John Bowes

Superintendent's Newsletter
February 18, 2022
Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s message features a spotlight on MBMS, information about the new outdoor masking guidelines, an update on the anti-Semitic hate crimes, Mira Costa Library Website Revamp, and much more!

Spotlight on Manhattan Beach Middle School (Special thanks to teachers Rachel Thomas, Alex Fuesterer, Linda Daly, and Principal Rose Ahrens)

This week we are highlighting the robust English curriculum at Manhattan Beach Middle School, where students build their reading and writing skills in preparation for high school and beyond. In alignment with the California State Standards for English Language Arts, students write narrative, persuasive, and literary analysis papers, and read independently chosen books as well as common grade-level curriculum. 
mbms students 2
6th Grade English:
Students practice persuasive writing strategies with an introduction to ethos, pathos, and logos. They work on long-form narrative writing and real-world, project-based lessons with an integrated Social Science curriculum. Humanities classes continue the Reading and Writing Workshop curriculum using common texts as examples to empower students to analyze their independent reading books from a variety of genres. This model encourages students to make their literary discoveries and to foster a love of reading. 
7th Grade English:
mbms writing
Students advance their skills from the Reading Workshop curriculum used in previous grade levels by utilizing independent reading choices while also focusing on common literature that is examined together. Students write weekly, and they practice communication skills as they share ideas and consider texts from diverse perspectives. Students defend their ideas through essays and in-class discussions. Writing narrative, informational, and persuasive pieces continues to be a focus in 7th grade as in all grades in middle school. 
mbms students1
8th Grade English:
Students deepen skills in reading and writing as they are introduced to adult-level reading. They respond to literature in short and long formats, develop a deeper understanding of novels during guided close readings, and then practice individually by annotating text and participating in small-group discussions. Students reinforce these skills when reading their independent reading books.
Outdoor Masking Requirement Lifted

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health lifted its outdoor mask requirement on K-12 school campuses for students and staff on Wednesday, February 16. We shared this information with all of you once we heard the news, and this important change in rules brings us one step closer to a more normal spring semester.

While outdoor masking is no longer required, LACDPH strongly recommends that students and staff wear masks outdoors on campus when in crowded settings, where distancing cannot be easily and reliably maintained. Please have a conversation with your child(ren) about your family’s expectations for the wearing of masks while outdoors at school.

Indoor mask rules on school campuses for students and staff remain in full effect until further notice by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. This means that universal masking with the appropriate type of face covering is still currently required indoors on school campuses. To learn more about the type of masks students can wear, please see our mask webpage. LACDPH strongly recommends that students wear upgraded masks (this remains a requirement for staff).
Hate Crimes at Mira Costa

We were made aware of the discovery of two additional anti-Semitic vandalism incidents at MBUSD campuses. We have confirmed that swastika's were found in another bathroom at Mira Costa and on playground equipment at Robinson Elementary School. In both cases, the School Resource Officer with the Manhattan Beach Police Department was notified and a report was filed immediately. The symbols have been removed and are currently under investigation along with the other incidents that have taken place during this month.

The District has taken numerous steps to address the discrimination happening at our campuses and is continuing to work with Manhattan Beach Police Department to make sure anyone who has taken part in these hate crimes is held accountable and faces consequences. The latest update we have about the investigations is that our School Resource Officer has been diligently interviewing MCHS students about the incidents.

At our recent Board of Education meeting, we had community members and Rabbi Yossi Mintz come out to condemn these hate incidents. The input of our community is invaluable, and we appreciate the support. Hate and discrimination have no place on our campuses or classrooms, and I want to reiterate that we are striving to ensure our campuses are welcoming, inclusive, and safe environments for all students, staff, and families.

We need to continue to educate our students about how any discriminatory words, symbols and actions are unacceptable and the impact they can have on others. Parents - please speak with your students about these incidents and report any information that may identify the perpetrators to the Manhattan Beach Police Department.

Today, a team of twenty-four Manhattan Beach Unified leaders, including Board of Education Trustees, my senior leadership team and me, parents, administrators from our secondary school sites, union representatives, teachers and support staff participated in an opportunity sponsored by the Museum of Tolerance to help us learn how to advance our work to provide an educational environment reflective of our District’s culture of care and to support our students and campuses. Hate of any kind has no place in our schools or community. We will continue to work toward creating a safe and equitable environment for all students, staff, and families.

In partnership with the City of Manhattan Beach and the Manhattan Beach Police Department, we have issued a joint press release about these hate incidents. You can read it here.
Museum of Tolerance
National CTE Month Celebrated at Board Meeting

This February, we celebrate Career Technical Education Month and recognize our CTE teachers, students, and staff and bring awareness to the programs at our schools. At our Board of Trustees meeting this week, students from Mira Costa High School shared two one-of-a-kind projects with the community.

Led by teachers Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brenan, students from Mira Costa’s introductory computer science course “Computer Science Principles” showed off an interactive “Simon Steps” game experience in which a student jumps on a 6-7 foot circular Simon Says type board. They programmed their own code and used a Makey Makey device to build the final product!
The second demonstration was led by freshmen who not only take Mira Costa’s Robotics class but are also part of the Robotics Club. They showed how the robot, named Logan, functions by using its forklifts to pick up items. Logan has competed in two tournaments so far.

Black History Month Celebrations Across District 
Last week, I shared Black History Month activities taking place at Mira Costa. Black History Month has been studied and celebrated throughout our schools.
black history music
Grand View
Mrs. Jeannette Shaw-Bueno’s 4th grade class showed off their artistic talent by creating Rhythm in Art projects inspired by the work of Wadsworth Jarrell and AfriCOBRA.

Rhythm in Art celebrates music and positive messages. Students created a collage with some of the materials used by Wadsworth Jarrell (including tin foil and ric rac trim).
They also used AfriCOBRA’s Kool-Aid colors, filled their entire paper with images, and wrote positive words and/or messages (or letters representing positive words/messages) directly on the art.
BHM Door art
Students at Pennekamp decorated classroom doors featuring African Americans who have made historical contributions in their respective fields. They celebrated the accomplishments of Architect Paul R. Williams and Surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, who was the first to perform a successful open-heart surgery on a human.
Levy drama class
MBMS Drama teacher David Levy focused on African American songwriters and singers during this month. In groups of two or three, each student selected a different song written or made popular by an African American artist. Like a spoken word mash-up, students blended their songs to create a performance piece that celebrated the artists' work.

Their performances also had to incorporate the current skills they have been learning, such as Stanislavski's Circles of Attention as well as staging and directing principles they've been working with all year. After their performances, students shared the significant contributions their artists made to music and songwriting.
MCHS Library Website Relaunches
The MB News featured Mira Costa High School’s updated Library website.

MCHS Cheer Team Finishes in the Top 10

We are so proud of Mira Costa’s Cheer team! They competed in the nation’s most prestigious cheerleading competition that was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort recently. The Large Varsity Team advanced to the finals and finished 8th in the nation!

Coach Travis Neese says he is proud of the accomplishments and stellar representation the team exhibited at the National Championship.

Mira Costa Cheer qualified at the Southern California regional competition in 2021. The competition was hosted by the Universal Cheerleaders Association.
Students Spread the Love on Valentine’s Day

Mira Costa Orchestra students, under the direction of Mr. Peter Park, performed popular love songs in our District Board room this week to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Thank you for visiting us!

MCHS H.E.A.R.T. Club Brings Smiles to Students Through Acts of Kindness

The club hosted its 5th Annual Random Acts of Kindness Week across the District. Each day had a theme from spreading love, shining positivity, to thinking of others. The Link Crew and the Pacific Islanders Club also participated in the week by collecting donations for the American Red Cross for Tonga Relief.

The activities went beyond just the Mira Costa campus, as students from Pennekamp Elementary created heart notes for patients and staff at Miller Children’s Hospital.
HEART club

All children who will be five years old as of September 1, 2022, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten, and all children who will be five years old as of February 2, 2023, are eligible to enroll in transitional kindergarten. Click here for enrollment information.

Learn more about our District and programs by watching the latest Kindergarten Information Day video below.
Kindergarten Orientation will be held at school sites during the month of March:

• Grand View: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |9:00 a.m.
• Meadows: Monday, March 7, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.
• Pacific: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.
• Pennekamp: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.
• Robinson: Friday, March 4, 2022 | 9:00 a.m. 
Mid-Winter Break and At-Home Antigen Test Kit Distribution

We have distributed another set of at-home antigen test kits for both staff and students. Each staff member and student has received one box containing two test kits. While these can be used at your discretion and as-needed, we do ask parents to utilize one of the tests before your child returns from mid-winter break.

The use of these free home tests should be supervised by an adult, and their purpose is to identify whether a student is positive for COVID. If your student tests positive for COVID-19, please keep them home and report the case to your school site as soon as possible. In addition to reporting all positive cases, we ask that you please be sure to let your principal know if you used a school-provided test in the identification of a positive case.

If you are traveling during the mid-winter break, please review this information from the LACDPH here.
Mid-Winter Break On-Site Testing

During mid-winter break, our on-site testing program will be held at Mira Costa High School only. (Testing will return to its normal schedule at all school sites the week after break.) Students and staff who are registered at other school campuses may come to Mira Costa High School between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23, if they wish to participate. This opportunity is open only to registered staff and students who participate in our weekly on-site testing program and is not open to the public. 
Weekend COVID-19 Testing Clinic Continues Through April 9 at Mira Costa!

We are excited to announce that free Saturday testing opportunities will continue to be offered every Saturday through April 9. You can drop by between 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Mira Costa High School student parking lot, located at Peck and Artesia.

Testing is open to the community and is a drive-thru testing opportunity. Pre-registration is required before arriving at Mira Costa. We have had some questions in regards to our extra weekend testing opportunity and want to clarify that it is a one time test ONLY and does not register you for any other testing.
Vaccination Clinic this Saturday at MBMS

You can register now, and the clinic will also be accepting walk-ins! All brands of vaccines will be available. Participants in any eligible age group can receive first, second, or booster doses through these clinics.
New Email Address!
We have created a new communications email address for our community.

We hope you can email to share any communication questions or concerns you may have.
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The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, March 4.

Thank you for helping us keep our community healthy and safe! I am proud of the steps we’ve taken to provide our students the in-person, safe and healthy, and high-quality educational experience they deserve.

John Bowes, Ed.D.
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266