Da Vinci Graduation

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High School Profile – The Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts Community

Burnham Wood Charter School District serves the educational needs of the city of El Paso. Located in one of the state’s fastest growing areas, the district enjoys a diversified economic base. Currently, the District has one elementary, middle and high school utilizing K-4, 5-7 and 8-12 models. The student body is culturally diverse with a population that is 82.3% Hispanic, 3.0% African American, 10.6% white and 3.4% Asian.


Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts is a comprehensive four-year public high school enrolling 440 students in grades 5-12. It is part of the award-winning Burnham Wood Charter School District, which opened the first El Paso charter school in 1998. Admission to Da Vinci is free and by lottery. Da Vinci School for Science holds membership in the College Board and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. An innovative four-year engineering curriculum was developed by the Da Vinci STEM leadership under the direction of Professor Shamsnaz Virani from Penn State.  This Innovative Engineering Curriculum for High School [ICE-HS] has been recognized by engineering professionals on both national and international levels. Da Vinci teachers and leaders, along with Dr. Virani, have been invited to present this curriculum at ASEE conferences over the past two years. Da Vinci is designated by the Texas Education Agency as a Distinguished T-STEM Academy. This accolade is based on the school’s strong commitment to STEM education, as well as a rigorous curriculum that includes four years of high school engineering, technology, and the Arts for all students.


The Leadership designed a ground-breaking teaching model that focuses on STEM education: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The arts are also integral to our daily curriculum and include classes in music, dance, drama and the visual arts.

Da Vinci began operations in August 2006. Since our inception, Da Vinci students have out-performed traditional district public schools on statewide exams.  Students are enrolled in Dual Credit with University of Texas at Permian Basin.  All students are also expected to participate in all Pre-AP and AP courses offered.

The following AP® courses are offered: Calculus AB and BC, Chemistry, English III and English IV, United States History, Government, Statistics and Environmental Science.  AP world language and culture courses offered are Spanish Literature and Culture. AP is an open-enrollment program.


Da Vinci students participate in a number of academic competitions including the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s InSpiress Program — a NASA-sponsored design competition. In 2012, one of Da Vinci’s four participating teams was awarded second place.

FIRST Robotics and First Technical Robotic Competitions are offered every year. Da Vinci teams have been cited for their design and operational attributes.  In addition, several student Arts and Performance competitions for band, strings, choir and the visual arts are offered annually, bringing recognition for their quality work.

The Da Vinci School’s philosophy states that all students can learn, and that high schools must take responsibility for the students’ learning rather than lowering expectations which ultimately leads to lower standards at the college level and higher dropout rates.


  1. Excellent, 90-100%, 4.00
  2. Above average, 80-89%, 3.00
  3. Average, 75-79%, 2.00
  4. Below average, 70-74%, 1.00
  5. Failure, 0-69%, 0.00


All high school students are ranked on college 4.0 scale.

GPA is computed using the above quality points. Beginning with grade eight, all high school subjects, whether passed or failed, are included in the computation. A minimum of 26 credits are required for graduation. In addition, each student must complete a 30-hour community service and 40-hour internship as non-credit graduation requirements. In addition, every senior must apply and be accepted to a four-year baccalaureate-granting institution in order to graduate. Successful completion of AP courses result in additional GPA weights.

Students are awarded:

  • 3 points if the AP students take test toward GPA
  • 6 points if they score three or higher, on AP Exam, toward GPA
  • Exam fee refunded if student passes test
  • 80 or above, in classroom grades will earn 10 points toward GPA

Class of 2012 (First Graduating Class )
There were 17 graduates in the Class of 2012.

  • 5 earned a 4.0+
  • 11 earned 3.5–3.99
  • 1 earned 3.0–3.49

Advanced Placement Results

  • In May 2012, 11 took AP Exams
  • A total of 19 exams were taken in 6 subjects

Post High School Placement

  • 100% matriculation to a four-year university

Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts Graduates from 2012 were accepted to the following Colleges:

  • Austin College
  • Central Texas College
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • New Mexico State University
  • New Mexico Tech
  • Northern Arizona State
  • Park University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • St. Edwards
  • St. Johns
  • St. Mary’s University
  • Southwest Assembly of God
  • Swarthmore College
  • Renssalear Polytechnic Institute
  • University of Incarnate Word
  • University of Texas Austin
  • University of Texas El Paso
  • University of Texas San Antonio

Cumulatively, our seventeen 2012 graduates received more than $450,000 in scholarships and grants.