Public statement, not delivered, to the PPS Board & Administration, except with email and this posting

Housekeeping update:

Sadly, my name was not on the list to speak at public comment of 2/19/2018. I had called, but I didn’t answer that follow-up / return call, as that is part of the normal process. Oh well. Here is what I wanted to share.

Citizens give public comment to board and administrators at Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Dear Superintendent, Administrators and PPS Board Members

I’m Mark Rauterkus, I reside on the South Side. My children are PPS graduates. My father is a PPS retired teacher, and we remember the long teachers strike in the 70s. Presently, I am the longest-serving varsity swim coach for PPS.

Earlier this month I loved seeing a social media mention from Superintendent Hamlet about a swimmer, Noah Jamison. He is a junior on the boys team at Obama where I am the coach. He swam to the #1 ranking in the Class AA in all of the WPIAL in the 500 free. That in-season ranking slipped to second two weeks later. But more alarming was disappearance of the social media mention. Humm. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t wish to go away. You’re stuck with me, one way or another.

New business cards

At the first of the year I entered a new role, I’m the first executive director for a national nonprofit, SKWIM USA dot org. This opportunity can bring our city kids new resources.

Recent meeting

The other day, (9/16/18), I had a wonderful meeting with David May Stein and LouAnn Ross concerning my hopes of expanding AQUATICS within PPS Community Schools.

Concept Maps

I’d love it if the board and administrators would check out a few concept maps of sports and my vision of aquatics. I presented these as an invited speaker at a Rotary Club meeting (2/19/18) and to the Pacific Swim Coaches Clinic in Napa, California, (1/5/19). (See end of this post.)

Teachers’ Contract Negotiations

I was excited to read an update that COACHING is part of the bargaining discussions among the PFT and the district. I’m an outsider and do not have a clear understanding as to what was discussed and pitched, nor agreed to. Things might be fluid and pending. Plus, I couldn’t ascertain any details in the released blurb. But, I do know a few things about coaching in PPS.

Perhaps there is a 12% raise?

What about playoff pay?

Really needs are for nimble staffing adjustments. When new sports emerge and students show interest, such as with water polo, and we’re told, “we can’t do that because it is not in the teachers contract.” Ugh. That’s not such a “great thing.”


When Dr. John Thompson was the PPS superintendent, he told concerned citizens that in the next PFT contract, PPS sports coaches would be removed from the scope of the PFT contract. That was about 16 years ago. It didn’t happened. Serious discussions about PPS sports and its coaching are not new.

Splashing ahead

As we look to use the pools for inspiring programs, it is nearly impossible to be a PPS teacher while coaching and operating high-quality programs in:

  • – Afternoons,
  • – Evenings,
  • – Nights,
  • – Weekends,
  • – Holidays,
  • – In-service days,
  • – Vacation days,
  • – Before school for 6 AM practices, and
  • – Throughout the summers.

Of course, swim coaches leading school teams have plenty of influence with student-athletes. The school-team coaches should sustain their coaching with year-long roles within aquatics for the sake of the developing athletes.

As we “expect great things” with aquatics, school-based programs need to be part of a network and coordinated with community opportunities. With our population base, we need more planning and more integration to become highly competitive.

Consider the upcoming swim championship schedule. The WPIAL meet occurs on two days, a Thursday and Friday. The trip to the Pennsylvania State Swim Meet (PIAA) absorbs three days with a midnight return from Lewisburg. This year I hope to go to these meets for the 9th consecutive year. Often, I am the only one representing PPS at these high-level meets.

Since I am not a PPS teacher, when I coach at these meets, substitutes are not needed for my replacement. I am a coach, not a teacher. I am free to support our swimmers at the various times, without conflicts of other teaching duties. Meanwhile, others who are PPS teachers (and PPS aids) need to be removed from their day-time students to coach a small number of elite swimmers.

Contract governs third-party interests

The PFT contract dictates swim coaching roles, and I am not a PFT member. Outside coaches don’t have a seat at the table. Often the outside coaches are not even considered PPS EMPLOYEES. Go figure.


Remove all swim coaches from the scope of the PFT contract. Better to remove all athletic coaching positions from the PFT contract – as that has been done in many other districts. Then we can get to the serious work of expecting great things with AQUATICS.

Next tweet soon!

Board members, thanks for listening. The next steps await. Doctor Hamlet, I hope to forward you tweets from the podium again so you can continue to showcase our PPS swimmers and coaches.

Concept Maps

Tip: Click images for a larger view.



Sweet spot.

Forming an All-Star Aquatics Team — Today. Heading to the PPS Middle School Swim Championships

Same info, but without the PDF format follows.


Coach Mark Rauterkus

Head Boys Varsity Coach at PPS Obama

Executive Director, SKWIM USA

108 South 12th Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1226

412-298-3432 = cell

January 24, 2018

Delivery to participants and spectators at PPS Middle School Championships

Dear Swimmers, Guardians and Coaches:

Three cheers to you for completing the middle-school season and competing in today’s championships. Hopefully, you choose to continue swimming, as we’d love to see you at 11:30 am on Saturday at PPS Oliver High School on the Northside.

You are invited to sign-up for a brand-new,

All-City, Aquatics All-Star Team!

First meeting and swim clinic is this Saturday, January 27, 2018, from 11:30 to 1 pm on the Northside at PPS Oliver High School, 2323 Brighton Road, 15212.

Second meeting and clinic is next Saturday, February 3, 2018, from 11:30 to 1 pm at PPS Oliver.

If interested, call, text or email.

Or, sign-up in advance at

We are seeking 25 or more middle-school athletes, boys and girls, of any swimming ability, for this low/no cost program. It is a labor of love from the coach(es). We hope to organize the swimmers, guardians and boosters for an All-Star experience with specialized practices, coaching, training, and lots of play and competitions. We’ll swim, exercise, use technology tools. We’ll also learn, practice and play water polo and SKWIM, a water-disk game. We stress sportsmanship, teamwork, and conditioning with help of digital badges. Playing well with others happens with in-house meets and game-days — if we get your support and your participation.

Expect more information at the first clinics. Other practice opportunities in other city neighborhoods are possible too. Call with questions. See

Boost your fitness, swim knowledge, circle-of-friends, swim speed and aquatic game-play so that you can become a future lifeguard and a stronger varsity athlete, in any sport.

Thanks for the consideration.

Coach Mark Rauterkus

Vote “YES” in the ballot question facing voters in the City of Pittsburgh’s general election

Thanks for the consideration and “YES” vote.

ballot question
Photo of the ballot question with some fancy dots to over-compensate for the drab text.

Presently, those that have jobs with the City of Pittsburgh, (such as firefighter, policeman, EMS worker, and city council member) can NOT be hired as coaches with Pittsburgh Public Schools. Let’s fix this with YES votes.

Obama Swim & Water Polo

Time to get back into the water!

After-school aquatic fun with Coach Mark begins this week.

Bring your swim suit and show up to the Obama swim pool after school, every day except Fridays.

Middle School at 4 pm to 5 pm, then activity bus.

High School students from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Adults and community programs at 7:30 to 9 pm on Mondays & Wednesdays.

All abilities welcome. Even if you don’t know how to swim,

we’ll teach you.

We’ll play water polo, SKWIM, and refine our swimming strokes, dives, flip turns and gain plenty of fitness.

Extra Coaching and game days: Saturday Swim School, Oliver HS pool,

2323 Brighton Road, Northside from 11:30 am to 1 pm.

Coach’s contact: 412-298-3432

Back To School Event — #WeArePPS — District visits Langley on 8/21

All from Pittsburgh Public Schools are headed to a back-to-school event at Langley K-8 from 1 to 5 pm on Monday, August 21, 2017 — and everyone is reminded to bring their swim suits, towels and goggles.

The Langley pool is small, but a nice place for a full-pool SKWIM game, Ultimate-style. Coach will bring the disks, head-bands and fins. We hope to get some kids from Summer Dreamers back in the water and even a few spectators to watch, learn about SKWIM, cheer on the kids and begin to plan on attending the Saturday Swim School events that are slated for throughout the school year.

The Langley Water Polo Stadium

Pittsburgh Langley K-8 is located at 2940 Sheraden Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15204.

After the Langley event, our next couple of practices for kids and adults happens on Tuesdays

  • 6 pm to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, August 22, at Northisde’s Citiparks Sue Murray outdoor pool
  • 6 pm to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, August 29, at Northside’s Citiparks Sue Muray outdoor pool


About 20 kids got in the water at the pool at Langley for the special event. There were hundreds of kids and parents present, including administrators and Antonio Brown of of the Steelers.

Game Day — 11 am on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at The Pittsburgh Project’s outdoor pool

You are INVITED…..

More Swim & Water Polo

for Year-Round Achievers

Join Coach Mark Rauterkus and others of all ages and all abilities at the pools on these dates:

GAME DAY, SKWIM Ultimate, on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 11 to 1 pm at the outdoor swim pool of The Pittsburgh Project, 2801 North Charles Street, Northside.

SKWIM Ultimate at TPP

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 pm at Citiparks Ammon Swim Pool, outdoors, Bedford Ave and Memory Lane, Hill District. Adults in the deep end. Kids and volunteers in the middle depth.

Monday, August 21, 1 pm to 2 pm at PPS Langley K-8, for #WeArePPS Back to School event. Indoor. Limited spaces. PPS only. Reserve your spot as the pool is not so large. Langley is at 2940 Sheraden Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15204.

Saturdays starting in September and throughout the fall, winter and spring from 11:30 to 1 pm at our Saturday Swim School at Oliver Citywide Academy, formerly Oliver High School, 2323 Brighton Road, Northside, Pittsburgh, 15212.

News, calendar and photos at Courses at

Help us as we build AQUATIC opportunities into the mission within PPS Community Schools.

Coach Mark is presently the varsity coach at PPS Obama Academy and has been a college coach for nine season.

Always okay to call, text or email Coach Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432 = cell,, to confirm. Also, check the calendar at for more details.