CD: The Foundation of DVC Culture?


On March 2nd at DVC Community Dialouge the students enjoy the friendly completions against advisories, and cheer as they play musical chairs. Photos provide by yearbook staff

Samin Champion , Staff Writer

On March 2, 2018, approximately 340 Da Vinci Communications High School (DVC) students gathered with their advisories in the black box theater, all 3 schools’ shared theater, to participate in CD together. Formerly known as community dialogue to upperclassmen, CD has arguably become the school’s most notable culture-building activity and while only one of many, still adds to the vital culture offered at DVC. This particular CD featured an exciting and memorable game of musical chairs – played by each of our very own DVC teachers!

DVC hosts and supports a wide variety of culture building events throughout the year, from kickbacks and movie nights to CDs and semi-formals. While all individual, they work in conjunction to serve one crucial purpose: raising school spirit.

Schools with culture are often defined as having a shared sense of purpose and values, built on a foundation of collaborative relationships.

“It feels more like a family than a school when we’re doing it right,” said Scott Weatherford, DVC’s principal. “Kids know each other and they know the teachers really well. We have a very diverse culture.”

DVC’s students often go through high school with the same peers and a well-known set of teachers and staff, which only adds to the familiarity ever so present within the school walls.

“We have a community in the true sense of that word,” said Donald Puathasnanon, tenth-grade Algebra 2 teacher and Leadership adviser at DVC. “We truly are a community; we all work together all the time and that’s ingrained in our school.”  

Factors that contribute to a positive school environment include supporting positive change, building commitment and helping both students and staff identify with each other. Additional factors also include focused attention on daily activities, habits, and a shared culture with safe space for students and faculty.

Jane Earle, one of DVC’s 12th graders and a member of Leadership noted that “when you don’t have good school spirit it’s kind of restricting and takes away from everything.”

Positive school culture has been directly correlated with students’ academic success and a decrease in behavioral issues by a multitude of studies produced by the proclaimed father of the “effective schools” movement Ron Edmonds, a Harvard researcher. Edmonds, a former professor, is known as the educational philosopher who introduced the concept of “Effective Schools” through renowned research and who advocated for free, universal, non-secular education in the states.

“It leads to less discipline problems and leads to students who are more engaged in their academics which leads to better student success overall and leads to happier teachers,” said Weatherford. “When there is super positive student culture it makes the job easier on teachers… anything that helps teachers be more engaged and happy about school and work is a good thing.”

Weatherford and Puathasnanon both concur that school spirit is easily obtained when students and faculty work in conjunction to promote a healthy and safe environment by standing up for student’s safety as well as active participation in school events.

“This kind of safe environment that we’ve all built,” Puathasnanon said, “It’s not just staff that builds it, it’s staff and students,” and as such, we all have an obligation to preserve it.