STEM at MBMS: Observations of a Parent

by Elizabeth Kunkee

STEMMany parents, like myself, see Middle School electives as a chance to encourage our children to engage in a non-academic subject that will enhance their joy in life. Band, Film, Wheel, Drama, Art…But what about science electives? Is the STEM class and the FabLab class a chance for “science kids” to double up on Math and Science, or is it a class that fosters creativity and is more similar to the arts? My daughter Leah took Girls STEM last year and is now in FabLab. Here are a few of my observations, from my perspective as a parent and an engineer.

In September of 2014, a distinct change came over our family dinners. The year before, in sixth grade, Leah would tell us stories about what she was learning in History. In seventh grade, the excitement was STEM. She’d quiz us by telling us the STEM challenge, and asked us how we would solve it. After getting our answers, she would tell us how each of the teams in her class of 25 tackled the problem. She applied for Girls STEM because she had heard it was fun, and it was living up to its promise. → Read the rest of this article

Meet the MBEF Board of Directors: Champions for Education

Since MBEF’s founding in 1983, the driving force behind our mission to improve public education in Manhattan Beach schools has been parents and community leaders with a common passion. Initially, with just a few thousand dollars, MBEF leaders focused on enriching existing programs like art and music. Today, with a multi-million dollar annual commitment to our schools, MBEF supports or enhances – in small or large part – nearly every academic pursuit and enrichment opportunity from kindergarten through 12th grade. It is the volunteer and community leadership guiding the Foundation that has made this possible.

MBEF’s board members, all volunteers, are experts in the financial sector, leaders in business management, pioneers in the non-profit sector and, above all, passionate advocates for quality public school education.

To meet the MBEF team, click here.

To meet the MBEF Endowment team, click here.

If you would like more information about the MBEF Board of Directors or how to become more involved, please contact Farnaz Flechner, MBEF’s Executive Director.

South Bay Families Connected: A Community of Support

By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

Families ConnectedNo matter what parenting philosophies or personal experiences guide us, we all have a common goal when it comes to our children — for them to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. Most parents know firsthand that this journey to adulthood can be challenging, especially with the vast array of distractions that can get in the way. Social media, stress, depression, peer pressure, and yes, also drugs and alcohol, all challenge us as parents in our pursuit of this goal. But we are not alone, and neither are our children.

The mission of South Bay Families Connected is to provide the South Bay community with a much-needed, centralized location for teen drug and alcohol prevention resources and education. In doing so, the program also aims to foster communication, support and connectedness as the community works together in the shared goal of helping kids reach their full potential. → Read the rest of this article

College Admissions and Testing Info Night with Adam Ingersoll

The Rapidly Changing Landscape of College Testing: A Special Presentation on Nov 10

November 10, 2015 at 7:00pm; Mira Costa Auditorium

Please join us for a presentation on college admission testing provided by nationally-recognized speaker Adam Ingersoll. The extensive overhaul of the PSAT and SAT debuting this year has far-reaching implications, both for public schools and for individual students. The college admission testing landscape is evolving rapidly; join us to learn how to navigate this intimidating terrain successfully. Topics of discussion include:

  • Old SAT, new SAT, or ACT: How do I choose?
  • What is behind the ACT’s surging popularity?
  • Why is the SAT scale reverting back to 1600 from 2400?
  • How do I interpret my PSAT scores on the new 1520 scale?
  • I hear the ACT is “easier/less tricky/more like school tests” – is this true?
  • Why are the ACT and SAT essays so much longer now? Are they required?
  • What is the Common Core’s role in all these changes? Will it affect me?
  • How are college admission officers responding to the changes?

This is an excellent learning opportunity for students, parents, teachers and counselors in grades 9-11. → Read the rest of this article

Teachers Driving Innovation: New 2015/16 Grant

By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

InnovationTraditionally, we look to our teachers to be leaders in the classroom, to guide our students through established curriculum and ensure they are meeting or exceeding expectations. The teachers who are inspired in their approach, who stretch the boundaries of learning, are typically the most successful. The most successful at not only ensuring that standards are met, but also at encouraging an enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge in students that stays with them well into their adult lives.

Now more than ever, particularly with the adoption of Common Core Standards, we are looking to teachers to stretch beyond textbook teaching and bring together a cornucopia of instruction methods that will ultimately help a student delve deeper into a subject. We are among the fortunate in the state – our exceptional teachers have been leading the charge towards innovative classrooms for years. And now MBEF is stepping up to encourage this even more so. → Read the rest of this article

We Heard You – STEM in Our Schools

By Farnaz Golshani Flechner, Executive Director

Manhattan Beach parents, business leaders, educators, and community members invest their time, talents and financial resources to transform our school District into a model for what public education can be. In 2014/15, 5,642 donors supported MBEF by making a gift to strengthen our schools. As a result, this year MBEF will provide more than $6.16M in funding for K-12 programs, paying for 71 educators and supplementing nine percent of our District’s budget. This is an incredible achievement that speaks volumes about our community’s commitment to our schools. → Read the rest of this article

MBUSD Elementary Homework – Reading, Reading, and More Reading

By Dr. Brett Geithman, Executive Director, MBUSD Educational Services

books with apple against dirty chalkboardI’m a parent of a Kindergartener and 2nd Grader. On those nights when we have dance, followed by soccer practice, while also trying to fit in homework, dinner and a bath before the 7:45 bedtime (if I’m being honest) the first homework assignment we cut out is reading. Many of you can probably relate, as you don’t have to turn in anything for reading and you can “make it up” on the weekend, right? Even though I understand the research behind the importance of reading, and should probably skip spelling that evening instead of reading, I have this guilt of sending my kid to school the next day without that spelling sheet completed. → Read the rest of this article