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In This Issue
Da Vinci Women Win 1st Place at Cal Poly Pomona Engineering Competition
Celebrating the Class of 2012
Da Vinci Science Update: Counting Down to Graduation
Da Vinci Design Update: Preparing for End-of-the-Year Defenses
K-8 Update: School and Family Collaborative Education
Headphone Project Gets Students Amped Up About Design
Annual Giving Update: We Did It!
Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy - '11-'12 Year in Review
Enrollment Update
Save the Dates
CA poppies

May 29
HS Portfolio Defenses Begin

May 31
Executive Functioning Skills Workshop
(Da Vinci Science Forum)
7-9 pm

June 4-5, 7-8
DVIA Presentations of Learning

June 6
DVIA End-of-Year Family Social
6 pm

June 7
Class of 2012 Commencement
5:30 pm

June 8
Last Day of HS Instruction

June 9
New HS Student
Welcome Events
11 am - 1 pm
Location:  Da Vinci Design and Da Vinci Science

June 11-12
Last days of DVIA Instruction

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


An Invitation...
Presentations of Learning

Please join us for our school-wide Presentations of Learning. Presentations of Learning are a signature practice at all Da Vinci Schools and represent the culmination of all of the learning and growth students have done this semester. POLs are also a time to celebrate community. POLs are open to current families, community members, incoming families and other guests.  


Da Vinci Science and Design

May 29-June 5    

8:15 am - 3:30 pm


No appointment needed 


Da Vinci Innovation Academy

June 4-5

June 7-8 


Innovation Academy POLs are open to community members by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please contact Brianne Allen at ballen@davincischools.org.  


Encouraging Women to Say Yes to Engineering: Da Vinci Wins 1st Place at Cal Poly Pomona Engineering Competition
Eryn Stevens
Eryn S. from Da Vinci Science
launches a marshmallow
Photo Credit:  Polycentric
A team of women from Da Vinci Science won 1st Place at the third annual YES! (Youth Engineering Success) Program, an event sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers at Cal Poly Pomona. Students designed and built a catapult from popsicle sticks, tape and rubberbands and had to fire marshmallows at a target.

Catapult-building was one of a handful of outreach activities on April 27 at Cal Poly Pomona, which brings over 300 high school and middle school students, mostly female, to CPP and introduces them to engineering in a college setting. Students toured the engineering labs, watched demonstrations, talked with college students, and saw the SAE Baja car and the concrete canoe. Congratulations, Da Vinci women!

Celebrating the Class of 2012 

The Class of 2012, Da Vinci Schools' first graduating class, recently spent the day at the beach and a local park. It was a spectacular day of celebration!  We are so proud of all that you've achieved!! Photos by Stacee Lianna of Stacee Lianna Photography.
Class of 2012
Class of 2012

Class of 2012 Peace

Under the Sea

Da Vinci Science Update
Count Down to Our First Graduation 
As Da Vinci counts down the days to our first-ever graduation, we are proud of our graduating seniors, 100% of whom are going on to college, 80% of whom have been accepted into 4-year universities, and who racked up a combined total of 105 acceptances from 4-year universities! (See Delivering College Prep Results.) We are also proud of our students for their attendance and hard work during the week of state testing, and for their diligence in preparation for their Portfolio Defenses!

WEP Breakfast
Work Experience Program
Appreciation Breakfast
We are also especially proud of the success of our Work Experience Program, under the leadership of Melanie Franko, who wrangled internships for over 50 of our students with more than 20 local businesses! This real-world learning is one of the hallmarks of Da Vinci Schools and we are grateful for the hard work of Ms. Franko for launching the program so successfully this year!

Finally, we are thankful for our wonderful family community, who generously gave of their time, resources and talents to support our school community this year. We encourage all of our family and community partners to come watch students' Portfolio Defenses May 29-June 5 (a great way to complete family service hours!), and look forward to welcoming the class of 2016 into the family when we start up again on August 14!

 - Steve Wallis, Da Vinci Science Principal

Da Vinci Design Update
Preparing for End-of-the-Year Defenses 
Tape sculpture
Tape sculptures from Ms. Jones' 9th grade art class
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "We can't always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future," and I firmly believe this to be true. It is my belief that Da Vinci Design's Presentations of Learning/Defenses prepare students for the real world and provide them with an opportunity to be conduits of information.  College and industry professionals report an important trait for one to have is the able to convey, articulate, and critically examine. Although this time of year is stressful, I wish to encourage you to help prepare your students for this endeavor. All students have received their assigned date for their presentations along with accompanying guidelines and rubrics. 

Presentations start Tuesday, May 29th-Wednesday, June 6th. The 10th grade team will start the week prior and make-ups will occur Thursday, June 7th. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. We will run the same schedule as semester one with students arriving to school only on their assigned day to help cultivate a quiet learning and presentation environment.

In college-related news, our counselors have developed relationships with schools across the nation, helped students apply to summer and enrichment programs, and have met with students who are in danger of Incompletes. If you received a call from any of our counselors regarding this, please contact us to schedule a meeting.

Summer School is slotted for July 2-July 26 with two sessions: AM 8-11 a.m. or PM 11:15-2:15. All 11th graders who have Incompletes will have mandatory Summer School.  Limited spots are available to 10th graders and independent work will be required of 9th graders. Summer School  Principal, Erin Knott, can be reached at eknott@davincischools.org.

Finally, next year brings new opportunities for our students as we continue to grow our college relationships. Summer college tours are offered through District Tours (www.districttours.com) and a SAT/ACT prep course is planned for late August-October. For more information, please mail  Karen Grace-Baker at kgracebaker@davincischools.org.

Please come on by to help welcome new high school students on June 9th from 11am-1 p.m. at Da Vinci Design. Finally, our first day of school is Tuesday, August 14th. We look forward to yet another great year!

- Colleen O'Boyle, Da Vinci Design Principal

K-8 Update
School and Family Collaborative Education 
DVIA ExhibitionIt's countdown time, Da Vinci Families! We have 3 weeks of school left and lots of exciting things to celebrate at the end of the year.  We are extremely excited to hold our first round of POLs (Presentations of Learning). This signature Da Vinci Practice is shared by many within the Coalition of Essential Schools (of which we are a member).

POLs are one of the many ways that we are thinking differently about assessing student learning and their growth. If you want to read more here is an article from Edutopia and High Tech High:

What's Not on the Test:  How to Turn Assessment Into Learning

Upcoming Workshops

Executive Functioning Skills
Thursday, May 31 | 7-9 pm

If planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to details and managing time are skills anyone in your family could use support with, this workshop is a must! Dr. Nancy Harjani Muirhead will provide an overview of executive functioning skills along with tools to support in the development of these important mental processes.

For more information about upcoming workshops or to RSVP, please contact Brianne Allen at ballen@davincischools.org.

All workshops are free and open to the public.

The Power of Education-Industry Partnership: Headphone Project Gets Students Amped Up About Design

Karten Exhibition
Genesis shows her homemade headphones to Stuart Karten and Design Principal
Colleen O'Boyle.

Fourteen students from Da Vinci Design showcased their homemade headphones at a one-night exhibition at the A+D Museum on May 14 as part of a project co-developed with Karten Design, a product innovation consultancy.

Over 8 weeks this semester, product designers and researchers from Karten Design worked with 9th grade students to design headphones that spread messages of social change. Students gained hands-on
Nathand exhibits his
Phoenix headphones

experience in design research, design thinking, concept ideation, prototyping, problem solving, innovation, collaboration, and more.

Karten Design is Da Vinci Schools' first partner in our new innovative program called Ed-U-Creationship, or "education you create." Students, teachers, industry experts and university partners collaborate in project planning teams to create rigorous real-world projects that bring industry knowledge and skill sets into the classroom so students are better prepared for college and the global workforce.

If you are interested in becoming an Ed-U-Creationship partner, please contact Carla Levenson at  clevenson@davincischools.org for more information.

Annual Giving Update 

We Did It!

Annual Giving Surpasses $150,000 
Chevron Corporation challenged Da Vinci Schools to raise $25,000 during March Pledge Month -- and WE DID IT!!

ThanksThanks to your amazing support, we raised more than double our goal -- $70,218 in donations and pledges during March 2012. Combined with a generous matching gift from Chevron, a total of $152,280 was raised for our Da Vinci students!

Way to go, Da Vincians!!

There is still time to make a tax-deductible donation! You can drop a check off at our office made out to Da Vinci Schools, or pledge online at  www.davincischools.org/makeagift.shtml.


All donations and pledges made in March must be paid in full by June 1, 2012 to be eligible for the Chevron match. Please fulfill your pledges today!!

Money raised through the Annual Giving Campaign is being used to support hands-on curriculum for every K-12 student; 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.

We are deeply grateful to Chevron and Lily Craig, Chevron's External Affairs Manager, for their ongoing support of Da Vinci Schools and for their generosity in establishing The Chevron Challenge.

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.

Questions? Please contact us at giving@davincischools.org.

We thank you!!!!

Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy - '11-'12 Year in Review 

By Dan Mikkelsen, Founder and CEO

Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy

Flight SchoolDuring the past year, Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy (GKWFA) offered a Private Pilot Ground School and PC Simulator seminar course to Da Vinci Science high school students. Students received training from an FAA licensed instructor two days each week in order to prepare for the Private Pilot written exam. Two additional days per week were spent receiving practical flight training from an Instrument-rated Private Pilot on the flight skills required to earn a Private Pilot license.   


Da Vinci students had several opportunities to fly in small aircraft with the Young Eagles, a nonprofit group that provides free exploratory airplane flights for kids ages 8-17. In addition, GKWFA hosted aviation field trips to San Diego International Airport, the Air Traffic Control facility adjacent to the Miramar Marine Corp Air Station, and the Space X facility located at Hawthorne Airport. A total of six guest speakers visited our class including F-16 Fighter Pilot and Air Force Major Christ Vasquez, Retired Air Force Command Pilot Chris Rubacha, retired United Airlines Captain Thomas Close, ABC 7 Meteorologist Danny Romero, Tuskegee Airman and retired airline captain Fred Pitcher, Astronomy and Astrophysics entrepreneur Scott Stegman, and college student and current pilot trainee Vanessa Galvan. The Flight Academy also arranged for internships for Da Vinci students Kassandra C. at Beach Cities Aviation Academy and Mike H. at the Western Museum of Flight. See The Supercruisier: Partnerships in Flight.  


Flight School

To help students pursue their dreams of being a pilot, GKWFA is offering students substantial discounts on their first full hour of flight training with a professional instructor. Also, we recently opened up the application process for financial aid awards that can be applied to career aviation training.


The Program would like to thank Steve Wallis, Erin D'Souza, Melanie Franko, Matt Wunder, and the leadership of Da Vinci Schools for their help and support in making the aviation program a success during this past year. GKWFA also extends a gracious thank you to Da Vinci Science teachers Karina Garcia, Katie Kondo, and Mike Prendergast for making their classrooms available to host the program.  


Enrollment Update
Enrollment Information 2012-2013 
Summer School SunThe 2012-2013 application deadline has passed. If you missed the application deadline, but wish to be added to our wait list of interested families, please download a K-12 Enrollment Application here and return it to Da Vinci Schools.
Questions?  Please contact:

Da Vinci Innovation Academy Enrollment

Da Vinci High School Enrollment


 Thank you for your interest in Da Vinci Schools!  

Save the Dates
May 29-June 6
HS Portfolio Defense Days

June 4-5, 7-8
DVIA Presentations of Learning

June 8, 2012
Last day of HS Instruction 2011-2012

June 9, 2012 | 11 am - 1 pm
Welcome Events for New High School Students
Location:  Da Vinci Design and Science

NOTE: There will be welcome events held at both high school campuses on June 9. Incoming Science students should attend the Science event and incoming Design students should attend the Design event. We look forward to seeing you!

Da Vinci Science | 13500 Aviation Blvd., Hawthorne, CA
Da Vinci Design | 12501 S. Isis Ave., Hawthorne, CA

June 11-12, 2012
Last days of DVIA Instruction 2011-2012

August 14, 2012
First day of HS instruction 2012-2013

August 20-21
DVIA Parent Jump Start Days

August 23-24, 2012
First days of DVIA Instruction 2012-2013