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In This Issue
Enrollment Information 2012-2013
K-8 Update: Partnering with Families in Hands-On, Minds-On, Learning by Doing
Da Vinci Design Update: Educating the Next Generation of Leaders
Da Vinci Science Update: Empowering Da Vinci Students with Real-World Learning Opportunities
First Person: Preparing for College Admissions
Annual Giving Campaign Kick-Off

Trick or Treat     

October 11

High School Family Assocation Meetings 

Theme: Student-Led Conferences, 6 pm 


October 12 

PSAT Exam   



October 31

Happy Halloween!   


November 10

Staff Development - No School - High School Students Only 


November 11

Veteran's Day - No School (all K-12 students) 


November 16

Da Vinci Design Exhibition

Night, 6 pm 


November 17

Da Vinci Science Exhibition Night, 6 pm 


Community Partners

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

Complete List 

Quick Links

Da Vinci Innovation Academy
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250
(310) 725-5800

Da Vinci Science
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250
(310) 725-5800

Da Vinci Design
12501 S. Isis Ave.
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:


It was wonderful to see so many of you at our Back to School Nights. We are deeply grateful to Da Vinci students, faculty and staff for working hard to make these evenings a success. 

Da Vinci Schools are successful because of the extraordinary commitment and dedication of our students, families, faculty, staff, board members, authorizing school district, community partners, donors and volunteers who support our brand of real-world learning that engages students in authentic and relevant experiences in the classroom and beyond.

With your support, we will continue to build on the signature programs that define the Da Vinci experience - project-based learning, innovative partnerships, and a deep commitment to students and community in a small and personalized learning environment.

This week, we are formally kicking off our Annual Giving Campaign.  Gifts to the Annual Giving Campaign support every student in our K-12 community. Your tax-deductible contribution comes at a crucial time. Da Vinci Schools are bracing for an additional $271,000 mid-year cut from the 2011-2012 budget, the latest in a series of steep cuts totaling more than $1 million since Da Vinci Schools opened in 2009.

The Annual Giving Campaign is our top fundraising priority and the fundraiser we ask EVERY family to support. We also depend on the generous financial and in-kind support of grandparents, friends, community members and partners to continue building the innovative curriculum, instructional model and commitment to excellence that set Da Vinci Schools apart from other schools. (See related article below.)

This month, we are also entering enrollment season for the 2012-2013 school year and have scheduled Information Meetings for prospective K-12 families. Parents or legal guardians must attend an Information Meeting as a required part of the application process for the Da Vinci Innovation Academy (K-8). High school Information Meetings are not mandatory, but we strongly urge you to attend to learn about our programs, curriculum and enrollment process. We look forward to meeting you! (See related article below.)

On behalf of all of us at Da Vinci Schools, thank you for your continued support. We couldn't do this important work without you.

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

Enrollment News
Enrollment Information 2012-2013 
Thank you for your interest in Da Vinci Schools!

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

Enrollment applications for all K-12 students will be available at our Information Meetings and online beginning Oct. 20.

Enrollment - Important Information
Parents or legal guardians must attend an Information Meeting as a required part of the application process for the Da Vinci Innovation Academy (K-8). High school Information Meetings are not mandatory, but we strongly urge you to attend to learn about our programs, curriculum and enrollment process. You will also have an opportunity to meet some of our faculty and staff, current students and families.

Key Dates - Information Meetings
All meetings take place at 13500 Aviation Blvd., Hawthorne, CA  90250.

Da Vinci Innovation Academy Information Meeting Dates
Da Vinci High Schools Information Meeting Dates

Application Deadline
The application deadline for all K-12 applicants is Friday, March 2, 2012, at 4:00 pm. Earlier submissions are appreciated. Late applications will be placed at the bottom of the wait list.

Lottery Dates
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 5:30-7:30 pm - High School Lottery
Thursday, March 8, 2012 | 5:30-7:30 pm - Innovation Academy Lottery

Families do not need to be present at the lottery.

Registration Day
A notification letter of your child's place on the enrollment list or waiting list will be mailed out on March 13, 2012.  All K-12 families whose children are offered enrollment must complete the Registration Form and bring in all required documentation to our Registration Day held Saturday, March 31, 2012, from 9 am - 2 pm. 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.

Da Vinci Innovation Academy Enrollment

Da Vinci High School Enrollment



K-8 Update - Project Focus 

Partnering with Families: Hands-On, Minds-On, Learning by Doing

DVIA Heal the Way
K-8 students at the new Da Vinci Innovation Academy, a hybrid in-school, at-home family collaborative instructional model, have been working inside and outside of the classroom on many exciting projects.

As part of the Adapting to a New Class project, 7-9 year olds in Darlene Wonggaew and Jennifer Hines' classes spent a full month of learning about multiple intelligences, identifying how individuals adapt to new situations like the marine animals they have been studying, creating a class mural and more. In the classroom, students wrote multiple drafts of their skills narrative highlighting each student's strengths and a time when they exhibited a strength or contributed to a group.

Outside of class, students interviewed their parents regarding their skills and personal strengths, and researched an ocean animal and how it uses its skills to survive and adapt. Students also participated in "Heal the Bay: Coastal Cleanup Day" on Sept. 17 (pictured above) and created posters, video skits, and PowerPoint presentations highlighting the importance of keeping our communities clean from debris and trash by reducing, recycling, and reusing materials. Students discovered that one person CAN make a difference in their community!

DVIA measuringIn Rita Bouchard's class, middle school students are exploring the relationship between their height, arm span, and radius measurements in a project called What Do You Know About the Relationship Between Your Arm Span and Your Height? The students measured each other and collected the data into tables. Using MS Excel, the students entered their data into a workbook and created a scatter plot, showing line of best fit. Students then compared their results to those of Leonardo da Vinci, forensic scientists, and archeologists who use measurements of bones and body parts (namely the radius bone) to predict height and body type of a person. The main goal of this project was to lay the foundation for the study of linear functions.

The Da Vinci Innovation Academy officially opened 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
Educating the Next Generation of Leaders 
Da Vinci Design is looking forward to kicking off our 9th week of school! This past month brought success for students, teachers and families as we hosted a successful Back-to-School Night. Many thanks to all who attended and made the evening a success. Students are in full swing with their academic endeavors and experienced their first design challenge of the year. The challenge called for students to work together as a team and critically examine the design, business, accounting, and marketing elements necessary to plan an international multi-city trip. Students had a working budget, specific guidelines and a minutia of obstacles to problem solve to make the task a success. We were very proud of the end results and their professionalism.


In college news, junior students in College Prep seminar are learning how to research colleges, determine questions that they should be asking college reps, and learning the importance of test taking for the college application process. Students recently heard presentations from NYU and Syracuse University and they will have the opportunity to visit with college reps from Carnegie Mellon (October 11) and University of South Carolina (October 13) and others over the coming weeks in the Design conference room.


In addition, our college counselors, Karen Grace-Baker and Candice Mackey, are excited to share a free test prep opportunity: Method Test Prep. It is a program that prepares students for math, reading, writing, and SAT/ACT test prep skills. The program is free and can be accessed from Family Connection (https://connection.naviance.com/davincischools). Each student has an account. In the last mailing a survey was sent to capture data about each student and families' college bound goals. Please take the time to fill out this survey so our College Counseling team can better serve you. You can find the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/dvdesignparent. Erin Knott, our PPS counselor, has presented teachers and students with a robust life skills Advisory program to better prepare our students for college and their futures.


Brave New WorldIn teacher news, October highlights several 10th grade classes. In Ricardo Jara's class students are studying "A Brave New World" and working collaboratively as they create new nations with detailed and original government structures that incorporate the various philosophies that have shaped modern political thought.  Their objective is to create societies that will attract prospective citizens to their "Brave New World" at our 1st annual World's Fair Competition on October 13th & 14th. In English, students are writing biographies on a revolution that has shaped our world (positive or negative) and in their Digital Arts class they will create a Andy Warhol piece in Adobe Photoshop.  Algebra 2 students are each creating a symbol that best describes themselves.  They must apply their knowledge of slope, linear equations, absolute value equations and inequalities to create their own unique symbol.


Da Vinci Design looks forward to another great month and we thank you for all your support!   


-- Colleen O'Boyle, Da Vinci Design Principal   


Da Vinci Science Update
Empowering Da Vinci Students with Real-World Learning Opportunities
As we roll into October, our seminar classes are in full-swing! Some of the many exciting seminar program opportunities for Da Vinci Science students include:

Flight SchoolFlight School: Students are taking classes from private pilot/flight instructor Dan Mikkelsen, founder of Giving Kids Wings, teaching students in ground school and flight simulator. Students have also had the opportunity to fly in private planes and actually take the controls while in the air! These courses are the first step on the road to students' earning their actual pilot's license! For more info about Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy, visit http://www.givingkidswings.org, or email Mr. Mikkelsen at dmikkelsen1@gmail.com.

Youth & Government: Led by Da Vinci Resource teacher Henoch Derbew, Westchester YMCA Program Director Brenda Hernandez, and LMU student Addison Duane, Youth & Government is a program in which Da Vinci delegates role play the various positions of the California State Legislature and the State Court systems. Our Da Vinci delegation is a part of the Westchester YMCA, and will be creating bills to be submitted to the Model Legislature, research and practice court cases, and attend the three annual Model Legislature & Court conferences. For more info about Youth & Government, visit http://calymca.org, or email Mr. Derbew at hderbew@davincischools.org.

Mock Trial: Led by world history teacher Julie Ichiroku, Mock Trial takes students to the heart of the justice system. Students acquire critical-thinking skills and an in-depth understanding of our judicial process as they study a hypothetical case, conduct legal research, and role play the trial. Currently, the students are working on the case of The People v. Woodson, about cyberbullying and assault. See more information about Mock Trial at http://crf-usa.org/mock-trial-california/state-competition.html, or email Ms. Ichiroku at jichiroku@davincischools.org.

Academic Decathlon: Led by biology teacher Rebecca Murday, students on our "Aca-Deca" team are preparing to compete against more than 500 high schools in California on the theme of "The Age of Empire -  The Age of Imperialism: The Making of a European Global Order." Students are preparing to compete using their knowledge in the fields of Economics, Art, Music, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science. For more information about the Academic Decathlon, please visit http://www.usad.org/, or email Ms. Murday at rmurday@davincischools.org.

Interactive Multimedia Design: Led by Project Lead the Way teacher Lenny Perez, students in the Multimedia Design seminar are learning to use Adobe Flash and creating our Da Vinci Science yearbook - on DVD! For more info about the Interactive Multimedia Design class, contact Mr. Perez at lperez@davincischools.org.

Junior Achievement: Junior Achievement (JA) empowers our Da Vinci students to take control of own their economic success. Students in our Junior Achievement seminar develop the skills they need to experience the realities and opportunities of work and entrepreneurship in the 21st-century global marketplace. Learn more about Junior Achievement by visiting http://www.ja.org/, or email Margo White at mwhite@jasocal.org.

-- Steve Wallis, Da Vinci Science Principal

First Person
Preparing for College Admissions
by Rachel Hardie '12

Rachel HardieMy name is Rachel Hardie and I am a senior in the first graduating class at Da Vinci Science.  I transferred here for my sophomore year from Leuzinger High School.  One benefit of switching schools is that Da Vinci is extremely focused on college preparation and helping students and families every step of the way.

I've been thinking about college for a long time and can't believe application time is already here. To help prepare myself for college, I've taken several honors classes at Da Vinci and completed a Photography course through El Camino College in my junior year.  I also participated in an internship at the American Cancer Society that helped me become acquainted with the workforce.

Now that it's time to apply to colleges, there is an anxious buzz going around the senior class.  Luckily, this year we have a class devoted solely to the college application process. Senior Seminar, taught by our college counselor Ms. Gire, is designed to make the college application process less scary.  For the first month of school we focused on writing resumes, researching colleges, and registering for the SAT and ACT.  This month we are focusing on the Common Application, personal statements and other essays, and scholarships.  There is so much to do it can be really intimidating, but this class helps us stay organized and ensures we are on task to submit college applications well before the deadlines.

As for me, this Fall I will apply to USC, Occidental College and UCLA.  My top choice is probably USC. It's close to home, located in an amazing city, and has a great feel on campus. Although I'm not sure what I want to study, I'm leaning toward the field of Psychology.  I've always wanted to know why things work the way they do and why people do certain things.  I'm currently taking a Psychology course at Da Vinci Science with Mr. Besina, and I can definitely see this major being something that I will enjoy learning and that will offer me many job opportunities.

What's most exciting is thinking about all the opportunities that are open to us.  It is difficult to decide what to do with all the choices.  I am enjoying my senior year at Da Vinci, but am really looking forward to exploring what college has to offer!

Editor's Note:  Rachel Hardie, a senior Da Vinci Science student, will share her experiences in the coming months as she prepares for college.

Annual Giving Campaign
Make A Gift and Make a Difference 
Two GirlsThis week, we formally kick off the 2011-2012 Annual Giving Campaign!  We are proud to announce that we've already achieved 100% Board participation and strong support from faculty, staff and early donors.

By the beginning of next week, all currently enrolled K-12 families should receive an Annual Giving Campaign packet in the mail containing an appeal letter, pledge card and return envelope.

Your contribution comes at a crucial time. Da Vinci Schools are bracing for an additional $271,000 mid-year cut from the 2011-2012 budget, the latest in a series of steep cuts totaling more than $1 million since Da Vinci Schools opened in 2009. While we can't make up the entire shortfall through Annual Giving, we must bridge the gap, in part, with private contributions.

We need your help to continue to provide hands-on curriculum for every age level; innovative academic and enrichment programs; state-of-the-art technology; field trips; college visits; art materials; professional development; and the day-to-day operating expenses that are not funded by the state of California.

The Annual Giving Campaign is our top fundraising priority and the fundraiser we ask EVERY family to support. We also depend on the generous financial and in-kind support of grandparents, friends, community members, and partners to provide an outstanding education for all students from kindergarten through high school.

Science Day 1
Our goal is to raise $150,000 with 100% family participation. The suggested donation amount is $365 per family + $100 per additional child/ren. Please give as generously as you can.

Every gift makes a difference!

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 Annual Giving Campaign, please visit our Annual Giving 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 generosity!


PSAT - October 12, 2011

PSATAll 10th and 11th graders are required to take the PSAT on Wednesday, October 12th from 9am-12 Noon as part of our college preparatory curriculum. The cost of the test is $14.

If you haven't done so already, please make checks payable to "Da Vinci Schools" or register and pay online.

Financial assistance is available. For more information, please contact Erin Hughes (Science) at  ehughes@davincischools.org or
Maureen Moran (Design) at mmoran@davincischools.org . Or  contact the Da Vinci Schools Main Office at (310) 725-5800.