Swimmers in Pittsburgh: We’ve got some weekend fun on May 12, May 19 and June 2

SKWIM player at Brashear, SDA16
SKWIM disk toss from play in the pool.

The Saturday Swim School is a labor of love with Coach Mark Rauterkus and a crew of other volunteers. We’re looking for Scouts, summer-swimmers, future lifeguards, and former Summer Dreamers to come out and join us as well.

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11:30 am to 1 pm Oliver High School 2323 Brighton Road, Pgh 15212
11:30 am to 1 pm
Oliver High School
2323 Brighton Road, Pgh 15212

Team Meetings at Swim & Water Polo with SDA18 include CIRCLES

Coach Mark at team meeting at Camp Langley.
Expecting both team meetings and circle time in our Swim & Water Polo Camp in 2018. Ideas welcome.

With Summer Dreamers in 2018, #SDA18, our regular, daily, Swim & Water Polo Team Meeting is going to include some circle time. This new program wrinkle comes on the wake of a school district push to Restorative Justice.

Mindfulness history

A few years ago, a friend, Richard King, PhD, helped to launch and lead a practice with circles with the students in a program he championed, Mindful Gardening. He is not leading any SDA activities in 2018., sadly.

Wishing for sanity and dialog in recent seasons

In 2017 as well as in the early part of 2018, I would have welcomed the on going use of restorative practices within PPS programs. The kids were fine. I needed the circles among a few of the adults who were going in different directions.

Circles and community slide from PPS training.

 

This offers a dramatic mind shift for some at PPS. With us at the swim pool, not so much. Sure, it is a new wrinkle. New touchstones are going to be needed. But we have always had an approach that gives students a voice, some choices, and builds upon respect.

Ideas and tools to implement the new circle time at Swim & Water Polo are welcome. We hope to document the process and offer more examples.

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

middle-school-recruit-letter-2018
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

Mark@Rauterkus.com

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 Play.CLOH.org/rsvp.

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 Swim.CLOH.org.

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

Expect Great Things, the slogan of Dr. Anthony Hamlet, superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools

Hamlet at podium
Dr. Hamlet, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, opens the Maker Space at Obama Academy in December 2017. Dr. Hamlet has branded the expression, Expect Great Things, into the mission of the district since his arrival.

The psychology and deeper meaning of the new vision for Pittsburgh Public Schools has merit, if it is put into practice. The slogan is being put everywhere, such as on the web site, on stationary and on posters throughout the district. The slogan is getting plenty of practice, as it is repeated often. But is its message being implemented?

The motivational message makes sense. Furthermore, the actions need to speak volumes too. Words and deeds are both required.

Headline: Expectations leads to manifestation. 

You get what you expect. Your expectations are the source code of your creative possibilities.

We are all swimming in a soup of sensory inputs. So focus is needed. Easy to understand that the leaders of Pittsburgh Public Schools are confronted with a seemingly endless set of challenges. The leaders are putting out fires on multiple fronts any given week, day and hour. But, what are they really hoping to accomplish and what is expected?

What the leaders pay attention to is what they see and hear. Sadly, it seems to me, the leaders do not pay much attention to the support of those who are expecting greatness.

Understanding the power of expectations comes with both opportunity and warning.

My mission and what I’m looking for with PPS builds upon the concept of “summer dreamers” and goes to “year-round achievers.” I expect great things and have always lead the struggle to bring brushes of greatness to the students, through sports and swimming programs. Our holistic approach offers championship competitive swimming, but it goes to personal improvements and building upon our shared community capacity of playing well with others.

Part 2 goes to leadership.

Our swimmers are intellectual bloomers. We have the magic sauce for the self-fulfilling prophecy that has proven itself every year, to a certain extent, with most of our student-athletes on the varsity swimming team. 

Agents and management have to understand the power of expectation and also keep grounded in the real world. When we have coaches and principals with ordinary track records and below satisfaction results, be done and find others who want to reach and want to aspire to the performance high bar.

Message from Dr. Hamlet at the opening of the maker space at PPS Obama Academy in December 2017

Let’s replicate the model deployed for the district’s Athletic Trainers and apply it to AQUATICS.

All high schools with scholastic-sports teams within Pittsburgh Public Schools have athletic trainers that help to care for the health and wellness of the PPS student-athletes. These athletic trainers are present for practices and competitions. They serve boys-and-girls and work among various venues.

Presently, the existing model for the Athletic Trainers deployed at Pittsburgh Public Schools is great. I love it. It works well. I’ve always been grateful of the support received from the Athletic Trainers. The model for the service delivery provides a huge assets and support for the athletes, coaches, guardians and administrators.

The athletic trainers, with the initials, A.T.C., after their names, are professionals, academically trained and certified. They get continuing education and are hired, managed and evaluated from a central office. The division head for athletics in Pittsburgh Public Schools, Mr. Mike Gavlik. He supervises the service contract for athletic training with UPMC Sports Medicine. The contract details the services rendered so that the school principals and coaches do not need to worry about coverage from the athletic trainers. A well executed, district-wide approach makes great sense. It is efficient and effective. Bravo to you all for such wonderful results.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh Public Schools, in AQUATICS, a much different model and resulting outcomes are unfolding.

With our swim teams and with our programs at the various PPS swim pools in after-school hours programs, everything is site-based. Site-based aquatic programming isn’t working, IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion).

Pittsburgh Public Schools (and taxpayers) have 15, indoor, swim pools within our schools. My audit and experiences show that we are lucky to get two-percent of the value in community benefits of our paid-for facilities in OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME activities.

I am worried about activities, programs, leadership and opportunities offered our kids and the communities at the pools in afternoons, evenings, nights, weekends, holidays, vacations and throughout the weeks of summer.

Most of the time, the pools sit idle. They are closed.

To be clear, what happens in Physical Education in the normal school day is not a concern of this suggested proposal.

Just as UPMC Sports Medicine handles system-wide needs for athletic training, PPS needs a system-wide approach to what happens in the swimming pools beyond the school day.

The engagement for the students, the competitive swimmers, and the communities is suffering and an overhaul of purpose, methods, programming, hiring responsibilities and mission in AQUATICS is needed and can be delivered with an AQUATICS DIRECTOR.

Take these tasks off the backs of the school principals.

Let’s deploy a system and thrive. Let’s train lifeguards, compete around the region, and deliver serious health and wellness benefits.

One of the most simple and direct paths for implementation of this suggestion is to attach AQUATICS to the budding PPS Community Schools network. The new PPS Community Schools program began in the fall of 2017. This trailblazing program that was championed by the PPS School Board before the arrival of the existing superintendent, Dr. Anthony Hamlet, aims to form a model for increased engagement and cooperation among community agencies, school staff, students and families. The first five designated community schools in PPS include three schools with under-utilized swimming pools: Westinghouse, Arsenal, Langley. The PPS Board made a dramatic step to embrace the concept of PPS Community Schools, as a pilot, among five of its schools. These suggestions for AQUATICS go hand-in-hand with the efforts of PPS Community Schools. Let’s make a splash with AQUATICS with PPS Community Schools.

Let’s coordinate human resources among lifeguards, swim instructors, coaches, rec organizations and have an aquatic mission that fits the various facilities and interests of the kids and grows as they improve.

Our students need to know that their devotion and investment into swimming is supported. The un-tapped potential within Pittsburgh’s kids in aquatics is phenomenal. But, we as coaches and administrators, we need to be nimble at the pools and offer excellent programs. Aquatics can be a vital cornerstone for PPS Community Schools.

These programs can pull their own weight financially. Creative and inspiring leadership coupled with important partnerships can make the AQUATICS programs sustainable.

To implement the vision, the Administration and PPS Board negotiators should carve out AQUATICS from the realm of the PFT Contract. Assigning coaching duties, instructors and lifeguards need to be fluid and flexible, coordinated and well deployed. Accountability, certifications, and alignments to systems, squads and developmental pathways need to make sense.

Go figure: Last year, a swim meet between Obama and Allderdice as impossible to schedule.

A four-fold increase in both quantity and quality is expected as a first-year bump.

In 2017, PPS has about 250 kids who swim. With the pools we have, PPS could have 1,000+ kids calling themselves swimmers.

Going swimming and being a swimmer are different.

We want to turn around the opportunities so our kids become:

  1. scholarship student-athletes,
  2. employed at the pools,
  3. competitors with anyone, and
  4. know how to play well with others.

Progress should happen in 2018. Let’s make it happen. Your reactions in the comments below are welcome.

Time Out! I Didn’t Hear You (ebook and free download)

Here is the link to TimeOut!

https://pitt.app.box.com/v/TimeOut

Enjoy.

The new release has two flavors. One is for scholastic sports and the other is for collegiate sports.

Players, coaches, administrators, health-care professionals, parents, guardians, officials and friends can gain insights with this free, ebook that addresses sports participation and issues related to hearing.

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

Update

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 CLOH.org. Courses at Play.CLOH.org.

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, Mark@Rauterkus.com, to confirm. Also, check the calendar at CLOH.org for more details.