Da Vinci Logo1
"Offering a private school education at a public school cost -- free!"

Back to Home Page


In This Issue
Making Dreams Come True Campaign
Da Vinci Design Symposium
Enrollment Information 2011-2012
This Week @ Da Vinci: Academic Workshop for Families, CSI Da Vinci
Announcing Exciting New After School Sports and Arts Programs
Back to School Night
NASA - Visiting JPL
Materials Needed
Volunteer Opportunities
Save the Dates

Trick or Treat

October 5
Academic Programs Workshop:  "Achieving Academic Excellence Through Rigor, Relevance & Relationships"

October 6
CSI Da Vinci
6-7:30 pm

October 12
Family Association Meeting
*Annual Giving Meeting immediately following


October 13
PSAT Testing

October 14-15
Design Symposium

November 5
First School Dance

November 10
College Night for 11th grade families
6-8 pm

Our Community Partners
(partial list)

Art Center College of Design

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 and Design

reDiscover Center

Studio Printing



Vistamar School

West L.A. College

Quick Links

Our Web Site


Newsletter Archives

Forward to a Friend

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 Community,

Making Dreams Come True

The new school year is off to a busy start with a number of new initiatives in full swing. We continue to deliver on our promise that every Da Vinci student will graduate college-ready, career-prepared, and community-minded.

First, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of the new families that have joined our Da Vinci family. Thank you for choosing Da Vinci Schools!

We are making final preparations for our first Design Symposium where Design students will visit The Getty, Belkin International, Otis College of Art and Design, Northrop Grumman, and Gensler to to see the design process in action, learn about the wide range of career opportunities available to them, and participate in a product redesign challenge. 

Sergio Siderman has been named Da Vinci's Athletic Director.  We are offering exciting new after school sports, including intramural flag football coached by Justin Hart, a recent USC grad and Trojan defensive back.  We are also offering three after school performing arts classes taught by professional instructors from Kabaret.

Our first exhibition of the school year is scheduled for this Wednesday. Students in Ms. Garrido and Mr. Eynon's class will exhibit their CSI: Da Vinci projects.  Come and see our real-world "learn by doing" curriculum where students tackle real-world challenges requiring critical thinking, teamwork, effective communication, and other important skills vital to academic and lifelong success.
We are entering enrollment season for the 2011-2012 school year and have scheduled Information Meetings & School Tours for prospective families. Parents/or legal guardians must attend an Information Meeting & School Tour as a required part of the application process. Please see the related article below. 

This week, we are formally kicking off our Annual Giving Campaign.  We are proud to announce that we've already raised almost $10,000 thanks to 100% participation from our Board members and strong support from faculty, staff and early donors.

By the end of the week, all currently enrolled families should receive a Making Dreams Come True Campaign packet by mail containing an appeal letter and return envelope.

Making Dreams Come True is our top fundraising priority and the fundraiser we ask EVERY family to support.

Your gift is crucial: the state's budget crisis has resulted in a $700,000 funding loss to Da Vinci Schools. While we can't make up the entire shortfall through Annual Giving, we must bridge the gap, in part, with private contributions.

Your tax-deductible gift will be used to establish a comprehensive college and career counseling program; purchase Naviance, a powerful web-based tool for students and families to research colleges and careers, track applications and scholarship opportunities; fund internships and college visits; and purchase project-based learning materials for each teaching team.

The Campaign supports dreams. Our students' dreams are many and varied, individual to each.  Many Da Vinci students will be the first in their family to attend college.

On behalf of all 690 Da Vinci students who are striving to make their dreams come true, thank you for your generous support.

With gratitude,
Wunder signature
Matthew Wunder, Ed.D.
Executive Director

Annual Giving Campaign 2010-2011
Making Dreams Come True

Dear Da Vinci Families and Friends,

When my son Gerald reached school age, my husband and I vowed to give Gerald the best education possible.

Gerald attended a private elementary school until we discovered the Wiseburn School District which opened their schools and hearts to our family and many other families from Ladera and neighboring communities.  Gerald transferred to Dana Middle School where he received an excellent education in a caring environment.

While at Dana, we learned about the opening of Da Vinci Schools. Because of our experience in the Wiseburn School District, there was never any question in our minds that Da Vinci would be an excellent fit for Gerald and our family.  At Da Vinci, students, families, faculty, staff, board members, community partners and supporters build on and support academic excellence every day. Gerald loves the project-based learning and loves his teachers too.  He is enthusiastic and dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

I am a proud supporter of Da Vinci Schools -- both as a parent and as a member of the Board of Trustees. I believe in this organization and want to invite you to join me in supporting the Making Dreams Come True Campaign.

Our goal is to raise $75,000 this school year and to achieve 100% participation from all Da Vinci families.  Strong participation - in other words, your support -- is crucial to our efforts to seek outside funding. A high participation rate demonstrates confidence in the Da Vinci mission and provides important leverage with foundations and other supporters.

The suggested donation amount for the 2010-2011 school year is $365 per family (only $1 per day).  Every gift, large and small, is needed.  Please help us reach our goal of 100% participation.   

On behalf of the Da Vinci Schools' Board of Trustees, I thank you for supporting our wonderful schools and for being there with us for this important effort.  Please consider making an annual gift today. It's an investment we can all make with confidence.

With best regards,

Cook signature

Cheryl Cook
Da Vinci Schools' Board Member



Ways to Give

There are many ways to give to Da Vinci Schools.

1. By check.  Download a printable donation form here and mail to Da Vinci Schools, 13500 Aviation Boulevard, Hawthorne, CA  90250.

2.  By credit/debit card.  We accept Visa, MasterCard and AMEX. If you prefer to donate by phone, please call us at (310) 725-5800. 

3.  Make a one-time gift online now.

4.  Give monthly.  Start automated monthly contributions using your credit card.

5.  Pledge now & give later.  Download a printable donation form/pledge card here.

6. Many local companies have MATCHING GIFT PROGRAMS that can double or even triple your gift. Find out today if your company has a matching gift program. If they do, simply obtain a form from the company's HR office, complete it, and send it to us. We'll take care of the rest! Click here to view companies in our area that match employees' contributions.
7.  Share your time.  We can always use volunteers!  Please email giving@davincischools.org and someone will get back to you shortly.  We thank you!

For more information about the Making Dreams Come True Campaign, please visit our FAQ page.

If you have any questions or experience any difficulties making a gift, or wish to give by phone, please contact Sara Deulofeu at (310) 725-5800 or email us at giving@davincischools.org.

All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Da Vinci Schools are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Thank you for your generous support!

Da Vinci Design Symposium - Oct 14-15, 2010

Our first Design Symposium is a little more than a week away.  The two-day Symposium will focus on introducing Design students to the wide range of career opportunities available to them and show them why "design thinking" and innovation are essential to business success.

Product DesignOn October 14, students will visit The Getty, Belkin International, Otis College of Art and Design, Northrop Grumman, and Gensler to see the design process in action, participate in hands-on workshops, and hear from industry experts. 

On October 15, students will spend the day on campus participating in a product redesign challenge sponsored by Belkin. 

The Design Symposium is co-sponsored by some of Da Vinci Schools' community partners, including Belkin International, Otis College of Art and Design, Northrop Grumman, Gensler, and Art Center College of Design.

We recently announced four exciting new opportunities at Da Vinci Design, including the Design Symposium, a Design Certificate Program, real-world design-based internships, and new Design electives.

Students enrolled in Da Vinci Design are preparing for college and 21st century careers in advertising, architecture, digital media, industrial design, product design, user experience design and other jobs that call for skills in art, science and technology.

10th Grade Openings - Design & Science

We still have a few openings in Da Vinci Design and Da Vinci Science for 10th grade students.  For enrollment information or to schedule a visit, please contact Yolanda Saldana-Bautista at ysaldana@davincischools.org.
Enrollment Information 2011-2012

Thank you for your interest in Da Vinci Schools!

Enrollment in Da Vinci Schools shall be open to any resident of the state of California.  For more information about the enrollment process, lottery, admissions preferences and more, please visit our Enrollment FAQ page. 

Enrollment -
Key Dates

Parents or legal guardians must attend an Information Meeting & School Tour as a required part of the application process. Student applicants are encouraged to attend. You do not need to RSVP.

Information Meetings & School Tour Dates
All meetings take place at Da Vinci Schools unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 / 6:00 to 8:00 pm*
* Location:  Dana Middle School - no Da Vinci tour this date; this event is being held in conjunction with Dana's High School Night

Thursday, December 9, 2010 / 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Thursday, January 13, 2011 / 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Saturday, January 22, 2011 / 10:00 am to 12 Noon

Thursday, February 3, 2011 / 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Saturday, February 12, 2011 / 10:00 am to 12 Noon

Lottery Deadline
The lottery deadline is Wednesday, February 16, 2011, at 4:00 pm. Earlier submissions are appreciated. Late applications will be placed at the bottom of the wait list.

Lottery Date
A public lottery will take place on Thursday, February 17, 2011, at 6:00 pm. Families do not need to be present at the lottery.

Registration Date
A notification letter of your child's place on the enrollment list or waiting list will be mailed to you within one week after the lottery is held. Students who are offered enrollment must complete the Registration Form and bring in all required documentation to our Registration Day held Saturday, March 5, 2011 (time and location will be mailed out in advance). If you are offered enrollment, but do not register on the designated Registration Day, your space will be given to a student on the waiting list. If you are placed on the waiting list and an enrollment space opens up for you, you will be notified.
This Week @ Da Vinci

Achieving Academic Excellence Through Rigor, Relevance & Relationships Workshop

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 5, 2010 / 6:00 to 8:00 pm
WHERE:  Da Vinci Schools Forum

Join Principal Dr. Nicole Tempel and Academic Dean Colleen O'Boyle for an informative and educational workshop about Da Vinci's academic programs. Learn about Da Vinci's rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum, project-based learning, Early College classes, Honors Program, and the powerful impact of the Three R's of education - Rigor, Relevance & Relationships. Families will also learn about graduation requirements and college admissions.  

This event is sponsored by the Annual Giving Campaign.

CSI:  Da Vinci

WHEN:  Wednesday, October 6, 2010 / 6:00 to 7:30 pm
WHERE:  Da Vinci Schools Forum

Crime SceneFollow our young sleuths on the crime trail to solve the mystery. Join students in Ms. Garrido and Mr. Eynon's class as they exhibit their first project of the school year, CSI:  Da Vinci.

For this project, students created their own crime scene; collected, analyzed and interpreted scientific evidence; solved linear equations both graphically and algebraically; drew inferences from facts and used critical thinking skills to draw conclusions; learned about atoms and the elements of the periodic table; and wrote descriptive crime scene reports in scientific language. Each team has a list of suspects.  It's up to the guests to determine whodunit.
Announcing Exciting New After School Sports and Performing Arts Programs

Sergio Siderman Named Athletic Director,
USC's Justin Hart Named Head Football Coach

Da Vinci Schools are proud to offer exciting new after school intramural sports and performing arts programs, and to announce new sports appointments.

Sergio Siderman, the founder of Varsity Sports Academy, has been named Da Vinci's new Athletic Director.  Coach Sergio has experience running teams, clinics and sports camps for students of all ages.  He believes fun is the key to unlocking every young athlete's potential. Justin Hart, a recent USC grad and Trojan defensive back, has been named Da Vinci's head football coach.  Justin also serves as an Academic Coach. Coach Justin is really excited to work with Da Vinci students both on and off the playing field.

Intramural Flag Football (co-ed)
  • Starts Monday, Oct. 4
  • Practices held M-Thur, 4:00-5:15 pm (Burnett field)
  • Transportation fee - $150 per player/per season

  • Financial assistance is available for qualifying families, please contact Steve Wallis

  • Focus on fun, participation & skills improvement

  • Team Da Vinci will face off against Vistamar, Milken Community High School, Crossroads, New Roads, Wildwood, and New Community Jewish High School
  • Complete the registration form, turn it in to Steve or Erin, pick up a Player Packet, pay the Transportation fee and you're set to go! 

Questions?  For more information, please contact Coach Justin Hart at (626) 222-2165 or justinlh@usc.edu.

Dance, Step & Vocal Theater Classes Offered

Kabaret is offering three exciting after school performing arts opportunities for students - Dance, Step and Vocal Theater classes. 

October 4th, 2010 - Ends December 17th, 2010

Dance - hip hop, lyrical & contemporary dance
Tuesdays 4:15-5:15 pm
(Cost $160) - 10 week session

Wednesdays 4:15-5:15
(Cost $160) - 10 week session

Flyer | Registration

Dance and Step classes are taught by Stephanie Paige, a professionally trained dancer with The Debbie Allen Dance Academy.


Vocal Theater - students will learn the music and dance from "Grease" culminating in a performance of the popular musical
Mondays 4:15-5:15
(Cost $170) - 10 week session

Flyer | Registration

The vocal theater class is taught by Mark Mustol, a professionally trained singer.

For more information or to reserve your spot, please call 310-318-2850 or email kidskabaret@aol.com.  You can also drop off your registration form in the school office. There is a 20% discount if you sign up for more than one class.

Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.  Please contact Steve Wallis for more information.

Hurry, classes are filling up!

Back to School Night -- A Great Success!

A big thank you to everyone who attended Back to School Night on Sept. 23. It was great seeing so many families out together, touring classrooms, meeting teachers, and learning about our rigorous and relevant "learn by doing" curriculum. 

Back to School2

Wesley, a 9th grade Science student, with his mom Felicia, create a miniature version of The Identity Structure, the first project of the year in Mario Rodriguez and Michelle Rainey's class. Students built identity structures with pre-determined specifications for surface area and volume, then decorated them with images and text describing their personal identities.

Back to School

10th grade Humanities teacher Ricardo Jara greets families and poses a hypothetical scenario involving crime, logic and reasoning.
NASA -- Visiting JPL

A group of Da Vinci students from Mr. Divinagracia and Mr. Buckner's class recently toured NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Students learned more about the major physics topics they have been studying: Waves, Electricity and Force.  They met JPL engineers, learned about JPL history, toured the new space museum, saw the command center where spacecraft are monitored, and got to see the construction of the next Mars rover, the Curiosity.  Thank you, JPL!! 

Buckner and Team

Teacher Maigon Buckner surrounded by Da Vinci students
Sandra, Nahnyonga, Jesse, Tiffany, Aydee, Karen, Leslie,
Huzaifa, Carlos, Brian and John.

NASA control

Students visited the Command Center where NASA
keeps track of satellites from all over the world.
Materials Needed

Intro to Design - Product & Toy Design, a Project Lead the Way course, needs consumer-type products that students can take apart and put back together to improve existing products and develop new ones.

We need your help to collect SIMPLE and SMALL mechanical objects that can be easily taken apart by students.  No part of the object should be larger than 8 inchesNo computers, cell phones or micro parts, please. 

Some of the materials we are looking for include:
  • lamps (no shades)
  • faucets
  • toys, toy airplanes, children's learning toys

  • landline telephones

  • film cameras
  • simple mechanical objects
All items should be delivered to Michael Prendergast in Rm. 109 (Chevron Center).  Questions? Please email Michael at mprendergast@davincischools.org.  We thank you!!!

WANTED:  Refrigerator/Freezer

Have an old working refrigerator/freezer that you no longer need? We're looking for an extra one for our science storeroom.  Please contact Steve Wallis at swallis@davincischools.org for more information.
Volunteer Opportunities

VolunteerThroughout the school year, there will be many opportunities to volunteer, make a difference, and complete your volunteer service hours requirement of 25 hours per family.

There are three ways service hours can be fulfilled: 

1. Service to the school (organizing activities on campus, helping in the classroom, office, field trips, technology, recreational activities, etc.).

2. Educational visits - spend time with students off campus engaged in educational activities (museum visits, library trips, etc.).

3. Personal Educational Development - parents and guardians can earn service hours by enrolling in college classes of your own!

Verification of service hours completion must be shown by May 31. To keep track of your hours, click on the link below.

Family Service Hours Log

Here is a list of our current needs:

Singing Club
Some students would like to form an after-school singing club, but we can only do this if there is adult supervision. We are in desperate need of a parent(s) who can supervise on Monday and Wednesday from 4-5:00 PM  This is a volunteer position. No singing experience needed. Please contact Jaimee at jaimeenicolewolf@yahoo.com.

Before School/After School Supervision
Volunteers are needed to supervise and monitor the school grounds and parking areas during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up Monday - Friday.  Volunteers are needed from 8-9:00 AM Monday thru Thursday; from 8:30 - 10:00 AM on Fridays, and from 3:30 to 4:15 daily. Days can be divided up among several parents.  Some spots are already filled but there is still a need.  Please contact Ann Lathrop at billannphil@yahoo.com. Don't forget, all hours are counted as your "service hours" for the year.

Campus Maintenance/Facilities Support

The Facilities Department has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with general upkeep (sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, trash removal) and landscape maintenance (weeding, watering, mowing, trimming). Hours are flexible. Please contact Yolanda Saldana-Bautista at ysaldana@davincischools.org.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering!!
Save the Dates

Family Association Group Meeting
A short Annual Giving meeting will be held following the general meeting for interested volunteers.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 / 6:00 pm

PSAT Testing
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
$14 registration fee per student
Register online

College Night for 11th grade families

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 / 6:00 pm

College Night for 10th grade families
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 / 6:00 pm

College Night for 9th grade families
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 / 6:00 pm