Our Grants to the Schools




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 44% 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.

Project Lead the Way/STEM: Last year our District launched Project Lead the Way (PLTW) in grades K-8. This year, Mira Costa will introduce innovative hands-on STEM programming. PTLW has transformed the way our children engage with STEM and innovation, empowering students to identify problems, find unique solutions and lead their own learning.

Shift from Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) to 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 – Sponsored by the Clinton Family: Last year, the home of a local Manhattan Beach family, the Clintons, was fire bombed in what many considered to be a terrible hate crime.  Many people donated funds towards a reward to find the perpetrator. As current events around our nation attests, we still have work to do to bridge the racial divide. For the 2016/17 school year, the Clintons are directing the unclaimed reward funds to MBEF to create viable programs that will inspire change and nurture a productive and honest dialogue in our schools. 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.

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 Expansion: Through directed funding from Chevron and nearly 100 donors at the 2016 Wine Auction Paddle Raise, MBEF will be expanding 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 K-12. 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 always there, operating on the front lines.

Electives (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 Wheel program offers middle school students a range of electives, including Computer Application, 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 Middle School: 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.

STEM Elective: In 2015/16 we added three additional units of STEM at the Middle School. In previous years, there was an average of 100 students, each year, who were not able to participate in a STEM class. Through your support and feedback, every child who applied to take a STEM course has been able to participate.



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. In addition to funding the Guidance and Support Counselors, 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 7:30am until 7:30pm.

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.


Previous Year Grants