An Evening of SIN: Senior Information Night

Are you a senior, or a senior guardian, and need more information about senior events such as Senior Trip? Do you have a pitch for the Senior World Record Challenge? If your answer is yes to either of the above then we got you covered!

On Tuesday, September 12 in the MPR, Seniors and their guardians are strongly encouraged to come to Senior Information Night where all your senior year questions will be answered. This will also be the time for you to give your pitch for the Senior World Record challenge.
Senior Information Night will be covering the basics of the year to come. From Senior trip, to caps and gowns. “We try to encapsulate the highlights of senior year, so that [the Seniors] have a picture of the whole thing starting off and aren’t [without any information or feel confused],” said Vice principal Scott Bell.

While it may seem like a Back to School night event where only guardians or parents attend, seniors should arrive with their families. “We want the whole family [to attend] because if you’re sitting there, you’re hearing the same thing, you might hear one thing and your parents might hear another,” said Vice Principal Scott Bell. “And so this gives [the family] a time to pull together as a team.”

Towards the end of the event the seniors and their guardians or parents will split into different “groups.” Guardians and parents will have a question answer segment, while the seniors will speak with Mrs.Conners and Ms.Gist about pitches for the senior world record project.

This year, Mrs.Conners and Ms. Gist have started a new tradition for the senior class here at DaVinci. The senior class will come together and break a Guinness World Record. The project is “[a] challenge for the seniors [that is] a twofold of something that’s low risk, non academic,” Said Mrs. Conners. “But this also has the potential to leave a lasting memory for this campus, for this school forever.”

Both Mrs. Conners and Ms. Gist are hoping to see this tradition carry out over the years as upcoming classes watch the project unfold. “Once the first world record is broken,” said Ms. Gist, “why wouldn’t the juniors, upcoming seniors, want to break a world record too?”

There also has been a nice turn out of many students who have expressed their interest in making a pitch for the senior challenge. And others are very excited to watch the process unfold. “I’m interested to see the pitches on Senior Information Night,” said senior Lev Turner. “I look forward to voting on what the seniors come up with, and getting started on the challenge.”

While both teachers said they are waiting to see what happens before getting too excited about the challenge, they are excited to see what’ll happen on Senior Information Night and what’ll come next. If you have any questions about pitches, or the challenge process, both Mrs.Conners and Ms. Gist are your go to sources.

All in all, Senior Information Night, or “An Evening of SIN,” as Mr. Bell calls it, will be an information packed event when the senior class will get together, and talk about the year and a new tradition.

Got Sleep? The Reasoning Behind Late Start

Hey welcome back all Dino people! Are you ready to start a brand new year at Da Vinci? As you all have noticed, students now get an extra 25 minutes of sleep each school night so they can feel more rested.
Do you know why Da Vinci has late start? DJUSD Later Start Initiative states, “The DJUSD is committed to our mission of creating optimal conditions and environments for all students to learn. In alignment with our mission the DJUSD Board of Trustees instructed the Superintendent to make secondary school start times later, while continuing to promote the education of parents, students, staff and the community regarding the importance of sleep for teens and the factors that affect the quality and duration of teenage sleep.”
After looking through the website and Later Start link, anyone can tell the district has put a lot of thought into this schedule change. They want students to do well and it starts with some sleep.
As former teacher and current principal, Mr. Tyler Millsap is very familiar with tardies. “Sometimes a lot of students were tardy, which was frustrating for me as a teacher,” said Mr. Millsap as he remembered back to the good old days of teaching. “So far, I actually think there are fewer tardies and that’s a very good thing,”
Ms. Debbie Martin was also impacted by the later start time. “I like the fact that mornings aren’t as hurried in the office, but I haven’t noticed a difference in student tardiness from last year,” said Martin. In fact, “The day before the Labor Day holiday weekend in 2017 vs. 2016 a higher percentage of students were late to 1st or 2nd period. In 2016 5.2% (16 out of 307) students) were late to 1st or 2nd and in 2017 7.0% (21 out of 301) were late. Thus, for this one day, a greater percentage of students were late compared to last year at the same time,” reported Martin.
Have a great year, Da Vinci Charter Academy students! Set your alarms. Get some rest. Come to school refreshed and ready to learn.

New Teachers at Da Vinci

Say hi to the five new teachers on the Da Vinci Campus. The beginning of the school year can be stressful and exciting for all, and this sentiment was shared by Da Vinci’s newest staff members. The additions include math teacher Ms. Briana DeRobbio, social science teacher Ms. Brittany Rosenberg, math teacher Mrs. Elaine Woo, coding instructor Mr. Terry Toy and P.E. teacher Mr. Justin McBirney are all welcomed new additions to the Da Vinci family, and they are looking forward to a great school year.
For the first day of school, these new staff members were nervous, but also very excited to start the school year at Da Vinci. They were excited to get to know their students. “I was really happy to come back after three years away from Da Vinci.” said Mrs. Woo.
Teachers and students were really welcoming and friendly. All the new teachers found that the three first days were a good idea to start the school year, which was helpful for the students and for the teachers. It was a real success. The fact that Da Vinci had this first three day orientation, helped Ms. DeRobbio. “With the 3 days I could prepare myself for the first academic week,” said Ms. DeRobbio.
Da Vinci is different than their previous schools. It’s smaller and only has grades 10 to 12 making it a little learning community. Da Vinci also works with technology, while other schools learn in a more traditional style.
The first week went well for everyone because they felt supported by returning teachers, and felt that the students were very kind and friendly. “Everyone was ready to start learning,” said Mrs Woo.
This new school year, new teachers are also looking forward to developing good and positive relationships with students, and hope that students will be able to enjoy learning a lot in their classes g. Ms. DeRobbio is looking forward to seeing her students grow and mature throughout the year.
All of them are truly happy to be here! Students also seem glad that they are here at Da Vinci.

Welcome to Adulthood, Seniors!

Most seniors tend to turn 18 in or around their senior year, and with this special number comes more responsibility and freedom.
When a teenager hits the ‘big one eight’ they have the power to vote, get tattoos, piercings, smoke tobacco (in some states), marry, enlist in the armed forces, and more. The big factor that changes when someone comes of this age is that they legally become an adult and are free to lawfully do what they wish.
Some teens see this change as a burden, but others as an opportunity, but everyone loves their birthday. “It has not changed that much, like in Europe it will change because we have maturity, in USA it’s 21 so it doesn’t change,” said senior Belgian exchange student Amelie Laloire. In Belgium, laws are different and tend to let students of 18 and up have amenities that Americans do not receive until 21. “We can drive, drink alcohol, vote for the new election and stuff like that, yeah we have the maturity to do what we want,” said Laloire.
Some parents treat their children differently when they are adults, and some do not. “They let me make my own decisions now. [I get] More freedom and responsibility,” said senior Jack Hoal, who turned eighteen last March. “I’ve been eighteen for less than twelve hours, so I don’t really know yet how they will treat me. They were really nice to me this morning,” said senior Sarena Solodoff.
What are some Da Vinci seniors most excited for? “To be able to get tattoos and to be able to vote,” said Solodoff. “The parties, the fact that I know that I will be 18,” said Laloire. “Being able to get a tattoo,” said Hoal.
Additional perks about this age include the ability to work a full time job, have an unrestricted driver’s license, have a credit card, buy or sell property, (usually) lower car insurance, the ability to sue, consent to all medical treatments, and write a legal will.
Technically speaking, you can go out, get married, eat your entire wedding cake and then sue your partner- and no one can stop you. However, participating in those freedoms in that order and fashion is not advised.

Nurse Stacey in the House

Do You need a bandage or do you need to talk to someone about issues you have? Go into the nurse’s office and Amy Stacy will welcome you. Mrs. Stacy is the new nurse of Da Vinci this year. For the last two years, she worked at Valley Oak Preschool. She also worked at North Davis elementary where her three kids go to school.
Her job is not like most of the people think it is,
“Well it is not a lot of first aid like a lot of people probably think,” Stacy said. “I do a little of case management, I help kids who have chronic illnesses or condition who need regular help treatment or care, help them establish plans at school so they can be safe while they are here and make them access to curriculum and go to class, be kids!” she continued. During the day she is mostly responding to emails from parents and spends time calling doctors. Sometimes Stacy does screenings for little kids, including checking their hearing and vision when they have a need or when the teachers refer them.
One of Stacy’s goals for this year was to create a place to treat sick students beyond just in the office. She really wanted to have a room so that students have somewhere to lay down and have some privacy, so she asked for donations and now Mrs. Stacy has her own office; a good place with a bed where students can have seclusion when they feel bad.
Mrs. Stacy likes DV, she feels good here. “I love it, I think it is a great community,” she said, “Students seem happy to be here and engage, the staff is supportive and they work very well together like the students did.” “I’m happy to be here and I’m here to help, if you need anything from a bandage to someone to talk to about your concerns, I’m here!”

Same Campus, Different Jobs

Long-time teacher Ms. Nicole Roper has taken on a new role in the Da Vinci community. From Room 21 to 12B, Ms. Roper is enjoying the change and taking on new challenges.
Ms. Roper has been working at Da Vinci for nine years as the Study Skills and Leadership teacher. Just this year she transferred her expertise to the new counselor position for last names A-K, as well as taking on an even bigger part in this year’s new and improved Dino Pack.
On August third, Ms. Roper found out she got the job. She had already been preparing for her possible new job by helping out with DV’s master schedule and assisting students with their schedules. “All along I was kind of having my foot in the counseling role, […] I just tried to be exposed to as many things as I could during that transition time until I knew officially what job I was doing this year,” said Ms. Roper.
But the transition has not been all that easy. Ms. Roper explained how she has had to learn how to use different parts of the Da Vinci database and has been struggling with the new district schedule. “ I don’t know when every class period is any more and my [schedule] is based on 15 minute time slots now, so it’s kind of just a different way of scheduling my day,” she said.
Even though she is having to learn a lot more new ideas, she is loving it. She describes it as the best of both worlds. “I love Da Vinci I love working here […] I get to learn some new stuff,” she said.
The way Ms. Roper interacts with the student body is different also. Dino Pack co-organizer and senior Isabella (Izzy) Giannetti explains that she is more comfortable with Ms. Roper as a counselor since she knew her before.
Ms. Roper describes how it has been hard to leave the classroom setting, but how she gets to interact with more students by having one on one conversations, which is one of the reasons she applied for the counseling job.
Ms. Roper ties back to her old role at Da Vinci through Dino Pack. She has always been a part of Da Vinci leadership, and now she gets to continue that role- It has just gotten larger, for example, now it includes going to workshops.
“She is very involved it in this year, and has helped us a lot just advising. I think she is just more invested in it,” said Giannetti.
This year has a lot in store for Ms. Roper, and Da Vinci is excited to welcome her into her new role.

Da Vinci Codes

Programming is one of the most important skills in the modern age, and Da Vinci is teaching its students those skills with the brand new Intro to Coding class. The only new course at the campus this year, it aims to teach students about the world of coding, even if they don’t know what a “>print” is.
“It’s a tech-focused course at a New Tech school. It makes perfect sense,” said Mr. Zach Harju, who’s leading the class along with Mr. Terry Toy and Ms. Briana DeRobbio. That’s right, there are three teachers for this one class, and they all bring a different skillset to help students learn about the subject.
Mr. Harju has had prior experience with coding within the math and engineering world, and is also teaching the more advanced levels of math this year on the Da Vinci campus, and Mr. Toy is a professional programmer with plenty of experience using Python (the coding language the class is using). The amount of instructors is definitely needed, considering the class boasts an impressive 48 students, the most out of any course in a single period. There are some divided opinions about how the size affects the class.“The biggest issue with the [class] size is the bandwidth,” said Mr. Harju.
Junior Stephen Donecker agrees, saying, “I think there should be two periods of it (the class), but I think it’s good as is.”
Time will tell if the size gets to be a real issue later on, but it does add onto what is guaranteed to be one of the most interesting courses available this year.
What makes this particular coding class unique is its adoption of Da Vinci’s signature Project Based Learning structure. The course uses as its primary learning tool, along with lessons each day that teach about specific commands and how to use them. Some students who came from Da Vinci or Emerson Junior High might also recall that there was a programming class there, too. While Intro to Coding is primarily meant for beginners, there are several students who had taken the Programming/Robotics class already.
“It’s great to have ‘experts’ who already know about the subject,” said Mr. Harju. There are other s for differences between the two classes, aside from the use of a different website to learn as observed by Donecker who took the class at the Junior High. “We’re also learning things a lot faster thanks to the new lesson structure, so we can get to bigger projects sooner,” said Donecker. Anyone with prior experience coding is highly encouraged to help out those who don’t understand the topic quite as much. This creates a cooperative environment that perfectly blends Da Vinci’s group-based learning with the otherwise uncooperative activity that is programming.
The school year has only just begun, so time will tell if this class will turn out to be a success, but at least for now it looks to be one. As for future projects, the class holds a lot of freedom for students to explore. “You’ll have to wait and see for specifics, but it’s safe to say there’ll be a lot of room for choice and for students to work within their areas of interest,” said Mr. Harju.
It looks as if some of those products will include games and other types of programs. It’ll be very interesting to see what they come up with. With learning how to program becoming almost as useful a skill as learning another language and almost every slightly tech-based job requiring knowledge of it, these students will come out with some highly valuable skills. If you want to try out coding for yourself, a free version of is available, so get your coding on!

Football Practices in Intense Heat: Worth It?

Football season has started, athletes on the Davis High School football and cheer squads are suffering through daily grueling triple-digit temperature practices to prepare for the Friday night lights. There are several students at Da Vinci High School who have experienced these blistering practice conditions first-hand.
One of the students is is sophomore Sebastian Tamayo who plays defense on the Junior Varsity team who described how the heat affected him during practice. “When it’s really hot during practice you get really tired and can’t work as hard,” said Tamayo. The Junior Varsity team practices from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm four days a week, with a three hour-long game on Fridays. The majority of this time is spent in the hot sun.
The DHS Junior Varsity Football Team began the 2017 season with a summer boot camp at the beginning of July. It is important to note for this year, 2017, that high temperature records were broken twenty-one out of the thirty-one days in July and that there was only one day in the month when the high temperature was below 90o F.
The effects of high ambient temperatures on the body, called heat stress, include excessive sweating, dehydration, confusion, highly elevated respiratory and heart rate, the loss of consciousness and death.
Football players practicing under the sun on artificial turf, in full uniform even at temperatures under 85o F, experience significant heat stress with turf temperatures of over 100o F.
“During exceptionally hot practices, if we are not prepared, the heat can ruin our practice. Fatigue caused by dehydration is one of the biggest problems,” said Tamayo. Because of this, coaches take preventative measures to insure the safety of their athletes.
“If it’s really hot, coaches pay more attention to our physical health, and if they know ahead of time it’s going to get really hot, they will require us to bring cold water,” said Tamayo.
Heat can not only degrade an athlete’s physical performance, but it can also significantly impair the player’s mental functions. Juniors Isabella (Bella) Carrazco and Marissa Thompson of the DHS cheer team have both experienced how extreme heat can affect performing team activities.
“When the dance room that we practice in becomes really hot we all get really sweaty and it becomes a little bit more dangerous to perform stunts,” said Thompson. The football and cheer teams share similar complaints about practicing in hot weather.
“We don’t work as well in the heat because we’re more focused on trying to keep our body’s cool and hydrated, therefore a lot of the cheerleaders aren’t working to their full potentials,” said Carrazco.
Although the dangers of practicing in the hot sun are evident, changing the practice times for the football and cheer teams is nearly impossible due to the busy lives of the students who participate.

DV for Dummies: Introductory Workshop

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.