Letters to the Editor, Jan. 28-30, 2015 | ParkRecord.com

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 28-30, 2015


PCHS bands will put on a great gala


On the evening before Valentine’s Day, Feb. 13, the Park City High School Bands once again will host their Sweetheart Gala dinner dance at the St. Mary’s Church Grand Hall.

This annual event features an elegant dinner, followed by dancing to big band music exuberantly provided by the Park City High School Varsity Jazz Ensemble. Last year, as the new school district superintendent, I attended my first Sweetheart Gala and was impressed by the talent and hard work of the student musicians as their exciting performance enticed guests to the dance floor.

I invite those interested in this entertaining evening to go to the band’s website at pcbands.net to find more details and learn if any tickets remain. All proceeds from the Gala benefit Park City High School band programs, which are among the best music programs in the state.

Dr. Ember Conley

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Park City School District Superintendent

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School choice empowers families


Families make dozens of decisions every day. Some are as simple as choosing what to eat for dinner or where to go on vacation, but other decisions have a greater impact on the success of their children.

National School Choice Week will be recognized the last week of January, celebrating the opportunity that families have to choose the best education option for their children. School choice is exactly what it sounds like, and its importance can’t be minimized.

For some families, private school is appealing. For others, the public school in their community meets every need. Beyond traditional public and private schools are options that include magnet schools, charter academies, faith-based schools and online learning, an option I cherish as principal at Utah Connections Academy, a statewide, online public school that serves children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Student success stories are what I appreciate most about school choice. With the option to choose, one of our students can pursue her dream of competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics. The flexibility of online learning allows this talented gymnast and gifted student to train during the day and complete lessons in the evening.

That same choice allows another Utah Connections Academy student to lap his two-wheeled peers in the competitive world of motocross, while at the same time improving his test scores and overall academic performance. He enjoys the personalized learning, which allows him to move quickly through work that comes easy for him and gives him more time to focus on subjects that are more challenging.

Athletes and performers enjoy flexibility in their school-day schedules. Students who need it receive extra support in order to scale academic hurdles, while gifted students enjoy the flexibility to enroll in advanced courses. Students and families customize their learning experience to meet their needs.

Choice empowers families. It empowers them to find an education environment that fits best for their child, whatever that model looks like. Online school, including Utah Connections Academy, is just one of those options.

Linda Harless

Principal, Utah Connections Academy