Da Vinci exhibited its innovative and collaborative abilities when students and staff participated in a school-wide, three day workshop led by the Dino Pack. This new event took place in the first week of school, serving as an introduction to Da Vinci’s core aspects and values, or “ Da Vinci 101 courses”, as Dino Pack leader Jocelyn Busch puts it.
Many students found the workshop helpful, while others expressed that it could have been improved. Just like a new project, a new tradition at Da Vinci must undergo trials and tribulations before it can be perfected.
Luckily, constructive criticism is something that Da Vinci values, so much so that the topic was covered in the event’s communication station, led by Paraeducator Tammy Smith and Internship Coordinator Susan Kirby. Other central aspects of the school covered in the stations included: different learning styles, research, technology, professionalism, Echo training, learning mindset, policies and procedures as well as Restorative Practices. When in doubt, students can use their handy student planner as a guide to these.
The staff pitched in for the event by piloting these stations in pairs. Ms. Roper and Ms. Strand brought to the table some PBL team-builders for Dino Pack leaders Izzy Giannetti and Jocelyn Busch to teach their Dino Pack, which they led on the first day. “[Mrs. Roper and Mrs. Strand] went to a conference last school year and taught me and Izzy [Giannetti] what they learned […] a bunch of games that we could also use in everyday life and we taught [the games] to the Dino Pack leaders…” says Busch.
Busch also added that she and Giannetti provided the team with “other tools and assets to help them better facilitate the groups, because we weren’t originally expecting them to have so much responsibility,” she said. She sends out her thanks to the leaders who participated. “I am really glad that they were there because we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Katie Hooberry, a Da Vinci Junior, had mixed feelings on the workshop overall. Having experienced last school year’s first week in a different way and being part of Dino Pack this year, she explains that the new event could have been improved in terms of overall organization. “The first three days were pretty unorganized,” she said. Hooberry also observed that the sophomores in her group seemed confused. “The courses were boring for juniors and seniors who already knew about that stuff.” she said.
What students learned in the first week of school reflected our grading system, often divided into 6 or 7 categories, depending on the class. Although many upperclassmen and incoming Da Vinci Junior High grads had already explored these subjects, many found it helpful to refresh their learning mindset and engage with new students. Some sophomores were left lost and confused, but a number of Da Vinci newcomers gained some knowledge that they could apply to their academic and personal lives. Besides mentioned help from staff, Busch and Giannetti jointly coordinated the entire workshop. They deserve some Da Vinci applause.