Portland Public Schools
Portland, Oregon

da Vinci Logo imageda Vinci Arts Middle School

Creative minds for
challenging times.

2508 NE Everett Street | Portland, OR 97232
Phone: (503) 916-5356 | Fax: (503) 916-2721

About Us

da Vinci Arts Middle School
is a Portland Public School focus option program
developed for, and committed to, art-full teaching and learning for Portland's
middle-grades emerging artists.

Students interested in attending da Vinci in 6th grade apply and are chosen through a lottery run by the PPS Enrollment and Transfer Center

For more information about admissions, click here.

da Vinci History Highlights

- A group forms to develop a proposal for an arts focused middle school. It primarily consists of parents whose children attend Buckman Arts Magnet Elementary School.

Fall 1995
- The PPS School board approves plans for da Vinci Arts Middle School, a middle school program with an arts focus.

- Da Vinci opens it’s doors to 140 students in 6th & 7th grade (Attendance goal 100)
- Nearly all students that applied are accepted
- No on-site administrator. Shared principal, Frank Scotto w/ Hosford MS; plus ‘lead teacher’, Jane Ferguson 1/2 time teaching, 1/2 administrator.
- Teachers work without a planning period to keep class sizes down.
- Volunteers work in the office at lunch so office staff can do lunch duty.

-PPS District Arts Administrator, Paula Kinney is da Vinci’s first on-site administrator
- Private community fundraising generates enough money to create a dance class space (sprung floor, baffles, mirrors) in portable E
- First full-scale drama production Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Jane Ferguson
- First yearbook - Mary Morris Advisor

- First full-time principal on-site, Tom Breuckman
- First Special Education staff Glenn ? + Elaine Ko
- Artist-in-residence, Tom Cramer works with students to create colorful murals throughout the school.
- Student Halston Williams has his design chosen for the Run for the Arts T-shirt
- First Dance Recital under the direction of Kristen Brayson & Elena Carter
- Two da Vinci staff are Awarded Excellence in Education awards from the PPS Foundation, Doug Ingamells & Connie Cheifetz
- First annual PTA Auction

- Students reinterpret Newsies, for the stage - our first musical, directed by Jane Ferguson
- Da Vinci staff member Dan Evans receives an Excellence in Education award from the PPS Foundation

- Da Vinci has its first counselor (part time)
- Thanks to a generous parent, the ceramics studio gets a linoleum floor, replacing the splintered wood.
- First trip to Ashland led by Shannon Wasson
- Strong School rating from the state (first AYP rating)

- Da Vinci breaks ground on the Water Garden, thanks to Science teacher Dan Evans’ hard work.
- Student Christian Rogers has his design chosen for the Run for the Arts T-shirt

July 2003
- School board approves da Vinci status change from a program to a school. This includes agreeing to move from a student population of 325 to 400+ over 3 years.

- We have a fulltime counselor for the first time.
- Our theater’s sound system gets an upgrade (auction funds)
- Student Camara Bedell Stiles has her design chosen for the Run for the Arts T-shirt
- Sunburst Education Award from Young Audiences

- First Poetry SLAM spearheaded by da Vinci teacher Shannon Wasson
- 8th graders create Arts Benchmark projects (later renamed Arts Capstone).
- Brass lettering on the building changes from James Monroe High School to da Vinci Arts Middle School

- Bernard Harvard serves as da Vinci’s principal.
- We have our first assistant principal.
- Da Vinci students present their first original rock opera - Faust under the direction of Tom Beckett, Dave Myers & Bob Price
- Da Vinci PTA launches first da Vinci Arts Fair
- The students walk out in response to proposed staff cuts
- The dream of an energy efficient classroom is born in Science teacher Dan Evans’ mind. (completed 2009)
- Exceptional School rating from the state

- LaShawn Lee serves as da Vinci’s interim principal, after Mr. Harvard passes away suddenly.
- Da Vinci receives an award from Oregon Green School for outstanding efforts in waste reduction & resource conservation.
- Mirrors are built for the gym to enhance dance classes (auction funds)
- Da Vinci awarded Creative Ticket School of Excellence Award from the Oregon Alliance for Arts Education & Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network for Outstanding Achievement in Arts Education

- Eric Bergmann is hired from Salt Lake City to become da Vinci’s current principal.
- First Master Arts Showcase - A new event to highlight student’s upper level work in Dance, Theater, Music & Visual Arts
- Student Luna Koenig has her design chosen for the Run for the Arts T-shirt
- Secretary Mary Sharp honored at a school board meeting
- New larger darkroom is built (auction funds)
- First time Visual Arts Capstone projects include interior murals
- First time the da Vinci Marching Band performs in the Junior Rose Parade, directed by Diana Rowey
- Outstanding School rating from the state

Summer 2009
- Stage is extended 10’ feet & dedicated to former student Finn Terry (auction funds)
- Evans-Harvard High Performance Classroom is dedicated (platinum LEED awarded)

- First paid library staff (half-time). Drama teacher,
- Courtyard mural created under the direction of community artist Joe Sneed
- Drama Teacher, Tom Beckett is honored at a school board meeting.
- Da Vinci Tree park begins the planning process thanks to Science teacher Jason Hieggelke
- Da Vinci forms a staff Equity Team to attend Courageous Conversation training to promote an equitable educational environment
- Outstanding School rating from the state

Summer 2010
- Work on the da Vinci Art Gallery begins (auction funds)

- da Vinci Foundation is formed. Potential donors are invited to a reception and a Master Arts Showcase performance
- First student art show in the new gallery during Master Arts Showcase
- Student Xander Balwit has her design chosen for the Run for the Arts T-shirt 
- Outstanding School rating from the state

- Fred Locke is appointed interim principal at da Vinci
- First staff art show opens the year in the gallery
- First community artist - Allejandro Ceballas (Oct) shows in the gallery
- Courageous Conversation Equity training extends to all staff
- Da Vinci families invited to participate in Courageous Conversation community monthly gatherings

Fred Locke's official appointment as principal at da Vinci
- Vern Marshall, assistant principal, retires from da Vinci and PPS

Alicia McMillen joins us from New York City as assistant principal at da Vinci
- PPS and PAT union in negotiations with an 11th hour strike prevented while da Vinci staff keep their minds on students and learning
- da Vinci is first PPS Middle School with student developed Black Student Union and a Queer Straight Alliance
- Restorative Justice model of repairing relationships when harm occurs in the community implemented
Khalid el-Hakim, Founder and Curator, brings the Black History 101 Mobile Museum to da Vinci
- Ruth Jenkins and new drama teacher Nicole Accuardi collaborate to mount the original production of Ain't Got No Home
- Two da Vinci national Scholastic Art Award winners 
honored at Carnegie Hall with their work displayed in the National Student Exhibition at the Parsons New school for Design in New York. Amelia Muldrew won gold for her sculpture Mad Bunny, anand Alisa Folen won silver for her photograph Captured.

- da Vinci Site Council develops and administers first da Vinci Family Community Survey
- Seussical Jr. the Musical with over 70 student performers on the da Vinci stage
- Superintendent Carole Smith attends the annual Spring Dance Concert in May with over 200 da Vinci dancers performing
da Vinci had a record number of students recognized in the Visual Art category of the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards national competition. Two students won scholarships to take summer classes at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. For her Textiles scarf entitled My First Piece, Eva Ladd was awarded a $400 scholarship, and Owen Posey-Scholl was awarded a $100 scholarship for his Ceramics piece, Ghostly Bowl. In addition all 26 Gold key winners' work went on to the next level of competition where... 
Five da Vinci students were awarded National level Medals in the Scholastic Art Award competition; one Gold Keywinner and four Silver Key winners. Silver National winners were Mimi Smith (Drawing & Illustration,) Brooke Waxman (Painting,) Arlyss West (Painting,) and Madeline Wonacott (Photography). Gold level winner was Maisie Siegel for her Ceramic Sculpture, Faticuss Maximus. All were invited to Carnegie Hall in NYC to accept their awards
- Beloved school founder and amazing Community Liaison Connie Cheifetz regaled at retirement party - SO MUCH LOVE!


Today is a new day.
Today I am the possibility of da Vinci.
The possibility of a mind open to learning the secrets of life.
Today I am the possibility of creation itself,
creation through paint & clay, song & dance, word & pen.
Today my heart goes out to the da Vinci Community.
I am the possibility of respect for any and all.
I can open my mind to others’ voice and art, with a smile and a hug.
Today I am the possibility of possibility itself.
Today I pledge to be da Vinci!