DV Masthead 20%
"Offering a private school education at a public school cost -- free!"

Back to Home Page

In This Issue
Grand Opening of Da Vinci Innovation Academy 6 Weeks Away
Da Vinci Design Moves to New Location
Looking Ahead @ Da Vinci Science
Incoming Students Enjoy Welcome Fiesta
Da Vinci Design Student Is Accepted Into Prestigious Ryman Arts Program
End-of-the-Year Presentations of Learning
Da Vinci Summer Session
Your Generosity Is Making Extraordinary Things Happen at Da Vinci Schools
Fashion Design Seminar
Da Vinci Apparel Now On Sale

Swirly Sun  

August 1

Last Day to Order Da Vinci Apparel to guarantee delivery by first day of school     


August 16

First Day of School for High School Students 


August 25

Da Vinci Innovation Academy Grand Opening  


Aug. 31 - Sept 2.



September 5

Labor Day:  No School 


Community Partners

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our
community partners
 and supporters.

Complete List 

Quick Links

Da Vinci Schools
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250

(310) 725-5800

Matthew Wunder, Ed.D.
Executive Director

Nicole Tempel Assisi, Ed.D.
Innovation Academy

Steve Wallis
Da Vinci Science

Colleen O'Boyle
Da Vinci Design


Dear Da Vinci Families & Friends:


A Time of Firsts... 

It's been a very busy summer at Da Vinci Schools as we evolve into the next chapter of our history.

With the start of the 2011-2012 school year, we now are officially a K-12 charter organization for the first time with more than 1,100 students enrolled in our schools. As Da Vinci Schools enter our third year, we are quickly becoming a school of choice for the South Bay and beyond.

The Da Vinci Innovation Academy is busy preparing for its grand opening on Aug. 25. The Innovation Academy will offer families a new approach to K-8 education that combines on-site instruction with at-home learning. This family collaborative instructional model has generated strong community interest and support. More than 500 applications were received for the upcoming school year and nearly 400 teacher candidates applied for 10 teaching positions at the Innovation Academy. We have a wonderful group of dedicated students, families and staff and can't wait to get started! 

We've been hiring teachers at the high school level as well to support our growing student body. This year, we welcome 24 new top-notch teachers from a field of over 600 applicants. We added five new counselors, bringing our total counselors to six, to help students and their families navigate through every aspect of the college preparation, selection, application and admissions process to ensure success in college and beyond. See related article below, "Your Generosity Is Making Extraordinary Things Happen at Da Vinci Schools."

Da Vinci Design moved one mile away to its new location in the Del Aire neighborhood of Hawthorne. For the first time, our two high schools will be on separate campuses, but our learning-by-doing curriculum, strategic community partnerships, and authentic relationships between teachers and students are common to all Da Vinci schools.

Da Vinci Science will have a student body in grades 9-12 for the first time. Our first graduates, and first alumni, will walk off the graduation stage and onto the world stage next June. We expect that the vast majority of our college-bound graduates will be accepted into four-year universities.

What a proud time it is for Da Vinci Schools!

And despite the toughest financial years in California history, Da Vinci's financial state remains solid. Budget cuts have been partially offset by strong Annual Giving and corporate support, efficient use of resources, and innovative programs.

Our organization is growing, but our mission remains the same: All students will graduate as collaborative, informed, resourceful and reflective individuals who are college-ready, career-prepared and community-minded.

It is a tremendous honor to be part of this vibrant community. I know many of you share my enthusiasm and optimism, and I know we will celebrate many achievements together in the year ahead.

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

K-8 Update

Grand Opening of Da Vinci Innovation Academy 6 Weeks Away

by Nicole Tempel Assisi

WorkDay Dad&KidsWe continue to make great strides toward the grand opening of the Da Vinci Innovation Academy on Aug. 25. 

We had outstanding collaboration and cooperation at three recent Family Work Days. Volunteers and staff rolled up their sleeves to patch, prime, clean and build to get ready for the opening of our little school. Thank you so much to the many volunteers who showed up to help out! 

Our Family Network, called FaN, has been busy organizing informal park days and potlucks so families can continue to build relationships and talk about teaching. The gatherings are hosted by parents and organized by age groups. Families are also staying connected on our Yahoo group site and via Facebook and Twitter.

On June 11, we held our first Saturday Symposium with two panel discussions for families focused on the topic of "How Will On-Site and Off-Site Learning Work?"  The first panel, led by Da Vinci teachers, focused on constructivism, project-based learning, real-world relevancy, homework and teacher expectations for parents. The second panel, led by current homeschooling parents, focused on family-facilitated learning, what a typical off-site day looks like, and what parents do as the off-site "teacher."  The Symposium was a huge success with more than 80 incoming parents attending. It is so exciting to see so many committed, like-minded, and broad-minded families come together.  

Please note that our office will be closed for two weeks from July 4-16. We will do our best to address your needs as soon as we get back.

For more information about the Da Vinci Innovation Academy, please visit our website, or I welcome you to contact me directly at nassisi@davincischools.org.

We are so excited to embark on this wonderful journey together!

The Da Vinci Innovation Academy will officially open its doors on August 25, 2011, offering families a new approach to K-8 education that combines school-site instruction with home-based learning.
Da Vinci Design Update
Da Vinci Design Moves to New Location
Design School Move 1Da Vinci Design has moved to its new location at 12501 S. Isis Avenue in the Del Aire neighborhood of Hawthorne. 

The new campus, currently under renovation, will have 17 classrooms as well as administrative offices when students return to classes on Aug. 16.

The move to the new location is needed because of the growth of Da Vinci Schools and is a major step in the school's plan to be one of the nation's premier design high schools -- drawing upon Da Vinci Design's partnerships with industry leaders such as Belkin and Industrial Designers Society of America, among others. 

Design School Move 3Da Vinci Design has an anticipated enrollment of about 415 students and 27 faculty and staff for the 2011-2012 school year. Da Vinci Design will celebrate its first graduating class in June 2013. 

Design Principal Colleen O'Boyle and Facilities Director John Fernandez take a break during construction and planning (below). 

Thank you, John, for all of your hard work managing the renovation, building and demo'ing walls, and keeping the project on schedule. We are also enormously grateful to Tom Cox, Da Vinci Schools' Chief Financial Officer, for keeping the project on budget. 
Design School Move 4
Da Vinci Design teachers and staff move over their supplies in late June (below).  

Students will start the 2011-2012 calendar year in the new location. Da Vinci Design is dedicated to partnering with our neighbors for the benefit of everyone in the community. We invite you to join with us as we create an environment conducive to learning and a high quality life for all. For more information, please contact Principal O'Boyle at coboyle@davincischools.org.

Design School Move 2

Da Vinci Science Update

Looking Ahead @ Da Vinci Science

Da Vinci Science student
We have many exciting things happening at Da Vinci Science for the 2011-2012 school year! We continue to expand our Project Lead the Way program, adding Aerospace Engineering to our course offerings; we will launch our first concurrent-enrollment college class, US History (through El Camino College); we will launch biology, pre-calculus, psychology, economics and political science courses for our 11th and 12th grade students. And, in June, we look forward to celebrating our first-ever graduating class and sending students off to colleges and 21st century careers.

We can't wait to get started!
Wallis signature
Steve Wallis
Da Vinci Science

High School Enrollment Update

Incoming Students Enjoy Welcome Fiesta

New student fiesta

About 150 incoming high school students recently got a taste of Da Vinci at our Welcome Fiesta. Students spent time getting to know each other, toured classrooms, saw project-based learning in action, went on scavenger hunts, participated in community dialogue, and ate tacos and other yummy treats.

We are preparing for a student population of approximately 485 at Da Vinci Science and 415 at Da Vinci Design for the 2011-2012 school year. We are continuing to accept students on our waiting lists for all 9-12 grade levels. For more information, please contact Yolanda Saldana-Bautista at ysaldana@davincischools.org.

We can't wait to meet our new students!  We are here to assist you in making a successful academic, intellectual and social transition to Da Vinci Schools.

>> For the latest 2011-2012 calendar information for high school families, please click here.

Attention 9th grade students:  Don't miss the Da Vinci Overnighter trip. The Overnighter is a great opportunity to participate in community-building activities, form new friendships, bond with your teachers and current students, and get away from it all in beautiful Oakbridge, a retreat center in the San Diego mountains. For more information and to register for the Overnighter, please click on the link below.

>> 9th Grade Overnighter Registration Now Available 

Student Spotlight
Da Vinci Design Student Is Accepted Into Prestigious Ryman Arts Program

Ryman ArtsDa Vinci Design student Sabrina R. has been accepted into Ryman Arts' advanced studio art program. Beginning in September, Sabrina will take weekly 3- hour advanced drawing and painting classes sponsored by Ryman Arts in collaboration with Otis College of Art and Design.

The Ryman Arts program provides rigorous sequential instruction in foundational drawing and painting skills, free of charge. The program is designed to help young artists achieve their dreams by strengthening their art skills, while also preparing for college and an arts-related career.

Ryman Arts is the only such program in Southern California that is totally free and that selects participants solely on the basis of their ability and commitment.
As part of the Ryman Arts program, Sabrina's sketches were recently on exhibit at the California Museum of African American Art (left).

Congratulations, Sabrina!! 

Performance-Based Assessment
End-of-the-Year Presentations of Learning

POL 0611

One of the hallmarks of a Da Vinci education is our approach to assessment.  Not only do students have to perform well on traditional tests and quizzes throughout the school year, but they must also "show what they know" in end-of-the-year performance-based assessments called Presentations of Learning. Akin to a professional presentation or dissertation defense, students must deliver a presentation to a roomful of students, faculty and industry professionals to show what they have learned over the course of the year and to reflect on their learning and growth. A panel then decides if they are ready to proceed to the next grade level. While the presentations may be a bit intimidating at first for some students, most students gain a strong sense of satisfaction and pride in demonstrating the depth of their knowledge rather than simply answering questions correctly on a standardized multiple choice test. 

We are extremely proud of our students for the depth of their learning, doing and reflecting. Congratulations to all of our students for their hard work all year long and for putting forth their best effort at the end-of-the-year presentations!

Summer Update
Da Vinci Summer Session
Compass Learning
Throughout the state and the country, funding for summer school has all but disappeared, and those who need to recover missing credit or want to further their education are not able to do so. 

What does that mean for our high school students?  Luckily for those Da Vinci students who need to recover credit, we have an online program called Compass Learning that allows them to do so over the summer with individualized learning and differentiated instruction. Students must spend over 45 hours online and pass quizzes and tests with a minimum score of 70%.  Students must also take extensive notes and visit with the project facilitator three times over the summer to earn full credit for classes. We have approximately 90 committed students working vigorously to recover their credit and get back on track before the 2011-2012 school year begins!!

All students enrolled in Compass Learning must meet with Frank Divinagracia at least three times during the summer. 

>> Summer School / Compass Learning Office Hours with Frank Divinagracia

Keep an eye on your Compass Learning mail for changes in times or dates.

Questions?  Please contact Frank Divinagracia at fdivinagracia@davincischools.org.

Da Vinci Summer School
Da Vinci Escuela de Verano
Off-Campus Summer Programs


West Coast College Tour & College Application Workshop

August 2-4, 2011

It's not too late to sign up for the West Coast College Tour. District Tours & Da Vinci Schools have paired up to offer sophomores and juniors the opportunity to tour 6 colleges in 3 days.  Students will visit:

UC Santa Barbara
CSU San Luis Obispo
Santa Clara University
Stanford University
UC Davis
UC Berkeley

Students will tour colleges along the West Coast, meet with admissions representatives, attend college application and financial aid workshops, and more. Program fee includes three hot meals per day, round trip transportation, hotel accommodations, and an overnight dorm stay. 15:1 adult chaperone ratio, on-site tour coordinators, and hotel security. Da Vinci counselors will also chaperone the tour. For the complete 3-day itinerary, click here.

Total price:  $425 per person

Questions?  Please contact Ms. O'Boyle at: coboyle@davincischools.org.

Annual Giving Update
Your Generosity is Making Extraordinary Things Happen at Da Vinci Schools

Annual Giving Surpasses $125,000

By participating in the 2010-2011 Annual Giving Campaign, your generosity is helping to provide three full-time counselors at each high school site, ensuring that every student is on track to get into a four-year university and on track for success.

When school resumes next month, the Class of 2012 will have a 28:1 student-to-counselor ratio, one of the lowest ratios in private or public schools anywhere. Student-to-counselor ratios for other grade levels will be between 82:1 and 146:1, well below the national average of 477:1 and the recommended 250:1 ratio of the American School Counselor Association.

Your donations make a difference in so many ways.

Your contributions also funded college field trips; college workshops; the web-based college search system Naviance Family Connection; and project based learning materials for each teaching team.

Thanks for giving. We are so grateful to every Da Vinci donor and volunteer for your support of our schools and community.

The Annual Giving Campaign is crucial to Da Vinci Schools' success.
Whether you are a new K-8 family, a returning family or a community friend, we invite you to support Annual Giving in 2011-2012 and beyond.

California charter schools receive as much as 36% less funding per student than traditional public schools. 

The Annual Giving Campaign is Da Vinci Schools' top fundraising priority and the fundraiser we ask EVERY family to support. Strong participation encourages others to give, encourages foundations and corporations to invest in our schools, and sends a message to the community that Da Vinci Schools make a difference.

Volunteers Needed

We couldn't have raised $125,000 in 2010-2011 without the help of our very talented and dedicated Annual Giving volunteers. We are on the lookout for more volunteers to help with jobs big and small. Can you help?  Please contact us at giving@davincischools.org.

Arts Around Campus
Fashion Design Seminar

Fashion Design 1All around campus, you'll notice impressive works of art hanging on the walls -- paintings, sketches, mixed-media, 3D sculpture.  At Da Vinci Schools, the arts are highly valued and are a vital part of our core academic curriculum. While the University of California requires one year of art instruction, Da Vinci high school students are required to complete two years of art instruction.

We also offer seminar (elective) classes where students gain real-world knowledge and skills. Many of our seminar classes are taught or co-taught by industry partners. This past semester, Da Vinci Design offered a Fashion Design course taught by volunteer Joyce Blaney of Sew Creative Cafe in Redondo Beach. Students learned sewing, knitting and crocheting skills. They made patchwork pillows, scarves, tote bags, messenger bags, hair clips and more. Thank you, Joyce, for making this class possible. The kids had a blast!

While art budgets in public schools continue to be slashed across the state, we take great pride in continuing to offer a comprehensive arts curriculum.
Da Vinci Apparel Now On Sale for All Students in Grades K-12
Da Vinci PoloDa Vinci polos and sweatshirts are on sale in a rainbow of colors, styles & sizes for all students in grades K-12. We are also offering dress shirts and NEW organic selections in adult sizes.

Orders must be placed by August 1 to guarantee delivery before school starts.

All products are being offered through U-Name It, a local vendor in the El Segundo area.

Shipping is included on all orders placed on or before August 1.  After August 1, shipping is $6.50 per order.  

As part of the dress code at Da Vinci Schools, all students are required to wear a Da Vinci collared shirt OR a solid color, collared polo or dress shirt. Hoodies and sweatshirts must be Da Vinci wear or college gear.

To order online, please visit the the official Da Vinci Store at www.davincistore.org. Fill out a secure online order form and use a Visa or MasterCard to complete your transaction.

Due to the large volume of orders, we strongly urge you to place your order online.  This will make the entire process run more smoothly.  Thank you so much for your support!!!!

Click here to view our online catalog and to start shopping!!!

Or download and complete a printable Da Vinci Apparel Order Form. Mail Apparel Order Form and payment directly to:

U-Name It
630 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 5A
El Segundo, CA  90245 (across from Sizzler)
Tel: (310) 322-1797
fax: (310) 322-1796

HOURS:  M-F, 9 am - 5 pm.

A sizing kit is available at U-Name It.

Questions?  Please contact

Lee Jossel
U-Name It

Yolanda Saldana-Bautista

Assembly Bill 354 Requires Whooping Cough Vaccination
Students entering 7th through 12th grades for the 2011-2012 school year are required to receive the Tdap booster shot against pertussis (whooping cough) as a result of the passage of Assembly Bill 354. Da Vinci Schools are requiring that families provide a photocopy of the vaccination proof to the school office before starting school. If you have not already submitted proof of the vaccination, please contact: 

Yolanda Saldana-Bautista