Letter from the Foundation President

We live in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. As parents of two young children who value both diversity and academic excellence, my husband and I wanted to find a school for them that reflected the reality of our rapidly globalizing world, encouraged them to think of themselves as world citizens, and imbued them with the values and intellectual skills that would help them become caring and successful adults. We found that school in Alice Birney Elementary.

Birney is an International Baccalaureate elementary school, located in the mid-city neighborhood of University Heights. International Baccalaureate schools seek to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” while maintaining high academic standards. I have watched my children thrive academically and personally at Birney, learning about tolerance and how to peacefully resolve conflicts while at the same time conquering a challenging curriculum comprised of the basics, such as math and reading, but also art, music, dance and Spanish language instruction.

When I realized that our wonderful school’s work was being threatened by the continued decrease in educational funding, I knew I had to get involved. With educational funding being cut deeper each year, Birney parents knew we would have to step up our fundraising efforts if we wanted to preserve our gem of a school. To that end, last year we founded the school’s non-profit educational foundation, Friends of Alice Birney Elementary, or FOABE. FOABE’s mission is simple: to help fund the programs that make Birney a successful, high achieving and diverse school.

This year, I became President of the Board of FOABE. Our goal for 2011-12 is to raise the $55,000 needed to fund our art, music, dance, Spanish language program and our library (yes, even the money to pay for a librarian for our school library has been cut, so our beautiful new library sits in the corner of our blacktop, closed). We’ve asked parents to show how much they value the education their children receive at Birney by giving $120, the cost of providing music, dance, art, Spanish and a librarian for the year.  We have also reached out to our surrounding community to support the great things happening at their local school, sponsoring fundraisers at local businesses, tapping into community organizations, supporting local businesses by selling discount cards, and holding a kids’ Jog a Thon which raised money from neighbors and businesses by soliciting sponsors and donors.  We have successfully raised $20,000 of our budget from these efforts, but we need the support of you to reach our goal.

I am a full time working mother, so sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities I have taken on. But I believe deeply in Birney’s vision of educating the whole child and producing tolerant, caring leaders with a global perspective. I can honestly say my work with the Birney PTA and FOABE has been some of the most rewarding I have done. Thank you in advance for any support you can give us.

– Laura Dadmun