Da Vinci Extension: Not Just a Last Resort

Ashley Banks, Web Designer

In 2015 Da Vinci introduced a program called Da Vinci Extension (DVX), a two year alternative to community college, with the intentions of continuing Da Vinci culture.

DVX was designed to support students through college and give them the skills that are needed to be successful in the world while also providing them with access to future careers and opportunities.

Freshman year of college can be one of the most stressful times of a student’s academic career; being away from home, getting to know new roommates, and getting used to the environment are just a few catalysts of this stress.

When college students drop out of school it’s not typically because the academics were too rigorous, but because of numerous outside distractions. Most students who attend community college as well as students who continue on to four-year universities, often do not get a lot of attention and guidance from school advisers early on in their academic careers.

This leads to students not receiving the support and resources that are needed in order to succeed in their first year of college. With this knowledge, Da Vinci saw an opportunity to act.

“I think it’s really important to look at graduation rates at different colleges, at our local community college Da Vinci students right now, 5% are graduating within two years and 9% are graduating within three years.” Kim Merritt, Director of Da Vinci Extension explains. “Of the students from Da Vinci that go to those schools, under 10% are getting out within three years.”

DVX partners with organizations such as UCLA, a one-year transition program, as well as Southern New Hampshire University, a two-year or four-year program, to offer general education courses along with the credits that correspond with them. This program was implemented to help DV students transition smoothly into college, with the confidence that they will succeed in their studies.

DVX guides students in the right direction as they work towards their goal without falling through the “cracks” in the school system.

“Most days I am glad that I went to DVX because I’m around a small group of people that I know, which makes it a bit better,” says Kaitlin Hunter, a graduate of Da Vinci Communications High School and current student at DVX. “But it’s different because I have to be a bit more accountable for myself.”

This guidance gives students the opportunity to get the education that they need while staying in a supportive and familiar environment that they can thrive in. This kind of system is very beneficial for students that need extra support and guidance while also learning to be dependent on themselves.

“Academics obviously plays a big role but all of those like being a go-getter, making yourself known and having a presence on campus really plays into your academics,” says Brittany Goodacre, the counselor and college adviser for DVC. “If you don’t have those skills yet, I think that DVX would be really great for you to build them.”

Although students that attend DVX don’t get the chance to dive into their majors immediately, career guidance is a core factor of the program. Since they have partnered with companies such as Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno (NKSFB), Belkin, 72 and Sunny, etc., they have induced a system that promotes career readiness and gives students the platform to explore careers that align with their field of interest.

Students that pursue DVX may not be submerged in the typical college life, but they are gaining work experience and constant support throughout the process of achieving their goals.

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