• Principal's Welcome Week Letter to Families

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! We hope you are well and had a wonderful summer and Labor Day. Thank you to all families for a very smooth start! Special thanks also to our amazing Main Office staff, Principal Secretary Liz Robbins and Student Secretary Sheli Bryan, for supporting enrollment/registration and new-school-year info packets coming home this week, Assistant Principal Alicia McMillen for addressing student schedule concerns and helping to balance class sizes, and the team of Counselor Katie Loewen and teacher Daniel Boettcher working with our totally awesome LEO Leaders for the fabulous Jump-Start Welcome for our newest students on Wednesday. We appreciated having the time to orient them to da Vinci, and families, we so appreciated the time you made to meet with us in the Library on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Please consider joining me each quarter for a family 'coffee-chat' in the Library. Keep your eyes open for dates, and we hope to see you there!
     
    As a staff, we are excited to reconnect with returning students and build supportive academic and artistic relationships with all our students. Across content areas, we strive to help students find their voice, and we know they thrive when they feel safe in a stimulating, challenging, and supportive learning environment. We trust that our arts-focus program and daily school-wide mindfulness practice will help us all maximize student learning across ALL disciplines.   

    This week, all students will learn or revisit our three guiding community school rules, "Be Safe, Be Fair, and Be Friendly.” through our annual Community Expectation Rotation Talks. When consistently practiced, these six words powerfully support our community. 
     
    On Wednesday and Thursday this week, 6th and 7th-grade students will rotate to different areas of our school to understand and internalize our high expectations, while 8th graders will meet with Arts teachers to review 8G Leadership Expectations and Capstone experience planning. Rewarding outstanding da Vinci citizenship is part of our school Climate and Culture work, and we appreciate the learning opportunities that exist through our restorative practices when words or actions that harm members of our community need to be addressed and resolved through repair of relationships and agreements for moving forward together. 
     
    Here are a few summer notables. 
    • At the Portland Drammy Awards, Nicole Accuardi received the  "Mary Brand Award from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild on behalf of da Vinci Drama in the amount of $2000 to purchase an electric piano for the department.” At the ceremony, composer Michael Allen Harrison offered to replace some of our older pianos through his non-profit Play it Forward. 
    • Tap teacher Sara Martins, whose Spring Musical and Dance Concert choreography is exceptional, choreographed and did a cameo dance performance in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus The Divos. 
    • Promoted 8th grader Elizabeth Loomis won Young Audience’s annual Tee-shirt design contest. Kudos also to Jake Wooley, Sylvia Amoruso, and Lena Gonzales (who was among the top 7 finalist for the second year in a row). Congratulations all! 
     
    Please help me welcome the following new staff members. Francesca Wrobel will be teaching Math7 and Compacted2 for Kerry Bayne while she is on maternity leave. We are fortunate to have Jessica Hickey join us as our new 2D Visual Arts teacher and Andrea Thompson teaching Balletjoining Claire and Sara in the Dance Department. Finally, special thanks to our great Custodial Crew (Terry, Jada, and Bob) who worked tirelessly through the heat to ready our building for this exciting 2017-18 school year.   
      
    Thank you for your wonderful children, and for actively supporting our arts focus option learning community.   
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Fred Locke