Plum School District
Dear Mr. Edwin T. Neff,
I had a great time in my first year as the coach of the Plum High School Swim Teams. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the students and get back into the day-to-day activities of sports.
I’ve done a great deal of thinking about next year and the long-term future. I’d like to explore the possibilities of moving into a full-time position with the school district. I am thankful that you are willing to entertain ideas and proposals from myself regarding the creation of a new position within the district.
I see a number of different ways in which I could be of value to Plum besides being the swim coach. I’ve witnessed a number of needs for Plum that match perfectly with my past experiences and my goals for the future. I’d like to pull together a combination of part-time duties, and build a new position for myself within the district that would keep me busy on a 12-month basis.
As we progress in our discussions, I want you to share your ideas and give your input. For example, you already mentioned to me on my last visit to the office the fact that you could already use some support with the publishing of the newsletter. I’d like to start our discussion with these ideas and get a picture from you as to what you think might work, and what might not work. These ideas are a first step, and I’m quite open to making changes based on your feelings and advice.
Plum High School’s Head Swim Coach
Mark Rauterkus, the present coach of the successful Plum swim teams, seeks to become a full-time, school district employee. Mark wants to work to create a new position for himself within the district by combining a number of existing and new responsibilities.
This new position is cost effective, as Mark’s efforts will increase revenues by creating new programs that better utilize existing facilities.
The management responsibilities of the natatorium will come under Mark’s direction. Mark continues as head swim coach, but also serves as Aquatics Director to manage the swim lesson program, the evening recreation swim hours, the YMCA swim team, and all weekend/summer hours. Mark will upgrade all existing programs.
As for the new responsibilities, Mark will become the executive director of a few new ventures including: the Keystone Swim Conference, the Plum Press and the Pennsylvania Literacy’s Unity Movement.
The Keystone Aquatics Conference will host big swimming competitions and clinics at Plum and around the area. For example, the Plum Area YMCA Swimmers are preparing a bid to host the 1993 YMCA district meet. This two day meet generates profits of thousands of dollars.
The best description for the Plum Press is the academic press model in use at colleges and universities. I am sure you have heard of the University of Pittsburgh Press, or the Yale Press. The Plum Press is a business agency that utilizes student/employees to create educational products, mainly books. The Plum Press would jump into action as an outgrowth of the existing activities of the Sports Support Syndicate, Inc. A catalog and a list of projects that would take a life-time to develop are enclosed.
The Pennsylvania Literacy’s Unity Movement (PLUM) is an umbrella organization that allows the activities of the Plum Press to extend beyond boundaries of the community. Other schools, towns and sponsorship dollars are expected to be more attracted to our programs and further brought into the fold if we used the Pennsylvania Literacy’s Unity Movement banner.
Each of these new projects will be a not-for-profit (and not-for-loss either) venture and operate as a subsidiary of the Plum School District. In total, these new organizations will bring in substantial revenues to the district.
As for specific costs, the new projects presented should all pull their own weight. Mark would like to have a separate operational
budget and line of credit for these activities that are not part of the traditional school district budget. Instead, the district could establish a corporation that is owned by the district. Each year the operational profits could be reinvested into the programs to purchase new equipment and provide better products for the district to enjoy.
Given a smooth transition and solid support for the ideas from the district, Mark can make projections of first year revenues (1992-93 school year) exceeding $50,000.00. In future years, the Plum Press could expect to grow to generate at least $250,000.00 per year.
The Plum Press, and/or the district can purchase plenty of computer labs, team uniforms, bus trips and timing scoreboards on a quarter of a million dollars of revenues. The Executive Director would like to be able to act like an entrepreneur and be able to respond to the marketplace quickly. Getting the responsibility, a special account, an identity and line of credit at a bank would take care of the majority of the start-up investment from the district. Both the pool and presses sit vacant and idle many hours every week. There would not be a start-from scratch learning curve as the Sports Support Syndicate could jump-start all Plum Press business.
Personally and professionally, Mark would rather be an executive director of a small, non-profit start-up associated with a school who earns a decent 12-month salary rather than being tied to the ups and downs of a small business. I’d like to have an opportunity to negotiate all the details of employment and vision with you.
There are thousands of benefits presented when discussing the formation and operation of the Plum Press. However, chief among the benefit are abilities of the Plum Press to:
• stimulate reading,
• foster a respect and love of books, and
• teach that hard, challenging work is personally rewarding and fun.
With the new directions being stressed by the Governor and the State Board of Education based on educational outcomes rather than credit hours, Plum is faced with changes. This proposed program stresses excellence in education and fitness and can easily garner front page headlines in the Wall Street Journal and features in Newsweek magazine. The whole community and school system can get excited about these ideas. Furthermore, my plan gets the ball rolling in areas outside of the traditional school day—lengthening the school day and lengthening the school year. In due time, we can put the energy and visibility of these projects into the classroom.
Natatorium CEO / Aquatics Director
• Program and administer all after school activities at the swimming pool.
• Design and manage the budget for programs.
• Hire all staff.
• Coordinate payroll, time sheets, and getting all pay materials from the employees to the school district accounting office.
• Hold a forum for community input and evaluation regarding the programs.
• Coordinate usage of the pool with outside groups.
• In the summer months, either manage or hire a manager to operate the pool’s programs.
Increase utilization of the natatorium by the community with involvement in meaningful programs such as:
Learn to swim, family swim, water safety, masters swimming, fitness swimming, rehab exercise, and alternative activities such as water polo, diving, scuba, underwater hockey, birthday parties.
To upgrade the aquatic educational opportunities in periods beyond the school day by sponsoring creative programs and enrolling active, dues paying participants supporting such programs.
•Classroom and weight room availability
• Instructor payroll
• Marketing and promotions budget
• Class supplies
• Storage for pool area
Executive Director of the Plum Press
Plum Press Definition
The Plum Press would be a new department or a non-profit subsidiary within the school district.
The Plum Press would have its own operational budget that allows for revenues, expenses, speculative investments, capital investments, inventory, part-time salary, etc.
The Plum Press is a commercial enterprise, operated by a school district appointed executive director that creates an educational setting for the students and allows for the development, display, distribution and marketplace involvement of in-house products.
Mission of the Plum Press
The Plum Press would be a cutting-edge, private/public cooperative venture that would operate 12 months of the year.
The Plum Press activities would work with student/employees giving experiences in a wide range of roles including:
Management, Manufacturing, Writing, Editing, Photography, Design, Production, Advertising, Marketing, Accounting, Sales, Telephone Marketing, Wholesale, Public Relations, Printing, Merchandising, Direct Mail, etc.
Design and seek approval of a business plan for the formation, funding and operation of the Plum Press.
Direct all aspects of the Plum Press.
Projects for the Plum Press
Mark Rauterkus has researched a wide variety of projects, investing countless hours, searching for meaningful and viable projects. Mark has a long list of pending projects ready for his direction, a list so long and deep that these projects would take a life-time to accomplish. The following is my short list.
Following Ideas by Category:
Each title below is not one book, but a series of books with up to 30 total books in a series. Some of the books are simple, 48 pages in length, others are longer. Enclylopedia companies are hungry for the rights to sell books that come in a set. Each series would take a year or two to complete. Sponsors could be found for each series, similar to what BP Gas Company is doing with Winnie the Pooh books now being advertised.
A is for Athlete
This series of multi-lingual, sports-specific, alphabet books would teach languages and sports and culture. The series would feature one book for each Olympic Sport and each book would feature six or more different languages, including sign-language. I think we could get an Olympic sponsor, such as Pittsburgh Paints to sponsor this first printing. The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs would also want to be involved.
This series of workbooks feature questions and answers about math as it relates to sports and recreation. The books in the series get more difficult with regard to the sports in discussion as well as the math skills needed to solve the problems. There has been a tremendous advance interest from this book. An attempt to publish the book with questions from sports magazine was not easily accomplished.
Age Group Swimming Around the World
This series of books would feature a different sport in each book. For example, the swimming book would feature chapters on 11-year old swimmers from different parts of the world. Different sports and different age groups could keep this series interesting and it would teach sociology as well as geography and languages. Mary T. Meagher, world record holder in swimming wants to help with the swimming book.
First Things First
This series of sport-specific books would teach a 9th grader how to consider trying out, joining, playing and conditioning him or herself for a scholastic sports team. The series would have a book on each sport offered in the high school setting.
A Plum Season
This series of sport-specific books would follow the activities of a sports team, its players, its coaches and the competitors from the first day of the season until the last, and beyond. We just published a book called, A DAM Good Year, on Masters Swimming from the Davis Aquatics Masters. The Plum Season could be similar in concept with a workout diary and drills.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
This series of sports specific books look at sports in terms of history, development and how the play of the game has changed. For example, in swimming, most good 12-year-olds can break world records, if they only lived in the 1940s. The core of the history part of the book would be a reprint of an older how-to book. The future section is a fun part that gives insight as to how the game might change.
Patrick Rabbit - Literacy Comic Books
This series of comic books feature Patrick Rabbit of the literacy advocate group, Cartoonists Across the World. We will write the stories, sell the ads, build a program of distribution and contract with the creative talent. Barbara Bush, an advocate of literacy and an avid swimmer, wrote the forward to the swimming book, thanks to Mark Rauterkus’ contacts.
Notes on ________
This series of more technical, how-to books are written, by and large, by proficient student-athletes in conjunction with expert, internationally famous coaches. Each book will be on one sporting activity. For example, we can get Olympic Swim Coach, Don Gambril, to coordinate the text for the book, Notes on Swimming. These books serve as handbooks for our clinics and seminars.
Lifting in the 5th Dimension
This is one book that looks at peak performance and it utilizes weight lifting as the medium of expression. However, we can re-write this book over and over again making it apply to all sorts of activities, from marching in the band to playing on the volleyball team.
Talking with the Golf God
This book, like Lifting in the 5th Dimension, is written for a specific game—the game of golf. However, the sports psychology, visualization, and other self-help messages of this book can be taken out of the context of golf, and re-written for other activities. This would be a fantastic project for high school students to complete.
These books are single titles and potential best sellers. If we sell 3,000 copies per year, of a $15.00 book that costs us $4.00 to produce and deliver to the customers, the profits would start to grow.
Collegiate Recruiting Guidebook
There is not any one book designed for the high school athlete to read to tell him or her what to do about college sports participation. This book would be a big-time seller, if only all the rules would stay the same year to year. Every high school in the country would buy a copy of this book.
Pull Your Own Weight for Kids
The PYOW concept is in a pre-release edition and the Chicago Bears are about to run with this idea in Illinois. We could get most NFL, if not all the major league markets to get PYOW into the schools. Plum will start a PYOW program with the elementary grades. It is great for self-esteem.
Reading Day at the Ballpark
There is hat day, bat day, poster day, t-shirt day, and not READING DAY. We can get Reading Day at the ball park in every stadium and arena in every market in month.
These titles would be published on a quarterly or monthly basis. The Plum Press, as a book publisher, needs plenty of free space to promote its own books, and we would do this in our own magazines. Our staff of writers, editors and advertising executives (all Plum students) would easily fill the pages, and our sponsor, Typecraft Press in Pittsburgh, would print the magazines on color newsprint in an economical fashion.
The Sports Reader
A quarterly, book review magazine with a fun, sports, recreation and fitness focus. Book reviews, written by our students and expert coaches and participants, would also appear in RR Bowker, Books In Print.
The Sports Chronicle
A quarterly magazine of newspaper article reprints from around the nation related to sports-specific topics. Every major weekly and daily newspaper would send us their publication for our clip service. We would read, select, and reprint local articles in a national journal, giving us volumes of materials to use at our desire.
The Golden Cog Award Program
An awards program for authors, editors, photographers, video producers, publishers, and illustrators for accomplishment in publishing in the sports and fitness field. Like the Cleos for advertising or the Oscars for motion pictures, our award, The Golden Cog, would put our organization on the map and under the spotlight for years to come.
Reading Public Service Announcements
A series of TV commercials, PSAs, that feature reading and literacy promotion, much like the Project PLUS from WQED. The Plum Press PSA’s could star athletes and authors engaged in a dialog similar to “tastes great vs. less filling.” Instead we would promote, “read books vs. read magazines vs. read newspapers.” All our celebrity shots can be provided at the annual Golden Cog Award Program.
School Operational Considerations
The Executive Director of the Plum Press would team-teach two classes per semester, 6th period and 7th period, to be called Applied Reading and Writing.
This elective, one-semester course would be open for 10 to 15 upper-class students who have earned high-honors English grades.
Applied Reading and Writing would be held in a classroom next to the office and store-room of the Plum Press. Hopefully, this room could be made available near the print-shop, perhaps room B6? This classroom and storeroom would also need to be the Executive Director’s office throughout the day. It will need to be equipped with 4 to 10 computers, a couple of phone lines and other, special equipment.
As teacher, the Executive Director would report to the school principal.
The Plum Press will also be a club within the school that all the students could take advantage of if they want to particpate.
The Natatorium CEO/Aquatics Director will hold many pre-school activities for students and staff. Among those activities will be the creation of a new club, the Plum Guards. The Natatorium CEO should be assigned Home Room responsibilities and have the Plum Guards as students in that Home Room throughout the entire school year.
The Natatorium CEO should also teach one course in the first period in the first semester to be called, Advanced Aquatics Exercise and Instruction. This class should serve as a PE requirement for the students who enroll. The class should be restricted to swimmers who have already passed the PE swimming class. A classroom and part of the swimming pool should be available for the class meeting. It might be possible that the regular swimming class and the Advanced Aquatics could be held in the pool in first period if both classes are kept to a small number of enrollment.
As far as the coaching is concerned, Mark would continue to serve as the head swimming coach for the boys and girls teams. No significant changes other than hosting a couple of large meets each season, are in-store for the swim teams and the coach would report to the athletic director.
With the Plum Press and the activities revolving around fun activities, like athletics and sports and such, the Executive Director would like to be considered a “Resource Coach” for all athletic teams in the school.
Governor Casey Calls for Reforms
State Board of Education makes sweeping curriculum and testing changes.
Education’s Changing Face
Taken from recent newspaper articles.
“To lead our children out of the classrooms of the 20th century and into the world of the 21st, I propose fundamental changes in how we educate our children,” Governor Casey said.
... to shift measurement of student progress from how much time a child spends in school to what a child actually knows and can do.
... an apprenticeship initiative that would bring schools, business, labor and state government together to prepare kids for 21st century jobs. This initiative would include classroom training, as well as on-the-job experience, with certified craftsman and technicians employed by businesses or industries.
... students graduating from high school will have a wider understanding of subject matter and an accompanying personal enrichment, both achieved through dramatic revisions in learning requirements.
.. give educators the autonomy to develop their own programs. And those programs, the Board of Education hopes, will produce graduates who know what they need to know to become productive in society. Credit standards will be replaced with knowledge standards.
Will Plum High School have its own High School Press? It could be a commercial, incubator, laboratory, enterprise, operated by a school district appointed executive director.
The Plum Press will create a new educational setting for the students and allow for the development, display, distribution and marketplace involvement of in-house products and services. Why talk about exporting in class and not have an example of it in action down the hall at the Plum Press?
The Plum Press could be a cutting-edge, private/public partnership, that would inject a tremendous amount of energy, and zeal for reading, writing, fitness and sport into the student body and community at large.
The Plum Press would do wonders for literacy, personal fitness, creative thinking, self-esteem, and the Plum Press would offer real-world application of classroom knowledge for the students.
I feel that the Plum Press could have a positive impact on every student that goes through this high school and for every citizen in the district. Within ten years, the Plum Press could have touched every adult in the county in a positive manner. Furthermore, I am certain that the Plum Press can be operated in a fiscally responsible nature that would make it a source of new revenues within five years.
More information and proposals, including the budget can be generated at our next meeting.