Experiences that Blend Classroom and Community
Setting National Records
In March 2015 students participated in the Read the Most Coast to Coast (now ReadQuest) competition in and set a new national record for the number of Accelerated Reader Quizzes taken in one day. Accelerated Reader is the nation’s most widely-used reading management software program for K-12 readers, and helps teachers motivate students to read, measure progress, and improve reading levels.
Every year a group of our students participate in the ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge, a yearlong project that challenges elementary and middle school students from across Minnesota to develop solutions for real zoo-based challenges using their creativity, math, science and engineering skills. There are a thousand students that participate in this challenge throughout the state. Of those that participated in 2019 DaVinci Academy had 5 middle school groups and 2 elementary groups that advanced to the finals – 20% of the teams that advanced were OUR STUDENTS. We are beyond proud of everyone who participated. Some of our teams earned overall awards. One middle school group won the Innovation Award for a design that was innovative and best met the mission and vision of the MN Zoo. One group won the Conservation Award for best highlighting the conservation efforts of the MN Zoo, and one team won 2nd place overall! One of our elementary groups took 3rd place over all!
Over 70 students in grades 2 – 8 participate in the Continental Math League. In 2015, we had 13 Champions and our third grade class was a National Champion, beating 375 schools across the nation. Each year, more students choose to participate in this competition which consists of five tests throughout the year for grades 4 – 8 and three for grades 2 – 3.
Many students compete in the Wordmasters Competition. This program consists of three tests during the course of the school year and is for students in grades 2-8. In 2015, we had two students who were able to maintain a perfect score on all three tests; both of whom were the only students able to do so in their age group nationally.
DaVinci School Development Committee
The DaVinci Academy School Board created a School Development Committee to better coordinate fundraising activities at the school. They focus on both fundraising events and various grant opportunities available to the school. Every year the Development Committee organizes a golf tournament.
DaVinci Academy’s major fundraiser is our annual Golf Tournament and Dinner which is held the second Friday of June. The tournament is designed to be fun for everyone, from beginner to experienced golfer. If you are unable to spend the day golfing with us, we hope you will join us for the dinner!
For the fourth consecutive year, basketball teams from DaVinci Academy have competed in the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services State Basketball Tournament. Each year, at least one team has come home with a championship trophy.
In November, four students were selected to participate in the annual Central Minnesota Band Directors Association (CMBDA) 6th-8th Grade Honor Band. 40 different schools nominated outstanding students for this year’s honor band and our four finalists were chosen from a large pool of students.
Young Inventors: Following in DaVinci's Footsteps
The fourth grade students hold an Inventor’s Fair. Judges are brought in and the inventions are displayed for parents and the school community. One of the inventions, the “Peticure Station” was then featured on the Jimmy Fallon show. The two inventors were flown to New York City with their families and were then guests on the show to present their invention. This has provided a great deal of motivation to our up-and-coming inventors.
FUNdraising & Fostering Community
DaVinci Academy enjoys a very active PTO, which is engaged in both fundraising and community building events. The annual spring carnival, Family Bingo Night, the uniform swap and box-top fundraising projects are a sampling of what they do. Visit the PTO page for more information.
Students and Staff Collaborate to Create a Positive School Environment
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is a program used at DaVinci Academy to teach expected behaviors and to acknowledge exceptional behavior throughout the school. Character traits are taught and then recognized as students are awarded Student of the Month at the monthly assemblies. Students also get the opportunity to call home to their parents when a teacher has written a positive referral noting that a student has shown SPARK. SPARK stands for Success, Positive Attitude, Responsibility and Kindness. The program has helped to create a positive and supportive school culture and climate at our school.
Students Making a Difference in the Community
Included in our school’s vision statement is the development in our students of a sense of responsibility to society.
Each spring, the student leadership team helps to organize a SPARK day, when our students give back to the community. Students choose to participate in a roadside or beach clean-up, a free carwash, a group of musicians who travel to various nursing homes in the area to perform for the residents, or other service projects.
For the past two years, in December, our SPARK student leadership group has served as bell ringers and musicians for the Salvation Army red bucket at CUB. They helped raise funds for over three hours as they played instruments, sang, and helped customers.
For the past four years, we have been involved in the “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where our students and families raise an average of $2,000 per year.