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In This Issue
It Takes A Village
Host Family Needed
Our Community Partners
Annual Giving Update
Get Involved With Da Vinci Schools
Enrollment Process
Project Focus

 1  Coffee with the     Principal

10 Enrollment Info   Meeting & School Tour

14  Parent Association Meeting

15 Caf?con la Directora


18  End of Semester

Dec 21-Jan 8
Winter Break

Student Volunteers

Our students are vital to our recruitment efforts and play an important role at our information meetings for prospective families. Thank you to the following students who have graciously
and enthusiastically volunteered their time:


Halloween Dance

Our first dance was a huge success with 120 students attending!  Thank you Joshua for putting on an amazing dance!  We also extend a big thank you to our staff members who chaperoned: 
Frank, Maureen, Mario, Jorge, Schehrezade, Kate, Nathan, Amanda, Mallory, Steve,
 Erin and Matt.

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Da Vinci Schools
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA  90250

(310) 725-5800

Matthew Wunder, Ed.D. Executive Director

Nicole Tempel


Dear Da Vinci Families and Friends:

It Takes A Village

As our first semester draws to a close, we celebrate this milestone with pride and thanks, and reflect on the many "firsts" that have occurred. 

This year, we launched two brand new charter high schools.  Sharing a "learn by doing" curriculum, Da Vinci Schools prepare students to graduate with the real-world skills and knowledge employers and colleges now demand.  Our students successfully completed their first projects and will hold their first Exhibition on Dec. 16.  We held our first College & Career Days, and will soon offer our first Early College classes on-site where students may simultaneously earn a high school diploma and up to two years of transferable college credit. We are among the first schools in the area to form a powerful network of community partners to share expertise and resources to ensure our students acquire the knowledge and skill sets needed to succeed in the new global knowledge-based economy. We also held our first dance and our first students vs. faculty/staff football game (the faculty won 35-0).

These achievements and the many others are a tribute to the commitment and dedication of our students, parents, faculty, board members, community partners, donors and volunteers.

It truly takes a village to prepare students for academic and lifelong success. We are dedicated to instilling in our students a love of learning by providing them with a place where education is engaging, rigorous, relevant and personal.
On behalf of the entire Da Vinci community, thank you for your continued support of our mission.  We wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.

With gratitude,

Matthew Wunder
Executive Director
Host Family Needed

Did you know that Da Vinci Schools currently have three foreign exchange students attending our schools from different parts of the world?  We are urgently seeking another wonderful host family for Judith who is here from Germany. Judith is a 10th grade student enrolled in Da Vinci Science.  If you, or someone you know, are interested in finding out more information about having Judith stay in your home for the remainder of the school year, please contact Yolanda Saldana-Bautista (Student Services Director) at 310-725-5800 or ysaldana@davincischools.org.

Our Community Partners

Partnering For Success

Da Vinci Schools enjoy mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with many local businesses, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions. These partnerships are characterized by open communication, collaboration and outreach, and allow us to share expertise and resources, internship opportunities, and to make sure our curricula is aligned to university and industry standards.

We are proud to work in partnership with the following organizations: 

Belkin International
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
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

Community Partner Spotlight
 Northrop logo
This month, Da Vinci Schools would like to recognize the extraordinary contributions of Northrop Grumman and Art Lofton, Northrop's Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer and a member of Da Vinci's Board of Trustees.

Northrop Grumman and Mr. Lofton are true community partners who have invested in the success of Da Vinci Schools through targeted volunteering, in-kind giving, direct financial contributions, and academic support. 

Under Mr. Lofton's leadership, Northrop recently donated $135,000 to Da Vinci Schools to establish the Northrop Grumman Innovation Lab, where students will be able to research, design, simulate and test their projects. Northrop employees met with our faculty on a weekly basis to discuss student learning outcomes, design of the centers, types of projects created, and hardware and software specifications.

Over the summer, Mr. Lofton deployed a team of IT engineers to set up our servers.  He also helped to redirect 250 desktop computers with flat screen monitors to Da Vinci allowing us to create new labs and begin a loaner program for our disadvantaged families; provided funding to purchase video and still cameras to document student work; and connected us with other corporate donors and hardware and software vendors. In addition, Mr. Lofton has encouraged greater collaboration between Northrop and Da Vinci Schools by working closely with us to shape the types of real-world projects students will complete in order to develop the critical thinking and specific skill sets Northrop needs in their future employees.

We are deeply grateful to Mr. Lofton, Northrop Grumman, and its employees for their extraordinary commitment to Da Vinci Schools. 
Annual Giving Update

The "Investing In Excellence" Campaign is in full swing.  As of November 30, 2009, the Annual Giving Campaign has generated $14,268.  Every gift makes a difference!

Recognizing our donors

Da Vinci Schools would like to graciously thank the following donors for their generous support of the 2009-2010 Annual Giving Campaign.

Mark and Lia Abinante
Sameer Adi
Angela Aylward
Gayle and Tom Aylward
John & Careen Bernard
The Bixler Family
John Blake
Kozet P. Boyd
Pamela Bridgeman
Tim and Joanne Carranza
Kevin and Crystel Coleman
Cook Family
Krista Corral
Rick & Linda Cuesta
Thomas W. Curry
Maria Douglas-Vaughn
Robert & Anita Everett
Jeff & Shelley Evron
Ann Gill-Lathrop
Kathy Gimelli
Maria Gonzalez
Brian & Cindy Grotts
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Guarnieri
Tonya Hardie
Ray & Patricia Haynes
Jacky Hernandez
Erin Hughes
Scott & Cindy Iwamoto
Rick & Kendra Janes
John King
Kiso Family
Carla Levenson
Gustavo & Lourdes Medina
Bruce & Grace Murphy
Eleanor Oliver
Elias Perez
Rosaura Perez
Michelle & Robert Rainey
Abhai & Renuka Ram
John Paul Ramirez
Mario Rodriguez
Katherine Russell
Michael & Yvonne Simone
Paul & Michelle Simmonds
Carmen & Del Spiva
David & Bessie Stuart
Douglas Tatara
Nicole Tempel
Steve Wallis
Peter Webber
Fred & Toni Wolf
Wunder Family

Recognizing our volunteers

Many parents and staff members have volunteered their time, energy, and expertise by making Annual Giving follow-up phone calls and by providing clerical and organizational support for our inaugural Annual Giving Campaign. A huge thank you to: 

Descray Allen | Cheryl Cook | Linda Cuesta | Sara Deulofeu | Maria Gonzalez | Didi Guerrero | Kim Hawley | Kathy Jones| David King | Susan King | Carla Levenson | Raymundo Magana | Grace Murphy | Raquel Navarro | Eleanor Oliver | Kimberley Richards | Yolanda Saldana-Bautista | Carmen Spiva | Yvette Urrutia | Nicole Vega

Giving Opportunities

We hope you will consider a generous tax-deductible year-end gift to the Annual Giving Campaign. A gift to the Annual Giving Campaign is the most effective and direct way a donor can contribute to Da Vinci Schools. The suggested donation amount for the 2009-2010 school year is $365 per family (only $1 per day)

Gifts can be made in any number of ways, including by check, Visa, MasterCard or AMEX.  You may send your gift by mail to Da Vinci Schools, 13500 Aviation Blvd., Hawthorne, CA  90250. 

Or, click here to make a gift online or download a donation form/pledge card in pdf. 

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 will take care of the rest!

For more information on Annual Giving, please visit our FAQ page or contact Sara Deulofeu at (310) 725-5800 or giving@davincischools.org.

Thank you so much for your support!
Get Involved With Da Vinci Schools

VolunteerWhether you are a family member fulfilling your service hour requirements or a community friend, we welcome volunteers and need your support. For more information about our volunteer opportunities, please contact one of the parent coordinators below.
President - Parent Group
Thomas Curry


After School Clean-Up
Help our facilities director by vacuuming and doing light cleaning every day M-F from 4-5 p.m.

Seeking lead volunteer.

Annual Giving
Support our Annual Giving Campaign by making follow-up phone calls to families.

Contact:  Carla Levenson,

Classroom Support
Our teachers always need help in the classroom.

Contact: Marla Cude, marla4davinci@hotmail.com

Computer Lab
Volunteers needed to supervise the computer lab before and after school:  M-Thur 7:30-9 am, 4-5 pm after school; Fri 8-9:40 am.

Contact:  Melissa Finlin, syko1221@gmail.com

Data Collection
Volunteers needed to help with data collection and analysis, including end-of-year surveys.

Contact:  Michelle Simmonds, mnpsimmonds@sbcglobal.net

Da Vinci Clubs
Volunteers needed to support and supervise our student-ran clubs.

Contact:  Kendra James,

Drivers and Chaperones
Drivers and chaperones are needed for field trips and other events.  Current needs are:  College Days - Mar 18, Apr 8, May 27; Job shadow - Feb 2.

Seeking lead volunteer.

Volunteers are needed to set-up and clean-up for school events and presentations of learning.

Contact:  Kendra James, Kendra@davisandderosa.com

Volunteers needed to help students water and clean debris.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 12:40-1:40 pm.

Contact:  Karie McNickles, karieandgeoff@hotmail.com

Office/School Support
The front office has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with morning tardy patrol and light clerical work (copying, filing, handling phone calls, etc.).  Volunteers are also needed to assist with lunch time supervision. 

Contact:  Yolanda Saldana-Bautista, ysaldana@davincischools.org

Service Learning
Volunteers are needed to help coordinate student community service projects. 

Contacts:  Dawn Henderson, MsQuickSS@hotmail.com &
Karie McNickles, karieandgeoff@hotmail.com

Teacher Appreciation
Volunteers are needed to help plan and execute teacher appreciation events.

Contact:  Linda Cuesta, LCuesta@mednet.ucla.edu

We have many needs around campus for volunteers with computer skills. We're also looking for videographers who can film, edit and produce a video about Da Vinci and project-based learning.

Contact: Daniel Copher, danielcopher@gmail.com
Enrollment Process

Looking to enroll your child in Da Vinci Schools next year? Admission for the 2010-2011 school year is underway.

Three actions are necessary to apply to Da Vinci Schools: 
1. Attend one mandatory Information Meeting & School Tour 
Information Meetings & School Tour Dates 
-       Thursday, December 10, 2009, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Da Vinci Forum)

-       Saturday, January 16, 2010, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (Da Vinci Forum) 
 Students are encouraged to attend! 
All families must attend an Information Meeting & School Tour prior to submitting an Admissions Lottery Form. 
Our Information Meeting & School Tour will help give families a great overview of the curriculum, faculty and campus, and introduce you to current Da Vinci students. 
2. Fill out an Admissions Lottery Form at the Information Meeting & School Tour.  If you need help filling out the form, please let us know. 
3. Submit the Admissions Lottery Form on or before our deadline of January 20, 2010, at 4:00 p.m.  Earlier submissions are appreciated. 
Lottery Date 
The Lottery will take place on January 21, 2010, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Da Vinci Forum.  Attendance is optional.

For more information, please visit our Enrollment FAQ page.

Jungle: The Chicago Stockyards

Chicago meatpackingPROJECT FOCUS:  Students have been exploring their reactions and personal connections to the social issues depicted in Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, The Jungle. The novel is well-known for its depiction of corruption and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry during the early 20th century.  But the book also deals with issues of poverty, racism, immigration, social injustice, ambition and capitalism run rampant. Students have been examining their feelings about these issues in expository and creative writing projects that they will share at Exhibition Night on Dec. 16. We will also have a Chicago Daily News photo collection on display that evening that illustrates what it would have been like to have been an immigrant and a laborer in Chicago during the first three decades of the 20th century.