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Superintendent's Newsletter

April 14, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents & Community,

Today’s issue highlights Meadows Elementary, celebrating our 2023 Classified Employees of the Year, and don't miss out on where some of our senior student-athletes are heading next year!

Spotlight on Meadows (Special thanks to Meadows Staff and Principal Michelle Krzmarzick)

Meadows has enjoyed a lot of excitement lately with an inspirational assembly from Infinite Flow on disabilities and highlighting our differences, a school garden haul that provided salad for the whole school, new recess equipment to play with, and endless learning opportunities.

Grade levels are working on different writing styles from information to fairy tales to opinion writing, and more. In math, students are practicing with their fact families, time, money, area, perimeter, and essential math skills in preparation for the completion of the year’s grade and for the SBAC test in May for grades 3-5.

All students are receiving Tier 1 and 2 intervention in their classrooms during WIN time, also known as “What I Need” with about four percent of them receiving pull-out services for Tier 3 intense intervention. Classroom teachers are collecting and analyzing data, teaching small groups of students, and providing extension activities, including but not limited to, book clubs as evidenced by Renee Sokol’s third grade class. During this time, students read a determined number of pages, write reflections, and meet to discuss the reading. This not only reinforces reading and comprehension skills but also fosters a lifelong love of reading.

Staff Spotlight: Betty Vicuna

This week’s staff spotlight showcases Human Resources Technician, Betty Vicuna! She has been part of the HR team for seven months and oversees everything related to classified staff such as hiring, recruitment, and classified professional growth. 

Before coming to MBUSD, Betty worked for Centinela Valley Unified High School District as a job developer and supporting special needs students transitioning from high school to college or a career. She served in this role for eight years and says it was one of her biggest accomplishments being part of each student’s journey and helping them grow. She wanted to pursue a career at MBUSD because of the opportunity to work on the other side of career development. Also, as a former employee at a One-Stop Center, she wanted to be part of the hiring process once again. 

When asked what is her favorite part of working here, she says helping people. “I love the excitement from future hires when they find out they are receiving an offer!” Betty says she is grateful to work for an amazing department and team. She is given the ability to collaborate with her colleagues and other departments regularly. Betty says her door is always open to staff at MBUSD to visit or even ask her questions. 

She is a big Raiders and Trojans fan! She enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Read more about our other Staff Spotlights here!

2023 Classified Employees of the Year

We are proud to recognize the eleven exemplary MBUSD 2023 Classified School Employees of the Year! This week one classified staff member from each school site, District Office, Maintenance and Operations, and Food and Nutrition Services were announced as awardees and will be recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 3. All staff members were invited to submit their nominations for each site. Congratulations to our selected staff! The individuals display exceptional dedication to their role and our community.


Join me in congratulating the following honorees:

One employee from these selected nominees will soon be selected as the District-wide 2023 Classified School Employee of the Year. I would like to thank all of our classified staff. Each of you play a vital role in providing support to our employees and families, from maintaining our facilities, ensuring our campuses are safe and secure, managing our finances and operations, providing our students with nutritious meals, supporting our technology needs, communicating with our students, employees, and families, and keeping our community safe and healthy. You truly are the backbone of our educational system. I recognize and appreciate all that you do each day to support MBUSD!

Math Parent Info Session Huge Success! 

The first Elementary Math Parent Information session being offered by the Elementary Math Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Holly Compton, took place at the District Office this week. The session served Transitional Kindergarten (TK)-1st grade parents and addressed how they can ensure their students are learning the essentials for their grade level. Holly focused on developing mathematical concepts through everyday life, strategies, shifting our language, finger math, as well as supporting their child in story problem-solving. She provided numerous examples of mathematical situations and engaged our parent community to share how they would solve the problem with their students. Attendees learned new ways and tips for supporting their children at home. 

She has two more sessions coming up that are already at capacity for attendees.

Earth Week 2023

As a Green District, every day is Earth Day! But during Earth Week (April 17-21) we are looking forward to sharing with our community the different ways staff and students will be taking action off and on campus to make our environment a better place. Each school site’s Green Committee Chair has created activities for students and staff! Thank you all for your commitment to taking our District's green footprint to the next level. 

You can check out the list of special activities/events for each school site here. Keep an eye out on all of our social media accounts for posts featuring our “Earth Week Moments.”

Click the flyer below to see all of the school activities taking place next week:

Mustang Signing Day Celebration

We celebrated eighteen graduating student athletes this week at Mira Costa’s gym as they officially signed to play collegiate sports! The annual ceremony brings together students, families, friends, and loved ones to cheer on the students for their academic and athletic commitments to colleges and universities! Congratulations to all of our athletes! 

The ceremony featured our athletic coaches who announced where each student will be attending college and a message from them. We look forward to seeing all of you excel academically and athletically in your next chapter! You can watch the live recording of this event here

Here are the students who signed to a college/university this week:

Julia Almendariz – Water Polo – California Baptist University

Dylan Black – Basketball – Carnegie Mellon University

Chris Canavan – Baseball – San Diego State University (SDSU)

Kyle Capili – Swimming – University of the Pacific

Anna Chittenden – Cross Country & Track – Princeton University

Jack Clarke – Football – University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Cole Crotty – Football – John Hopkins University

Alexandra Davis-Libiano – Track & Field – St. Mary’s College

Taylor Dunlap – Volleyball – California State University Northridge (CSUN)

Murphy Glasglow – Football – University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

Will Householter – Basketball – Claremont McKenna College (CMC)

Sydney Huber – Rowing – Lehigh University

Heather Jensen – Cross Country – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Nick Lundy – Basketball – Grinnell College

Simran Multani – Lacrosse – University of Redlands

Emily O’Connor - Track & Field – Endicott College

India Pines – Basketball – Orange Coast College (OCC)

Nick Signorelli – Rugby – Cal State Long Beach University (CSULB)

Costa Athletes Unstoppable on the Ice

Five Mira Costa hockey players took the top spot in the national tier 1 hockey championship while playing on the LA Jr. Kings 15O AAA team. The esteemed team selects players from across the country.

Congratulations to the following students:

Stevie Grumley

Kyle Jones

Ben Kevan

Timofei Runtso

Tyler Russell

You can learn more about the Jr. Kings here.

MCHS Drumline Takes 1st Place

The MCHS Drumline finished strong at the Southern California Percussion Alliance Championship (SCPA) semi-finals recently by receiving 1st place for their performance. The team says this is the highest-place drumline has finished in MCHS history. 

The team will now move forward and compete in the finals this weekend. It is considered the largest percussion competition in the western United States and takes place at the Toyota Arena! Only top high school and independent percussion ensembles will show off their talent. 

We also want to share that the MCHS Winterguard team will also compete this weekend at the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC).

Good luck this weekend!

Choir Returns From 2023 Europe Tour

Three Mira Costa Choir groups featuring 9th-12th graders recently returned from an adventure! They spent eight days touring Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. They performed in four concerts for local audiences, including a sold-out performance and venues with standing room only! 

Venues included:

Christuskirche Hallstat, Austria

St. Peter’s Church, Vienna

Chapel of the Imperial, Vienna

New Town Hall Prague

Plus singing in Melk Abbey, Austria

Watch some of their performances from the trip here!

Odyssey of the Mind State Champions

On March 17, we brought you the news that five MBUSD teams competed in the LA Basin Regional competition for Odyssey of the Mind. These teams during spring break competed at the 2023 SoCal State Championships and once again made it to the top! We are excited to share that three of the teams qualified for the World Finals by taking the 1st and 2nd place spots during state. This includes the Pacific Elementary (Problem 5, Division 1) team, and MCHS Teams A and B. 

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition. Teams work together to create solutions for long-term problems within general rules and guidelines in five categories (called “problems”): vehicle, technical, classical art and literature, structure, and performance. It also emphasizes teamwork, budgeting, time management, and public speaking.

Pacific Elementary: Problem 5, Division 1 - 1st Place and Spont Champion: Campbell Park, Vivienne Schneider, Noah Segil, Gabe Segil, Lara Geida, Zayaan Mehrotra, coached by Michelle Lautanen (Second-Grade Teacher at Pacific)

MCHS Team A: Problem 4, Division 3 - 1st Place and Spont Champion: Abigail Seo, Andrew Fan, Ashlyn Green, Brian Chiu, Luke Green, Ella Kim, coached by Brian Fan

MCHS Team B: Problem 4, Division 3 - 2nd Place: Charlotte Fan, Zachary Green, Sierra Wolbert, Audrey Treger, Matthew Chang, Daisei Horiguchi, coached by Brian Fan

Pennekamp Elementary: Problem 1, Division 1: Lily Francisco, Asher Feldman, Max Rubinstein, Brooklyn Chan, Aviana Otero, Charlotte Fan, Samantha Lee, coached by: Alex Otero

Pacific Elementary: Problem 3, Division 1: Danny Derbyshire, Devon Boyd, Jack Pincus, Simrin Shah, Sydney Park, Willow Young, Savita Acharya, coached by Michelle Lautanen (Second-Grade Teacher at Pacific)

Pacific Elementary and MCHS teams are the defending world champions in their division/problem. 

Thank you to the MB Odyssey of the Mind Coaches Brian Fan (MCHS Coach), Michelle Lautanen (Pacific Coach), and Alex Otero (Pennekamp Coach). 

LA Playback Theatre 

Pacific Panthers were visited by the Los Angeles PlayBack Theatre Company this week. They provided an interactive anti-bullying experience for students through improv. 4th graders participated in skits that reflected their own real-life experiences that were acted out on the spot by the performers. Students were given an opportunity to discuss the actions/effects of bullying and ways to be upstanders. These efforts are aligned with the No Place for Hate® programming taking place on campus soon called "Be an Ally." 

Thank you MBEF and community partner Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) for funding this unique experience through grants. 

Infinite Flow Group Showcases the Universal Language of Dance 

At Meadows Elementary, students learned about the importance of inclusion. Using dance, the Infinite Flow Dance team made up of performers who have a wide range of disabilities shared their stories and celebrated their adversity through performance. During the assembly, students saw performers who had physical disabilities to individuals who had disabilities that were not physical. The non-profit is also a professional dance company dedicated to dismantling biases and fostering inclusion. 

Earlier this year, the group also performed at Pacific Elementary.

Get your Tickets for MAMMA MIA!

Tickets are now on sale for Mira Costa’s Drama/Tech spring musical, MAMMA MIA!

(Click flyer below)

Drama/Tech ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. The story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship, creating an unforgettable show.

Purchase Tickets Here

Follow Our Schools on Social Media

If you haven’t yet, follow our official school social media profiles! It’s the best way to stay connected and know the latest news and happenings at school sites. 

Check out our social media directory here!

Vote for our Schools and MBEF as the Best in the South Bay! 

It’s that time again to support our schools and vote for them to be the best in the South Bay! The South Bay’s Best 32nd Annual Readers’ Choice Awards is underway by the Daily Breeze/Beach Reporter. In the education category, you can vote for the best preschool, public elementary school, and public high school! Besides voting for our schools, don’t forget to support MBEF in the non-profit category.

Vote here! Voting ends on April 23, 2023.

Makerspace Feature: Pacific

Pacific Elementary School second graders built "Gratitude Trees" out of recycled materials and paper recently. The object was to create a free-standing tree with a way to attach leaves. On the leaves, the students wrote things they were grateful for and attached them to their tree.

They used different attachment techniques and engineering skills to achieve this challenge. There were many unique and lovely creations for which the students were able to acknowledge their gratitude and share their positivity. It was a feel-good day in the Makerspace lab. This took place during MBUSD's Social and Emotional Learning Week!

Thank you to Makerspace Specialist Teri Hampton for sharing this story!

Join the MBUSD Family!

We are hiring classified and certificated staff. We’re looking for individuals with a passion for helping students discover the joys of learning and creating a safe and engaging learning environment. If you are looking for a meaningful career, with excellent benefits, flexibility, and stability, MBUSD is the place for you! 

Click the links below to learn about the variety of MBUSD job openings currently available.

Classified Job Opportunities

Certificated Job Opportunities

Upcoming Events!

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The next Superintendent's Newsletter will be published on Friday, April 21 


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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