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Superintendent's Newsletter

June 7, 2024

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well.


Today’s issue highlights Meadows, our 2023-24 retirees, and all K-12 MBUSD schools being designated as No Place for Hate schools once again!

Spotlight on Meadows (Special Thanks to Principal Michelle Krzmarzick)

Meadows Elementary is wrapping things up for the year as students and teachers begin preparing for our summer break. Teachers in grades 3-5 have completed their state testing, and impressive scores are already appearing in Aeries, our school information system. 

This time of year is always bittersweet since we say our goodbyes to students who are being promoted to middle school, and we say our farewells to staff members who are moving on to the next chapter in their lives.

At Meadows, three staff members are beginning their retirement journey. Karla Yates, 3rd grade teacher, Cheryl Vanick, reading intervention teacher; And Michelle Mangan, TK teacher. On Tuesday, the Meadows community celebrated these special educators in a surprise fire drill/assembly by inviting staff families, MBPD, and MBFD to attend. The members of the fire and police department recalled to our students their favorite teachers and how they made a difference in their lives, then bestowed red and blue leis on the teachers. After that, the entire Meadows population gave each teacher a paper heart to put in their new heart purses to fill their “love tanks” since these teachers have spent their careers filling their students’ love tanks.

Staff Spotlight: Stacy Wilder | MB Preschool Teacher 

This week, we are spotlighting Manhattan Beach Preschool Pre-Kindergarten teacher Stacy Wilder. Stacy says she loves working for MBUSD and has served the District for ten years. 

Before joining MBUSD, Stacy was a site supervisor at Los Angeles Universal Preschool and taught kindergarten at a private preschool. Her passion for teaching young learners began in high school when she participated in a pilot program called Teachers for Tomorrow.

“I was placed in a kindergarten classroom, and this is where I really fell in love with the littles! I love to serve, so getting my B.A. in Human Services was a given. It was not until I was asked to work for a private school at From the Heart Preschool that I focused on getting my Site Supervisor Child Development Permit and now my Multiple Subject Credential. I am so thrilled to move on to the next chapter in my life, finding a TK/K position to continue to do the work I absolutely love to do,” said Stacy Wilder.

She was drawn to MBUSD because of the beach community and its high standards. This year, she was selected as MB Preschool’s Teacher of the Year and says it feels incredible to receive this honor. “I felt like I won the lottery. To be recognized for something I love to do is such an amazing blessing.”

Outside of teaching, Stacy enjoys playing volleyball and supporting her children. She attends dance classes with her daughter and says she is very proud of her stepson, who will be a senior next year. She travels with her family to Belize, Hawaii, New York, and Atlanta every year! 

Congratulations to our 2023-2024 Retirees!

At this week’s Board meeting, we held a retirement celebration to honor the dedicated service of our staff members! Board President Cathey Graves began the recognition with a moment of silence for two of our staff members who passed away this year. We paid tribute to Mira Costa teacher Mike McAvin, who was also one of our retirees. Mr. McAvin began his career at Mira Costa in 2002 and dedicated 22 years of service to MBUSD. He was a beloved teacher and colleague who taught English, Journalism, and credit recovery at Mira Costa. 

We also remembered Steven Bennett, who passed away last month. He was an electrician on our Maintenance and Operations team, serving MBUSD for sixteen years since starting his career in 2008 in MBUSD. 

Seventeen retirees were recognized by their supervisors for their years of service. It was standing room only as colleagues, families, and friends came out to commemorate them. Our retirees served more than 404 years of combined service to MBUSD!

MBUSD 2023-24 retirees are:

Ruben Aguilar | 33 Years | Custodian | MBMS

Stacey Cooke | 24 Years | Science Teacher | MBMS

Hedy Deck | 10 Years | Health Assistant | MBMS

Greta Dever | 31 Years | 3rd Grade Teacher | Grand View

Isabel Giovati | 20 Years | Administrative Assistant | Meadows

Jolie Johnson | 6 Years | Educational Sign Language Interpreter | MBMS

Lawaii King | 25 Years | Custodian | Pacific

Michelle Mangan | 30 Years | TK Teacher | Meadows

Eddie Marquez | 40 Years | Mechanic | Maintenance & Operations

Michael McAvin | 22 Years | Teacher | MCHS

Josie Miranda | 18 Years | Food and Nutrition Services Assistant

Don Morrow | 31 Years | Science Teacher | Mira Costa

Reyna Struwve | 35 Years | Food and Nutrition Services Lead Assistant

Cheryl Vanick | 23 Years | Reading Specialist | Meadows

Kimberly Winton | 26 Years | 1st Grade Teacher | Robinson

Karla Yates | 22 Years | 3rd Grade Teacher | Meadows

Alan Zeoli | 22 Years | English Teacher | Mira Costa

We wish them the best of luck as they embark on their new chapter! 

MBUSD Board Thanks this Year’s Student Leaders  

Student Board Members Recognized

MBMS Student Representative Tara Shivpuri and MCHS Student Board Members Emma Darrow and Sophia Delino received a certificate of appreciation from MBUSD Board of Trustees. These students attended every Board meeting to share the latest school updates and represent students' voices. 

Student Board Members Emma Darrow and Sophia Delino regularly contributed to discussions during the Board meetings. Board President Cathey Graves shared that their comments have been thoughtful and insightful, and they have helped the Board make important decisions.

We wish our students the best of luck in their future endeavors. In the fall, Emma Darrow will attend the University of Texas, and Sophia Delino will attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Graduation Live Stream 

We are days away from graduation and excited to celebrate the Class of 2024! We know many loved ones and families watch the graduation live online, and this year, the ceremony will be streamed on our MBUSD YouTube Channel. You can visit this link to watch the graduation live on graduation day, Thursday, June 13, from 5:00-6:00 p.m.

You can find more graduation information here

MBUSD Board Approves New Early Literacy Instructional Program 

The MBUSD Board of Trustees approved the Educational Services Department’s recommendation to adopt the Heggerty Bridge to Reading program for Grades TK-3. This decision follows a year-long effort by the Early Literacy Adoption Committee, which thoroughly reviewed Science of Reading research and screened numerous instructional materials. After piloting three programs - Fundations, Heggerty, and Open Court - the committee unanimously chose Heggerty. The committee was made up of MBUSD teachers from TK, Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA), and administrators. 

Families were invited to participate in the process by exploring a Heggerty interactive tour and accessing resource samples to provide feedback online and at the District Office. This accomplishment is part of our ongoing commitment to providing standards-aligned instructional materials. 

All K-12 MBUSD Schools Designated as No Place for Hate Campuses Once Again

No Place for Hate Graphic

Our schools continue to work to support MBUSD Board Goal 2, which focuses on a climate of care across our schools. One way is through their efforts through the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) No Place for Hate Program. I am happy to announce that all of our K-12 schools have earned the No Place for Hate designation by the ADL for another year! Congratulations! 

This outstanding achievement is the culmination of yearlong efforts to make our schools a place where students of every identity feel respected, valued, and included. Thank you to our students, staff, and parents, who made this designation possible. To get the honor, students form a committee, introduce the NPFH pledge to their school community, and assess the school climate to create and implement activities to challenge bias on campus. 

All of our schools will receive banners to hang showcasing their recent accomplishment! 

The Magic of MCHS AP Chemistry 

AP Chem Magic Show

Teresa Nielsen and her students hosted the 7th Annual MCHS AP Chemistry Magic Show in the Mira Costa small theater! The whimsical event shared the magic of chemistry and science with Mira Costa students and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders from Pennekamp.

The students performed classic demonstrations, incorporating elements of wizardry and potions. Chemistry reactions featured items appearing and disappearing, freezing flowers, creating spider webs, magical water, and making gummy worms! 

Pennekamp students were excited to have the opportunity to also participate in the magic show and get excited about science. The show is the culmination of the AP Chemistry course! 

New Visual and Performing Arts Programs for TK Through 2nd Grade!

Thanks to ongoing funding from the Arts and Music in Schools (AMS) Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act (Proposition 28), MBUSD is able to support our youngest students’ creative learning needs through two new year-long visual and performing arts (VAPA) programs. 

Starting in the fall of 2024, each TK and Kindergarten class will have weekly Musical Theatre lessons with a credentialed teacher. The lessons will focus on dramatic play, improvisation, movement and coordination, teamwork, story-telling, singing, and elements of play production. Look for more features about this exciting opportunity after the summer!

Additionally, 1st and 2nd grade students will now participate in a redesigned and revamped year-long Music program that will provide a 130% increase in hands-on music-making with credentialed music teachers. This California standards-aligned program will feature technology upgrades in the music classrooms, an online music curriculum, classroom instruments for all students to access, movement and dance, and support for cooperative, creative learning through musical play.

AMS (Prop 28) funds will also support new Art, Drama, and Music classes at MBMS and Mira Costa, helping to provide all students with better access to arts-based learning, which is shown to strengthen creative thinking, academic performance, and social-emotional development.

MCHS Students Honored at City Council Meeting

Manhattan Beach City Council recognized the Mira Costa Black Scholars Union Club (BSU) this week for their advocacy, support, and leadership in increasing cultural awareness and activism for a Juneteenth celebration in Manhattan Beach. Fourteen students and MCHS Black Scholars Union Club, Advisor, and School Psychologist Janet Allen were given certificates. The students were: 

Doone Ward

Theodora Tuitupou

Ryan Kim

Lelea Tuitupou

Raven Melvin

Skyler Wills

Sephtis Peters

Carter Allen

Malachy Garbott

Vasefanua Piuleini

Lauren Ward

Kathryn Glavin

Michaela Navarette

Mayor Joe Franklin applauded the students for their efforts, “These great students put a lot of time into this and put forth their energy into our Juneteenth celebration. They came here just like tonight to advocate before the City Council.”

City of MB Library Commission Recognizes MBUSD Librarians

The City of Manhattan Beach Library Commissioners recently visited schools across MBUSD to express gratitude to our librarians for fostering a love of reading and promoting the benefits of library visits among students.

The Library Commission says librarians impact the love for reading that starts with our youth in elementary school. In recognition of their invaluable contributions to our school communities, the Library Commissioners visited our schools to present certificates and gifts to our dedicated librarians. 

The certificates were given to:

Jennifer Forier, MBUSD Librarian 

Suzette Molinos, Pacific Library Resource Specialist 

Jen Rementer, Robinson Library Resource Specialist

Laurie Reiter, Meadows Library Resource Specialist

Heidi Snively, Grand View Library Resource Specialist

Thank you to the City of Manhattan Beach Library Commission for their support, especially to Library Commissioners Mike Millea, Stefani Bond, Dina Doll, and former Library Commissioner Janet Jones for personally visiting our schools to present the certificates. 

End of School Year Kickball Game

It was an exciting morning as I surprised students at Meadows Elementary and participated in their end-of-the-year kickball game! Spending time with staff and students on the field was definitely a highlight of my week. 

Grand Opening of the MBMS Garden 

Green Committee members, staff, and students collaborated to transform a green space on the MBMS campus into a beautiful garden. The community recently celebrated the grand opening of this lush space, which features five beds of soil growing produce such as lettuce, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, kale, and strawberries. The garden also includes a solar-powered water fountain. 

During the grand opening, students painted pots and cared for the garden. The garden was made possible thanks to Meadows Green Committee lead Lilian Dunker, MBMS Green Committee lead Caroline Graeff, MBMS Science Teacher Niel Leonard, and students from his club, the MBMS Surfrider Foundation Club. They hope the garden will allow students and faculty to congregate, grow, harvest, and unite.

Pacific Walk or Wheel to School Tuesday Contest Winners!

Speaking of green efforts, the Pacific Elementary Green Team announced its 2023/2024 Walk or Wheel to School Tuesday contest winners this week. Congratulations to Ms. Henderson's 5th grade class and Ms. Huckabay's 2nd grade class for winning! All Pacific classes were invited to tally the number of students who walked or wheeled to school every Tuesday. Both winning classes achieved over 500 tallies and will celebrate with a pizza party.

 “Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jack St. Ivany appreciates his Mira Costa roots”

Read Daily Breeze Story

Picture by NHL/Pittsburgh Penguins

Free Mental Health Resources for the Summer

Join the MBUSD Team! 

We are hiring classified and certificated staff. We’re looking for individuals passionate about 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!

For all job opportunities, please visit here.

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The next Superintendent’s Newsletter will be published on June 14.


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent

Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


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