Nurturing the Mind for Healthy Success

by Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member

MindUpMore often than not, when we think about the success of our children during the first 18 years of their life, we turn to their academic achievements. We tend to lose sight of the fact that our purpose as parents is to nurture capable, thoughtful, kind, secure and independent citizens of a greater society. Instead we look to API or SAT scores, the number of AP courses on the schedule or even individual project grades to assess success.

But are we doing our children a disservice by neglecting the importance of mental health and wellbeing? Anxiety and stress are common threads among students today, and equipping them with key social and emotional skills at an early age will lead to smarter, healthier and happier lives well into the future. More and more schools, and even public service organizations, are realizing that embracing the development of these tools is essential now more than ever. → Read the rest of this article

2015/2016 Grants – Putting the Dollars to Work

DollarsDonations to MBEF’s Annual Appeal are used to make grants to the District to pay for programs and educators at our seven schools. The grants, totaling over $5 million annually, amount to approximately 10 percent of the school district’s budget. Most of this funding is already committed to teachers and programs from the previous year. However as some programs close or shrink in size or if we are able to increase funds raised, we may have a little bit of additional funding through which we can consider implementing innovative new programs that align with parent and educators’ priorities. → Read the rest of this article

STEM Is Everywhere You Look In MB Schools

By Leanne Huebner, MBEF Board Member

STEMCareers focused on STEM, in fields like biomedical engineering and computer programming, are predicted to grow by 17% over the next several years, or at a rate twice that of non-STEM job opportunities. Several studies predict 2 to 4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled by the end of this decade due to the lack of qualified candidates. On average, graduates in STEM fields command starting salaries that are 26% higher than salaries of non-STEM graduates. Considering these facts, it is not surprising that 78% of Manhattan Beach parents surveyed last year want future MBEF grants to focus on STEM/STEAM initiatives throughout our schools.

What are Manhattan Beach schools already doing to prepare for this major shift in tomorrow’s jobs?  Here are ten programs happening around our schools that bring STEM to our students: → Read the rest of this article

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