John Bowes

Superintendent's Newsletter
May 13, 2022
Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s newsletter highlights Manhattan Beach Preschool, the return of the MBUSD Elementary Math Contest, our Classified Employees of the Year, details on the 5th Annual International Day, updated COVID-19 guidance, and much more!
Spotlight on Manhattan Beach Preschool (Special thanks to Director of Children's Services, Kim Johnson)

MB Preschool students have been focusing on Math this month. Holly Compton, our District’s Math TOSA, led an in-service with the preschool teachers on Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) and content standards in Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability.

The teachers have been working with their students to capitalize on natural opportunities in the class to teach and learn during centers and play time. Our 5-year-old classes have specifically been working on addition using dice and sorting, organizing and classifying items. These 5-year old’s are ready to master Kindergarten with their strong math skills!
PS Class
PS Class 3
PS Class 2
PS School 4
5th Annual MBUSD Elementary Math Contest
"Mathletes" from all five Manhattan Beach elementary schools converged on Joslyn Center Wednesday afternoon to compete for the Gold Medal. Read all about this event and see more pictures from what is becoming a cherished tradition in MB News!
Diana E-R
Staff Spotlight

This week, we are highlighting Diana Enriquez-Romero! As our District's Substitute Coordinator, Diana is at her desk by 6 am every day, making sure that classes are covered and fully staffed.

Going on her 7th year with the District, Diana started her MBUSD career as an Intensive Behavioral Intervention specialist. When asked what she loves most about MBUSD, she will tell you, "when you come into our schools or offices it feels like you’re in a small town where everyone knows everyone and helps everyone; that is a very hard thing to find in the middle of L.A. and at most jobs. That’s my favorite thing about us. 😊"

And, of course, given this chance to be in the spotlight, Diana would like everyone to know: "If you or anyone you know is interested in joining our amazing substitute team please email me at [email protected]" Thank you, Diana, for always going the extra mile!
Introducing MBUSD's 2022 Classified Employees of the Year

Each May, California salutes the important contributions of classified school employees during “Classified School Employee Week” (CSEW).
Classified employees are recognized as integral to the success of students and public education. From preparing our facilities for learning, to caring for and feeding students, to teaching them vital skills and ensuring that schools are operating smoothly, classified employees have earned respect as educators and partners in the education community.

Representing Manhattan Beach Unified this year:
MB Preschool
Leticia Salcedo
Paula S
Grand View Elementary
Paula Sodeika
Meadows EOY
Meadows Elementary
Jack Moore
Pacific Elementary
Pamela Thomas
Carrie E
Pennekamp Elementary
Carrrie Emhof
Robinson EOY
Robinson Elementary
Jerry King
Monica M
Monica Marquez
Mira Costa High School
Krishna Berkes
Abigail C
Food & Nutrition Services
Abigail Crook
Raul M and O
Maintenance & Operations
Raul Rodriguez Gonzalez
budget graphic
Budget Corner

Like all California school districts, MBUSD will be finalizing 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.
Earlier this week, as part of our local work, I met with the District’s Budget Advisory Committee to continue a discussion about the development of our 2022-23 school year budget. This included a look at the potential impact of the additional revenue that the passage of the Measure A parcel tax, on the June 7 ballot, would bring to MBUSD. Of particular note was a focus on how Measure A funds could help address identified district funding priorities within the specific allowable use of funds spelled out in Measure A. Specific potential priorities for use of Measure A funds include:
  • Hiring qualified and experienced teachers to help to maintain manageable class sizes and provide individualized instruction for students
  • Expanding course offerings, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) 
  • Keeping textbooks and other instructional materials, including digital resources and library collections, up-to-date
  • Providing additional mental health counseling and support for students 
  • Providing professional development and collaboration time for all staff
Two important ways you can learn more about the 2023-23 school year budget are to tune in to our Board meeting on Wednesday, May 18 at 5:00 p.m. for a budget update and/or to attend the Budget Workshop scheduled to take place during our Board meeting on Thursday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. The Budget Workshop will be a time when the public can interact with the Board of Trustees to discuss budget priorities and provide input in the development of next year’s budget. 
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!
Join us! Meadows Elementary School Hosts AAPI Month Event
Updated Uyematsu
The May AAPI Heritage - Uyematsu event is coming up this Sunday, May 15th. To ensure we have enough supplies for the flower craft we are asking everyone to RSVP by May 15th. To RSVP

Mira Costa students from the Youth Advisory Leadership Council participated in the Los Angeles County Office of Education's annual Tobacco Use Prevention Education Youth Advocacy Leadership Conference recently. They participated in virtual workshops and learned from a keynote speaker.

There was a virtual dance party at lunch and some fun interactive games/giveaways after the very informative workshops throughout the day. 
TUPE shirts
TUPE webinar

The 2022 Bay League Swim Championships were held last week in Palos Verdes, and the Mira Costa swim team swept the competition. Six teams competed for the boys’ and girls’ titles with prelims held on Wednesday, April 27, and finals held on Friday, April 29. Teams that participated were Culver City High School, Mira Costa High School, Palos Verdes High School, Peninsula High School, Redondo Union High School, and Santa Monica High School.
Costa Swim Team
MBUSD at VEX World Championships

Students from MBUSD competed last week in Dallas, Texas. With more than 800 of the world's top high school teams and 500 of the top middle school teams attending, it truly lived up to the hype as the largest robotics competition in the world. Congratulations to both the middle school and high school teams for making it to their respective playoffs and finishing in the top 10 and 20, respectively, in Skills competition! Many thanks to their coaches, teachers, and families without whose efforts none of this would be possible.
VEX math
Match play during the Math Division round robin.
VEX hs
High School team with their alliance partner.
robot and judges
Middle School Space Pandas with their robot and judges.
MS pandas
Space Pandas relish in their success.
Sr Spotlight - DK
Sr Spotlight - HH

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it's a time to educate, support, and end the stigma on mental health. You are not alone and support is always available. 
EASE logo
Mental Health Support for Employees

Over the last few years, we have seen increases in the needs for mental health support across the board. We have also seen an increase in the awareness of needing to address and provide support for those that may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing in our schools. Through EASE, we focus on the adults in our school systems, ensuring immediate care and support for educators and staff when needed. There are many who would benefit from counseling who don’t seek it out because of stigma. Stigma is a pervasive problem in our society and in many cultures. One way to abolish stigma, is to recognize that asking for help can be considered a sign of strength, rather than a sign of weakness. Employees in need of support are encouraged to reach out to EASE here.
Social Media

For many students, staff and parents, social media has become a part of our daily lives. We have recently learned of some very unfortunate hate speech and cyberbullying social media posts involving some of our students. I ask all parents to discuss with your student(s) your family's expectations and rules for student use of social media. If you see unacceptable social media posts please report those to the app provider.

To assist families in such discussion, on Tuesday, May 17, 6:30-8 p.m., Dr. Don Grant will present at the Families Connected Speaker Series, “Left to Our Own Devices: Parenting Strategies for Healthy Device Management and Optimal Mental Health.” Dr. Grant is an internationally award-winning media psychologist, published researcher, Doctoral Addictions Counselor and educator with specific expertise in the mental health impact of technology. Dr. Grant's current research includes investigations of potential effects of social media, cyberbullying and device-driven attachment bonds on adolescents, teens, young adults, families and our culture/relationships-at-large.

This session will provide Beach Cities caregivers and families useful information and tools to address responsible technology use and online presence with their families. The Families Connected Speaker Series is presented through a partnership between Beach Cities Health District, South Bay Families Connected, Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Hermosa Beach City School District and Redondo Beach Unified School District. The event will be held at the Hermosa View at Vista Multi-Purpose Room, 417 25th St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Register here.
Upcoming Events
Join us at the 5th Annual MBUSD International Day!
COVID-19 Updates/Reminders 
COVID-19 Exposure Guidance

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has updated its COVID-19 exposure guidance which has been further modified from the guidance published on May 4. We wanted to let you know the latest details.
Any student who has been identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19 at school and who is asymptomatic, regardless of their vaccination status, is not required to quarantine.
In order to remain on campus, close contacts are REQUIRED to:
  • Wear a highly protective mask for 10-days indoors after last exposure, except while eating or drinking.
  • Test within 3-5 days after last exposure (PCR, antigen, at-home tests allowed).
LACDPH has revised its definition of a close contact to allow schools to identify individuals who were within 6’ of an infected individual for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. These identified close contacts must comply with the requirements above. Schools are also required to notify anyone who shared the same indoor space at school with an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period of their potential exposure and to recommend (but not require) that they follow the same guidelines. 
A student with an outdoor exposure at school is not considered a close contact.
Please note that this means it is very important to continue to read all school COVID letters carefully in order to identify mandatory and recommended timelines for masking and test result submission
Self-Screening Before Coming to Campus
It is a requirement and each individual’s responsibility to self-screen at home every day before coming to campus. 
Parents should ask students, and employees should ask themselves, whether they are experiencing any symptoms that could potentially be related to COVID-19. If they have symptoms, they must contact the school (students) or District (employees) to determine whether they should come to campus.
In addition, if a student or an employee has been in close contact with anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must contact the school (students) or District (employees) to determine whether they should come to campus. 
If a student or an employee is positive for COVID-19, they must stay home, follow home isolation guidelines, and contact the school (students) or District (employees) to report the case. 
We ask all students, staff members, parents/guardians, and volunteers to continue to monitor themselves and their household members for symptoms of COVID-19 and to stay home and test if any symptoms develop, or if they find out they have been in close contact with anyone positive for COVID-19.
MBUSD’s weekly on-site testing program is open to asymptomatic students and staff members only. If you haven’t done so already, please sign your student(s) up for our weekly testing program. If you are required (or recommended) to test as a result of a close contact or potential exposure, you may utilize this program at your own site or, if needed, by going to Mira Costa High School between the hours of 3 pm and 5 pm on Monday or Wednesday afternoons. 
Testing for students and staff members who are symptomatic or who are identified as close contacts is available through the Beach Cities Health District.Staff and students can sign up byusing this registration link. (Students will need their Aeries ID number and the primary parent email address linked to their Aeries profile; employees will need the last 6 digits of their Employee ID number and their email address.) BCHD testing is available Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Additional testing resources can be found here.
2022 Summer Expanded Learning Opportunities

The primary purpose of Expanding Learning Opportunities is to prepare students for the next grade level/course by building their foundational skills in previous courses and/or grades. Invitations for ELO, ELA, and Math have been sent out.

Dates: June 27-July 21, 2022 | Monday-Thursday

We will have more details posted on May 13.
Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment

The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC), California Science Test (CAST), and California Alternate Assessments (CAA) are online tests that measure what your student knows and can do. 

The tests include many different types of questions that allow students to interact with the test questions. Results help identify gaps in knowledge or skills early on so your child can get the support needed to be successful in school.

This year students in grades 3-8 and 11th grade will take SBAC English Language Arts and Math.

Students in 5th, 8th, and 11th will also take the California Science Assessment. CAA is for eligible students with an active IEP in grades 3-8, and 11th for ELA and Math. CAA Science is for students in grades 5th, 8th, and 11th.

Dates: Elementary | May 2-13

MBMS & MCHS | May 16-June 3

How can I help my child prepare for the test? 

You are an important part of your child’s education. Some things you can do to help your child are:

  • Discuss the test with your child and make sure they are not scared or anxious.

  • Tell your child that you and their teacher have high expectations and that you are both there to help them every step of the way.

  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast before testing. 

The California Department of Education has an SBAC Parent Guide and CAA Parent Guide for more information.

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.

If you have a moment, please send me your responses to [email protected]
The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, May 20. 

Thank you again for your continued support and collaboration as we head into the final stretch of the school year. I look forward to many of the exciting events coming up across our District, including graduation!  

Together we continue to grow and improve every day. I appreciate all of our staff, students, and families for helping keep our community safe and healthy. Have a wonderful weekend!
John Bowes, Ed.D.
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266