31 May 2013
by Treas Manning
Ski racing and the school system have been at odds for as long as most can remember. The schools have an obligation to deliver quality education for all students, making it difficult to accommodate ski training and the race circuit by manipulating class schedules. In defense of North Lake Tahoe High School they have in recent years developed an independent study forum allowing ski racers academic flexibly to coincide with training and competition. Fact is, the majority of athletes in the program are honor students, the claim can be made that the program is working.
Parents in many communities in our state are generally not happy with teacher-student ratios and the lack of outside the box thinking with project study and solution groups. Many of these parents are turning to charter schools with smaller class size, more educational field trips, and specialized guest instructors. The charter school phenominum is not an urban issue, it is happening right here in our community. Several years ago a group of parents started the Creekside Cooperative Charter School with grades k-7. The school has been met with rave reviews.
The original plan for Creekside was to expand the grade levels as those first year students approach the 8th grade. That time is here and now and just in the nick of time, private investors have come along with an expansion plan and the payload to actually bring the plan to fruition.
THE PLAN: build a middle school campus in Squaw Valley with grades 7-10. The school will focus on education with a goal of 80% student continuance to the finest universities in the country. Within 2 years the school will expand again, adding grades 11 and 12. How soon will all this happen; soon, as in this August. The Squaw Valley Preparatory Charter has been loaned a site by Squaw Valley Ski Corporation to construct a Sprung building to house the school until a permanent site can be acquired.
If it seems odd that investors should pick Creekside Charter to offer financial support and select Squaw Valley as the site for expansion, it really isn’t; many individuals with money to invest are ski enthusiasts and have children in Squaw’s race program. Does this mean the school will be a race academy? The charter’s board of directors say no, with that said ski racing families are gearing up for a school located in the heart of one of the most prolific ski race development programs in the country. According to the school’s board one of the focuses will be to coordinate classes with study groups for extracurricular interests and activities, whether that be music, art, or ski racing.
Will the majority of students be involved in Squaw’s ski racing program, my bet is yes. We do live in a ski community and parents that want to send their promising ski racers to a quality school with an elite ski racing focus are faced with limited options, like sending their young ones off to Green Mountain or Burke academy on the east coast.
Squaw Valley has a coaching staff that is loaded with ex-Olympians and US Ski Team alumni. Why shouldn’t Squaw Valley have a school that attracts the brightest students and promising ski racers? In my mind it’s about time.
A perplexing question I am hearing from many Squaw Valley locals is why is Squaw Valley Preparatory School using Squaw Valley Ski Area’s official logo and the school’s web domain is squaw.org, which does not reflect the charter school’s name and gives the appearance that it is aligned with squaw.com, the ski area’s domain. I was told from a secondhand source that investors feels that the school will attract more recognition by using the logo of the prestigious pioneer ski area, a ski area that has produced many World Cup athletes not to mention Olympic medals.
As far as I am concerned this is a one time opportunity to have an academically superior school working hand in hand with a talented coaching staff to grow the future of US ski racing and that is fine by me. What could be better for a ski town then smart kids that ski fast?