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In This Issue
Freezin' for a Reason: Students take Polar Plunge for Special Olympics
Da Vinci Students Win Second Place in Northrop Grumman Innovation Challenge
Congratulations to the Pancho Barnes Film Contest Winners
Community Partner Spotlight: Belkin
How You Can Help
Project Focus: To Aim or Not To Aim . . . Trebuchet!

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16 - Cafe con la directora  9 am

26 - Pupil-Free Day

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LMU School of Education


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Da Vinci Schools
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250

(310) 725-5800

Matthew Wunder, Ed.D. Executive Director

Nicole Tempel


Dear Da Vinci Families and Friends:


One of our goals at Da Vinci Schools is to inspire a lifelong love of learning.  As adults, we can inspire and encourage a love of learning, but we can't really teach it. What we can do is provide a high-quality educational program where students are encouraged to develop their own ideas, take chances, express their feelings, make choices, share opinions, and most of all, grow to be strong individuals.

We think we are doing a really good job because our students love to be here!  Our average daily attendance rate is more than 98% -- meaning that on any given day more than 98% of our students are in school.  The average daily attendance rate for public high school students in Los Angeles County is about 90%.

The attendance rate is a good barometer of students' satisfaction and is the best predictor of academic success.

High attendance is a win-win situation for all.  Students show greater learning gains and our schools receive more funding based on California's school funding formula.

Students, parents and teachers -- keep up the great work!!!

With gratitude,

Matthew Wunder, Ed.D.
Executive Director
Freezin' for a Reason:  Students take Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Polar Plunge

By Geraldine L., 9th grade - Da Vinci Design

On Saturday, February 27th, 2010, the Polar Plunge took place at Zuma beach in Malibu, California. There were over 80 participants from Da Vinci Design attending the event.  The morning began cold and pouring rain. However, the rain miraculously stopped and the clouds parted for the warm sun to shine on student just before their plunge into the icy water. Students in t-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, wetsuits, and Speedos all took a swim at exactly 10 o'clock.  Our school won an award for the most participants attending the Polar Plunge and we raised over $2,300. Students' fundraising efforts and brave dive into the ocean paid off and the money was raised for a great cause, the Special Olympics.  Although the morning was tiring and cold, the event ended in pure smiles and happiness.
Da Vinci Students Win Second Place in Northrop Grumman Innovation Challenge

Innovation Challenge 2010

A team of students from Da Vinci Science won second place in Northrop Grumman's 2nd Annual High School Innovation Challenge held on Feb. 18 at Northrop's Aerospace Systems campus in Redondo Beach. 

The team applied their math and science skills to a real-world engineering project by designing and building a remote controlled airplane it called Da Vinci Dragon. This year's challenge was based on the X-47B stealth Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a tailless, jet-powered unmanned combat air system designed to operate from a carrier deck.

The competition, held in observance of National Engineers Week, was open to South Bay high school students.  Students were given a box of electronic and propulsion parts and a $100 budget.  There were some general rules:  the plane had to weigh less than 2 lbs., it could be of any configuration except rotary wing design, and the aircraft had to fly in three stages totaling 5 minutes. The scoring was based on presentation, flying speed and endurance.  The winning team was from El Segundo High School.

The Da Vinci team was broken down into a Design Team, Build Team and Presentation Team.

Team members were: Agustin Q., Aaron W., Erin B., Marianna C., Kassandra C., Kaila F., Rachel F., Mia H., Laura C. and Anthony S.

The students were supported by volunteer Northrop engineer Calvin Ting and Jorge Del Real, an engineering teacher at Da Vinci.

Congratulations, Team Da Vinci!!

Northrop Grumman is a valued Da Vinci Schools' Community Partner, offering students a wealth of opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Congratulations to the Pancho Barnes Film Contest Winners

Using technology resources available in the new Northrop Grumman Innovation Lab, Da Vinci Design students Amy C., Penny M. and Katherine D. (all 9th graders) took first place in the Pancho Barnes Film Contest held in conjunction with National Engineers Week, Feb. 14-20.  The contest was co-sponsored by Da Vinci Schools and Northrop Grumman. Pancho Barnes

A legend in the aviation community, Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (1901-1975) was one of the first female pilots to be licensed in the U.S., and one of the most respected pilots of the Golden Age of Flight.  She was a renowned stunt pilot, and became the "Fastest Woman on Earth" on August 4, 1930, when she beat the world's speed record set by Amelia Earhart. Later, Barnes gained international fame when she founded The Happy Bottom Riding Club, at what is now Edwards Air Force Base.

Contest entrants had to create a tribute film to Pancho Barnes no longer than two minutes in length.  Entries were judged on historical accuracy, production quality, and entertainment value. 

The winning team used Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie to create the film.  To view the winning film, click on the link below:  http://www.youtube.com/davincischools#p/a/u/0/LKL1vhWQMYg.

Congratulations to Amy, Penny and Katherine!
Community Partner Spotlight

Belkin logo

We are deeply grateful to Chet Pipkin and Belkin International for their extraordinary contributions to Da Vinci Schools in the form of technology infrastructure, in-kind support, and strategic business advice.  Chet, Belkin's Chairman and Founder, serves as Board President of Da Vinci Schools' Board of Trustees. 

The Pipkin Family and Belkin International have donated financial assistance as well as computer cables, surge protectors, routers and wireless networking devices to Da Vinci.  Belkin also donated the embroidered laptop backpacks to every Da Vinci student at the start of the school year. In his role as Board President, Chet brings exceptional experience and business acumen at the highest levels on strategic and financial planning, building effective organizations, tactical management and executive leadership. 

Chet built Belkin from the humble beginnings of his family's Hawthorne garage, manufacturing and selling printer cables.  One of the fastest growing computer and consumer electronics companies in the world, Belkin now has 1,200 employees and nearly $1 billion in revenue producing everything from wireless routers to iPod accessories.  Although he no longer runs the company day-to-day, Chet still spends part of his time on corporate governance and stewardship, and is also very involved in philanthropy and public policy work. 

A Wiseburn native who attended Dana Middle School (the very facility that currently houses Da Vinci Schools), Chet has a long history of community involvement and working with children. He has been actively involved in the YMCA's Youth & Government program for over 30 years and serves on its Governing Board, as well as the boards of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He has coached at least one, and often two AYSO soccer teams every year for 15 years.

We appreciate Chet's commitment to Da Vinci Schools, and the generosity of the Pipkin Family, Belkin and all of our community partners who make such a difference in our students' lives.
How You Can Help

Investing In Excellence

State budget cuts have resulted in an approximate funding loss of $370,000 for the 2009-2011 school years.  We must join together to help bridge the gap between what the state provides and what it really costs to deliver an outstanding eduction. Gifts to the ANNUAL GIVING CAMPAIGN will be used to fund internships and mentoring programs; laptops and enhanced technology; field trips to public and private colleges; project-based learning materials; and after-school sports, clubs and tutoring.


The suggested donation amount is $365 per family (only $1 a day).  All donations are 100% tax-deductible.

Please give what you can.  Every gift, no matter how large or small, has an impact.  Make yours today!

Drop off a check made payable to Da Vinci Schools or mail it to:
Da Vinci Schools, 13500 Aviation Blvd., Hawthorne, CA  90250. 

Or call us at (310) 725-5800 to pay by credit card. 

Or click here to make a secure online PayPal donation or download a donation form/pledge card if you wish to pay in installments.

Many local companies have MATCHING GIFT PROGRAMS that can double or even triple your gift. Contact your company's H.R. office today and find out if it has a matching gift program.  If it does, provide us with the paperwork and we'll do the rest.

For more information about our Annual Giving Campaign, please visit our FAQ page or contact Sara Deulofeu at (310) 725-5800 or giving@davincischools.org.

Thank you for your generous support!
To Aim or Not To Aim . . . TREBUCHET!

TrebuchetPROJECT FOCUS:  Engineering students are studying math and physics by designing, building and firing medieval-style trebuchets that are capable of launching objects over a distance of 30 feet and looking really cool. The trebuchet was an invaluable Medieval siege attack weapon, similar to a catapult, which was used for hurling heavy stones to smash castle or city walls. Here at Da Vinci Schools, students are using PVC pipes, string, T joints, wood dowels, fabric, water bottles filled with sand, and golf balls as the launching object, to build their own trebuchets.  As part of the unit, students are calculating the trajectory of the ball's travel from its starting point to its ending point represented by a quadratic equation.  Students are being introduced to parabolas, the square root of negative numbers, and the concept of imaginary numbers.  They are solving and graphing quadratic equations, plotting points along the trajectory using the vertex point and roots or y-intercept. They are also journaling their findings as well as video recording the three faces of a function. The Trebuchet Project is a really fun and exciting way for students to study energy, trajectories, ratios, inertia, forces and more!