MakerSpace Update

By Jason Marshall

Last spring, I was offered the opportunity to be the MakerSpace Coordinator for the esteemed Manhattan Beach Unified School District. The purpose of this role was to bring MakerSpace to life at all of the elementary campuses in a consistent and significant way. For those of you who are not familiar with the MakerSpace movement in schools across the country, MakerSpace is a hands-on, student-directed learning experience, where students see themselves as inventors, builders and creators. MakerSpace allows learning new skills through trial and error, experiencing failure of an initial idea, the exploration of possible alternatives and then problem solving to improve on the idea. MakerSpace is a more accessible touchpoint for STEM, and more specifically engineering, which allows teachers to better integrate science, technology, engineering, while fostering innovation and creative arts skills. → Read the rest of this article

Social Inclusion in MBUSD

By Kathleen Gibbons

Last October, MBUSD students, teachers, administrators, staff, and parents submitted grant proposals addressing race and other topics related to developing an inclusive community. The goal was to inspire change and nurture a productive and honest dialogue in our schools.  “We hoped to broaden the conversation about diversity and empower people in our community who may feel silenced or stifled by the lack of representation,” said Malissia Clinton.  “Sometimes homogenous communities such as Manhattan Beach can be unwelcoming to those who don’t fit the typical profile – whether or not that’s intentional.” MBEF recently asked a few of the grant recipients to share their progress and experiences. → Read the rest of this article

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

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