The SMMUSD Wave- April 2023
A Message from the Interim Superintendent
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
Our students and staff are fully engaged in learning and activities as we enter the home stretch of the 2023-24 school year. Our campuses are buzzing with indoor and outdoor academic and social emotional programs, concerts, theater, art shows, athletics, and more.
We appreciate the ongoing commitment and dedication of our teachers, staff, administrators and parents, in guiding students toward finishing the year strong. By the end of May all of our schools will have held their annual celebrations of learning Open House events.
As you will read in this issue of the Wave, we have many accomplishments to celebrate in SMMUSD! Our students are thriving academically and in extracurricular activities. Check the district and school websites to see what events are open to the public this spring.
Sum of Us Author Heather McGhee: In-person event 5.18.23
We are thrilled to partner with Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica to bring acclaimed author Heather McGhee to the John Adams Middle School Performing Arts Center on May 18, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. to deliver a keynote address. This free event is open to all parents, students, staff and community members. The event is part of the SMC Public Policy Institute 2023 Spring Symposium. More about the keynote is described in a story below. For more information about other SMC series programs, visit: https://www.smc.edu/community/public-policy-institute/spring-symposium.php
SMMUSD and DanzAlianza to Host Folklórico Dance Festival
SMMUSD will be hosting “México Mágico” a folklórico dance festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7, 2023, at Santa Monica High School, featuring more than 20 dance groups from throughout California, Colorado and Baja, California. We hope you can join us for one or more of wonderful planned events! Read more
Covid-19 test kits
We are thankful that Covid cases are down in Los Angeles County and throughout the country. We would like to remind families and staff that we do continue to make free test kits available at all school sites and offices upon request. Please contact your school site to make arrangements to pick up a test kit if you have symptoms or were exposed and would like to test.
Safe storage of firearms
Concerns about school shootings are on our minds following several tragic and unsettling incidents in the last few months. I am taking a moment to remind everyone about an important firearms safety law. California law requires that parents and guardians be responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of children by storing and securing firearms in a safe and secure manner, or face liability in an incident. We issued a letter with details of the law in January that includes safe storage recommendations.
The final weeks of school are critically important to student success. We appreciate the commitment of parents to ensure that your child(ren) attend school daily, arrive on time and are ready to engage in learning. Enjoy all the spring school activities!
Mark O. Kelly, Ed.D., Interim Superintendent
You can read prior Superintendent Messages here.
“The Sum of Us” Author Heather McGhee to Deliver Keynote Address at SMC Public Policy Institute 2023 Spring Symposium
This event is co-sponsored by SMMUSD, Santa Monica College, City of Santa Monica and the SMC Associated Students. The event is free and open to the public. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation available. Please RSVP.
Read more here.
Santa Monica Wine Auction - May 7, 2023
Support programs for all Santa Monica students! Attend the 8th annual Santa Monica Wine Auction! This event supports the Santa Monica Education Foundation's mission to invest in a vibrant educational experience for Santa Monica's public school students. Sunday, May 7, 2023, Fairmont Miramar Hotel. 5 p.m., general admission; 4 p.m., early access.
Indulge in fine wines, great food, auctions and entertainment! Support #SMMUSD schools and students! Tickets: https://bit.ly/SMWA-2023. Don't miss it! https://www.smedfoundation.org/
The Cereal Design Project at Webster Elementary School
Tedd Wakeman, principal of Webster Elementary School in Malibu, reimagined and rebranded the typical school “open house” into an “Exhibition of Student Learning” focused on student-led discussions about their process of learning through integrated and engaging projects. The exhibition was held on March 30, 2023 and featured an array of project-based learning (PBL) projects completed by students.
Each grade level and a few individual teachers in some cases took on a theme and planned a two-month deep dive, integrating math, science, communication literacy and social studies through engaging activities. The students of Kristina London and Juanae Johnson’s fifth grade classes, focused their projects on “the Cereal Design Project.”
Read more about Webster’s Exhibition of Student Learning here: https://bit.ly/CerealDesignPBLWebster.
Samohi PBL Student Nominated to Congress of Future Medical Leaders
SMMUSD would like to congratulate Fatima-Numa Shabih, a 10th grader from Santa Monica High School’s (Samohi) project-based learning (PBL) pathway, for her nomination to be a Delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders. The three-day congress is set to be held in June at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus.
Read more about Shabih’s nomination here: https://bit.ly/FatimaShabih-FutureMedCong.
Malibu Elementary School Graduates Carry on Tradition with Funding New Library Mural
Leaving a lasting legacy! It has been a long-running tradition for graduating classes at Malibu Elementary School to leave a token of appreciation behind before starting their new chapters. With money raised by Malibu Elementary School’s graduates of 2022 a new library mural was designed and created for current and future students to enjoy.
Read more here.
SMASH Students Artwork Featured at Santa Monica History Museum
As part of the Autry Classroom Curators program at the Autry Museum of the American West (the Autry), the sixth grade students of Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) were given the unique opportunity to take part in the “What Makes Santa Monica Unique” exhibit, which was displayed at the Santa Monica History Museum. The exhibition was a student-led project that included research, audience surveys, community interviews and object collection.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/SMASH-SMHMExhibit.
Samohi Senior Among 30 Seniors throughout SoCal to Receive $50,000 STEM Scholarship from SoCal Edison
Congratulations to Santa Monica High School senior Danny Chmaytelli on being among 30 high school seniors throughout Southern California to receive a $50,000 scholarship from Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Additionally, Chmaytelli will also get an opportunity for a paid summer internship with Southern California Edison
Read more here: https://bit.ly/Samohi-EdisonSTEMScholarship.
Malibu High School Students Featured in Malibu City Art Exhibit
Round of applause to the 63 amazing Malibu High students who had their work featured in the 2023 Student Art Exhibit in Malibu. The annual art show is coordinated through the city of Malibu and features work from students in transition kindergarten through high school
Read the Malibu Times article here.
Students Form Robotics Team and Compete in FIRST Tech Challenge SoCal Regional Championship
SMMUSD would like to recognize the students who formed the robotics team, SaMoTech Robotics, and competed in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge SoCal Regional Championship.
Amazing job SaMoTech!
Read more about SaMoTech here: https://bit.ly/SaMoTechRobotics.
Box Office Must Sees
JAMS-SMASH Theatre Presents Grease!
The John Adams Middle School (JAMS) and Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) theatre presents “Grease.” The show will run April 28-30 at the JAMS Performing Arts Center. Tickets with reserved seating are available at http://www.jamstheatrecompany.com/. With 110 student participants, this show cannot be missed. Get your tickets now!
Malibu High School Theatre Presents The Spongebob Musical
The Malibu High School (MHS) Theatre presents “The Spongebob Musical.” The show will run April 28-30 at the MHS Theater. Tickets can be purchased at https://malibuhs.booktix.com/pal/11/3c7a8d5e468524. This production is extra special because MHS Theatre Director, Jodi Plaia, is retiring after 21 years of teaching at MHS. She has directed 62 consecutive productions in Malibu since 1996. Get your tickets now!
SMMUSD on the GO!
Samohi Track Breaks Two School Records
Congratulations to the Samohi Track team who during spring break broke two school records. The Samohi Boy 4x2000 meter relay team of Dylan Hanvey, Gus Reyman, Spencer Hotch and Lucas Milk broke the record at the Arcadia High Invitational and at the Mt. SAC Relays. The Samohi Girls 4x800 meter relay team of Cleo Topp, Matilde Martinez, Phoebe Benun, and Claire Kovac dropped the school record at the Mt. SAC Invitational. If they get top four they will compete at state.
Malibu Middle and High School Choir Participate in Aloha State Choral Festival
The Malibu Middle and High School Choir participated in the Aloha State Choral Festival in Hawaii. The week-long festival gave the choir the unique opportunity to learn from and perform with world renowned musicians, as well as perform with other participating choir programs. Kudos to choir director Krysta Sorensen and all the choir students
Malibu High School Orchestra Performs at Carnegie Hall
The Malibu High School (MHS) orchestra and MHS orchestra director, Dr. Maia Zander, traveled to New York and performed at the famous Carnegie Hall. In addition to practicing and having a spectacular performance, the students spent the weekend exploring the city, visiting the MET museum, Times Square and even attending the Aladdin Broadway show.
Samohi Choir goes to Seattle, Comes Back with Numerous Awards
Under the direction of Samohi Choir teacher, Jeffe Huls, the Samohi Madrigals, Chorale and Chambers singers traveled to Seattle and came back with numerous trophies, plaques and individual performer awards, including several first place awards. Kudos to Huls and all the students.
Malibu Middle School Host Epidermolysis Bullosa Fundraiser
The students of Malibu Middle School came together to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit organization, the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation (EBMRF). The fundraising drive raised $6,021!
The SMMUSD Spotlight
Owen Purcell, Samohi PBL and CTE Student
Meet Owen Purcell! Not only is he part of Santa Monica High School’s (Samohi) first graduating project-based learning (PBL) pathway class, but he is also part of the first class of photography 3 students who are part of Samohi’s photography career technical education (CTE) pathway. Taking what he has learned in his PBL and CTE classes along with his interest in drones, Purcell decided to specialize in drone photography and became a licensed drone pilot at the age of 17.
Read more about Purcell here: https://bit.ly/OwenPurcell-Spotlight
SMMUSD Plans Transition to 100% Renewable Energy to Reduce Costs and Decrease Carbon Footprint
Let’s go all in with 100% renewable energy! The Board of Education gave a unanimous thumbs-up to the SMMUSD running its facilities on 100% renewable energy. The school board approval was made on March 15, 2023 at the regular meeting.
SMMUSD is on a sustainable path and has maintained its commitment to educating, implementing and promoting sustainability, however, there is still more work to be done to reach the 100% renewable energy goal.
Read more here.
John Adams Middle School Building Futures
The SMMUSD is completing its extensive modernization projects at John Adams Middle School (JAMS) and preparing to start new construction projects. From renovating classrooms with state-of-the-art technology to upgrading and modernizing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, changes in every corner of the school can be seen and experienced. SMMUSD is in the process of transforming JAMS into a progressive, cutting-edge campus for 21st-century learning.
Learn more about upcoming projects here.
SMMUSD Considers Purchase of Civic Auditorium
SMMUSD is considering purchasing the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and transforming it into a competition gymnasium and event space for Santa Monica High School (Samohi).
The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 1855 Main Street is a multi-purpose convention center and is owned by the City of Santa Monica. The Civic Auditorium has a storied past and is a historic landmark. It was built in 1958 and used in a variety of ways for concerts, exhibitions, sporting events and as the host of the Academy Awards. It has a seating capacity of 3,000. The building has been vacant since 2013, due to seismic issues, and was designated as “surplus” land in 2022.
If purchased by SMMUSD the District will continue the historic traditions of the storied Civic Auditorium in creating a community centerpiece for concerts, sporting events and community gatherings.
Learn more here.
SMMUSD Campus Environmental Impact Community Meeting Held for McKinley Elementary
The SMMUSD held an in-person community meeting in mid-April at McKinley Elementary School. The District received feedback at the meeting from parents, students, staff and members of the community regarding the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, the Initial Study (IS) and the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for planned facility improvements.
For more information visit:https://bit.ly/McKinleyCEQA2023.
Events & Important Dates
May is Mental Health Awareness Month - check out the LA County panel series
May 2, 2023 - District Annual Art Show - Secondary schools @Samohi
May 6-7, 2023 - Folklorico Dance Festival
May 16, 2023 - Malibu Middle and High School Spring Band Concert
May 18, 2023 - Malibu Middle and High School Spring Choir Concert
May 29, 2023 - Memorial Day (Schools and offices closed)
June 1, 2023 - Malibu Middle and High School Spring Orchestra Concert
Download our mobile app
Let's Talk: Compliments? Concerns? Suggestions? Comments? Questions? Wave story ideas?
Not a parent or staff member? Join our Community Email List to get all SMMUSD communications, news and superintendent messages!
The SMMUSD Wave is published monthly by the SMMUSD communications team: Gail Pinsker, Community & Public Relations Officer; Diana Bouchaaya and Esmi Careaga, Communication Specialists. Do you have news or interest stories about our students, programs or staff? Please share through Let's Talk.
The SMMUSD Wave:
2023 Winner of the Award of Excellence by the California School Public Relations Association