The Birney Buzz 09/10/2021

The Birney Buzz 09/10/2021
Posted on 09/13/2021

Birney Buzz Thursday 9/09 

Greetings to the Birney community, it has been a busy week with lots happening.  I will try to cover what you need to know concisely.  Happy Friday of the 2nd week of school – I am amazed seeing Kindergarten students happily go to their Specials classes this morning that we have accomplished so much!  Hats off to the wonderful Birney staff!

After-School Enrichment:  Our After-School Enrichment Program (ASE Schedule) -begins signing up next week. The schedule will include:

                Monday: Chess (K-5); Theatre (3-5, PrimeTime priority)

                Tuesday: Introductory Guitar (2-5), Heartlight Dance 

            Wednesday: Soccer (K-5); Garden (K-5)

            Thursday: Monart Drawing (1-5); Spanish (K-5)

I have linked to the fliers that I have received.  All fliers will soon be available through the PeachJar link on our website.  Prices, start/end dates and number of classes vary.  After-school classes will not occur during parent-teacher conference week (week of 11/15-11/19). 

After School Enrichment Schedule - gives you the websites for sign ups for after-school classes beginning soon

Fall Fundraiser Kickoff:   Our fundraising efforts run throughout the year and serve to support our IB Program, Specials and more.  The  Welcome to Birney's Fall Fundraiser about IB learning explains more about why we need to raise $350 per child to maintain our amazing programs.  The Fall Fundraiser runs from September 10th - October 8.   It is an opportunity to win prizes, get environmentally great stuff for your household AND help raise money for Birney! Materials are coming home in backpacks today.  Check outhe video to see how it works.  You’ll see information about the Fall Fundraiser at the gates while you’re waiting for your students.   All proceeds from the Fall Fundraiser support our IB program which means supporting Performing Arts, Spanish and Garden.

Parent Organization Guide 20212022  - tells you about the events on the schedule during a normal year, hoping we are back to normal soon

Back-to-School Presentations: Our Birney Back-to-School presentations are coming to your emails this weekend and will be posted on our website by Monday evening.  You will be able to access the presentations at your leisure over the weekend.  Teachers are eager for you to take in their information for back-to-school and for you let them know if you have any questions or concerns.  Although our preference would be to invite you all to school to meet the teacher and get a look at the classroom, see the students interacting and enjoy our wonderful environment – the complexity of these times prevent it.  Many teachers are planning to hold a Zoom meeting with parents soon so you can meet the person teaching your kids face to face, without a mask, instead of through the fence; we will share that schedule with you shortly.  Since we committed to ‘back-to-school’ for the second Friday of the school year, we wanted to get you the team’s basic information at that point. 

Elections at Birney: the Birney auditorium will be hosting the Special Election over the weekend through Tuesday.  Unfortunately, this will displace the SAY Program for a couple of days and will disrupt entry for both programs both morning and evening.  I also bring this to the attention of families using the main gate at entry and dismissal given that community members will be accessing the auditorium to place their votes. No voter will be allowed to enter the rest of the school. Please

LCFF information through Parent Portal:  Our federal funding depends on families completing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Information form through the Parent Portal.  This video should explain everything. Our school needs this information to help ensure we receive all the state funding to which we are entitled. It will not affect your child receiving free meals at this school as all children will have free access to meals this school year. The LCFF online form is available on the Parent Portal, and NOT on the student’s portal. Those of you who still have not signed on to the Parent Portal will receive another letter in your child’s backpack this afternoon to sign on. To create a PowerSchool Parent Portal Account, click here: English | Spanish.  To create a Parent Portal account, you will need: A valid email address and Access ID and Password from the school. Click here to access the Parent Portal If you do not have the Access ID and Password for your student, please contact the school to make the request. You will need an Access ID and Password for each student you wish to link to your account. Click here to sign into the PowerSchool Parent Portal.  Finally, here’s how you enter LCFF data in the PowerSchool Parent Portal. 

PTA membership – PTA membership is $10 for each year, if you joined last year, now is a good time to renew your member ship.  To join PTA, click here.

PTA and the Friends of Alice Birney Foundation – how do they work?  The Birney Parent Organization Guide has some really useful information as well as contacts.  If you are interested in volunteering, getting to know other parents, or more, this would be a good place to start.  To get on a volunteer list, email info@birneypta.com

COVID testing news: Thursdays are our appointed COVID-testing days.  This week was our 2nd time with the testers on campus.  This week we were able to test only about half of the students who have been cleared to test due to the fact that they ran out of tests and time.  Thank you for your patience with us as we smooth out this brand new process at school.  We did move the testing outside to the lunch arbor, which worked out well.  We will begin with the older kids next week since this week we began with the little ones.  Hopefully we will get all the ducks in a row by then. If you still haven’t opted in (or out) to the COVID testing you can do so  online here.  It takes a few days for the forms to clear and get on to the vendor’s lists.

Patience – the first two weeks of school have been different – while we usually celebrate attendance, instead we have seen record numbers of students sent home with covid-like symptoms. Some have had to return after 24 hours with no symptoms, others have had to provide a negative PCR test, others have had to quarantine at home for a variety of days.  The decision tree is complicated and confusing, because the variety and range of contexts for contact with covid are numerous.  Some staff members have been affected as well, either themselves or because of family members. While we usually celebrate the return to school with hugs, joyful reunions and a linking of parents with teachers on Family Friday, we are dusting off our Zoom links and passwords to resume remote communication due to the Delta variant.  I know this is hard on everyone and I thank you for your grace and patience – for this can-do, solution-oriented principal, it is excruciating having to say no to so many of you. 

Grace – the bottom line, for me, and what has stopped me from pursuing any alternative, is the contacts I have every day with these beautiful children.  They know what is right for them –coming back to school for them is a no-brainer - they wear their masks, they move 6 feet apart upon request, they tell me that this is better than learning from home, and they make every minute of my job worthwhile. And then there are my teachers and staff – even though this reopening is yet another challenging version of the real thing, they are rolling up their sleeves and making it work.  The magic of the classroom is alive and well – the excitement of the IB education at Birney is thriving, and although this is tough, we can and will make it work. Thank you for the grace you give us to keep trying. Thank you for making sure you uphold Birney’s safety measures by wearing your mask and distancing when you come up to school. 

Take care, remember a simple reply to this email gets you to my inbox with any questions or concerns,

Ms. Amanda

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