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In This Issue
Exhibition Night -- A Great Success!
In the News
Da Vinci Students Visit College Campuses
Da Vinci Students Win First, Second Place at L.A. County Science Fair
Our Experience at Belkin
Dr. Donald Brann -- A Life Story Comes Full Circle
Community Partner Spotlight: Chevron
Annual Giving Campaign Ends May 31st

CA poppies

3-7  Teacher Appreciation Week

3 - New Teacher     Information Meeting
  6 pm

4 - Coffee with the Principal 8 am

10 - Parent Group Meeting
 6 pm

10-14  CST Testing
(minimum day schedule - 1pm dismissal for most students)

18 - Cafe con la directora
8 am

30 - Registration Fee and Reservation Deadline for Summer School

Order A Copy of the Yearbook Today!!!

Yearbook Cover

The 2009-2010 yearbook will be a treasured keepsake and a lasting memory of our first school year at
Da Vinci Schools.  

The yearbook has pictures of all the school year's highlights including student and faculty portraits, projects, sports, clubs and so much more. It's all beautifully printed in color and hardbound in one spectacular edition!

May -  $30 each

June - $35 each

Cash only, please.  

Yearbooks are being sold during lunch and after school.
Or you can purchase your yearbook in the Main Office.

Service Hours

Due to the busy nature of our first full school year and our focus on meeting the needs of our students, we are reducing the service hour requirement for families and students from 25 hours to 15 hours
for the 2009-2010 school year only

To log your time, please download the forms below.


Family Service Hours Log [pdf]

Student Service Hours Log [pdf]

For more information, please contact Yolanda Saldana-Bautista at ysaldana@davincischools.org.

Our Community Partners

Belkin International, Inc.

The Boeing Company
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


El Camino College

Grandparents as Parents
High Tech High


Los Angeles Small School Center
LMU School of Education


Northrop Grumman
Otis College of Art & Design

reDiscover Center

Studio Printing



Vistamar School

West L.A. College

Quick Links

Our Web Site


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Da Vinci Schools
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250

(310) 725-5800

Matthew Wunder, Ed.D. Executive Director

Nicole Tempel, Ed.D.


Dear Da Vinci Families and Friends:

As we wind down the school year, there are some important things we want to share with you regarding our upcoming testing schedule and summer school options. 

CST Testing

All students will take the California Standards Tests (CST's) the week of May 10-14, 2010.  We will be observing a minimum day schedule during this week.  Students will be dismissed at 1 pm following lunch.  Students who are at risk of receiving an incomplete in any class will be required to stay until 3:45 pm -- the usual dismissal time -- in order to work on bringing up his or her grade.  We will be scheduling Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences during the afternoon hours for those students.  We wish to remind all of our students to get a good night's sleep, take a deep breath, and do your best!   

Summer Opportunities at Da Vinci Schools

We are offering four different Summer Programs to meet the needs of our students:

Academic Support/Credit Recovery
1.  Skill Building Intensive Instruction (July 6-30)
2.  Credit Recovery Hybrid Program (July 6-30)

Enrichment and College Prep
3.  College Classes:  Aerospace Machining at El Camino College (June 28-August 17)
4.  College Bridge Enrichment Program (July 12-22)

For more information about our summer programs, including fees and enrollment, please click here.  Partial scholarships are available for some courses. A $25 non-refundable registration fee is due by May 30 to reserve your spot.  Spaces are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Thank you for your continued support.


Nicole Tempel, Ed.D.

Exhibition Night -- A Great Success!

We held our 2nd Exhibition Night on April 8 as students presented their major projects from the semester to an audience of students, parents, faculty, subject-matter experts, mentors, community members and industry professionals.  Using oral presentations and digital media, students demonstrated how they were able to tackle real-world complex problems requiring critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and effective communication -- all skills that are vital to academic and lifelong success.  Exhibitions are an important component of project-based learning and assessment, and provide a comprehensive view of each student's knowledge and mastery of the curriculum. 

This semester, students participated in a school-wide Olympics project. Students selected a country to study, learned about its history, culture, economic condition, government, tourism, and transportation, as well as the physics of Olympic sports.  The countries competed in an Academic Decathlon on Apr. 5. The competition was fierce with Team Haiti coming out on top in a tiebreaker. Students also participated in many sporting events, including basketball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, a tug-of-war and much more.  


9th grade Science students Ariana M. and Catherine R., representing Zimbabwe, show off traditional drums, bows and arrows to Kyle L. of Team Macedonia.  Ariana and Catherine studied Tourism, Cultural Pride & the Arts.  They learned the ways in which Zimbabwe's culture is similar to and different from American culture, as well as the importance of looking at the world from a different perspective.  Zimbabwe won the proposal competition to host the Olympic Games at Da Vinci Schools.  Way to go, Team Zimbabwe!!      


Alyssa T., a 9th grade Science student, thoughtfully discusses Augusto Pinochet's rise to power with parent Mauricio Lopez.  Alyssa created a paper mache balloon documenting the life of the Chilean dictator who she called the "Hitler of Chile." 


Michael S., a 9th grade Design student, shows off his research on China's People's Liberation Army.  The PLA is the world's largest military force with 2.3 million active troops.  Military service in China is compulsory for all men ages 18 and over.  However, a draft has never been enforced due to large numbers of volunteers. 
In the News

The Daily Breeze reported on our recent Exhibition Night in an article entitled, Hawthorne school makes it fun. We are extremely proud of our students and faculty who have worked so hard this year.  Learning is fun at Da Vinci Schools!!  Our real-world "learn by doing" curriculum keeps kids engaged, focused, and on task so they can acquire the skills necessary to be successful in college and the 21st century workplace.
Da Vinci Students Visit College Campuses

On April 27 and 28th, Da Vinci students visited the campuses of UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Cal State L.A., and Claremont Colleges.

Students toured the campuses, met with admissions representatives, learned about financial aid and scholarships, and received materials to evaluate each school. 

College visits are essential for college and career awareness.  Students gain an appreciation for the importance of higher education and the academic preparation needed for success. As part of our academic program, every Da Vinci student will go on at least one college field trip each year.

USC College Days

Da Vinci students visit USC.
Da Vinci Students Win First, Second Place at L.A. County Science Fair, Headed for State Science Fair

Da Vinci sophomore Jared C. and freshman Brian V. took home top honors at the 60th Annual Los Angeles County Science Fair that was held April 14-16, 2010. Jared took First Place in Physics for his Thermal Conductivity of Roof Color project.  Brian earned Second Place for his Engineering Applications project, Blowout:  Acoustic Fire Extinguisher.  Jared and Brian qualified to compete in the California State Science Fair that will be held on May 17-18 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  Jared and Brian were supported by Da Vinci engineering teacher Mario Rodriguez and parent Marshall Vallelunga (pictured with Da Vinci Schools principal, Dr. Nicole Tempel). 

Congratulations to our young scientists, and to their teacher and mentor!!

Science Fair

Our Experience at Belkin

By Anthony P. and Samuel R., Sophomores

On April 14th of this year, we were given the opportunity to tour Belkin headquarters and to meet and have lunch with the Chairman and Founder, Chet Pipkin.

Chet_Anthony_SamuelTo some people, they may not see this as a big thing or even know who he is. This may be because they don't know much about computers and accessories. But to us, this was a huge opportunity. Knowing that Mr. Pipkin and his company support Da Vinci, we had often talked about him during our Web Design seminar.  And the fact that he grew up in Hawthorne and graduated from Lawndale High School made us want to meet him even more.

Our principal, Nicole Tempel, told us that we would one day get to meet him. To us that meant that we had to earn the privilege to meet him.  So we started to help out a lot around school. We would go to school very early and not leave school sometimes until 5:30. We also came to school three weekends in a row to help clean and set-up computers.

On the morning of April 14, we met up with Dr. Tempel at the Da Vinci parking lot so we could head over to the Belkin headquarters in Playa Vista. After guessing which building to enter, we signed in and received our Belkin visitors' badges. The assistant then called the secretary letting Mr. Pipkin know that we had arrived. When we saw him come through the lobby doors, we stood up and introduced ourselves. He was exactly as we imagined him, very humble.

Before we started the tour, he gave us a brief explanation about Belkin and how it all started. Although before we actually met with him, we did our research on the company and found out he started his company in his basement in Hawthorne just down the street on Isis Avenue.

At Belkin, we toured different sections where special projects are made. For example, we toured the section where iPod and iPhone box cases are designed. Some co-workers joined us to discuss how to improve their products. But the most exciting section would have to be the Design section where new products are designed and tested. Unfortunately for security reasons, we can't say what was being made or discussed, but we can say we would love to intern in that particular section!

We also got to see the corporate offices, including Mr. Pipkin's office. We were surprised to see that his office was the same size as everyone else's. He said that at Belkin no one is higher than anyone else, and that everyone is equal.

After touring, Mr. Pipkin treated us to lunch in Belkin's gourmet cafeteria. There, three chefs cook to your perfections. During lunch, we continued to ask Mr. Pipkin questions about the company and the road to getting there. Later on, he turned the tables around and started asking us questions. We talked about different projects we have completed at school and how we hope to someday intern at Belkin.

We must say this was an exciting opportunity.  We would like to thank both Mr. Pipkin and Dr. Tempel for giving us their time.  It was a day we'll never forget. 
Dr. Donald Brann -- A Life Story
Comes Full Circle

Donald Brann feels right at home at Da Vinci Schools.

Don BrannThe former Wiseburn School District superintendent grew up in the Wiseburn community, was a student on the Da Vinci campus in the mid-1950s when it housed the old Dana Middle School, and now serves as Vice President of Da Vinci Schools Board of Trustees.  Wherever he goes, he brings business acumen, innovative ideas, and a knack for relationships with him that he's honed over a 40-year career as an educator.

"It has been a dream come true to return to the community I grew up in and to help
others become all they can be," Dr. Brann says.

Now 64 years old, the former superintendent brings the same business expertise and entrepreneurial vision to Da Vinci Schools that he brought to the Wiseburn School District, where he created a hybrid public-private school model with high quality programs, services and facilities. When he retired in 2008, Dr. Brann left the district with safe, academically successful schools (three out of four schools are California Distinguished Schools and Dana is on the national Schools To Watch list), three new school buildings, a growing enrollment, supportive community and a funding reserve.  He also supported the plan to bring independent charter high schools to Wiseburn, which would offer a high school option for the first time in the K-8 district's 114-year history.  After two years of in-depth planning and development, Da Vinci Schools opened in August 2009 with a rigorous, project-based "learn by doing" curriculum and an unprecedented level of commitment and involvement from businesses and education partners in the community.

Those who know Dr. Brann attribute his success to his entrepreneurial spirit, collaborative leadership style, a service-centric approach of under-promising and over-delivering, and a proven ability to make the right choice at the right time.

"You can't throw Don off rhythm," said Dr. Matthew Wunder, Da Vinci Schools' Executive Director.  "He is a strategic and disciplined leader with the unique ability to anticipate the future and plan for it."

As Vice President of Da Vinci Schools Board of Trustees, Dr. Brann brings a valuable combination of educational experience, proven management skills, and extensive contacts.  He is leading the effort to find a permanent home for Da Vinci Schools.  He also serves as mentor to Dr. Wunder, who Dr. Brann says is a "true visionary who brings out the best in me."  The two share a close bond.

To read more, click here
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  Community Partner Spotlight

Chevron logo

We are deeply grateful to Chevron Corporation for generously supporting Da Vinci Schools by providing significant funding, mentoring and volunteer support for our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. 

Chevron has been instrumental in helping Da Vinci Schools create a rigorous and engaging engineering culture where students learn real skills, solve real problems, and make real discoveries about the world.  With the academic support and financial backing we have received from Chevron, Da Vinci Schools created two challenging robotics courses in collaboration with El Camino College and Project Lead The Way, the nation's leading provider of hands-on engineering and technology education.  Da Vinci students enrolled in the college robotics class earn college level credit for the work they complete in high school. Our students' interest in robotics and their recent second place finish in the Northrop Grumman Innovation Challenge would not be possible without Chevron's support.  Chevron's funding has also been used for PLTW teacher training and to purchase equipment and supplies used in PLTW courses.

In addition, Chevron recently awarded Da Vinci Schools an "Energy for Learning" grant as part of its $1 million investment in South Bay schools to stimulate interest in STEM careers.  The funds will be used to develop the new Chevron Center at Da Vinci Schools, which will allow students from both schools to connect, collaborate and innovate with STEM and design experts from around the world.  The funds will also be used to purchase laptop computers, video conferencing technologies, and mobile laptop carts. The Chevron Center will also allow students who are ill or not enrolled in Da Vinci Schools to virtually attend our project-based learning classrooms and to collaborate with other students. 

We gratefully acknowledge Chevron and the invaluable assistance of Lily Craig, Chevron's External Affairs Manager, for supporting STEM success at Da Vinci Schools and for leading the way in developing innovative public-private partnerships to enhance education and drive the future growth of California.  Chevron is a vital community partner and friend committed to empowering students to acquire the 21st century skills needed for college and career success. 

About Chevron
Chevron is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company's success is driven by the ingenuity and commitment of its employees and their application of the most innovative technologies in the world. Chevron is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. The company explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and other energy products; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron has been headquartered in California for 130 years and is the state's largest company. For more information, visit www.chevron.com/CA.
Annual Giving Campaign Ends May 31st -- Make sure you're counted as a supporter!

Only 28 more days are left to give to the 2009-2010 Annual Giving Campaign. 

Your investment in Da Vinci Schools has an immediate impact on our students, from internships and mentoring programs, to new technology, and field trips to public and private colleges. 

Click here to donate today


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, makes a difference. 

If you have made a pledge and have not yet fulfilled it, now is the time to do so.  We thank you!

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!