Wednesday, August 11, 2010

City schools official makes pitch for single-gender academies

My question at last night's community meeting was hit upon in the discussion and then found its way into the Post-Gazette article today. I posted the question in the past at my blog and elsewhere (see comments).
City schools official makes pitch for single-gender academies: "Their inquiries about the plan were wide-ranging, addressing everything from the safety of the neighborhoods of the school campuses to how the Westinghouse campus would accommodate all of the boys' and girls' basketball teams with only one gym.
'This is not rocket science,' Mr. Lopez said, addressing the latter concern. 'This is about adults talking about a schedule.'"
Okay, let's take a deep breath and look at what was said in this answer.

First of all, my real question that I sent into the PPS site and also at A+ Schools was not asked. Only part of it was asked. And, my follow up question was a question -- based upon what Mr. Lopez said.

Mr. Lopez did do his homework. He knew what was coming, of course. His answer was blended to cover some of the un-asked parts of the question even.

A strange element of the answer he gave was to imply that things would work at Westinghouse with its six basketball teams because the adults involved at Westinghouse would communicate with each other and that those positive results have not unfolded at the other 6-12 school known as Schenley and Obama (both at Reizenstein) because that doesn't happen there.

My jaw dropped.

He also said that when he was in Michigan at a high school with one gym and six basetball teams, he could make the space work. There, at Berkley High School, they had varsity, JV and 9th grade teams for both boys and girls. Well, in Pittsburgh Westinghouse, as well as in Pittsburgh Obama/Schenley (also 6-12), we'll have varsity, JV and MIDDLE-SCHOOL teams. If a middle school program was put into Berkley, that should couldn't work. And, PPS does not do much with 9th grade teams -- and it should. Plus, you don't want to put middle school kids onto the court nor into the locker rooms with the high school kids. A 9th grade team and a JV team are very similar. Not so with a JV team and a MIDDLE-SCHOOL team.

Let's do the math. Even if the boys and girls teams can practice at the same time, with a big gym, then we'd have Varsity at 3 pm to 5 pm, JV at 5 pm to 7 pm and Middle School at 7 pm to 9 pm. Furthermore, I think Westinghouse might be an extended day school. The school day might end at 4:15 or 4:30 pm for others as the students are going to have work placements and job training and internships. So, the practice time of 7 to 9 pm might be welcomed as that might be when they are off of work, have eaten and back to the gym.

Even with 90 minutes per practice on the court, the schedule would be 3 to 4:30 pm, 4:30 to 6 pm and 6 to 7:30 pm. Then there are out of season conditioning times and open gym and such after 7:30 pm.

Then there are games, wrestling matches in the gym, baseball's pitches and catchers, volleyball's pre-season, cheerleader tryouts, etc.

And, this is to be a 'single-gender landscape.' So putting both the boys and girls into the same, but big, divided gym is happening too. Oh well.

Stay tuned for video, later this week, I hope.


Questioner said...

A schedule can always be devised but the question is- would it be anywhere near comparable to the schedules in place in schools where grades 6-8 and grades 9-12 have their own facilities.

Why don't we ask for the basketball practice and game schedule now so there is plenty of time for any conversations that are expected to resolve issues?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Good question. Go for it. I will too.