Friday, December 18, 2009

Make a Commitment to Birney!

Hi All,

This is to announce that we have formed several new committees. Many will be meeting over the next month or so. You do not have to be on a committee to help out or participate in an event, but anyone willing to step up and help with the planning will be greatly appreciated. For the event committees, specific volunteer opportunities will also be available as we get closer to the date of the event. Please either contact or one of the committee chairs listed below.

Garden Committee
The Birney Garden is an amazing asset and something we should all be proud of. Shelley and Stephanie are doing their best to hold things together, but really desperately need help from Birney parents who can help with watering and caring for the garden and figuring out ways to make the most of our valuable resource. Check out the winter harvest and help in the garden during winter break on the second Saturday of January, January 9th, 9am-12pm. The Garden Committee will meet from 11am-12am to pin down our next steps. Contact Stephanie and/or Shelly at for more information.

Rummage Sale Planning Committee
Our annual Rummage Sale is schedule for February 27. If you'd like to help with the planning, please contact Susie Villareal at The Rummage Sale Committee will meet at Susie's house on Thursday, January 14. Susie will forward more information and details to anyone interested in joining.

Political Action Committee

The current budget crisis is threatening to jeopardize many of the programs that make Birney such an amazing place for our children to learn. Come find out how we can start to mobilize Birney families to fight these cuts. If you're interested in helping, please contact Laura Dadmun at The Political Action Committee will meet at my house on Thursday, January 7. Laura or I will forward more information and details to anyone interested in joining.

Business Relations/Development Committee
Our local businesses have resources that we haven't taken advantage of as well as we could. This committee will start to open the lines of communication with the business community and find out how to tap those resources for donations and expertise. If you are interested in getting involved with this effort, contact and include a few dates and times you might be available to meet.

Passport to Adventure Planning Committee
The Passport to Adventure, our international fair, is planned for June. Our first event was a great success, where we featured six different countries with booths highlighting their history, customs, art, culture and food. The first order of business is for each grade-level to select their featured country. Further planning will begin after the Rummage Sale. If you are interested in helping out or offering suggestions for countries we might highlight, please contact Michelle Livermore at

Thanks for helping to make Birney such a great place for our kids to find their passion for learning. Every time you take the opportunity to engage in the events at Birney, even in small ways, shows your children how important their educcation is to you all.



Monday, December 14, 2009


Don’t let Sacramento balance the state budget on the back of our kids’ education again. Get involved and make your voice heard! Go one of to: and click on “budget crisis” on the right of the page. Then do one or all of the following:

• Click on “Budget Reports,” or “State Budget Information” (left side of the page) and educate yourself

• Click on “Budget Blog.” (left side of the page) Share your ideas and read others’ ideas.

• Click on “What can you do?” (left side of the page) and call or send and email to any or all of the legislators listed telling them education funding as a means to balance the state budge is OFF LIMITS this time

Join the Birney PTA!

• Download and Sign the form letter in English or Spanish and either mail it to your state legislator or drop it in the box marked “letters to Sacramento” in the office and we will mail if for you

Race to the Top Funds
This is an Obama Administration initiative. It is a competition among states to secure stimulus money for education. To qualify, a state must implement certain educational reforms, including merit pay for teachers.

On Friday, December 11, the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill ABX5 8 which is designed to make the reforms necessary in order to compete for up to $700 million dollars. ABX5 8 was sponsored by Julia Brownley, (D-Santa Monica) and her bill won out over Gloria Romero’s (D-East Lost Angeles.)

Romero’s bill, supported by Governor Schwarzenegger, charter school advocates, the California NAACP and some Latino legislators, would have maintained much of the freedom of charter schools to serve as “laboratories” for educational methods and gave parents more power to trigger reforms in schools they deemed unacceptable. Brownley’s bill, which passed, is supported by the California Teacher’s Association, the California State PTA, the Association of California School Administrators and the California Federation of Teachers, among others.

Governor Schwarzenegger said in a press release the if Brownley’s bill reaches his desk in it’s current form, he will veto it. The bill could be in the Senate for consideration as early as next week.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Women's Basketball Time Again

Spread the word!

Basketball season is off to a great start! SDSU's Women's team has been great so far and their schedule gets even more intense over the next month. Coach Lord will be getting free tickets to all the home games.

She still has several available for the first two games (12/8 and 12/11) and be taking orders for the remainder of the season. Besides just being a great time, this year SDSU is promising $1,000.00 to the school that sends the most students to the games throughout the season -- we actually had the highest number last year so we have a shot at the prize. Get on your black and red, hit the Mesa and help cheer on the girls to a successful season!

The home schedule for the next month is as follows:
  • 12/8 Aztecs vs. Pepperdine @ 7:00pm
  • 12/11 Aztecs vs. Long Beach State @ 7:00pm
  • 12/28 Aztecs vs. Wake Forest @ 5:00pm
  • 12/30 Aztecs vs. Valparaiso or Auburn @ 5:00pm or 7:00pm (check the website!)
  • 1/9 Aztecs vs. Wyoming @ 2:00pm
  • 1/13 Aztecs vs. UNLV @ 7:00pm
  • 1/20 Aztecs vs. Utah @ 7:00pm
Contact Coach Lord ( if you are interested in tickets or more information.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Information about Dec. 3 Town Hall Budget Meeting

Dear Birney Parents,

I am writing to you as a fellow parent to urge you to join me in attending a very important meeting about budget cuts for San Diego City Schools. The meeting will be held on December 3 at 6:30 at San Diego High. The message from the District is clear: there are more drastic cuts than last year on the way, somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 million dollars' worth.

Parents, we need to make sure our voices are heard and our childrens' education is preserved by attending this meeting and demanding that any cuts made are thoughtful, fair and do not come at the expense of kids in the classroom.

Here are just some of the cuts being considered:
• Reducing kindergarten from full day to half day ($17.6 million)
• Eliminating all magnet programs and transportation for magnet children ($9.8 million)
• Eliminating all 9th -12th grade sports ($3.1 million)
• Eliminating all librarians ($4.9 million)
• Eliminating all visual and performing arts programs ($4.3 million)
• Reduce central office staff ($9.3 million)

In addition, cuts or changes which require negotiations with the Teacher's Union are:
• Eliminating double benefits when both spouses are district employees ($2.4 miliion)
• Increasing insurance co-payments from $5.00 to $20.00 ($14.94 million)
• Requiring district employees to pay the difference between Kaiser and Pacificare health insurance premiums (the District currently pays the entire amount of either premium and would continue to pay the Kaiser premium in its entirety) ($10.47 million)
• Increasing class size to 30 in kindergarten through 3rd grade ($14.2 million)
• Freeze authomatic "step and column" pay increases ($18.9 million)

While it is inevitable that cuts will have to be made, we as parents must make sure the District knows we expect all parties to share the pain. While we as parents may have to consider paying some amount for magnet bus transportation or extracurricular activities, district employees may also have to "do less with more" by eliminating central office staff or vice principal positions, and teachers may have to pay a larger but still reasonable health insurance co-payment and premiums and forgo pay increases.

Please join me at the December 3 meeting and make sure the District hears our concerns loud and clear.

Thank you,
Laura Allan-Dadmun

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Ideas for the Bees!

Stuck on what to buy your Birney Bee?

The PTA has some great items available for you
at Cafe Press. Download the Christmas Flyer and check out all the fun stuff.

A portion of the proceeds benefit the Birney PTA.

Monday, November 16, 2009

December 4 - A BIG day!

Just a reminder that what a big day December 4 is.

Student Awards:

3-5th Graders 9:15-10:00 a.m.
K-2nd Graders 2:30-3:35 p.m.

Family Friday a great time to check in with your child's class and teacher
Auditorium visit with Ms. Amanda at 2:30
Classroom visit at 3:00
Concessions sold by the PTA at 3:35 - 4 p.m.

And for those who don't want the fun to end...
December Nights at Balboa Park
December 4- 5.

For information on other Holiday activities. Check out the Top 11 Holiday Picks.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Family Gardening at Birney

Mondays 3:35-5:00 Nov. 9 & 30
1st Saturdays 9:00-12:00
Nov 7th, Dec 5

Come help and learn in the garden, and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of our labor!

We need to move a compost pile before wet weather! Composting, mulching, weeding, planting, bug hunts, gardening songs….and cooking with our garden food.

Students, please come accompanied by an adult. Garden Club hasn’t started yet- watch for it in January!

On 11/7 or 11/9, you can bring a favorite salad dressing for garden slaw, and a container to take some home!

Come for all or part of the time and dates! Every bit helps!

Check out the Garden Blog:
If you can help with a classroom garden or with other aspects of the Garden and Club, please contact: or call 619.884.9265

Friday, October 16, 2009

BEES Fall Fundraiser

Catalogs for this year's fall fundraiser went home with this week's Buzz. Uncle Jerry's T's offers over 150 reasonably priced items to choose from and includes something for everyone. Please help make our sale a success by showing the catalog to your family, friends and co-workers. A .pdf of the catalog is attached, for your convenience.

In addition to a few smaller prizes, students can choose ONE FREE ITEM from the catalog for every 12 items they sell. All orders are due by October 30, 2009. Please make sure there is a payment for each order, and remember to include sizes with T-shirt orders. Checks and money orders should be payable to Birney PTA. Orders will be delivered during parent-teacher conferences, November 16-20.

If you have any questions, please send us an email or contact Samantha at 619.584.1802.

Thanks for your support and participation!
Birney PTA

Please remember: safety comes first--never sell to strangers. Oh, and have fun!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Double Points for the Month of October

Be sure to bring in your coke codes or submit them online this month. The whole month of October, Coke Rewards is offering double points. Check out this pdf flyer to see how to do it. It's easy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picture Day

Clean up the kids...
Friday is Student Picture Day.

Why reading is important.

Marivi, mom of 2nd grader Sofia, sent us the following link as an example of why she reads to her daughter and thought we should share it with all of you. Enjoy!
Indigo Love of Reading Fund video

Friday, September 25, 2009

International Peace Day Celebrated

Wow! It is not hard to find reasons to love Birney.
On Monday, September 21, the students at Birney made a human peace sign on the playground. What a perfect way to celebrate the day and to show us that if we work together, beautiful things can happen. The kid are putting out the challenge for all of us to practice peace - EVERYDAY!
For more information about the Day of Peace check out International Day of Peace or for more information on how Birney celebrated it, go to our Birney Web site.


Monday, September 21, 2009

escrip Back-To-School!

If you shop at Von’s, please consider signing up for the eScript program and choosing Birney. eScrip is currently running their 10% Back to School program. Even if you haven’t signed up yet, you can bring in your receipts or go to the eScrip website and Birney will receive credit for your shopping trip. Look at the bottom of your receipt for details.

Visit to register so Birney will benefit all year long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to School Night - Sept. 24

Dear Birney families,

Thank you for your help in making the beginning of our new year so smooth. Our office staff and support staff have worked so hard to get our year running, but without your cooperation, we wouldn’t do nearly so well.

I look forward to meeting many of you at our Back-to-School Night. Our evening will go as follows:

5:30-5:45: meet and greet on playground, presentation of staff by auditorium

5:45-6:15: 1st classroom presentation

6:15-6:25: change rooms, stay and ask questions or visit the information tables on the playground

6:25-7:05: 2nd presentation

The two presentations will be the same; it is our way of accommodating families with more than one student in different classrooms. You are certainly not required to attend both if you don’t need to.

There will be several tables set up on the playground with lots of information about our school, please stop by.

Thanks PTA for providing refreshments as always!
Ms. Amanda

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Birney totally rocks!

What a great school!
See for yourself at
Birney grew by 92 points on the API.
Met ALL targets. And all while providing a kid-friendly, engaging curriculum, including art, Spanish, and so on.
We have the BEST TEACHERS and the greatest families!
We made the most growth we have EVER made.



Friday, September 11, 2009

Family Yogurt Night

Enjoy Summer and Support the PTA
Join Us Wednesday, September 23
for Family Yogurt Night
at Fiji Yogurt.

50% of all sales that are accompanied by the flyer
(which can be downloaded by clicking here)

Fiji yogurt is located in the Ralphs shopping center on University.
Next to Big City Bagels and La Salsa.


Order Your Birney Sweatshirts & More!

For anyone interested in a Birney Bee Spirit item. We have mugs, hats, buttons and various items that have the Birney Bee Spirit Logo on them. These are great gift ideas for Teachers or for students or family members interested in showing school pride.

Check it out at Birney Bees.

My Coke Rewards for Birney Elementary

Birney Elementary and My Coke Rewards

Help us earn points so we can purchase items for the school.

Here is how to participate: (download the step by step instruction sheet)
1) Go online to and register
2) Fill out all pages of the registration form
3) Once finished registering, click on Enter Codes
4) Enter the code numbers located either in the inside pull flap on any 12 pack of Coke products or from the inside of the plastic bottle tops and hit submit. You can then enter additional numbers or click on done.
5) Go to back to the main page and click on My Coke Rewards for Schools
6) Enter the schools zip code 92103
7) Click on School Name
9) When the box open add in number of points and click donate, then confirm and click donate and then you are done.

Or if you want it to be really easy! Turn in your bottle tops and box numbers from your coke products to the Birney PTA Mail Box or hand them to us at any Family Friday and we will enter them for you.

If you have any other questions, contact us at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking for Information?

Look no further.
Click here to download the 2009-10 year information pack. Which contains 63 frequently asked questions about the school and the answers, PTA membership form, Birney Directory form, and a school calendar (to help you figure out which days the kids will have off, when the breaks are, etc.).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Dinner Night at Pizza Gourmet Express

Enjoy a nice dinner out and help support the Birney PTA assembly programs at the same time.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 • 11 am - 9 pm

4615 Park Boulevard • San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 546-7430

Come enjoy a fresh selection of Pizzas prepared to your specifications right before your eyes. Enjoy them baked in our high speed pizza ovens, or take and bake at home. If you are having meetings at work order take out. Teachers, get a group order together and enjoy some good food at lunchtime. Birney Elementary will get 25% of all food purchases. Discount does not apply to deliveries.

Let’s enjoy some good food and support field
trips and assemblies for our Birney students.

Download a copy of the flier here to take with you or send to a friend.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Hi All!

The new school year is almost here. Stop by the PTA table in front of the school on the first day of school for a cup of coffee and a donut. You can also pick up a map of the school, a list of frequently asked questions, and your '09/'10 PTA membership form. We'll be there to answer any questions you have about Birney or the PTA, or will point you toward someone else who can answer them for you.

We'll also have our usual table at the first Family Friday (9/11), with snacks and Birney T-shirts for sale.

Our first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 9/17 at 6:30. Past and present officers met over the summer and roughed out the calendar of events for the coming year, which we'll discuss, along with ideas for ways to support the teachers this year in light of their larger class sizes.

Finally, as most of you probably know, Birney prefers to provide it's students with all the supplies they need in the classroom. This year's supply budget has been cut by 25%, however, so while Amanda is confident they will still be able to provide students with everything they'll need, the school would still appreciate donations of generic supplies (see the list below, also available on the Birney website). If you happen to see great deals on school supplies when you're back-to-school shopping, you might consider picking some up to donate to the supply pool. I happend to find plain 2-pocket folders for a penny, so picked up 100, and also found elmer's glue sticks 2 for 25 cents, so picked up 48, enough for both my son's classrooms.

Enjoy the last week of summer, and we'll see you on 9/8!

President, Birney PTA


2010 School Supplies

At Alice Birney Elementary, we discourage the purchase of unique supplies for school, preferring that parents take the time to set up a special place for their child to study and do homework with all those special shiny things at home to motivate their child! We find when students bring unusual items to school, other students may be tempted by them.

If parents would like to donate to the “Supply Pool”, the following is a list of supplies we can ALL use EVERYDAY, without worrying that your neighbor has better stuff than you!

• Black and White wide-ruled composition books
• Elmer’s glue-sticks
• Ticonderoga #2 pencils
• Standard-ruled and wide-ruled 3-hole punched paper
• Manila letter-sized file folders
• Copy paper, white and colored
• Puff brand Kleenex
• 2-pocket plain colored folders for K-2 homework (over 24 same color if possible)
• Crayola brand colored pencils
• Blue and black felt-tip (ball-point) pens, medium point
• Clorox wipes
• 11/2 inch 3-ring white or black binders
• Post-it brand ‘stickies’

Friday, August 14, 2009

6th Annual ERAA Back to School Conference

Summer is almost over! If you can't wait to get back to school, the New ERAA Back to School Conference might be just the ticket.

Co-sponsored by SDUSD, several community groups and volunteers, the goal of the conference is to help parents and students become more knowledgeable, supportive and committed to academic achievement in our school district.

Some of the highlights of the New ERAA Conference are:
• Conference workshops for parents and students at all grade levels in the morning
• Every participant will be given a back-to-school backpack filled with schools supplies.
• A festival with exhibitors, free lunch, giveaways, and entertainment in the afternoon
• To register for the conference, click here:

Registration for the event is free, and includes a continental breakfast, parent/K-12 student workshops in the morning, a ralley, lunch, and an exhibition in the afternoon. Each student registered for the morning conference will receive a free backpack filled with school supplies. The San Diego Unified Council of PTAs will have a booth at the exhibition to promote the benefits of PTA membership.

Event: 6th Annual ERAA Back to School Conference
Date: August 22, 2009
Time: Conference 8:00am-12:30pm
Check In 7:00am
Festival 1:00 p.m.—3:00 p.m.

Location: Lincoln High School
4777 Imperial Ave
San Diego, CA 92113

Check out the Pazzaz website to register, and for more information, including a list of the morning workshops which should be available soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Danger: Swingset recall

Dear Birney Families,
Below is a letter from a good friend of mine who's son was killed while playing on an unsafe swing set. Please read and forward to anyone you know who may have one of these sets.
Be safe.
Michelle Livermore

Hi friends! As many of you know, I lost my son three and a half years ago to a senseless backyard swingset accident. Wesley was playing on a swingset that should have been pulled from the market in the mid 1970's when the first injury was reported. Instead, swingset manufacturers (knowing the design was a risk to children) continued to market and perpetuate this design in to backyards all over the country. As a result, scores of children have had horrific injuries--and my son is dead.

I have fought my guts out--along with Wesley's mother and sister and our families--to get this design banned from the U.S. market. And we have prevailed. Never again will the design be made. The fight was horrible. Swingset manufacturers (including the manufacturer who provided the Obama children with their new Whitehouse lawn swingset) fought us with personal attacks and campaigns that were tremendously painful--all for money.

We won. But it cost us much.

But there's another phase in the fight. A crucial phase. And I need you to join with me in helping me.

While we were successful in the ban--the truth remains that TENS OF THOUSANDS OF THE SAME TYPE OF SWINGSETS that killed our Wesley still remain in backyards all over the country.

That means that children are still at risk. And the CONSUMER PRODUCTS SAFETY COMMISSION refuses to issue a nation-wide warning so that parents who have this design in their back yards can make the necessary modifications to protect their children.

THE CPSC IS DROPPING THE BALL and WE MUST DEMAND THEY DO THEIR JOB AND ISSUE AN ALERT. Even when I first called the CPSC days after Wesley's accident, I got a shove-off and a huge reluctance to even look in to this case. I simply will NOT take no for an answer. No grieving parent would or should.

Start here:




If they do not do this soon---I will hold a national press conference to say that the CPSC is dropping the ball here. Their credibility is on the line. Remind them to reclaim it.

FRIENDS IN THE MEDIA RECEIVING this e mail: Please forward this story in to your own broadcasts and publications.

Reed Cowan

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our own flower...Mindy

For all of who appreciate the Birney Garden, here is a story worth watching. Our own expert and Victory Garden Creator Mindy in a short clip in the news.

We will really miss you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

End of School


Tomorrow is the last day of school, time has flown by and this year has be a great success. We accomplished tons and hope to do even more next year.
Below is a list of a few of the things that the PTA has done this year.
  • Halloween Playground Parade- distributed free ‘glow sticks’ to each child
  • Free Family movie nights (Spring and Fall), including free popcorn and lemonade for kids
  • Star party (gave away glow necklaces, lemonade and popcorn)
  • Free Family ‘bedtime stories’ night (lemonade and popcorn)
  • Student Awards celebration- distributed free ice cream to each child
  • Bi-monthly Family Dinner Nights at local restaurants (El Torito, Dimilles, Pick Up Stix, Pizza Gourmet Express)
  • Birney’s first annual “Passport to Adventure!” international festival
  • educational information, food, performance, and crafts for each of six countries
  • book exchange, and pet adoption to raise money for Ghana, raffle
  • Rummage Sale and Pancake Breakfast including free breakfast tickets for runner in the race for literacy and for special student performance
  • On going Ghana fund raising at some of the Family Fridays and send supplies to them
  • 9 Family Fridays
  • Fall Fundraiser selling Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies
  • Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
  • Concessions table for UHArts walk
  • Welcome donuts and coffee for the first day of school
I am sure there are other things, but the time and my mind seem to have gone.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank again all of the parents, teachers and friends who gave of the time and resources to make my year as PTA president a success. The kids are very lucky to have all of you. A Special Thanks goes to Samantha Boice, Susie, Villareal, Tom Richardson (my co officers) I could not have had a better group of people to work with. We did a lot and we had fun to. I have made many friendships this year that I truly cherish and I look forward to working with the PTA officers next year to make 2009-2010 an even better year.

Remember you the parents and teachers (and principal and staff) are the backbone of many programs that benefit our kids so please join again next year.

Michelle Livermore
Past PTA President.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thanks To All The Students, Staff and Families

I am constantly amazed by the generosity of our Birney Community.

Parents and teachers dug through the couches, car seats and change boxes, while the kids broke open their piggy banks to fill the tubs with hope. Kids in Ghana are VERY lucky to have our families on their side.

While I was dumping change into the machine at Ralphs, people came up asked what I was doing and added their own stories of Ghana along with the loose change in their pockets to the cause.

Everyone has been touched in a positive way by giving of their change and their hearts. This is a great example of what makes Birney a wonderful school.

Thanks to the week long efforts of our students, headed up by a dedicated staff, we raised about $688.00 dollars for the school and children in Ghana. We will continue to collect in the 2009-10 school year so save your pennies (and other loose change) and we will continue to give with a generous heart until those kids have the same advantages as ours. Loving people in their lives...

Thanks Again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pennies for Ghana

July 6 -10
Bring your extra pennies, dimes, nickels & quarters
to school to help raise money to build a school for our sister school in Ghana.
Each class will have a collection box.
Let's see who can raise the most for our friends in Africa.

The class that brings in the most change wins an extra five minutes of recess.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family Yogurt Night

Enjoy Summer and Support the PTA
Join Us Wednesday, July 1
for Family Yogurt Night
at Fiji Yogurt.

50% of all sales that are accompanied by the flyer
(which can be downloaded by clicking here)

Fiji yogurt is located in the Ralphs shopping center on University.
Next to Big City Bagels and La Salsa.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Movies in the Park Series

County Brings Back Popular Movies in the Park Series

More than 20 Free Movies at a Park or Pool Near You
San Diego, CA- Back by popular demand, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation has teamed up with the cities of National City, La Mesa, San Marcos, Poway, Oceanside and Lemon Grove to bring 20 movies to parks and pools this summer, making it the largest free movie event in the county.

"This is a great way to enjoy a free activity with your family while taking advantage of our great County parks," said Renée Hilton, Assistant Director of County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation.

The program kicks off June 19 with a showing of "Madagascar 2" at the Fallbrook Community Center and continues through September 26 with such box office hits as "Kung Fu Panda," "Night at the Museum 2" and "Wall-E, as well as classics such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "E.T." The movies will be shown in high-quality digital on a 28-foot inflatable widescreen specially designed for large audiences.

All movies are free, open to the public and begin at dusk. Some locations do have a parking fee. In addition to the films, families can enjoy great giveaways, games and healthy concessions at several of the events.

For a list of dates and locations, please visit, and click on Movies in the Park.

For a list of events at County Parks, click here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Movie Night - Kung Fu Panda

Don't Forget!
This Friday June 19, is the FREE movie night.

Kung Fu Panda
Sponsored by the Birney PTA
Bring the whole family and enjoy a night of fun.
Friday, June 19 - 7 pm
Admission is free.
Popcorn and Lemonade are free and various other concessions will be available for purchase. Movie starts at 7:15pm.

Bring your cushions or blankets to sit on,
chairs will be available.

Parents must stay with children.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Learning Activities

San Diego Unified School District
Parent Outreach and Engagement Department

Summer Learning Activities on the Web
Kindergarten • Elementary • Middle School • High School

How To Make Summer (Learning) Fun
Your students can be learning over the summer vacation with these fun activities from the web. School will soon be out and students will start summer
vacation. According to Dr. Harris Cooper, University of Missouri-Columbia, when students return to school after a long summer vacation, they've lost one to three months worth of learning. Students lose more in math than reading. How can parents minimize "summer learning loss" when their kids are not in school? Parents can engage students in a variety of fun activities to reinforce learning.

The Parent Outreach and Engagement Department has collected a variety of summer activities for students in grades K-12 to beat the heat and keep them busy and learning all summer long. In addition, schools may want to prepare summer learning packets for students to use at home. Families can visit the web all summer to find new activities posted weekly. Some activities are available in Spanish. Remember to keep it fun!

For more information email us at or call (619) 293-4431.
Available online June 10, 2009!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free entry to the Fair from San Diego Magazine

sponsored by San Diego French-American School

San Diego Fair: June 12-July 5

find out how your kids can get into the San Diego Fair for free any day you decide to go!

Special Days at the Fair:
  • Kids' Day, every Tuesday (June 16, 23 and 30). Special activities for the younger set, and all kids 12 and younger get free admission!
  • Seniors' Day, every Thursday (June 18, 25 and July 2) with fun activities and entertainment for people with a lot of life in them!
  • Día de la Familia, every Sunday (June 14, 21, 28 and July 5) with fabulous, lively, Latin-themed entertainment and activities.
  • Tuesday Taste of the Fair (June 16, 23 and 30) featuring $2.00 "tastes" of some of your favorite Fair foods.
  • Pay-One-Price Ride Days, every Wednesday and Thursday (June 17, 18, 24, 25, and July 1, 2). Buy a wristband, enjoy the rides all afternoon and into the evening.
  • PennySaver Value Days, every Friday (June 12, 19, 26 and July 3), featuring discount-coupon booklets packed with $500 in discount savings from over 60 Fair vendors. One booklet per Fairgoer, available at the admission gates.
  • Two Dollar Tuesday, (June 16) Admission is only $2! These special tickets are available only at Albertsons stores and will not be sold at the Fairgrounds.
Available this year, the Best Pass Ever is a season pass to the Fair - 22 days for just $22.00. The last day to buy the Best Pass Ever is Thursday, June 11, which is the day before the Fair opens. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Family Dinner Night Out!

Enjoy a nice dinner out and help support the Birney PTA assembly programs at the same time.

Tuesday, June 9 • 11 am - 9 pm

4615 Park Boulevard • San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 546-7430

Come enjoy a fresh selection of Pizzas prepared to your specifications right before your eyes. Enjoy them baked in our high speed pizza ovens, or take and bake at home. If you are having meetings at work order take out. Teachers, get a group order together and enjoy some good food at lunchtime. Birney Elementary will get 25% of all food purchases. Discount does not apply to deliveries.

Let’s enjoy some good food and support field
trips and assemblies for our Birney students.

You must bring in the flier when you order. Click here to download the flier.

Please pick up or make extra copies to share with friends and family.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rummage Sale and Pancake Breakfast

See detailed information about the Rummage Sale and Pancake breakfast posted earlier (below) on the blog or click here to download a pdf with all the information.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

San Diego Unified Swine Flu Outbreak Update

San Diego Unified Swine Flu Outbreak Update, April 28, 2009
This is an update to the San Diego Unified School District on issues related to the swine flu outbreak, as of April 26, 2009.

School's Open: All traditional calendar San Diego Unified schools are scheduled to be open tomorrow, Wednesday, April 30. Year-round schools are currently on Spring break.

Web Page: The district now has a Swine Flu page on its website. Updates will be posted there, along with good advice from health authorities on how to maintain your health through hand washing and other actions, as well as what to do if you catch the flu or a cold.

On The Phone:
Parents will be receiving a telephone message this evening about the situation. Check back tomorrow for a link to that message.

Normal Day: Absences for Monday, April 25, were slightly below average, with 4,271 students absent out of approximately 100,000 students; about 33,000 students are currently on vacation at year-round schools. On average, absences for this time of year are approximately 4,500. Figures were supplied by the district's Pupil Accounting department.

Wash Those Hands
: Principals have received and are posting "wash your hands" posters. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.

Health Official on Radio:
Dr. Wilma Wooton, San Diego County Public Health Officer, spent a half-hour answering questions about the outbreak on KPBS-FM

For More Information:
San Diego County residents can call the County of San Diego Swine Influenza Information Line at (858) 715-2250.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girls on the Run 5K

The 4th Annual 5K is on Mother's Day
Sunday, May 10, 2009
at 8am in Balboa Park

This year we will feature a 1.5 mile Stroller Roller to celebrate Mother’s Day. Please come have fun and support our young girls of San Diego!

Balboa Park - Corner of El Prado Street and Balboa Drive, near the Lawn Bowling Green
8am: Stroller Roller – 1.5 mile non timed fun run
8:30am: New Balance GOTR 5K – 3.1 mile non timed fun run on a 2 lap course

For more information, visit their Web site at Girls on the Run

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birney Elementary Rummage Sale and Pancake Breakfast

Spring cleaning time is upon us, so get through those closets, garages and junk drawers, and help raise money for Birney Elementary while you declutter your life. You have two great options for your treasures.
  1. Reserve a space to sell your wares
  2. Drop off your treasures for the PTA to sell at their table (which will raise funds to help the PTA sponsor assemblies and field trip for our students)
Families, Crafters and Artists Welcome!
This will be a community wide event, and we can only accommodate 50 vendors. Shaded spaces are approximately 9ft x 20ft, and are available on a 1st paid, 1st reserved basis only. Unshaded spaces are slightly larger (canopies are welcome). The Birney PTA will provide all advertisement prior to the event and pick-up of USABLE discards afterward!

There will also be refreshments available.

Starting on May 3 there will be a drop off bin
in front of the school in the mornings and after school until 5:30 pm.

The rummage sale and pancake breakfast will be held on the playground at Birney Elementary Saturday, May 30 from 6:30 am - 2:00pm (gates open to public at 8:00am)

To participate or for more information e-mail us at

Monday, April 13, 2009

Magic mile

Hey Bees!

We have 21 runners for the Magic Mile but we still need 11 to field a complete
team (and get the cool "Birney Bee" printed shirts). The application
deadline has been extended until April 15 so when you send in your taxes,
remember to go to and sign up to be one of the Birney
Bee runners. I will be on campus on May 1 and will have the t-shirts and
numbers available. If you can't make it up to Birney, look for the big,
yellow Birney Bee banner on the grass by the start of the race.

See you in May! Coach Lord

Friday, March 27, 2009

Meeting with Richard Barrera Board Vice President San Diego Unified School District

Wednesday, April 1
at 6:30 in the Auditorium

Richard Barrera, Board Vice President has graciously agreed to come an meet face-to-face with Birney parents, to hear their concerns about all the recent school district budget cuts. He will talk to us about how this will impact our school and our children.
  • Is the cutting of Magnet School busing your issue?
  • Are you upset about the possibility of loosing or having to share our principal?
  • Do you think we should have larger class sizes?
  • Should teachers be loosing their jobs or adjusting their benefits?
  • Are the Arts, P.E. and other creative and character building programs important to you and your child?
These are just a few of the things on the chopping block in this next round of cuts. When is enough, enough, when it comes to what our children are supposed to sacrifice? I know, I for one, am tired of education and special service programs always being the first option when it comes to state-wide budget cuts. Are our children less important? I think they are our most precious resource, they are the future and they needed to be treated as such.

If you want to have Richard address these issues, please come prepared to ask the hard questions. And even if you are afraid to stand up and ask the questions, just being there will illustrate to him that we as Birney parents CARE about these issues.

Read the post below to see what is going on, what is being cut and what may still be cut. Also check out the district website to read about the latest round of budget cuts. Then take this is our opportunity to tell him directly what you feel.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Message from Richard Barrera - Board of Education Vice President

On March 10th, the Board of Education took the required action to identify approximately $100 million in budget reductions for the 2009-10 school year. These actions were preliminary decisions that will be reviewed and finalized by the Board when we adopt a final budget in June. The Board is required by State law to adopt a balanced budget each year based on the available revenues we are given by the State of California. March budget actions met our legal requirement to report a financial plan to the County Office of Education that identified how the District will continue to manage our fiscal obligations.

Since making these preliminary budget cuts, the Board has heard from parents, teachers and others in our school communities with concerns about the dire budget situation and the cuts the state has made to K-12 education. All of these comments and suggestion are appreciated. We still have two more months until the district receives final funding allocations from the state that are needed to finalize our budget. That gives us all the opportunity to work together, parents, teachers and the Board, to fight for more school funding from the State of California.

The Obama Administration is sending stimulus money to California for education. It will not fill our $150 million budget deficit hole for the 2009-10 school year, but it may help mitigate some of the cuts. We are already looking at increased class sizes with fewer teachers and principals and less funds for transportation. In the worst case we could be looking at cuts to the arts, athletics and many other programs that we cherish.

Here are the problems:
  1. The State may try to hold up sending out the stimulus funds to local school districts because they are worried about the need to make more cuts to the state budget.
  2. San Diego Unified and other urban districts took a disproportionate hit in the last budget cuts and we need to make sure that we get our fair share of the federal stimulus money.
If you want to express your opinions about the cuts to educational funding, here are some options to consider:
  1. E-mail or call every legislator from the San Diego area and the Governor to tell them your concerns about cuts to education funding. We need a united San Diego delegation to pressure the Governor to release the money.

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Senator Christine Kehoe
    (916) 651-4039

    Senator Denise Ducheny
    (916) 651-4040

    Senator Dennis Hollingsworth
    (916) 651-4036

    Assemblymember Marty Block
    (916) 319-2078

    Assemblymember Lori Saldana
    (916) 319-2076

    Assemblymember Mary Salas
    (916) 319-2079

    Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher
    (916) 319-2075

    Assemblymember Joel Anderson
    (916) 319-2077

  2. Join a group of parents, teachers and concerned citizens to make a personal visit to a legislator’s office soon in San Diego.

  3. Sign a petition to support Stimulus Dollars for our schools. Visit to add your name.
Tell Sacramento:
  • Don’t hold up the stimulus money.
  • Our schools need the stimulus money now.
  • San Diego Unified got hit harder in the recent cuts than the average California school district. We want our fair share of the stimulus money.
  • The winning formula is for the state to allocate the stimulus dollars to schools with “50% to categoricals and 50% to revenue limits.”
Forward this email to your friends, so that we can take united action to Save Our Schools.

Thank you!
Richard Barrera
Board Vice President
San Diego Unified School District
Board of Education

It's Magic Mile time again!

If you are interested in signing your child up for one of San Diego's best kid events, go to and click on "Kids Magic Mile". That will take you to the team registration site. If you don't want to register on line, pick up a form from the front office and return to Coach Lord before April 3. The race is on May 2nd so your bib numbers and shirts will be available for pick up on May 1st at Birney or on the grass by the start of the race on May 2nd. All children that sign up for the race will receive a shirt, finishers medal, book and coupon for a free pancake breakfast at the Birney Rummage Sale and Pancake Breakfast. For those of you that like a challenge, I have also set up a team site for the 8K Race for Literacy. This run follows the 163 freeway from Balboa Park to downtown.

It's a great run for a great cause.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Native American Storytelling Program

Join Us!
Native American Storytelling Program

Come and see first hand how our friend Coyote lives.

WHEN: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 11 a.m.
Reservations required – seating is limited to 50. Make your reservations by calling (858) 513-4737.

WHAT: Come meet Cathleen Chilcote Wallace and her furry friends and hear all about Coyote and his adventures through Native American Storytelling. Guests will experience life as the coyote does through entertaining and enjoyable stories told by Cathleen and her group. Sound effects and costumes are sure to entertain even the youngest children so bring out the whole family to enjoy this special program. This is a FREE program that will be held at the Preserve Visitor Center, a one mile hike from the Goodan Ranch Staging area. Reservations required – seating is limited to 50.

WHERE: Goodan Ranch Center and Preserve, 16281 Sycamore Canyon Road, Poway 92064 (Thomas Guide page 1191, C-6). There is a one mile walk from Goodan Ranch staging to the Center – plan to arrive 30 minutes in advance. No vehicular traffic is permitted in the Preserve. Transportation can be arranged for those with disabilities by calling Park staff in advance.

Directions from Poway: From Hwy 15 take Poway Road to Garden Road. East on Garden Road to Sycamore Canyon Road. Right on Sycamore Canyon Road and travel ~ 2 miles to the Goodan Ranch staging area.

Directions from Lakeside: Highway 67 north to Poway Road. Turn left on Poway Road. Take Poway Road down into Poway. Turn left at Garden Road. Right on Sycamore Canyon Road and travel ~ 2 miles to the Goodan Ranch staging area.

WHO: County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation has coordinated this informative and entertaining program.

To make reservations and for additional information about this and future events at Goodan Ranch Sycamore Canyon Preserve, please contact park staff at (858) 513-4737 or visit

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pests at School - Pinworms and Lice

Pinworms are nothing to be afraid of. Like Lice they are a common in young children.

Naomi Krilla the school Nurse sent home information in the Birney Buzz last week. She recommends that you see a physician if you think your child has pinworms.

Check out this site to read about pinworms WebMD.

Below are some facts and also some preventative herbal remedies to help with both pinworms and lice.

If your child has a very itchy bottom; looks peaky; is unusually irritable, restless, or tired; has dark circles under the eyes, or suffers from diarrhea, constipation or both, suspect worms; they are epidemic in even the most exclusive schools and Birney is no exception. Recently, pinworms were diagnosed in two Birney Children. To be sure, look at your child;s stools and take a look at the anus an hour or two after the child falls asleep; you may see the tiny white thread-worms emerging to lay their eggs — a highly disagreeable sight.

If you are worried that your child may have been exposed, their are some herbal, non-toxic ways to treat them. There are plenty of foods that will eliminate worms just as successfully. They need to be taken first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, when they will reach the worms with maximum impact, undiluted by friendlier substances. Among foods worms hate (and similar to all the foods your kids hate) are garlic, onions, carrots, cabbage, lemon and pumpkin seeds. The stuff they especially love to thrive on is sugar in any form. Adjust your child's diet accordingly. Try any of the following remedies:
  1. A half-glass of carrot or cabbage juice taken fasting three ornings running, then repeated a month later.
  2. Pumpkin seeds chewed first thing in the morning; or they can be powdered and mixed with a little water.
  3. In the evening, slice an onion into a glass and cover with warm water. In the morning, bribe your child to drink it.
  4. Throughout the day, include plenty of raw garlic in salads, and add one or two of the foods unfriendly to worms.
  5. At bedtime, crush a clove of garlic and add a drop of he juice to a teaspoon of Vaseline ointment. Smear this around the child's anus. A drop fo pure lavender oil diluted in a couple of teaspoons of bland oil will have the same effect.
Check child's stool to make sure remedies have worked and repeat a month later.

Please remind your children to always wash their hands before they eat or after using the restrooms.

After three bouts with lice in Kindergarten, I am the most freaked out parent. But I found the best remedy is: Cetaphil - if your child has been exposed to Lice you will need to cover the child's head in this mild cleansing soap, straight from the bottle. Once covered you must blow dry it with a HOT dryer until it is dry or at least gummy, then put a shower cap on their head and let them sleep with the cap all night. In the morning rinse all of the soap out of their hair. If your child's head is already infested, Do the same procedure above for a couple of nights, but you must also comb through the hair completely every night with a nit comb (you can get the comb at any drug store). The nits look like very small dandruff that is stuck about 1/4 to 1/2 inch up the hair shaft. See this link for more LICE description of what to look for.

You MUST (I can't stress this enough) wash all bedding, clothes, hats, coats etc. in very hot water and a very hot dryer. Also, you must bag all their plush, stuffed animals up in garbage bags, tie (so no air gets in the bag) and leave them in the bags for 2 weeks. I thought I could by pass these steps and believe me, lived to regret it.

I must tell you that this all only information I have gathered on my own. If you have a bad infestation of either pest, please contact your doctor and/or Naomi Krilla the school Nurse.

Monday, March 16, 2009

PrimeTime Applications Due May 8

For all families interested in applying for
PrimeTime Extended Day Program
your applications must be postmarked between March 9 - May 8. Applications MUST be mailed. They can not be faxed, e-mailed or handed in. Send applications to:
Attn: PrimeTime
Birney Elementary
4345 Campus Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
To receive confirmation that the school received your application, you must provide a self-addressed stamped envelope with this application.

PrimeTime is free to all participating families. Is available before and after school.

You must fill out an application even if your child is already participating in the PrimeTime program. Your child must be enrolled at Birney in order to participate.

You can use one application for all children attending Birney. If you have children at different schools, you need to do an application for each school.

Applications are available on or at the school.
Applications in Spanish, Somali, Vitnamese, Taglog and Cambodian are also available online at

Notification of application status. You will receive no later than July 2, 2009. Notification will inform families of whether their child(ren) has been accepted to participate, placed on a wait list or not eligible for the before and or after school 2009-2010 PrimeTime program.

Accepted Students
Once notified of acceptance, the 2009-2010 PrimeTime Student participation Forms are required to be completed before your child(ren) can begin participating in the progam. Students with incomplete 09-10 forms may be disenrolled from PrimeTime. The PrimeTime/School will provide the forms.

Recommendations for Kindergarteners
Due to limited funding and student to staff ratio, it is STRONGLY recommended that kindergarten children enroll in a licensed child care program, rather that PrimeTime. Consideration may be iven to kindergarten students who have older siblings participating in PrimeTime at the same school.

For additional information regarding PrimeTime at Birney, call 497.3500.

Family Dinner Night is This Thursday!

Family Dinner Night Out at El Torito!
Enjoy a nice dinner out and help support the Birney PTA assembly programs at the same time.

Thursday, March 19
4 pm - 9 pm

Birney PTA will receive 25% of the proceeds on all sales of orders accompanied by the flyer being sent home in the Birney Buzz. Or you can download the flyer by clicking here. Please present the flyer to server when ordering or picking up your food.

San Diego - Mission Valley Location
South of the 8 Fwy., exit on Mission Center Dr.
445 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: 619-296-6154

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

St. Parick's Day Parade

In case you didn't get enough of Ireland at Birney Elementary's Passport to adventure...
The 29th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
March 14, 2009

Parade begins at 11:00 a.m. sharp! RAIN OR SHINE!
Celebrating Children's Services: Adoption - Fostering - Mentoring

6th and Laurel, Balboa Park
Samantha Boice's husband, Robert Hunt, will be manning tower 6, at the corner of Upas and 6th Avenue. Shanti Hofshi, who was so helpful in the Ireland booth at this year's Passport to Adventure will be riding in the parade as this year's Irishman of the year.

There are ton's of bands, dance troops, and organizations marching in this year's parade, plus a fun festival area and beer garden at 6th and Laurel that really swings into high gear after the parade ends, around 1.

Family Dinner Night Out at El Torito!

Family Dinner Night Out at El Torito!
Enjoy a nice dinner out and help support the Birney PTA assembly programs at the same time.

Thursday, March 19
4 pm - 9 pm

Birney PTA will receive 25% of the proceeds on all sales of orders accompanied by the flyer being sent home in the Birney Buzz. Or you can download the flyer by clicking here. Please present the flyer to server when ordering or picking up your food.

San Diego - Mission Valley Location
South of the 8 Fwy., exit on Mission Center Dr.
445 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: 619-296-6154