The Birney Buzz 10/11/2021

The Birney Buzz 10/11/2021
Posted on 10/11/2021

Birney Buzz Monday October 11

Hello Birney families! Another whirlwind week last week led to my not sending this out till today. Here is your copy of the student newsletter , so if you need to click on links and such you can. We are scheduling school picture day on Friday, October 22. Click to review the details here.


We are extending the fall fundraiser for another week so we can reach our goal of $20,000. We are currently close to $15,000. Remember, you can either participate through Boon Supply or go directly to the Foundation website to donate, where 100% of your funding will benefit our Specials program of Spanish, Art, Garden and – new this year – Dance for grades K-3. For more information about the Foundation and PTA, along with our fundraising for the year, go here.   

Click the following links for more information
Donate NOW
Boon Supply
Welcome to Birney's Fall Fundraiser
Click for prize information and more


During the month of September, our school experienced a higher than usual rate of vandalism in the bathrooms. It turns out that this was a response to a Tiktok challenge which directed students to trash bathrooms and upload a video of the same to Tiktok. Social media is always there for all of us, both adults and students, these days. Most of the time it entertains. However, this school challenge includes many highly inappropriate, even criminal, suggestions (slap a school staff member (assault), jab a breast (also assault), etc. Parents and students need to know that any Birney student, or anyone related to a Birney student, who attempts to carry out any of the suggestions in the challenge will receive consequences as expected. We will investigate student actions and any students found to have committed any of the actions will be suspended, at the very least. Anyone not a student at Birney but still related in some way will be reported to either School Police or San Diego Police. 


Some of the vandalism we witnessed was uploaded to the Tiktok platform using a cell phone during the school day. The student who was using a cell phone during the school day violated school and district rules. Cell phones are everywhere these days, and we understand that your student needs to be able to communicate with you before or after school. Regardless, during the school day, when the teacher is in the supervisory role in your place, the phone isn’t needed and is, instead, a constant source of distraction. We prefer to maintain a safe environment by not exposing students to cyberbullying, unsafe content, the temptation to cheat on schoolwork, etc. We ask that parents assist us with enforcement of this rule – phones may not be used by a student during the school day, either in class or at lunch/recess. Phones should remain in the backpack, silenced, or turned off. If you are worried about a phone being safe in a backpack, you can also ask the teacher to safely store the phone during the day and ask that your child be able to retrieve the phone at dismissal. Students seen using their phone during the day will be asked to hand the phone to the adult and retrieve it at the end of the day. If it happens again, the phone will be confiscated, and an adult will have to retrieve it from school. 


Another indirect result of this challenge was the awareness that while students knew what was happening, they neglected to report it to teachers or myself, Ms. Amanda, until a few days had passed although they witnessed the vandalism. I can only think that the interruption of consistent daily school attendance, onsite, for so many months might have changed the school culture temporarily. The Birney students I knew before the closure of schools in March, 2020, would have reported such acts right away, the moment they happened, because they knew reporting would keep them safe. It will take time to mend our culture, the pandemic is still present in our daily lives in so many ways. In the meantime, parents could help us by having the conversation with their Birney student(s) about reporting things like bullying, name-calling, inappropriate behavior and vandalism to the nearest adult. The notion spread by a small number of voices in the upper grades that “Snitches get stitches” is contrary to what we need to do to keep our students safe and knowing that adults will respond appropriately and immediately when a child reports will address most of these troublesome incidents directly.


The Birney Behavior Handbook can be viewed as a more school-specific accompaniment to the district’s FACTS FOR PARENTS 2021-2022.  Our vision and rationale for the way we facilitate student behavior at Birney can be found there. Student behavior is an integral, explicit part of the IB PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program), which our school has belonged to for 12 years now. The IB Learner profile traits (thinker, communicator, inquirer, knowledgeable, principled, balanced, caring, reflective, open-minded, courageous) form the backbone of our school culture. We teach our students to act on what they learn, and having learned these profile traits since kindergarten, our students typically know when to report an incident which is detrimental or harmful to the students, staff or school.  In this case, many hours were spent cleaning up and fixing things in the bathrooms, which took time away from cleaning other areas of the school, including the classrooms.

Thanks for your support – happy 7th week of school, 31 to go!

Ms. Amanda

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