Our Grants to the Schools

As a community-driven organization, MBEF strives to ensure our grants are reflective of parent and teacher priorities. We welcome feedback and regularly survey our stakeholders to help determine our strategic direction and funding priorities. To determine the grants for the 2017/18 school year, MBEF’s 35-member Board of Directors worked with the District leadership and school Principals to identify programs that are most aligned with parent priorities and MBEF Grant Guidelines.


MBEF strives to invest in programs that support the following:

  • Academic excellence and personal growth
  • Programs that reach as many students as possible
  • Parity among all elementary schools
  • Programs with a K-12 perspective
  • Innovation in teaching and learning
  • Programs that align with the priorities of parents, teachers, and District goals

Community Priorities

Multiple measures are taken to ensure that our grants meet community priorities.

  • Parents: Survey every other year (34% response rate); feedback requests once a year; feedback throughout the year; and 8 parents representing all seven schools serve on the MBEF Grant Committee.
  • MBUSD Administration: Regular meetings with Superintendent and MBEF and Endowment Board Presidents; two Grant Committee meetings with the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Education Services; regular conversations with Principals, School Board members; and the MBEF President and Executive Director participate in annual meetings with each principal independently.
  • Teachers: Survey every other year (75% response rate), in addition, this year we invited teachers to participate in an “MBEF Teacher Focus Group”.

The purpose of MBEF is to fund and advocate for enrichment programming, and to ensure that the funds we are granting are appropriately and effectively used. Like all other foundations, we are not involved in personnel relations, hiring, or management of District employees. We do not make any decisions on the ways in which programs are implemented or the curriculum that the District uses. This is important because it strengthens our voice so that we advocate for programming for all students. In addition, this separation helps to maintain the autonomy of the District/School Board and ensures that no individual parents’ voice is louder than others.

THE 2017/18 GRANTS
Below are shifts in MBEF funding that you will observe across the District. These changes represent a reallocation of last year’s grants and are not associated with new funding. Some shifts respond directly to the priorities identified in our surveys, and other shifts are efforts to make existing programs and grants more effective and sustainable.

New Shifts in Funding for the 2017/18 School Year

  • Common Sense Media 3-8 Focus
  • $60K increase for Music
  • Assistant Principal K-5
  • MBMS Empathy and Inclusion
  • MakerSpace K-5
  • Start-up Violin Cost for Elementary Music “Wheel” Program
  • Summer Counselor Training and Working Sessions
  • Strengthening MCHS Math

Primary Priorities:
Programs that respond to Parent and Teacher priorities:
When asked what new programming K-5 stakeholders would like MBEF to focus on, 57% of parents and teachers said that STEM and MakerSpace was their highest priority, followed by 4th and 5th Grade Class Size Reduction (44%). All other funding possibilities were prioritized by less than 30% of parents and teachers.

  • MakerSpace Assistants: During the 2013/14 school year, Pacific Elementary designed and piloted an innovative approach to exposing students to engineering concepts, critical thinking, and creativity – MakerSpace. Due to the tremendous success and demand for experiences in this innovation lab setting, MBUSD wrote a grant to Chevron to fund the startup costs at the four other elementary schools. That grant was awarded and over the last three years unique MakerSpace environments have been created throughout our elementary schools. One challenge our schools have faced is parity. Some sites have a more robust volunteer schedule, classroom teacher interest, and/or ownership of the space. To address this concern, MBEF has introduced a MakerSpace Assistant who will support the classroom teacher and/or the science specialist for those given lessons by preparing materials, assisting the teacher in facilitating the lesson, and organizing the space. The MakerSpace Assistant will have ownership of the space much like the MCHS Science Lab Assistant or the Library Media Specialist has ownership of their assignments. By having a MakerSpace Assistant (MSA), classroom teachers will have the materials/supplies readily available to implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum maps, will have support in the actual lesson delivery, and will help remove barriers in consistent MakerSpace utilization. Based on enrollment the percentages/hours per site will be as follows: Grand View (Enrollment 737) 32 MSA Hours, Meadows (Enrollment 432) 18 MSA Hours, Pacific (650 Enrollment) 28 MSA Hours, Pennekamp (516 Enrollment) 24 MSA Hours, and Robinson (425 Enrollment) 18 MSA Hours.

Funding to support the sustainability of existing programming:

  • Elementary Assistant Principal: Both Grand View and Pacific Elementary Schools have almost 40% more students and teachers at their school sites than the other three elementary schools in the District. The Assistant Principal will support the MBEF goal of parity and will increase the capacity of the Principals at both sites to better meet student needs.
  • Elementary Music Proposal: Our elementary music program has been significantly impacted with extremely large class sizes (60+ students), and rosters of 900+ students. Additionally, there has been a growing concern about having students make a selection between strings, band, or vocal music in 3rd grade that will impact their music trajectory, when they may have limited experiences in each discipline. By funding a 50% certificated teacher for grades 1 and 2, we are able to improve student-to-teacher ratios in the music program. In addition, the District is implementing a “wheel” option for grade 3 to help expose students to each discipline. Going forward, each third grader will have an opportunity to try the violin, recorder and voice, before making a more informed decision in grade 4.
  • Startup Violin Costs: MBEF is providing a one-time grant of $25K to the District to purchase a classroom set of starter violins for each elementary school. This will make it possible for all third graders who are participating in the Music Wheel to have an opportunity to  play the violin, without having to purchase or lease a violin, for three months.

Secondary Priorities:
When asked what new programming MBEF should focus on, parents and teachers of 6th – 12th graders prioritized the need to (1) Strengthen Math Instruction, (2) Offer more STEM classes, (3) Strengthen counseling, and (4) Provide programs that focus on social and civic responsibility.

  • MCHS Math Teacher Leaders: The transition to the Common Core State Standards in Math (CCSS-M) two years ago were the most dramatic shifts in mathematics education in California. In addition to professional development to aid in this change towards more conceptual understanding and application problem solving, curriculum maps for each middle school course, as well as Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II have been created in alignment with the CCSS-M. In the spirit of building internal math leadership capacity, MBEF will be funding 20% Algebra I Coach, 20% Geometry Coach, and 20% Algebra II Coach. These courses, coupled with the MBMS Math 1-3 classes, are the foundation to secondary mathematics. With one internal teacher-leader per MCHS course, these teachers can collaborate and coach their colleagues while also teaching those sections. This type of focused coaching/support is based on the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching Program; therefore, these three teachers will participate in the South Bay Teacher Leader Consortium facilitated by Cotsen Mentor Trainer, Dr. Cindy Kratzer (this year 9 districts and over 100 teachers participated).
  • MBMS Empathy and Inclusion Program: MBMS is committed to developing an empathetic climate where students are safe and respected. As part of that commitment, the administration would like to integrate lessons on inclusion through a program in partnership with the MBPD. The program will include a three-hour tour of the Museum of Tolerance where students explore themes such as the power of words, lessons from history, and going from bystander to ally. Students will then participate in the Teaching Tolerance curriculum sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Girls will engage in the KIND campaign, with female officers from the Manhattan Beach Police Department. This is a program that addresses girl on girl bullying and encourages girls to build each other up rather than tearing each other down.  The boys would engage in a set of speakers that address gender and cultural equity through the sharing of personal experiences and a facilitated discussion with MBMS staff and male MBPD officers. Follow-up speakers with a focus on bias training for students will continue throughout the year. Additionally, 7th and 8th grade teachers will integrate a focus on empathy by reading articles, watching videos, and participating in activities related to bias throughout history.
  • Summer Counselor Training and Working Session: Training will engage all 10 MBEF-funded MCHS counselors, in both the Guidance and College and Career Center, MCHS Principal and Assistant Principal of Counseling. Important collaboration time will provide an opportunity for the counselors to meet as a group and seek alignment on counseling guidelines and practices.
  • Common Sense Media: At a District level, MBEF will fund Common Sense Media to provide parent educational sessions on best practices in internet safety, media literacy and screen time management.

In addition, we have maintained all of our grants from the previous year.


Data Evaluation and Program Assessment: How well do our programs work? What shifts could we make in math, counseling and writing to strengthen our academic outcomes? The Director of Evaluation and Program Assessment gives our District and MBEF the capacity to assess our programs, provides our educators with the data they need for improvements, and supports our ability to make strategic data-backed funding decisions.

Math Professional Development K-12: Our District has received feedback from teachers and parents on the efficacy of the math professional development program during the transition to Common Core. This grant helps continue the work we have done over the past two years by connecting our District with Teacher-Leaders who provide best practices and coaching for teachers. All math teachers will benefit from professional development from Stanford University over the summer, and continued support from Stanford, UC Irvine and UCLA throughout the year.

Music: Music, math and science achievement go hand in hand. MBEF funds 49% of music instruction K-12, and as a result the music program at MBUSD has experienced phenomenal growth and success. All students in grades 1-5 receive weekly music instruction, which forms the foundation for our award-winning middle and high school programs. The opportunity to discover music at a young age may help a student discover a passion or talent, and has been proven to strengthen language development, increase IQ, improve spatial temporal skills and nurture responsibility and teamwork.

Teacher/Coach Model: Our TOSAs have historically provided specialized coaching in academic areas that required more attention and growth, such as literacy, science, technology and 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Current best practices and teacher feedback indicate that modeling teaching practices in a “demonstration lab” is key to building a teacher’s capacity in the classroom. This new model also creates a better system through which our District can provide teachers with pathways for growth, without taking our best teachers out of the classroom. This year our teacher/coaches will support the implementation of Common Core Math, Technology, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Social Inclusion Grants:  MBEF is pleased to be able to continue to fund viable programs that will inspire change and nurture a productive and honest dialogue in our schools through the Social Inclusion Grants for the 2017/18 school year. Originally initiated by Malissia and Ron Clinton in 2015, we recognize that we still have work to do to bridge the racial divide. MBUSD students and teachers are encouraged to apply for the small grants to introduce programs that will focus on celebrating and respecting diversity — racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, economic and cultural. Applications will be accepted through November 1, 2017.

Teacher of the Year Stipends – Sponsored by the Nickell Family: Each year MBUSD recognizes one teacher from each school site as the Teacher of the Year, and one of those teachers is selected as the District-wide Teacher of the Year.  With this grant, made possible by an endowment fund sponsored by the Nickell Family, MBUSD’s seven Teachers of the Year will receive a monetary reward. This is an exciting opportunity to award the teachers who do so much for our children every day.

Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Literacy and Writing: There have been significant changes in the manner in which we teach writing and literacy in schools throughout our country. In every grade, what is taught is as important as how it is taught. MBEF funding helps ensure that each child’s curriculum keeps pace with the changing world by funding a TOSA to lead continuous improvement efforts throughout the District in this important area of growth.

Teachers Driving Innovation (TDI) Grants: MBEF will be continuing the TDI Grant Program to additional teachers throughout our District. Each TDI grant ($500-$6,000) gives our educators an opportunity to exercise their passion for teaching, develop ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and connect with the wealth of knowledge, expertise and talent within MBUSD.


Artist in Residence Program (to supplement PTA): Elementary students are introduced to cultural and performing arts through a 10-lesson ‘residency’ program presented by guest artists, and supported by school site PTAs.  Each residency meets the stringent California Visual and Performing Arts Standards, and reinforces classroom learning by tying to a unit of study or theme within each grade’s curriculum. The Artist in Residence program enhances classroom learning, strengthens students’ creative and artistic skills, builds confidence, and broadens student exposure to a diverse array of experiences through the performing arts.

Class Size Reduction – Additional Teachers K-3: Class size reduction continues to be a top priority for parents and teachers. With recent adjustments to California’s Local Control Funding Formula, directed funding from the state allows MBEF to focus its attention to other pressing needs. MBEF is continuing its commitment to keeping our class sizes low, and will help supplement state funding to the extent necessary. Our K-3 classrooms throughout the District are set at a maximum of 24:1.

Library Specialists: Having access to a school library provides endless discoveries for students. This grant funds five Library Specialists – one for each of our five elementary schools. Library Specialists ensure that our school libraries are open for every student every hour that school is in session. The Specialists maintain the libraries and work with all grade levels to help our students learn research and media literacy skills.

Physical Education Teachers: MBEF is proud to support credentialed physical education teachers at our five elementary schools. PE teachers provide 100 minutes of high quality physical education and sportsmanship each week to all students in grades 1-5. Research shows that physical activity can help children improve their concentration, memory, and classroom behavior, in addition to the physical health benefits.

Reading Specialists: From Kindergarten through third grade, children learn to read, and then they read to learn. Reading competency and comprehension ensures our students are on the right track for learning. This grant funds five credentialed teachers who work with students to increase reading proficiency for children at all reading levels. The Reading Specialists also work with all elementary teachers to promote high quality reading instruction and individualization for all students in the elementary schools.

Science Specialists/Project Lead the Way: This grant funds five credentialed Science Specialists who provide all elementary students with hands-on lab experience and project-based learning opportunities that strengthen students’ passion for science. All five teachers have participated in the Project Lead the Way training and will continue to infuse the curriculum with more hands-on STEM projects that are better aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Technology: Our students have access to technology in the classroom throughout their tenure in MBUSD. To ensure that technology is being used effectively, this grant funds an experienced Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) who will implement best practices and support teachers to integrate technology into instruction at the elementary level.

21st Century Teacher Leader/MakerSpace: As the interest and need for STEM curriculum continues, this grant allows for a Teacher Leader, dedicated to helping the District integrate a dynamic MakerSpace curriculum in grades K-5 at all elementary sites. The underlying goal of a successful MakerSpace is to empower students to see themselves as inventors, builders and creators, and to learn problem-solving through trial and error. Having one District-wide lead will create synergy between the school sites and provide an opportunity for all K-5 students to explore the hands-on benefits of MakerSpace.


Class Size Reduction – Additional Teachers: Through this grant, MBEF provides additional funding to ensure class sizes are smaller at MBMS. Smaller classes allow our teachers to provide students with more individualized attention and more frequent feedback and instruction.

Counselors: MBEF funds 100% of Counseling and the Student Academic Support (SAS) Program at MBMS. Counselors play an essential role for all students in academic guidance, personal counseling and life planning. When a child needs help with scheduling, classes or social issues, an advisor is available to provide guidance and support.

Electives (STEM, Fab Lab, Drama, Art, Film, Etc…): One of the hallmarks of an excellent school is its ability to inspire students through a variety of innovative electives. Our enhanced elective program offers middle school students a range of choices, including Computer Application, STEM, Fab Lab, Visual Arts, Film-making, Journalism and Drama classes.

Extra Period Classes: This grant enables MBMS students to add an additional period so those who are involved in extracurricular activities can fulfill course requirements, as well as benefit from additional elective courses.

Library Specialist: Having access to a school library provides students with endless opportunities for discovery. MBEF supports a full-time Library Specialist to ensure that the MBMS Library is open every hour that school is in session. The Specialist maintains the library and works with all teachers to help our students learn research and media literacy skills.

MBMS Math Teacher and Coach: One of the challenge points for our students has been the transition from elementary to middle school math. To support Common Core implementation at the secondary level, MBEF is funding a short-term position that will provide greater collaboration, expertise and guidance. This teacher will serve as a 6th grade math teacher and as a coach for other teachers, thereby reducing the ratio of students to teachers at this critical juncture.

Social-Emotional Health Leader: Students need additional support in learning how to make good choices that will support lifelong success. The research-based Second Step program funded by Beach Cities Health District, coupled with an additional leader at MBMS to support its implementation, will ensure that we are helping our students develop essential communication, coping and decision-making skills.


Class Size Reduction – Additional Teachers: Through this grant, MBEF provides additional funding to ensure class sizes are smaller at Mira Costa. Smaller classes allow our teachers to provide students with more individualized attention and more frequent feedback and instruction.

College and Career Counselors: MBEF funds 100% of 2.5 full-time College and Career Counselors and one assistant devoted to helping high school students navigate the often overwhelming college application process. This funding ensures that our students apply to, and attend inspirational institutions around the world. MBEF is expanding funding for the College and Career Center (CCC) by increasing this grant to support after-school hours. This year, CCC staff will provide resources and expertise from 8am to 7pm Monday through Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Fridays.

Extra Period Classes: This grant enables Mira Costa students to add an additional period so students who are involved in extracurricular activities can fulfill course requirements, participate in AP classes, and take additional elective courses. More than 40% of MCHS students take advantage of an additional period each day.

Guidance and Support Counselors: MBEF funds the Counseling and Student Academic Support (SAS) Program at Mira Costa. Counselors play an essential role for all students in academic guidance, personal counseling and life planning. When most schools have drastically reduced counselors, our ratios have improved to 263:1. The California average is 900:1. In addition to SAS counselors, students have access to College and Career Counselors.

Librarian: MBEF supports a full-time credentialed Librarian at Mira Costa. In addition to overseeing the library’s collection, the Librarian maintains the Technology Research Lab and works with all teachers to help our students learn research and media literacy skills.

Science Lab Assistant: The Science Lab Assistant at Mira Costa supports science teachers by making lab instruction organized, efficient and innovative. In our state-of-the-art Math and Science building, the Lab Assistant helps teachers to strengthen students’ learning through hands-on projects and instruction.

MBEF will never stop striving to strengthen our schools, and dreaming of what more is possible.

Previous Year Grants