Greetings DVIA Families!
A Few Words From Our Principal
I hope you've enjoyed your second week of school and homeschooling! We are truly enjoying getting to know your kiddos and your family! Thank you to those of you who joined me for Pastries with the Principal last week. Look for more dates on the Parent Educator Resource Site
(calendar tab) and please consider joining me for a new feature this year: Book Club! More info below and dates are on the calendar as well!
I want to spend a few minutes touching on a topic about which some of you care very little, some of you will tuck it away in your "good to know" file, and some you care quite a bit or are at least quite curious. I will also spend a few minutes clarifying DVIA's stance on this topic. So what's the mystery topic? State testing! The scores were released this past Wednesday and here's what we want you to know:
Some general information:
- DVIA and Da Vinci Schools does not place a tremendous amount of value on state testing, but as a public school, we are mandated to participate and reach the 95% participation rate, so thank you for supporting our school by making sure your child attends on the days when we administer the test (which is in the spring and for students in grades 3-8).
- Michelle likes to summarize DVIA's "wants" regarding state testing as follows: We never want to be on the radar for state test scores. We don't want to draw attention, an audience or interested families based on our scores being super high or super low. We want to be "just fine." And we are!
- Unlike many public schools that spend a month before the testing prepping, reviewing content and practicing test-taking strategies, DVIA just takes the test. We administer the tests in low-stress ways so that students don't mind testing.
- The DVIA teaching staff spends approximately 30 minutes examining our scores and testing data to determine what is working and what isn't.
- The individual student scores have arrived and will be mailed home at the end of this week.
- The state released the following information on state-wide results.
- Overall, state-wide averages increased from last year to this year with a 4% increase in math and a 5% increase in ELA; we want to acknowledge and celebrate growth for those outside our community as well!
So how did DVIA do?
- Really well! To elaborate:
- The state-wide percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations on English Language Arts (ELA) standards was 44%. DVIA's was 64%.
- The state-wide percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in math standards was 37%. DVIA's was 53%.
- DVIA's proficiency levels in ELA increased by 4% from 2015-2016.
- DVIA's proficiency levels in math increased by 7% from 2015-2016.
- DVIA students' proficiency levels were higher than the state average for every single grade level in both ELA and math.
- The percentage of DVIA kiddos who did not meet the expected standards decreased in both math and ELA.
- We know that DVIA's middle school math curriculum for the Hybrid Program (CPM) is challenging for families to incorporate at home. But our math proficiency scores in 6th through 8th grade ROCKED! While only 36% of 6th, 7th and 8th graders met or exceeded standards state-wide, 51% of DVIA 6th graders, 67% of DVIA 7th graders and 71% of DVIA 8th graders hit that same mark!
- Families sometimes wonder whether homeschooling and the DVIA experience adequately prepares their kiddos for high school. 81% of last year's 8th graders met and exceeded ELA standards and 71% met and exceeded math standards. State-wide averages were significantly lower at 48% (8th grade ELA) and 36% (8th grade math). By the way, did you know that last year's valedictorian at Da Vinci Science was a DVIA alum? Our kiddos do just fine :)
So as we celebrate that our students do just fine on the state tests, please take a moment to appreciate and celebrate yourselves! You are responsible for the majority of your child's learning (60% in the Hybrid Program and up to 100% in the Collaborative Program). Your child's proficiency and our schools' proficiency is in large part due to your effectiveness as parent educators. We know that for many of you, the decision to homeschool feels like a risk, an experiment, a long journey with fingers and toes crossed. Please know that there are many data points and anecdotal situations that remind us that this journey is a productive one. Our state test data is just one of several sets of information that confirm for us that we are all doing just fine...in fact, we are thriving! :)
Enjoy your week!
From Our Dean of Students
I hope everyone has enjoyed their week! During our professional development time with staff on Wednesday, Janette shared a clip from a TED talk that I am dying to share with you! Check out this conversation about challenging ourselves in new ways.
Speaking of challenging ourselves, I am SO excited for our first Parent Educator Conference on Wednesday! I took a sneak peek at the workshops our teachers are planning and they are sure to enrich and challenge your thinking in the best of ways! Make sure to bring something to write on so you can capture all your meaningful thoughts and ideas. :)
Finally, for our 6th-8th grade students, in-school seminar classes will begin on September 1st. We are lucky to have Ethel and Kene teaching seminars this semester, along with the Core 5 team!
Parent Educator Conference This Week
August 31, 9:15am-2:15pm Hawthorne Memorial Center (3901 El Segundo Blvd, Hawthorne)
PEC 1 is this Wednesday at the Hawthorne Memorial Center! We are excited about providing our home educators with helpful workshops as well as experimenting with an UnConference format. Please see the schedule for workshop descriptions and times. Kid Care sign up closes on Monday. Reservations are required for morning and/or afternoon sessions ($5/session). Kids are asked to bring quiet, independent work. Does your kiddo want a pizza lunch? Add $2 to your payment.
Last Call for Emergency Kits
We will be storing our emergency kit bins in their permanent homes on Wednesday, 8/31. Please make sure you turn in your student's emergency kit before then! Information about what to include is here.
Camp Deadline This Week
If you missed the mandatory meetings for Astro and Catalina Camps, please contact Kaitlin immediately for necessary information and paperwork!
The deadline to sign up for and pay for each camp is
4:15 pm on September 1st.
*For Astro Campers: Please add an empty plastic 2 liter bottle to your packing list.
Scooter's Jungle Fundraiser
September 13th, 5-8pm
We are excited to announce that our first DVIA Scooter's Jungle night is Tuesday, September 13th! This will be a sold-out event so please buy your tickets in the front office ASAP! Children's tickets are $12 each and adults are $5. Pizza and bake sale goodies will be available for purchase. If you can donate water or bake sale items, please sign up here. Don't forget to bring your socks! This is not a drop-off event...please supervise your children! First-Day-of-School Pictures AvailableYou can view and purchase your first day of school photos here (password: community, most recent pictures at the bottom). Pictures are just $5 each for a digital download. Your purchases also help to ensure we have a professional photographer archiving our great work.
Home Educator Book Club
First meeting September 8th and 9th, 9:15-10:15am in the Collab Lab
Join Michelle and fellow parent educators in reading and discussing the books that DVIA staff read. Michelle will be hosting an on-going book club and she wants YOU to come hang out with her! Our first book will be DVIA's founding compassionate communication guide, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (chapters 1-2 discussed 9/8 and 9/9). Twenty copies of the book have been ordered and are available for purchase in the front office for $10.00. Sign up here if you plan to attend the book club so that Michelle knows approximately how many people to expect. Discussions will be on both a Thursday and a Friday at 9:15 in the hopes of accommodating both Hybrid and Collaborative families. Hope to see you there!
DVIA Apparel Online
Now until 9/17 only!
This year, we have an online store available for all of your DVIA apparel needs. The store will be open until 9/17 so place your orders today! Apparel will be delivered to DVIA approximately 2 weeks after the store closes. We will re-open the store once more in January. Please use the access code "davinci" to enter the store here. Happy shopping!
We are SO excited that Cecilia and Jason Hilkey from Happily Family will continue to support DVIA this year in person and online! They support our community by:
- sharing a wealth of online resources (classes on anxiety, anger, limit setting, siblings, and couples communication)
- hosting monthly live calls about compassionate communication
- presenting at our Parent Educator Conferences
- granting full access to the Happily-Family-hosted "Education: Next Generation," an online conference featuring interviews with progressive thinkers such as Alfie Kohn, Ross Greene, Scott Noelle, Sura Hart, and Tony Wagner! Reach out to the front office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for access info!
For future info on Happily Family and additional ways that they support us, check the newsletter weekly!
A Reminder from the Office
If you need to pick up your child early, please arrive with at least 10 minutes to spare. This gives us enough time to retrieve your child, who might be in his/her regular classroom, but who might also be out at play or in a different classroom. Due to the office's small capacity and inability to provide adequate supervision, we aren't able to hold students in the office while they wait for you to arrive. Also, if you are picking up your child during the school day, you must park your car and walk in to the office to officially sign him/her out. Safety is our number one priority. Thank you for understanding!
Mark Your Calendar!
October 13th and 14th
DVIA Picture Day for kiddos and parent educators is October 13 and 14 for both Hybrid and Collaborative families. Find this and more on the calendar page of the Parent Educator Resource Site! Did You Know...
...there is now a DVIA glossary available on the parent resource website ? Click here or choose "DVIA 101" from the website's "Resources" menu to go find out what all that DVIA lingo means!
Have a great week!