John Bowes

Superintendent's Newsletter
June 10, 2022
Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s newsletter highlights Meadows Elementary, how one MCHS student has built a solution for the California drought on campus, and our graduating seniors win a wide range of scholarships.
Spotlight on Meadows Elementary (Special thanks to Jan Kajiya, Lisa Blumberg, and Principal Michelle Krzmarzick)

Meadows is wrapping up the year with lots of learning, creativity, and fun.

Jan Kajiya's second-grade class just finished a Magic Tree House Marathon where she transformed her room into a treehouse and created bookmarks for each book that was read.

The class wrote summaries and retells for each book. In Lisa Blumberg’s fourth-grade class, they worked on a math project where the answers helped to form fun faces. Students had fun problem-solving and creating art at the same time

In MakerSpace, students created kites after studying the parts and functions of them, and learned how to improve the control of a kite. Students proudly created their kites and practiced flying them. 
Staff Spotlight: Lindsay Marco

We are proud to feature Lindsay Marco who is an Occupational Therapist at Robinson Elementary and Manhattan Beach Preschool. She started her career at MBUSD in 2010 and has served our District for nearly 12 years. 

Lindsay says she first started her career path in the areas of child, adolescent, and adult brain injury. She followed her passion to work in pediatrics, which led her to MBUSD.
Lindsay’s favorite part of her job is working with students and creating fun multisensory ways to keep them engaged while offering them a safe space to learn and develop in the classroom. She is looking forward to developing the OT program at her school sites such as placing sensory boxes in all of the rooms at MB Preschool and integrating more strategies. 

She loves MBUSD because of its small community and says the District is special because it has a strong and comprehensive special education team.
New Mural Coming to Life at Grand View

The Grand View Cares committee was hard at work this week painting a mural at the school campus. As part of its social and emotional learning work, Principal Tara Grings says the mural was to reaffirm their school community’s solidarity, remind the community of their resilience throughout these past few years, and to re-establish their commitment to standing up against acts of hate. 

Special thanks to everyone who participated including parent Vezna Andrews who led the project. The design of the mural was created by two Grand View students. 
Congratulations to Garrett Hunt!

I attended Mira Costa’s CHOICE graduation this week and saw Garrett Hunt graduate from the program. Congratulations to him on this milestone!

CHOICE is a young adult special education program for students transitioning from school to the working world. The community-based program provides real-world work experience, vocational training, and life skills for our students. 

Garrett started Pre-Kindergarten through the SEEDS program and went through the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. After Mira Costa, he continued his education through CHOICE for three years. Garrett’s favorite part of his school days was attending the Friendship Circle Club in Middle School and continuing that through his high school years. It provided an opportunity for him to interact with other students and build strong relationships. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. 

Next year, he plans to attend a day program to help him with finding a job! We are so proud of you.
MBMS Student Awarded $20,000 in College Scholarships

Congratulations to Dallas Nurre! He was among twenty-two students nationally selected to compete in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholars Competition. Dallas and other student CEOs pitched business ideas in a “Shark Tank” competition with only 3 minutes to present to a virtual audience and a panel of executive judges. 

Dallas Nurre represented the YEA! Manhattan Beach class, and won third place for pitching Reptile Rovers, a business that creates slings and carriers to transport reptiles. He received $20,000 in college scholarships and a $1,000 cash prize. 
The YEA! Program is a nine-month program offered through the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce that guides students to transform their business ideas into actual companies.
Seven MCHS Seniors Receive MBPTA Council Scholarship Award!

Congratulations to the seven Mira Costa seniors who received the 2022 MBPTA Council Scholarship Award! The luncheon to honor the students returned after a 2-year hiatus and brought together MBUSD families, leadership, and Board of Trustees members for the memorable event. 

Students were honored by the committee and I was so impressed to hear each of their stories and accomplishments during their time at Mira Costa. There were 65 applicants and the scholarship committee chose students who showcased strong academic performance, involvement at Mira Costa and the greater community, leadership, and other qualities that predict future success.

We can’t wait to see the difference you will make in the world and your future endeavors.
2022 Recipients: 

Ella Davis, Molly Grimes, Mizuki Horiguchi, Lauren Jester, Caroline Kiely, Kayla Lowenberg, and Andrew Yang. 
Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council Scholarship Luncheon 

Congratulations to our seniors who received MBCC scholarships this year. Collectively the MB Coordinating Council Scholarship gave $22,500 to the selected students at the recent luncheon.

The Council selects students for their academic excellence and extracurricular activities.  

2022 Scholarship recipients: 

Kyra Harada-Alcantara, Victoria Bui, Priscilla Esqueda, Ethan Greenberg, Olivia Jappert, Armaan Shivpuri, Sean Yuch, and Isamar Zhu.
Mira Costa Junior Builds Drought Solution on Campus

Jordan Karambelas leads the Mira Costa Perma Culture Club and is making a difference on campus through her recent project of building an aquaponic system. In partnership with Enviroscape LA, Jordan used her own time and money to build a system in hopes of educating her fellow peers on the importance of recycling water and cutting down on agricultural water use. Using sustainable materials such as smart gravel (recycled gum wrappers), and cedar wood, the system can be built anywhere.  

The bottom part of the structure has water with fish, where the water is recycled through an electric pump and used on the top part of the portion of the system that is home to produce and plants. The fish eat and produce waste, which is essential for the growth of these plants. In return, the plants take the nutrients it needs and the water continues to be recycled in the system. Aquaponics mimics what happens in ponds, lakes, and streams naturally. 

In the future, she hopes to donate the produce, continue to educate students, and revitalize other parts of the campus. Her story will soon be featured in the Los Angeles Times! 
DEADLINE EXTENDED to Nominate an MCHS Graduate into the Distinguished Hall of Fame!

You can submit a nomination honoring outstanding Mira Costa High School Alumni who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to their careers, life endeavors, and the communities and country they serve. 

The deadline to apply is now June 18!
Mira Costa Choir Spring Concert: "Together Again"

Students took the stage for their 2022 Spring Concert. Check out photos below from their “Together Again” performance. 

On June 30, there will be a special concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall! It will feature Mira Costa Orchestras and guest ensembles from MBMS Orchestras. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our award-winning MBUSD music programs! You can learn more about the concert here

School Safety

Safety continues to be an ongoing conversation with our staff and students. On this note, we want to remind you about our safety procedures regarding our locked campuses. We would like to emphasize to our families that all school gates across our campuses are and should be locked during school hours daily. Please use the appropriate drop-off and pick-up points for your child(ren) at your school site. These designated areas are open during drop-off and pick-up times and are locked after the morning drop-off time is complete and until school dismissal begins. We appreciate our families’ assistance in supporting these procedures - if gates are closed, please leave them that way, and if you see a gate open that you think should be closed, please contact the school office as soon as possible. Please be aware that we do have an agreement with the City through which our campus playgrounds and fields are open to the public during evening and weekend hours, so you may see open gates in certain circumstances. We appreciate the City staff that facilitates the opening and closing of our facilities during these times. 

Safety is of utmost concern to us and we continually work with our school administration to make sure our daily practices continue to comply with our safety protocols. Please know that our school site administrators do everything in their power to ensure our staff and students are protected at all times. If you have any concerns or if you see an open gate please contact the school. As we’ve mentioned before, it is a community effort to keep our community safe and we appreciate your support - in this, as with many other things, if you see something, please share it with school staff. 

Recently, we partnered with the City of Manhattan Beach and the Manhattan Beach Police Department to release a joint statement on our commitment to keeping our schools safe.

Thank you for your continuous support.
Creating a Culture of Care In-Person and Online in MBUSD

As part of our work to ensure a culture of care for our students and staff, MBUSD is taking several steps this year and for the launch of the 2022-23 school year:

  • A third group of school administrators, staff, and parent leaders attended an in-service at the Museum of Tolerance last week. 

  • Plans are underway for the 2022-23 school year to involve the Museum of Tolerance and other local resources to combat anti-Semitism and hate in our community, whether on our physical campuses and classrooms or in the virtual environment. 

  • Adoption of the District’s Equity, Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusion plan.

  • The in-person return of events such as International Day, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration in May, a series of MCHS student club celebrations at Mustang Mall, No Place for Hate activities at various elementary schools, and many others.

  • The MCHS library has reviewed and added more than 40 new books focused on educating students about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

  • MBUSD added Maus as a new core literature selection to our middle school reading list at the June 1 Board of Trustees meeting.

  • District and City leadership have visited the Jewish Cultural Club at MCHS, along with visits to a new MBMS Jewish Cultural Club launched earlier this spring.

  • The District is preparing to launch Bark, an additional tool to monitor student internet activity as well as a new reporting tool, Sprigeo, which will allow students and parents to easily report tips online.

With regard to social media and the internet, I ask all parents to discuss with your student(s) your family's expectations and rules for student use of social media and online behavior. Let's come together to reinforce responsible activity and how to be good digital citizens. Please review with them that there are consequences for unacceptable behavior, including suspension from school and the involvement of law enforcement. If you see unacceptable social media posts please report those to the app provider. We are asking all parents to sit down with your student(s) and review their google account, email, internet browsing locations, and digital content.

We know students contributing to these incidents are better than this conduct. I know together we can unite to be more welcoming and inclusive, and teach our students how to counter prejudice and racism when it occurs by speaking out.

Thank you for continuing to dialogue with your students on these issues.
Bark for Schools

Keeping students safer on our school-provided devices and accounts is of paramount importance to us. This is why we are looking forward to implementing a new monitoring system we plan to utilize to assist us in better protecting students at school and at home called Bark for Schools.

Bark is a student support safety tool that will help monitor students' google suites they use through MBUSD google apps accounts. This will include monitoring of texts, email, apps, and social media platforms. It assists in observing school-issued student accounts for signs of digital dangers such as cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, sexual content, and threats of violence to name a few.  

When possible dangers arise on school-issued accounts, Bark for Schools sends us alerts so we can address the situation promptly. Digital safety is critically important to the Manhattan Beach Unified School District and we are confident this is another great tool that will help us keep our community safe.

Learn more about Bark for Schools — including their commitment to student privacy.
Budget Corner

Like all California school districts, MBUSD is developing its 2022-23 budget during the months of May and June.

The annual District budget approval process involves a series of steps and is highly dependent upon the actions of the California State Legislature and Governor.

At our Board Budget Workshop meeting on May 26, staff provided a presentation about recent legislative developments in Sacramento that will inform the development of our 2022-23 MBUSD budget. Parents, staff, and community members were able to provide input on the development of next year’s budget.

During our June 1 Board meeting, we continued the budget conversation. Our 2022-23 MBUSD budget is scheduled for review and adoption at our June 22 and June 23 Board meetings - I hope you can tune in to all of these meetings!
2022 Summer Expanded Learning Opportunities Interest Forms NOW Open

ELO Enrichment Interest Forms are open for grades TK-11. These are enriching courses taught by MBUSD teachers and staff on topics of their choice and interest. They are designed to spark students' excitement for learning and moving up to the next grade level.
Dates: June 27-July 21, 2022 | Monday-Thursday

MBUSD’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program promotes the joy of learning in a positive and nurturing environment. TK programming creates critical thinkers, effective oral communicators, and life-long learners. The classroom environment includes many opportunities for fine and gross motor activities, oral language development, and social-emotional learning. Our program prioritizes intentional teaching that is hands-on and child-centered, purposeful structured play, and small-group instruction.

All children who will be five years old as of September 1, 2022, are eligible to enroll in Kindergarten, and all children who will be five years old as of February 2, 2023, are eligible to enroll in Transitional Kindergarten.

Respond to Four MBUSD Questions

I have been asking students, staff, and MBUSD families the four questions below to learn more about our community. Thank you to those who have submitted responses. Your insights and ideas have been very informative!

If you have a moment, please send me your responses to [email protected]
The final Superintendent Newsletter for the school year will be published on Friday, June 17. 

Thank you again for your continued support and collaboration. It has been amazing to see the recent student achievements across our District. As I continue to visit school sites, I see our staff stay committed to developing new and innovative ways to engage every student and foster a positive learning environment for our students to grow. 

Together we continue to improve every day. I appreciate all of our staff, students, and families for helping keep our community safe and healthy. 

I wish everyone a great weekend!
John Bowes, Ed.D.
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266