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Superintendent's Newsletter

January 13, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

Happy New Year! 

Today’s issue highlights Mira Costa students participating in a unique Los Angeles County program, MBUSD schools receiving the California Distinguished School distinction once again, and MBMS students learning about e-bike safety.

Spotlight on Mira Costa (Special thanks to English Teacher Mr. Alan Zeoli and Principal Dr. Karina Gerger)

Mira Costa students learned about the American legal system and the Constitution outside of the classroom through hands-on experience. 10th-12th graders participated in the 45th Annual Los Angeles County Mock Trial program hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation where thousands of students participated. English Teacher Mr. Zeoli along with a practicing attorney coached the Mira Costa team Team as they studied a hypothetical murder case, conducted legal research, and received guidance from volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedures and trial preparation. Students formed a prosecution and defense team and went to court against another school. The trial was a simulation and students played the roles of attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs.

Top row left to right: Mary Rothermel, Evelyn Green, Audrey Henry, Caroline Cryer, Ava Reyes, Neekou Hashemi-Nejad, Jenna Ahmed, William Kiely, Tucker Gauss, Jack Ruppert, Mr. Alan Zeoli


Second row left to right: Ava Federici, Rylee Tretiak, Eva Lombardo, Malini Aggarwal, Jessica Lewin, Ameera naveen, Gianna Goodman-Bhyat, Abi Seo, Sean Kim

Students experienced working in teams, exchanging ideas, setting goals, and examining issues. They prepared strategies and arguments for trial while developing their presentation skills and analytic ability. In the senior division, five Costa students received honorable mentions. Mr. Zeoli says in the past few years Mira Costa has made it to the quarterfinals and then the semifinals.

Staff Spotlight: Peter Park


This week we are highlighting Mira Costa Orchestra teacher, Peter Park! Peter began his career in 2009 at MBUSD. Peter says she still remembers his first impressions of the District, which were during his interview and are still memorable to him.

“I was impressed with how immediately the students responded to my instructions during the demonstration lesson. I also enjoyed the thoroughness of the interview, and the fact that the Deputy Superintendent, school site administrators, teachers, and the Superintendent took part in the hiring process. It affirmed to me that MBUSD was serious about supporting quality arts education.”

His favorite part of the job is “connecting with students and watching them grow. Helping them cultivate their curiosity for learning, guiding their embrace of rigor and challenge, and witnessing their success and satisfaction as a result of their hard work,” said Peter Park. 

In his role as the Orchestra Director, Peter has developed and grown the  program that is now widely known as exemplary. Under his leadership, students performed unique compositions and performed at internationally renowned venues including Carnegie and Walt Disney Halls.

He enjoys being on the 4-year journey with his students and many of them stay in touch with him and share their life milestones after they graduate! When asked about his biggest accomplishment, Peter says he can’t pick one but that all of the countless concert performances involving thousands of student musicians throughout the years is what stands out to him. 

Peter says what makes MBUSD great is that it is a community of consummate faculty and staff along with supportive families that allow for genuine excellence to be achieved in the classroom. 

A current South Bay resident, Peter grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he isn’t working, he enjoys traveling, watching sports, and enjoying the beach with his wife!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16

We would like to remind everyone that all school campuses and District facilities will be closed to honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

MBUSD Celebrates Three Elementary Schools Named California Distinguished Schools

The California Distinguished Schools program honors some of the state's most exemplary and inspiring public schools and celebrates districts, teachers, and classified employees for their innovation, talent, and success in supporting students. I am so proud to share that Pacific, Pennekamp, and Meadows Elementary schools are among the 356 elementary schools in the state selected for the 2023 distinction by the California Department of Education.

Only 6% of California’s elementary schools received the honor this year! Congratulations! Thank you to all of our staff, students, and families for their dedication. The CDE selects schools using multiple measures to identify eligible schools based on their performance on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard.

This is quite an accomplishment and this year’s recognition is another year where our schools have been among the best. It is worth noting that all MBUSD elementary schools have been recognized over time with this title at least once. 


Read the MBUSD press release here


Read the story in the news:


Patch | MB News | Daily Breeze 

Vacancy on MBUSD School Board


Trustee Jason Boxer has resigned from the Board of Trustees of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, effective January 12, 2023. Trustee Boxer intends to pursue higher educational studies. “I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have served on the MBUSD Board of Education. I will miss my fellow Board colleagues and the important discussions and decisions that have paved the way to support our students and staff,” said Jason Boxer. “I look forward to continuing to be part of this community.”

The District thanks Trustee Boxer for two years of service at MBUSD. A lifelong Manhattan Beach resident and alum of Manhattan Beach USD schools, Jason was elected as an MBUSD Trustee in November 2020. The Board of Trustees will share more information on how they plan to fill the vacancy at their next regular meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. 

Kindergarten Information Day - January 21, 2023 

Join us! Learn more about MBUSD programs and transitioning into elementary school. Q&A by Manhattan Beach Unified elementary principals, teachers, parents, and Superintendent Dr. John Bowes. 

Current students will also speak at the event and share their journey at MBUSD. The event is open to all incoming Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten families. 

  • All children who will be five years old as of September 1, 2023, are eligible to enroll in Kindergarten.

  • You will also be able to learn about Transitional Kindergarten (TK). Students who turn five on or between September 2, 2023 - April 2, 2024, will be eligible to enroll in our TK program for the 2023 - 24 school year.

Enrollment will open on January 23, 2023. For more enrollment information visit here:

We will make sure to get all of your questions answered!

Attendance Matters: Building the Habit of Good Attendance! 


As we work on getting back into our regular routine with the holidays behind us, it’s an important time to remember how attendance impacts academic success and strong social skills. 


Even a few absences can impact your child’s school experience. It’s essential to check on attendance to ensure your child(ren) is not missing school regularly.

Research shows that attendance habits are formed beginning in Kindergarten and directly correlate to future achievement levels years later. According to, missing even about 2 days of school each month over the school year can make it harder to learn to read. 

For resources on how to support your child’s regular school attendance, visit here. If you ever have questions about attendance, you can reach out to your school site. 

Social Emotional Learning Week Art Contest

We are looking forward to bringing back Social Emotional Learning Week (SEL) to the District. This year we are asking middle and high school students to get creative and share their vision of this year’s 2023 national theme “Uplifting Hearts, Connecting Minds” and featuring one "focus" on the MBUSD Social and Emotional Learning Framework. Check out the graphic below for more information.

Students at MBMS Learn About E-Bike Safety

The City of Manhattan Beach e-bike safety awareness campaign “Ride Safe, Ride Ready” made a stop at our middle school this week. They hosted three assemblies for each grade level in partnership with PTA and our Manhattan Beach Police Department (MBPD) School Resource Officers Donovan Torres and Michael Hamilton, and Councilman Joe Franklin.

Students were educated on accident prevention, bike maintenance tips, and the important rules of the road. 

MBUSD students Justin Newman, Alex Chun, and Luca O’Neill have been the lead students in this program and have been participating in all of the e-bike safety assemblies throughout the District. 

Learn More About E-Bikes Here

Makerspace Feature: Meadows Elementary

First graders were given the challenge of creating a biomimicry robot finger in Makerspace class by only using cardboard, a pipe cleaner, and a straw. The project inspired students to ask, plan, build, test, and improve. Students used their creations to help the Mars Lander pick up soil samples. Thank you to Crista Riccio for sharing this story. To learn more about Makerspace, visit here.

Support the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation Today!


Our education foundation is instrumental in supporting essential programs districtwide including STEM, music, counseling & support, reading, writing & libraries, and much more. We are asking if you haven’t done so already, to support MBEF’s Annual Appeal by February 3rd with a donation or pledge. Every donation matters and makes a difference. You can learn more about school funding here and why MBEF is essential to your child’s education. 

Make a Donation Today! 

Grand Opening of allcove Beach Cities

Our community partner Beach Cities Health District is hosting a community grand opening of allcove Beach Cities, a youth wellness center on Saturday, January 21st, from 1:30 - 5:30 p.m. The festival will feature tours of the new center, performances by live local bands, and a variety of activities for the youth ages 12-25 and their families. 


The new facility will offer mental and physical health services, education and employment assistance, peer and family support, and substance use prevention programs for youth. It is one of five new allcove locations opening throughout the state. Please save the date and join us in celebrating the opening of this important facility in our South Bay community. 

Watch Beach Cities Health District Community Forum - State of our Health: Cannabis and Youth 


If you missed this virtual forum, you can watch it here. You can find more resources by BCHD here.

Mira Costa Choirs Presents Pops Concert

On Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. you can enjoy the annual Pops Concert at the Mira Costa small theater!

Click image for PDF

Mira Costa’s next Comedy Sportz HSL Match is Coming Up!

It will take place on Friday, January 20 at 7 p.m. in the Small Theatre at Mira Costa. Tickets are $5 at the door and open to all!

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, January 20. 


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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