Returning to Campus and Staying Connected Through the Spring

Spring has arrived! Our campuses are coming back to life again after more than a year of our physical buildings being closed due to COVID-19. We had a fantastic first week back from Spring Break with more than 1,000 Da Vinci students joining us on our campuses for the first time this school year. All of the pre-planning and preparation with new safety protocols in place created a space for a smooth transition back to campus.

All families were offered the opportunity to sign up for weekly on-campus time, and 100% of requests are being honored. Some students came onto campus for academic support, small group counseling, or to utilize quiet workstations, and many took part in community-building activities, social-emotional connections, celebrations of our seniors, and more. Many activities are taking place outdoors to maximize safety and capacity. It was wonderful to see students reconnect with their teachers, counselors, and each other! 

At DV Connect TK-8, our youngest students (some who have never been on a campus before) enjoyed yoga, kickball, scavenger hunts, and more during their first week back. A Connect family who are residents of Wiseburn said, “Too much for words. My kids are home from their first day back and they are over the moon with joy. They said it was absolutely magnificent. Thank you so much everyone who is working so hard to make this possible.”

DV Communications held a graduation cap decorating event for the Class of 2021. It was great to reconnect in a relaxed, welcoming and comfortable environment. “Being back at school felt surreal,” said a DVC senior. “I was surrounded by friends and got to talk with teachers I hadn’t seen in a while. The event was really fun and well organized. I felt safe and look forward to another one of these events.”

DV Design welcomed its 9th grade students onto campus for the first time this school year. They were excited to tour the campus, see their classrooms, and connect with each other. Next week, all 9-12th grade students will have the opportunity to participate in in-person, grade level activities. 

At DV Science, students took advantage of on-campus workstations and reconnected with their teachers, academic coaches, counselors, and each other. “I work way better here. I’m not distracted by my dog and my guitar and my other things. I can just focus on class. Plus I get to see people between classes and at lunch. It was a good day,” said a DVS student.

As a new school in its first year, it was amazing to see about 50% of DV Connect High School students come together for the first time. A highlight was when students on-campus played charades along with students Zooming in from home–they successfully kept their community together, even while being 6-feet apart and a computer screen apart!

During the campus closure, a new Da Vinci RISE High site opened virtually with nonprofit partner New Earth. RISE students got to meet their teachers in-person for the first time this week. There were lots of smiles and excited students and staff!

While many students are looking forward to returning to campus, some are thriving during remote learning. “I like everything about remote learning — the time we have in class, the teachers, the work we do. I feel that it is not as stressful.” Another said, “I really enjoy the virtual setting. It allows me to have more time to sleep or more time for homework because I don’t have to spend an hour walking to and from school.” Some students who are reluctant to share or respond out loud in class are finding they are more comfortable in a virtual setting using the chat and private messaging features.

Another student shared, “I had my first school volleyball practice today! The virtual setting is good academic-wise. This is probably my strongest academic year. Remote learning brings you closer to the teachers (due to having one-on-one sessions) which I love because I have great bonds with them!”

We can’t wait to welcome more students back to our campuses in the coming weeks! 

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