Reimagining 21st Century Education
Wiseburn Unified School District and Da Vinci Schools are engaged in an unprecedented district-charter relationship built on mutual trust and solidified by innovative MOU and legal agreements. This partnership leverages the benefits of both a traditional school district and an independent charter school organization. This project sets new standards for collaboration, articulation, and community and industry engagement,” says Chet Pipkin, the president of the Da Vinci Schools Board of Trustees and the founder, chairman, president and CEO of Belkin International.
A jewel among California’s public schools, Wiseburn Unified School District provides an unparalleled level of instruction in a small, nurturing environment that results in academic achievement and better prepared students. A K-8 entity since its 1896 inception, the Wiseburn School District embraced the bold vision to create Da Vinci charter schools to provide Wiseburn students and families with local, quality high school options. In this unique and powerful partnership, the three independent charter high schools, Da Vinci Communications, Da Vinci Design, and Da Vinci Science, serve as the “home” high schools for Wiseburn Unified School District. By adding programs available to most high school students such as CIF sports, dances/prom, music, and visual and performing arts, students also receive many of the more traditional high school experiences found at much larger high schools.
In just eight years, Da Vinci Schools has solidified its position as a national model for 21st century learning, teaching, and partnerships with industry and higher education leaders that lead to college readiness, college completion, and career preparation. Da Vinci graduates have been accepted to every UC and Cal State campus, and Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, USC, and many other prestigious universities across the nation. As a Next Generation Learning Challenges grant awardee, Da Vinci has been acknowledged by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Flora Hewlett Foundations for innovative practices that accelerate 21st century learning aligned to workforce needs. Dr. David Brown, the former executive director of the WASC accrediting agency, said “Da Vinci Schools are among the very finest I’ve seen.”
The new campus will house three separate high schools, administrative offices for Wiseburn and Da Vinci, a theater, multipurpose room, soccer field, gymnasium and pool.
Together, Wiseburn and Da Vinci are making history with a groundbreaking partnership model that can serve as a model for district and charter school cooperation for the benefit of all students.
This unprecedented partnership between a school district and a charter has enabled this project to move forward to completion. This project has succeeded through a creative alliance of local Wiseburn bond funds ($87M); a charter facilities grant match ($52.7M); generous corporate and foundation giving; and strong local support from the Wiseburn community and the City of El Segundo. In a joint-use agreement with the City of El Segundo, the Department of Parks and Recreation will maintain the pool and run the aquatics programs, which will be available to El Segundo and Wiseburn residents.
Da Vinci Schools will operate the three high schools. When students from all three schools come together for joint activities, it will be co-branded as Wiseburn-Da Vinci.