By Dustin Shipman BSSD Superintendent

“The Ram’s Horn” is a regular column by Big Sky School District Superintendent Dustin Shipman, offering news and insight from the district.

We are nearly finished with the first semester of the school year and students are busy with extra-curricular activities, school-related tasks and other endeavors. This time of year in Big Sky, most outdoor activities involve snow; skiing – both Nordic and alpine – are sports supported here in the district.

Each year, as part of the school program, BSSD kids from kindergarten through 12th grade have three ski days while school is in session. Through a partnership with Boyne Resorts, our students receive lessons, gear and a great time at no cost to their families. In addition, our k-8th grade students enjoy Nordic skiing through the generosity of Lone Mountain Ranch. These are both lifelong sports that help us fulfill our mission of experiential learning and addressing a student holistically.

At Ophir Middle School and Lone Peak High School, some of our students are not only busy competing around the state with basketball, but are also contending on the snow with the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation. While skiing is not a recognized sport by any education authority in Montana, BSSEF has a robust program that requires a partnership with the school for successful student athletes.

Big Sky schools and BSSEF have a relationship in which student-athletes gain the same classification as our school related extra-curricular activities. That means we work with the ski team coaches; athletes have standards for grades they must adhere to; athlete absences are excused; and BSSEF competitors are recognized publicly for superior performance.

We have approximately 100 student-athletes training and competing with one of the BSSEF programs. Partnerships of this kind do not come easily and we’ve worked hard to make this a reality for our students. Research has shown a strong connection between healthy students, high achievement and participation in extra-curricular activities.

We are proud of all our student-athletes in the Big Sky School District as they pursue the peak of excellence in their athletic endeavors.