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Superintendent's Newsletter

November 4, 2022

Dear Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights academics at MBMS, the most updated Facts vs. Rumors webpage, and details on local events for United Against Hate Week.

Spotlight on MBMS (Special thanks to MBMS 6th Grade Science Teachers and Principal Jennifer Huynh)

Students at MBMS took science to the next level on Halloween by taking part in a chemical reaction experiment. Many years ago, miners used what is called calcium carbide. They would take this and put it in their lamps to light a fire. As soon as calcium carbide touches water, it starts to develop acetylene gas.

Students in 6th grade Science had a chance to see this in action on Halloween. The experiment was conducted with the same process used by miners, but in a way to contain all of that excitement inside a pumpkin. Typically, when carving a pumpkin, you need to manually remove the eyes, nose, and mouth to display the face. However, using this chemistry experiment, students had a chance to see what it would look like to remove those pieces with the power of energy transference. 

Students watched as calcium carbide was poured into the pumpkin. Then, water was added to create acetylene gas as was evident from the boiling of the water. The pumpkin was sealed and allowed a few seconds to generate more gas inside. With a quick application of fire to the pumpkin, students watched a cool chemical reaction explosion! Lessons like these combine the spirit of Halloween but also opportunities to explore experiments outside the traditional classroom walls.

MBUSD Staff Spotlight: Jessica Campbell

This week our Staff Spotlight honors Instructional Assistant for Intensive Behavior Instruction (IBI) Jessica Campbell. Before starting her career at MBUSD, she worked for an agency that served children with autism, but it was always her goal to work at a school district. She was hired in 2017 as an IBI at Pennekamp Elementary and still serves the students there. 

When asked what the favorite part of her job is, Jessica says, “The amount of time I get to spend with my students. Due to the nature of my job I get to accompany my students in all aspects of their school day including class time, recess, and more.” She says that as of this year, she has had the pleasure of working in every single grade, which has helped develop a very special perspective on the student experience throughout each grade. 

Her biggest achievement at MBUSD has been building strong relationships with colleagues, students, and families. Jessica says that this is validated when a teacher that she has worked with stops her in the hallway to collaborate about a behavior support strategy or when a parent tells her their child misses being in the classroom with her. 

Jessica says MBUSD is more than a district or community. It’s a family and we look out for each other. “We care about our contribution to the education of our students as well as to the general morale on campus.

While she didn’t grow up in the South Bay, she recently moved here with her family and says it has been wonderful! When she is not making a difference in the classroom, Jessica enjoys going to the beach and cooking. A fun fact is that she is also a Certified Yoga Instructor! She looks forward to the future when she will be enrolling her daughter at MB Preschool!

Visit our Facts vs Rumors page! The purpose of this page is to answer any questions in regard to the rumors we hear and read in our own MBUSD community and sometimes beyond. It is our long-standing commitment to continue to be transparent with our community.

We will continue to update this page when new information becomes available.

Please join the South Bay Community Coalition Against Hate during the week of November 13 to combat hate in our community. There are several events taking place that week with a special kick off event on Sunday, November 13 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Polliwog Park

If you are interested in picking up a lawn sign, please look out for more details on specific locations at On Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m., Manhattan Beach Education Foundation is hosting a free screening of the documentary "RACE to be Human" at 6:30 p.m. at Mira Costa's Auditorium. There will also be a discussion about the impact of race and racism on mental health through the lens of students, experts, and educators.

Watch the Instagram Reel of Mira Costa Students Promoting the Week!

Staff Participate in 2-day Professional Learning Communities

One of the top priorities at MBUSD is to maximize the academic success of all students. One of the ways to do this is to provide opportunities for our teachers and administrators to work together and reflect on planning instruction, looking at results, assessing, and reflecting on practice. 

Recently, all MBUSD elementary leadership teams participated in a 2-day professional learning community at the District Office. There are three “big ideas” that represent the core principles of professional learning communities:

  • Ensure Student Learning
  • Culture of Collaboration
  • Focus on Results

During the first 2-day professional development session, teams focused on the foundations of a PLC which include a shared mission, vision, and collective commitments as a school. Elementary leadership teams will meet for four additional days later this year.

Tobacco Use Prevention Education Training

All MBMS students participated in the Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) assembly this week. MBMS receives funding through a special grant for two schoolwide assemblies per year.

This assembly was presented by Music Notes, where the group uses music, videos, and facts to teach students about the dangers of vaping and smoking. 

The goal of the state-funded TUPE program is to empower students in grades 6-12 to make healthy decisions through tobacco-use preventative instruction, intervention, cessation programs, and reinforcement activities. 

Pacific Elementary Science Fair

Students in Mrs. Ahmed's class were excited and proud to showcase to their parents and fellow peers their hard work during the recent science fair. Students studied the scientific method as part of their thematic unit of the month. They practiced using a variety of vocabulary related to scientific inquiry, learned the steps of the scientific method, and each chose their project to complete.  

Every student actively participated in their project and completed data within their mode of communication. (i.e. writing, typing, using picture supports). Students also actively participated in creating a science fair poster.  

Grand View Students Taste Seasonal Harvest

The “Harvest of the Season” program at lunch returns this year, offering Gators an opportunity to taste in-season fresh fruits and vegetables from the local farmers market.

Students had the opportunity to try a sample of the in-season fruit, the Asian pear, from the local farmers market this week! They sampled the fruit and were taught about local, seasonal produce. Many of the students kept coming back for more! Thank you to parent Chrissie Clay, who is part of the Grades of Green Board of Directors, for bringing this program back to the campus.

Chrissie shared that in the winter they will focus on citrus, and in the spring, sugar snap peas.

Tonight is Opening night for LOVE/SICK!

Check out their Instagram account to learn more about the production!

Buy Tickets now!

Below is the list of upcoming shows:

Mira Costa Marching Band and Colorguard 

The Costa Marching Band and Colorguard performed at the Western Bands Association SoCal Super Show at El Camino College recently. They debuted a revised percussion feature for their show “Let Them Eat Cake." They competed in Class 4A and blew the crowd away with another amazing performance. 

Watch their performance in the competition! 

Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk Hits Record Number of Walkers

I want to thank everyone who registered to be a virtual or in-person walker at the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk over the weekend to support our schools. It was my second year participating and it was great to see how our MBUSD family came together to support the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and the Friendship Foundation. Thank you to our staff, students, families, PTAs, PTSA, and boosters for promoting this event that truly makes a difference in so many students’ lives. 

We surpassed our goal of 1,700 walkers and had nearly 2,000 this year, a record-breaking number for MBUSD!

Check out some of the highlights here.


Saturday, November 5 | Mira Costa Auditorium | 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

You can now only purchase tickets at the event.

In its 12th annual year, this event will have an interactive expo, sample delicious food & beverages, and enjoy new experiences shared with our community. 

You will hear from twelve individuals in the fields of engineering, mental health, entrepreneurship, environmental science, education, branding, and comedy. 

Here are the 2022 speakers

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. 

We have an opening for MBUSD Personnel Commissioner. Click here for more information and to apply.

A Personnel Commission is a nonpartisan public body responsible for the administration of a “merit system” for the selection, retention, and promotion of classified (non-certificated) employees in a public school district. 

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 Thursday, November 10. 

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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