Happy New Year to Manhattan Beach from the Manhattan Beach Unified school board. As the newly elected president of the school board of trustees, I would like to thank the community for supporting our seven public schools and pre-school. The past decade has been a challenging one for public school funding, and despite these challenges MBUSD remains in the top three unified school districts in California.
The school board and Superintendent Dr. Mike Matthews have developed an educational vision that includes six key goals for MBUSD. They inform our decision making for the district in 2012 and beyond. These goals are:
Focus on Academic Strategies – We will focus on key areas of learning using data to guide instruction; checking for understanding; and emphasis on literacy, 21st Century learning techniques (including our iPad pilot), and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Clearly the teacher in the front of each classroom is crucial to student success, and we are fortunate to have an outstanding teaching staff to implement these strategies.
Budget and Finance – We are successfully integrating our new district chief financial officer Rick Bagley into our management team. Rick is already playing a key role in implementing our goals of financial transparency and responsibility while maximizing student achievement. While doing all of this, Rick is integral to managing the Measure BB construction project at MCHS, which broke ground this month.
Communications – We are using multiple means of technology to increase and expand communications to all of our key constituents including teachers, parents, students, support organizations and the entire community.
Mira Costa Excellence – A comprehensive high school is one able to offer a broad and deep range of courses, extra-curricular activities and athletics. MCHS is just that. This goal is achievable notably due to our size but also the dedication of Costa’s administration, teachers, staff, and many support organizations. We are focused on recognizing the achievements at MCHS, increased communications, articulating with our K-8 schools, and supporting students through the complex master scheduling process.
Student Support Strategies – We want to be sure we support all students at MBUSD: those with diagnosed special needs, gifted and talented learners, high achievers, and every student in between. In order to fulfill this goal we are focused on optimizing our student counseling efforts and keeping class sizes small in critical courses while utilizing academic techniques and programs for students needing additional attention. The parent community has asked what resources there are for the “middle” students at MBMS and MCHS. This goal was created with this constituency in mind and represents about 25% of our secondary school student population and benefits our entire student population as well.
Facilities, Technology, and Equipment – Due to the budget constraints of the past years, we have been careful in our non-academic spending. However, we recognize that the physical plant of the district is important to the academic experience. We have documented a list of improvements that we intend to achieve over the years. Some of the key areas include our Mira Costa field space, wireless capacity, information technology as well as basic maintenance and improvements of our capital assets.
All of us on the school board appreciate the community support for our schools and the honor of serving Manhattan Beach. We are committed to the continued and increased success of MBUSD.
We wish you a healthy and happy 2012.