Campus Life

Student Life

At Squaw Valley Academy, boarding and day students live in a close-knit and diverse community. Students study hard and play hard at Lake Tahoe, enjoying local and far-ranging field trips, led by SVA staff, that strengthen peer and school-community relations. Each school night, students attend mandatory two-hour academic study halls. Faculty and staff members are available to meet the academic and personal needs of each student.

Weekends on the Town

Students enjoy weekend excursions to Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, and other nearby towns and cities. Students and staff visit art and history museums, musicals, plays, shopping malls, and many other worthwhile sites. They also participate in fun activities such as go-karting, movies, monthly formal dinners, disc golf, and visits to the local skate parks.

A Creative Life

Squaw Valley Academy offers a broad range of courses in the arts. The art department on campus includes: photo development and prints, paints and canvases, project storage, pottery wheels with a firing kiln, and a separate music room.


International Students

International students enhance the community of Squaw Valley Academy. Through the U.S. Immigration Service, the Academy accepts nonresident international students, and we provide instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL). On campus, each international student shares a private dorm room with usually one other student. Two of the three dormitories have private bathrooms en suite.

Outdoor Education Programs

Through Outdoor Education, SVA helps students respect themselves, their peers, and the natural world. At the start of each year, students partake in low and high-level ropes courses that provide hands-on challenges in teamwork, good judgment, communication skills, and real accomplishment. All students participate in week-long Outdoor Education trips in the autumn and spring. A California boarding school, optional outdoor trips are offered including sea kayaking on Lake Tahoe, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, backpacking weekends, City tours to San Francisco, and many other trips.

Summer School

At SVA, we combine academic credit with summer fun at Lake Tahoe. Students may attend daily tutoring sessions or earn credit for one semester or one full-year course. During the afternoons and weekends, students participate in outdoor activities in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Year-Round Sports

As part of the mission of SVA, students enjoy maintaining a healthy body through year-round sports. Students may have the opportunity to participate in sports teams including soccer, baseball, golf, and tennis. Depending on the students’ interest, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly-fishing, and sea kayaking are a few examples of the outdoor sports that students enjoy in the scenic mountain area around Lake Tahoe.

During the winter, all students who meet or exceed SVA’s academic standards may ski and snowboard every day at nearby Squaw Valley USA. Most SVA students and staff members ski and ride recreationally, with no competition except with themselves and their friends. Other SVA students choose to join one of the three competitive teams: Squaw Valley Ski Team (JI, JII, and JIII downhill skiing and gate training), Squaw Valley Freestyle Team (development and competition levels of freestyle skiing), and Squaw Valley Snowboard Team (racing and freestyle coaching).

 Residential Life

SVA boarding students gain a strong sense of family and community by living with usually one-two roommates in a private room. Most rooms have a view of the surrounding Tahoe National Forest. The residential buildings have in-residence adult chaperones, free-of-charge laundry facilities, and lounges. SVA has limited high-speed wireless Internet; students are required to bring their own laptop computers.

The on-campus Dining Hall serves well-balanced meals each day. On weekdays, a additional soup and salad bar is offered with lunch, while students may also enjoy the salad bar with their dinner. Fresh fruit is available in the Dining Hall: usually apples, bananas, oranges in winter, with added cut-fruit melange at the salad bar, and in summer a mix of seasonal, locally grown fruit. Seven different local pluots (a cross between plums and apricots) are seen in summer.

 Spiritual Support

Squaw Valley Academy supports all religious beliefs and does not promote any one path of faith. Squaw Valley and Tahoe City provide spiritual ministry of many religions and denominations; transportation is available as needed.

Friedman, Jonathan 4-16-97

“I like that everyone at SVA knows each other, everyone cares about one another- from the headmaster to the groundskeeper. The teachers and staff know me, they know my strengths and weaknesses and they help me turn all of my weaknesses into strengths.”

– Jonathan, Class of 2015


During the spring and summer months students enjoy rafting on the Truckee River.

During fall and spring orientation, students participate in team building actvities to create new friendships and foster community.

Our annual fall trip to Camp Winthers allows ample time for students and faculty to bond.