Our Story - Da Vinci Schools  

Our Story

A 21st century education
We are a public charter school network serving close to 2,100 students from 80+ zip codes in four high schools, a K-8 home school-hybrid model, and a college completion support program.

Da Vinci Schools’ college and career-ready model puts real-world, project-based learning aligned to workforce needs at the center of a collaborative learning environment. Industry and higher education partners play a vital role by defining the knowledge and skills sets students need to know for college and 21st century jobs.

We do things differently
Learning is different at Da Vinci Schools. It’s up close. Personal. Hands-on. Our goal is to graduate students who are college-ready, career-prepared, and community-minded.

At a Glance

2009
Opened
5
Public charter schools
1
college completion support program
2100
Students
2
miles from LAX, Da Vinci Schools are surrounded by aerospace, tech and creative neighbors
80
+
different zip codes
99
%
of Da Vinci students graduate UC/Cal State eligible (A-G completion rate)
1
Groundbreaking district-charter partnership model
Two students reading
Students Utilizing Beakers

Impact

1500
+
educators from 6 continents have come to Da Vinci to study our best practices
1200
+
Da Vinci students have gained valuable workplace skills through work experience or internships
100
+
industry partners, including Belkin, Northrop, Chevron, Boeing, Gensler, SpaceX, Raytheon and 72andSunny, engage with Da Vinci to provide a bridge between the classroom and the workplace
#
1
“Da Vinci Schools are among the very finest I’ve seen.” – Dr. David Brown, former Executive Director, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Innovation

1

of only 10 schools in the U.S.
to win a $10 million XQ ‘Super School’
grant to reimagine high school

1

of only 8 schools in the nation to win
a Wave III Next Generation Learning
Challenges grant for innovation in
college readiness and completion

1

of Getting Smart’s 75 Top
School and Charter
Networks in the nation

Core Values

We exist as an organization to serve students to the very best of our individual and collective abilities.

We believe schools can make a profound difference in the lives of children, communities, and the future workforce.

We work towards a shared mission, vision and purpose around project-based learning, real-world connections, and professional growth.

We approach our work with humility, honesty and a growth mindset, and we encourage and celebrate success, progress, and risk-taking.

We have good intentions and assume that of our colleagues.

We speak directly and respectfully to each other when issues or disagreements arise between us and seek mutual understanding.

We create and cultivate a cohesive, caring and trusting environment that is best for both students and adults in our community.

We have a collaborative, open-source mentality.

Integrity, both collectively and individually, are at the core of how we conduct ourselves.

We are humble stewards of our organization’s resources.

We embrace equity and diversity in all of its forms and consider it to be one of our greatest strengths.

History

2008
The K-8 Wiseburn School District authorized two independent charter schools, known as the Wiseburn 21st Century Charter Schools, to provide a neighborhood high school option for its residents and other students. In an ideation workshop, students named the schools Da Vinci Schools after Leonardo da Vinci who was accomplished in both the arts and sciences, and who learned by doing. This integrated approach to learning was the vision for Da Vinci Schools.

2009
Da Vinci Science and Da Vinci Design High Schools officially opened their doors on August 18, 2009 in Hawthorne, CA, with 445 students.

2011
The Da Vinci Innovation Academy opened its doors on August 25, 2011, offering families a new hybrid approach to K-8 education that combines school-site instruction with home-based learning.

2012
Da Vinci Schools was one of only eight projects in the nation awarded a Wave III Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundations, to start a new high school-college pathway with a real-world, project-based curriculum and an increased focus on computer-based instruction.

2013
Funded in part by the NGLC grant, Da Vinci Communications opened with 64 9th grade students and an optional 5th year of high school providing students the opportunity to complete up to one year of college credit while in high school.

2014
Da Vinci was awarded a $52.7 million state grant through the Charter School Facilities Program to complete the new high school campus at 201 N. Douglas Street in El Segundo, in partnership with the Wiseburn Unified School District.

Wiseburn Unified School District, formerly Wiseburn School District, became California’s newest K-12 unified school district on July 1, 2014. Da Vinci Schools now serve as Wiseburn Unified’s “home” high schools.

2015
Da Vinci launched a college completion support program in 2015-16 known as Da Vinci Extension (DVX), in partnership with UCLA Extension. DVX later added a second higher education partner, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University to provide Da Vinci students with a 13th and 14th grade option to complete their A.A. or Bachelor’s degree at Da Vinci for free.

Da Vinci Schools and Wiseburn Unified officially broke ground on a new world-class, 21st century high school campus in El Segundo, CA, slated to open in Fall 2017.

2016
The Da Vinci RISE High model was created with the help of 30 founding students. RISE High was one of only 10 schools in the nation to win a $10 million XQ ‘Super School’ grant to reimagine high school. RISE High was created for youth in need of a flexible learning schedule, including students experiencing housing instability, foster youth, and students who are extremely credit deficient.

2017
In Fall 2017, Da Vinci Communications, Da Vinci Design and Da Vinci Science will move into their new campus located at 201 N. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA.

RISE High opened a second site in South Los Angeles at A Place Called Home to provide robust educational opportunities and wraparound counseling, tutoring, and diverse extracurricular opportunities.