The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation is a community driven fundraising organization, which supplements state funding for programs that inspire learning, enrich teaching, and promote innovation and academic excellence in the public schools of Manhattan Beach. We partner with MBUSD to ensure that we are meeting the priorities of district leadership, educators and parents to provide students with an excellent education from kindergarten through graduation.

The global pandemic has made educating students more challenging – there are concerns about the loss of learning to the social emotional health of our youth. We recognize the entire community, especially parents, is seeking information and we are determined to keep you in the know.

Join Dan Hellie, local parent and sports announcer, along with Ellen Padnos, MBEF Board member and parent, as they sit down with members of our community who are instrumental in the success of our Manhattan Beach schools and community. Each podcast will address important information, concerns, and updates about the issues impacting our schools and students.

May 6, 2022

Host Ellen Padnos sits down with the MBUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Irene Gonzalez-Castillo, to talk about the district focus on academic excellence. The Board of Trustees Board Goal #1 to maximize academic success is being addressed from a number of directions, including professional development for teachers, improved assessments to determine needs, and intervention to support all students at all learning levels. Ensuring all students have access to the programs and support they need for success is an important priority for Dr. Gonzalez-Castillo. Learn more about her perspective and work in this behind the scenes look at strengthening personalized learning on our schools.

February 11, 2022 - MB Citizens for Schools with Hilary Mahan, Michael Sinclair and Wysh Weinstein

In this episode, host Ellen Padnos sits down with three parent advocates – MBEF’s Hilary Mahan, Grand View’s Legislative Rep Michael Sinclair and DAC President Wysh Weinstein. Last month, a group of local residents, MB Citizens for Schools, mobilized to bring an initiative to the community to adequately fund our MBUSD schools. Despite its high property values, Manhattan Beach is the second-lowest funded unified school district in the state. This citizen-led measure would aim to bring local control and stability to school funding by creating a 12-year, $1,095 per year ($3-per-day) parcel tax.

December 10, 2021 - Student Wellness with School Psychologist Janet Allen

In this episode, host Ellen Padnos talks with Mira Costa High School Psychologist, Janet Allen, about her role in supporting the needs of our high school students. Ms. Allen has focused on the well being of students in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District over the past 20 years. Learn more about the process in place to support the emotional health of students, including how student needs are identified, the resources available, and how families and peers can support as well. Her approach is informed, thoughtful and practical for how to embrace the challenges before us and help guide our adolescents to become responsible for their own success and healthy contributors to society.

November 12, 2021 - How MBEF Serves Our Community with Executive Director Hilary Mahan

Ellen talks with MBEF Executive Director Hilary Mahan about the history of MBEF and its impact on Manhattan Beach public schools. Hilary explains why our high property taxes don’t fund schools as many think they do, how we compare to other high-performing districts, and her the vision for sustaining our high quality schools long into the future. Plus, learn more about how her own experiences have shaped her role in leading the charge to support and strengthen education in our schools.

October 28, 2021 - The Parent Compass with Cindy Clumeck Muchnick, M.A

Ellen talks with Cindy Muchnick about following your parenting compass when it comes to being our best selves as parents.  Cindy shares tips from her book, The Parent Compass, with co-author Jenn Curtis, and her own advice on how to navigate through this challenging time with renewed confidence.

October 7, 2021 - PTA’s – The Making of the School Communities

Each school has its own unique priorities and culture…and behind them all is the school PTA. This week Ellen sits down with two district PTA leaders, District Advisory Council President Wysh Weinstein and Grand View PTA President Jennifer Cram to better understand how the PTAs function. Learn why join the PTA is important, how teachers are involved, and where PTA funding goes. Plus, get a better understanding of what membership in the PTA means to you and your family.

October 1, 2021 - The Future of MBUSD with Dr. John Bowes, Superintendent

Today Ellen sits down with Dr. John Bowes, the new Superintendent of MBUSD for our first In the Know Podcast of the new school year. In the conversation, we learn about Dr. Bowes’ experience and interests, how he plans to guide the district, the challenges we are facing, and how the schools are dealing with Covid at this stage.

Dr. Bowes is asking the community four specific questions to understand how he can best serve the community and our schools:

  1. Tell me something MBUSD is doing great.
  2. What are we doing that could use a second look?
  3. What’s something you’d like to see us try?
  4. What headline do you want to see on the Beach Reporter (about the district) 5 years from now?

The answers from the community will guide and shape his priorities. Please share your answers with him at [email protected]

Dr. Bowes also references a Covid dashboard, here is that url:

May 24, 2021 - Re-opening of Mira Costa classrooms with Dr. Ben Dale

Costa High School Principal, Dr. Ben Dale, joins Dan Hellie to talk about the re-opening of Mira Costa classrooms in person. Now that the majority of students and teachers have returned in some capacity, the attitude is markedly different than just one month ago. Dr. Dale shares his insights on student sentiments, and how academics and athletics are impacting their well-being. Plus, learn what is in store for Dr. Dale as he faces retirement and what he hopes for in the next leader at Mira Costa.

Feb 28, 2021 - Overcoming Learning Loss on Our Schools with Dr. Katherine Whittaker Stopp

This week Dan is joined by MBUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Katherine Whittaker Stopp, to discuss learning loss in students due to the pandemic. There is widespread concern across the nation that student learning has been negatively impacted and students will have fallen dramatically behind, especially in disadvantaged areas where students experience additional challenges like inadequate technology or lack of parental support. Even in our own community where resources and support are more evident, there are bound to be some shortfalls. Learn about the MBUSD’s plans to mitigate loss and ensure our own MBUSD students are on track. Plus, hear about the positive outcomes of the past year on learning that may change things for the better.

Jan 25, 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Other BCHD Community Support with Ali Steward

This week In the Know podcast host, Dan Hellie, is joined by Director of Youth Services at Beach Cities Health District (BCHD), Ali Steward. BCHD has been instrumental in supporting the health and wellness of MBUSD students through a variety of significant programs. Now BCHD is leading the effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the South Bay, including teachers. Learn about the process and what’s in store for the coming months.

Dec 15, 2020 - The Effects of the Pandemic on the Social-Emotional Health of our Students with Leah Niehaus, LCSW

Dan sits down with Leah Niehaus, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to discuss how the pandemic is impacting the social-emotional health of children. With twenty years in the field Leah brings an experienced perspective on anxiety and depression and how that affects our youth, especially now. Leah shares her wisdom and practical advice for supporting our children in this challenging time.

Dec 1, 2020 - COVID-19 and Children with Dr. Alice Kuo

This week Dan is joined by Dr. Alice Kuo, Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Learn about the impact of COVID-19 on our children the perspective of a medical expert, what the medical field has learned from the data of schools already opened, and future projections for school openings.

Nov 10, 2020 - Re-opening MBUSD elementary schools with Dr. Mike Matthews

In our first In the Know podcast, Dan Hellie sits down with Dr. Mike Matthews, Superintendent of Schools, to discuss the recent approval of waivers for the district’s five elementary schools. Learn about the plans for students returning to school in the hybrid format, what it took to get here, and what is in store for the future.