Manhattan Beach Unified School District

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Superintendent Observations from Week 1 - A Great Week!

At this week’s board meeting, I listed some of my observations from the first four days of school. It’s been a great start, and here are some of the highlights:

  • The opening of the new math and science building. As our new student board member, Philip Abdoo, said, “It’s beautiful, it’s pristine, and the students love it.” Another student said that she feels like she’s “in an commercial for a world class school when she’s in the math/science building.” Congrats to the hundreds of people whose tireless work made this happen, on time and on budget. We did it.
  • From the very first moment, in preschool, elementary schools, middle school and high school, our teachers and our students got back to the business of teaching and learning. It’s like they never left. It always amazes me and makes me smile.
  • The middle school looks like a different place of learning this year. Our teachers and our students know how to use technology. It’s part of what they do and I love it. Maggie Mabery, a science teacher, said, “Keep your backpacks in the back of the room. The only thing you will need today and every day is your iPad.”
  • Michelle Legaspi, one of our first grade teachers, told me that her 1st graders entered her class this year ready to write, fully knowing all the routines, structures and terms used in Writing Workshop. Our kindergarten teachers prepared them extraordinarily well, and she can’t wait to see their growth in writing this year.
  • We have 36 new teachers and counselors in our schools!
  • On Wednesday, I witnessed the true power of our fully operational new math and science building. I saw Mr. Morrow and Mr. Sponaugle taking their students into our beautiful new science labs, giving our students hands on experiences. I also saw Mr. Lewis taking his class to our rooftop classroom and doing a quick lesson on weather patterns, which were striking and made very clear by his explanations.
  • Ms. Ro Schreiner, entering her 51st year of stellar teaching, introduced me to a student whose mother she had taught. Oh, and she also taught the young man’s father. Spectacular! The young man was beaming with pride that his teacher was such a big part of his life – and this was on the first day.
  • I watched MBMS history teacher Jed Rucker taking an entire class period to get to know each student, taking a keen interest in who they are, and personalizing their education on day two. Very cool.

This is just a smattering of the great things happening in MBUSD in our first week. I hope it was a great week for all of our families.

Mike Matthews
MBUSD Superintendent of Schools