Park City schools boast diversity in curriculum and alternate schedule options for students

PARK CITY, Utah — On Wednesday, many students are scheduled to attend their first day of school. However, in Park City, the type of school and dates vary significantly. From calendars that range between traditional to year-round and offerings in between, Park City families can truly shop for a school that fits their laundry lists of needs. 

Some schools recognize that academics can exist seamlessly with sports, while others focus on enhanced academics.  Connections to the environment are crucial in certain education programs, and others see that making connections with people is paramount. The diversity of options supplies students with optimal learning grounds based on extracurricular needs and post-grad planning.

The following schools offer an array of curriculums to support college prep, sports training, and flexible schedules, all with a blend of critical, mental, and emotional development skills.

Park City Day School

  • K – 8th
  • August – June
  • private

PCDS is an intimate, community-minded school on a sprawling 11-acre campus where every family feels known. It’s a member of the Round Square program, a consortium of 230 like-minded schools in 50 countries that all value the same set of ideals embracing a global mindset. Additionally, its Strive for Five values-based curricula ensure that respect, responsibility, teamwork, integrity, and compassion are always being taught as a social-emotional component alongside the rigorous, required academic classes.

Melinda G., an alumni parent, said in a statement, “My daughter could not be happier or more prepared for high school. Her teachers all say how well she advocates for herself, asks questions, gets her work done on time, and seeks out her teachers when needed, all skills she learned at Park City Day School (PCDC).”

Picabo Street Academy

  • 7 – 12th
  • year-round calendar
  • private

PSA often has student-athletes outside of the country training, traveling, and competing during a typical school calendar year. The school works with this particular set of students to support their learning around sporting goals to avoid the game of “catch up” in class when they return. Instead, the classes actually follow them while away. PSA operates year-round, and students also have the option to do schooling in the summer months to “lighten their load” in winter.

Dan Kemp, founder and head of school told TownLift, “Picabo Street Academy (PSA) is a highly individualized, customized, enriched blended learning system. This means that students have access to the best of both worlds; an in-building learning environment that is supported with teachers and success coaches and also the best of a virtual learning system where students can be on the summer or winter sports field of play. Our students do not have to forgo training, travel, competition, and coaching sessions. We work with our students in a highly flexible yet structured environment and support them academically with customized time frames for completion, individualized pacing, and frequent one-to-one support for learning.”  

Silver Summit Academy

  • K – 12th
  • August – June
  • public

Silver Summit’s courses are offered in a blended format to promote student ownership of their learning. Socially, there is room for all students to get involved and participate in extracurricular activities at all grade levels.

Jeff Greiner, the principal, said, “Silver Summit Academy provides our students with rigorous, college preparatory coursework and challenge them to think critically, work independently, and develop 21st-century learning skills such as collaboration, digital literacy, leadership, and initiative. Students attend classes four days a week, with Fridays reserved for intervention and one on one personal instruction with teachers. We aim to prepare all students for college and career success.”

Soaring Wings International Montessori School

  • K – 9th
  • August – June
  • private

Not only are Soaring Wings’ students SAT results some of the highest achieving in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they also have classes in practical life, sensorial, fine arts, healthy lifestyles, and penmanship. The school is Certified Green, in which they pride themselves on creating a peaceful environment inside the building and out.  

Duna Strachan, founder and executive director said, “Our newly expanded elementary and middle school offer the true Montessori experience where students can continue to progress at their own pace as they have since the infant class and use their academic skills to plan and carry out meaningful projects to benefit themselves and others … children follow their own interests to discover their joy for learning and for life.”

Wielenmann School of Discovery

  • K – 8th
  • August – June
  • charter

Wielenmann’s offerings include Outdoor Adventure and Outdoor Education with the close proximity to nature and trails, P.E., Music, and Art, which is balanced out by students’ studies of 21st Century Media and Technology. Families enjoy their comprehensive Special Ed programming as well, all with Master Teachers in a close-knit community.

Susannah Barnes, director of development, said, “We help students succeed by providing a focus on academic excellence, intellectual inquiry, creativity, and discovery.”

Winter Sports School

  • 9 – 12th
  • April –  November
  • charter

Winter Sports School completes a full college preparatory curriculum in a compressed 144 days. This schedule frees students’ calendars to focus on elite sports lifestyles.

Shawn Crawford, a Winter Sports School parent, said, “We’re extremely happy with our experience. I find the teachers at the Winter School highly engaged. The honors-level classes offered, with the opportunity to prepare for the AP exams in the Winter and Spring, the small class sizes, and a commitment to community service, all while supporting the student-athlete, make this school a stand-out success. Most importantly, my kiddo loves it!”

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