Young people learn to walk, talk and hopefully read and pray at home with the help of their guardians, siblings, parents and other friends and family members. A similar progression with swimming can unfold when we teach kids swimming in a team setting.
Buddie swims refer to friendships and a relationship between two people who hold mutual affection for each other.
Years ago, swimming activities featuring kids and adults were delivered to Pittsburgh Public Schools. Sadly, little happened.
Repeat approaches, by-and-large, put some aquatic programs into action. Sports dystopia dives into the struggle and negative views.
Parent Engagement Centers (PEC) were once a push with Pittsburgh Public Schools. They came and went. Footnote, a present-day City Council member, Theresa Kail Smith, was a PPS employee who ran the PEC on the west side of town at Langley.
More recently, Pittsburgh Public Schools launched the concept of “Community Schools.” The elected school board pushed for community schools and passed a pilot program enacted in Dr. Linda Lane’s final year as PPS Superintendent.
When Dr. Anthony Hamlet’s arrival as Pittsburgh Public Schools’ superintendent, five schools were designated and re-branded as “PPS Community Schools.” Three of the five schools have swimming pools: Westinghouse (great pool), Langley (small pool), Arsenal (small pool).
A new central office employee, LouAnn Ross, was hired to lead and manage the PPS Community Schools program. Upon her arrival, and then a year later, offers to construct new community schools swim programs were delivered to her, and even to a couple of the local school booster committees. Nothing was done. Then she departed.
A new search was conducted and a different PPS central-office employee has been hired. New hope comes with Monte Robinson, mrobinson2@. Meeting slated in January 2019.
In 2018, there was a swim team at Arsenal. At the start of 2019, the swim team at Arsenal died. Likewise, there used to be an elementary swim team at Langley, and it didn’t appear at the December 2018 PPS Championship meet. Westinghouse still offers only a middle school swim team and didn’t facilitate any after-school swimming nor diving in the fall of 2018 despite attempts to do so. Outcomes have slid from bad to worse in the recent years.
Everyone knows that student success hinges upon parent and guardian participation in the educational journey of the students. Success at school comes as parents, guardians, grand-parents and other significant adults are engaged with the kids. Mentoring is big. The annual PPS event, Take a Father to School Day, is a shinning star in these efforts.
Swim pools can provide a great place for kids and their guardians to work together — for everyone’s benefit. The public school facilities, including PPS swimming pools, are under utilized in the evenings, nights, weekends, holidays and summers.
Home-schooling is frowned upon by many of the public school system, including teachers.
Parent-teacher meetings and various open house activities happen, but with low-levels of support from the adults at home.
Let’s get parents and guardians invites into the school facilities so that they can enjoy themselves, have fun and be a part of inspiring, socially-rich experiences with the kids. Adults and kids can share in programs together with repeating events so progress can occur and relationships forged. As trust ensues, the interactions can be elevated to other educational topics.
Swim lessons engaging students with adults accompaniment,
Trimuph Try-Outs, are one-shot swim lessons where students and adults participate together. Kids can not sign-up without being matched with an adult. The activities presented are geared to student and adult couples.
These Try-Outs have little to do with the athletes impressing the coaches and program leaders. The coaches are not testing and evaluating the students. Rather, the real try-out is for the participants (the students, parents, mentors, citizens, taxpayers) to try-out an engagement at the swim pool with a learning setting.
People understand “swim lessons.” Swim lessons have always been a valued summer-time activity. Learning to swim is fun as well as a skill that saves lives. Pittsburgh is a city of three rivers and lots of swimming pools. However, few of our kids are competent swimmers. A tremendous need exists in this program category.
Triumph Try-Outs can be held at any time, morning, noon, night. Indoor pools that are out of the sun and without weather disruptions are ideal. Under utilized swim facilities can use the Try-Outs as an ice-breaker so as to migrate additional activities to these swim facilities in the seasons to come. Triumph Try-Outs present a capacity building opportunity for outreach.
Triumph Try-Outs are one-shot events. Participants show up, do the activities, and then they are finished. There is no long-term commitment involved.
In a traditional Try-Out setting, the coaches and program leaders put the want-a-be players on display in a competition. The players strive for a position in the draft or on the team. The Triumph Try-Outs reverse the roles and inject a new realm of priorities. The customer and buyers have roles that are flip-flopped.
The consumer, taxpayer, students get to Try-Out the coaches, activities, facilities, and to a large extent, the sincerity of the districts’ emphasis on “parental and community involvement.” The Triumph Try-Outs give a proving ground for the establishment of different priorities and can foster new relationship experimentation.
Parent involvement is a growing concern and focus for the overall health of the educational process. District wide elements for parent advisory actions are skeptical to the citizens. School board members are elected from fractions of the voters. Parents generally get concerned about the schools where their kids attend.
A relationship priority is present as students and adults try-out one another. The bond between mentor and mentee can be challenged in different settings. Going to the pool can present a two-hour Outward-Bound-like gateway for the matched participants. The swimming is a escape and presents some bonding time. The foundation and the approach to the challenges can transcend beyond the swim pool setting.
Many different mentor programs exist in Pittsburgh. These Try-Outs can be an on-going way to get meaningful interactions among the volunteer mentors and the students.
The overall aquatics program at Pittsburgh Public Schools can evolve and be a source of great benefits to individuals and community if there is a sense of self-discovery, safe learning, supportive involvement. But finding a drop of political among decision makers has been an on-going challenge for decades.
Various public institutions in southwestern Pennsylvania have swimming pools with available times. Some pools are in high schools. Other pools are in middle schools. Pools are at all the corners of the district including colleges, libraries and recreational sites. Getting two-hour blocks of time for the use of the pools is an easy task. However, getting citizens from one area to visit others facilities around town, or else even in their own neighborhood is a challenge. The swim pools and these Try-Outs can be good motivators to get the community engaged at different pools.
District schedules can be established for Triumph Try-Outs. If a family is busy on a Friday night when a Try-Out is slated for that student’s school, that couple could take in a session slated for Saturday at another school. The schools and pools can be open and friendly places for the citizens.
The success and long-term impact of PPS Community Schools hinges on the draw of the activities to the parents, guardians and citizens. And, a great way to get the participation is to offer a meaningful recreational activity with dynamic coaching leadership.
To accompany is to go or be together. Accompaniment is to perform together. Accompaniment occurs for a richer effect. The accompanist is the person who plays the accompaniment.
The accompaniment concept enriches the lesson plan with the Triumph Try-Outs. Our students and children need to understand and appreciate that they can set out on life with background helpers at home, accompaniment. It takes a village. Triumphs do not happen in isolation. Support networks need to be visited, tested, understood, and explored.
Adult accompaniment can be from a parent. But, any adult can come to these sessions. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, big brothers, and mentors are welcomed. Perhaps the high school students and varsity athletes could accompany middle-school and elementary school students. We might have a list of adults who want to join and accompany. Some adults could manage two or three children so that each student has guidance and a potential partner.
The Triumph Try-Outs offer participants repeat-worthy periods. Repeat attendance is welcomed as the lesson-plans flow from an open-ended structure. Each Try-Out lesson has different activities, new games, different skills.
A couple could sign-up and participate in ten Try-Outs in the course of the summer and have great experiences multiple times. Enjoy on-going results.
Detailed lesson plans are posted in advance of the sessions. Advanced understanding of the themes of the practice helps to prepare the students and attract more participation. For example, a class on flip-turns is going to be an attraction for some. People will go out of their way to attend a Try-Out if they have a peek at the agenda. Advance postings of lesson agendas insure participants that activities are not the same-old same old.
Efforts and structures are needed to migrate the participants to various levels at various ages throughout this lifelong learning process.
The children within Pittsburgh can have a much richer experience with the activities with the creation of buddies that are nearby as well as buddies that are farther away. Our program in Pittsburgh can become a buddie with the programs around the region and nation.
A healthy and vibrant network of buddies should have nodes that are close and other notes that are remote. These concepts take a proactive stance on forming connections in our web of life and aquatics with friends at all levels.
Students spend time at the school, hopeful in a library near computers. Then the students walk to a local pool.
Huddle time: 8:30 am
Early Lesson: 8:40 am
Walk, stretch, exercise: 9:15
Late Lesson: 11:40
optional library time: after lunch
Computerize those WPIAL swim meets and send in your times!
Concept Map of Aquatics — a vision thing
Training principles in a concept map
Expanding the Modern Pentathlon concept with the five disciplines
Concept Map of what aquatics can and should be in our city
Concept Map of the Aquatics vision. But sorta old now.
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