Letter of support for the expansion of aquatics in PPS
7:59 AM Dec 12, 2023
I am writing to express my strong support for the U CAN Swim program with Mark Rauterkus for implementation in PPS. My name is Jacob Boyce, and as a Social Studies teacher at the Gifted Center since 2008, I have had the pleasure of observing and working alongside Mark in various capacities.
The U CAN Swim program is not just a swimming initiative; it is a comprehensive educational tool that aligns with the goals and mission of Pittsburgh Public Schools. It offers an opportunity to utilize ESSER funds effectively, providing immense value to our students and the community at large. I strongly recommend considering this proposal for its potential to make a profound impact on student development and contribute significantly to achieving our district's vision.
Mark's approach to teaching and coaching swimming is one that I have admired for its effectiveness and innovation. Having worked with him in the Summer Dreamers Academy and as a fellow coach at Obama High School, I witnessed firsthand his ability to engage students in swimming and water polo. His agile instruction style and focus on student engagement have significantly improved student attendance and participation. He possesses an uncanny ability to recognize a student's readiness for new challenges, often pushing them into the deep end before they even realize their own potential.
Furthermore, Mark's impact extends beyond the pool. His tenacity and resourcefulness have been instrumental in re-opening more pools and getting more kids involved in aquatic sports in Pittsburgh than anyone else I know. His connection with the students, combined with his innovative methods, not only nurtures their swimming skills but also builds their confidence and character.
The U CAN Swim program, as detailed in the proposal as I have seen it, aligns perfectly with the district's vision of preparing students for college, career, and life readiness. This program promises to provide flexible, engaging, and holistic aquatic experiences using the district's under-utilized swimming pools. Its objectives are in alignment with the district's mission of fostering academic excellence and character strength in students. The program's emphasis on water safety awareness, swimming lessons, and athletic enrichment mirrors our belief in providing a well-rounded education that encompasses not just academic but also physical and mental well-being.
Mark's proposal is an exceptional opportunity for our district. It addresses the need for a safe and healthy learning environment, complements the educational process by engaging families and the community, and is guided by consistent and effective leadership – all core beliefs of our district. The systematic approach proposed for aquatic experiences promises to enhance personal confidence, improve aquatic skills, and cultivate lifesaving leaders among our students. This aligns with our district's commitment to providing resources and support for impactful teaching.