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Superintendent's Newsletter

September 8, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today’s issue highlights the STEM Marine Biology class at MBMS, Mira Costa’s cross country athletes ranking in the top during their season opener, and MBUSD launching its newest telehealth resource for all students.

We also want to wish the Mira Costa football team the best of luck as they play their first home game tonight! Go Mustangs!

Spotlight on MBMS (Special Thanks to Haley Viviani, Science and STEM Teacher, and Principal Jennifer Huynh)

In the 7th/8th grade STEM Marine Biology class, students were tasked with studying a different ecosystem in preparation for a visual presentation for their classmates. Students became the teachers in a lesson that helped scholars understand the layers of each ecosystem, such as coral reefs, deep sea darkness, and rainforests of the sea. 

Through this activity, students understood how matter and energy are conserved in ecosystems, generally through energy recycling. These applicable lessons are important for students to understand the world around them and how it impacts humans and wildlife. Marine Biology is part of MBMS’ STEM Wheel class offerings, where students can explore different aspects of STEM courses each trimester.

Staff Spotlight: Sam Hucker - Special Education Coordinator 

This week, our staff spotlight features Sam Hucker, our new Special Education Coordinator. Sam is a familiar face in our District, having spent four years at MBUSD before taking on this role. Before transitioning into this role, Sam was a Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for eight years, working at Meadows and Pennekamp elementary schools. Before that, she worked at LAUSD and Puyallup School District. 

Sam applied to the Special Education Coordinator position because of her desire to embark on an administrative path within Special Education. “I completed an administrative credential program through UC Irvine in June and was eager to start in a leadership role. I grew a lot throughout my program and took on a variety of leadership positions the previous school year. This sparked my passion to become an administrator and support our Special Education department.”

She says her passion is watching students grow and reach their fullest potential. In her new administrative role, she hopes to support staff and teachers so they can focus on their students’ success. She applied to work at MBUSD while living in Washington and wanted to work here because of the positive stories she heard from an MBUSD staff member. She loves the South Bay and says she “feels so fortunate to work in such a positive and high-achieving District.” 

Sam lives with her boyfriend and two cats (Sebastian and Flounder) in Redondo Beach! In her free time, she enjoys seeing family, taking a fitness class, and baking. Most recently, she made peach cobbler cupcakes. 

Welcome our New Student Board Representatives! 

Our Board of Trustees welcomed our newest Student Board representatives from MBMS and Mira Costa for their first Board meeting of the year! We are honored to have MBMS student representative Tara Shivpuri and from Mira Costa, Board members Sophia Delino and Emma Darrow. 

At the beginning of each meeting, student representatives share the latest news and events in their school community.

Mira Costa Board members participate in meeting discussions, provide input, and strengthen communications between the Board and MBUSD students. They participate in meeting discussions and provide input. We are excited to have them join us and represent the student perspective during our meetings.

MCHS Student Charles Hiatt Shares Northrop Grumman Global Summit Innovation Challenge Experience

Northrop Grumman presented at the Board meeting about the annual Global Summit Innovation Challenge during the summer at Mira Costa. The unique opportunity is the culmination of Northrop Grumman's 8-week internship program. 

This year, 17 MCHS students (grades 9-12) participated. One of those students was Charles Hiatt, who also spoke at the Board meeting and shared his experience as part of the program for a second year. 

He said it was a great opportunity, and his favorite part of the program was the different phases of the design process. Charles said he created high-level technical presentations for Northrop staff.

Once students are accepted into the program, they are tasked with building a remote-controlled vehicle and providing simulation details. Groups of interns then create a preliminary design. They have three design reviews, including a review presented to the company's vice presidents. The interns finally tested their creations on Challenge Demonstration Day.

Watch Charles' Full Presentation to the Board Here

Left to right: Mira Costa student Charles Hiatt and Northrop Grumann Deputy Program Manager for Global Summit Innovation Challenge, Denil Poudel.

Students Present at City Council Meeting 

This week, Mira Costa seniors Sophia Delino and Margot Powell participated in the City of Manhattan Beach Council meeting during the community organization announcements. They shared information about upcoming events, including the UCLA Mira Costa Blood Drive and the latest drama/tech performances scheduled for the year. 

We look forward to future Council meetings where students will continue sharing updates!

Congratulations to Junie Lee!

We want to congratulate Mira Costa 10th grader Junie Lee. She recently attended the prestigious 61st Annual Southwestern Youth Music Festival at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music on the California State University Long Beach (CSULB) campus. Junie won 1st place in the violin competition!

Currently, she is in the Mira Costa Chamber and Symphony Orchestras. Junie also performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Youth Philharmonic this summer. Congratulations!

MCHS Cross Country Team Competes in San Diego Invitational

We want to congratulate our Mira Costa cross country runners for their recent successful races in the Ravens Invitational in San Diego, their season opener. The competition included a 3-mile race for all high school grades and also a Boys and Girls Freshmen/Sophomore 1.5-mile race. 

Varsity boys placed in 2nd, and varsity girls placed 5th. Sophomore girls placed first in their race, and freshman Lila Schroeder placed 4th in the freshman girls' race. 

The invitational was an opportunity for Costa student athletes to race against teams they don’t see or compete against often.

Hazel Health Resource Launches at MBUSD

We are happy to share that we officially launched Hazel Health, a telehealth service for all enrolled students. Staff have been trained, and our Student Services Department is currently getting referrals for students needing this resource. Therapy sessions with Hazel Health are a safe space and are private and confidential.

Hazel Health has licensed practitioners who provide telehealth-based therapy and counseling services. It supports students in reducing truancy and illnesses, increasing retention, and improving their overall academic performance. This was possible thanks to the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program grant. 

September is Attendance Awareness Month 

The national 2023 Attendance Awareness Month campaign theme is “Showing Up Together.” During September, MBUSD will be highlighting the importance of this month and how regular attendance for all students is essential to academic success. 

It’s a time to educate individuals and communities about the impacts of poor attendance and the effects it can have. According to, missing just two days a month means a child misses 10% of the school year. Research shows parent involvement has a positive impact on school attendance. We want to encourage our students to strive for regular attendance throughout the school year! We are committed to providing a supportive and engaging learning environment that inspires every student to attend school regularly. 

Click here to learn about school attendance facts and Attendance Awareness Month.

Throughout this month, MBMS is hosting a perfect attendance lottery. Students receive an email of recognition that they have achieved perfect attendance and will be entered into a lottery to win prizes!

City of Manhattan Beach Adopts E-Bike Regulations

The City of Manhattan Beach, at this week’s City Council meeting, adopted an urgency ordinance that has been effective as of this past Wednesday, September 6. It amended the Manhattan Beach Municipal Code (MBMC), establishing a speed limit, safety and operational standards, and location restrictions for bicycles, e-bikes, and motorized bicycles.

The City Council also established fines associated with violations of this ordinance. 

We have been partnering with the City of Manhattan Beach to educate riders about the importance of bicycle and e-bike safety and will continue to do so. Learn more about bike safety tips here.

Read the Full Press Release Here

MBMS Back to School Night Highlights 

It was wonderful connecting with MBMS families at the 2023 Back to School Night! Thank you to our dedicated administrators, educators, and staff for making the evening truly memorable! One of my highlights was visiting the new music building and seeing our parents/guardians get a closer look at the facility and all that it has to offer. 

Below are some highlights!

MBEF and PTA Welcome New Families 

MBEF and PTA hosted a sixth-grade parent mixer this week at Tin Roof Bistro. MBEF, MBMS PTA, MBMS Administration, and District leaders met with our new families and welcomed them to our community! The event allows families to meet other families. MBEF and PTA plan to host this mixer for each elementary school, two more for MBMS and one for Mira Costa. 

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!

Next Monday will mark the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 tragedy. Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance are observed on September 11 in memory and in tribute to the thousands of victims, the people who were forever impacted, the heroes, and those who survived. We will never forget. 

Young Entrepreneurs Academy is Now Accepting Applications! 

The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a program that allows middle and high school students to become real entrepreneurs.

During the year-long program, students generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and eventually launch their own companies. Participants meet for 24 weeks every Wednesday at Mira Costa High School. Click image for full flyer!

Click Here to Learn More!

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!

Mira Costa Drama Tech Shows

The Mira Costa Drama/Tech students and staff have announced their fall and spring shows! From November 3-11, they will be performing Peter and the Starcatcher, and the Department will present Footloose: The Musical on April 26 & 27 and May 1-4!

Click here for more information!

Upcoming Events

Purchase tickets here

Manhattan Beach 10K Run

Registration is underway for the 46th Annual MB 10K taking place on October 10.

You can register here

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 learning 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 September 15. 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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