Community Education classes
February 1, 2008
Jane Toly loves her job. Toly is the Park City School District’s community education coordinator. "I get to help people learn skills that they’ll have for the rest of their lives," she said.
Toly and Judy Tukuafu, the director of the program, are dedicated to bringing Park City great classes with great teachers and at prices people can afford.
"We are real particular about classes," Toly said. "If we don’t have just the right teacher, we won’t have the class."
Tukuafu said they try to be as reasonable as possible with registration prices, which have to cover teachers’ salaries and supplies, because they are a community education program. She said they pay their teachers as much as they can, but it’s usually not a lot.
"This is a part-time job for our teachers," she said. "And most are really passionate about what they do, and so they do it because they get to share their passion with others."
That reasoning holds true for Jaxon Stallard, who is teaching four of the five cooking classes offered in this winter’s classes. "I have such a passion about people learning how to cook and eat healthy.
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"I live to cook and bake," she said. "I’m going into homes to teach, going to Salt Lake to teach, so this [community education] is just another avenue for people to learn how to cook."
Stallard is a certified chef and owner of the Park City Cooking School. She is teaching "Pressure Cooking," "Romantic Meals for Two," "Healthy Tamales & Salsas," and "Essential Knife Skills," for her winter classes, which are all hands-on. She said people should come into her class with an open mind.
"They’re going to learn a lot of things, sometimes it may be something they do already, but maybe I have a different approach to it," she said. "I just ask that they come and relax and want to learn something."
For Bob Lyksett, the community education’s "Artful Composition Photography" teacher, the best part about community education is that students don’t have to be there, "so you know they want to be there and want to learn something."
"It’s great because it’s a non-pressure situation for students," he said. "There aren’t any grades, and you get out what you put into it."
This is Lyksett’s second semester teaching with community education and he loves it. "So far, it’s worked out really well; it’s very satisfying for me, and it’s good mental stimuli, especially for people who are older like me," he joked.
In Lyksett’s class he plans to teach people to "see in an artistic way through the lense and to compose photographs, instead of just taking snap shots." He said in this digital age with all the technology that is available to people, it’s a lot easier to take better pictures and for people to improve their skills.
He emphasized that his class is for every level of photographer an every type of camera from the point-and-shoots to the more high-end SLRs. "It doesn’t matter what you’ve got," he said. "It’s how you shoot it."
Tukuafu and Toly said they’ve learn throughout the years what classes Park City residents are interested in taking. "We tailor our classes to suit the community’s needs," Tukuafu said. "We’ve found that people really like cooking classes and anything to do with fitness because this is a fit kind of place."
She said they are trying to expand on things they think people are interested in. They send out surveys and look at trends in Utah and across the country. Some classes they come up with on their own, like the new "Batik Silk Dying" class, which they got the idea for from the Park City Art Festival this past August.
"The scarves were so beautiful," Toly said. "We thought how fun would it be to make your own."
The pair contacted JoAnn Memmott, the district’s art director, to have her teach the class. Other times, they said, potential teachers will contact them with an idea for a new course.
Tukuafu and Toly also look at the history of classes. "If people liked yoga in the past," Tukuafu said, "they’ll probably like it in the future."
Sara Valentine, who is teaching a "Vinyasa Yoga" class for this winter session, was contacted by Toly to see if she could teach a class. "It’s a great thing to give back to the community," Valentine said. "They make it affordable for people, and they offer a variety of times so that even people who work full time can take a class."
Valentine has been teaching yoga for more than seven years. She said her class will focus on breathing and gentle movement within the poses. She said yoga has gotten too physical and has strayed away from its original purpose which was to learn how to quiet the mind and how to treat the people and the world around us.
While there are new classes in the spring, summer and fall, Toly said that classes like fitness, cooking, computer or Spanish classes are available almost all of the time.
Tukuafu said computer classes are more short term. "You’re not going to learn everything," she said. "But you’ll get a real solid start, and then you can do it at home." Students are given a book to work on after the computer classes are finished.
In summer, community education shifts its focus to children’s classes. "We provide a balance for the many sports opportunities that are offered to kids in the summer," Tukuafu said. "We just haven’t had much success with adult programs during that time because people like to be outside or they go on vacation."
Toly said she is excited about the classes they are working on for the 2008 summer session. "It’s just such a great way to meet people with similar interests," she said. "There’s such a social aspect to these classes," whether that be for kids or adults.
She continued that the programs have been so well received that people from other communities have been coming to Park City to take classes. "If we have something people want to take," she said "We’ve had them drive for hours just to take a class."
Tukuafu had one last bit of advice for people regarding community education classes: "Sign up now. Don’t let it pass you by."
To register online go to http://www.pcschools.us and click on "Community Ed" and then "Search Catalog and Register Online," or for more information, contact Judy Tukuafu at (435) 645-5600 ext. 1447.