-size--fits-all" and that negative consequences will somehow 'turn on lights" motivate, inspire, and prepare students for productive futures. It does not work for the vast majority. How many failures, drop outs, jails do we need to see before we begin to change our educational systems in ways that produce intelligent, educated, athletic, artistic, creative, productive, successful adults?

Anonymous said...

i got a solution lets outsource all
the city COACHES and the GPA GRADES
as well even yet OUTSOURCE the MONEY for ATHLETIC if that is a problem

Mark Rauterkus said...

Mr G is running the show. He is busy. Getting a fresh and full time effort from another to lead the effort is okay. Plus, there were meetings before the arrival of Mr House that were chaired by Mr G. So had these been going full speed ahead, then a supportive role from the new guy would have made sense.

As to why Mr House, well, you'd have to ask Mark Roosevelt, as he hired him.

Part of this is the soft money from the Broad Foundation. ???

Everyone has a connection with sports, too. Player, whatever. I can not offer exact experiences for another. It is what it is - or was.

Anonymous said...

One obvious advantage common to the Broad residents is the ability to dazzle with an impressively facile command of language no matter what the topic.

In another life, they clearly had the ability to sell anything to anyone, a strength, currently in PPS, not to be taken lightly or dismissed. It is a strength that Jacob House clearly takes great pride in demonstrating.

It has certainly served the Broad residents/manage/directors well in PPS.

Anonymous said...

It is worth reviewing the report to the Education Committee via the district website. At some point portions of the recommendations will come under consideration again, at least those with little cost assocaiated.

Some of the report causes concern. Did the entire committee agree that the AD position responsibilities are reasonable? Considering Faculty Manager and Activities Director duties would fall to the AD position? I am only a parent but in my opinion, based on observation, at least of the duties of Activities Directors, the work has been underestimated.

There was one mistake in Appendix D, facilites. Phillips Park is NOT a PPS facility. Are there others?