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Superintendent's Newsletter

September 16, 2022

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. We are almost a month into the new school year and we’re already seeing our students excelling and receiving the best education possible. Thank you to our teachers and staff for guiding our students. 

While the school year is off to a great start and we have so much positive news and are proud of the work we are doing, we also need to address and have conversations with one another about the anti-Semitic hate crimes we are seeing on our campuses, which goes against everything our schools stand for. We are already seeing groups of students coming together, having a dialogue, and taking action on campus to stop these incidents from happening. I know that together we can ensure all students feel safe, secure, and welcome on our campuses. 

Today’s newsletter highlights academics at Grand View, twelve Mira Costa students named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists, and our Board of Trustees approving surveillance systems at schools.

Spotlight on Grand View (Special thanks to the 5th Grade team and Principal Tara Grings)

In the classroom, fifth graders use literature to demonstrate writing techniques and writing to explore literary techniques using the Reading and Writing Workshop curriculum. 

Students are encouraged to practice the strategies of effective readers: activating, inferring, monitoring-clarifying, questioning, searching-selecting, summarizing, and visualizing-organizing. In the Writing Workshop model, students are beginning to write their personal narrative stories using texts to analyze their work and to help put those details and ideas into their own writing. Fifth grade plans their reading and writing time to complement each other and each activity deepens the other. Common vocabulary is used throughout the language arts curriculum to help the students see themselves as writer-readers and reader-writers.

MBUSD Staff Spotlight: Brittany Oystrick

Brittany Oystrick started her career in 2008 as a School Counselor for the Student Academic Program at Mira Costa. This program supports students that may be struggling academically and/or personally. She led classroom guidance lessons and met with students one on one to help them achieve their goals.  

She did this for two years and then moved into her current role as a School Counselor. At Mira Costa, School Counselors guide students from 9th grade until they graduate. They are vital in helping students holistically reach their personal, social, academic, and career goals. Brittany says, “As a counseling team we work hard to build personal relationships with our students and create a safe place for them to ask for help.”

Brittany attended MBUSD schools as a child and says it has been an honor to work at her alma mater and to give back to the community. She hopes she can be a positive influence in her students’ lives just like the teachers here at MBUSD who made an impact on her.  

“I find it really special that at Costa we get to stay with students through their entire high school career. This helps us build strong relationships with not only the students, but their families as well. It is always fun when a new student comes in and I have had their older siblings,” said Brittany Oystrick.

In her free time, she has organized and led service trips for many years by taking groups of students to Italy, South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.  

Brittany says she truly loves what she does and loves working at Mira Costa with her husband who is also a teacher there. “I wake up every day happy to go to work and am invested in my student’s success.” 

Enrollment is Up!

I am happy to announce that we currently have 5,910 students enrolled in our District. Staff has worked hard to turn around our enrollment decline and I am proud to share these initial results - enrollment is up and we intend to continue that trend. A full enrollment presentation will be made at the October 12 Board meeting.

2023 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists Announced

We are thrilled to announce our twelve Mira Costa seniors who have earned the distinction as semifinalists in the 68th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program! Congratulations! 

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors who also received the highest-scoring PSAT test scores. 

These academically talented high school seniors will continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. Mira Costa hosted a breakfast this morning with the students and parents to share the next steps in the process. 

Please join me in congratulating the following students: 

Benjamin Blum

Andrew Cherry

Karyn Fu

Kyle Fukumoto

Tucker Gauss

Ethan Harrison

Alexander Holcomb

Heather Jensen

Cindy Lin

Dashiell Rumble

Kiran Shah

Jacob Tan

Read the MB News Feature!

Welcome our New Student Board Representatives!

Our Board of Trustees welcomed our newest student board reps from MBMS and Mira Costa for their first board meeting of the year!

At the beginning of each meeting, student board members share the latest news and events happening in their school community. We are excited they will be representing the student voice during our meetings.

Emma Rawitz | MBMS Student Board Representative

Jack Clarke and Dylan Okamoto | Mira Costa Student Board Members 

Board of Trustees Approve New Camera Systems at MBUSD Schools

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase and installation of robust video surveillance systems at MBMS, Mira Costa, and Robinson. The project will also include camera installation and connection to a recording and monitoring system. The systems have been developed and reviewed in consultation with our security team and the District’s IT Department. The total cost of the cameras is nearly $400,000. The City of Manhattan Beach has generously budgeted $250,000 to support this capital improvement project. 

Robinson Elementary will install this new system thanks to the support and donation by their PTA. It is a top priority and goal of the District that all of our school sites have security camera systems in place. We are taking steps to enhance school safety through these security camera system projects. With this, all K-12 campuses will now have camera security systems, and next, we will next look towards a security camera project for our preschool facility.

Recognizing our Special Education Staff 

Also at our Board meeting this week, we had the opportunity to honor some of our Special Education staff for their dedication to our students! 

The Southwest Special Education Local Plan Area Community Advisory Committee holds an annual awards ceremony to recognize the outstanding service by individuals who supported the academic, social, and/or emotional growth of students with special needs. 

We are so grateful for all that you do!

Congratulations to Special Ed Teachers Alice Hsu, Chelsea Hillbrand, and Jennifer Saliba, IBI/Instructional Assistants Jared Gordon and Nicole Castillo, (then) MBMS VP Kerry Riccio-Aguero, Preschool Teacher Lauren Smith, Instructional Assistant, Health & Student Care Leslie Hattingh, Physical Therapist Sara Fox, and Instructional Assistant Shelley Johnson. 

Elementary Back to School Night Success 

Thank you to all of our elementary principals and staff for leading Back to School Night at our elementary schools. Families had the opportunity to get a glimpse of their child’s day on our campuses. Check out the highlights below from all five elementary schools.

Check out Makerspace in Action at Pacific Elementary!


Students were recently immersed in STEM education at all grade levels. 

Second graders used 3D paper techniques to create an object and fifth graders who worked on Rube Goldberg Machines, a complicated mechanism that uses a chain reaction to solve a task.

Special thanks to Pacific Makerspace Specialist, Teri Hechter Hampton, for these pictures. 

Meadows Elementary SKORR Assembly 

Students attended a special assembly to celebrate and learn more about Meadow’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) expectations called “SKORR.” School Resource Officer Donovan Torres from MBPD, PTA, and staff members each shared the meaning and importance of Meadow’s PBIS core values: safe, kind, on task, responsible, and respectful.

Students were encouraged and inspired to be good citizens! The expectations rally also incorporated the social and emotional learning (SEL) component about how words are powerful, and to be kind.


Special thanks to Principal Michelle Krzmarzick for hosting such a wonderful assembly.

Mira Costa H.E.A.R.T. Club 


The Mira Costa H.E.A.R.T Club is back in action and met for the first time this week with 22 students in attendance!

The club meets weekly in School Psychologist Janet Allen’s classroom and has been on campus for the past 10 years. The club’s acronym stands for helping educate acts of respect together. The club works to spread kindness and create a space for accepting one another throughout Mira Costa and the community.

Next week, they are expecting a larger turnout as students from across campus will be meeting to collaborate and launch the Campus Positivity Campaign at Mira Costa. This is an on-campus initiative to combat the horrible anti-Semitic hate crimes that happened recently.  

There is also a lot to look forward to, the club is planning activities for Random Acts of Kindness Week, expanding the H.E.A.R.T. Club to MBMS, and spearheading clothing/toy/book drives to name a few. Thank you to Janet Allen for supporting our students! You can follow them on Instagram here

Budget Corner


At the recent Board meeting on Wednesday, September 14, the District’s Unaudited Actuals were presented. This report provides information about the District’s year-end financial position, in preparation for our annual independent audit, which will be presented in January 2023. 

The report shows that the District ended the 2021-22 fiscal year in a positive financial position. The report can be found here, and a summary presentation can be found here. In addition, the District’s historical budget reports and presentations can be found here.


The District’s next budget report will be its First Interim Budget Report, which is the first of two progress reports comparing the District’s Adopted Budget to its actual revenue and expenditures to date. The First Interim Budget Report, reflecting information from July through October, will be presented in December 2022.

Supporting MBEF

What is the MBEF Annual Appeal?

Every year the MBEF Annual Appeal supports and enhances academic enrichment programs that reach every child every day. At the elementary level, MBEF funding pays for Class Size Reduction in 4th and 5th grades, Music Instruction, Makerspace, PE, Libraries, Science Specialists, and specialized positions to support peer to peer coaching on best practices.

At MBMS, MBEF funding pays for Class Size Reduction, STEM Electives, Music & The Arts, Guidance Counselors, an Assistant Principal, a Library Specialist, and specialized positions to support peer to peer coaching on best practices.

At MCHS, MBEF funding pays for Class Size Reduction, Science Lab Assistant, Music & The Arts, Zero Period, Guidance Counselors, College & Career Counselors, and specialized positions to support peer to peer coaching on best practices. Please consider a donation to MBEF. Without your support, these programs would not be possible.


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. 

Click the links below to learn about the variety of positions available.

Classified Job Opportunities

Certificated Job Opportunities

City Reminder: No Outdoor Watering



Manhattan Beach residents & businesses have been asked to suspend outdoor watering for 15 days as a critical imported water pipeline is shut down for emergency repairs by the Metropolitan Water District.

Visit the city’s website for more information and additional ways to save water.

Latest COVID-19 Updates

You can find all of our COVID-19 information, guidance, and updates on our

District COVID-19 page. This is updated with new information as LACDPH guidelines and protocols change. 

Upcoming Events

Mira Costa Drama/Tech students are already preparing for their fall and spring shows! Click here for more information! Pre-sale tickets go on sale October 17.


Tickets are on sale now!

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

Good for the Mind! Explore the interactive Expo, sample delicious food & beverages, and enjoy new experiences shared with our community. Raci Levine, a junior of Mira Costa High School and President of the Jewish Cultural Club at MCHS is a speaker this year.

Student discounts are available.

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The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, September 23. 

Thank you as always for your continued support and partnership. Thank you to all of our families and staff who support our students every day on their path to success. 


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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