John Bowes

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

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s message features a spotlight on Robinson Elementary, an update on indoor masking, celebrating Social-Emotional Learning Week, the unveiling of Grand View’s new playground, and much more!

Spotlight on Robinson Elementary (with special thanks to 4th Grade Teacher, Mrs. Danielle Weiss, and Principal Jackie O’Sullivan)

Robinson 4th graders in Mrs. Danielle Weiss’s class are learning about the principles of geology in an Earth Science Unit about how fast and slow processes, such as plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, weathering, and erosion, shape the Earth and create different landforms.

Students first focus on the three types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic), how they form, and the properties of each type of rock to lay the foundation for understanding how the Earth changes over time. They then think like geologists to examine sedimentary rocks and ice core samples looking for patterns and evidence to draw conclusions about the Earth's history.

In the pictures below, students worked together to simulate weathering of rocks using water, pebbles, and sugar cubes.
Indoor Masking Update Effective March 12

This week, Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced upcoming changes to the indoor masking requirements in TK-12 schools and childcare settings.
The state announced that beginning Saturday, March 12, indoor masking for students and staff in TK-12 schools and childcare settings will shift from required to strongly recommended, irrespective of vaccine status. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced Monday that it will align its masking guidance with the CDPH. This coordination reflects the advocacy of more than 30 L.A. County Superintendents in our letter to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer requesting that the county fully aligns with the state in its masking policy.  
As such, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District will also align its masking protocols accordingly, giving students and staff a choice when it comes to indoor and outdoor masking on campuses starting Saturday, March 12, 2022.
When students and staff arrive at school on Monday, March 14, they will see many students and staff without masks and many who choose to wear a mask. It is important that everyone is respectful of each student’s and staff member’s individual choice as to whether to wear a mask or not. I ask all parents to discuss with their child(ren) expectations about whether or not they should wear a mask when indoors and outdoors. I also ask that parents help child(ren) to understand that they should not make assumptions about someone’s personal beliefs or health status based on their mask choice and that they are expected to honor and respect everyone’s choice. We also remind everyone that they should stay home if they are sick.
I will continue to share more details and information as it becomes available. LACDPH officials will be providing more information related to extracurricular activities and youth sports soon.
Thank you once again to our students, teachers, staff, and families for your collaboration, resilience, and commitment over the last two years to support our schools and one another. 
RUVNA Screenings

Daily RUVNA health screenings have been an important component of the personal and shared actions we have all taken to keep our schools and campuses safe learning environments during the pandemic. RUVNA will still be required for students and staff for at least the month of March. As updated LACDPH guidelines emerge, we will evaluate and make a decision about potential changes to our symptom screening process. Please watch for an update before spring break about changes to the use of RUVNA. 
2022-23 School Calendar

Our School Year Calendar is now available here!
Celebrating Social-Emotional Learning Week

The second Friday in March is International Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Day, and here in MBUSD, we will be showcasing SEL in our District throughout the week preceding that day. This year’s SEL Day theme is, “finding common ground, pursuing the common good.” During the week of March 7 - 11, every MBUSD school site will spread awareness about the importance of SEL. Our Social & Emotional Learning Visual Framework serves to remind us of the skills we want to help develop in our students and how our partnerships, policies, practices, and Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) promote a Culture of Care. 

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) reflects the critical role of positive relationships and emotional connections in the learning process and helps students develop a range of skills they need for school and life. SEL programs are shown to increase academic achievement and positive social interactions, and to decrease negative outcomes later in life.

To raise awareness of the importance of SEL, each school campus will bring positive role models, speakers, sessions, and activities to their students. School sites will focus on a different skill from the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) framework each day to help cultivate important life skills that advance students’ social-emotional learning and development.

Your child(ren)’s school site will provide detailed information on the SEL Week plans!

Special Documentary Screening of
“Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety”

Thursday, March 10th
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Mira Costa High School Auditorium

As part of SEL Week, Mira Costa High, the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, and the MBUSD Social Emotional Learning Committee are bringing a free screening of Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety to the MCHS campus. The film helps identify sources of anxiety, provides tools for developing resilience, strength, and emotional well-being, and shares what teens can do to cope with anxiety, both within themselves and when they see it in others. 

Following the film, there will be a Q&A and a panel discussion among local experts. 

The event is free, and pre-registration is required. The presentation is recommended for kids 13 and up and their parents/guardians. The event will be held indoors, and all attendees are required to wear face masks.
MBMS and MCHS Orchestras Concert

After being on hiatus for more than two years due to COVID-19, MBMS and MCHS students once again impressed our community during the All-District Orchestra Festival. The crowd cheered and gave them a standing ovation!
New Grand View Playground Ribbon Cutting 

There was excitement in the air as Grand View Elementary School and our community celebrated the opening of a new playground space!

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place and students were able to enjoy the new playground for the first time! Thanks to the generous support of Manhattan Beach residents in passing Measure C in 2016, this is one of the many infrastructure projects underway across MBUSD. The new playfield has a soccer field, basketball courts, a volleyball court, a ball wall, tetherball, GaGa pits, and a playground structure with a rubber surface.

Just north of the playground, construction crews will be building a new three-story facility with a cafeteria, a small parking lot on Bell Avenue, and a north field that will have space for two soccer fields and be bordered by an 8-ft. fence along the perimeter of the site! The project will be completed during the 2022-23 school year. 
Thank you to the MB News for featuring the grand opening. Read the story here.
No Place for Hate

This week Grand View Elementary students pledged to spread kindness and learned the importance of creating a safe and happy environment for one another at school. Grand View is the fourth site in our District to participate in the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” program, an initiative where students are able to discuss the pledge they make to be kind to one another and to work together to find ways to improve their school climate. 

Robinson, Meadows, and Pacific have also participated in this work. Pennekamp students will sign the pledge in the near future. 
Community Leaders Visit Jewish Cultural Club

City of Manhattan Beach Mayor Hildy Stern, MBPD Police Chief Derrick Abell, Rabbi Joshua Kalev, Rabbi Shlomie Sirota, MBUSD Board of Trustee President Sally Peel, and myself visited Mira Costa recently to show our support to the Jewish Cultural Club.

Learn more about that visit in this MB News article.
MCHS H.E.A.R.T. Club Delivers Heart Notes to Hospital

During the 5th Annual Random Acts of Kindness Week, students at Pennekamp were inspired by MCHS students to create heart notes! School Psychologist Janet Allen recently delivered more than 200 of these notes to patients and staff in the Child Care Unit at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. 
Enrollment Banners Installed!

Thanks to the City of Manhattan Beach Banner program, there are two new banners hanging in high-traffic areas in the City including Highland at 13th and 36th Streets. They will be up for two weeks before they are moved to other locations in the City. 
Enroll Today! 2022-23 Enrollment Underway! 

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 Orientations will be held at school sites during the month of March:

  • Robinson: Friday, March 4, 2022 | 9:00 am 
  • Meadows: Monday, March 7, 2022 | 9:00 am
  • Pennekamp: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 | 9:00 am
  • Grand View: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |9:00 am
  • Pacific: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | 9:00 am
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.

Check out our COVID-19 page, which is the main hub for essential updates,
quick links to important resources, COVID-19 policies, and much more! 
Weekend COVID-19 Testing Clinic Continues Through April 9 at Mira Costa!

Don’t forget we are hosting free testing opportunities 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. 

It 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. 

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. 
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The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, March 11.

Thank you for your commitment and support to our MBUSD community. 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