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I am so excited for school being back in session. I love summer, but I love being with students even more. As we start this new school year, I always like to ask, “What has the greatest impact on student learning?”
The answer is parents and families. Now, I know teachers have the greatest impact on student learning in the classroom because they help create the classroom learning environment to meet the needs of students. However, parental involvement is off the chart when it comes to helping students become productive, successful community members.
So how can DaVinci best support parents in their vital roles of shaping and educating the rising generation? The first thing we can do is provide parents with good information and opportunities that will guide parents and students in the goal making process. Here at DaVinci you should be well informed of academic and non-academic opportunities for your child. The following resources can be great tools in staying informed of these student-focused learning opportunities.
· Parent information tab on the DaVinci Website
· Counseling resources on the DaVinci Website
· Principal weekly updates
· List of clubs and after school activities
· Parent committees
· Resume building activities
If you are unsure of any of these options, I invite you to contact your program’s principal to discuss these options in more detail. Or you can always call or email me. I would be happy to review any of these options for your child and find ways to take advantage of them.
We love serving your child and we are grateful for your continual partnership as we strive to give your child the competitive advantage they deserve.
Thank you for choosing DaVinci Academy.
You could lounge by the pool, take some extra naps, or watch dozens of free movies on Netflix. These activities are definitely fun, but they may not get you very far. Or you could sharpen the skills...
As we prepare for the last month of school and the start of summer, many students may be asking, “What’s ahead?” This question comes in many forms, such as “What can I do over the summer to get ahead?”; Or “How can I best use my time”; And finally, “What would be fun to do?”
The answer depends on what you want. You could lounge by the pool, take some extra naps, or watch dozens of free movies on Netflix. These activities are definitely fun, but they may not get you very far. Or you could sharpen the skills you learned this year by planning out your summer days. This year you set small goals and reflected on them throughout the school year. This goal setting and reflection process helped you get closer to reaching your social and academic dreams. You created resumes, worked on service projects, made professional contacts or relationships, and gained valuable experiences.
These experiences are vital to building confidence and ultimately reaching your destination. I would like to encourage you to first take a needful break and have some fun this summer, and then continue forward with the small and simple academic and social goals you made this year. Consistency over time will produce the desired results of reaching your vision.
Progress in any endeavor takes time and many small steps or actions. Learning to play an instrument, sing, or weld takes thousands of hours of practice. Consistent practice over time transforms desire into skill. And newly acquired skills produce confidence and self-efficacy. Thus, the learning cycle continues from desire to action to positive outcomes. So don’t stop just because it’s summer.
So, What’s Ahead? Anything you want!!!! Let the summer months be a time of rejuvenation and accelerated growth. I am so grateful to be amongst you and to work with you as you prepare for future opportunities. It is an honor to collaborate with you all in helping you build the skills today so you can take flight tomorrow.
Thank you for choosing DaVinci and enjoy your summer.
This year has flown by, as we have focused on our vision of providing a superior education to our students. We are almost three quarters of the way through the school year. One more quarter left before summer break. As we reflect on our progress and growth, we are always open for feedback on how we can improve. Our improvement directly benefits your child since that is why we are in business: to provide your child with as many competitive advantages that will help them excel in any post education endeavors. Everything we do is to benefit students and this request for feedback is no different. We call this a growth mindset and no matter how the feedback comes in; we feel we can learn and grow from it to directly benefit your child.
We have climate surveys for parents, teachers, and students. We believe in transparency and will make all climate surveys available to parents before we give them to any student (see below). We are hoping that you will give us feedback on these climate surveys so we can best adapt to meet the needs of your child. Again, that is why we are in business, so any feedback on that mission will be greatly appreciated. The links below will take you to the different climate surveys we would like your feedback on. All survey data is confidential and anonymous.
Secondary Student Survey (for students in grades 7-12)
Elementary Student Survey (for students in grades 3-6)
Elementary Student Survey (for students in grades K-2)
We also would like feedback on how our counseling department is doing. These are our wonderful counselors that meet with all the parents and do the class schedules. They also meet with students and parents when needed to provide extra support if needed. Please give us some feedback on how we are doing in the counseling department.
Again, we appreciate you taking the time to help us provide an even better education for your child.
Thank you for choosing DaVinci.
As we get ready for the upcoming holidays—Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas—I am often reminded of the many opportunities we have. This gratefulness is magnified each time I come to work at DaVinci Academy.
Things for which I am Grateful
As we get ready for the upcoming holidays—Veterans Day and Thanksgiving—I am often reminded of the many opportunities we have. This gratefulness is magnified each time I come to work at DaVinci Academy.
I love working with students, teachers, parents, and the DaVinci community. I have been at DaVinci just long enough to have students of former students attend DaVinci classes. It is truly amazing to see students overcome challenges, grow in confidence, and develop skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. And then have their children return to DaVinci is a testament to DaVinci Academy’s positive impact on students.
These successes did not just happen. They happened because dedicated teachers taught engaging lessons, students put in the effort to learn, and parents supported their children through all the ups and downs of K-12 schooling. I am grateful for these efforts for they are truly making a difference in lives of those we serve.
I am equally grateful for the extra-curricular activities our students enjoy. It is exciting to see students wanting to stay after school to participate in these demanding and character-building activities. These activities give them opportunities to apply their skills, challenge their perseverance, and test their character. Our students are thriving in this environment on all fronts—academically, physically, and emotionally. I believe these small but steady opportunities are truly the foundation blocks to future successes.
As you can see there is so much for which to be thankful. I am grateful for opportunity to work with you as we work hand-in-hand to provide the best education for your child. What an opportunity!!!! I hope that we all can all take time to reflect on what we have been given and take the time to be grateful for the opportunities DaVinci Academy offers.
Thank you for choosing DaVinci Academy.
The Value of Parental Involvement
As we progress through this school year, I want to mention what we are doing to get parents involved and provide as much transparency to support your efforts in raising your child. As you know, educating children works best when parents are involved and supporting their child in their educational endeavors. Here at DaVinci Academy, we not only agree with that idea, we are committed to it by supporting parents in their child’s education.
What can parents do to stay informed of opportunities at DaVinci Academy? Step 1, make sure you have a copy of your child’s college and career plan. This plan is made with the school counselor and is a guide to you and your child. There are many post-secondary options like professional certificates, job shadowing, internships, financial aid, and of course college guides. Knowing your options and having a plan is the first step in supporting your child.
Step 2, know the names of your child’s teacher and classes. For secondary parents, make sure your parent canvas account is set up and that you are getting the notifications about their progress (How to set up Canvas parent account). This is a great conversation starter that allows you to guide your child along their education journey. Also, make sure your contact information in our Student Information System (SIS), is up to date. This will help you track attendance and receive any notifications from DaVinci. For example, if you wanted to know what novels or books your child is reading or checking out, then make sure your information in SIS is correct because we use this information to keep parents informed.
Step 3, review your child’s college and career portfolio at least monthly. This portfolio is the roadmap to the competitive advantage DaVinci offers. You will see the vision of what we are trying to accomplish and how these small steps taken now by your child will produce bountiful career and post-secondary educational opportunities in the future. If your child’s portfolio is not changing or being updated, then is the time to check in with the school principal or teacher.
And finally, join a committee or volunteer at a club. We have several different committees that will help you expand your DaVinci relationships and keep you in the loop of all the wonderful options DaVinci provides. It’s hard to keep everyone up to date on student opportunities, especially when those options are being relayed through students. Our website does have all these options listed but sometimes it is easier to find them while volunteering at the school. Below is a list of all the committees you can join—just text or call me if you would like to join one.
School Safety Committee
Title I Parent Committee
Thank you for choosing DaVinci.
Welcome back to school DaVicians!!!
As we begin this new school year, I want to share my thoughts on what we are doing at DaVinci to keep students, staff, and visitors safe. My hope is that as we all work together, we can continue to make DaVinci Academy a safe place to learn and develop student talents.
Currently, we have several key safety protocols that if followed will keep all who attend DaVinci safe. Those safety protocols include emergency procedures like fire drills, medical situations, and intruder alerts. Recently, all DaVinci programs have had a fire drill to ensure that all students and visitors know where to go during a fire. Each month we will continue to have emergency drills to prepare students in case there is an emergency. These drills are taken seriously because we never know when an emergency may happen, but our hope is that by being prepared, we can handle them correctly and keep everyone safe.
We also keep all buildings locked during the day. This includes individual classrooms. Elementary schools are equipped with magnet locks at the main entrance that require all visitors to be allowed in by the office staff. We are planning to put this same locking system in at the high school. All visitors are required to check in at the front office and obtain a visitor’s badge. This is a quick and easy way for us to discern who is allowed and not allowed in the building during school hours. We have one main entrance for all visitors during school hours, so if you are planning on visiting the school during school hours, then please remember check in at the front office.
All parents have been trained in proper drop off and pick up procedures at all buildings. I want to thank parents and students for following these safe pick up and drop off procedures. Please continue to follow these simple and safe procedures because they keep the lines moving efficiently while keeping students safe from accidents. I have included a link to the different program drop off and pick up procedures if you need to review them.
And last of all, I meet monthly with our safety committee to review all safety protocols at DaVinci Academy. We review and refine these safety procedures to make sure we are doing all we can to keep kids safe. If you want to be on the safety committee then just email me. I am confident that these safety protocols will keep all who enter DaVinci Academy safe if we all follow them consistently. If you have any additional questions or concerns about DaVinci safety procedures then please give me a call or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for choosing DaVinci.
Invest in yourself and quadruple your returns
Invest in yourself and quadruple your returns
In the financial world, an investment is taking something of value like money and investing it or giving it to someone or something to increase the amount of it. That returned depends on the skill, experience, market factors, and expertise of the investor. In the educational world there is a different type of investment that if done consistently will yield double, triple, and quadruple plus returns. It’s called investing in yourself. So how does an individual such as a student at DaVinci Academy invest in himself or herself?
Unlike financial investments, students at DaVinci must put in the time, effort, and practice for the investment to produce the quadruple plus results. These investments are small daily actions that if done consistently over time will produce the quadruple plus returns. Efforts such as taking notes in class, then reviewing them each night for 5 to 10 minutes can enhance long-term storage of key ideas and information. Students can also develop critical thinking skills such as summarizing by practicing daily summaries of notes taken in class. This small practice can increase comprehension and analytic skills needed in every post-secondary institution and career. Imagine what a competitive advantage you would have if you practiced just your note-taking skills such as reviewing or summarizing for 5 to 10 minutes a night.
Students can also practice key time-management skills by using a daily tracker or calendar to plan their day. They can then use this tracker or calendar to manage daily tasks and ensure that time is allocated for its completion and make needed adjustments if needed. Efficiency is a valued skill by all employers because it saves time and resources, which in the long run improves the competitiveness of the company. Who wouldn’t pay more for that type of employee?
Not only do students benefit from the long-term investments, but they also benefit from the increased self-esteem and self-efficacy, which are short-term byproducts of investing in yourself. At DaVinci Academy, we understand the importance of these investments and the huge returns students gain by these simple daily investments. DaVinci is uniquely organized to provide the time and support for students to invest in themselves. And the best thing about DaVinci is our ability to persuade students to put in the effort to invest in themselves. I believe this is why parents and students choose DaVinci Academy when seeking quadruple plus returns on the safest investment ever—yourself.
How to stand out from the crowd
How to stand out from the crowd
When competing for jobs or schooling opportunities, we all want to stand out from the crowd. The wrong time to prepare is when we are in the heat of competition—preparation comes many years before the actual challenge or interview begins. So what does DaVinci do to support students in this preparation? DaVinci Academy provides the structure and opportunities for students to lean, develop, and master critical values and build key work habits that will give them a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or schooling opportunities later in life. To be successful, we all must learn these skills as we transition from childhood to adulthood, and DaVinci is uniquely structured to help students optimize growth through incorporating these values into effective work and study habits.
One key value that students can learn at DaVinci is accountability. To be accountable is to take responsibility for our actions or non-actions that impact us and those around us. Students are expected to meet the daily expectations of DaVinci classroom standards like arriving on time, being prepared for class, meeting deadlines, or fostering positive professional relationships with teachers and staff. These seemingly mundane expectations allow students to take accountability for both good and bad deeds and make small corrections that will pay huge dividends in the future. Each day in all classes, students are encouraged and given time to reflect on this key value. Students are given time to reflect on their class work, homework, interactions among peers and staff, and their use of time. This structured time can allow students to assess the quality of their work and make adjustments to foster deeper growth and learning. This daily reflective practice is where real growth occurs. It will also deepen their ability to think, reason, and make logical connections. Students reap the fruits of these small, consistent daily doses of accountability.
So, what can DaVinci students do now to stand out later? They can choose now to meet class or club requirements like 90% attendance, 100% completion of class assignments, or taking good notes in class. Once these steps are done consistently, they can take time to reflect on the work they are doing and make small adjustments to improve the quality of their efforts. The key is being consistent and diligent in taking these small steps to improve. It is said that if we change one percent in a particular area, then we will be 38 times better at the end of the year. Now multiply that by 4 years and you have given yourself a major competitive advantage upon graduation.
We want all DaVinci Students to stand out when competing for future educational and employment opportunities. College admission committees or hiring boards routinely screen candidates based on measurable metrics. How well one demonstrates accountability definitely catches their attention. DaVinci Academy can provide the environment and structure to thrive and to grow but it takes individual effort and application to get ahead or stand out. I am excited for our students and grateful for our staff who are dedicated on helping students learn values like accountability so they can use these attributes to standout in future competitive arenas.
Come and Get Involved!!!
The longer I work in education the more I realize how much of a powerful influence parents have on their children. In fact, a lot of research has indicated that positive parental support is one of the greatest impacts on student achievement. So how can we (DaVinci administrators and teachers) help support parents have more positive interactions with their children about school and learning?
One thing we are doing to increase positive parent/child interactions is creating standardized procedures at the school that facilitates positive parental involvement. For example, all teachers are required to update their Canvas calendar with any assignment that has a due date in the upcoming week. Since this process is standardized, parents can easily locate the assignments for the upcoming week and help their child calendar time to get those assignments done. Parents can then set up Canvas notifications to allow for daily or weekly notifications on upcoming assignments which will allow them to engage in positive interactions about those assignments with their children. Parents can then reinforce the positive attributes of hard work, diligence, calendaring, self-monitoring, etc. that their child used to finish the assignment.
Here is a link to our website page that has several more of these standardized procedures that can increase parental involvement. Technology Parent Training Videos
Currently, I have several parents of all school ages served at DaVinci meet once a month to review and give feedback on these standardized procedures. I then use this feedback to help refine or implement these ideas to create or improve our standardized procedures to further facilitate positive parental involvement. If you would like to participate on this parent committee then just email me (email@example.com). We meet the second Thursday of the month at 3:45 in the boardroom at Big DaVinci. You can always phone in during the meeting or email any ideas that we can discuss if you can't make it. So come and get involved.
Parenting Tips and Tricks:
This year we have invested in Love and Logic training for the entire district. All teachers are trained on how to create a positive, empowering, and safe classroom environment via five guiding principles: mutual dignity and respect, shared control within limits, sincere empathy, shared thinking, it all points to healthy relationships.
Love and Logic Newsletter:
- August - October Edition -- What is Love and Logic?
- November - February Edition -- Applying Love and Logic
We will also be starting a collaborative parenting group class that will focus on tips and tricks in dealing with kids. So if you are interested in this collaborative class then please email me. Here is the link to the free online course material that we will be using. Click Here to access Glen Latham's book, "The Power of Positive Parenting"
Welcome Back!!!!! I along with the rest of the teachers and staff are extremely excited this year's learning opportunities. We have a lot of good things in store for your child. We know you choose DaVinci for enhanced learning opportunities both now and in the future. We aim to please.
One of our major school goals this year is to keep parents informed of all the wonderful learning opportunities that your child is involved in or should get involved in. We know that real learning happens when parents and schools work together to motivate students to reach high and challenging learning goals. In fact, "progams and interventions that engage families in supporting their children's learning at home are linked to higher student achievement."1
Ways to get involved:
- Create a Canvas parent account and talk to your student each week about courses on Canvas
- Take time to have your child summarize his/her learning in courses they find interesting
- Set Canvas notifications to receive calendar updates/changes to stay informed
- Work with your child to set goals to attend the Tech College and get a certificate while it's still free to attend
- Encourage your child to take AP courses
- Motivate your child to take the free online ACT prep course or work with the junior team teachers to increase their ACT score
- Create a goal to take a college course while in high school
- Continue to teach students about hard work, high expectations, delayed gratification, and grit when it comes to learning
- Create academic goals and develop simple plans to achieve them, then review them each Sunday
- Encourage your child to get involved in after school clubs
1. Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement, posted August 30, 2011, Center for Public Education. http://www.centerforpubliceduc