November 7, 201611/7/2016
Dear da Vinci Families,
I hope you are well. If you have any last minute election questions, I strongly suggest you consider talking to our 7th and 8th grade da Vinci social studies students. For the last two weeks they have immersed themselves in national and local campaigns, issues, and ballot measures. Social Studies teachers Ms. Savage, Ms. Fournier, and Ms. Blair, gave all 7th and 8th graders a candidate or an issue to research, understand, and write a factual persuasive speech. As students shared, "it was really hard to argue for a candidate I don’t agree with” or “find accurate information on a lesser known candidate” but, by design, that was part of the challenge. Armed with fact checked evidence, Ms. Fournier’s students presented their speeches with corresponding power points, and Savage/Blair students honed their persuasive pitches to win you over.
Teaming with Mr. Gershuny extended this timely learning opportunity to ALL 6th grade students. LastThursday, as practice before presenting to their peers and teachers, the 7th and 8th graders sharpened their skills by presenting to different groups of Mr. Gershuny’s students as they rotated through the classroom. Armed with a recording form, 6th graders took copious notes that helped them distinguish between the opposing views.
To deepen their understanding, many 7th and 8th graders wrote a letter to the Editor. Ms. Savage selected a number to be sent to the Oregonian, and yesterday, five were published! Grace Riley argued for tighter gun control, Carson Viggiano shared her concerns about the tone of the Presidential Election, Paige Yerton and Nina Schroeder took opposing sides of Measure 98 and Olivia Nally wrote a compelling piece on why a “Yes” vote on Measure 97 may support future generations of public school children. Impressive? You bet! Here is the link: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/11/students_from_da_vinci_middle.html
Judge for yourself, but in an election season that has been frought with challenges, these five young scholars demonstrate the power of speaking their minds with researched acumen. Additionally, three more students will be featured in a special section of Tuesday’s editorials, stay tuned! Congratulations to Ms. Savage, Ms. Fournier, Ms. Blair, Mr. Gershuny, and ALL 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies students for seizing this great learning opportunity—all for good!
Finally, mirroring Oregon’s election process, the social studies teachers organized da Vinci’s Mock Election. To vote you had to register, and at lunch on Tuesday all votes cast will be tallied and before school is out our da Vinci results will be announced. Stay tuned, and great work Social Studies teachers and students!
In MY LAND/YOUR LAND, visual art students offer us a provocative and gutsy Exhibition. As Austin and Kelda describe: "The November art exhibition is now open in the Connie Cheifetz Gallery. The title of the new exhibit is "My Land/Your Land." Through visual art, students were asked to express and voice their opinions about politics, social justice, protest, current events, and/or the current Presidential election. There are a variety of different opinions expressed in the artwork. We ask that you respect points of view that may differ from your own. The show includes plaster masks, screenprinted T-shirts, and drawings/paintings. Please go check it out!" THANK YOU Austin, Kelda and students for sharing your truths—Congratulations!
Finally, on Thursday, October 27, Executive Director of Young Audiences Cary Clarke was our Principal for Half a Day! His interest and exuberance for our academic and arts program was inspiring, and he loved spending the morning meeting teachers and connecting with our students. Here is his "Thank You” to staff:
Team da Vinci,
I don't want to overcrowd your inboxes, but while I have you on the line I just wanted to say how impressed I was by your work today. I saw so much energy, creativity, heart and dedication in your classrooms and I have been truly buzzing all day since. Thank you for so graciously welcoming a stranger into your midst today!
Parents, Thank you for your wonderful children, we are so proud of their effort and commitment to learning and growing each day!
See you at Conferences on Wednesday and Thursday.