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Connecting Education to Employment

(September 2016) -- Last month, Da Vinci hosted its first-ever Project Pitch Panel - an event in which industry professionals provided real world feedback to teachers on their upcoming projects in order to incorporate industry knowledge and skills into the curriculum.

All teachers at Da Vinci Design and Communications presented their interdisciplinary project ideas to a panel of industry experts, who then provided feedback, real world resources, and network contacts to make the projects more relevant to the 21st century workplace.

Teachers were incredibly excited about the opportunity to collaborate with industry on their projects. "The diverse minds in the classroom provided fruitful feedback that enabled my grade-level team to open our eyes to new possibilities" shared one grade level team. Another team shared that they had a "good mix of representatives from the Marketing, Non-Profit, Design and Medical fields which provided a variety of perspectives to help flesh out projects."

Industry professionals saw a behind-the-curtain view of Da Vinci Schools' planning process to gain a better understanding of the project based learning model. Participants infused the reality and opportunities provided by their businesses into teacher curriculum planning. "We are happy to offer continued feedback or insights into process or strategy in digital/marketing/design/development projects and would love to return for the web app pitches", said Jason Widmann, Director of User Experience at Stellar Digital Design Agency.

Participants in the Fall 2016 Project Pitch Panel included Stellar Design, Mattel, 72andSunny, Karten Design, Quest Nutrition, Belkin International, Susan G. Komen, Habitat for Humanity, and Deutsch.

This summer, 23 students from Da Vinci's three high schools participated in internships. Placement industries included Design, Engineering, Nonprofit, Aerospace, Fashion, Health Sciences, Law and Computer Science.

Karen Moore, Habitat for Humanity's ReStore Acquisitions and Marketing Manager, says that their internship concentrated on raising the ReStores' awareness via Instagram. Moore shared that Habitat LA "saw a steady increase in engagement on the site" with an average of 25-35 likes per photo that was posted daily and at least 1-2 comments from interested or engaged followers due to their Da Vinci intern, Zimri Rodriguez.

Rachel Greenberg, a 12th grader at Da Vinci Science who serves as the Mechanical Design Director on the robotics team, gained real-world experience through her internship at SpaceX. "During my time in the IT Department at SpaceX, I learned an array of tasks: imaging computers, archiving computers, putting a computer back onto the domain, setting up VPN for computers and phones, how to build computers, and so much more." says Rachel. "Working at SpaceX has helped me understand what I want to do with my life, where I want to go, and who I want to be. After this experience, I feel like a more confident, powerful, and responsible person." > See related article

About: Space Interior Design in El Segundo offered a paid internship to Naiomi Logan, a Da Vinci Design 12th grade student. Naiomi was a "true asset to the studio this summer. She was cheerfully willing to take on any task, even those that pushed her outside her comfort zone. She is resourceful, intelligent, and mature well beyond her years!" shared Principal Josette Murphy. Naiomi made such a contribution to About: Space that she has been offered a part time position through the school year.


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