Archive for College Counseling

Johnstone Scholarship Application Deadline Extension

Hello DVD Parents and Students,

The Johnstone Scholarship application deadline has now been extended to April 13th!

The Johnstone Scholarship was created in 2018 in honor of Tom Johnstone, retiring Superintendent of Wiseburn Unified School District. Tom and his wife Terry, a retired WUSD teacher from Anza Elementary, dedicated their careers to delivering quality public education.

Three $500.00 scholarships will be awarded to graduating Seniors from Da Vinci Schools. All applicants must be currently enrolled at Da Vinci Communications, Da Vinci Design, Da Vinci RISE, or Da Vinci Science.

The online application cannot be saved and must be completed in one sitting. Please prepare and save your question responses and essays in a word document for your records.



Financial Aid Awards & COVID19

Hello Srs,

For those who have completed the FAFSA, and whose financial circumstances have changed considerably, we encourage you to reach out to your institution’s financial aid office. Financial aid administrators are afforded a degree of professional judgment under the law for state and federal aid, as well as for institutional aid, and can work with students and families whose incomes have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your counseling team.

Kaplan Offering Full Access to SAT Prep On Demand for 1 Month, For Free!

Hello DVD families and students,

We know that during this time SAT plans may have changed but Kaplan is offering students full access to SAT prep for 1 month, for free! This free trial includes:

  • Instructional videos on test content, strategy, and more
  • Practice questions and explanations
  • Quizzes throughout each lesson
  • Full access for one month

We encourage students to utilize this opportunity to prepare for future SAT tests. You can start your prep trial here!

1-Minute Mindfulness Exercises

Hello Designers,

As we slowly move into virtual territory, we want to make sure to equip our families with helpful tools that you can use in your daily life that may help manage stress and reduce anxiety.  Practicing mindfulness can increase relaxation and improve self-esteem.  Below are 9 mindfulness exercises you can do in a minute or under.

By Leonie Stewart-Weeks

  1. Yawn and stretch for 10 seconds every hour – Do a fake yawn if you have to. That will trigger real ones. Say “ahh” as you exhale. Notice how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings. This brings you into the present. Then stretch really, really slowly for at least 10 seconds. Notice any tightness and say “ease” or just say hello to that place (being mindful — noticing without judgment). Take another 20 seconds to notice and then get back to what you were doing.]
  2. Three hugs, three big breaths exercise – Hug someone tight and take 3 big breaths together. Even if they don’t breathe with you, your breathing will ground them.
  3. Stroke your hands – Lower or close your eyes. Take the index finger of your right hand and slowly move it up and down on the outside of your fingers. Once you have mindfully stroked your left hand, swap and let your left hand stroke the fingers of your right hand.
  4. Mindfully eat a raisin – Take a raisin or a piece of chocolate and mindfully eat it. Slow down, sense it, savor it and smile between bites. Purposefully slow down. Use all your senses to see it, touch it, smell it, and sense it. Then gently pop it into your mouth and really savor it. Savor its texture, its taste, how it feels in your mouth. Let it linger and then swallow it. After you have swallowed it, let your lips turn up slightly and smile. Do the same thing for each raisin you eat or bite you take.
  5. Clench your fist and breathe into your fingers – Position your fingers and thumbs facing down. Now clench your fist tightly. Turn your hand over so your fingers and thumbs are facing up and breathe into your fist. Notice what happens.
  6. STOP – Stand up and breathe – Feel your connection to the earth. Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Discharge any unpleasant sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath. Notice any pleasant ones and let them fill you up on the in breath. Observe. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Observe something in your environment that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty. Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible or what is new or what is a forward step. If you find yourself being reactive, try the following steps: Pause and take one to three big breaths.
  7. Say “step back” ( You don’t have to physically step back, you can just do it in your mind.)
    Say “clear head.”
    Say “calm body.”
    Breathe again. Say “relax,” “melt” or “ease.”
  8. Mindful breathing for one minute – Lower your eyes and notice where you feel your breath. That might be the air going in and out at your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest or stomach. If you can’t feel anything, place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath. If you like, you can just lengthen the in breath and the out breath or just breathe naturally. Your body knows how to breathe. Focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, as it will do, just bring your attention back to your breath. You might like to say ‘thinking’ when you notice your thoughts and just gently shepherd your attention back to your breath.This can be done for longer than one minute. However, even for one minute it will allow you to pause and be in the moment. Or you might just like to breathe out stress on the out breath and breathe in peace on the in breath.
  9. Loving-kindness meditation – For one minute, repeat ‘May I be happy, may I be well, may I be filled with kindness and peace.’ You can substitute “you” for “I” and think of someone you know and like, or just send love to all people.
  10. An aspiration – Decide on an aspiration. Just ask yourself this question: What is my heart’s aspiration? Pause for about 20 seconds. Do this a second or third time and write down what comes. Perhaps it is to come from love, or to be kind to yourself or others or to be patient. Once you decide which aspiration you like best, say that at the beginning of the day. This will set you up for your day and your interactions with others (and even with yourself).

Free SAT/ACT Tests Postponed Until Further Notice

Da Vinci Students and Families,

The Princeton Review SAT/ACT practice tests will now be postponed until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you all updated as soon as we have another date scheduled. If you have any questions feel free to email one of our school counselors. Thank you for your understanding.

– Da Vinci Counselor Team

Summer Classes at our Local Community Colleges

Summer 2020 Community College Classes are now posted!

High School students in good academic standing are eligible to take free classes at our local community colleges during the summer. These classes look great on your college applications and job resumes (if you work hard and do well).

El Camino College

West LA College: (the searchable list is not posted yet but will be posted here) –

Santa Monica College: (not posted yet, but will be accessible via this link)

Each college has their own process for the “concurrent” enrollment of high school students. In order to register for classes, you will first need to

1) submit an online application to that community college,

2) select the courses and sections you wish to register for,

3) complete a hard copy registration form and bring to your counselor to sign,

4) return the signed, hard copy registration form IN PERSON to the community college’s Office of Admissions.

Once all of these steps happen, then you can be registered for the class. Note that the registration dates are not for several weeks.

For a sample guide on how to search for classes, please click here.

9th & 10th Grade Family Meeting Resources

Hi Families,

For the families who were able to attend and for the families who were not able to join, here is a link to the 9th and 10th grade family meeting presentation slides. As you review the slides, please let us know if you have any questions.

Additionally, here is the link to the resource folder that includes additional resources regarding summer programs and future college and career resources. NOTE: this is the same folder for grades 9-11. We want you to have access to additional materials in case you and your student are ready to begin exploring the next steps to their college and career exploration process.

Click here for the link to resource folder


Da Vinci Design Counselors

Princeton Review Practice Test Registration Link

If you are interested in registering for the FREE full length practice SAT and practice ACT (administered by the Princeton Review) at Da Vinci Design, please sign up in advance here:


Saturday, March 21
8:30 am – 1 pm (testing will begin at 9 am)
@ Da Vinci Design
Saturday, March 28
8:30 am – 1 pm (testing will begin at 9 am)
@ Da Vinci Communications

Practice exams will be scored by the Princeton Review. They will not be official scores and will not impact college applications. These exams are purely for experience and exposure. All students are invited to participate.



Saturday, March 21, 2020
Center Theatre Group Offices at The Music Center Annex

601 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

RSVPs required to guarantee admission and be eligible for free headshots upon check-in. RSVP here – Deadline: March 19, 2020 at 5pm

A totally free event to help you go to college and learn about careers in the arts.

  • 25 local colleges, universities, and organizations participating
  • One-on-one college counseling
  • Student workshops on theatre careers and entrepreneurship for artists
  • Parent workshops on college planning and helping your student artist
  • Meet with professional actors, playwrights, designers, and directors
  • Food truck with free brunch
  • PLUS: free headshots for the first 100 students who RSVP and attend!
College & Resource Fair 9:30am – 2pm
Meet with representatives from local colleges and universities, as well as arts organizations and other services for teens and young adults.
Free Headshots 10am – 4pm
Professional photographers are donating free headshots to the first 100 students who register and attend. Photos will be taken on-site and available digitally afterward. Make sure you RSVP in advance and arrive early.
Free Food Truck 10:30am – 12pm
Vegetarian & vegan options will be available.
College Counseling 10am – 12pm
College counselors will be standing by to meet individually with students and/or their families.
Artists’ Life Info Tables 10am – 12pm
Curious about how to become a playwright, actor, designer, or director? We’ll have professionals available to answer all of your questions.
More Perks
Participate in fun artmaking activities, learn about free Center Theatre Group programs and tickets for students, and get a free one-year subscription to Backstage, a great online resource for actors and performers (for new student subscribers only).

Free Workshops

College Financing for Parents of Artists (Parents/Guardians/Educators Only) 12pm–1pm
Parents and educators are invited to this comprehensive overview of paying for higher education—including scholarships and financial aid—as well as school and degree options.
Your Theatre Career (Students Only) 12pm–1pm
This fun workshop will help you think about the life you want to lead in the arts, and how you might make it happen.
100% That Boss: When You Are the Brand, the Artist, and the Entrepreneur (Students/Parents/Guardians/Educators) 1:15pm – 2:15pm
Lead by Katrina Frye of Mischief Managed, a business development company that works to meet the needs and challenges of today’s artists + creatives.
I Am/You Are An Artist: Parents & Teen Artists in Conversation (Students/Parents/Guardians/Educators) 2:30pm – 4pm
Teen artists, what are your hopes and fears for your future? Parents and educators, what are your dreams for your emerging artist? All are invited to this thoughtful, participatory workshop.

The Fair is open to current high school students, parents, and teachers. Some workshops are just for students. Note that adults will not be admitted if not accompanied by a high school student.

Learn more here. For questions or more information, email


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