August 8, 2017
Greetings, DVIA Families!
From Our Principal

Greetings DVIA Families!

For those of you who don't know me well, my name is Michelle Rainey and I am honored to be your principal. This is my 19th year as an educator and my 5th year as DVIA's principal. I am also a parent at DVIA--my 4th and 6th grade daughters began attending the Tuesday/Friday Hybrid cohort in kindergarten. Collaborating with our staff as both a parent and administrator has been such an awesome opportunity to grow as an educator, a parent, a colleague, a friend and a human! I am truly grateful for the past 8 years at Da Vinci Schools. Thank YOU for being part of my journey this year.

It's hard to believe that in less than a week we will be coming together for our Parent Educator Conference! The staff started back July 31st by reconnecting as a team, welcoming new staff, and attending Responsive Classroom professional development alongside the new teachers at Thrive Public Schools in San Diego (Thrive was started by DVIA's founding principal Nicole Tempel Assisi). This week we have a lot more to do preparing classrooms, planning projects/workshops/classes, planning PEC (August 14th and 15th - can't wait to see you!), fine-tuning our newly developing DVIA-run enrichment program, planning connecting events for families, preparing work journals and content guides, preparing curriculum, reflecting on procedures and school-wide norms, finalizing enrollment documentation, conducting emergency-preparedness training, and so much more!

This first official newsletter of the 2017-2018 school year contains A LOT of information, so please take your time reading it. We will send out pertinent announcements weekly throughout the school year. Thank you in advance for reading! 

I appreciate the privilege of serving your family and look forward to opportunities to collaborate with each of you. It was great meeting many of you at our first FAN gathering of the year this past Sunday at the El Segundo library park concert! 

M_Rainey sig
From Our Dean of Students 
Greetings new and returning families! I am so excited to re-connect with many of you, and to connect with some of you for the first time!
This will be my third year as DVIA's Dean of Students. Prior to that, I taught cores 4-5, core 2, and then cores 4-5 again! Through our shifts in grade levels and "cores" in the Hybrid Program over the years, I've ended up with experience in 8 out of 9 grade levels! Brownie points to anyone who can figure out which grade I missed! ;)
Each summer, our staff gathers in early August to plan, collaborate, learn and imagine in preparation for students and families. Those two weeks, without fail, feel long--yet at the same time, they are too short to accomplish everything we dream to accomplish before we open our doors to you. 
This is what we call "heart work". The work of trying to make the world a better place--and inspiring kids to do the same. I shared with our staff this week that one of the reasons I love coming to work everyday is that I know I am part of a community that directly impacts my daughter's experience in the world, and her life as a learner. I am full of gratitude that this is the work she gets to watch her momma do each day.
Thank you for joining us in this "heart work", and for making a choice to join this ever-evolving, always loving community we have built together. 
Cheers to an incredible year!

Welcome to New Families and Staff!

This year, DVIA has the honor of welcoming 157 new students and 4 new staff members! When DVIA opened 7 years ago, we had 220 students and that seemed ambitious. We now serve over 430 kiddos. It is such an honor to be part of a thriving homeschool community in the South Bay! There are so many independent study and homeschool options available in the Los Angeles area and every one of them offers something a little different. We are glad you've chosen to partner with us in your homeschooling adventures!

I am pleased to introduce to you Vivianne Coe, who is a new Inclusion Specialist (special education teacher) at DVIA. Vivianne is a former DVIA parent who has worked as a resource teacher at neighboring schools and is settling back in to Los Angeles after spending a few years in Chile with her family. In the Collaborative Program, we are excited to welcome Katie Steele who moved this summer from New York to L.A. and who will be working with students in 3rd-5th grade. We are also grateful to have Jennifer Johnson as a long term substitute teacher for the Collaborative's 6th-8th grade families while Ethel Brown is on maternity leave. Jennifer is a teacher, homeschooler and also a DVIA parent! In the Hybrid Program's Core 2, Jennifer Francy (who taught Robin's students for three months last spring) has returned this year as a member of our teaching staff. Welcome Jennifer!
Jumpstart the New School Year at Our First Parent Educator Conference!

We can't wait to see you next Monday or Tuesday from 9am-2pm! You can view the tentative schedule here. We will begin the day right next door at Dana Middle School's Multipurpose Room. We are offering kid-care on the DVIA campus! If you would like care for your 5-12 year old children, please sign up here ($5 per session charge for staffing). Please note: We want your child to have a successful start to the school year. If he or she is disregulated for a prolonged period of time, a staff member will locate you to support/pick up your child.

In addition to meeting your child's teacher(s), hearing updates and announcements, submitting required outstanding enrollment documents, picking up your DVIA-issued homeschool resources* and participating in our curriculum exchange**, attending PEC fulfills the requirement for attending your first Work Journal meeting!

Please note that parking will be impacted on these days. Please park at Dana Middle School. Thank you. 

*Depending on what you ordered, you might have physical copies or you might have online access.
**Please bring any gently used curriculum you wish to re-home. It's a "give some, get some" style exchange. 
Introducing DVIA's Newly-Revised Enrichment Program!

We know you've been eagerly awaiting more information about this year's enrichment program! Thank you for your patience. Developing, staffing and planning classes in addition to our Hybrid and Collaborative classes is A LOT for our staff to take on! We've been working hard fine-tuning this new aspect of our program. Here's what you need to know:
  • You can sign up for as much or as little enrichment as you need! Some families don't participate at all. That's okay! Some families rely on a considerable amount of extra support, and that's okay too! We will do our best to meet your needs.
  • What you get: 2 classes (we call it a "block") for free! You can purchase additional blocks for $250 each. (You can mix and match times as well!)
  • Our afternoon enrichment option is going to be run like a club! Students choose from a menu of activities that vary every few weeks instead of committing to one class for the entire 12 weeks. The Afternoon Enrichment Club is available to Hybrid and Collaborative families alike. End your homeschool day with 75 minutes of fun or extend your school day until 4:30! 
  • Enrollment is no longer first-come, first-served. Let's face it, that was stressful! We know it's nearly impossible to give everyone their first choice all the time, so you will be asked to rank your child's choices, give us any information we need to know, and we will do our best to meet your needs!
  • Below you'll find a sneak preview of our enrichment schedule. Changes might be made if certain classes prove to be extremely popular (or unpopular!). Thank you in advance for your flexibility.
The official application will be released soon as will blurbs about each class. You will hear more at PEC, and you can sign up then or take the application home, chat with your kiddo(s) and email or drop it off later next week. 

The Book Fair is Coming!

Monday, August 14th-Friday, August 18th @ DVIA
Theresa's Room
DVIA will be hosting a live book fair during our first week of school! Come shop during PEC, bring your students to campus Wednesday, August 16th from 12:00-2:00 and from 2:45-4:00 on August 17th and 18th. The book fair will be offered by DVIA parent Ambur Gorman and will feature Barefoot Books. For those of you not familiar, Barefoot Books open windows to other cultures and perspectives, while also providing children of all backgrounds and abilities with a much-needed mirror of their own experiences. All profits benefit DVIA.

You can also shop online anytime between now and August 20th and your purchase will benefit DVIA and help stock our classrooms with rich reading material! 

If you have any questions please contact Ambur at
Please Review the DVIA Student and Family Handbook!

We've included so much helpful information in our handbook. Really, we spend a lot of time writing, revising and even including cute pictures! Please read it! You can find all the work journal deadlines for the entire year; our mission and vision; the dress code; our Habits of Heart and Mind; expectations for you, your children and our staff; our campus-wide policies such as those for drop-off and pick-up; birthdays; health and wellness info; and so much more.

Did you know that DVIA's parents created a website to support you? There are so many things you can find there:
  • the year-long calendar
  • curriculum resources
  • archived newsletters
  • staff contact info
  • curriculum resources
  • homeschool support
  • field trip ideas
  • the family directory
  • our student and family handbook
  • and so much more!

Please take time to peruse the website and particularly explore the calendar to note days off, deadlines, and community-building events!

Important Contact Information!
Don't Forget Your Emergency Kit!

Every school year, we request that each student is provided with a small emergency kit from home. While we hope we never need to use them, in the event of a large-scale emergency, it is possible that students would be on campus for an extended period. These kits ensure that your kiddos will have extra snacks and comfort items during such an emergency. Please create an emergency kit to bring to school next week. Families in the Hybrid (2-day) Program can drop theirs off in the black bin outside their classroom door. Our Homeschool Collaborative families can drop off their kits in the black bin just inside the chalkboard entrance door the first time they are on campus. We will need to relocate the bins fairly soon to their permanent destination so please don't forget to bring it in soon! For information about what to include, please refer to
this document.

Please note: These kits are meant to be disposable. Do not include original photos or any other items you want back at the end of the year.
Join our First FAN (Family Action Network) Meeting 
Wed., Aug 23rd @ 9am, Classroom TBD

Please join DVIA's FANtastic parents for our first FAN meeting of the year!  We will discuss the calendar of events and ways to volunteer. What is FAN? The Family Action Network (FAN) is DVIA's organization created to bring our community together in a fun and functional fashion. We want to celebrate, enjoy, and enhance our unique educational experience in a way that helps boost friendships (for children and parents) as well as school/homeschool pride in our community's journey. We are a group of parents working to provide events and activities in which you can participate in order to enrich your homeschooling by making project based learning in the home achievable to all our DVIA families.  Please RSVP here to let us know if you can make it!
Family Directory

Please start building your community now! Opt-in to our Family Directory here. You may access the directory through our Parent Educator Resource site: using the password: ********.

Eclipse Viewing at DVIA

You probably already know that the country is preparing for the "Great American Eclipse", or the total solar Eclipse happening the morning of August 21st! Be on the lookout for resources/articles/websites/ from your teachers on great homeschooling around this "stellar" astronomical event! For those kiddos who will be on campus that morning, we will view the Eclipse together, which will include observing the Eclipse through telescopes, pinhole cameras, and special viewing glasses that will protect little eyes. 
Astro Camp and Catalina Camp 

If your 5th/6th grader is planning to attend Astro Camp on 9/20-9/22 or your 7th/8th grader is planning to attend Catalina Camp on 9/25-9/27, there will be mandatory parent meetings held at 8:30am on 8/21 and 8/22 (location TBD). This meeting will inform parents of everything necessary for their kiddo to be ready for camp--including payment, packing lists and health forms! Questions? Email Kaitlin at
Stay Tuned! 

We will send another newsletter soon with more information about the first week of school and enrichment class blurbs and registration information!
Have a great week!
~Your DVIA Team
Da Vinci Schools, 13500 Aviation Boulevard, Hawthorne, CA 90250
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