All posts in "PPS"

Girls Swim Team at Obama stays in Class AAA for the next two years. Ugh.

Published a few months ago in PPS , Swimming - 0 Comments

The PIAA enrollment numbers for the schools have been published for all the sports. These figures have the school's population by boys and girls, sorta. The actual number used by the PIAA isn't the true enrollment. They ask schools to report the number of students in grades 9, 10 and 11 only. Then there is some 10% figure or something. I'm not certain how this is calculated, exactly. Plus, there might be some adjustments for home school kids too, perhaps. 

But the big number then is the second column that shows the Co-op Enrollment. That number is valid as some schools join forces with other schools and they field only one team. In the case of Pittsburgh Public Schools, all the sports teams at Pittsburgh Obama also provide a chance to allow the students at Pittsburgh Sci-Tech and U-Prep too. So, the Obama numbers include the enrollment figures from three schools. 

The various sports then have classifications. Some sports, such as football, have six classes from A to 6A. Other sports, as is the case with swimming, there are only two classes, Double A and Triple A. So, the bigger schools end up in Class AAA while the smaller schools are in together in class AA. 

The classes set up the sections for dual meets and also play a big role in the district and state championships. 

Bigger schools, more students to pick from, generally larger teams and faster cut-times to get into the WPIAL Class AAA meet rather than the Class AA. 

Would you rather compete against North Allegheny and Upper St. Clair or else against The Ellis School and Carlynton? 

Shows the girls swimming table. Obama Academy is in Class 3A.

Shows the boys swimming table. Obama Academy is in Class 2A.

The ramifications of this are huge. And, it is not only a factor for the girls, but also for the boys. Throughout the year, the boys swimmers go to the dual meets with the Class AAA teams as the boys and girls can't have different schedules -- generally. 

The solutions are clear to me and can be spelled out in another time, when I have a few minutes to explain what should be done.

Two major policies changed for this year’s (2019-20) Obama Varsity Swimmers

Published a few months ago in PPS , Swimming - 0 Comments

Check out the swim schedule for the Obama High School swimmers: High School Swim Team Schedule

  • M: 6-7:20; 3:30-5:00 (morning and afternoon)
  • T: 3:30 - 5:00 (afternoon only)
  • W: 6:00-7:20 (morning only)
  • R: 3:30 - 5:00 (afternoon only)
  • F: 6:00-7:20 (morning only) 

Source of the news, reposted.

​​The schedule is significant for a few reason.

First of all, there is now a return to AM Swim Practices. In my final year at Obama, the rookie principal outlawed the AM practices. Go figure. This year the kids get to swim at 6 am on M-W-F. Wonderful news. The stupid policy of no AM Swim Practices has been changed. 

Secondly, there is now AFTER SCHOOL varsity practices at 3:30. That is HUGE.

Sadly, after-school swimming for high school athletes is only being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, this was a pressing issue that needed attention for the final years of my tenure as a varsity coach because the HS swim team was not granted any space in the swim pool after school -- until 6 pm. That was crazy bad. And, the principals were nearly criminal in their closed-mindedness in even talking about solutions to this issue.

The issue is that the middle-school swim team at Obama, for grades 6, 7 and 8, had the pool from 4 to 5 pm. Plus there was the other little issue of physical education classes getting the pool or booking the pool and not really using it.

When Schenley Spartan were around and the new 6-12 format was in practice at Reizenstein, the level-headed building principal had it figured out and we resolved the issue so kids could swim in a reasonable way after school.

Things are easier when there are fewer and fewer kids on the team too. The 60 kids on the middle school swimming team were driven off by poor coaching for years and the MS team was but a handful of kids, as was the HS squad. All in all, looks like they are not trying to wipe out the team as two policies have changed -- slightly.

Wondering now about AM swimming at Sci-Tech?

I was wondering about the PIAA enrollment numbers for 2020-21 for swimming for boys and girls too, given the co-op. That answer is posted at PIAA and is the subject of another blog post. Another bad policy there -- did not change. 

Obama's girls are in Class AAA again in 2020, for the second year. Plus, years three and four are happening as well. Meanwhile, the boys stay in Class AA. See that other post for the details.  

Runaway travel costs for big shots at PPS is a lead story

Published a few months ago in Education Malpractice , Pittsburgh , PPS - 0 Comments

Perspectives matter. Travel is awesome. However, this travel is not for the kids. It is travel for the leadership. It would be great to know that the students of PPS were hitting the road and zooming around town, the region, throughout the WPIAL and PIAA.
Travel and transportation are mega issues. But it is often yellow bus woes, not airline tickets for the honors band, national qualifiers nor science fair competitors.

Sue Murray Swim Pool on lower Northside.
Sheridan Swim Pool in Sheridan (just past Langley)
PCA / Greenway field and swim pool across street from Comcast.
Homewood Swim Pool and Homewood Field, not far from Faison.
West Penn Rec Center Swim Pool in Polish Hill
Ammon Swim Pool on Bedford Ave in Hill District
of course the SDA 2015 sites, especially the swim pools:
Brashear / South Hills Middle School,
Then for later August, how about:
Obama field and pool.
South Side’s Oliver Bath House and Cupples Stadium and Armstrong Park and Market House Rec Center.
Oliver HS swim pool and track.
That infrastructure with WIFI would help in countless ways. Some of these spots above are NOT generally on the highest priority lists, but we’re trying to fortify the facilities that get little use.

HS soccer game’s racial slurs with Allderdice squad gets a letter from PPS Superintendent

Published 6 months ago in PPS - 0 Comments


PITTSBURGH, September 16, 2019 – Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet has issued the following statement in related to a complaint filed with WPIAL regarding the treatment of Pittsburgh Allderdice soccer players at a recent game against Connellsville High School on September 1, 2019.

Following the boys’ soccer game between Pittsburgh Allderdice and Connellsville High School, several Allderdice players reported that members of the Connellsville team used racial slurs during the game. Students also reported incidents of inappropriate touching.

At the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we take these accusations very seriously. We understand the frustration and pain expressed by our students and their families. No student should be subjected to any racial slurs in a space that is to encourage healthy competition, teamwork and camaraderie.

Upon notification of the incident, Pittsburgh Allderdice administration reported the incident to WPIAL to investigate. The administration at Connellsville met with players and the coach involved, spoke with the game officials, and spoke to officials at Belle Vernon, the host site of this match.

While at this time Connellsville administration has been unable to substantiate the reports as part of its investigation, they have informed us that they are taking actions on their end to create a teachable moment for student-athletes. We await further information from WPIAL related to its review of Connellsville’s findings.

Nothing in life is so complicated that it cannot be achieved by discipline and hard work. Except water polo.

Published 7 months ago in PPS - 0 Comments

Water polo is the exception to "nothing" as per the acts of some PPS principals.

  • Water polo takes too much discipline.
  • Water polo takes too much hard work.
  • Water polo is too complicated.

The students don't think so. But, some principals do. The students wanted to play water polo and the principals didn't allow it to happen. 

Photo from more than 10 years ago shows a group of kids, mostly from the city schools, playing water polo. Also joined with some players from Seneca Valley.

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