January 13, 2019
From Our Principal

Greetings Families! 

I am so excited to welcome you back from winter break and hope the past 3 weeks have brought you much love, relaxation, rejuvenation and connection with loved ones! I, too, enjoyed that time with family. I am also excited to welcome back Nancy Waites, Hybrid middle school math teacher. Nancy spent time last semester with her new baby and is back, excited to work with our students and families again. I want to publicly thank and acknowledge Cathie Schubert for her dedication last semester in Nancy's place. She will be missed as a daily presence around campus but she is at the top of our substitute teacher list so we will definitely be seeing her soon! 

For the past week, your DV Connect staff worked hard on a number of important topics such as: 
  • Reconnecting with each other and with our mission to provide excellent on-campus experiences for students and support for homeschooling families 
  • Re-committing ourselves to being clear, concise and consistent in our communication with parents and support for students 
  • Creating engaging projects that help students navigate complex academic topics while also practicing important social skills reflected in our Habits of Heart and Mind: reflection, exploration, collaboration, flexibility, perseverance and empathy
  • Conducting "Critical Friends Groups," a protocol used by all Da Vinci Schools to propose an idea (in this case, projects), consider questions, hear feedback, suggestions and resources and then reflect on next steps 
  • Preparing our classrooms and creating curriculum 
  • Finalizing report cards (they are in the mail!) 
  • Reviewing input from the parent survey you completed in November/December in order to be responsive to your ideas and needs (I will send a reflection on that soon!) 
  • Collaborating with our Da Vinci Schools colleagues during our "All Org" day where we reflected on/previewed Presentations of Learning, shared project ideas and learned new ideas in a variety of educational topics 
  • Getting spoiled by amazing families who provided us with delicious and much appreciated lunches and breakfast! THANK YOU! 
  • Reminding ourselves, through many reflective discussions and enjoying each other's company during staff meetings and celebrations, how very fortunate we are to work with each other, with you and with your children. Thank you once again for choosing Da Vinci Connect on your homeschool journey, for trusting us with your child's education, and for allowing this group of passionate and skilled educators to come together in a school that serves such a specific and amazing population in the world of education--YOU! 
Lastly, you've probably heard and read at various times in the past few years that we are exploring (and now planning for) the option of a Da Vinci Connect high school experience for students. I know that deciding to continue the homeschool journey in high school is a big one. Some of you might be thinking "YES PLEASE!" and others of you are saying "WHY WOULD I DO THAT?" I also know that homeschooling a high schooler is very different from homeschooling an elementary or middle school student. Many of you know this but some don't--for the first 12 years of my now 20 years in education, I was a high school English teacher. I am extremely well versed in the academic skills and knowledge, as well as the social skills, teenagers need in order to successfully complete high school and college. What they also need is independence and opportunities to practice the "adulting" skills their parents need them to have so they can successfully earn their place in the workforce, and hold a career they are passionate about--one that capitalizes on their gifts and talents and brings a paycheck that keeps them off your couch :) 

I am actively researching and collaborating with fellow educators on a Connect-style high school option that offers independence (so that parents aren't "homeschooling" but students still have flexibility that lends itself to the beautiful connections and learning opportunities so many of you desire in this journey) and comprehensive high school learning experiences. I would greatly appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts about a Da Vinci Connect high school option in this survey, particularly for our parents of 4th-8th graders. Please know we will also be surveying our middle school students (both in Hybrid and Collaborative) in the coming weeks, so this survey is intended to be your thoughts as parents

Thank you for reading, thank you for being part of our community and I am looking forward to a rainy, blustery winter week with your children! 
M_Rainey sig
From Our Dean of Students

Happy 2019!

First of all, I want to thank our FAN families for thinking of us while you were still on break and providing us with DELICIOUS food for breakfast and lunch on multiple days! We appreciate the BBQ, pizza, bagels, and all the other treats you so generously shared. We appreciate you!

As we head in to second semester, I'd like to share an exciting opportunity that I've been thinking about for a while! Starting in February, I will be starting a book club based on the book Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dan Siegel. This is an awesome read for anyone with adolescents (or soon-to-be adolescents!) who want to understand their child's growing brains and bodies in a new way. I will create the workshops in a way that purchasing the book isn't necessary. If this is of interest to you, please let me know by completing this form

I look forward to seeing you and your student(s) next week!
Things You Need to Know This Week

Come Network with Other Parent Educators --"Morning Mash-up" in The Parent Center
Monday/Tuesday, Jan 14/15, 9:30-10:30 am
There will be coffee, donuts and other snacks. But even better, this is dedicated time and a space to connect with families just like yours!

From our Counselor, Kené
With the start of the New Year, the Kindness Campaign would like to set the tone for the new semester with a special closing meeting assembly highlighting the importance of Kindness.  Next week's assembly, which will be held on Thursday, January 17th and Friday, January 18th, will feature the works from Core 1, a presentation from Core 3 introducing the Kindness benches, and a poem from Core 5 reflecting on Kindness.  We are excited for this event and inviting all members of our community to join us.

School Photos Are In, and Makeups are Scheduled for 1/16!
You should have received an email from Brianne with instructions on how to access your child's school photos in December. Please consider purchasing your child's school photo so that we can continue using our awesome photographer, Stacee Lianna! If you missed photo day, Stacee will be back on campus Wednesday, Jan 16, from 9:00-11:00 am for makeup photos!

Middle School Health Workshop Series
Attention 7th-8th grade families! Please look for an e-mail from our school nurse, Emily Green (egreen@davincischools.org), highlighting an opportunity to participate in an ongoing series of Health Workshops for our middle school students, starting on Wednesday, Jan 16
BARK! Beach Animals Reading with Kids
Want to give your reader a new and adorable opportunity to practice their reading skills? The San Pedro Library offers a recurring event that allows people to come and read to therapy dogs! Visit their website for more info. 

Coming Up...

No School
Monday, Jan 18
No school or homeschool on January 18 to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Pizza & Spirit Day
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, Jan 23/24/25
Dress up as your favorite animal!

FAN Film Festival 
Friday, Jan 25 
More details to come soon! Sponsored by the Kindness Movement, "A Day of Acceptance, Empowerment and Connecting" is coming up! 

LA Clippers Homeschool Day
Sunday, Jan 27
Join other homeschoolers and watch the LA Clippers take on the Sacramento Kings, with tickets starting at only $15! See flyer for more info and ask some DV Connect friends to join you! 

One of our favorite and best events of the year is coming soon! 
Those of you who have participated or attended in the past know, no one does a talent show like Connect! It's fun, it's inclusive, it's dynamic and it's next month! 

WHY: The Annual Talent Showcase - Art Walk and Stage Performances
WHEN: Saturday February 23, 4:30-7:30 pm
  1. Decide what you'd like to showcase in the Art Walk or during your 2-minute Stage Act.
  2. Sign up here so a coordinator can contact you.
  3. Complete form coordinator will send you with details of your talent.
  4. Attend rehearsal for stage talents on Wednesday, February 20, 3:30-5:30 pm.
  5. Celebrate all the amazing talents in our community by attending the Talent Showcase in its entirety!
Stay Connected!
To maintain connection with our community, be sure to check out our private and official group on Facebook!
The Parent Center @ DV Connect 
January Office Hours Have Been Posted!
Sign up here! 
Come Network with Other Parent Educators --"Morning Mash-up" in The Parent Center
Monday/Tuesday, Jan 14/15, 9:30-10:30 am
There will be coffee, donuts and other snacks. But even better, this is dedicated time and a space to connect with families just like yours!
ThinkCERCA Families: Best Practices 
Wednesday, Jan 23, 9:30-11:30 am 
Join Theresa & Dr. Mona Kiani for a mid-year check-in! Immediately following, the group will collaborate on a list of questions, wonderings, and a wish list for Theresa to take to ThinkCERCA at their annual Lead Teacher conference in January. Sign up here to attend the ThinkCERCA check-in. 
Parent Educator Spotlight: A Three-Part Series on Cognitively Guided Instruction with Nick Johnson
Wednesdays, January 16/30 & February 13, 5-7 pm in the Forum 
Please plan to attend all three sessions.

1/16/19 (Focus: Addition & Subtraction) 
1/30/19 (Focus: Multiplication) 
2/13/19 (Focus: Fractions)

Discussion will center on how children learn mathematics. Through this exploration, participants will:

  1. Learn about research on children's mathematical thinking (Cognitively Guided Instruction-CGI).
  2. Actively engage in math through hands-on activities and examples of children's work.
Da Vinci FAN will be hosting a pizza dinner fundraiser, and Kid Care will be offered. We hope you can attend this informative and exciting parent educator workshop series!

Coming soon! Parent Educator Spotlight: Jennifer Racusin & Getting Started with Project Based Learning (PBL)
February 19 & 22 from 9:30-11 am
Watch for details and a SignUp Genius link!
Have a great week!
~Your DV Connect Team