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Superintendent's Newsletter

December 2, 2022

Dear Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights academics at Pacific, how parents can apply to join our Ethnic Studies Committee, and remembering to redeem your free Los Angeles Kings tickets just in time for the holidays!

Spotlight on Pacific (Special Thanks to the First Grade Team and Principal Rhonda Steinberg)

First graders brought their version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to life at Pacific Elementary. The project was inspired by the book Balloons Over Broadway, a true story about a puppeteer, which students read in the classroom. With the help of some Makerspace techniques from Makerspace Specialist Mrs. Hampton, students created a plan for their balloon floats using paper folding and attachment methods.

The first graders' smiles lit up the hallways as they received cheers, high fives, and applause from their fellow Pacific Panthers as they showcased their creations throughout campus with their colorful balloon “floats.” It was the second annual “Balloons Over Pacific” parade and it was a huge success! 

Staff Spotlight: Kristin Walz


This week our Staff Spotlight features our District Nurse, Kristin Walz! She is in her 14th year in this position. Before beginning her career at MBUSD, Kristin worked as a hospital ICU nurse and really wanted to combine her three passions of nursing, education, and children, which led her to work for our District. Kristin says most of her work is done outside of school campuses, so when she gets the opportunity to work directly with students it’s one of her favorite parts about the job. 


Kristin says her biggest achievement is supporting students, staff, and families during the COVID-19 crisis. When asked what makes MBUSD so great, Kristin says “It’s the students and you can’t do without the camaraderie with the staff that we are lucky to have here at MBUSD.” In her free time, Kristin enjoys running on the beach!

Thank you for your service to MBUSD! We appreciate your dedication. 

Ethnic Studies Parent Application Now Open!

California Assembly Bill 101 mandates that all high schools offer an Ethnic Studies course by the 2025-26 school year. The Manhattan Beach Unified School District School Board approved the Equity, Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion (EDSJI) Action Plan on April 20, 2022, which included a commitment to offer this course by 2024-25.


To accomplish this goal, MBUSD has established an Ethnic Studies Committee to review and follow the Los Angeles County Office of Education toolkit in the creation and adoption of this program. 


We are currently seeking 4-5 parent volunteers to participate in the Ethnic Studies Committee. At a minimum, it’s a two year commitment, starting in January 2023 through November 2024. To be considered for this committee, please click on the button below to complete the form. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m.

If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Dr. Irene Gonzalez-Castillo.

Click here for the Ethnic Studies presentation from the recent Board meeting.

Click here to apply

Complimentary L.A. Kings Tickets Still Available

If you haven’t redeemed your special code to attend the Los Angeles Kings games for free, you still have time! There are three more games left for which you can receive complimentary tickets through the special MBUSD partnership with the L.A. Kings. Each MBUSD staff member and student can get two free tickets ($5.44 in fees will apply per ticket) for the games at the Arena! 

Tickets for the following games are available: 

Saturday, December 3 | vs Carolina Hurricanes

Thursday, December 22 | vs Calgary Flames

Saturday, December 31 | vs Philadelphia Flyers 

The last game was added to the list of dates this week! If you can’t find your code or have any questions, please email [email protected]. We hope you take advantage of this wonderful offer! Go, Kings, Go! 

MBMS Drama Students Perform at Board Meeting

Our students are so talented! MBMS students Kaylynn, Malia, and Annika performed a powerful scene from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, WIT, by Margaret Edson at our recent Board of Trustees meeting. 


In the Boardroom, they took the stage and got into character sharing a glimpse of the story of a woman with ovarian cancer and how she dealt with the news of her diagnosis at the doctor’s office.

It was an amazing performance! This group of students recently won 2nd place at the 81st Annual Drama Festival that was hosted at MBMS where more than forty schools showed off their skills. Thank you to Mr. Levy for working with the students to make sure they reach their highest potential!

STEM Education Spotlight

In Mr. Leonard's sixth grade Science classes, students learned about the water cycle and the importance of water on Earth. They were asked to complete a Water Tower Challenge, where they had to create a water tower that could send water to two buildings, the hospital and the school. Students built a bypass system so water could just be sent to one building. 

They had to follow specific criteria while they engineered the tower: They could only use the materials provided, they had to minimize the loss of water during the process, the water tower had to be free standing, water had to bypass one building, and 50 mL of water had to be transported. 


Some of the sixth graders had to create budgets for their supplies and take into account the cost of materials to make the most cost-efficient model. Students also learned about careers related to this topic and watched a video about a water engineer and a hydrologist to see some real-life occupations in this field. Way to use those STEM skills and thanks to Mr. Leonard, Ms. Viviani, and Ms. Petruescu for creating unique STEM opportunities for our students in Science!

A special thanks to MBUSD’s STEM TOSA Tanya Sanchez for sharing this story. 

MCHS Student Joins Prestigious Honor Choir 

Mira Costa Choir junior Audrey Sarra has been accepted into the Southern California Vocal Association Honor Choir. She's representing Mira Costa along with 200 of the best high school vocalists in the region. Recently, she attended a 3-day event at the University of Redlands, singing under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine, who is nationally recognized for her excellence in choral conducting. During this event, Audrey participated in rehearsals that culminated in a performance. 

The Southern California Vocal Association is a non-profit organization for choral music educators in the Southern California area. It was established in 1939 to support choral conductors and advance vocal music in the region. Congratulations, Audrey!

Vocal Ensemble Spreads Holiday Joy at District Office

The holiday spirit filled the air at the District Office this week thanks to the amazing Mira Costa Vocal Ensemble. Choir students sang traditional carols in our lobby. It was quite the treat for staff as they gathered to watch!

Thank you, Director of Choirs Kate Crellin and students for spreading the holiday cheer. 

You can support our amazing singers by attending their annual Winter Choir Concert coming up on Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. Click here for more information!

MCHS Soccer Season Begins

Boys’ Varsity beat West High in Torrance this week 3-0 to start the season. Junior Varsity won 3-0 and Freshman won 2-0. The girls’ season also kicked off this week at El Segundo. They tied 0-0.

Photo by Daily Breeze

Cross Country Teams Rank in the Top 10

We wanted to also update you on our girls’ and boys’ Cross Country teams that recently competed at the CIF Southern Section Finals at Mt. San Antonio College.

Both teams took 3rd place in their respective Division 2 races earning them a spot in the State Championships that took place on November 26.  

Coaches Hunter Johnson and Renee Williams-Smith said runner Anna Chittenden led the girls' team with her 2nd place finish, earning her All-Area honors. Andrew Martin also earned All-Area honors with his 12th place finish in the boys’ race. 

At the CIF State Championships held at Woodward Park in Clovis, the boys’ team placed 5th overall in the Division 2 race. The girls’ team placed 9th overall in the same division. Once again Anna Chittenden’s stellar 2nd place performance ranked her amongst the top 6 girls across all divisions in the state of California.

She will now compete in the National Championships on December 3!

Peak Flu Season

The peak of cold and flu season is here. It is expected that California will have higher than average levels of flu activity this season. The best prevention against the flu is still the seasonal flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the flu shot for everyone 6 months and older.

We want you to protect yourself and your family against the flu. There are simple steps to prevent the illness:

  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu
  • Frequently wash hands with soap
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • Keep sick children at home; do not send children to school if they are sick
  • Teach your children to wash their hands
  • Teach your children not to share personal items
  • Flu vaccine is available to private physicians and pharmacies

December Show for the Be Our Guest Program

The Be Our Guest program in partnership with the Manhattan Beach Parks & Recreation Department offers opportunities to older adults in our community to watch MBUSD student performances for free throughout the school year. 

Upcoming December performances are the following: 

Winter Choir Concert | Friday, December 9 at 4:00 p.m.

Orchestra Winter Concert | December 16 at 7:00 p.m. 

To see if you are eligible and to find the full schedule visit 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

Upcoming Events

Beach Cities Health District is hosting State of our Health: Cannabis and Youth 

The virtual information session will focus on youth cannabis use, including a discussion with a panel of health providers and a student representative followed by Q & A.

Tuesday, December 13, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 

You can register here

Orchestra Winter Concert | Friday, December 16 

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The next Superintendent's Newsletter will be published on Friday, December 9. 

Thank you as always for your continued support and partnership. Have a wonderful weekend!


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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