Breeze: New Hawthorne charter schools stress project-based learning
- They gathered on a square of blacktop in west Hawthorne this week and celebrated history.
Vinci Science and Da Vinci Design, opened their doors to students on
Tuesday. And with the fanfare and energy typically afforded to a rock
concert or a festive party, classes were called to session.
"It was one of the biggest days in the history of the
district," said former Wiseburn superintendent Don Brann, who sits on
the Da Vinci board of trustees and has worked for the last decade to
establish a high school within district boundaries. "It's a huge
opportunity for families of Dana Middle School graduates to attend high
school right in their neighborhood, and that's never happened before."
Wiseburn was first established as a district 114 years ago
and the opening of the two schools caps an eight-year effort to bring a
high school to the region, which includes areas of Hawthorne, El
Segundo and unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County. The district
feeds into the traditionally low-performing schools of the Centinela
Valley Union High School District.
Although Wiseburn officials have been looking to open a high school in the area for decades, the process officially
in the summer of 2001, when petitions began to circulate in the hopes
of formally gaining unification and, ultimately, a new comprehensive
high school. The two charter schools are open-enrollment, although students
from the Wiseburn area are given preference in the case of an admission
lottery. Administrators and teachers point to a unique curriculum model
- one that doesn't include textbooks - as a blueprint for student
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