PCEF week boasts Harry Potter, Newsweek glitterati | ParkRecord.com
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PCEF week boasts Harry Potter, Newsweek glitterati

Jared Whitley

The Park City Education Foundation is bringing the magic back.

As always in November, the fundraising arm of the school district is holding PCEF Week. Running from Nov. 14 to 18, the foundation aims to raise money and share its goals with the community. And Harry Potter will help again. Like last year, PCEF Week will start on Nov. 14 with a reading event, where PCEF staff and local glitterati will read in the four elementary schools and the two local libraries. This year celebrity readers include the Intermountain Therapy dogs and Park City author Jeannine Heil, who will read her book "No Time for That Now." It will end with a benefit ski day at Park City Mountain Resort on that Friday, the day before the resort’s scheduled opening day. PCMR is donating all proceeds from lift tickets to the foundation. Tickets are $20 and are available at Jan’s Mountain Outfitters, Cole Sport, Zions Bank, and Canyons Sports. The highlight of the week is a visit from Jay Matthews, the Washington Post education reporter who developed Newsweek’s formula for gauging the 200 best high schools in the country: the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken by all students at a school in 2004, divided by the number of graduating seniors. This year, Park City High School was named No. 150. In crafting its "report card" (see accompanying story), Park City Education Foundation officials Nancy DeFord and Mark Fischer met and worked with Matthews. "Because he’s done so much research and been involved in so many schools, he gave us some good ideas of good criteria to evaluate and how school districts are addressing kids," said Lynn Heinlein, foundation executive director. On Nov. 15, Matthews will join the foundation for a community symposium on what makes a district one of the top 10 in the United States, which is the foundation’s goal for Park City. After the symposium, Park City education officials will share their "top 10" assessment with Utah educators, then with educators from across the nation next summer. "We want to share the report card with the community," DeFord said. "It’s a project we’ve been working on for three years now, to come up with this way of tracking the progress that we make and identifying areas where funding could help continue to strengthen the school district." On Nov. 16, Matthews will speak to PCEF donors on the subject as well. "This is an opportunity for Park City School District to take a lead role nationally as far as what makes for a top school district," Fischer said in a previous interview. "We’ve done a terrific job with figuring out what we need to do to make our school district better, but for Park City to take a lead role nationally is very exciting." On Thursday, Nov. 17, the foundation will hold the North American benefit premiere of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This is the fourth time that movie studio Warner Brothers has allowed the foundation to show a Harry Potter movie the day before it’s released to theatres nationwide. Participants get to see the movie the day before everyone else, and they will enjoy a host of Harry Potter-themed games at the Redstone Village, which will be redone as Diagon Alley. Ecker Hill student Anika Gillwald, 11, always attends these events, dressed as Harry’s witch friend, Hermione. "I’m very excited, mainly because it’s the fourth Harry Potter and I’ve been waiting for more than a year" since the last movie, Gillwald said. "Mainly it’s because of all the activities and mainly because it’s Harry Potter. The Tri-Wizard Tournament, that’s going to be so cool." Tickets for the event are $50 for adults and $35 for students. At the "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" premiere, the foundation raised about $32,000. All this fundraising comes on the heels of the foundation’s annual Parent Appeal Phone-a-thon in October, during which volunteers aimed to call every parent in Park City School District and convince them to donate $1 per school day per child (which comes out to $180 per child). PCEF board member Kathy Shurtleff said the Parent Appeal raised just under $100,000.


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