Common Core for the Not-So-Common

by Hilary Mahan

“The K-12 Common Core State Standards represent a major advance in standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts. They are grounded in evidence about what it takes for high school graduates to be ready for college and careers and build on the finest state and international standards. Importantly, they provide a clear and focused progression of learning from kindergarten to graduation that will provide teachers, administrators, parents and students the information they need for student success.”

- Michael Cohen, President, Achieve

Since its adoption by the State Board of Education in 2012, leaders within our district have been collaborating on an in-depth implementation plan to ensure a successful rollout of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Dr. Brett Geithman, Executive Director of Educational Services, took a few minutes to sit down and discuss the district’s bold plan for the road ahead. From the looks of the standing desk in his office and his busy calendar, Dr. Geithman doesn’t sit down often – he is on the move, to move our classrooms forward. With over 40 different Power Point presentations on Common Core in his back pocket, Dr. Geithman’s enthusiasm for the changes in store is infectious.
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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.
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FOCUS ON GRANTS: New College and Career Counselors Bring Deep Experience from Inside and Out to Costa

By Leanne Huebner, MBEF Board Member


What do you get when you combine a former College Admissions Officer with an experienced High School Counselor? An unstoppable and truly inspirational duo at Mira Costa’s College and Career Center.

MBUSD, parents, students, and the community at-large are thrilled to welcome Judy Park (left) and Caryn Ramirez as the two new college and career counselors at Mira Costa. Caryn and Judy will work with students as they plan and prepare for their journey beyond high school – providing guidance, assistance and recommendations as they consider their future college and career options. → 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)


By Leanne Huebner, June 2014

Recently, our MBEF crew caught up with a number of the most impressive Mira Costa students from the Class of 2014 – the valedictorians. One unique factor about Mira Costa is that any student who receives an “A” in every single class during their four years of high school – no matter what track they embark upon – can aspire to become a class valedictorian. This year, Mira Costa will graduate 22 valedictorians and we tracked down a few before they hit the beach for some well-deserved sun time before college.

Nicole Barman

Nicole Barman

Nicole Barman is a member of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation. She is also a member of Mira Costa’s Model United Nations team and has dedicated her time to Sandpiper Juniors. She was also a member of the Mira Costa Swim Team for two years. Nicole is thrilled to be attending the University of California Berkeley in the fall.

MBEF Impact: Whether it be the hands-on labs and experiments we have in our science classes, the small class sizes, or our amazing extracurricular programs, MBEF has never failed to present MBUSD students with endless opportunities–allowing us to gain more from our 12 years of education than the majority of students in the nation.

Nicole’s Teacher Shout-outs: Mr. Fauver, Ms. Shales-Clark, Ms. Sieker. Mr. Westerberg → Read the rest of this article


FarnazMBEF is very pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Director, Farnaz Golshani Flechner. Ms. Flechner joins the foundation as our third Executive Director, bringing her 17 years of nonprofit leadership experience to this critical role in MBEF. Ms. Flechner is the past Executive Director of the Los Feliz School of the Arts, a premier LAUSD charter school serving over 500 students. In addition, she contributed significantly to such diverse institutions as Chrysalis, a workforce development organization for homeless people, and Tides, a San Francisco-based management service organization for over five hundred nonprofits and philanthropists. She holds an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. We recently caught up with Farnaz about her future with MBEF.

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Oh, The Places They Have Gone! MBEF’s 30 Under 30

Entrepreneurs.  Techies.  Teachers.  Researchers.  Entertainers.  Manhattan Beach public schools creates them all and some.  Of course, we all know Mira Costa High School consistently ranks in tops of our nation’s high schools and sends its graduates to some of the most competitive colleges in the U.S.

But what happens next?  Where do they all go?30and30 again again

We thought we would highlight just a few of our impressive recent grads who now are building companies, advancing into higher education, reaching new heights and contributing to the world.  And learn just a little bit of how MB schools impacted their varied paths in their early lives.

There’s plenty more out there too but we had to stop somewhere.    For us at MBEF, it justifies our work supporting our great public schools.  Please don’t forget how important your donations are investing in this success.