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Da Vinci Schools Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

Da Vinci Schools - 10th AnniversaryWe’re excited to start the 2018-19 school year – our 10th Anniversary!  Whether you have been a member of the Da Vinci family for the last decade, are just joining us, or are a friend of Da Vinci, we hope you share our enthusiasm for the year ahead.

In 2009, we launched two schools – Da Vinci Design and Da Vinci Science – with 445 students. Today, we serve more than 2,100 students at Da Vinci Connect (formerly DVIA), Da Vinci Communications, Da Vinci Design, Da Vinci RISE High, Da Vinci Science, and Da Vinci Extension.

Our job as educators is to prepare students for an increasingly complex and accelerating world. While studies show that getting a college degree is a gateway to the middle class and higher lifetime earnings, we acknowledge that college is not the only pathway to becoming an independent and fulfilled adult. Ten years ago we said all kids should go to college. Today, we believe all kids should have access to college and that we ought to do everything we can as an organization to help students complete college if this is the path they choose. Da Vinci has one of the best college-ready rates in the state with 98% of our students graduating UC and Cal State eligible (a rate 51% higher than the state average). Students in the Class of 2018 were accepted to many right fit colleges and universities across the nation, which is a tribute to our students, families, college counselors, school leaders, and our trustees who set the stage for this to happen 10 years ago.

Interns performing basic wound care on a dog

Da Vinci interns performing basic wound care @ El Segundo Animal Hospital

Our students also are gaining valuable workplace skills through career pathway classes, internships, and other real-world learning experiences. This summer, 50 students participated in internships as part of our Real World Learning program. Students learned skills such as taking initiative, communication, work ethic, leadership, team work, accountability, flexibility, and a positive attitude. We are deeply grateful to the following organizations that hosted interns this summer:  Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Cal Water Service, El Segundo Animal Hospital, Xero Solar, New Earth, FIDM, NAPAcenter, Surgery Center of the Pacific, ThinkLogic, Westchester Recreation Center, and more!

We hosted over 300 students at Da Vinci Summer Camp. From Robotics to Graphic Design, Art Studio to Coding/Game Design, Speech & Debate to Board Games, there was something for children of all ages and interests.

Also this summer, we hosted the 2018 Da Vinci STEM Summit in partnership with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Northrop Grumman. Cal Poly professors presented mini workshops on design thinking, visual communication, improving math instruction, learning by doing, and more. They also provided feedback to our teachers on their upcoming projects.

Gymnasium - Wiseburn high school campus

Phase 2: The Gymnasium

This summer also saw extensive technology, facilities, and security upgrades and cleaning to both Wiseburn campuses (at 201 N. Douglas, home of Da Vinci Design, Communications and Science), and at 13500 Aviation Blvd, home to Da Vinci Connect, RISE and Extension. We’ve installed latches on all classroom doors to enhance security, implemented a new online content filter system, installed new projectors, reimaged 2000+ devices, performed server and network maintenance and updates, built electrical infrastructure for a new kitchen at the Wiseburn high school campus, added electrical power to some of our labs, performed deep cleaning and painting at all campuses, and more. Meanwhile, construction continues on Phase 2 at the new campus. The aquatics center and gym are expected to be completed in Fall 2018 and the athletic field in early 2019. In partnership with Wiseburn leadership, Da Vinci Connect is preparing for a move to the Del Aire campus, potentially as early as Winter Break. In addition, Wiseburn is undergoing a comprehensive master facility planning initiative under the leadership of Dr. Blake Silvers, the new superintendent of Wiseburn Unified, and the Wiseburn trustees.

Professional Development at Da Vinci Schools

Professional Development @ Da Vinci RISE High

Our teachers returned to school in the beginning of August for nearly two weeks of professional development. Da Vinci teachers receive approximately 20 days of professional development each year for collaborative planning to ensure that every student who graduates from Da Vinci Schools is college-ready, career-prepared, and community-minded.  Over the past two weeks, teachers have been engaged in extensive training around our Staff/Student Interaction Policy (staff/student boundaries) and our employee Social Media Policy which was recently updated. Teachers also have done planning around upcoming projects, differentiated instruction, special education, and more. In addition, Da Vinci Science teachers participated in a day-long design thinking and brainstorming workshop, facilitated by Cal Poly Professor Dr. Lauren Cooper, to generate solutions to homework and workload issues.

It takes a village to deliver real-world learning. As part of our professional development, teachers presented their upcoming projects to about 25 industry partners at Friday’s Project Pitch Day. Industry professionals gave Da Vinci teachers feedback to make their projects more real world and relevant. We are deeply grateful to 72andSunny, Belkin, Northrop, Gensler, Karten Design, Cal Water Service, and Karl Storz, among others.

The start of the new school year is always a special time on our campuses with new students and staff, new friendships, new real-world projects, and new opportunities.

Here’s to a wonderful 10th Anniversary!