Visit Our Website

Superintendent's Newsletter

October 27, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights Mira Costa, two choir students being selected for an esteemed choir group, and a message to the community about MBMS.

Spotlight on Mira Costa (Special Thanks to MCHS Administration Team, including Principal Dr. Karina Gerger)

Mira Costa celebrated their Homecoming Week with the culminating event tonight. Mira Costa Mustangs will host the Redondo Seahawks in Waller Stadium at 7:00 p.m. in the Battle of the Beaches.

Last weekend, 1,350 students attended the Homecoming Dance, where they danced the night away, participated in various activities, and enjoyed the company of friends. 

On Tuesday, the entire student body enjoyed performances by our Band, Dance, and cheer teams and the Homecoming Court. During spirit week, students dressed up around five themes, including sports teams, and wore pink Wednesday for breast cancer awareness.

We send our best to the Mira Costa Mustangs in their battle tonight!

Staff Spotlight: Jackie O'Sullivan | Robinson Elementary Principal

We are excited to spotlight Robinson Elementary Principal Jackie O’Sullivan. Jackie started working at MBUSD in the spring of 2017 and has worked at MBUSD for six years in this position. Her journey back into education was inspired during her time in advertising when she participated in a career day at Jane Addams School in Lawndale, where she met a principal who inspired her.

Jackie began her career in education in 1989 in South Central LA and left teaching after four years to work in other capacities, including teacher training and writing curriculum in Seoul, South Korea. She says her favorite part of her job is working in the Robinson community, especially with children. “I am fortunate to have such talented staff and supportive parents.”

When asked about her significant career achievement, Jackie says it was starting the Spanish Dual Immersion program at Washington School in Redondo Beach, which continues to flourish to this day.

In her free time, Jackie enjoys baking, sewing, knitting, painting, and spending time with family and friends.

We Hear You, We Care

I hope everyone had the chance to read my October 24 message to the community about an incident at Manhattan Beach Middle School related to global events. I truly appreciate the feedback from the emails I have received and conversations with many parents and community members. From those, three essential topics have resonated with me: educating our students about navigating situations like these, reinforcing the importance of caring for each other, and helping parents and students to know what to do when there is a concern.

Our Educational and Student Services teams are actively identifying additional instructional materials, designing classroom activities, and delivering professional development sessions that will further build on our work to support and develop empathy and compassion for others. Teaching students how to contribute to and be part of a safe and thriving learning community is an important aspect of the school experience. Learning how to understand and resolve disagreements with one another despite differences in beliefs and opinions is vital as well. Discrimination, intolerance, threats, and harassment have no place in our District or our community. We will continue to provide resources and tools to our staff to help them have meaningful conversations with students when needed. 

Our students and staff genuinely care about one another, and I see this every time I visit a school campus. Supporting this kind of climate on our campuses is a critical component of helping students learn how to develop friendships, treat each other with mutual respect, and feel a sense of belonging in our schools. We know students do better in their classes when they feel emotionally and physically safe at school, which is a priority for MBUSD. I ask everyone to review our Inclusion Stand Up Commitment that was adopted in 2017—it is a vital aspect of each school's Climate of Care that principals will revisit with staff and students next week. 

Many parents have had questions about what to do when their child tells them about a concern or worry. It is important to reinforce that when students see something, they should say something to an adult - it can take a lot of bravery for a student to take the first step by reporting an incident to a parent or trusted adult. We want to support this kind of action and encourage everyone to share reports with their teacher or school administrator. We also want to reinforce to students the importance of identifying and reporting any discriminatory words or actions, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia—threats and intolerance do not have a place in our District. In addition to being skilled at handling complaints, investigations, and appropriate disciplinary actions, our school administrators are also experts at the restorative aspects of this work. We always want children to learn from their mistakes and understand what to do or how to react differently in the future.

We know there is more to be done, and we are committed to that. Our differences and unique traits make us stronger, and they are what make our community a special place. It is more important than ever that we come together to support all students and that we teach and model how to be tolerant and inclusive through our words and everyday actions. 

Red Ribbon Week 

MBUSD schools celebrated Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31). At MBMS, students attended a tobacco and drug use prevention assembly led by a presenter, Steve Cagle, from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH). He spoke to students about his personal experiences related to substance abuse. He shared details about the vaping epidemic and the harmful ingredients in a vape. Other topics included THC and the dangers of Fentanyl. 

Funding for this assembly is through MBUSD’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) grant. Other MBUSD school sites celebrated the week by aligning each day with themes and activities. 

Red Ribbon Week 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.

MCHS Bands and Colorguard Perform in the First Marching Band Event at SoFi Stadium

Mira Costa was one of 25 ensembles to participate in the one-of-a-kind Western Band Association (WBA) inaugural marching band event held at SoFi Stadium this week. The show hosted schools from California and Nevada.

d’Lainey Forrester, the Associate Director of Bands at MCHS and MBMS and the Director of the Mustangs Marching Band and Colorguard, said it was the students' best show yet this season. 

Mira Costa students will showcase their skills next at the Bands of America Regional Championships in Riverside and the Western Bands Association Regional Championships in Trabuco Hills. If you want to see their talents, community members are invited to watch the Friends & Family performance on Tuesday, November 7th, from 7:45 - 8:30 p.m. at the Mira Costa Waller Stadium.


Forrester would like to thank the Booster board, parents, and MCHS Principal Dr. Karina Gerger for their support! Click here to watch a video of the marching band performing at SoFi Stadium.

Photo Credit: Lana Imbagliazzo - Lana Lee Photography

Students Accepted into the Western ACDA Honor Choir!

Mira Costa students Caroline Cryer and Audrey Sarra, members of the Mira Costa Vocal Ensemble, have been accepted into the Western American Choral Directors Association Honor Choir!

They will perform at the WACDA conference in Pasadena in the new year alongside top musicians from California, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii, and Nevada. District Choir Director Kate Crellin says she is incredibly proud of the students and can’t wait to see them represent Mira Costa at the conference.


Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk This Weekend

We are only two days away from the annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk that takes place this Sunday, October 29! The annual fun-filled community event gives back to MBEF and our students! Please register with your school site team, so we can reach our goal of 2,150 walkers! 

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 the 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

Manhattan Beach Preschool Team

Mira Costa's Costume Designer Creates Masterpieces Year After Year | Manhattan Beach CA - Manhattan Beach News - MB News

Alison Gerber, a professional costume designer, continues to create award-winning designs for Mira Costa High School productions (though her son has long since graduated).

Read More

Read the latest news from MBUSD's Special Education Department!

Click the image below for PDF!

Manhattan Beach Fire Recognizes Home Escape Plan Contest Winners

We want to congratulate our 2nd grade students who won this year’s annual Manhattan Beach Unified “Home Escape Plan” contest. We take pride in our students’ creativity and understanding of fire safety as they collaborated with their families to design a home fire escape plan and enter the contest! The winner from each school won the grand prize of getting a ride along to school in a fire engine!

Congratulations to the following students: 

Pennekamp – Serena S.

Pacific Elementary – Amara A.

Grandview Elementary – Wynne W.

Meadows Elementary – Ava O.

Robinson Elementary – Diego B.

Students from Pacific, Meadows, and Pennekamp arrived at school with MBFD this week and received a warm welcome from their school community! MBFD, in partnership with local Manhattan Beach schools, has hosted this contest for over 15 years. Fire officials say they are focused on educating 2nd graders because statistics show that students in this grade level and age group are more likely to hide when they hear a smoke alarm rather than escape to a designated point outside their home. 

Students were recognized last weekend during the department’s pancake breakfast and will also be honored at the Manhattan Beach City Council meeting.

Pacific Elementary Winner

Meadows Elementary Winner

Pennekamp Elementary Winner

Garden to Table Program

Pacific students and the Green Team recently planted lettuce and carrots for the District's brand-new Garden-to-Table Lunch Program! Produce from Pacific will be harvested and featured in upcoming school lunches under a program initiated by the District Green Committee and Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Lena Agee. Students are invited to participate in planting, harvesting, and other fun activities every Friday during lunch recess.

The program teaches students about health and nutritious food and offers unique educational opportunities. A big thank you to Pacific Garden Rep Lisa Port for getting plant starts ready for the new program.

MCHS Students Participate in West Basin Rain Barrel Distribution

The West Basin Municipal Water District hosted its free rain barrel drive-through distribution event at Mira Costa. Division III Director Desi Alvarez and the students from Mira Costa’s EcoLand Restoration Club, Scuba Club, and Environmental Science class provided 300 rain barrels to the community. 

These rain barrels will save 16,500 gallons of water. This marked the third distribution this year as part of the West Basin’s rain barrel program. 

You can register for the upcoming events here

This is Costa Night!

The Mustang community came together to host the annual “This is Costa” night at Mira Costa. 8th graders and their families learned more about Mira Costa and all of the programs and opportunities offered on campus.

Waller Stadium was filled with Mira Costa pride as student and staff representatives from Costa programming and campus clubs met with attendees. It gave future Mustangs and their families an opportunity to get their questions answered.

Thank you to MBX for sponsoring this event! We also want to thank the Costa PTSA for making this event possible.

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

If you haven’t purchased your tickets to the MCHS Drama/Tech Fall production, don’t forget to do so!

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 5th, at 11 a.m. Learn more about the award-winning music programs Costa has to offer! Click image below to view flyer.

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.

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!

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

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  

The next Superintendent’s Newsletter will be published on November 3. Have a wonderful weekend!


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Contact Us
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram