Teacher to Teacher : Da Vinci


Recently, the Da Vinci Principal, Ms. Magdaleno, challenged her teachers to address the following questions with the expectation that a dialogue concerning teacher procedures and protocols will set the tone and expectations that will lead to a multiple of student benefits.

  1. What is the relationship between tone and expectations?
  2. How can you apply this to the arrival/dismissal of students out of your class, to the gates, or into your class?

The following are a sample of teacher responses that reflect the commitment and professionalism of our faculty. We share these comments in order to promote a better understanding of what Da Vinci stands for, and how it expects to fulfill its mission: student success.

The tone and expectations exemplifies exactly what transpires here at Da Vinci.  This is one of many reasons why we are a distinguish campus and recognized in U.S. News and World Reports.  We are the envy of El Paso and the state of Texas.  Da Vinci sets the picture-perfect model and appropriate culture for all districts here in El Paso and outclasses them in many ways.  Da Vinci upholds all of our procedures and expectations not only for the first day of school, or the first week, but throughout the whole school year. [JM]

The relationship between tone and expectations is a direct relationship. Setting up the expectation from day one will guarantee success for the rest of the year. Students need to understand that this is the only option they have and that there is no negotiation. Re-direction is also recommended to be done immediately after students attempt to deviate from procedures. This re-enforces the idea that your routines and procedures are to be followed at all times. Set up this same expectation when taking students to gates. [AM]

I started my ESL pull out (lunch club) classes by explaining to them how I wanted to enter the class room and where they were expected to sit. The relationship between tone and expectation gives the students structure and consistency.  I only have 25 minutes so I have to utilize every minute.  It works.  This is part of my routine as a teacher and now in my other duties.  I see other teachers here at DV setting the tone and expectation, not just the first day of school, but every day. [AG]

Classroom procedures and expectations set the tone for the rest of one’s school year. This procedure can be applied to events as well. [NB]

The relationship between tone and expectations is that it creates structure for the class, as Ms. Brown said, it sets the tone for the rest of the school year. I can apply this by explaining to my students the importance of lining up and staying quiet as we go in to class and when we are about to leave. This helps with following class instructions, ranging from completing bell work as soon as they walk in to completing classroom work and ending class with an assessment such as an exit ticket or a quiz. Doing this frequently ensures students will behave when they have a substitute and avoids any potential headaches when we come back!!! [PH]

I agree with everyone. If you did not have the opportunity to put these structures in place at the beginning of the school year, just remember, it is never too late.   You can start now and reinforce for the rest of the school year. [ML]

I think you are all right, WE, the teachers need to set the tone the very first day of school and be consistent as Ms. Sanchez mentioned. I also think is extremely important to show the students what would it be if we do not have procedures, rules or expectations because sometimes they don’t realize that all we do is because of them.[AR]

I agree with Ms. Gonzalez, when we set the routine this helps the classes run more smoothly. Even 55 minutes is often a short amount of time when we have a lot of heavy material to get through. Having procedures and expectations for the students to follow helps get through the day and the material with minimal fuss. This is especially important when we have large classes. I have found that having the students enter, be seated, and start immediately on their bell work (which I have as a spiraling activity) allows for an orderly transition from one class to another and allows the students to practice their previously attained skills. I also find that having specific folders for each class to turn in their work allows for classes to go more smoothly and helps the students to practice our core value of responsibility (for turning in their work) each day. [CT]

Having a structure in the class and following rules and procedures help student focus more and understand at all times what they need to be doing and what is expected. The best time to set the tone I agree it’s at the beginning of the year, when we also teach them the core values of the school, but if you need at any other time during the year to remind or reinforce the procedures I think it’s good to re-do it. [AM]

Setting goals, a daily routine and standards in a classroom creates a safe and structured environment to learn. Even the best of students will not learn if they are constantly distracted or the teacher is trying to control the disruption. The tone of the teacher that has a structured, organized and well-developed routine will have, in my opinion, one constant tone. The best time to set the tone for my classroom was in the beginning of the year. Students were willing to blend and learn the transitions from the beginning to the end of the class period.[ES]

Tone is extremely important. It is what sets the classroom environment. Students want to feel safe and secure even though they may not say it or their actions do not show it. Expectations are how people not only students are able to measure if they are succeeding or not in any aspect of life.  Unclear expectations is 90% of the reason there are behavior issues in my opinion. [ER]

“Your expectations are what you allow them to do, not what you say.” As I observed Mr. Munoz and his procedures in lining up one day, I decided to adopt it because it was obvious and simple.  He instructs his students, “Shoulder to the wall” and it happens.  I explained to my students that when we have the right shoulder to the wall, (for my class), it allows other students to get through the hall way with less hassle and thus on time.  Mrs. Brown is on the money when she says it can be applied to events.  It needs to be.  Consistency is our friend. [LS]

Freshman & Sophomore Trip to AUSTIN

Freshman & Sophomore Trip to AUSTIN

On September 29th ,2014 the 9th and 10th graders visited the State Capitol, the University of Texas campus, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library. The students were to learn about the historical figures such as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston and the roles they played in the creation of Texas. Fellow 10th grader Jorge Chavez shared his thoughts about the Capitol building, “It was incredible! Everything in the building had the star of Texas. The door hinges, the chandeliers were in the form of the star. It was an awesome experience.”

The students then proceeded to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Library. They were able to see the huge impact Mr. Johnson had in the Civil Rights movement. His long tenure in politics allowed him to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 amidst social turmoil. However, the students also got to witness the one thing that led to his fall as President. With the Vietnam War claiming more and more American lives, President Johnson knew he wasn’t going to win a second term. “You could feel the atmosphere of defeat and sadness. You always hear about what he did for Civil Rights, but you hardly hear about how the Vietnam War brought him down,” shared 9th grader Martha Garcia. Her friend Lorelei Moya agreed with her, adding, “I really loved that we got to see primary sources and almost touch them. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer.”

The Da Vinci teachers and Leaders were happy to offer this unique one day trip to their students. All agree that learning outside the classroom reinforces what is taught inside.

Austin Trip 2014