Archive for Author Steve Wallis

Welcome to our new Assistant Principal: Grace Long

Dear DVS Family,

I am excited to share that Grace Long has accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Da Vinci Science!


Grace has been the assistant principal at Center Street School in El Segundo Unified since 2017 and also served in Lawndale School District as well. In her 20 years in public education, Grace has enjoyed each role as an elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, language arts specialist, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She is also a speaker and consultant, specializing in data driven instruction, academic interventions, critical thinking and writing strategies, and building school cohesion. She enjoys the process of transforming research-based theories into real-life classroom practices and creating realistic and practical solutions that make sense for students and teachers. She has recently been asked to speak for the California League of Schools K-12 Summer Institute and for numerous school districts across the state.

Grace received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Sociology and Education from UCLA.  She’s an alumnus of the Cotsen Foundation’s Art of Teaching fellowship program and a published author for Scholastic. Her core educational philosophy includes valuing multiple perspectives, listening and appreciating the stories of each individual, and believing that every student can learn. Grace looks forward to continuing to impact and inspire all learners, including her husband and three children at home.

Please join me in welcoming Grace to the DVS family! She is finishing up her duties at ESUSD and is expected to join us in the near future.



Coping with Grief and Loss 

Dear Da Vinci Science Families,

As you know by now, one of our beloved teachers and colleagues, Mr. Steve Anderson, passed away on Thursday evening. This morning, our entire school came together for an all-school meeting, then students spent time in Advisory to grieve and to remember Mr. Anderson. We’ve had grief counselors on campus all day, in addition to our regular counseling staff. Counselors will be on campus all week providing on-site counseling and other resources to address the needs of our students and staff. 

A Celebration of Life will take place here at Da Vinci on Sunday, October 20 at 3:00 PM. All students, alumni, friends, and families are invited to attend. 

We wish to share some additional resources with families during this difficult week.  Grief is a process and can come in many stages and forms. Your teen may react to news related to this event in a variety of ways. The following information contains a few strategies that might assist you with addressing their concerns.

Grief and Loss – Teenagers

Teenagers grieve in much the same way as adults. At this stage in their development they often have emotional ‘ups and downs’ and can become deeply distressed. They can grieve over the break-up of friendships and relationships, parents’ separation, or the death of someone close. They can become withdrawn, depressed and moody. They may want to spend more time with friends than family, but they still need to know you are there to talk to if needed. Some teens show their sadness through angry feelings to cover up their underlying feelings. Others just need to do active and noisy things (e.g., go for a run, dance to loud music, or play sports with friends. Some may find comfort in art, music, writing poetry, walking alone, or being in a quiet place to deal with their grief.

What parents/guardians can do

Help your teen express their feelings.

  • Let your child know you understand they are having difficult feelings. Provide an environment where they feel safe to express their feelings in whatever way they can.
  • Help them find ways to express their feelings (e.g. through play, writing a letter, a story, a poem, painting, drawing or music.)
  • Allow your teen time to talk, ask questions and share their worries. 
  • Make extra time to spend with your teen – they will need closeness and comfort. Sharing emotions and feeling connected with others can be a great support.
  • Telling children how you are managing your feelings, even if you are sad, shows them that grief can be coped with. You will help them understand grief is a normal part of life.

We encourage you to let us know what’s happening with your student. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your son/daughter’s school counselor or school psychologist through our school office. You are always welcome to contact me as well. 

When your teen needs extra help

We encourage students to seek help from our Da Vinci Science counselors or other professionals who know about grief if your child shows unusual signs that continue such as not wanting to talk about their feelings, a preoccupation with death, anger, excessive crying, sadness or depression, the inability to concentrate, or is ‘withdrawn’ at school weeks and months later.

Counseling Resources

Please find below a list of counseling resources that may be helpful for your students or other family members. 

We will continue to care for each other as we share our stories and memories of our beloved friend, teacher, and colleague Mr. Anderson.  I am grateful to be a part of such a loving and supportive school family. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can provide additional support or if you have questions or concerns. 




Didi Hirsch – Inglewood (multiple locations)            

232 N. Prairie Avenue

Inglewood CA 90301     

(310) 677-7808 


Richstone Family Center    

13634 Cordary Ave.

Hawthorne, CA 90250    

(310) 970-1921 


Pepperdine Community Counseling Clinic    

6100 Center Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90045    

(310) 568-5600 


The Gathering Place    

5315 Torrance Blvd., Suite B1

Torrance, CA 90503    

(310) 546-6407 


The Maple Counseling Center

9107 Wilshire Blvd., Lower Level

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(310) 271-9999 



Revised plans for this week

Dear DVS Families,

This week will be a difficult and painful week for the entire DVS family – staff, students and parents alike – as we grieve the loss of our beloved Mr. Anderson. He was a treasured teacher, colleague and friend and we will miss him terribly.

We will have many additional counselors on campus on Monday and through the week to help our students and staff through this, and we are modifying the schedule for the week to best meet the DVS family’s need to process and grieve and move forward together.

On Monday, students will begin the day in their advisory classes at 8:30, and then we will hold a school assembly in the theater where I will speak briefly to the students and let them know about the counseling support and resources that we will have for them in the days and weeks to come.

Though our daily schedule will be modified, we will continue to hold classes to provide students with a healthy sense of routine and normalcy in the days to come. We have canceled office hours for week 9 to give us a greater ability to care for the needs of our staff and students before and after school.


Mr. Anderson’s room will be open to students throughout the week to allow them to go in and remember him if they wish to do so, and our scheduled Tuesday morning parent meeting will be held there as well to allow parents to do likewise.

Finally, Mr. Anderson was a lifelong loyal Dodger fan, and I invite everyone to wear their Dodger Blue tomorrow in his honor.

Please feel free to reach out to me with your questions and concerns. I am grateful for the strength and love of this DVS family. We will carry each other through this.



SLC Week Schedule Reminder

Hello DVS Families,

Just as a reminder, DVS will dismiss at 1:15pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week:


DV Communications is dismissing 5 minutes before us, so if you would allow them to get picked up before picking up your kids, that would be much appreciated! Thank you!


Week 8 is Student-Led Conference Week!

We’ve had another fantastic week at DVS and are looking forward to week 8!

Next week we have college representatives coming to visit us at lunchtime from Grand Canyon University (Tuesday), Marymount California University (Thursday), and USC (Friday). All students and parents are invited to attend these presentations! No RSVP is needed.

In week 8 we will be holding Student-Led Conferences (SLCs), an opportunity for families and students to formally examine and discuss academic progress, is coming up. This is an expected event for all students and parents, and we ask that you sign up for a time that both can attend. If you have not already done so, please use the links below to sign up for a time:

Grade 9:

Grade 10:

Grade 11:

Grade 12:

For more details about the week 8 Schedule, please click this link: DVS week 8 schedule (S11) Week8Week8DueDates

Have a terrific weekend!


Senior Portrait Signup Information

This year, seniors have the option of taking cap-and-gown portraits during Student-Led Conference time with our school photographer, Stacee Lianna. The cost for a senior cap-and-gown photo session is $40, which includes the digital copy of the photo.  Senior photo sessions are optional; the school will not be using these photos in any of its publications. Students may sign up for a time slot using the following link: DV Senior Portrait Signup

Fire/Evacuation Exercise Planned for today

Good Morning DVS Families,

This post is to let you know that the Da Vinci campus on Douglas St. will be holding a fire/evacuation exercise today between 9:30am and 10:00am. During this exercise, we will be practicing for a safe, efficient evacuation of our building and accounting for all students and staff. We expect the exercise to take less than 30 minutes.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Volunteer Opportunity: Girls Empowerment Conference

The LA County Parks and Recreation has invited the young women of DVS to participate in the Girls Empowerment Conference next weekend.

Here are some details:

Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019

Time: 7:00am -3:30pm

Event Location: East LA College

Departure & return will be from Del Aire Park (12601 Isis Ave. Hawthorne, CA). Breakfast, lunch, and transportation provided.

Please see details on this flyer: Girls Empowerment Conference

If you are interested, please bring this flyer to the front office by Tuesday, October 1st: Girls Empowerment Permission Slip

If you have questions, please ask Janelle Jackson at

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