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Superintendent's Newsletter

October 21, 2022

Dear Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights academics at Manhattan Beach Preschool, No Place for Hate Programs, and New Menu Items at MCHS!

Spotlight on MB Preschool (Special thanks to Lauren Smith and Director of Children's Services, Kim Johnson)

At MB Preschool, one of the educational themes during October is Fire Safety. Students learned how firefighters can help us, how to stop, drop, and roll during a fire, call 9-1-1, and about the different parts of a fire truck. 

In the classroom, students made a fire truck and wrote down one fact they learned about fire safety. They also made firehouse dogs and came up with creative names for their dogs! There was a lot of pretend play with dressing up, driving fire trucks, and using the hose to put out fires.

In addition to fire safety, the letter of the week was E. The students discussed different words that started with an E that have to do with Fire Safety. They came up with engine, exit, extinguish, and emergency. 

MB Preschool Pumpkin Patch

The Annual Pumpkin Patch returned to the Manhattan Beach Preschool campus this week. Students visited the patch and participated in storytime! Families joined in on the fun and also had the opportunity to read a book to students. 

MBUSD Staff Spotlight: Jeff Lee

This week our Staff Spotlight features MBMS English Teacher Jeff Lee. In his eighth year at the District, Mr. Lee started his career at MBMS! He has taught English to 7th and 8th graders and also was a 6th grade Humanities teacher.

Mr. Lee lived in the South Bay until he was seven years old and says even at a young age he knew that his community had many things to offer, which led him to pursue an opportunity at MBUSD. When asked what his favorite part about his job is, he says, “It’s definitely working with students one-on-one. Nothing is better than helping a student develop skills in a way that meets their individual needs.”

Lee says the students at MBUSD are what make the District one of a kind. “They come ready to learn and want to impress their teachers and parents, but they also hold themselves to their own high standards. I am always amazed at the work they put into my class and in their passions such as music, drama, film, or art.” He is proud of all the opportunities MBUSD gives to students to display their skills. 

Mr. Lee says while he never thought he would teach middle school, he is so glad the opportunities in his life led him to MBMS. “Middle schoolers are amazing students and they deserve our support as they tackle the uncertainties and challenges of their first teenage years.”

The Great ShakeOut 2022

Our District participated in the world's largest annual earthquake drill on Thursday, October 20 to prepare for the “big one.” Millions of people worldwide on this day practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Staff and students at our eight MBUSD schools, District Office, and other facilities participated in the annual event to practice safety procedures and protocols. 

New Pickleball Courts at MBMS

We are excited to announce the new pickleball courts at MBMS are near completion. The surface is completed but work is still in progress to complete the gate and fence work.

The City of Manhattan Beach initiated the project to convert our paddle tennis courts to pickleball courts due to the increase in demand for more spaces for the sport. In partnership with the District and with the support of our PE teachers, the City has resurfaced the courts and is in the process of installing fencing between the courts to prevent balls from going into other courts. The City has provided this project at no cost to the District.

Once they officially open, the courts will be used by our students during the school day and the City will manage the use of the courts outside of school hours. 

“This is Costa” Coming Up on October 25th!

All 8th grade parents and students are invited to come visit Mira Costa High School on Tuesday, October 25th at 6:00 p.m. at Waller Stadium (enter at S. Peck Avenue). Principal Dr. Karina Gerger and current students will provide an overview of life at Costa. After the presentation and performances from the band, cheer, and dance teams, attendees can walk around the Mira Costa track and learn about the 50+ sports and clubs offered at Costa. 


6:00 p.m. - Presentation

7:00 p.m. - Visit booster tables (sports & clubs) located on the track

No need to sign up or RSVP - just come! Parking is available in the staff lots off Peck Avenue and at the front entrance of the school on Artesia Blvd., the student lot with an entrance on Peck Avenue and on the street (check posted signs for any applicable parking restrictions).

No Place for Hate

At Pacific Elementary, students, staff, and families came together to kick off its second year of participating in the Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate program. There was an assembly where students wrote their names on an NPFH banner pledging to create an environment of kindness. Students submitted applications to be part of the student committee to lead the Pacific community in school-wide initiatives. 

No Place for Hate provides schools with a framework to commit to maintaining a climate where students from all backgrounds feel safe, respected, and have a sense of belonging throughout the school year. 

At Pennekamp, Principal Sharon Witzansky met with 4th and 5th graders recently to introduce the No Place for Hate program on her campus. The application for the NPFH Pennekamp student leaders is currently open and the students who participate will assist in planning the first activity on campus in the coming weeks. Students on campus will also take the NPFH pledge

This is just one of many programs implemented at various of our school sites that work toward our mission to continue creating a culture of care at our school sites.

Signs of Suicide 

On October 18 Mira Costa High School, by California State Education Code 215 (Pupil Suicide Prevention Policies), provided Suicide Prevention education and supports to all 10th grade students.

Each year, our counseling teams, school psychologists, and administrators come together to plan and support this event, utilizing additional support from outside providers who donate their time and expertise. While this day is emotional for many, our District teams come together to support one another and identify many students in need of additional support for their mental health. 

MBMS will be participating in this event in December.

New Menu Items at MCHS

Our Food and Nutrition Services Department is committed to serving our students healthy meals that contribute to their nutritional and educational needs. At MCHS, there are new items on the menu! Students can now enjoy a Thai Chili Chicken Wrap, a Plant-Based Hummus and Veggie Wrap (sesame-free), and a Carnitas Burrito. 

Thai Chili Chicken Wrap

Plant-Based Hummus and Veggie Wrap

Carnitas Burrito

You can visit the Food and Nutrition Services Department here

Register Today! Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk 

Register NOW for the 14th Annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk!

You can register for your child’s school site team here. The walk supports both children with special needs through the Friendship Foundation and our local students through MBEF.

Be sure to designate MBEF as your charity so proceeds from your registration will directly support MBEF and your school PTA! This year we are urging everyone to participate and show their support for our schools whether it’s registering as a walker or a virtual walker.

We want to show everyone our District is the best in the South Bay! Our schools need more participation to reach its goals!

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

Homecoming Football Game Highlights!

band collage

Collage Photos by MCHS Senior Luke Schauwecker

MBMS Social and Emotional Learning Lunch Activity

Students participated in a yoga-themed scavenger hunt this week during lunch. They stretched and practiced different yoga poses.

Six MBMS parent volunteers hosted the yoga practice across campus. The activity was aligned with the District’s Social and Emotional Learning Framework and this month’s area of focus, “I understand and manage my emotions.” 

Be Our Guest Program Returns

We are excited to announce that we are re-launching our “Be Our Guest” program in partnership with the City of Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department’s Older Adults Program. It offers older adult residents in Manhattan Beach who are at least 55 years old an opportunity to enjoy our amazing student productions for free! We are offering twelve shows this year.

Eligible older adults need to visit the Older Adults Program Office located at the Joslyn Community Center to pick up a special pass to attend the shows. We look forward to having you support our students!

Below is the list of upcoming shows:

United Against Hate Week Approaching 

To stop hate in our community, MBUSD will participate in LA vs Hate’s United Against Hate Week on November 13 - 19. LA vs. Hate is a program of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and other partners. The recognition of this week was created in direct response to the rise in hate crimes and incidents that have posed a threat to the safety and civility of neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the community-driven approach to empower one another to build inclusive healthy communities. 

During the week of action, communities raise awareness about the dangers of hate, the need for respect, and civil discourse among all county residents and students. We will keep you updated on the events that happen across our District during this time.

MBEF Hosting New Family Welcome Reception

Our Manhattan Beach Education Foundation is hosting an event for new families to learn more about the District. MBEF representatives, District Advisory Council PTA President Erin Levin, other parents, school leadership and I will be at the receptions. Save the dates! 

You can register to attend either on Monday, October 24, or Thursday, November 3 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Tin Roof Bistro.

Los Angeles Kings Complimentary Tickets

We are so excited to announce that MBUSD is the first local school district to partner with the L.A. Kings on a special complimentary ticket distribution program. Please check your inbox for an email that shares a unique code for your student(s) that can be used only once to book your seats. $5.44 in fees will apply per ticket to each student and each staff member for upcoming games in November and December at the Arena! 

These games include: 

  • Tuesday, November 8 | vs Minnesota Wild
  • Saturday, November 12 | vs Detroit Red Wings
  • Sunday, November 27 | vs Ottawa Senators
  • Tuesday, November 29 | vs Seattle Kraken
  • Thursday, December 1 | vs Arizona Coyotes
  • Saturday, December 3 | vs Carolina Hurricanes
  • Thursday, December 22 | vs Calgary Flames

Go, Kings, Go! 

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 a MBUSD Personnel Commissioner position opening. 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

Upcoming Events

Mira Costa Drama/Tech students are excited to present LOVE/SICK!

Tickets are now on sale!

Manhattan Beach Police Department Halloween Trunk or Treat 


Tickets are on sale now!

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

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

Tickets are on sale now. Student discounts are available.

Raci Levine, a junior at Mira Costa High School and President of the Jewish Cultural Club at MCHS is a speaker this year.

MBMS Turkey Trot on Sunday, November 6

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The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, October 28. 

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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