I Believe in Birney

I am proud of the work we do at Birney.  Kids come first.  Collaboration is encouraged.  Community is embraced.  It is rewarding to know that we are working together to help raise children who will be active, civic-minded adults who know how to question and think.  I have been part of the Birney family for five years now and in that time I have had the joy of witnessing our enrollment increase, test scores rise, and parent involvement escalate.   Ultimately, our success comes with the students’ success.

Birney is a place where students feel safe to try new things and pursue their interests. Children are excited to come to school, excited to learn, excited to participate. We have an active Student Council.  We have Peace Patrol and a Recycle Crew.  We teach our children how to talk – we give them the vocabulary to express their ideas, worries, and questions.  We teach them how to listen.  We use words like empathy, appreciation, and open-minded in casual conversations.  We show them how to take risks, set goals, and reflect. Our students know they are valued and important. Consequently, Birney’s attendance is the best in our district area.

We’ve been thoughtful about building a peaceful, inspirational space for children.  Our gardens and orchard, lovingly tended by parents, students, and community volunteers, provide an extension of classroom learning about life science as well as food for the cafeteria’s salad bar.  Our field and track is the site where early-morning runners can set goals and push themselves while making healthy choices.  The front of our school sparkles with a mural carefully constructed by Birney hands.  Set foot on our campus and you will see butterflies, flowers, and art; set foot on our campus and you will hear laughter, cooperation, and meaningful conversation.

Birney is unique.  While we take care to create the best possible environments for our students, our administrator, Amanda Hammond-Williams, takes care to create the best possible work environment for us.  Teachers are part of school decisions.  We are given time to take on staff development, time to meet weekly to share best practices, and time to discuss student progress.  Our input is sought, our suggestions valued, and our needs met.  We are afforded the luxury of security.  We sit on committees.  We attend school functions.  We are on campus hours before school begins and hours after it ends.  We go “above and beyond” on a regular basis because we care and because our efforts are routinely recognized and appreciated.

I am lucky.  I brag often and loudly about the place where I work.  I don’t hesitate to recommend my school to anyone with elementary-age children.  I see my colleagues’ faith in the work that we do – many have their own children in Birney classrooms.  It is truly a blessing to believe in what you do.  I believe in high expectations for student achievement.  I believe in the I.B. curriculum and principles.   I believe in making children feel safe and loved.  Because of this, I believe in Birney.

– Karen Donovan, 2nd Grade