Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fwd: Reminder: Still Accepting Applications for EPLC's 2019-20 Education Policy Fellowship Program!

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: EPLC / Ron Cowell

EPLC's 2019-2020 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program


Applications are still available for the 2019-2020 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). 

The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 


With more than 575 graduates in its first twenty years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.


Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.


The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 19-20, 2019 and continues to graduation in June 2020.


Applications are being accepted now (PDF).


The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but it must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.


If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 412-298-4796 or

The Education Policy and Leadership Center, 800 N. 3rd St., Suite 505, Harrisburg, PA 17102

Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact


Mark Rauterkus
Swimming and Water Polo Coach, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, PA
412 298 3432 = cell

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Fwd: Neoliberalism and the Democratic Party

--- Forwarded message --

From: John H

The first attachment is the best and simplest explanation of the operation and failures of neoliberalism I have yet encountered.  There are more detailed and deep dive explanations, but this one should make it clear to anyone just why neoliberalism is a destructive and devastating system everywhere it is applied.  The other two articles apply to the Democratic Party establishment – a thoroughly neoliberal establishment.


Article 1

Article 2

Article 3


Mark Rauterkus 
Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a 501(c)(3)
The Pittsburgh Project - swim coach and head lifeguard
Coach at The Ellis School for Swimming, T&F and Triathlon
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team & Renegades (Masters)

412 298 3432 = cell

Friday, July 26, 2019

A day at the pool -- three days ago. (copied from a FACEBOOK posting)

Story of a day at the pool. See below.

+ + + 

Maribeth Leeson is with Kristin Moon.
My son drowned 3 days ago. His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother's worst nightmare. He was dead. I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me. I watched in slow motion as people rushed to him, as he was laid on the concrete, as CPR was started.
A million thoughts were flying through my head as I stumbled around, not knowing what I was doing, screaming. I saw my dead baby on the ground. I thought about his twin brother and how could his life go on without his twin. I saw my 10-year-old son, hysterically sobbing, in his bright blue swim trunks, his beautiful tan skin glistening with pool water still. His life ruined because he just watched his brother die, drowned in the same pool where he was playing. I saw my sassy little 3-year-old daughter, in her pink unicorn and rainbow suit, just watching me, confused. And how was I going to tell my husband that I let our perfect 5-year-old son drown?? It was exactly like I've read other people say in emergency situations: I thought this must be a dream, one of those dreams that you wake up sweating from, short of breath, because it was so real. Wake up! Wake up! But no, I was already awake. Then the screaming was worse. This is happening. My funny, silly, sweet, handsome, artistic, thoughtful little blondie was dead.
I finally was able to force myself to stop screaming, I ran over to where CPR continued on my precious baby. I have no idea how long it was. 10 seconds? 3 minutes? I don't know. But I ran to him and watched and cried and talked to him as my friend tirelessly and relentlessly continued CPR. He looked awful and perfect still at the same time. I watched as water and vomit poured out of his mouth, eyes swollen and rubbery looking. Then a miracle happened! I don't remember what it was first, but he showed some sign of life because several people at the same time exclaimed "there he is!" and encouraged me to keep talking to him. My friend kept working, I kept talking. He started to try to open his eyes and another round of exclamation occured. My friend said she could feel a pulse, they decided to move him off the concrete to the pool house. A million thoughts continued racing through my mind. I was sure even if he was saved, it was too late. I was sure machines were going to be doing his living for him. I was sure it had taken too long.
Everything that happened next seemed like an eternity. The ambulance took forever to get there. They tried to get an IV on the scene but couldn't. The ride to the hospital was painfully long. But my baby started coming around! He jerked his arm back with the IV needle stick! He cried! He was coughing! Somehow, my baby was still with me!
We have now been in ICU at Peyton Manning for the last 3 days. He is sitting beside me in bed right now playing with a stuffed puppy a friend brought to him and watching Captain Underpants for the 70th time. He's off all oxygen. He will very likely come home with me today. Home with me 3 days after drowning, home to live happily with his family instead of us burying him today.
The reason I'm sharing? This happened in a pool full of people. A pool full of ADULTS. I've read so many stories about kids slipping away from their parents and getting into a pool, to be found drowned shortly later. I've never considered the possibility that my child could drown right in front of people who were watching him bob up and down from the bottom of the pool to just below the surface, but didn't think he was struggling because he looked like he was PLAYING. When I found him myself, 2 feet from adults who were in the pool, my first thought was that it wasn't him, that it was someone else's kid who was seeing how long they could hold their breath. I can 100% understand why the adults who were RIGHT THERE didn't recognize that he was drowning because when I saw him, I too thought he was just a kid who was playing. What tipped me off was the kid I saw was wearing a shirt: Adam had gotten in the pool in his shirt. He doesn't know how to hold his breath. GET HIM OUT!!!! THAT'S ADAM!!!!
This was 100% preventable. The fault was MINE. He's a big 5-year-old. He has a very needy twin who makes it easy for me to forget that Adam is still 5 too and has needs that other 5-year-olds need. He's not self-sufficient even though sometimes I feel like he is because he's so capable. I didn't tell him to get in the pool without his Puddle-jumper on, but I was aware that he had. I simply told him to stay in the shallow end while I got his sister's swimsuit on, then I would be over. I thought it was fine for 5 minutes, as he could touch just fine in the shallow end, he wasn't alone because there were multiple adults IN the pool, and I'd be right next to the pool getting her suit on. Wrong. I have never ever been so wrong. He remembers what happened. He said he slipped off the edge. Based on where he was in the shallow end, and where we found him, he means the ledge from the shallow to the deep end. He said he kept going to the bottom then to the top and tried to yell "Mommy!" It kills me to hear that. It kills me to know that his last thoughts were that mommy didn't come for him. But God decided to give me another chance to do better. He gave my baby back to me. Now he knows I DID come for him.
Who knows what we'll face from here? Physically, it is beyond comprehension that he is suffering no consequences. He is asking to go back to my friend's to swim and says "this time, I'll wait for Mommy" before getting in the pool. But he yells for me every single time I'm out of his sight. He clearly has some anxiety that he didn't have before. I pray that some counseling and lots of reassurance will fix that.
I'm sharing this because I want to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Before going to any pool, first make sure your kids know not to get in until the adult who is responsible for them is ready to watch them. That sounds like common sense, but I was thinking because so many adults were present, he was fine, but those adults didn't know his swimming ability so they didn't question when he was under water. Second, KNOW THE SIGNS OF STRUGGLE! Adam didn't look like he was struggling! He wasn't splashing, thrashing, or screaming. He was simply underwater and couldn't get his head above water. Third, know CPR. I do know CPR. Could I have performed it in that moment? I like to believe I could have if I hadn't seen someone else taking charge. I like to think if I had been alone, my survival skills would have kicked in. Luckily, I don't know, because my amazing friend was busy saving him, but I do know that if I didn't know CPR, my helping him if we'd been alone wouldn't have even been a possiblity.
I said I wasn't going to share what happened. I feel so responsible (I am responsible!) because I let him get in without any sort of safety device on, and he was in before I personally was ready to watch him. But I decided to share because I see parents at pools doing these same things every single day! And I'm sharing to hopefully spread drowning awareness.
I'm also sharing to thank my friend for saving him, to thank her over and over and over. I am eternally grateful to her and will never ever be able to repay her. Ironically, I was there for her as her nurse when her son took his first breath after he was born, and now she was here for me as my son took his first breath after he died.
Please take water safety seriously. I never thought this would be me. It was me, but thanks to God and my dear friend Kristin, my son is still safely here. Learn from my mistakes so it's not you.
Adam Jeffrey Leeson, born 3/15/14
Adam Jeffrey Leeson, saved 7/20/19
I have no pictures of what he looked like when he drowned. Unfortunately I only have the image forever tattooed on my brain. I've shared a few images of him in the hospital and the most important one, the one with his guardian angel, Kristin Moon.
Please please please share this. I'm a nervous wreck to share what happened, sick to my stomach to hit "share" actually. But I feel this happened to save others. In my heart of hearts, I know other parents need to read this.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Outreach letter to families of summer campers

Mark Rauterkus
Head Lifeguard at The Pittsburgh Project
412-298-3432 = cell

Dear Swimmers and Guardians of TPP's Summer Camp 2019:

This summer has been filled with many achievements with swimming, SKWIM and other pool activiites -- and this note details some dreams for future participation for you:

Parents & Guardians should come to to the pool and see your child swim -- soon.

Our summer isn't over and there are plenty of opportunities to keep swimming in the weeks and months to come.

1a) TPP's pool is closing at 7 pm on August 4. Come to the pool from 1-7 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

1b) All kids and adults are invited to drop in for SKWIM game play from 6-7:45 pm every Tuesday & Thursday at Citiparks Ammon Pool on Bedford Ave & Memory Lane, Pgh Hill District.

1c) All kids are invited to sign up a SKWIM CLINICS at Allegheny County's North Park, 11:30 to 1 pm, M-F, (week 1) August 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and
(week two) August 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2019. Summer is not over yet. Links to the County's sign up at - See other side.

1d) We want to field a TPP team in a SKWIM tournament on Saturday & Sunday, September 7 and 8, 2019, at Citiparks Highland Park Pool. Shallow water. Kids & adults. If interested, email Coach Mark Rauterkus,

1e) For six Sundays this fall, from 2-4 pm, we'll be able to play SKWIM at Moon High School Pool. Sign-ups required. Great pool.

1f) Coach Mark's Saturday Swim School provides opportunities to swim, play SKWIM, and get Lifeguard training throughout the year, often at Oliver HS and/or Allegheny MS.

Thanks for the consideration. Let's keep building strenght and fitness in the water so that next year can be better than ever with a swim team and more games with outside groups.

Mark Rauterkus

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fwd: Welcome to the campaign! We have three weeks.

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: Lisa Middleman, Esq.

View this email in your browser


My name is Lisa Middleman! As many of you know, I am running for District Attorney here in Allegheny County - to repair our deeply broken criminal justice system, the greatest stain on the collective conscience of this county. For those of you who don't know about our campaign - read up on WESA, in the Post-Gazette, in Public Source, and elsewhere. 

But most of you know me. And you know our current DA.

And you know that this election is the critical battle for our criminal justice system, and for the soul of Allegheny County. So I ask for your help.


On August 1st:

1) We will file our petition signatures! We need over 10k to be assured of getting on the ballot. 

2) We will bring together a massive coalition of people from across this county for our campaign kickoff.

Our movement is growing. In order to get on the ballot - and build the movement we need - we must grow faster.

Sign up to petition!
Sign up to turn people out to the kickoff!

This happens with your help or it doesn't happen at all. The water's warm. Dive in.

And of course - if you have no time to give - we can always accept your money instead!

Thank you for all your support.

Very truly yours,


Lisa Middleman, Esq

Friends of Lisa Middleman
2615 Glenchester Road
Wexford, PA.

Mark Rauterkus
Swimming and Water Polo Coach, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, PA
412 298 3432 = cell

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fwd: Don't miss registration for the Kids Triathlon!

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Habitat Pittsburgh Kids Triathlon

July 20th, 2019
Ages 7-12

July 27th, 2019
Ages 7-15

Mark, there's just one week left to register for the South Park race and two weeks left for North Park!

     Pre-Race-Day registration ends Wednesday at noon the week of each triathlon (7/17 for South Park and 7/24 for North Park). Race-Day registration costs $5 extra and does not guarantee your athlete a t-shirt. Don't miss out, click the buttons above to register now! 

     Also don't forget about our Pre-Race meeting at 6:30pm the Friday evening before each race. We help the kids become familiar with the course and allow parents ask questions. Athletes receive a t-shirt to tie-dye, a medal upon finishing, and trophies for the top 3 boy and girl finishers in each age bracket. It's is a fun, healthy summer activity for young athletes and helps Habitat Pittsburgh provide decent, affordable homeownership to local, limited-income families.

     Already registered? Consider starting a fundraiser to support Habitat Pittsburgh! The process is quick, easy, and secure. Your fundraising helps Habitat Pittsburgh provide decent, affordable homeownership to local, limited-income families. Just click the link below to begin raising money to support affordable homeownership in your community. The top three fundraisers will win a gift card from Pro Bike+Run.

Start Fundraising
Copyright © 2019 Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have either been involved with or shown interest in Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh's Kids Triathlon.

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Mark Rauterkus
Swimming and Water Polo Coach, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, PA
412 298 3432 = cell

Fwd: Summer Dreamers Academy Celebrates 10 Years

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Superintendent Hamlet <>
Date: Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 9:38 AM
Subject: Summer Dreamers Academy Celebrates 10 Years
To: Superintendent Hamlet <>

Dear Stakeholder,


As the days of summer stretch ahead of us, I'm pleased to report that the children of the Pittsburgh Public Schools continue to engage in active learning that has made this season so memorable — for children, faculty, and staff alike.

Tomorrow, July 11th — as part of Summer Learning Week — our District will commemorate 10 Years for the award-winning Summer Dreamers Academy with an event at the Energy Conservation Center from 5 – 7 PM. I hope that you will have the opportunity to visit our Summer Dreamers sites to see why this program has captured the hearts and imaginations of both participants and facilitators.


Summer Dreamers Academy combines elements of learning with exciting, hands-on experiences that truly give education a tangible purpose for students. For example, imagine how in a single summer, a child can grow from riding a bike for the very first time to learning how to maintain the bike and cycle on a 100-mile overnight trip, then pen an opinion piece about the value of bike trails based on what they learned first-hand. Imagine watching 185 adults attending the faculty and staff kickoff as though it were a long-awaited family reunion — adults who could be taking the summer off to decompress, but are so energized by the experience that they look forward to working with Summer Dreamers instead.


This year, approximately 1,675 children from pre-K through 8th grade are participating in this camp. And in 2019, for the first time, PPS is pilot-testing a model for a more inclusive camp for students with special needs, who previously participated in separate programming. From dance to flag football to Star Wars to designing websites, Summer Dreamers enjoy a variety of activities in a nurturing, productive environment from June through late July, exposing them to opportunities they might not otherwise experience. Each day, campers participate in a 90-minute literacy block and a 90-minute math block to support their academic growth and fight summer learning loss, so they arrive at school prepared to succeed.


Research by the RAND Corporation through the Wallace Foundation's National Summer Learning Project shows that regular attendance at high-quality summer programs leads to 20 to 25% typical annual learning gains in both math and language arts. And this year, we are pleased to report that Summer Dreamers was honored by HundrED, an internationally recognized nonprofit that seeks and shares K-12 innovations globally. This progress would not have been possible without the generous support we have received from The Grable Foundation, Heinz Endowments, and The Wallace Foundation. 


I invite you to join us in celebrating this truly innovative approach that opens the door to a lifelong love of learning.


Yours in education,



Dr. Anthony D. Hamlet

Superintendent of Schools

Pittsburgh Public Schools

341 South Bellefield Avenue. Pittsburgh, PA  15213

412-529-3600 (W)  |   412-622-3604 (F)  |








Mark Rauterkus
Swimming and Water Polo Coach, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, PA
412 298 3432 = cell