The DVC is built around the strengths, needs, and interests of each individual student, helping them to reach their full potential. Students develop skills to become self-directed learners and the Habits of Success that lead to academic and personal success in college, career, and life.
This flexible approach is supported and enhanced by technology that allows teachers and students to create and carry out personalized learning plans, track progress, and collaborate. Using technology appropriately, to tailor education to the needs of students and teachers, frees up time for our teachers to work one-on-one and with small groups of students, and to collaborate with each other more effectively.
Learning through Projects
Learning is personalized for each student through project-based learning (PBL) and self-directed activities. Students and teachers utilize project-based learning as the primary means of learning. Students learn and apply knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to projects that help prepare them for life and careers after high school.
Project-based learning is effective because it makes learning meaningful and interesting. Students manage their progress on projects through the online Summit Learning Platform (SLP), which also allows teachers to monitor progress, help coach students through projects as needed, and assess projects upon completion. In particular, project-based learning is:
● Active rather than passive
● Deep rather than shallow
● Relevant to the real world, rather than isolated within school
● Guided by essential questions
● Focused on applying knowledge as it relates to
problems and skills, not on rote memorization
● Focused on the skills and competencies needed in college,
career, and life, such as critical thinking, problem solving,
time management, collaboration, and communication
We named our school after the great polymath: inventor, artist, scientist, poet, engineer and designer, Leonardo da Vinci. The breadth and depth of his knowledge remind us that education the last few decades has been focused on shallow, fact-centered learning, while the world of technology and problem-solving has moved forward at break-neck speed.
Students of the 21st century need both to learn a variety of subjects and how discrete disciplines interact to create innovation. Leonardo became a better scientist and engineer because of his ability to draw, and was able to improve the quality of his art by understanding anatomy.
In addition to their core classes and electives, all students engage in an interdisciplinary project class (the DaVinci Studio) every trimester to promote critical thinking and deep engagement with content and to foster students’ self expression and creativity.
In addition to advanced courses, students have opportunities to thrive and advance their studies in ways that are not possible in more traditional settings.
To start, students take an active role in choosing their courses and internships and are instrumental in proposing ideas for DaVinci Studio projects. Some students may be motivated to finish high school in less than four years. Others may have interests that lead to competitive and scholarly internships.
Students are encouraged to take on leadership roles and responsibilities. In the classroom, our culminating projects and problem-based investigations invite multiple avenues for further questioning and exploration.
Students are pushed to analyze material more deeply and answer more complex open-ended questions. They always have the option to complete the “Challenge Focus Areas” in the Summit curriculum, which are investigations that go above and beyond the core content and skills. Creativity and self-reflection is nurtured in all students, but advanced students have more options in a PBL unit to make their project deeper or more elaborate.