Superintendent’s Message: Getting to Know You

Anna, the famous teacher in Rogers & Hammerstein’s Broadway musical The King & I, sings to her new students the well known refrain, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you….” At this time, becoming acquainted with your children has been our teachers’ primary objective.   They have been observing youngsters’ social and academic skills and abilities, and now they are prepared to benchmark their understanding in reading and math, so individual progress plans can be developed in order to help each child achieve grade level mastery and beyond.

To reach this goal, they will be testing the children using Release TAKS tests and other measurements. Once they develop a profile for each student, they will share the results with you. In some cases children will need to concentrate on specific skills that were already taught to the entire class. In those instances, teachers will offer tutoring and also send home packets of practice work for you to help your child reinforce his/her learning.

Through close communication and partnerships between our teachers and you, our parents, we will help our students have a successful school year. And, as the second verse of Anna’s song states, “Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me…” Of course, that has already happened!

Iris B. Burnham

Superintendent

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, Da  Vinci School for Science and the Arts celebrated Martin Luther King Day in  which students participated in various activities during the ceremony.  Initially, some of the Da Vinci students were  inspired to recite poems that eventually led to the performing of two inspiring  songs in honor of the memory of Martin Luther King.

The songs were performed by the Da Vinci choir.  Toward the end of the ceremony, the Da Vinci  Dance Company led our students, teachers, and staff to an exciting release of  balloons.  A message with the children’s  dream was attached to each balloon.

Border Patrol Robot

Border Patrol Robot

In December, Vista Del Futuro had several special events for our parents and students. On December 7th the Border Patrol Robot came to visit our school. Students learned about the dangers of drugs and strangers.

International Day

International Day

Because of our enrollment growth, our International fair was held on December 17th through December 20th. Each grade level chose a country and presented different aspects of the country (food, customs, money, costumes, traditions). The kindergarten classes chose Japan. The First Grade classes selected Italy. Third grade selected France.

Martin Luther King Celebration

Martin Luther King Celebration

Martin Luther King Celebration was held on January 14th through the 18th. Students selected their heroes and discussed the importance and contributions made by these individuals.

Da Vinci Students Invited to Compete against Alabama STEM Students

Da Vinci Students Invited to Compete against Alabama STEM Students

For the second year, junior and senior students from the Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts have  been invited to join the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s InSPIRESS  COMPETITION. Da Vinci School is the only school outside of the State of Alabama  that has been invited to participate.

The Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment  of Emerging STEM Students (InSPIRESS) is an outreach project that provides the  opportunity for high school students to design and develop a scientific payload  to be accommodated on a spacecraft which will be designed by undergraduate engineering  students from University of Alabama, Huntsville. The high school students  collaborate with the undergraduate engineering students to understand the  engineering requirements, the design process, and the role the customer plays  in the design. InSPIRESS teams compete for selection by the college teams.

As its name implies, the objectives of this NASA partnership  is to create more and better engineers for our workforce. The approach includes  the introduction of a spectrum of engineering disciplines, real world  challenge, systems thinking, teamwork and strong communication skills. As a  Distinguished T-STEM Academy in Texas, all Da Vinci students take four years of  engineering. They follow an innovative curriculum developed by the charter  schools’ leadership in partnership with Professor Shamsnoz Virani from Penn  State.  It was this unique program that  interested the University of Alabama Project Leaders, Dr. Michael P.J. Benfield  and Dr. Matthew W. Turner, to include the El Paso students into the competition  for the second straight year.

Last year Da Vinci students represented four teams of  juniors and seniors at the Huntsville competition and took second place in one  of the categories.

According to Superintendent Iris B. Burnham, “When our students  compete, they measure up. Our excellent engineering teachers, lead by Mr.  Alexandro Medina, provide this wonderful incentive that offers our students experience  in teamwork and project management while challenging them to apply the  engineering skills from our Innovative Curriculum for Engineering in High  School (ICE-HS) to real problem solving opportunities.”

The Da Vinci School visited the El Paso Museum of Art

The Da Vinci School visited the El Paso Museum of Art

The Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts visited the El Paso Museum of Art on February 8 for a wonderful day of visual exploration.  Students from Art 1, 8th grade art, and the Senior class spent a few hours visiting many one of a kind exhibits that maybe a once in a life time experience. The groups were privileged to see art work showing off the N.C. Wyeth collection, which was put together from museums all over Texas displaying 31 works of art from this amazing family of artists. N.C. Wyeth was a beloved illustrator who created art work for books like Robin Hood and Treasure Island. His sons, daughter and grandsons works are on display featuring very different style and mediums. This collection is very special because of the artist ties to the state and his love of the southwest.

While at the museum students were able to see a new exhibit from Mexico, entitled ‘70 Years of Mexican Art: New Languages, New Worlds’.  This exhibit showcases art work from the last century to contemporary artist with 59 wonderful pieces of art.  Featured in this show are artists Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo who are two of the best known artist in Mexican history. The art classes were treated to a wide range of subject matter and types of art showcasing a truly inspiring artist.

The Da Vinci art students had a great time exploring the different exhibits at the museum and were impressed by all the imaginative art on display. This trip was made possible by a generous grant from Mr. and Mrs. Robison who have been so wonderful to the schools of El Paso.  On behalf of Mr. Westman and the Administration,  a special thanks goes to Mr. Insurriaga, Mrs. Sanchez, Mrs. Lau-Sargent, Mrs.  Kelsey, and Mrs.  Crooks , for participating as chaperones on the field trip.

It is the hope of the Fine Arts program at Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts to continue this experience for years to come.

 

 

Fitnessgram at Da Vinci

Fitnessgram at Da  Vinci

Fitnessgram was  developed by the Cooper Institute in an effort to provide physical educators  with a tool that would facilitate communicating fitness results to students and  parents.  These Fitnessgram assessments  measure aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, endurance and  flexibility.

Each test is  measured against standards that have been established to indicate levels of  fitness corresponding with health. The standards have been set for boys and  girls based on age.