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Superintendent's Newsletter

October 20, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights MB Preschool, Mira Costa receiving a gold distinction by the College Board, and don’t forget to register for the upcoming Skechers Pier to Pier Walk!

Spotlight on MB Preschool (Special Thanks to Yolanda Chaidez, Corea Hatcher, Lizette Rivera, and Director of Early Learning Shannon Huston)

Manhattan Beach Preschool has welcomed three new teachers to their team this year: Lizette Rivera, Corea Hatcher, and Yolanda Chaidez. 

Lizette and Corea are currently teaching 2 year old’s, and Yolanda is currently teaching a 3 year old classroom. Manhattan Beach Preschool staff are so happy to welcome them to the preschool family. Each of them are highly qualified with degrees, child development units, and years of experience working with young children. Best of all, they have a heart for teaching our youngest learners and partnering with their families to help these students grow, develop, and learn. Here is what our newest teachers have to say about being teachers at MBP.

Yolanda Chaidez: I have worked in the Manhattan School District for about 10 years, which has been a great blessing and privilege. From as far as I can remember becoming a teacher and working with kids has always been my passion since I always teach with my heart. 

Corea Hatcher: I have been working with preschoolers for six years and have been working at MB Preschool for five. I will be graduating with an interdisciplinary degree focusing on Psychology and Early Childhood Development next fall. I am happy to be a teacher at MB Preschool because of the amazing families and staff I have worked with over the years.

Lizette Rivera: I have been a preschool teacher for 18 years. I have a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and I'm currently working on my Masters in Early Childhood Education. My goals are to be a TK teacher and a community college professor. This is my first year at MBUSD Preschool and I am excited to work with my students daily and see them achieve their full potential.

Staff Spotlight: Dr. Kris Vegas | Director of Special Education

Dr. Kris Vegas started his career at MBUSD in July 2020 as the Director of Special Education. In this role, he oversees the planning, development, and implementation of MBUSD’s programs for individuals with exceptional needs.


Dr. Vegas says when the opportunity opened up at MBUSD, he wanted to apply because he was aware of the excellent reputation of MBUSD in the LA region. He was also interested in working in a smaller district. “I have worked in four different school districts, and each one has been progressively smaller. I have enjoyed the sense of community and caring in smaller school districts.”

His favorite part of the job is helping staff support our students and developing relationships. Dr. Vegas always knew he wanted to study psychology and work with children. He says, “When I discovered the field of School Psychology in college, I knew it was the perfect combination of two of my areas of interest.”

His biggest career achievement is following his passion and making an impact on those he serves. “I have found a career where I get to help people. In general, I like to focus on the small achievements on a daily basis. It may be a phone call or conversation with a staff member or a parent to help answer a question or address a concern. It helps to keep me motivated, knowing we can find successes on a daily basis.”

When Dr. Vegas isn’t working, he is a proud dad of three children and stays busy attending and taking them to sporting events, clubs, and other activities!

MCHS Earns Gold Level for AP School Honor Roll

We are proud to share that Mira Costa earned the College Board 2023 Advanced Placement Program School Honor accolade. Mira Costa received the gold distinction, which is one of the highest honors. The AP School Honor Roll recognizes schools whose AP programs are delivering results for students while broadening access. 

AP School Honor Roll acknowledges schools based on three metrics, including the percentage of students in the graduating class who took an AP, the percentage of students in the graduating class who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam, and the percentage of students who took 5 or more APs including one during the first two years of high school. 

In addition to achieving the gold distinction, Mira Costa also received the 2023 AP Access Award, which is given to schools that provide all students the chance to participate in APs, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances.  

Thank you to our staff for supporting our students as they take these rigorous courses and helping them towards academic success. We also want to recognize our outstanding students' dedication to academics. Mira Costa offers 25 AP courses.

Tickets are Now on Sale for MCHS Drama/Tech Production Peter and the Starcatcher!

The cast of Mira Costa’s play Peter and the Starcatcher performed a musical act from their upcoming fall production at our Board meeting this week. MCHS Drama/Tech Director Jonathan Westerberg introduced the students and the show. Students performed a musical number where the main character, Peter, is on a boat heading towards an island in rough waters. 

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.

We are less than 2 weeks away from the annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk on Sunday, October 29! The annual fun-filled community event gives back to MBEF and our students! Please register with your school site team today! 

For every registration, please indicate MBEF as a beneficiary during registration to ensure that your full contribution directly benefits MBEF and your school PTA! The walk supports both children with special needs through the Friendship Foundation and our students through MBEF. Please click here for registration process steps and FAQs.

Click on your school’s official team page below to register:

Grand View Elementary School Team

Manhattan Beach Middle School Team

Meadows Elementary School Team

Mira Costa High School Team

Pacific Elementary School Team

Pennekamp Elementary School Team

Robinson Elementary School Team 

Active Shooter Staff Training

During Professional Development Day on October 13, elementary staff received active shooter response training from retired LAPD Detective Supervisor Robert Bub and Director of Student Services Kerry Aguero. Staff learned about the Run, Hide, Fight response, which is a nationally recognized model for responding to intruders in a school setting. The strategy increases people’s chances of survival and prepares individuals in advance if an emergency situation occurs. 

Staff learned how to assess active shooter circumstances and then take the appropriate Run, Hide, Fight steps. We want to ensure that staff know when it’s safe to evacuate students, how to lock down classrooms, barricade them, and how to disarm an intruder.

Annually, MBUSD reviews safety procedures, protocols, drills, and security measures. All MBUSD staff will be trained prior to age-appropriate student video implementation. 

Digital Safety Education

5th graders at Meadows Elementary learned about internet safety from Cyber Safety Cop, a company that provides comprehensive safety education and awareness. The engaging assembly focused on the importance of equipping students with essential online safety skills and addressing present-day challenges.

The presentation also shared three critical online safety issues all children experience, including the dangers of sharing personal information with strangers, anti-bullying strategies, and how to create a positive online reputation. 

The session's goal is to support students to make informative and good online decisions to make them more secure in social networks. Grand View hosted a Cyber Safety Cop presentation for all District elementary families this week and other school sites also had sessions for their students.

International Food and Culture Celebration 

For another year, the Grand View Cares Committee hosted its International Food and Culture celebration, taking attendees on a trip around the world. The event featured food, games from Global Gamers, books, music, and other cultural items from nearly 25 countries for a fun-filled afternoon! The event aims to highlight and represent all of Grand View's unique cultures and traditions.  

Thank you to Grand View parent Vivian Kelly for sharing this story!

MCHS Marching Band & Colorguard Win 1st Place

The MCHS Marching Band and Colorguard recently performed at the Western Band Association (WBA) Ayala Music in Motion tournament and won first place! Students presented their program, “SteamPunks.”

This year, twenty-five high schools from all over Southern California competed in the showcase. MCHS performed in their division and was the only band in the competition to earn all the caption awards, including High Music, High Visual, High General Effect, High Colorguard, and High Percussion. 

You can watch the full performance here

MCHS Student Emre Taner Featured in The Boston Globe

MCHS senior Emre Taner was featured in The Boston Globe's “Teens Speak” section recently. The Boston Globe created this unique section to give readers an opportunity to learn more about what it is like to be a teenager today and encourage teens to share what was on their minds.

Emre submitted a photo and a short writing piece called “What I was Thinking.” The image is of Emre on a train traveling from Boston to Providence, Rhode Island, on his way to visit Brown University. In his piece, he discusses his anxieties about the college application process. 

Emre’s father, Orhan Taner, shared that Emre was finishing a seven-week summer school at Harvard University when he found out The Boston Globe’s Opinion team was looking for contributions to this “Teens Speak” special edition. Orhan says The Globe editors were very complimentary about Emre’s work!

Beyond this feature, he was also part of an Instagram reel by The Globe Opinion where teenagers shared what topics they feel need to be talked about more. Emre highlighted Artificial Intelligence and also recently founded the first AI club at Mira Costa. Bravo to Emre for taking this opportunity and being part of a special publication!

Thank you to Orhan Taner for sharing this story with us!

MCHS Choir Pops Concert Gives Back

Mira Costa choirs hosted its annual Pops Concert recently, filling the MCHS small theater with beautiful tunes. Performances included Mira Costa and MBMS Choirs, including ensembles, small groups, and solos. All proceeds of the event supported Maui United Way, and $1,355 was raised.

In the Classroom Featuring MBMS Secondary Math Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Woogie Kim

Woogie Kim, MBMS Secondary Math Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), led a Math Department PLC conversation around AIRE time. 

MBMS AIRE time, Advisory, Intervention, Review, and Enrichment, is a 30-minute intervention and enrichment block that started on October 18 and meets each week on Wednesdays from 1:35 to 2:05 p.m. Students can meet with teachers and join sessions curated by teachers on campus and tailored to their individual needs.

The sessions are designed to either reteach concepts that were challenging for students or offer enrichment opportunities for accelerated learners (learners who are ready to go deeper with the content). Teachers meet with their departments during their dedicated Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) period to identify students needing intervention or extension learning for the upcoming AIRE time sessions.

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) Meeting

Please join our District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) meeting on Friday, October 27, from 9:00-10:00 a.m. in the District Office Board Room. 

Come to learn about programs and supports for English Learners and multilingual students and provide input on ways that we can better those supports. See the agenda for this meeting here

These meetings are led by Christine Jewett, English Learner TOSA. There will be three other DELAC meetings this year: December 7, February 6, and May 3, all from 9:00-10:00 a.m. at the District Office. All are welcome!

MCHS Music Experience

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

Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31)

MBUSD schools will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week. The campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation that promotes the importance of living drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free lives. This year’s theme is “Be Kind to Your Mind,” and encourages students to make positive and healthy choices.

Jonathan Conyers Author Talk Coming Up! 

On Wednesday, October 25th, meet Jonathan Conyers, author of I Wasn't Supposed to Be Here and the man behind the incredible story of the "Humans of New York" and Instagram posts that went viral and raised $1.2 million dollars to support a high school debate team. 

In his memoir, I Wasn't Supposed To Be Here, Conyers shares the full story of his journey being raised by addicted parents, living in and out of homelessness, and the many challenging circumstances he overcame. We learn about the “village” of teachers, mentors, family, community, and even strangers who helped him along the way. 

This event is held at Redondo Union High School and is free to attend. 

Register here

Begg Pool Community Open House

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

City staff 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 this survey. Learn more about the Begg Pool Modernization Study by visiting the City’s website here.

“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.

Join the PTA!

If you have a child, you have experienced PTA! The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in America. Here in Manhattan Beach, the amazing, ongoing partnership of the PTAs and MBUSD continues. The seven PTAs’ collective contribution of over $2.2 million ensures our schools and programs are stellar. 

Our PTAs provide school supplies and technology; capital improvements; academic, social-emotional, and VAPA programming; field trips; staff appreciation and teacher professional development opportunities; community support; and cultural and school-wide celebrations. Various PTA parent functions provide a forum for parents to voice their opinions, engage in discussions, and learn about what is happening at our schools.

PTA is a constant voice for our children and strives to make our schools a better place to learn and grow! Thank you to everyone who has already joined the PTA; without you, our programs and projects would not be possible. Each school’s PTA strives for 100% participation. If you have not had a chance to join yet - it’s just a click away! 

Grand View PTA

Meadows PTA

Pacific PTA

Pennekamp PTA

Robinson PTSA


Mira Costa PTSA

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!

Share Stories with Us! 

Do you have a good news story idea? Share it with us! There are great stories to be told across the District, from stories of accomplishment, perseverance, and noteworthy events to academic excellence unfolding in our classrooms. Please share a story with us so we can share it with our community!

Stories submitted are often shared in our publications, on social media, and with our local media partners. 

Submit your story here!

Complimentary Los Angeles Kings Tickets

We are so excited to partner once again with the L.A. Kings and offer our staff and families complimentary tickets. 

The Kings will provide two free tickets (an estimated processing fee of $7.50 will apply per ticket) to each student and each staff member for upcoming games at the Arena!

You can find the full list of games and how to redeem your tickets here

An email was sent out in late September to all staff and families with details on how tickets can be redeemed. We hope you take advantage of this wonderful offer! Go, Kings, Go! 

Tedx Manhattan Beach 2023 Returning to Mira Costa 

Tickets are on sale now! 

In its 13th annual year, the event has a list of dynamic speakers, an interactive expo center, and delicious food/drinks throughout the day! This year we have two Mira Costa students speaking, Anthony Padnos and Winston Iskandar

Click Here for General Registration

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 October 27. 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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