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Superintendent's Newsletter

November 3, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights MBMS, Manhattan Beach Police Department’s SWAT team visiting our schools as part of their safety visit, and MBUSD’s commitment to Climate of Care at all schools.

Spotlight on MBMS (Special Thanks to MBMS Staff and Principal Jennifer Huynh)

MBMS has started providing students with teacher-generated AIRE Time sessions once a week to support them in Advisory, Intervention, Review, and Enrichment (AIRE). Students and staff were trained using an innovative scheduling system that allows students to explore more personalized and direct activities from their teachers. During their Professional Learning Communities (PLC), teachers have been curating their session offerings based on what they see in their department's common forms of assessments, daily classroom instruction, and professional dialogue within their departments. 

This year, teachers have the embedded time to become more aligned in their standards, curriculum, and support for students. Sessions offered include Dividing Decimals, American Revolution Review, Topic Sentence Brainstorming, Backpack Cleanout, Shot on iPhone, Writing Equations for Real-World Linear Relationships, WEB Connection Activities, and more! Each week, there is a diverse offering of sessions to ensure that all students have a chance to learn, connect, and explore. Also, this week in AIRE, teachers reviewed the MBUSD Inclusion Stand Up Commitment with all students to help reinforce each member’s commitment to standing up against hate, prejudice, violence, and bullying and standing up for respect and inclusion. 

AIRE Time serves as an opportunity for students to receive an extension of learning and support. Plus, students may either see their teachers or opt to try activities from other teachers not on their class schedule.

Staff Spotlight: Taylor DiBernardo | Literacy Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA)

This week’s staff spotlight shines on Taylor DiBernardo, who has dedicated nine years to MBUSD. She started her career at MBUSD in the fall of 2014, teaching 8th-grade English at MBMS. Taylor says she quickly fell in love with teaching because of the memorable students and her cherished experiences with the English department at MBMS. 

After five years at MBMS, Taylor pursued a position at Mira Costa. During her four years there, she taught 9th, 10th, and 11th grade English and Student Academic Success (SAS). In the 2023-24 school year, she started her current role as the District’s Literacy TOSA.

“I was ready to try something new! I’ve appreciated the helping hand and support from the literacy TOSAs I had the privilege to work with. I saw this position as an opportunity to support the teachers and teams who, over the years, have encouraged and helped shape my vision of the teacher I wanted to be. My expertise in teaching in secondary classrooms put me in a unique position to cultivate and facilitate a meaningful support system across the district as a TOSA.”

Taylor’s journey in education began when she attended UCLA’s Teacher Education Program, where she received her Master’s in Education, Single-Subject English credential, and Vocal Music Authorization. She says being a teacher is ingrained in her personality, and many experiences in her life led her to be an educator, including being an older sister to triplets and her own experiences as a student. 

“When I was in high school, it was my English teachers who impacted me the most because I felt that they saw me for who I was, a whole person, as opposed to seeing me as just a student. Those classrooms made me feel welcome and fostered a space for my creativity to grow. I knew that I wanted to provide that same space for students someday.”

When asked what the favorite part of her job is, Taylor says it’s the collaborative spirit among her colleagues. She says the TOSA team is a group of creative, hard-working individuals who support each other in everything they do. “The teachers I work with are committed to their students, and I enjoy exercising our collective creativity to problem-solve and continue our professional development.”

One of her biggest achievements in her career was being part of the Upstander Museum at MBMS. A museum that was created in a classroom by 8th-grade students that showcased student voice and choice through various forms of arts, dioramas, podcasts, and interviews. 

Beyond her teaching career, Taylor enjoys pottery and being creative! She’s working on building an at-home studio with her boyfriend and recently fired up their kiln for the first time! Additionally, Taylor’s love for singing has been with her since college, and she currently works at the a capella summer camp, A Capella Academy, with Mira Costa Choir Director Kate Crellin! “My most magical and cherished memories come from connecting with friends who became family through our shared love of music.”

Manhattan Beach Police Department (MBPD) SWAT Visit

At MBUSD, our campuses are safe and secure. We regularly perform drills with our staff and students. Manhattan Beach Police Department (MBPD) and the City of Manhattan Beach are vital partners in keeping our schools safe. This week, members of the MBPD SWAT team visited each elementary campus to conduct a peripheral view of the school sites with students present. They plan to do the same drill with MBMS and MCHS soon. 

In the upcoming months, MBPD SWAT teams will conduct full emergency drills on our campuses when school is not in session. 

Our Stand Up Commitment

All students deserve a safe school climate where they feel welcome, secure, and valued, which is stated in our Inclusion Stand Up Commitment. This week, our schools reinforced this commitment with our staff and students. We want to remind everyone that our Board Goal #2 focuses on the continuation of developing a climate of care in all MBUSD schools. 

We will continue to provide more learning opportunities and communication that represent our Stand Up commitment. Our District remains committed to ongoing initiatives and efforts that support positive and harmonious school campuses. We are actively working to expand the work in our school communities. Once again, MBUSD is joining organizations across the country for United Against Hate Week, which takes place on November 12-18 on each campus. We will share more details in the coming week. 

MBMS staff has created a new committee with parents, students, teachers, counselors, and community members with a focus on developing lessons and activities directly related to educating our students about tolerance, empathy, and understanding. Guiding resources for this committee will include Anti-Defamation League (ADL) lessons, MBMS educator-generated content, student-focused activities, perspectives/insights from stakeholders, guest speakers, and more. 

The safety of every person on our campuses is our top priority; this includes physical, social, and emotional safety. All MBUSD schools should be welcoming spaces. To help us, we ask that if you see or hear about any incident, such as discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying, please report it through our Sprigeo Platform here. There is a tab on each school site that directs you to the Sprigeo District page. For elementary schools, click Sprigeo under the “Our Schools” tab. At MBMS, it is located under the “Student Resources” tab, and on the Mira Costa website, it is under the “About Us” tab.

Once a report is submitted, details are shared with a school administrator who will follow up on the report. For any events or concerns taking place beyond our campuses or outside of school hours, please contact the Manhattan Beach Police Department’s non-emergency line at 310-802-5140.

We strive to make our District a place where everyone feels like they belong. We all play an essential role in accomplishing this goal every day. 

Makerspace: Grand View Students Design Future MB Pier 

Grand View 4th graders built scale models of the Manhattan Beach Pier and explored different piling structures during their Makerspace class. They were given the challenge to design the future MB Pier. They had to envision a pier that could stand up by itself, a structure that would work to support the deck over the water, and consider the attractions and activities that could take place on the pier. 

Students discussed their models, environmental impact, and city planning. Thank you to Makerspace Program Specialist Crista Riccio for sharing this story. 

MBEF educator grants fund Makerspace specialists at each of our five elementary schools.

Congratulations to the MCHS Honor Roll Students!

We want to congratulate the 1,329 MCHS students (10-12 graders) who achieved Honor Roll status during the spring semester of 2022-23. PTSA members and MBUSD Trustee Wysh Weinstein distributed donuts to honor roll recipients this week. Each student will receive a digital certificate for their accomplishment.  

Honor Roll includes students with a 3.5 GPA or higher during a semester. You can find the complete list of students here

Your Feedback is Important! Take our Ethnic Studies Survey for All Parents! 

The District Ethnic Studies Committee, composed of staff, parents, and students, is utilizing a six-step process to develop course(s) to meet the State Ethnic Studies graduation requirement. Per CA law, all school districts must offer an Ethnic Studies course beginning in the 2025-2026 school year.

An Ethnic Studies Parent Information Session was held on October 24 at Mira Costa High School, where attendees learned a brief overview of the Ethnic Studies graduation requirement, listened to a student panel, and asked parents for feedback on proposed units. Parents also were able to ask questions about student schedules.  

Parents are encouraged to submit feedback by completing the Ethnic Studies Course: Information Gathering survey by November 9. For more information, visit the Ethnic Studies Committee webpage. 

Join the Conversation! Begg Pool Community Open House

The City of Manhattan Beach is exploring options for modernizing the Begg Pool facility. 

They will be hosting a community open house on Monday, November 13, at the Manhattan Heights Community Center to hear your priorities on the vision of this project.

If you can’t make it to the open house, please take a survey here. Learn more about the Begg Pool Modernization Study by visiting the City’s website here

MCHS Marching Band and Colorguard Earn Top Rankings at Competition

Once again, our Band and Colorguard are doing an incredible job showcasing their skills regionally. They performed at the Bands of America Southern California Regional Championships. It was their first performance in Bands of America, The National Circuit, and they won top rankings in multiple categories. In the preliminary round, they earned a 1st division rating, the highest festival-style rating you can achieve in this competition. 

They also received 7th overall in the show, 5th overall in music performance, and 4th in individual visual. At the end of the preliminary round awards, Mustangs were also invited to perform again in the final round. One of the night's highlights was when the adjudicators ranked them a point and a half over last year’s Nevada State Circuit Champion. 

Congratulations to all of the students, staff, and volunteers!

MBEF Celebrates National STEAM Day with a CHEVRON Match on November 8

Our Manhattan Beach schools are filled with opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). In commemoration of National STEAM Day on Wednesday, November 8, MBEF's longstanding Community Partner is once again stepping up to support STEAM in our schools. 

CHEVRON is offering a 100% Match for all donations to the 2023-24 Annual Appeal that meets the ASK of $2,000 per student. CHEVRON’S generosity fuels our STEAM programs!

LACOE Spotlights 2023 Teacher of the Year Niel Leonard

Niel Leonard was featured by the Los Angeles County of Education (LACOE) on social media! Watch his short interview here.

Neil shared, “I’m a big kid at heart. When I see students struggling, I want to get their confidence to the point where they feel comfortable.”

MCHS Drama/Tech Production Peter and the Starcatcher Debuts Tonight!

If you haven’t purchased your tickets to the MCHS Drama/Tech Fall production, don’t forget to do so! Tonight is opening night for the big show. 

Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher explores how a young orphan ultimately became Peter Pan. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explore the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty, and love.

You can purchase your tickets here. Student & senior tickets are $11/presale and $13 at the door. General admission is $13 Presale/$16 at the door.

The following are the dates/times for the shows: 

November 3 | 7:30 p.m.

November 4 | 7:30 p.m.

November 8 | 4:00 p.m.

November 9 | 6:30 p.m.

November 10 | 7:30 p.m.

November 11 | 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

MCHS Music Experience

The MCHS Music Department is hosting its second annual MCHS Music Experience on Sunday, November 5, at 11 a.m. Learn more about the award-winning music programs Costa has to offer! Click the image below to view flyer.

“Be Our Guest” Program 

In partnership with the City of Manhattan Beach Parks & Rec’s Older Adults program, the “Be Our Guest” program schedule is live! The program invites older adult residents in Manhattan Beach who are 55 years of age or older to attend performances for free at Manhattan Beach Unified schools. 

If you are interested, you will need to sign up and get a special pass at the Joslyn Community Center at the Older Adults Program office.

For the schedule, please visit This year, there are thirteen shows that “Be Our Guest” members can attend, including MCHS drama/tech, choir, band, and orchestra programming. Click image below for flyer.

Give Today to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation

What is the MBEF Annual Appeal?

Every year the MBEF Annual Appeal supports academic enrichment programs that instill Excellence in Education. From funding smaller class sizes, strong core academics, social-emotional learning with additional counselors, and specialized programs in STEAM and visual and performing arts, MBUSD families contribute to our excellent school system with annual donations. 

Please support the 2023-24 Annual Appeal by donating today!

We are grateful for MBEF and all that the Foundation has done for the past 40 years to make what MBUSD it is today! Please read MBEF’s Annual Report & Honor Roll to learn more about the impact, MBEF’s vision, and the people who supported MBEF to make a difference in our schools. 

Give Today!

Check out our Social Media Directory

Following our eight schools on social media and our District accounts make it convenient for you to get real-time updates, news, and information!

Here is our directory!

Stay Updated! Download MBUSD App!

If you haven’t downloaded the MBUSD app, please do so!

You can go to an Apple or Google Play store to download the app by searching Manhattan Beach Unified or MBUSD. Once you download it, you will see a home page asking you to set up the schools you would like access to and announcements from, including the District.

You can toggle between the District and each school site screen from the top of the app. All elementary school sites have the same buttons, while MBMS and Mira Costa’s features cater to our families and students there. The app offers 42 languages from which to choose. You can update your app settings, and you can learn what is happening at the District and school site level every morning by push notifications! 

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 educational 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 November 10. 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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