March 5th
2017

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Da Vinci
Innovation
Academy
13500 Aviation Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Michelle Rainey,
Principal
Kaitlin O'Melveny
Toon,
Dean of Students
Email the office: ia@davincischools.org


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Greetings, DVIA Families!
A Few Words from Our Principal

Greetings Families!

I am honored to share some really exciting news! A few weeks ago, our Core 2 teacher, Robin, became a mom! Many of you know Robin, some of you don't; she's an amazing person, a tremendous asset to our staff and we are over the moon
excited for her new adventure! Robin and her husband adopted a baby boy who they named Matthew. She will be spending the next 3 months on maternity leave enjoying being baby Matthew's mommy. Congratulations Robin! We know you're going to rock mommyhood!

I also want to share with you an email that I received (and got permission to share!) this week. I'm sometimes asked whether I feel confident that DVIA students are ready for high school. My answer is "Yes!" For those of you who don't know this, I spent the first 12 years of my career teaching high school. I also taught 9th grade at Da Vinci Science for 2 years before DVIA opened. I want you to know that as principal, I have my eyes on many prizes. The time we spend knowing our kids in such a deep way, the evenings we spend enjoying each other rather than battling "the homework monster," the field trips that show kids that learning is fun and it's everywhere...there are so many prizes in what we do.

And one of the prizes is that yes, DVIA 8th graders are ready for high school. I can say this with confidence for many, many reasons: We hear from former families (kids and parents) about their successes, Kaitlin and I see them thriving when we visit the high schools, we visit them during Exhibition, we hear from their teachers and the high school administrators, we have interviewed former DVIA students who are graduating high school and seeking internships, former DVIA parents email us with messages like, "Can you believe ______ earned a perfect score on his/her POL?!?!" and so much more. Last June a former DVIA student, Andrew, was valedictorian of his 12th grade class and gave an amazing speech at graduation. And last week, I received the following email from the parent of a 9th grader who graduated from DVIA last year:

"I want to thank you and all the wonderful teachers at DVIA. I just went to my son Nick's SLC, and the teachers all had the same comments. He is very participatory in all his classes and works well in a group. The icing on the cake was how when he finishes his work, he's more than willing to help anyone who may be struggling. I can truly see how his formation at DVIA prepared him for a great experience of high school!"

So, do DVIA students experience a transition when they go to high school? Yep! Is the work load an adjustment? Yep! Is getting to school at 9am 5 days a week an adjustment? Yep! But do DVIA students thrive in high school? YES! Do some of them need more support and take longer to transition than others? YES! And are we confident that DVIA students walk away from 8th grade with the necessary skills to self-advocate, collaborate with peers, enjoy learning, manage their time, keep themselves organized, persevere, and so much more...? Absolutely! We've also learned that DVIA parents are just as nervous, maybe even more so, than their children are when that transition to high school comes. And that's okay too! Thank you for making the choice to educate your child with us. We promise that we've got our eyes on whether our students are prepared and time and again we are shown that yes they are!

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week!
M_Rainey sig
From Our Dean of Students

First of all, thank you to our amazing FAN members for attending our recent FAN breakfast and mid-year meeting! We have some incredible events on the horizon that we hope you'll join us for! See below for more details. :)

I want to echo Michelle's excitement at the news of Robin's brand new baby boy. Our hearts are bursting with happiness for her little family of 3. While Robin is away bonding with baby Matthew and until a permanent teacher is finalized, I have been stepping in to teach her classes. I share this for two reasons:
1) I may be slower than normal to respond to e-mails. Thank you for your patience!
2) This opportunity has reminded me what a special community we have created together. I've been lucky to spend this past week in meaningful SLCs and to reflect on the hard work you all put into your work journals to show the great learning happening in your families! Thank you for sharing a piece of your world with us, and for being such a big piece of ours.

Have a great week!
What You Need to Know This Week!

Pre-Order DVIA yearbooks!
Starting March 6th, you can pre-order a DVIA yearbook for your student(s)! See the attached flyer for more info. The pre-order deadline is March 24th!

$1,000 School Hack Challenge
March 11 @ Mendez High School
Reframe Labs is an organization that helps to launch new, innovative schools. Da Vinci staff has worked with Reframe in a number of ways and they have offered up a unique opportunity for our students. They have asked us to share this message:
On March 11th, Reframe is hosting The $1,000 School Hack Challenge, a free daylong event in which Los Angeles students ages 13-18 team up to design and test their innovative ideas to improve their school, classroom, or community. Winning ideas get $1,000 for implementation, and they will be selecting 5-10 winners.
The event will most likely be held at Mendez High School at 1414 Kemmett Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
It's free and open to middle and high school students. Please use this registration page if your child is interested.

A few other things to know...
  • Students attend as individuals. After pitching, the top 10 ideas will be identified via crowd-sourced voting and students participants will then self-form teams. A team of Da Vinci students could still work together under this process.
  • Students don't necessarily need their own ideas to participate, since they can simply join another team, but they do hope each student comes with his/her own idea for the initial pitch.
Common Sense Teen Panel
Wednesday, March 15, 7pm
Why do kids love social media? How do apps like Instagram and Snapchat function in the current teen landscape? You are invited to a free ADULTS ONLY event at The Willows Community School to help answer these questions. Teens from the Common Sense LA Council and Willows alumni currently in high school will share their experiences with social media, offering hard-earned advice on how to manage the digital landscape of middle and high school. Click here to see the event flyer. Register here.

Femineers! Attention 3rd-8th grade girls!
Da Vinci Science's Society for Women Engineers (SWE) has organized an awesome program aimed at engaging 3rd-8th grade girls in STEM-related learning and fun! They've had 2 years of successful meetings and put on a great program. Many DVIA students participate and have a great time. The Femineers are creating a new after-school mentoring program and they want you to follow them here for more info.

UCLA Stress Study
Da Vinci Innovation Academy has partnered with UCLA scientists to test whether a new computer program can help kids and teens better manage stress. This program has previously been tested with youth experiencing high levels of stress, and we now want to see whether it might also be helpful in building resilience and managing stress for ALL kids and teens. We hope that once this research is completed, the findings will benefit families, schools, and the community. We are looking for kids and teens ages 10 to 17 to participate. All research activities occur at Da Vinci Innovation Academy. If you are interested in learning more, please email Michelle Rozenman, PhD, at mrozenman@mednet.ucla.edu or call (310) 794-2215.

Save the Date!

DVIA FAN Event: Cardboard Carnival Challenge!
Saturday, March 25, 12:30-4pm
Join the DVIA family at the Cardboard Challenge! The DVIA Global Cardboard Challenge is an educational and community initiative inspired by the viral short film, "Caine's Arcade" - widely cited as one of the most inspiring stories of 2012. This event promotes creativity and imagination among everyone involved--bring your pre-made cardboard game or come ready to build. To volunteer and/or donate, sign up here.

The Art of Understanding and Repairing Our Differences: How to Have Difficult Conversations using Emotional Intelligence
Tuesday, April 18, 7pm
Marc Brackett, PhD, and Robin Stern, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, will be speaking at The Willows Community School. Click here to see a flyer for the event. Register here.

DVIA FAN Science Fair!
Saturday, April 22, 1-3pm
Mark your calendars & start brainstorming for DVIA's first Science Fair! To participate, sign up here.
Did You Know...
...there is a DVIA glossary available on the parent educator resource website? Choose "DVIA 101" from the website's "Resources" menu to go find out what all that DVIA lingo means!

Have a great week!
~ Your DVIA Team