The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is, at its core, a training and racing program designed to develop the youth of the Wood River Valley into competent and competitive skiers and snowboarders.
There is an inherent conflict, however, between academics and the time and commitment required to be a competitive ski/snowboard racer. It is necessary in many cases for students to miss school for training or longer competitive travel events.
The SVSEF recognizes, however, that well-rounded student/racers are best positioned to be successful in life. The Academic Program was established in 1998 to provide three pillars of academic support SVSEF students and parents:
1. Communication with School Systems
The academic director acts as a liaison between the SVSEF and the school systems in the valley. One of the primary conflicts for SVSEF athletes is that they need to leave school early during the week for regular training. The academic director works with the school counselors to develop programs that allow students to leave early while at the same time keeping up with their credit requirements for graduation.
Athletes will also miss school when traveling to regional and national competitions. If an SVSEF athlete falls behind for any reason, the academic director will communicate directly with their teachers to help develop a plan for recovery.
2. Academic Monitoring.
The SVSEF requires all athletes to maintain at least a C- in every class in order to miss school for a competition. Athletes are required to turn in a pre-excuse Travel Grade Report 3-days prior to any travel event where school is missed. In addition, the Academic Director can monitor athlete grades through a variety of online, mid-term and near-final grade-reports.
If a students grades fall below a “C” they will be required to come into the academic center for additional assistance.
3. Academic Center/Assistance
The SVSEF academic staff (Matt Leidecker and Jeff Graves) are available five days a week after daily training in an on-site Academic Center for individual and group academic assistance. Student/athletes can utilize this resource to catch up on work missed while on the road, or simply as a monitored study hall.
In some circumstances, athletes may be required to come to the academic center as part of the training agreement with their school or as part of an academic recovery plan.