Upper School Summer Programs

A teacher standing in front of four people sitting at a table
A student and teacher sitting at a table in a classroom

Seize the Summer

From the classroom to the wilderness, Sun Valley Community School’s Summer Program offers Upper School students opportunities for academic credit, outdoor adventure, and professional certifications.

Camps and Courses

For-Credit Courses, June 17 - July 5, 2019


English 9
This for-credit course covers the winter term curriculum of English 9 Foundations in Literature at the Community School. Get excited to be exposed to new cultures and ideas in a variety of genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short stories and drama. Plan on spending a few hours of homework daily in order to read the texts and write and revise papers. Students will receive helpful feedback on their emerging reading, writing and speaking skills.

  • Credit: Winter term credit
  • Open to students entering grade 9
  • Teacher: Elliot Jacobs, BA Bowdoin College, MA in English, University of Montana, M.Ed University of Montana
  • June 17-July 5 (plus a final assignment due by July 8)
  • Monday-Friday, Time TBD 
  • Tuition: $1,100

English 10
This summer in English 10: British & World Literature, we will read Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. We will explore the play in its theological, political, and cosmological context, as a play marking a moment of personal, familial, and societal crisis in which the opening question of “who’s there” becomes enormously complex and difficult to answer with certainty. We will also attempt to answer the question with which critics of the play have been wrestling for centuries: why does Hamlet wait so long to avenge the death of his father? In doing so, we will explore the history of the revenge plot and the dichotomy of action & inaction that pervades so much of Shakespeare’s language. Skill-wise, we’ll practice annotation, Harkness, language-based observation, and thesis-formulation. Above all, we’ll encounter the concept of ambiguity -- of passages that can be read in multiple ways, of questions with more than one answer, of actions that do not speak with clarity about characters’ internal machinations. 

  • Credit: Winter term credit
  • Open to students entering grade 10
  • Teacher: Hannah Loeb, BA Yale University, MFA, University of Iowa
  • June 17-July 5 (plus a final assignment due by July 8)
  • Monday-Friday, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

  • English Elective / Outdoor Ed. - American Environmental Literature

    This outdoor education and academic course will study the evolution of American environmental thought from the early 19th century to the present, with a particular emphasis on how the concepts of these environmental writers apply to local environmental issues. Authors addressed include Ralph Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest Williams (will give a talk in July in Ketchum), Nate Blakeslee, and Gary Snyder. Environmental issues addressed include salmon recovery and dam removal, wolf reintroduction and current reduction in central Idaho, Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (N.R.E.P.A.) and the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and wilderness proposal to prevent oil drilling, and Bears’ Ears National Monument reduction.
  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teachers: Phil Huss, BA Amherst College, MA Boston College and Elliot Jacobs, BA Bowdoin College, MA in English, University of Montana, M.Ed University of Montana
  • June 17-July 12
  • HYBRID format - Class discussions Mondays June 17, 21, July 1; 5-day backpack July 8-12 into the White Clouds 
  • Tuition: $1,100
  • Open to students entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grades

  • Writing Across the Curriculum
    This course will prepare students in all academic writing endeavors. Students will write a variety of works covering all the academic disciplines, and building a strong foundation in sentence and paragraph structures, and rhetorical modes. The course will guide students in creating a writing portfolio for their high school years. Students will create writing samples in Description, Narration, Textual Analysis, Historical Analysis, Art Analysis, Persuasive Argumentation, and Speech Writing. This course is a graduation requirement for all students graduating in 2020 and beyond, but is open to any Upper School student.
  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teacher: Hannah Loeb, BA Yale University, MFA, University of Iowa
  • Monday-Friday, June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

English 11/12 - The American Dream
In this course, we will chase the American dream through the study of various pieces of literature, art, and music. We will follow our protagonists on their complex quests for a “better life,” while exploring the dangers and pleasures that this kind of journey holds for us as individuals and as a nation. In addition, we will explore questions of the American Identity in a multicultural society. This course fulfills one of three required American Literature courses.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Open to students entering grades 11 or 12
  • Teacher:  Kate Ristow, BA Emerson College, MFA University of Montana
  • Monday-Friday, June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

  • English 11/12 - Dystopian Literature
    In this class, we will meet at the intersection of literature, literary theory, and film through a focus on dystopia. A dystopia, very briefly, is the opposite of a utopia, a perfect society. A dystopia is an imperfect society, a frightening and dark place, a place through which contemporary social anxieties are manifested. The class will focus on texts that explore current anxieties about gender, identity, language, and power. Theory includes Judith Butler and Friedrich Nietzsche. Novels include The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Films include Mad Max: Fury Road and Children of Men.
  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Open to students entering grades 11 or 12
  • Teacher:  Fiona Harris-Ramsby, BA, MA California State, PhD, University of Utah
  • Monday-Friday, June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100


Research Methodologies and Thesis
This course allows students to complete their Junior Thesis and counts as a term credit. It's a great way to relieve the heavy research required during the junior year. This course requires independent research and the ability to meet deadlines throughout the researching and writing processes. Students will engage in ‘true’ thesis research, meaning they will read a series of texts, organize their research, compose their own thesis statement and write a corresponding ten page paper, properly formatted. An oral defense of the thesis before a faculty panel is required after the paper has been successfully completed. The work is largely independent, but students will be guided from initial brainstorming through the final completion of this graduation requirement. Open to students entering the 11th or 12th grade. Maximum class size of 10.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teacher: Drennan Wesley, BA University of Michigan, MAT Pacific University
    ​​Teacher: Eric Covington, BA Barton College, MA University of Georgia
  • Monday-Friday, June 17-July 5 - time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100


History 9: World History
This course covers the winter term curriculum of History 9: World History. Moving from the rise of universal religions and common cultures through the development of empires in Asia and the emergence of European nations, the study follows changes in the world through trade, war and expansion. Concluding with the crusades and the clash of the Christian and Islamic worlds, we come to Europe on the brink of the Renaissance. Open to students entering the 9th grade.

  • Credit: Winter term credit
  • Teacher: Eric Covington, BA Barton University, MA University of Georgia
  • June 17-July 5 (Plus a final assignment due by July 8)
  • Monday-Friday, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

History 10: Modern World History
This course covers the winter term curriculum of History 10: Modern World History. The focus of the course is on understanding cultural forces, national movements and concepts that influence government, philosophy, religion, commerce, science and art. The overall goal is to provide students with an understanding of the movements that have shaped societies. The time period is 1800 to 1920. Open to students entering the 10th grade.

  • Credit: Winter term credit
  • Teacher: Drennan Wesley, BA University of Michigan, MAT Pacific University
  • June 17-July 5 (plus a final assignment due by July 8)
  • Monday-Friday, time  TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100


History 11: American History
This course covers the winter term curriculum of History 11: American History. Moving from the War of 1812 and the Jackson presidency through the Civil War and Reconstruction, this course will cover a wide range of topics. Writing and analytical skills are a focus in the course. The Civil War will hold the most prominent position during the summer term. Open to students entering the 11th grade.

  • Credit: Winter term credit
  • Teacher: Drennan Wesley, BA University of Michigan, MAT Pacific University
  • June 17-July 5 (plus a final assignment due by July 8)
  • Monday-Friday, time  TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100


History 12: Psychology - How Language & Culture Shape One Another
This course fulfills a history elective credit and is open to students entering the 11th or 12th grade. Culture is a combination of products, practices, and perspectives. Language shapes all of these aspects of culture, and they, in turn, shape language. Just as the fish is unaware of the water in which it swims, so do we struggle to raise our consciousness of how our own language and culture influence each other. In this course, students will study different languages and cultures through videos, podcasts, articles, and book excerpts. Students will learn how gender, the individual, physical movement, social movements, and other phenomena are shaped in different languages. By the end of the course, students will be practiced in making intercultural comparisons, asking questions that penetrate past stereotypes, and examining the power of words to shape meaning in their own lives.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teacher: Sarah Forzley, BA Carleton College, MA & Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • June 17-July 5 
  • Monday-Friday, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

Computer Science

Introduction to Computer Science (one term credit)

This is is an application-based, "hands-on" introduction to topics in computer science and productivity software. Students learn about computer hardware and how computers work, explore the intricacies of the Internet, design and print a 3D object, program interactive games, and explore the impacts of computers on society. We work on learning the language of computer science, how the machines work, the various components, plus some of the unusual history and what the future might hold for these amazing machines. Additionally, we discuss the responsibility of being a 21st-century learner, and how to engage with a vibrant community of like-minded learners from all levels of experience. This course is open to all rising 9th-12th graders and is a graduation requirement.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teacher: Gabby Rafford, BS and M.Ed, University of New Hampshire
  • Dates: June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

Art, Music, & Non-Departmental Electives

Visual Art: Photography
This class will introduce students to the basics of photography using a 35mm camera, either film or digital.  Students will have the option of learning how to develop film, print in a traditional darkroom or learn how to use an online digital editing program.  There is a possibility to explore both over the course of the term.  The format of the class will include slideshows on photographic history and written responses to contemporary photographers.  The course will cover the technical, historical and creative aspects of photography.  Assignments will be based on level of experience with photography of the students enrolled in the class.

  • Credit: Any term Credit
  • Open to students entering grades 9-12
  • Teacher: Anne Aganon, BA Wesleyan University, BFA San Francisco Art Institute
  • Dates: June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

Visual Art: Ceramics
In this course, students learn the basics of working with clay. Through teacher demonstrations and online videos, students will be introduced to hand building techniques, throwing on the wheel, and different glazing and textural possibilities. Students will be asked to do two oral in-class presentations on a contemporary potter or sculptor. The class will also involve some writing about contemporary pottery as well as in-class critiques.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Open to students entering grades 9-12
  • Teacher: Anne Aganon, BA Weslyan University, BFA San Francisco Art Institute
  • Dates: June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

Non-Departmental Elective: Tiny House Construction
Are you concerned about the refugee crisis? How about the future of the planet? Do you like to work with your hands? If any of these questions sound like you, then please consider joining Elliot Jacobs and Scott Runkel as we complete construction of our environmentally-friendly Tiny House. For over a year, a group of Sun Valley Community School students have worked to fundraise, design, and build this 8' x 20' marvel, and all that's left for us is to complete construction of the interior and donate it to the Twin Falls Refugee Center, for a newly-relocated refugee family to enjoy. Come be part of the project and serve our community. This course will be completely homework-free and hands-on. You will learn a variety of construction techniques and work with a variety of tools. Problem-solving, initiative and enthusiasm are the only prerequisites. This course serves as a non-departmental elective.

  • Credit: Any term credit
  • Teacher: Elliot Jacobs, BA Bowdoin College, MA in English, University of Montana, MEd University of Montana
  • Dates: June 17-July 5, time TBD
  • Tuition: $1,100

College Admission and Test Prep

College Application Boot Camp
There are a great many colleges that accept the Common Application. It is a standard form through which you report and submit your family information, academic and testing data, activities and work experience, and your essay. It is not difficult, but it can be tedious and time consuming. If you would like to get the application all filled out and proofread before you start your senior year, this workshop is for you! In the four days, we will complete all sections of the application except the essay (consider writing that in our essay workshop!) and you will head into the application process with a great deal of the work already completed. For students who wish to apply to schools in the University of California system, there is a separate application, and once we finish the Common App, students can start on that as well. Once the fall term starts, you will be glad to have this out of the way and you will be on your way to being ready to apply to college! Open to students entering the 12th grade.

  • Instructor: Royce Mussman, BA Bowdoin College, MEd Northeastern University
  • Dates / Times: Session 1: Tues-Fri, August 6-9,1:00-3:00pm; Session 2: Tues-Fri, August 13-16, 1:00-3:00 p.m. 
  • Tuition: $275

College Essay Writing Workshop 
The fall term of your senior year can be overwhelming: classes, standardized tests, extracurriculars, senior projects, and college applications. Take this opportunity to get a significant jump-start on your applications through this essay writing workshop. The essay requires planning, time, and effective writing techniques. This workshop guides students through the writing of a personal statement for their applications. Students practice techniques for crafting descriptive and powerful writing, read and analyze sample essays, and brainstorm and select topics for their Common Application or UC essays. Each student will develop a working draft of an essay and will receive detailed feedback on two drafts of essays. Open to students entering the 12th grade.

  • Instructor: Chauncy Gardner Pogue, BA, Colgate University, MA New York University
  • Dates / Times: Session 1: Tues-Fri, August 6-9, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; Session 2: Tues-Fri, August 13-16, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
  • Tuition: $325

Outdoor Education

White Otter Adventures - Learn to Kayak - Two age groups, 12-14 & 15-18
White Otter Outdoor Adventures invites you to spend four days learning to whitewater kayak safely and competently on Idaho's Salmon River. American Canoe Association certified White Water Instructor and Swift Boat Technician, Elliot Jacobs, and the staff at White Otter Outfitters lead this exciting trip. We'll meet at 8 a.m. on the first day of camp at Community School in Sun Valley and then drive north to White Otter Headquarters in Sunbeam, Idaho, on the Salmon River. We'll spend the next four days and three nights learning the skill and art of whitewater kayaking. The class will camp together at Sunbeam. We will return to the Community School by 6pm on the last day of Camp. No experience necessary. Enrollment limited to 12 in each camp.

  • Lead Instructor: Elliott Jacobs, SWR Level IV, ACA Whitewater Instructor
  • Dates: Ages 15-18, Monday-Thursday, July 15-18
  • Dates: Ages 12-14, Monday-Thursday, July 22-25 
  • $600 (includes all boating equipment, food, transportation, instruction and supervision)

White Otter Adventures - SwiftWater Rescue, Level IV Certification
Offered in partnership with White Otter Outdoor Adventures, this two-day course will provide river users such as private boaters, guides and trip leaders with the skills and information that they will need when something goes bad on the river. With a mix of classroom instruction, hands-on practice, and exciting rescue scenarios, our aim is to make this class useful, informative and fun! Instruction will take place at the Community School and at various river locations around the area. Much of the instruction occurs near White Otter Headquarters north of Stanley. Camping is available at their location for $10 per night. Participants who complete the class will receive American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue, Level 4 certification. Participants must be 16 or older. For more details, prerequisites and required equipment, click here.

  • Lead Instructor: Elliot Jacobs, SWR Level IV, ACA Whitewater Instructor
  • Dates: Saturday-Sunday, July 27-28, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days
  • Tuition: $225
  • Age: 16 years and up

White Otter Adventures - Intermediate Kayaking (Ages 15-18)
For kayakers who are ready to take their game to the next level, join us for our Intermediate Kayak Camp. This camp will build on the foundational skills of the Beginner Kayak Course (or your own background in kayaking) and introduce performance paddling concepts such as surfing, advanced river running and slalom paddling. Instead of just making it down the rapids, let's do it with style! This course is open to any students with a background in kayaking and a generally-reliable river roll. We will match our river running choices to the interests and strengths of the group. Camping, instruction, gear and meals at the Sunbeam Cafe are all included.

  • Lead Instructor: Elliot Jacobs, SWR level IV, ACA Whitewater Instructor
  • Dates: Friday-Sunday, July 19-21
  • $500 (includes all boating equipment, food, transportation, instruction, and supervision)
  • Ages: 15-18

Driver's Education

Long time Sun Valley Community School teacher, Stacey Ward, has owned and operated the Sun Valley Driving School for many years. Stacey and her Driver's Education course are certified by the State of Idaho and students taking and passing the course will receive the certification required by the State to apply for a driver's license. To enroll, students must provide proof of residency in Blaine County and that their age is at least 14 years and 6 months by the start of the class. Open to Blaine County residents age 14 years and six months or older.

  • Teacher: Stacey Ward, BS, University of Wyoming
  • Specific dates & times revised to meet student schedules. Driving sessions available later in the summer. Contact Stacy at sward@communityschool.org for course details.
  • Cost: $575
  • Ages: Blaine County residents age 14 years and 6 months and up

Sports Camps

5B Lacrosse Camps (Boys and Girls grades 6 to 10 and grades 3-10 for the 2nd Week)
(Limited to the first 20 registered each week.)

Learn the game of lacrosse at Sun Valley Community School's remarkable Dumke Family Sagewillow campus with former Wood River Warriors Coach Aaron Prazenka and Meghan Gunn. Whether you are new to the game or building on years of experience and looking to push it to the next level, this camp will provide both the fun and the individualized instruction you would expect from the "fastest game on two feet." Players provide their own equipment: Boys - stick, gloves, helmet, mouthpiece, elbow and shoulder pads, and cleats - Girls - stick, mouthpiece, protective eyewear, and cleats. Gloves and headgear are optional for girls. Bring snacks for break time each day.

  • Head Coach: Aaron Prazenka, Former Wood River Warriors Coach
  • Assistant Coaches: Meghan Gunn
  • Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to noon
  • Dates: June 24-27; July 15-18
  • $175 per camp
  • Age: Boys and girls grades 6-10; Boys and girls grades 3-10 for 2nd Week

NITO Soccer Academy (boys & girls - ages 6 to 17)
The NITO soccer curriculum is carefully and specifically designed to emphasize, teach and improve these crucial facets of the game of soccer: footwork, ball control, speed, agility, technique, shooting and tactics. The game of soccer is fundamentally about a player’s ability to control the soccer ball under pressure in a competitive environment. To be effective and efficient in obtaining maximum success in the challenging situations of the game, players needs to improve these skills. Join us for one or both of these camps and take you game to the next level. To register for the camp, click here.

  • Instructors: NITO Soccer Academy professional staff
  • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-noon for ages 6-9
  • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for ages 10-17
  • July 8-12 and July 15-19
  • Pricing varies depending on age group. Check their website.
  • Ages: Boys and girls ages 6-17

one.Soccer School (boys & girls - ages 3 to 16)

Camp times and pricing varies depending on age group. “As the #1 Soccer Camp in the United States for player development, soccer education and dynamic Training Environments, one. Soccer Schools offer elite residential and day soccer camps & clinics.” Known for player development, one. camps offer a challenging environment where players play, learn, improve and have a BLAST! Our approach is an "attention to detail" and "fail your way to success" mentality. This is the place where dreams and ambitions are encouraged. Camps include qualified licensed international coaching staff, professional curriculum for the modern player, and a jersey and pro match ball. Camp Curriculum: Soccercize, Going 2 Goal, SAQ, Dribbling (1v1 & 2v1/s), Technique, Transition Games, Foot Volley and Small Sided Games, plus daily skills challenges and champions league! We also incorporate daily nutrition highlights and visualization.

Bring a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, indoor trainers and cleats and a hat, if needed, to protect from the sun. Programs include: Full Day Field Player / Goalkeeper (ages 9-16), ½ Day Field Player (ages 9-16), ½ Day Juniors (ages 5-9), and Jett (ages 3-4, 75-90 min / day). 

  • Instructors: one.Soccer School professional staff
  • July 15-19, all programs - Wood River High School
  • July 22-26, all programs - Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus
  • Monday-Friday: Times for each camp available at our website
  • Pricing varies depending on age group. To register via their website, click here
  • Ages: Boys and girls ages 3-16

Upper School Summer FAQs

Refund Policy

Courses may be canceled up until one week before the scheduled start date of the course. If the School cancels a course, a full refund will be issued to any student who has already paid for the course. However, no refunds will be issued to students who drop out of a course after the Monday before the course is scheduled to begin. The Summer Term daily schedule is subject to change as are the teachers who teach the courses. There is no guarantee as to when classes will meet or who the teacher will be until classes actually begin in a particular session. Refunds will not be issued for students who drop classes after the Monday before the course is scheduled to begin.

Maximum Course Load

Sun Valley Community School policy allows a student to take up to three for-credit classes with permission of both the Upper School Head and the Summer Term Director. Taking courses in the summer allows students more flexibility in structuring their academic year.

Summer Term Schedule

For-credit courses are offered June 17 through July 5 , 2019 (no classes on July 4).

Students must be available to take courses during any of the four summer term class periods between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Class periods are two hours in length beginning at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. each morning and at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. each afternoon. Classes may be scheduled into any of the four class periods. It is not possible to guarantee that a certain course will meet at a certain time until classes begin on June 17.

Summer Daily Schedule (See 2018 Schedule below for reference; subject to change)

Session I: June 17-July 5, 2019

2018 Schedule

  • 1st period: 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. - English 11/12: Immigrant Experience and Hemingway, English 10, English 9, Junior Thesis (Brendel), Field Biology
  • 2nd period: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. - History 12, U.S. History, History 10, History 9
  • 3rd period: 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. - Junior Thesis (Wesley), English 11/12: Multicultural Literature, Writing Across the Curriculum, Computer Science, Ceramics
  • 4th period: 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. - no classes offered this period

Because of demand, some courses may have more than one section. Depending on when the sections meet, they may or may not have the same teacher. Students will be assigned to multiple section courses randomly. Students who want to enroll in a course with multiple sections must be available to take the course in either section.

All class times are subject to change up until June 12. The daily schedule of when each class meets will be adjusted to maximize enrollment in all courses and give the most students possible the opportunity to take the courses they want. This may necessitate adjustments in the daily class schedule right up until classes begin. Students enrolling in summer term must be available to take classes during any of the four class periods that classes are scheduled in.

High School Credit

During its Summer Term, Sun Valley Community School students may receive a one term credit for courses once they have successfully completed all course requirements. Students from other schools may receive credit for these courses as well, but should make prior arrangements with their own school to ensure that credit will be granted. Access to final grades and comments will be available to students and parents by July, 2019, one week after the end of the Summer Term.

Honors Credit

Some courses are offered for honors credit at the discretion of the teacher. Because of the heavy workload required during the summer school sessions, students who want to take a course for honors credit must ask the instructor two weeks before the session begins if honors credit is offered for the course and be available to complete honors requirements both before and after the regular session dates.


Students should expect about an hour and a half of homework each night in each of the core, for-credit summer classes: English, history, math or science. This is essential in covering a full term's worth of content and reading. Elective courses, such as computer science, art, music, robotics, etc., will have little if any homework.


Due to the intensive nature of summer term courses (for example, taking a 12 week course in three weeks), missing even one day of class in the summer has a significant effect on the learning experience. Plan to take vacations or participate in other programs or camps before or after the summer term dates. For snow sport athletes, we have worked with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation coaches and directors to choose weeks for the summer term that have the fewest conflicts with training camps.

Please do not sign up for courses unless you can attend the full course on all the dates it is offered. Naturally, if a student is sick, he or she should stay home, and arrangements can be made to makeup missed work. Just like during the regular school year, excessive absences can result in an inability to obtain credit for a course. In general, our policy is that students should not register for Summer Term if they are unable to attend the announced dates for the courses. Direct any questions about absences to Lauren Marziliano.

Summer Boarding

High school students from out of the area who do not have living arrangements locally but still want to take Sun Valley Community School Summer Term classes for credit, may apply to stay in our supervised Residence Hall located in Ketchum. The Residence Hall will be available for Summer Term and will open Sunday, June 16 and close on Friday, July 5, 2019. This boarding option is enrollment dependent and will only be available if there is sufficient demand. For details, e-mail our Residential Life Director, Clay Wawner, at cwawner@communityschool.org.