Thursday, January 22, 2015

Proposal for a new afterschool activity: The GUARD

This proposal was sent in for consideration.
Enrichment Provider Application

Pittsburgh Public Schools is now accepting applications from enrichment providers who are interested in providing services at 21st century funded After-School Academy sites. Special consideration will be given to APOST quality campaign members. Grants for programming will be awarded between $500 and $3500 based on the proposal submitted to APOST. The application is open until all enrichment providers are filled.

Name: Mark Rauterkus
Phone number: 412-298-3432
Organization name: Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC)
Program name: The GUARD, from BGC's Swim & Water Polo Camp
Program description:
The GUARD is an aquatic fitness and job leadership activity proposed for both Perry High School and Brashear High School.

At basic levels, students get to visit, use, explore and discover at the school's indoor, six-lane, 25-yard, shallow-deep swim pool. Swim pools are powerful learning laboratories. Swim pools are places built for the crafting and study of individual and group excellence. Typical competitions at swim pools are measured in increments of .01 seconds. Swimming is a lifetime, lifesaving sport done all around the world. The oldest team sport in the modern Olympic Games is water polo. Furthermore, diving, synchronized swimming, scuba, fin swimming, underwater hockey, SKWIM, lifeguard competitions, paddle sports, deep water running, and water basketball are a few of the other pursuits that can and should unfold at public school swim pools.

Learning to swim, pool safety, following instructions, personal health, fitness, problem solving and other aspects of playing well with others are some of the elementary elements with The GUARD. Team building, demonstrating, rule following, competitions and matters of effort, energy and efficiency are explored from many perspectives.

The more advanced concepts within The GUARD concern the strengthening of knowledge, skills and confidence of high school participants to become lifeguards, swim instructors, camp aids and counselors. The GUARD is for job training and mentor development. Within The GUARD, the participants stride along a pathway to certifications and meaningful employment in health-related, educational rich, tech-savy, athletic professions. Knowing First Aid, CPR, and responsible behaviors at the age of 16 could lead to medical school one day or even a more knowledgeable and confident Good Samaritan in a city neighborhood in the hours to come. Most of all, participants in The GUARD get the inside track on summer jobs in roles such as Citiparks Lifeguards and Coaches with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation's Swim & Water Polo Camp as part of Pittsburgh Public Schools' Summer Dreamers Academy.

Activities can begin at Perry in Feburary 2015 and at Brashear after the high school swim season ends, in March 2015.

What is the primary focus of your program? (Ranked checks applied below.)
Priorities in ranked order.
1. Recreation, Sports, or Physical Fitness
2. Career or Employment
3. Leadership or Character Development
4. Mentoring
5. Service Learning or Community Service
6. Social, Emotional, or Behavorial
7. Civic Engagement, Activism or Organizing
8. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
9. Academic or Education Enrichment

What grades do you serve? (Please check all that apply)
The GUARD in year one is to serve those in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Furthermore, The GUARD enabled special events throughout the fall, winter and spring can refresh relationships from the ranks of past and future Swim & Water Polo Camps. Therefore, Swim & Water Polo Camp participants from recent summers, from grades 3 and above, get to be involved too. So, in essence, The GUARD can serve students from a wide rage of grades.

What is your staffing model? (Please check all that apply)
The GUARD's staff includes Executive Head Coach, Mark Rauterkus, Varsity Swim Coach at Obama Academy. Another Obama Varsity Swim Coach expected to work with The GUARD is Jacob Boyce, PPS Teacher. Both have been contracted employees with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation.
Most of the other employees in leadership roles are swim coaches in the area. Volunteers are expected as well, but they will have minor roles in operations, helping with certain topic areas as guest presenters and as on-going competitors and mentors. All workers / employees are to be paid as part-time staff with the BGC.

What type of training does your staff receive?
Staff gets ongoing professional development with certifications in Lifesaving, CPR, First Aid. Additional training happens with online lesson plans, technology tools and joint practices where coaches work sessions with students together.
What is your behavior management policy?
Mr. Igims, PPS P.E. Teacher at Langley K-8 and Activity Coordinator for Summer Dreamers in the past years, said, “Kids in Swim & Water Polo can't miss-behave because they are swimming.” At the pool we have a respectful and mindful approach to our bodies and communications among teachers, lifeguards and students. More specific “rules” and “guidelines” can be crafted for these activities with the advice of other staffers and program leaders.
Of course pool rules and safety first policies must be followed.

What is the standard ratio of students to staff in your program?
Ten to one is an average. A good coach and a functional team can operate at 20-1 ratios, but that would not be ideal in these settings with the initial programming seasons.
How do you track attendance?
Our attendance tracking software, TeamUnify, is fantastic. It matches photos, emergency contact info, and other results to every trusted teacher via smart phones.

How much experience do you have working with PPS students and communities?
Sessions are generally 90 minutes each. How many days a week do you need to operate?
Seems as if PPS and APOST seek to have ONE session per site per week at this time. That is fine.

Extra swim sessions every week are going to be made available to the students in that every FRIDAY is COMMUNITY WATER POLO at the Thelma Lovette YMCA on Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh's Hill District. That program is open to high school students and adults, free of charge. Our students are strongly encouraged to attend those sessions on Fridays from 5 to 8 pm. Saturday sessions and sessions at other city facilities are hoped for as well.
What do students accomplish by the end of a semester?
By May 2015, students can accomplish steady improvements in swim fitness, stroke technique and understanding of various water games including SKWIM and Water Polo. Students get a framework for progression from newbie to varsity competitive swimmer speed. Finally, an awareness of Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid is shared with the students. Those seeking those certifications would be better prepared and need to take additional classes, perhaps with Citiparks on nights and weekends. Also, The GUARD could be made to expand to 3 or more days per week and the CERTIFICATIONS can be delivered then.

How do you motivate and engage the students?
Pay checks and employment contracts help motivate students. Being hired as a staff member is valued come June, July and August. Seeing improvement in abilities is always rewarding. Doing things never done before, such as swimming in the deep end or swimming a non-stop for 500 yards are big milestones.
Our technology tools that use photos, apps and wiki pages can be important to show progress and to make the work documents that are repeatable and reviewable for others in the years to come.
How do you engage parents/guardians?
We have robot auto calling capabilities. We use wiki pages, blog postings and Facebook often. We could establish our own web pages for each site. We expect to offer open-house visits at the schools too.

How do you incorporate 21st century skills?
See other artice on 21st Century skills.

How do you incorporate high-school and/or college-readiness? *This question applies to middle school and high school programs only.
There are college scholarships for LIFEGUARDS. Every college campus hires lifeguards for hourly work too.

Most colleges have swim teams, water polo teams and other happenings in aquatics that our students could join when they get to campus for fun, personal recreation, new friends and support.

Some colleges REQUIRE students pass a swimming proficiency test to graduate.

To certification process for lifeguards, for example, covers content similar to a low-level college course. Independent study and following established, standardized course curriculum with multimedia part of the process.  

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