Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wishing to work on sports reform for the Pittsburgh Public Schools

I just sent the following email to Principal Vader of Brashear High School:
Hi Principal,

Please count me in on any and all work on PPS' sports overhaul plans
as talked about yesterday with Mr. Lopez. This is something that I've
been asking for for many years. Put me on your lists and feel free to
call or email at any time.

I understand that there is much to do. I have plenty of suggestions as well.

Looking forward to the next chapter and meetings.
Yesterday, on March 22, a meeting was held for all sports coaches by Mr. Lopez, a PPS Administrator, concerning PPS sports. It was a mandatory secondary schools coaching meeting.

All in all, I'm very happy to see this begin. Mr. Lopez was there to get the support of the coaches so that the district can move forward in the next five years. The conversation began. Roles are to be discussed.

Sports are an important function of schools and the educational process, as pointed out by Mr. Lopez, because being part of a team is essential to human growth. In every field of human endeavors, we are called upon to produce on a team. This is true in schools, in college studies, in the workplace.

Coaches model commitment for athletes, so it was stressed. There is some reading between the lines there. Lopez also said it wasn't wise to give athletes a pass. Coaches can't call off practices. A coach's professionalism is paramount.

Some of the talk was just get to know you stuff from Mr. Lopez. He had to unload on a few fronts and then kick off the discussions. Unsportsmanlike behavior was a bullet point. Ongoing issues include, practices, recruiting, student misconduct and sportsmanship, Title IX (brewing big), team size, parents and community perceptions.

No joke.

The Title IX report is a year late and an inch thick and the space between Mr. Lopez' thumb and first finger is still empty as the report isn't released -- yet.

A commission to study athletics within PPS is going to be formed. The members will include folks from central office, a principal at least, coaches, parents and students.

Time will tell if I'm invited. I hope so.

Some other notes from the meeting: Business as usual is not acceptable.

I'd love to see some talk about the role of boosters, the role of the athletes, the role of the parents and the role of the community. It has to be more than just a principal, coach, teacher club. What about the role of the taxpayers?

Sports do have value in many ways. Mr. Lopez likes that the students are learning new skills within a new construct. They have to sort out the team positions and relationshps as well as the sports skills. He thinks coaches are the adult of last resort. I say that the slide should be re-written to say "FIRST" and not 'last.' If coaches are the last to know, then something is wrong. I just posted about how Big Ben called Coach Tomlin from Georgia.

A giggle moment did come when Mr. Lopez said that our kids want to grow up to be the next Michael Jordan or Big Ben. -- Well, a fresh example for #7 might make for less blushing.

Mr. Lopez was a track coach with 150 athletes on his squad. He recruited them. But, that is a hot potato word, recruitment. Coaches are told to recruit in the school but not outside of the building.

Questions came from right field to left field -- of course. The middle school seasons are too short. The snow day policy is not uniform. The segregation of fans, teams and all who attend a game is unhealthy. The depth of participation in the city is small. The legacy honors and banners are absent. Access to fields and facilities on Saturdays and summers is impossible.

There is much to do. If the crazy stuff of PPS sports was removed, then this process would be half way to finished. It sounds as if Mr. Lopez is well intentioned. Time will tell. Video is pending.

No comments: