Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fwd: Hill Dance Academy Theatre's First Gala Fundraiser

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Hill District Consensus Group" <>
Date: Aug 31, 2013 3:07 PM
Subject: Hill Dance Academy Theatre's First Gala Fundraiser
To: "Mark Rauterkus" <>

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Hill Dance Academy Theatre - September 2013
First Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, September 21, 2013
5:00pm to 9:00pm
Thelma Lovette YMCA, 2114 Centre Avenue

Hill Dance Academy Theatre (HDAT) will host its first Annual Gala Fundraiser celebrating Youth Champions in the Arts. One young artist in Dance, Music and Theatre, who is doing outstanding work in the arts, but is unknown, will be selected as HDAT's First Youth Champions in the Arts.

Please read the following and help HDAT to get the word out to identify youth in Dance, Music and Theatre, who are unsung, and doing outstanding work in their field of Dance, Music and Theatre.

Show your support: Click here

Event flyer: Click here

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fwd: NEWS ALERT: County Councilman Matt Drozd will hold a news conference this afternoon to urge residents to speak at Council meeting in support of his ordinance/referendum that gives the people a voice










Appointment Review

Budget & Finance

Economic Dev.& Housing


Public Safety



Office of the County Council

119 Courthouse 436 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone (412) 350-6525 Home Phone (412) 364-1600



    MEDIA ADVISORY, August 25, 2013

County Councilman Matt Drozd will be holding a news conference this afternoon (Sunday August 25 at 3:00 PM) in the Courthouse Court yard to urge the residents of Allegheny County to speak at County Council’s Tuesday night meeting (August 27th at 5:00 PM) in support of his ordinance which will place a referendum on the ballot to give the people of Allegheny County a voice as to whether or not to drill for gas in the County Parks.  The Councilman is quoted as saying that “my ordinance to place this subject on the ballot is also about giving the people the opportunity to voice their opinion on any major issue.  I am a firm believer that the people should have a say when it comes to any major decision that affect their future and day-to-day lives”.   In this particular referendum, our county Parks will greatly benefit by making them world-class parks and the people will also greatly benefit via tax relief similar to the people of Alaska.  A draft of the ordnance/referendum is found herein.  Hopefully, this will generate the largest turn-out ever of people speaking before Allegheny County Council.  In order to speak at Tuesday evening’s meeting, people will have to call the offices of County Council by no later than close of business tomorrow (4:30 PM-Monday, August 26) at 412-364-6525/6491  



An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania directing that a referendum question amending Article IV of the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter, pursuant to the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law and Second Class County Charter Law, be placed on the 2014 Primary Election ballot contingent upon the passage of the referendum question.


            WHEREAS, the citizens of Allegheny County adopted a Home Rule Charter, effective January 1, 2000, which provided for, among other things, the powers vested within each branch of government; and


WHEREAS, the Allegheny County Council desire to submit a proposed ballot question to the citizens of Allegheny County which, if passed, would either allow for or prevent the exploration for natural gas in the County Parks whichever is approved by a majority of voters; and


WHEREAS, there has been some discussion about the leasing of  County park mineral rights specifically Deer Lakes Park as there are plans to drill platforms adjacent to the park; and


WHEREAS, the mere discussion of a proposal to allow a private company to drill for natural gas on County Park land has generated public outcry for and against such proposals; and


WHEREAS, the County retains control of the mineral rights on all County-owned land which encompasses the County parks; and


WHEREAS, the County Council retains the authority over the use of Park lands, Parks have historically been created for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of the County; and


            WHEREAS, while there has been no formal discussion or approval for the lease of mineral rights at this time yet many of the citizens of Allegheny County are aware of the possibility  and are concerned about using park land for such a controversial activity; and


WHEREAS, if a formal discussion about leasing the mineral rights of the County parks does take place the citizens of Allegheny County and the County Parks as an institution should benefit directly from any revenue generated; and


WHEREAS, County Council accordingly will create a fund in the amount of 1/3 of the revenue generated from any approved mineral exploration on County Park land for the purposes of maintaining and improving the County Parks Allegheny County and for the remainder to be deposited into the General Fund for the purpose of reducing the tax burden on the citizens of Allegheny County; and


            WHEREAS, the approval of a ballot question accomplishing these changes would necessitate certain amendments to the Administrative Code; and


            WHEREAS, these changes will inure to the benefit of the citizens and taxpayers of Allegheny County by promoting a more open, transparent and participatory government by increasing the opportunity for direct citizen involvement for the use of County Park land for the purposes of mineral exploration.



The Council of the County of Allegheny hereby enacts as follows:



SECTION 1.            Incorporation of the Preamble.


The provisions set forth in the preamble to this Ordinance are incorporated by reference in their entirety herein.



SECTION 2.            Ballot Question.


Pursuant to the Second Class County Charter Law and the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, the Allegheny County Board of Elections is directed to place the following question

on the May 17, 2014 Primary Ballot for consideration and approval by the registered electors of the County:


Shall the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter be amended to establish that it shall be the decision of a majority of the voters of Allegheny County whether or not to allow for the exploration and extraction of minerals in, on, or below County Park land?



SECTION 3.      Provisional Amendment of the Administrative Code, Powers and duties of the County Council.


If the Board of Election certifies that the ballot question set forth in Section 2 above has been approved by the registered electors of the County, then the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter shall be amended as follows and pursuant to the effective dates established in Section 4 of this Ordinance:


A.            Amendment of Article IV, §2 (k):


(k) By ordinance, lease, convey, vacate or abandon, or permit the use of County land, buildings or other real or personal property, except for the exploration and or extraction of minerals from County Park land which will be decided by referendum of the citizens of Allegheny County and shall not be subject to a veto by County Council nor the County Executive for at least two years following its approval or disapproval.

      SECTION 4.            Effective Dates.


A.      The provisions of Section 2 of this Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon the date of final approval.


B.      The provisions of Section 3 of this Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon the date of certification of passage of the date of certification of passage of the referendum provided for in Section 2.  


SECTION      5.      Severability.         If any provision of this Ordinance shall be determined to be unlawful, invalid, void or unenforceable, then that provision shall be considered severable from the remaining provisions of this Ordinance which shall be in full force and effect.



SECTION      6.      Repealer.   Any Resolution or Ordinance or part thereof conflicting with the provisions of this Ordinance is hereby repealed so far as the same affects this Resolution.




Enacted in Council, this ___________ day of ________________________, 2013

Council Agenda No. ________________.





CONTACT:  Matt Drozd can be reached at his home office (412-364-1600), or Council office line (412-350-6525).


News Coference:   This afternoon at 3:00 PM, Sunday, in the Court House          Court Yard

Legislative sessionTuesday evening August 27th, Court House Gold  




                                                                             # # # #











Erik and then myself, Mark, at PPS School Board public comment with back to school message

Speaker # 20, Erik Rauterkus.

Speaker # 21, Mark Rauterkus.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thanks for Summer Dreamers advertisement

Those were the days. Water polo action with our kids vs other legit teams.

Click image for a better view.

Back in 2010 we had access to some swim pool time in PPS pools and had a training group so that we could play water polo against some other high school teams. Here is Frane Poeting, Burke's big brother, a swimmer at Wooster now, pushing some good defense. His teammate is Tait Williams, a PIAA 50 Free Competitor. Frane was a home school kid and Tait transferred out of Frick/Schenley to City High.

We are playing this game at IUP and it is against a prep school from New Jersey, The Lawrenceville School.

This summer we had nearly 200 kids playing water polo in the city with PPS Summer Dreamers. The aim is to develop a passion for sports and activities that can go further than the five weeks of Summer Dreamers and extend throughout their lives.

Sorta hard to do that when we don't have any pool time in August as per PPS Policy to stop all permits on August 1. And, we don't have any letter at the PIAA offices saying any of our PPS schools are sponsoring a water polo team. Back then we were a 'non-league team' and we could schedule a few games a year as "Schenley."

Not so much now, despite our wishes.

Anyone that wants to play water polo, boy or girl, high school ages and above, in deep water, come out to North Park at 8 am to 11 am on Saturday, August 24, 2013. After the play, there is a pot luck. Bring something to share. we'll be there to noon, I expect.

Online Schools dot Org is a higher education site with guides to using online learning to obtain degrees, jobs, or general education.

The database there is a comprehensive collection of every accredited online school in the United States, and is the most extensive searchable database available online. The site also features and online learning ebook as well as student interviews to help prepare everyone for online education.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Foundation to assess city schools' Summer Dreamers Academy

Foundation to assess city schools' Summer Dreamers AcademyAugust 14, 2013 12:08 am
Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-GazetteAs part of a $50 million investment in summer K-12 programs including one in Pittsburgh, the Wallace Foundation is taking a close look at whether those programs work.
Wallace has been one of the funders for Summer Dreamers Academy operated by Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The academy drew 2,200 students this summer. The foundation has spent a total of $2.8 million in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Pittsburgh. It also has contributed to programs in Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Duval County in Florida and Rochester. In addition to the district investments, Wallace also awarded grants to four nonprofit organizations that support summer learning.
Wallace has hired the Rand Corp. to study whether the summer programs improve student learning and what the best practices are in such programs.In a report released Monday, the researchers made recommendations on how to launch summer learning programs, including planning early for summer programs, hiring teachers by February so the best teachers are available and using commercially available curriculum rather than district-created curriculum.
It also recommends spending three to four hours a day for academics.To be cost conscious, the report recommends avoiding assigning small numbers of students to many sites, using enrichment providers to fill out the program, hiring staff based on projected attendance rather than enrollment and operating a full-day program for five to six weeks.
The studies focus on summers of 2011 and 2012. Some 5,000 students are being tracked in the studies.
One goal is to document what efforts can narrow the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students.
Ann Stone, senior research and evaluation officer at the Wallace Foundation, said many students forget a portion of their school year learning over the summer.
However, she said, research shows the losses are greatest for low-income children, who already enter school academically behind their higher-income peers.
"We think summer learning could be one of the best ways to reduce that achievement gap," Ms. Stone said.

Here is my $.02 for this overall mission.

We need more parent engagement. The parents need to know that the schools are going to try hard, but without some boosters and support at home, then the efforts won't really work in the long run. 

I enjoyed meeting the parents when this was possible. But, it isn't woven into the programs as it is now. The kids get on the bus. The kids get off the bus. There are few, if any, times when the kids, their parent(s) / grandmothers / guardians, and their peers and the teachers as well as the activity providers get to interact. 

The "night out" was a flop.

The "open house" was a flop. too. 

Our swim party and group swim lesson had potential, but it wasn't organized in advance and didn't occur. 

Our post camp trips / days were great, but too many were not invested and tied into the program.

I loved seeing some of the parents play SKWIM. That's more of what we need. Then, sky is the limit for the kids and the district.

PA Youth & Government in 30 seconds

Message to PPS Board and Administrators at public comment about Erik and Summer Dreamers too

My name is Mark Rauterkus

My family and I live at 108 South 12th Street, South Side.

I'm a proud parent, concerned citizen, scholastic coach and the lead activity provider with the BGC with Summer Dreamers Swim & Water Polo Camp.

Erik is going to make a great swimmer for Swarthmore. Of course he'll take care of his studies and figure out what to devote his life to along the way.

Erik was also a varsity golfer. He was in the top 10 in PA Junior cycling.

As governor, he delivered more than a dozen podium speeches to hundred-plus audiences. He gave 2 keynote speeches. One to the PA Lobbyist Assn and another to the state-wide YMCA professionals.

He attended three week-long conference: One for fellow youth governors and twice went to CONA, a Congress of North American Affairs. As he enters college he already has good friends and contacts from around the nation.

Erik was a fixtures on a great Ultimate Frisbee team that played in the regional semi-finals.

He and his mates went to Ohio twice for water polo. Last year our side had 8 wins and 1 loss there.

He was 7th in his graduating class.

For 4 years he went to the PIAA Swim Championshps. Last year our relays set new city records in the pool, going faster in 2 events than than anyone ever in the city.

But this is what I want to stress. For the past 3 years, Erik worked as a coach for PPS Summer Dreamers Swim & Water Polo Camp.

This summer, Erik, with 2 other recent PPS graduates, led Swim & Water Polo activities at Camp Carmalt. They bonded with the kids, taught butterfly, and backstroke. They played great water polo. Almost all passed their deep water test. The last day of Summer School, tears came with their Good Byes. They bonded with the kids. Eight of the Carmalt kids, ran in the Liberty Mile. Erik WON the Liberty Mile in 2012.

It was a busy, action packed summer for myself and the 25 others on the staff in five sites. We ran, exercised, swam, played water polo, raced and did an “A for Athlete” literacy project that we're sharing with the world on a wiki.

The staff, like Erik are mostly young adults, mostly varsity swimmers. They worked half a day and made some money. Plus, they made tremendous impacts on the lives of the PPS students. The students, mostly going into 4th grade, learned a life skill that they'll never forget and had a sports-camp experience.

I think it is imperative that PPS put at the top of its priority list a vision that screams: WE PLAY Well with Others.

That is what we need in our neighborhoods. The wellness has to spring to life in the afternoons, evenings, nights, weekends, holidays and summers.

Summer Dreams is 5 weeks. I also worry about the other 47. Summer Dreamers had 5 sites, 2 with PPS pools, and had more than 1,300 rejection letters.

Our capacity in terms of QUALITY interactions leaves something to be desired.

We had a lot of help: Shoe vendors, Pgh Marathon, PPS, sponsors, partners, Citiparks.

With a little more help from PPS and a philosophy that puts Erik and other kids much like him on our team – together – we are 10-times better, stronger and more robust.

The key to a thriving PPS comes with a serious change of heart to the overall after-school approach within PPS.

PPS has to be a place were we value, teach and learn how to play well with others. Playing well with others is a learned skill that must happen year-round and beyond the school day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

The key to Pittsburgh's future is turned first in open yet closed schools

Opening closed schools is good work. I wish the best to all in that effort. Opening closed schools as schools again is even better. Wouldn't it be nice to have families desire to live here because of the thriving schools and programs for our youth,... Rather than the other way around. But perhaps best of all is the work and mission of opening our existing and in use schools as places for community development. Yep. Lets talk about the schools we have in use with school programs in school days, but are closed to us in afternoons, evenings, nights, weekends, holidays and summers. Getting a pool permit for August days in a public school that is operational, with water, with EVERYTHING, including staff, proved to be IMPOSSIBLE. This, my friends, is where the journey to a healthy Pittsburgh begins.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fwd: Celebrate the greatness of your youth! August 15th -starts at 3 pm

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Friday, August 9, 2013
Subject: Celebrate the greatness of your youth! August 15th -starts at 3 pm

Celebrate the greatness of your youth!
1) Neighborhood Learning Alliance's (NLA) Reading Warriors
2) BGC's City of Pittsburgh/Pittsburgh Partnership Summer Employment Workers
3) BGC's Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board In School and Out of School Employment Program
4) Amazing youth that recovered failed school credits in a program implemented by the NLA and many citywide partners.

You are be asked to attend the


End of the Summer Celebration of Success Event!


 Thursday, August 15


3:00 pm (Food and informal greeting of the youth)

 4:00 pm (Brief testimony)


 Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center

5321 Penn Avenue


Food, Fun, and Positive Testimony!


 Family, friends, and worksite supervisors are strongly encouraged to attend. Government, community, and agency leadership are also encourage to attend.



Mark Rauterkus    
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team
412 298 3432 = cell