University Height Urban Harvest Festival


The Friends of Alice Birney Elementary and the University Heights Community Association, celebrate urban gardening and community with our 3rd Annual University Heights Urban Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Trebuchet Toss on Saturday, November 7 from 12-4pm.

Volunteers Needed!
We need YOU and 99 of your friends! 
Go to TODAY and help make the Harvest Festival a success!
Custom Harvest Festival t-shirts available for purchase if you sign up by October 4th. 
Act fast, the first 20 people who sign up for at least 2 hours get a free t-shirt!

Vendors Wanted for Urban Harvest Festival
Interested in becoming a food or craft vendor? Email
More info available here

To order a limited edition 2015 University Heights Urban Harvest Festival t-shirt:
Click this link to make a one-time donation and specify in the notes section:

-women’s v-neck + size + best contact info (donate $15)
-men’s crew neck + size + best contact info (donate $15)

All orders must be received by October 9th.

T-shirts will be available for pick up at Family Friday on November 6th or at the Festival.
If you prefer to pay by check, download this form and place check and form in the FOABE mailbox in the school’s office.

A New Year

Welcome back, Birney Community!

The Birney Elementary PTA and Friends of Alice Birney Elementary (FOABE) are excited for another great year as we welcome back our students, parents, teachers, staff members and administrators for the 2015-16 school year.

The PTA has lots of events planned beginning with our Playground Play Date on Friday, September 18th at 6:30PM. We’ll bring dinner and playground monitors; you bring your kids and get to know other Birney parents while the kids run on the playground. The fun continues with such annual events as International Peace Day (9/21), Birney Day at the Padres (9/26), Family Dinner Nights, Star Party (10/2), Jump Rope for Heart (11/6), book fairs, the 52nd Annual Toyland Parade (12/5), Bedtime Stories (3/4), Staff Appreciation Week (5/2-6), the Kensington Memorial Day Parade (5/30), and the Passport to Adventure festival (6/25). Along with several free, family friendly events, the PTA raises money throughout the year to fund your child’s field trips, assemblies, and classroom supplies.

The Friends of Alice Birney Elementary (FOABE) raises money to fund Birney’s Spanish, art, and garden programs. We do this through such events as our upcoming University Heights Urban Harvest Festival on November 7th.  Other fundraising events for the year include Big Give (12/17), Run for the Green (3/11), and Parents’ Night Out (11/13 and 2/19). We also aim to work with community business sponsors to raise these funds, and we are always looking for innovative ways to do this. It takes about $160 per student per year to keep these “Specials” programs alive and to preserve our International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

The PTA’s website,, is chock full of info such as PTA meeting minutes, volunteer opportunities, email list sign-ups, forms you would pick up in the office, and information on all PTA activities. FOABE’s website,, provides you with info regarding events, ways to donate, a thermometer to show funds raised as the year progresses, lists of community sponsors, and much more.  We also provide parents with lots of great info regarding upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and other news from both parent organizations through our weekly eBlast.  Sign up to receive these information-packed emails via either website.

We welcome you to get involved and become an active member in our amazing community.  Perhaps your unique skills are just what we have been missing! Below are a few ways you can get started.

  • PTA Mtg. – 3rd Thursday each month – 1st meeting Thurs, 9/17 – 6:30pm – Auditorium
  • FOABE Mtg. – 2nd Thursday each month – 1st meeting Thurs, 9/10 – 6:00pm – Rm. 26
  • Family Friday – 1st Friday each month – 1st one is Fri, 9/11 – 2:30pm – Auditorium
  • Parents’ Coffee Connection – Last Friday each month – 8:30am – In front of school

Here’s to an amazing year,

Sarah McLure, PTA President

Beth Deig, FOABE President

End-of-Year Reflections

Dear Birney families,

The outgoing presidents of Birney PTA and Friends of Alice Birney Elementary (FOABE) wanted to offer a big end-of-year thanks to all members of the Birney community: students, families, teachers, staff, administrators, and community partners.

IB learners reflect, so we wanted to reflect on how much our community has achieved over the last two school years. We have come very far indeed thanks to all of your efforts. Two years ago, we did not have this weekly Birney News Digest to keep the community apprised of everything happening at Birney. We did not have a PTA website. Our roster of Birney traditions like Passport to Adventure, Run for the Green, the Toyland Parade, the Kensington Memorial Day Parade, Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week, Bedtime Stories, Parents Night Out, and Family Dinner Nights has expanded to include exciting new events like the University Heights Urban Harvest Festival and Playground Play Dates.

Who would have thought two years ago a Birney-built trebuchet would smash pumpkins into compost to the delight and cheers of Birney families? Who knew that hanging out on the playground after school would be so much fun? New programs, like Mission 2 Save, the School Smarts Parent Academy, the Foster Grandparent Reading Tutors, the Reflections PTA Art Contest, and Girls on the Run, have all thrived.

This year, FOABE hit our fundraising goal of $85,000 a month early. These funds allow Birney to maintain its IB status and also provide our teaching teams valuable collaboration time to help all the students at Birney. Our families also give their precious time to Birney. This year, families have spent more than 4500 hours volunteering at Birney. The dollar value of this time spent is $101,475, but the value communicated to your children is priceless. We do nothing at Birney without our dedicated volunteers and we thank everyone who has pitched in, no matter how big or how small the contribution. Everything is appreciated.

Both of us are excited to see new leadership moving forward; we both have small children and will still be around for a while to support Birney. Incoming PTA President Sarah McLure has spent many years behind the scenes as a major contributor to Run for the Green, Girls on the Run, and pretty much every other program at Birney. Incoming FOABE President Beth Deig created this Birney News Digest, co-founded and co-led the University Heights Urban Harvest Festival, and has spent the last year laying the groundwork for amazing things at FOABE. If they get half the support and help we’ve gotten from the Birney community, they will do amazing things.

All the best,
Kim Schultz, outgoing PTA President
Jennifer Ayala, outgoing FOABE President

San Diego Pride Parking Fundraiser

Birney Bee Pride

Birney has a permit to use the huge District parking lot as well as our own lot and charge for parking for the 2015 San Diego Pride Parade on July 18 from 9am-1pm! All money raised will help support our IB Program and “Specials” classes.  Volunteers are needed to help hold signs and direct cars. Sign up here if you can help!

FOABE Update

Hello Birney Friends and Families,

As July and the end of my term approaches, I find myself looking back on my time as president of the Friends of Alice Birney Elementary. As most of you already know, FOABE is the non-profit organization that works to raise money to support the IB programs that the San Diego Unified School District will not – our “Specials” (Spanish, art, and garden instruction). I’m so pleased to announce that we have already met our fundraising goal for the 2014/2015 school year! So thanks to you and many others like you, we did it! We funded this year’s “Specials” – Spanish, art, and garden instruction – for all of Birney’s 571 students.  To date we have raised $85,011, $456 beyond our goal.  We raised this money through so many fun and rewarding fundraisers including:

  • Run for the Green
  • Big Give
  • Parent’s Night Out
  • Pride Parking
  • Monthly donations
  • Community donations
  • Grants
  • the University Heights Urban Harvest Festival

Over the last two years, we’ve been hard at work gaining greater community support so we may be able to rely less on our families for donations. We’ve created two new offerings for community partners. First, you may have noticed the fabulous banners prominently placed along the Park Boulevard fence. Check out our first group of sponsors who have given generously over the years to claim these spots. These banners are a huge thank you to our most generous, sustaining community sponsors. If you know someone who is interested in claiming a spot along our fence, let us know!

The second opportunity we’re created for Birney sponsorship is our annual University Heights Urban Harvest Festival. This year’s 3rd annual UHUH Festival will be on Saturday, November 7, 2015. As I step down from the president’s role, I look forward to leading this fantastic opportunity to partner with our local businesses and create a wonderful community event. Please contact me if you would like to help secure sponsors for this exciting and growing event, or be one!

Our success was not possible without all our wonderful parent volunteers. Thank you for all your support this year! We have so many business sponsors to thank for their generous contributions through either cash or in-kind donations. Their donations made all of our events a smashing success. Information about our business sponsors can be found here.


Jennifer Ayala


Next FOABE board meeting: ELECTIONS!

Thursday, July 9th at 6PM

Meeting in Room 26 – childcare in the Library.

Meetings are open to ALL!



Run for the Green 2015 – Thank you Sponsors!

Dear Birney Family and Friends,

What a wonderful time it has been coming together as a team to be champions for our school. We all worked hard to reach out to our individual communities and get the support we needed to help our International Baccalaureate Studies Program thrive. All that hard work lead to amazing achievement!! We surpassed our $23,000 goal by over $6,000 and a group of dedicated parents came together to gain sponsorship from our community and raised and additional $3,900!! What a tremendous success this event has been all because of the support by our friends, families and the community!!

Thanks to each of you for your hard work! Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions at

Many companies showed us tremendous support through their donations. Without them all those great prizes, the t-shirts, and the swag bags would not have been possible.

2015 Run For The Green Sponsors

Hurray for Team Green!!

2015 Run for the Green


The 8th Annual Run For The Green is Friday, March 13th!

On Friday, March 13th from 2:30PM to 3:30PM, Friends of Alice Birney and Coach Lord will host the “Run for the Green”, Birney’s annual health and wellness run. We will enjoy a fun afternoon of running, walking and listening to music together while celebrating all our efforts to support our awesome school. Students can collect pledges in person using this form or online using the button below. Students with pledges of $20 or more will be entered into a drawing for the opportunity to win fun prizes, and students with pledges of $65 or more will also receive a special Run For The Green t-shirt.

Please be sure to add your student’s full name in the “special instructions to the seller” area when using the link below.

Additional Information
2015 Run For the Green Student Packet
2015 Run For the Green Student Safety Rules Final

Ms. Buzz having a fun day visiting all those Birney Bees!

Ms. Buzz having a fun day visiting all those Birney Bees!

Are you a Birney family member and business owner? Learn about how you can be become a sponsor and be featured on this year’s t-shirts.

Parents’ Night Out

Who: Not just for Birney parents. Bring your friends and family!

What: Raffle prizes and silent auction fundraiser to support the Spanish, Arts, and Gardening programs

When: Friday, March 6 from 6:30 PM to 10 PM

Where: U31 in North Park where University meets 31st

Why: The proceeds from this event go directly toward the support Birney’s Specials programs.

Childcare? We’ve got you covered! If you attend the Parents’ Night Out event, childcare is available at Birney for $10 per child (please add $5 if your child requires diaper changes). Childcare includes: supervision from 6 to 10 PM, dinner, a movie, games and a voucher redeemable for 5 raffle tickets at U-31!

Please RSVP for childcare by this Wednesday, March 4. Send an email to Carrie Binder at and include the age of each child. 

4th Annual Big Give A Success!



182 Donations and $14,851 in a single day and a $7,664 match from our generous anonymous families for an astounding grand total of $22,515 raised on December 18th by the most generous and giving school community there is!

Thank you Birney community for every single donation.  Thank you for showing that every little bit can and does make a difference.  Thank you for helping us raise this staggering amount of money in a single day so that we can continue to support our Spanish, art, and garden programs. Many of us saw first-hand the dedication, passion and creativity that our specials teachers put into making the outstanding programs for our school that enrich our students’ experience at Birney. Our hearts are truly full knowing that the Birney community rallied together to accomplish this amazing feat.

Thank you to everyone that participated!

Big Give 2014 is ON!!

6:55 – Let the fun begin! We’ve had a few donations trickle in before the ‘official’ start. That’s great. We’ll take ’em. 3 donors, $190.00

7:50 – Apparently we have an issue with the link in the email… we should be getting that fixed shortly. Even with that, we’ve still had a solid first hour. 17 donors for $2465.00

9:30 – The email link has been fixed… The kids are in school… 5 donors stopped by the table this morning to add $125 to the Big Give event. Total is up to 38 donors and $4065.00 Just 2 more donors and we’ll be 1/5 of the way to our goal of 200 individual donors!

11:05 – Four hours into the event and we have passed the 1/4 mark. We are ahead of last year in terms of donors, and a little behind last years pace on dollars. If you have already donated – Thanks! and now go find 2 friends and encourage them to go make their donations too. 59 donors and $5515.00.

12:05 – I was going to suggest that the 5th graders should try to calculate the average donation, but that seems a little too easy now. 69 donors for $6900.00

12:35 – Nothing like a call from Ms Amanda to spark a little surge in donations. Nice little bump there taking us to… 77 donations for $7,500.00

1:30 – Just past the half-way point in terms of time and pretty close to half way for donors. 87 donors for $8,345

4:00 – We’ve made it past the afternoon doldrums. We have 3 hours left and it’s time for the after school flurry. 111 donors and $10,541

5:20 – We’re pretty close to exceeding last year’s count of 135 donors. 127 donors for $11,836.00

6:20 – So we’ve now crushed last years donor count and are closing in on the dollar total of $16,187… can we beat that too??? Just 52 more people to meet our goal. Current count 148 donors for $12,826

6:46 – The last-minute types are bringing it in. 161 donors for $13,401

7:10 – A few more stragglers are sneaking in – that’s fine… keep it coming. We’ll hold it open for you. 168 donors for $13,951

8:00 – Wow! What a day. Thank you! 175 Donors! $14,361 raised in a single day! That is a 30% increase in donors over last year.

We are absolutely astounded by the generous outpouring of support from our Birney friends and family. We will send out an updated email on Monday with the final numbers after we finalize the match with our anonymous donors. Please be patient while we work out the details as we think it will be worth the wait.

Once again we feel compelled to use the following quote. It is completely apropos of what has just been accomplished by the Birney community.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Click the image below to donate now!

IF you prefer to make your donation anonymously, you can donate through Razoo.

Thank you for your support!