According to the head of school, Dave Kaufman, a group of about 15 parents are helping put together a "Bingo Bash" on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the Legacy Lodge at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR). The funds will go toward the transition of the Winter Sports School from a private school to a public charter school, planned for next year.
Kaufman joined the school faculty in 2008, working on marketing for the school and teaching an economics and finance class using knowledge from his business degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After taking on an English class, a videography class and other numerous tasks, Kaufman was named head of school last spring.
The school began working with the Park City School District in the fall of 2012 to draft a charter and submitted the application to the Utah State Office of Education in January of this year. It has since been approved to become a public charter school, Kaufman said.
He is now hoping that the funds raised by the "Bingo Bash" will help the school move into a new location that "accommodates growth," which was obtained on July 1 at the corner of Old Ranch Road and State Road 224.
Kaufman said that the primary benefit the school will receive from becoming a charter is that it will no longer require tuition.
"It's heartbreaking for everybody when a family comes in with a child that has all of the talent, dedication and ambition to be a student at our school, and what it comes down to is the money," Kaufman said. "We offer a lot of financial aid, but for some people, even though it's half a heap of money, it's still a heap of money."
He also said that increasing enrollment from about 42 students this year to an anticipated 100 -150 in the next several years will expand its social structure and make the school "more attractive" for those who are hesitant to attend such a small school.
"If all goes according to plan, this will be the first public education facility of its kind in the country," Kaufman said. "Students have not only the freedom of time but also the freedom of choice."
He said that most schools like The Winter Sports School do not offer the choice of athletic instructors or offer each winter sport. He also said that the school is for those students who do not want to have to make trade-offs between studying hard and training hard.
With the school year beginning in April - when most winter sports athletes are decompressing - and ending in November, the Winter Sports School offers both an academic education as well as athletic instruction.
Kaufman is optimistic that this year, the school's 20th year, will be the last that it is a private school. He said that if it does indeed transition, next year will be the first year students will be required to take state standardized tests.
Because the school year begins in April with a relaxed course schedule of Art and History and launches into English, Math, Sciences and Foreign Language around the middle of the school year, Kaufman said they will have to work with the Utah State Office of Education to figure out a time in the school year when it will be best for the students to take the standardized tests.
He is confident that teachers at the school are able to teach students standardized test material although they may have to take some training courses and certain tests to ensure that they are fully capable.
"Our chemistry teacher is an actual chemist who created an alloy found in bike brakes," Kaufman said. "So we've got an adjunct faculty who are all really experts and go beyond the textbook."
The "Bingo Bash" will feature not only bingo matches but also a silent auction and a regular auction. The prizes will feature some of the school's successful alumni like 2006 Olympic gold medalist alpine skier Ted Ligety, world champion ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson and 2011 Winter X Games big air contest gold medalist Alex Schlopy.
According to Kaufman, Ligety has provided a U.S. Olympic ski team parka that he signed himself; Hendrickson has donated a framed picture with her autograph; and a group of four can win a day of lunch and skiing at PCMR with Schlopy and a mountain host.
There will also be vacation packages, like a three-night stay at Montage Deer Valley, which Kaufman said is one of the school's biggest supporters, among other travel prizes.
"These are prizes that can't be found anywhere else, really," Kaufman said. "We just hope people will come out, have fun and help support the school."
For more information or to register for the "Bingo Bash," contact Head of School Dave Kaufman at 649-8760.
"Bingo Bash" Fundraiser