Survey Says…

Summary of Results from the 2014/15 Parent and Teacher Survey

By Farnaz Golshani Flechner, MBEF Executive Director

This past summer MBEF surveyed our stakeholders in hopes of getting a clear understanding of what we are doing well, and what we can do better. We wanted to learn what programs and initiatives our community wants us to fund in the years to come. Though response rates were not as high as we would have liked- 65% of teachers and 34% of parents- the survey trends are statistically significant and can be used to make some solid, data-backed decisions on our grantmaking this year. → Read the rest of this article

Technology in the Classroom: The Pathway to Integration

By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

Technology. It’s the buzzword of the 21st century. Handheld devices, apps, social media sites, even emoji’s…are infiltrating our daily lives. Technology went from a cumbersome desktop computer with limited use to a talking Smart Phone that you wouldn’t dare leave behind. So it’s no surprise that the obsession with technology has made its way into today’s classroom too. The innovative and creative tools now easily accessible have changed the future of education forever.

MBUSD has been on the forefront of exploring the connection of technology and the classroom, introducing iPads to one grade level at each elementary school through a pilot program in 2011/2012. The Administration and School Board recognized the exciting and inevitable use of technology in the classroom and the efforts were accelerated during the 2012/2013 school year by bringing the pilot program to the middle school. Next, teachers at all school sites were supplied with an iPad and MacBook laptop by the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), and MBEF committed to help fund the District’s efforts. → Read the rest of this article

Local Control Funding Formula: How Does It Add Up for MBUSD

By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

Local Control Funding FormulaMost parents within the district are aware that funding for education within the state has dramatically changed recently. But whether it is clear how it all works is another story. In July of 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law, the most significant change to the state’s education budget in over four decades.

The Local Control Funding Formula affects the way the state government provides funding to school districts in grades K-12. One goal of the new law is to improve academic outcomes for targeted disadvantaged students (those classified as low-income, English learners and foster youth). The second goal of LCFF is to give local school districts more authority over how to spend their money.
→ Read the rest of this article

The Power of Exceptional Teaching

By Farnaz Golshani Flechner, MBEF Executive Director

Maggie and MichaelMost of us can remember a teacher that inspired us, helped us, taught us to love learning, and maybe led us to the path we are on today. I remember mine vividly. She was my tenth grade English teacher, Carol Jago, and she had the remarkable ability to make everything that we were reading and learning relevant to our own lives and challenges. We read of literary heroes in The Odyssey and Beowulf. We looked at art and listened to music throughout history that attempted to depict war, and the journey of those who lost their way after a battle. We compared these stories to current conflicts and to the experiences of soldiers with PTSD. We talked about temptations (Sirens and Lotus Eaters) and how to overcome them. I remember dreaming about the Odyssey. Through this experience, I learned to love learning. I discovered my voice. → Read the rest of this article

UCLA’s Center X – Examining the Core of Mathematics

By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

MathematicsIn response to feedback from the community last year, the MBEF Grants Committee dedicated a portion of the 2014/2015 grants to the District’s secondary math program. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the need for a District-wide strategy became even more imperative. In addition to the grant, MBUSD has devoted a large percentage of the budget to implement Common Core directly to training teachers. We received a total of $1.3M from the state for Common Core implementation this year, and of that 62%, $800,000 went to professional development for teachers. → Read the rest of this article

Get Your Children Hooked for the STEM (or STEAM!) Jobs of the Future

By Leanne Huebner, MBEF Board Member

First in a series of two articles looking at STEM Education

In a recent MBEF survey, 78% of Manhattan Beach parents and a majority of teachers said that they would like our District to prioritize the implementation of STEM/STEAM education in our schools, ranking this discipline as the top priority for future MBEF grants.

Whether you are a STEM or a STEAM advocate, Manhattan Beach parents are certainly “in the know” of where future jobs are for our children. STEM Education – otherwise known as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM incidentally just adds the “A” for art, emphasizing the importance of teaching kids creativity and risk–taking skills) has been the laser focus of educators, politicians, and business leaders since 2009 when the U.S. Department of Labor listed its “ten most wanted employees”. → Read the rest of this article

Underage Drug and Alcohol Use – You Make the Difference

By Hilary Mahan

According to the recently released California Healthy Kids Survey, 29% of 11th graders and 9% of 9th graders surveyed in Manhattan Beach have binge drunk (consuming more than 4-5 drinks in about two hours) in the last 30 days. It is widely accepted that drugs and alcohol present a tremendous threat to the health and well being of a family. Over the past few years researchers have determined that binge drinking as little as once or twice per month may cause irreversible brain damage in young people. This damage impacts spatial functioning skills and the ability to focus. As the parent, you are responsible for ensuring that drug and alcohol usage does not inflict harm on your children. Talking to your child about drug and alcohol use is an important part of keeping your family safe.
→ Read the rest of this article

MBEF’s New Video


Many thanks to our great team of volunteers who worked on the new MBEF video.
We are so grateful for your ongoing commitment to our schools and our community.
Julian Ryder at Ryder Communications Group
Steve Tobenkin (Video and Editing)
Don Anderson (Copywriter and Script)
Peter Figen (Still Photos and Video)
Steve Gregan (Sound Recording and Mixing)