John Bowes

Superintendent's Newsletter
February 4, 2022
Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s message focuses on Pennekamp's Project-Based Learning, the MBEF Annual Appeal Campaign, the success of Kindergarten Information Day, the parcel tax, Lunar New Year celebrations across MBUSD, and our next vaccination clinic.

Spotlight on Pennekamp Elementary School (Special thanks to Mrs. Suzanne Tynan and Principal, Sharon Witzansky)

Pennekamp 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Suzanne Tynan, launched an exciting project-based learning assignment where students created their own resort. In small collaborative groups students must decide the location of this resort, use latitude and longitude in order to create a map of the grounds, apply geometry for property dimensions, write persuasively to develop a brochure, and find ways to generate revenue for a budget. What a fun and engaging way to get students motivated in a variety of subject areas!
Celebrating Black History Month

At our Board of Education meeting this week, we kicked off celebrating Black History Month with Mira Costa High School students and staff! Black History Month commemorates the contributions that Black and African Americans have made in pursuit of freedom and equality. Black History Month is also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the numerous achievements of Black and African Americans in the United States. 

MCHS School Psychologist, Janet Allen, and Mira Costa High School students shared information about the exciting activities planned during February to honor the month. They will host the 9th Annual MCHS Black History Month assembly on February 11, a fair, a musical tribute will be shared with students, and the entire campus will engage in a door decorating contest where each department will showcase famous African Americans related to each one.
2022-2023 Kindergarten Pre-Enrollment is Underway!

Kindergarten Information Day was a huge success! Thank you to all of the families who came out to learn more about our District and programs. If you missed the event, we did record it and will have it posted here soon.
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.

Online registration will begin February 7th. You can learn more about enrollment here.
During Kindergarten Information Day, we also shared a video created by Robinson Elementary School Teacher, Megi Asano featuring a day in the life of an MBUSD Kindergartener!
MBEF Annual Appeal Campaign Ends Today!

Calling all MBUSD Families,

I know how appreciative we all are for everything MBEF does for the students, teachers, and staff of MBUSD. I write to you all today, the last day of the MBEF donation campaign, to directly request your donations to reach MBEF’s goal for next year’s funding.

To those families who have already donated – thank you so much. To those who still have not, please consider donating what you can. All donations, large and small, make a difference.
Without MBEF, MBUSD schools and classrooms would look very different. We would have fewer teachers, larger class sizes, less support for students, and our students would not benefit from so many amazing MBEF-sponsored programs. Your donations make an incredible difference.

There is still time - please consider making a donation today, the last day of the campaign - you can click here and donate.

Thank you for your consideration and support. I look forward to a great last five months of the school year.
Recent Hate Crime Incident at MCHS

There is no place for hate in our schools and when hateful incidents occur, we acknowledge and take steps to address them. 

Mira Costa High School received a report that a restroom had been vandalized with swastika graffiti last week. This anti-Semitic hate crime has no place in our schools or in our community. This follows a disturbing incident that took place over the winter holiday when anti-Semitic stickers were put up in various places in Manhattan Beach.

MCHS administration informed the Manhattan Beach Police Department of this anti-Semitic hate crime and closed the restroom in order to remove the swastika graffiti. While the investigation has not been able to determine who put this symbol of hate on our campus, we condemn this behavior and all other acts of hatred in our schools and in our community. 

MBUSD has long focused on creating a culture of care in our schools. The District’s focus on our Social-Emotional Learning and Equity, Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion efforts all support ensuring our school campuses are safe places where every student can learn and thrive free of discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence, and intimidation. 

Let’s all be upstanders, not bystanders when we see acts of hate and intolerance, and let’s re-commit to following the MBUSD Inclusion Stand Up Commitment. I ask parents to discuss this incident with their child(ren) and reinforce a message that our schools are inclusive communities where all students are welcome and that there is no place for hate in our schools.

We are a school district that welcomes students and families from all over the world. It is important that we embrace each other’s differences, protect one another, and be mindful of how our words and actions can affect others as we work together to build a stronger Manhattan Beach community.

Protecting Quality Education in Manhattan Beach

When Manhattan Beach voters approved a local school parcel tax – Measure MB
in 2018 – they helped ensure stable, reliable funding for our students to help offset
the state funding gap. However, Measure MB funding is set to expire in 2024 unless
renewed by voters in an earlier election.

As the District plans for the future, the Board of Trustees is evaluating options for securing and enhancing local funding sources to reduce dependence on unpredictable and insufficient state funding and to maintain the high-quality teaching and programs that our students and community expect. One option is to place a measure on the ballot later this year to let voters consider renewing and possibly increasing local school parcel tax funding that cannot be taken away by the State.
Our Board of Trustees has been discussing this option as well as learning about MB Citizens for Schools, a new voter-backed initiative that is underway. The Board will discuss updates and next steps for the Parcel Tax on February 16. To learn more about it, visit our website
Thank you to the Los Angeles County Office of Education for visiting Pacific Elementary and featuring our robust testing opportunities on campus for our students and staff. 

The Los Angeles County Office of Education featured another video about our weekly COVID-19 testing for students and staff. 

Hear from our Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Dawnalyn Murakwa-Leopard who shares that early detection is key to finding asymptomatic cases and ensuring that our community stays healthy. 

Check out the video below and hear from our students about their testing experience!
Lunar New Year Celebrations Take Place Across the District

Students across the District recognized the Chinese New Year with some exciting events and activities on campus as they learned about the significance of the Lunar New Year celebration. At Pacific Elementary students used Makerspace to create pagodas and were proud of their creations! At Grand View Elementary, they rang in the Year of the Tiger with a Lion Dance and drums assembly today. Students at Robinson Elementary celebrated throughout the week with a special read-out-loud with Principal, Jackie O’Sullivan, and a Lion Dance show.
Pacific Elementary
Grand View Elementary
Robinson Elementary
Winter Recital at MBMS

Beautiful tunes filled the auditorium at MBMS this week as students participated in various instrumental performances. Check out some of the pictures from the winter strings recital! 
Pennekamp Elementary Modular Classroom Buildings have Arrived!

The classroom building pieces moved through the City along Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Sepulveda, Artesia, and Peck Avenue. The Pennekamp construction site received 36 pieces and each weighed 40,000 pounds! In just three days the building was put together by the construction crews. 

The state-of-art two-story classroom building will include many new spaces for our students and staff. The project was funded thanks to the generous support by our community in passing Measure C.

Check out the video below to see how the classroom building pieces came together!
covid updates
As COVID-19 health and safety updates are constantly changing, we want to make sure you have the latest information in a timely manner on multiple platforms! We have updated our COVID-19 page, which will now be the main hub for essential updates, quick links to important resources, COVID-19 policies, and much more! The information you would usually find in this newsletter is now on our website for easy navigation. You can browse our new COVID-19 website HERE!
COVID-19 Testing Clinic TOMORROW at Mira Costa!

We are excited to announce another free Saturday testing clinic tomorrow! 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. It will be 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.
MBUSD’s weekly on-site testing program is open to asymptomatic students and staff members only. If you haven’t done so already, please sign your student(s) up for our weekly testing program.
Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic on February 19

You can register now! 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 this clinic. This means receiving the full course of the initial vaccination series and receiving a booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
New Email Addresses!
Next week, you will receive the Superintendent's Newsletter from a new email address. It will come from

We have also created another address for communications. 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, February 11. 

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