Inaugural Year of Teachers Driving Innovation Grants Off to a Promising Start

by Mrs. Joanne Michael, Science Specialist- Meadows Elementary

balloon_launchThree years ago, I had a dream— I wanted to work with my students to send a balloon into the edge of space. Not knowing how to fund it, or really how to do it in the first place, I tried writing grants, getting sponsors, talking to aerospace companies—nothing.

In the fall of 2015, the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF) began a new grant program for teachers—the “Teachers Driving Innovation Grants” (TDIG) to give teachers an opportunity to go a bit “outside the box”, in the interest of inspiring kids or pushing them out of their comfort zones. I knew this was my chance—if my goal was to be achieved, it had to be through this grant.

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Understanding the MBEF Endowment

We often receive questions about our Endowment: Why does MBEF need to raise money when we have an Endowment? Where is my donation most needed – the Annual Appeal or Endowment? Why can’t we take funding from the Endowment to support this year’s Annual Appeal shortfall? While both MBEF and the MBEF Endowment support quality public education here in Manhattan Beach, each does so differently. → Read the rest of this article

MBEF’s Annual Appeal – $4.8M and Counting!

On behalf of all the students who will benefit from your generosity, we’d like to take a moment to thank you so much for your support of MBEF’s 2015/16 Annual Appeal. Each year, we look to you to help raise the funds that will take the education in our district to the next level. We are truly grateful for our community’s commitment to the education of our children, and for recognizing the need to provide more for our students than the California budget can support. The 2015/16 Annual Appeal raised nearly $4.8 million, and will provide for the extras that make a good education GREAT. Every child benefits from the grants funded by the Annual Appeal. Although we are under our goal of $5.1 million, we are confident that the support demonstrated by over 2,500 donors is appreciated by all MBUSD families. → Read the rest of this article

MBEF PARENT SURVEY

Parent-SurveyAs a community-based foundation, the feedback and priorities of our parents are critical to our strategic direction and decision-making. This survey will only take 5-10 minutes of your time, and our goal is 100% parent participation. When we last surveyed MBUSD parents and teachers in 2014, 78% of parents and 75% of teachers said that their top priority for new MBEF funding was the expansion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. In the 2015/16 school year, our funding to the district was more closely aligned with this priority.

Please click here and let us know how/if your priorities have changed so that our funding can best represent the needs of our stakeholders.

If you have any questions about the survey, please direct them to Farnaz@mbef.org. → Read the rest of this article

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