September 16, 2018
Greeting Families!
From Our Principal
Greetings Families,

I would like to address afternoon pick up safety so I am asking that you please read this carefully.

Your children's safety is the most important thing to us. Above convenience, above efficiency, safety is our highest priority. The rules and systems we have in place during afternoon pick up have all been crafted with safety in mind. I ask that you and every person who picks up your children please read and abide by the following (you might wish to print this to give to future nannies, grandparents, etc). Most of this information is also in our handbook.
  • Kindergarten has its own pickup organized by the kindergarten teachers. The information below is more specific to the 3:15 pickup by the flagpole for both Collaborative and Hybrid programs.
  • Please have a conversation with your children in which you ask them to wait behind the gate rather than rush out toward you. They need to tell me they see you and then point you out, not just walk out toward you. Please remember that them seeing you or you seeing them doesn't translate to me knowing you are there and feeling comfortable releasing them until I have made eye contact with you. Alternatively, you can come inside and retrieve your child. I look at each child and the adults taking them through the gate.
  • If you are using the drive-thru pick-up line, please do not park and leave your car--we ask that you wait in your car until one of us delivers your child to you. If you wish to park and walk to the pick up area, it must be in a designated parking spot, not stopped within the parking lot.
  • In general, do not park in any locations that are not legal parking spots. These include handicapped parking spots, red curbs (these are for emergency vehicles and drive-thru pick-up only) and the "no parking, fire lane" area behind the old Wiseburn District Office (now Success Learning Center--white building with blue trim to the south of our front entrance).
  • If you wish to turn off your car to avoid excessive emissions, feel free to do so; just don't leave your car unless you are in a parking spot.
  • Please do not request that we send your child across the parking lot to you while you wait by your parked car. If you wish for your child to walk to you, please walk to the pick up area so that they do not need to cross the parking lot. Even if you feel comfortable with your child doing that at home, we can't take that responsibility here at school. Thank you for understanding.
  • Please do not "cheat the line" by finding an alternative spot to drive up in the hopes that we will see you and send your child to you. If you choose to avoid the pick-up line (which is what Kaitlin is concentrating on) then it is up to you to get out of your car and retrieve your child. Your child pointing to a car and telling me that his mom/dad is in there cannot result in me sending them on their way. I promise I am not doing this to annoy you but for the safety of your child!
  • Please be patient in the parking lot when dropping off and picking up your child. The safety of our children is the highest priority. We are as efficient as possible but efficiency will never trump safety.
  • Please do not text your child that you are in the line around the corner. You might be reassuring them that you are there, but most often to them, this translates to "I need to go find my parent" and they approach me reporting you are in the line around the corner and then want to go find you. Meanwhile, my attention has been taken from safety to explaining that your child must wait until we see you and call his/her name.
Please read these two announcements as they are the most commonly misunderstood ones:
  • If you are arranging alternative pick-up for your child, you must communicate it to the front office so they can put it on a list that Michelle and Kaitlin take with them to pick up each day. You may email (connect@davincischools.org), call (310 725 5800) or stop by the front desk. Even if the person you wish to pick up your child is on your emergency contact list, we cannot possibly have that list memorized for 400 students and then in an instance when we see someone else try to walk away with your child (even another parent), recall whether that person's name was on your child's list. The emergency contact and pick up is only for instances where a child is sick in the front office and the front office is attending uniquely to your child in that moment or in case of a catastrophic emergency. It is not for daily pick-up.
  • If you wish for your middle schooler to walk home or leave campus unattended to meet you in an alternative pick up spot (even if your request is that they walk to your car somewhere in the parking lot), you must contact the front office and put them on the walking list. They then will always leave through the front office (where staff can verify their name on the list) each time they want to leave unattended. If they are by the gate, they will be asked to wait until we see you. Again, Kaitlin and Michelle cannot memorize a list of which middle schoolers can and can't leave unattended.
  • Lastly, if you wish to linger and connect with other parents, teachers or let your child hang out for a bit, by all means please do! But don't do so at the gate/exit point, along the front of the gate (where your child talking to another child means they cannot hear their name called) or in front of the pick up line (where kids are trying to make visual contact with Kaitlin and their parents' car). Please move to the grass in front of Da Vinci Extension and RISE (formerly Science) or around the corner of the Forum/multipurpose room.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and again, please also share it with everyone else who drops off or retrieves your child. If you are reading this feeling annoyed or offended that I am using strong language or being bossy or demanding, please know my intention is simply this: We care about your children, we care about safety, and the only way for all children to be safe is for every adult to participate in the same way. I appreciate your help making sure pick up runs smoothly.

Lastly, I enjoyed laughing with so many of you at Comedy & Magic Club on Thursday. Thank you for making the event a success! And please stop by The Parent Center @ Da Vinci Connect this week (see blurb below)! Let the collaborating begin!
M_Rainey sig
From Our Dean of Students

It was so fun to spend the evening laughing with many of our families at the Comedy and Magic Club Fundraiser! A HUGE Thank You to our FANtastic DV Connect Parent, Johanna Mytko, for organizing this great event!

I want to share some information with you. One of the most common questions we hear from families is "How do DV Connect students fair through the transition into high school? What about grades? What about the large class sizes? What about homework?! Agghh!" Our answer has always been "They do just fine, we promise!" I'd like to share some of the incredible ways we know this to be true. :)
  • Our colleagues at the DV High Schools repeatedly share with us that, in general, their students who attended DV Connect are far better prepared to collaborate, engage in project-based learning, and succeed at Student-Led Conferences, Exhibitions, and Presentations of Learning than their peers.
  • In 2016 and 2018, DV Connect students were named valedictorian at two of the Da Vinci High Schools!
  • In the past week, staff at the high schools reached out specifically to relay compliments about how well two of our former students are thriving in our DV high schools--one is on the Honor Roll, and one is a leader amongst his classmates by using specific examples of the Habits of Heart and Mind with peers. These were unprovoked "just want to share how awesome your students are doing" compliments.
  • The family of one of our graduates recently sent this photo featuring our former students who are receiving High Honors at DVS multiple semesters in a row!
  • We have students come back year after year to share about the clubs they've joined, the friends they've made, and the classes they've loved!
In short, the above examples are a happy reminder that we do what we do with intention. We truly believe that if we can foster creativity and curiosity, support students in learning how to advocate for themselves and others, and teach them HOW to think instead of WHAT to think, our students will be "just fine" no matter what their high school (and beyond!) journey might look like.

We know that sometimes homeschooling feels like taking a risk with your children. We know it can feel vulnerable and uncertain. But please know you are doing good work and your children are thriving, and if they aren't we will let you know and support your through addressing their needs.

Enjoy the weekend!
Things You Need to Know This Week

Dress Code Reminder
We have started emailing home dress code reminders when students aren't wearing what they should. Please know that in general, students in grades K-3 are usually in dress code :) It's more in the older grades that parents take their eyes off of things like what kids are wearing and students "get away with" leaving the house wearing clothes they shouldn't to school.
(An explanation of why we have a dress code is in the handbook--please check it out!)
Taken from our Family Handbook:
  • Shirt Options: Polo shirt of any color/pattern, with or without the DaVinci logo. Button-down shirts of any kind may be worn but must remain buttoned. Official Da Vinci Schools t-shirts (from any of our schools or programs). Other shirts may not be worn over the polo, button-down or t-shirt unless for warmth (sweatshirt, jacket).
  • Pants/Shorts/Skirts: Pants and jeans may be worn but may not be ripped/frayed above the knee. Skirts and shorts may not be shorter than 2 inches above the knee. Leggings are permitted.
  • Jackets/Sweaters/Sweatshirts: May be worn over, but not in place of the above-mentioned acceptable shirt options. We recommend writing your child's name on all outerwear and please visit the lost and found often!
  • Shoes: Must be close-toed and have a back. Shoes with wheels are not permitted on campus.
  • Head Covers: Other than religious head covers, all other forms of hats or headdress may not be worn indoors or during class time.
Please review the student dress code on pg. 36 of our Family Handbook for additional information.

Makerspace Paper-Making Workshop
Thank you to the families who joined Jim for the paper-making workshop! Stay tuned for our next workshop!

DV Connect Cares!
Welcome back to school everyone! It's a new year with new school gear! Are you wondering what to do with those shoes that don't quite fit anymore? DV Connect Cares will be having a shoe drive starting Monday, September 17 and continuing through October! There will be a turquoise bin in the office to collect your gently worn adult and children's shoes! These shoes will then be donated to a school in Guatemala, where many children walk to school on unpaved roads without shoes! Time for some "fall cleaning" for an awesome cause! Thank you so much!

Coming Up...

Work Journal #1 Ends
Friday, Sept 28
Work Journal #1, complete with work samples, will be due Wednesday, Oct 3, by 4 pm to the front office.

Parent Educator Conference (PEC) #1
Wednesday, Oct 3

Career Speaker Series for Students Begins
Wednesday, Oct 3, 3:15-4:30pm

FAN Fall Festival!
Wednesday, Oct 24, 4:30-6pm
Please save the date for the Fall Carnival. More details are coming soon!


Stay Connected!
To maintain connection with our community, be sure to check out our private and official group on Facebook!
What's Cookin' in the Homeschool Kitchen

This summer, DV Connect friends got together and created a short film and won Family Friendly Film of the Year at a recent festival! The Hennessy and Meidav families wrote and directed #SaySomethingNice and even created lyrics and music for an original song! You can watch it HERE.

Congratulations to the students and parents who worked so hard on this project!
Have a great week!
~Your DV Connect Team