How Park City’s Schools Continue to Rise Above the Ordinary

As our students settle in to learn from home for the remainder of the school year, education continues to be a hot-button topic locally and across the U.S. Some parents and students are struggling with the online instruction model, while others are thriving. What we do know is every student in the U.S. is in the same situation right now, but because all of the schools in Park City provide access to digital devices for all students, kids in area public, private and charter schools were weeks ahead of its peers in other states, once again giving our students a leg up due to local educational leadership and foresight.

I’ve put together an overview of Park City School District, along with three additional school options in Park City, or available to Park City residents, including Park City Day School, Weilenmann School of Discovery and Silver Summit Academy.

Park City School District

It’s widely known that Park City’s schools are head and shoulders among others across the state, and funding for its many innovative programs is one of the reasons why. For the public and charter schools, property taxes from second homes, which are taxed at 100-percent of value vs. 55-percent for primary residents, fill the PCSD coffers at a rate unmatched in any of Utah’s other Districts. At Park City School District, per-pupil spending of $15,320 surpasses the national average of $12,201, while the average of all Utah school districts falls far below at $9,251.

PCSD is comprised of seven schools, in addition to a Child Care Center and a Learning Center:

Elementary schools (Preschool through 5th grade)
Jeremy Ranch
Parley’s Park

Ecker Hill Middle School (grades 6 & 7)
Treasure Mountain Junior High (grades 8 & 9)
Park City High School

There are currently 4,780 students enrolled in PCSD, down from its highest enrollment of 4,891 two years ago. The Utah State Board of Education provides a Utah School Report Card for each public school and district based on assessments, and has given PCSD the following marks:

(Photo credit: Utah State Board of Education)

Park City was the first district to have all of its elementary schools participating in the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program, and elected to have French DLI at Jeremy Ranch and Trailside, and Spanish at McPolin and Parley’s Park. McPolin is has a full-school DLI program, wherein every student enrolled is placed into the program, while the other three schools have just two classes per grade, and engage in a lottery system each spring to determine which interested students will be placed into one of the available spots. It’s a program that’s been a feather in the cap of the Park City School District

Students in the program spend half the day with a teacher instructing math, science and social studies in the target language, and the other half with a teacher instructing language arts in English. Proficiency goals are set for each grade, with the presumption that students will take the AP exam in their target language in ninth grade, and university-level courses in grades 10-12.

If you’re considering entering your child in Dual Language Immersion, check out the state’s DLI video by clicking here, or ask to sit in on a class at the school your child will be attending in the fall. Initial meetings for incoming first graders are usually held in January, so visit Park City School District’s DLI page throughout the winter for updates.

In April, U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Best High School report ranked Park City High 19th among Utah’s 429 high schools, and ranked “Best School District in Utah” by Niche in its 2020 Best Schools in America rankings and grades.

Other PCSD highlights include:

  • Ecker Hill Middle School was re-designated in 2019 as a national School to Watch. The honor is bestowed upon the administration and faculty for their exemplary work with young adolescents. Only 11 schools in Utah have received this distinction.
  • The Park City High School Class of 2019 graduates attend prestigious universities that include Auburn, Baylor, Cal Poly, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Villanova, and Washington & Lee.
  • A top Advanced Placement district in Utah with a 75% student participation rate and a 70% pass rate.
  • Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS) offers courses in digital design, business strategy, engineering, software development, and teacher education. Instructors develop real-world, project-based learning strategies through collaboration with business and community partners.

Park City Day School

(Photo credit: Park City Day School)

Located in Quarry Village in the Pinebrook neighborhood (south of the Jeremy Ranch I-80 interchange), Park City Day School (PCDS) is an independent, non-sectarian school focusing on a dynamic liberal arts education for students in grades Preschool through 8th.

PCDS’s instructional model includes inquiry, place-based experiences via outdoor education, service learning and leadership through courses that include the Arts (music, performing and visual), Science, Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Wellness and Foreign Language Studies.

According to Private School Review, Park City Day School has an enrollment of just 163 students, with a teacher:student ratio of 5:1 and average class size of 14 students. Parents interested in enrolling their students at PCDS should contact the Admissions Director to learn more and to schedule at tour at 435-649-2791, or by emailing [email protected].

Weilenmann School of Discovery

(Photo credit: Weilenmann School of Discovery)

Weilenmann School of Discovery (WSD), located on Kilby Road west of the Jeremy Ranch interchange by Woodward Park City, is a public charter school serving grades K-8 with a focus on exceeding Utah core standards by integrating visual and performing arts, outdoor education, lab science, physical education and an off-campus Adventure P.E. program. Technology- and project-based learning experiences help students engage in their own learning and success, while gaining and applying deeper subject knowledge.

Daily learning incorporates small and flex groups, enrichment programs, tiered learning assistance and a comprehensive Special Education program. With approximately 600 students, WSD promotes a close-knit school community by focusing on character education. One of the hallmarks of the school is their Outdoor and Environmental Education coursework, which allows students to spend meaningful time in nature on a regular basis, using the outdoor classroom as a learning space.

New student enrollment is currently open for the 2020-21 school year, and can be started by clicking here and clicking the “Apply Now” button.

Silver Summit Academy

(Photo credit: South Summit School District)

Silver Summit Academy is a K-12 school operated by the South Summit School District in Kamas, but is located near the western boundary of the Park City School District in the Silver Creek Business Park (Silver Summit Exit off Hwy 40, north of Home Depot). Students within the South Summit School District (SSSD) boundaries are given enrollment priority, with students from other district considered after SSSD students have been enrolled.

Silver Summit offers students a blended learning environment combining digital content with in-person instruction. Some classes are delivered mostly online, but there are teachers readily available to teach and assist students onside. With a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics), AP and Honors courses are offered, but extracurricular activities should be sought in the school district from which the student originates (i.e. students in the South Summit School District will engage in their clubs and athletics, while student in from other district will engage in extracurriculars in their home district’s schools).  

The school notes that their curriculum works well for student athletes whose training and travel demands require flexibility, and they count quite a few competitive athletes among their student body.

To inquire about enrollment, click here.

The varied, yet all outstanding, education opportunities for students in preschool through 12th grade are just a part of what inspires so many families to people Choose Park City. To learn more Christine’s experiences with her school-age daughters, call her at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here.

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