Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho)

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Community School
One Community School Drive
Sun Valley, Idaho
Type Private
Motto From here... anywhere
Established 1973
Principal Ben Pettit
Faculty 37
Grades Pre-k through twelve
Number of students 399
Color(s) Navy & White
Athletics IHSAA Class 1A Div. I
Athletics conference North Side
Mascot The cutthroat trout
Information (208) 622-3955
Elevation 5,880 ft (1,790 m) AMSL
CommunitySchool is located in USA West
Location of The Community School
in the western United States

Community School is a private school in the western United States, located in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was established in 1973 as a secondary school and moved to its present location in 1975. The school now provides pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade programs, in addition to an Outdoor Program, Outdoor Leadership Academy, Sun Valley Ski Academy, and Residential Program. Its main campus is located just south of the Sun Valley Resort alongside Trail Creek, at the northwest base of Dollar Mountain.[1]

Nestled among five mountain ranges in the heart of the Wood River Valley, Community School is a small, independent pre-k through twelfth grade college preparatory school. Its website states: "From our campus to the wilderness, Community School’s mission is to inspire students to think critically, engage confidently, embrace challenges, and lead impactful, purposeful lives." [2]

The school's mascot is a blue cutthroat, a native fish in the area.


Community School athletic teams compete in IHSAA Class 1A Division I in the North Side Conference. The school colors are navy blue and white and its mascot is a cutthroat trout. The school fields teams in soccer, cross-country, track, basketball, golf, tennis, and volleyball (girls). The tennis and soccer teams compete in class 3A; the Cutthroats have won eight state championships in tennis through 2012.

Students wishing to participate in sports not provided, (football, baseball, swimming)[3] may compete at the public high school, Wood River in Hailey, a Class 4A school in the Great Basin (West) Conference.

State titles[edit]


  • Tennis (3): (3A) 2009, 2010, 2012 [4]


  • Tennis (5): (3A) 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 [4](combined team until 2008)

Sun Valley Ski Academy[edit]

The Sun Valley Ski Academy was introduced in 2011 to provide competitive skiers and snowboarders with world-class training and coaching from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation combined with an excellent college preparatory education at Community School.[5] Former World Cup racer and two-time Olympian Jonna Mendes is the Program Director[6] and renowned mountaineer Ed Viesturs, a local resident, is an advisor.[7] For its fifth academic year of 2015–16, the program's enrollment was 68, with the majority in alpine racing, but also included athletes in cross-country, freestyle, and snowboard.[8]

Residential Program[edit]

In 2011, Community School’s Residential Program welcomed its first eight students. Since then, the program has grown to 23 students. Students currently live in the Bald Mountain Inn, which the school leases. Residential Advisors (RAs) provide adult supervision in the dorm, oversee meals and study halls, help organize weekend and evening activities, and help students navigate the academic, athletic, and social challenges that arise in high school. Boarding students are fully integrated into the life of the school, and participate on teams, in clubs, and in theater performances. Residential students, who come from across the nation and around the globe, include winter athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and dedicated scholars. Community School offers residential students a distinctive education unlike any other – outstanding academics and character development, reinforced by singular outdoor and winter sports experiences. This unique educational approach differentiates Community School from other boarding schools.

Outdoor Program and Outdoor Leadership Academy[edit]

Through challenging and inspiring wilderness experiences, Community School's Outdoor Program supports and enhances the school’s mission. Each trip fosters personal growth, teamwork, and leadership and strengthens the strong student-faculty relationships that are the cornerstone of a Community School education. The outdoors is an inspiring classroom and students, from the youngest members of the ECC to graduating seniors, learn not only wilderness skills but also develop a lifelong love for wild places. Community School students climb mountains and cliffs, run river rapids, explore wild coasts and deserts, and overnight in snow shelters. Through these adventures with a purpose, students develop the confidence to take risks and overcome challenges and adversity. Now in its fourth year, the Outdoor Leadership Academy provides authentic leadership opportunities to Upper School students. This three or four-year program develops the skills, experience, and certifications students need to lead outdoor trips, and fosters general leadership skills that can be transferred to any setting. Students complete core requirements in addition to one skill-based section in Mountain and Rock, River, Backcountry Winter Travel, or Wilderness Travel. Though intensive, the program allows students to also focus on academics and other interests.


  1. ^ "History". The Community School. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Athletics". The Community School. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Tennis champions" (PDF). 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 15, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mendes Joins Sun Valley Ski Academy Staff". Ski October 11, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jonna Mendes named Ski Academy recruiting director". Idaho Mountain Express. October 14, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ O'Neil, Devon (October 26, 2011). "Sun Valley launches ski academy". ESPN. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sun Valley Ski Academy is off to early season successes". Idaho Mountain Express. February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°41′21″N 114°21′12″W / 43.68917°N 114.35333°W / 43.68917; -114.35333