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Superintendent's Newsletter

April 21, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

Today’s issue highlights Pacific Elementary, celebrating Earth Week District-wide, and MCHS Drumline making history!

Spotlight on Pacific (Special thanks to Ms. Murphy, the Third Grade Team, and Principal Rhonda Steinberg)

Pacific third graders are combining their informational writing and tech-savvy skills to write about a topic on which they are experts! They are taking notes, drafting chapters, revising and editing, then creating Google Slides to present their Expert Topics to the class! Topics range from anime to chess to simple machines to how to care for your dog.  

This project enhances the students’ note-taking, writing, computer, and oral presentation skills. During Open House, our proud scholars showed off their Expert Topics to their families!

City of Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery visited Pacific today to share with third graders the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor. This assembly supports the third grade social studies curriculum that teaches students about local government.

Pictured: Mayor Richard Montgomery, Principal Rhonda Steinberg, Mrs. Jordan, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Diamond, Substitute Matthew Dumont, and all of Pacific's Third Grade Students.

Staff Spotlight: David Levy

This week’s staff spotlight features MBMS Drama Director, Tidal Wave Yearbook Adviser, and Electives Department Chair, David Levy. He started working at MBMS in August 2005 as a full-time eighth grade English teacher. David began teaching Drama in 2009 and started teaching Journalism/Yearbook in 2019. He began serving as the Department Chair for electives over the last couple of years. On top of all of this, he has also taught summer school at Mira Costa and MBMS among many other accomplishments during his time at MBUSD.

David wanted to work at MBUSD because he was looking for a new opportunity and says that when he stepped onto campus, he knew this is where he wanted to be. "I like the area, love living close to the beach, and appreciate the dedication to teaching well-rounded students."

David is a passionate writer and has written many plays that have been brought to life by students on the MBMS stage. His favorite part of the job is the students! "I hate summers because it's two months where I don't get to work with students. They're 100% the reason I do anything in my life." This passion and enthusiasm are seen any time you are in David's classroom.

His biggest achievements are watching his former students take what they've learned from him and integrate it into their own work. David has two former students who now teach middle school, and he has students who have taken what they learned in his classroom and directly used the same lessons in their careers.

David puts our students first and always works to ensure his students reach their highest potential. "I've seen them accomplish amazing things and they continue to prove to me I have yet to see the limits of their potential. I'm constantly inspired to be my best self whenever I'm with them."

As mentioned before, David is a writer and is always working on a novel or another play. He loves to read, enjoys music, and is an avid gamer.

Read more about our other Staff Spotlights here!

Earth Week 2023

We had a very exciting Earth Week! All of our campuses participated by hosting events and taking action toward a more sustainable environment. To kick off, Mira Costa got an early start by hosting its 2nd Annual Clothing Swap. Junior Claire Koerber collected nearly 1,000 clothes that were part of the event. It gave attendees an opportunity to shop sustainably for free by dropping off clothes and in return taking other donated clothes home!

On Monday, our Food and Services Department hosted “Meatless Monday” for our schools. 

Many of our sites also encouraged families to walk or use an environment-friendly way to travel to campus. Another highlight was students participating in "Waste-Free Wednesday" where they sorted their lunch waste and learned the importance of doing it. In the Makerspace lab at Meadows Elementary, Makerspace Specialist Crista Riccio shared that 5th graders participated in an ocean clean-up challenge! They used only materials provided to them to create a boat that removes trash from the ocean (water in a tub).

Each school site’s Green Committee Chair created activities and ways for students and staff to be eco-friendly! 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 that took place here.

"Meatless Monday" at Pennekamp

Trash Sorting at Pacific Elementary

"Forest Friday" at Meadows. Students and staff wore green to honor rainforests.

You still have time to join in on the green fun! Tomorrow all of our school sites are participating in the District's Earth Day Beach Clean-Up Challenge in partnership with Grades of Green and MBUSD's Green Committee. The goal is to pick up 1,000 pieces of litter! Below you will find the list of locations. For more information, visit here.

Annual Costachella Focuses on Sustainability

The student-led event featured MCHS clubs, interactive eco-friendly educational activities, and there would be no Costachella without music! Students from the Bands program, Choir, the Drama/Tech MAMMA MIA! cast, and Sax Pack (student organized saxophone group), to name a few, performed for everyone in Mustang Mall.

The Environmental Women's Club, Heart Club, Red Cross, Link Crew, and Permaculture were some of the clubs that participated in the event. The Permaculture Club hosted a "trashketball" game and Heart Club encouraged students to paint rocks with kind messages.

Students wanted to align this year's theme with Earth Week and highlighted the efforts on campus that are currently taking place to promote sustainability and to encourage others to do their part in making a difference to support our environment.

Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship 

Congratulations to Mira Costa senior Dylan Iskandar! He has been named an Amazon Future Engineer! He received a $40,000 scholarship that is given to students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or related STEM fields. The competitive and prestigious award also will offer Dylan a paid summer software engineering internship at Amazon after he completes his first year in college. 

Dylan shares that he is very grateful and honored to receive this scholarship. He hopes to inspire other students who also want to pursue their dreams and passions in these areas. Dylan says, “ As a student who has faced many challenges in my academic journey, I want to show other students that anything is possible with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I also want to encourage more diversity in computer science and STEM fields, especially for women and underrepresented minorities who may face additional barriers and stereotypes.”

A few weeks ago, Dylan also received the esteemed Edison International $50,000 scholarship.

You can read more about that here

Mira Costa South Bay Esports Champs

Congratulations to our MCHS Esports team for bringing home the South Bay Esports Championship title! For the second year in a row, our Mustangs have beat the Sea Hawks during this competition that takes place at Redondo Union High.

Computer Science Teacher Mr. Brenan says that Costa started strong 2-0 and Redondo came back to tie, but then Costa students dominated the final rounds to win the competition. Our Esports team has been phenomenal. They were invited to participate in three competitions this year, including the City of STEM, the South Bay Championship, and the Centinela Valley Union High School District tournament.

Students Lead the Way During L.A. County Science and Engineering Fair

Mira Costa students showcased their science projects at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair. Hrishi and Tejas Krishna, who are brothers, displayed their project called “Analysis of Rising Interest Rates on Student Loans from Macro and Microeconomic Perspective.” This was in the Mathematics and Computer Science category and they won a medal of recognition. 

Mira Costa student Madelyn Li won gold for her category in “Physics Senior.” Her project was “Electrical Wire Heating with Portable Battery for Preventive Masks.”

The Mira Costa students have a Science Fair Club on campus and in the beginning of the year, they meet up and make plans for their future projects! Thank you to Science Teacher Ernesto Nodado for supporting our students in this work.

Makerspace Feature: Pennekamp

Pennekamp Elementary School 4th graders were busy bees at their recent Makerspace class. They participated in a 2-part 3D Honey Bee Challenge to learn about how a bee colony works, and how to make hexagon shapes and build on their 3D pen skills.

The hexagon was the shape inside the beehive and the 3D pen shapes were collected to join them together to create a Makerspace ‘hive’.

Then, the challenge for each student was to create two bees. One to take home and one to leave in the Dragon Den for the Makerspace hive.

In making these 3D bees, the students demonstrated that honey bees have a total of four wings that attach to their thorax.

A second 3D Honey Bee visit to Makerspace is already scheduled so all the 3D honey bees may be finished. The Makerspace hive will be finished soon and all the 2nd bees will be placed in or around it. It was a great example of how a ‘colony’ of 4th grade students can work together.

Online Campus Volunteer Registration is Open!

Our parent and community volunteers are a key ingredient in the District’s “secret sauce!” Volunteers are deeply valued for the support and enrichment they provide in classrooms, through the PTA and booster clubs, and on field trips.

To simplify the required annual registration for volunteering, the District has developed an online process through which volunteers can obtain the basic clearance needed to be on campus and/or working with students. All volunteers on campuses need to have a current Tuberculous test/screening on file with the District, and to have registered their fingerprints with MBUSD through Live Scan. To learn more about volunteering and to access the online registration link, please visit the Volunteer Information webpage by clicking here.

Please know that volunteers must adhere to all school policies and safety guidelines while on campus, and additional agreements or waivers are required for certain field trips or event-specific activities. If you volunteer for such an activity, the coordinating MBUSD staff member will contact you for any additional information needed.


If you have any questions, please contact your school’s Principal or the MBUSD Human Resources department at 310-318-7345, ext. 5951.

Thank you! We look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

Manhattan Beach Rotary Recognizes MBUSD Musicians

The Manhattan Beach Rotary for twenty-one years has been recognizing our exemplary music programs and our amazing musicians. This year eighteen MBUSD students were winners from MBMS and Mira Costa for the special awards!

We appreciate the Manhattan Beach Rotary and our music teachers for making this tradition possible every year. Watch the 1st place students perform during the rotary meeting here.


The students honored were:


Joseph Hiatt | 1st Place - 11th & 12th Grade Strings - Violin

Joylynn Lee | 2nd Place - 11th & 12th Grade Strings - Harp

Ty Lockwood | 3rd Place - 11th & 12th Grade Strings - Cello

Kent Ikuta | 1st Place - 11th & 12th Grade Winds - Clarinet

Josie Kennedy | 2nd Place - 11th & 12th Grade Winds - Marimba

Morgan Griffiths | 3rd Place - 11th & 12th Grade Winds - Clarinet

Denali Xia | 1st Place - 9th & 10th Grade Strings - Cello

Madelyn Fu | 2nd Place - 9th & 10th Grade Strings - Viola

McKinley Xia | 3rd Place - 9th & 10th Grade Strings - Violin

Logan Elliott | 1st Place - 9th & 10th Grade Winds - Bassoon

Scarlett Peterman | 2nd Place - 9th & 10th Grade Winds - Oboe

Logan Kwon | 3rd Place - 9th & 10th Grade Winds - Clarinet

Charlotte King | 1st Place - Middle School – Band

Juliette (Iggy) Im | 2nd Place - Middle School – Band

Aryan Maggon | 3rd Place - Middle School – Band

Charlotte Fan | 1st Place - Middle School – Strings

Reese Zhang | 2nd Place - Middle School – Strings

Sean Liu | 3rd Place - Middle School - Strings

MB Coordinating Council Hosts Recognizes MBUSD Students of the Month

Congratulations to our outstanding students! For the month of April, The Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council honored students from Meadows Elementary School, Pennekamp Elementary School, Manhattan Beach Middle School, and Mira Costa High School.

The students were selected by their teachers for their character, positive attitude, and their dedication to academics.

Let’s give a round of applause for the following students:

Elijah Reed - Pennekamp Elementary

Julianna Shaby - Pennekamp Elementary

Neil Kenney. - Meadows Elementary

Mikayla DeMartino - Meadows Elementary

Ashley Calderon - MBMS

Ava Brunner - Mira Costa

MBUSD Board President Cathey Graves, Trustee Wysh Weinstein, Superintendent Dr. John Bowes, school administrators, and parents were in attendance for the luncheon.

Thank you to the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council for recognizing our students throughout the year! They also provide scholarships to local students annually. During the recent event, students received recognition from California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, California State Senator Ben Allen, and the Manhattan Beach City Council.

You can find more pictures from the event here.

From left to right: Cody Nutting, Ashley Calderon, Julianna Shaby, Elijah Reed, Mikayla DiMartino, Neil Kenney, and Ava Brunner

Read More Here!

Join us! Experience the Diversity and Cultures of our Families!


We are hosting our 6th Annual International Day on April 29 at MBMS! Our own families will be the highlight of the event as they will showcase their culture and heritage through music, food, performances, and games! 

This is always a great tradition and time for us to come together to celebrate one another. 

These are the following countries that will be represented:

Elementary Band Performs for Board of Trustees!

Our youngest musicians brought excitement to this week's Board meeting! Nine members of the Elementary Honor Band under the direction of Mr. Tim Nail performed three pieces. The band honor group made up of 37 members recently showcased their talents at a Fullerton College music festival. They received a gold rating, which recognizes them for being in the top 10% of bands in their age group. Our MBUSD elementary strings and choir group also performed. Strings brought home a gold rating and choir received a silver rating!

During the Board meeting, they performed one of the pieces from the festival called "Pumped." You can watch the live performance here.

MBMS Choir Spreads Joy

Our MBMS Choir shared their talents with hundreds of people at Disney California Adventure Park this week where they performed for visitors! Bravo!

MCHS Drumline and Winterguard

Mira Costa Indoor Drumline and Winterguard teams competed at two big competitions and brought home 1st place wins last weekend!

The Drumline attended the Southern California Percussion Alliance Championship (SCPA) finals. They made history by winning the championships and receiving a gold medal! It is considered the largest percussion competition in the Western United States. Thank you to Kevin Tran, our MCHS Percussion Director, and his team of instructors for supporting our students!

The MCHS Winterguard also performed at the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Varsity ranked 1st and JV ranked 2nd place in their divisions. They will now prepare for the Championships this Saturday. Good luck, Mustangs!

Get your Tickets for MAMMA MIA!

Tickets are now on sale for Mira Costa’s Drama/Tech spring musical, MAMMA MIA! Tonight is opening night and there will be seven more shows you can attend.

(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

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

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The next Superintendent's Newsletter will be published on Friday, April 28. 


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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