The Birney Buzz 11/04 & 05/2021

The Birney Buzz 11/04 & 05/2021
Posted on 11/05/2021



11/05/2021 Happy Guy Fawkes Day, Birney Bees!

In my home country of England, kids are excitedly putting the last touches on their 'Guy' and getting ready to burn him on top of the bonfire before the fireworks this evening.  Isn't it interesting how our celebrations vary around the world? England's fireworks celebrate the British government NOT getting blown up - yours celebrate getting rid of the British government!

You may have missed the little email that came from the district yesterday evening.  Here it is:

Students, parents, friends and colleagues:

After much consultation with our school leaders, we have decided to propose cancelling all classes next Friday, November 12, giving families the opportunity to focus on their own mental health and wellness. As a reminder, schools and district offices are already closed Thursday, November 11, to honor our military veterans. This proposed change would make Friday a non-instructional day.

The last 20 months of the pandemic have challenged all of us in different ways. We have heard from many parents and students that their mental health has suffered. Staff has worked tirelessly to provide the best learning environment for all students, while continuing to operate  in the middle of a pandemic. That is why we have decided to take the extraordinary step of providing every family with additional recovery time next week.  Some outstanding resources have been provided by our team to help families focus on their mental health and well-being at this difficult time. They are available on our website. Any final plan must be approved by the Board of Education at its meeting next Tuesday, November 9. We plan to propose the following recommendations - with additional information on childcare, food services, and scheduling available at the time of the meeting. Staff members should expect additional information before the meeting from their directors.

  • Students and staff will have a non-instructional day on Friday, November 12.
  • One instructional day will be added to the end of the year to account for this change.
  • We are currently working on childcare options for families who need support on Friday.
  • A reduced version of our school-day meal service will also be available.
  • Athletic playoff games will continue as scheduled with no change.
  • Additional details and final plan subject to Board approval next Tuesday, November 9.

Although we hope some families will take advantage of this additional opportunity to focus on their own health and well-being, we hope many will use this day to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. As you know, the federal government has recommended all school-age children get the COVID-19 vaccine, and San Diego Unified will require all students ages 16 and older to be vaccinated in order to continue learning in person. Please take advantage of this opportunity to get your whole family vaccinated next Friday, November 12. More information is available on our website at

While I will never turn down the opportunity to enjoy a 4-day weekend, I realize this is sudden news and may be inconvenient for many of you.  I will keep you posted on what 'childcare options' as well as meal service possibilities are proposed. The decision will be voted on by the school board, next Tuesday, but it is likely that Friday, November 12 is a non-instructional day not, as the email says, for our 'wellness' but instead due to labor shortages across the district.  The threat of gravely under-staffed schools caused by district employees calling out of work is what is truly behind this decision. Still, wellness is important, and if so many district employees are feeling the need for a mental health day to the extent that it would jeopardize a day of learning with sufficient supervision of students, perhaps this is the right choice, better than crowding students together due to lack of staff and jeopardizing their health.  

If the Board votes to close schools on 11/12, we will reschedule our make-up picture day.  That link in my last email was a dud - I am link-challenged.  So the code you need is FE122021, and you use it at using your email.  Their phone number is 1-877-515-1447.  You have all the information now!

Take care, have a great weekend, 

Ms. Amanda


11/04/2021 Hello Birney families and friends!

I can't believe it’s November already!  We are at the end of our first reporting period tomorrow, so teachers are gathering their evidence for the first report card and looking forward to your virtual fall parent-teacher conference with them. This is our first opportunity to spend some time with you to talk about your child – it is a very important meeting which I urge you to prioritize – open up your Zoom on time, prepare your questions, be responsive to what they show you, enjoy their positive comments and ask how you can support your child with their struggles. 

This next week we are celebrating Veteran’s Day with a school holiday – I hope you have a chance to rest with your kids and salute the veterans you know.  [SEE UPDATE ABOVE] The next day, Friday, November 12, IS A SCHOOL DAY for which we take attendance.  It is also make-up picture day with Jostens coming to retake pictures.  If you need to check the photos to make sure you like them or ask for a retake, the code can be accessed here on the flier.  You’ll need the code near the date to find your pictures. The next day, Saturday, November 13, we will have a one-day Scholastic Book Fair on campus, open to all of you to come browse and pick up some early holiday gifts, or celebrate your student’s fall report card.  More details to come next week.

Because of Veteran’s Day being a day off, our covid testing day was changed to Monday, November 8.  Students will be testing between noon and 3:00 pm.  Those of you who have been asking due to performances or other obligations that are requiring a negative test should have the results back in time.

Here is this week’s Birney Buzz, coming home in backpacks today or tomorrow!

Take care, Ms. Amanda


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