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

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Survey to Save Magnet Progams, Arts, Athletics!

Please take a minute to respond to this survey – we need your input to save magnet programs, the arts and athletics!

The Board of Education is seeking input from parents, students and the public on possible budget deficit solutions. In consideration of the collective bargaining process, this survey is not directed to employees represented by employee labor organizations. Click here to take the survey.
La Mesa Directiva de Educación busca sugerencias de parte de los padres, alumnos y el público sobre posibles soluciones al déficit presupuestario. En consideración del proceso de negociación colectiva, esta encuesta no está dirigida a empleados representados por organizaciones laborales para empleados. Haga 'clic' aqui para tomar la encuesta.
Thank you/Gracias.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Beauty and the Beast Ballet

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet Presents
Beauty and the Beast
Come watch this classic fairy tale come to life, as the search for the beauty within is told through dance. A beautiful pas de deux Beauty and the Beast, joyful village dances, and waltzing forest animals make this ballet a must-see for all ages!

April 3 at 7:00 pm
April 4 at 1:00 and 7:00 pm

April 5 at 1:00 pm

Tickets are $10-$15
purchase online:
or call 619.233.3060