Students enrolled 407
Hours 9:10 - 3:35
School leader Amanda Hammond-Williams
Transportation options None
District San Diego Unified School District
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

4345 Campus Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103

School website
(619) 497-3500
(619) 688-3017
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Birney Elementary School address.

4 stars
Based on 31 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

April 15, 2014
A unique school that teaches to the whole child. The International Baccalaureate program at Birney teaches tolerance, respect, risk taking, compassion and other core values while engaging in project based learning. Both my sons have thrived there, both as learners and as moral, compassionate learners and citizens of the world. The principal is driven to excellence and knows every kid by name. The parents are involved, and the study body is wonderfully diverse. Everything you could ask for in an urban, high achieving school!

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2014
Birney is a diverse school with an amazing International Baccalaureate Program - teaching students the good values to build a better world. This school has an active parent population and several staff that bring their children to the school because the quality of education is valued. The school has a Spanish, Art and Garden (also known as Agriculture and Environmental Sciences) Program that would impress any parent in addition to a very strong PE program. Students come out of Birney more than prepared for the next step - as well rounded community members. Come check Birney out!

- submitted by a parent
April 13, 2014
The teachers here are excellent at every grade level! I truly believe that the children at Birney have an advantage over non-Birney students by being part of an incredible hands on IB program. I didn't know much about the IB program before we started at Birney, but now I see the advantages that the children are gaining. Some of the amazing classes here at Birney are Garden (earth science), Art, and Spanish. The principal Ms. Amanda, is a strong leader that continues to lead this little elementary gem to new successful platforms. I took a chance having my children go to Birney instead of the highly reputable charter schools and I am glad I did. The academics are truly amazing.

- submitted by a parent
April 03, 2014
My son has gone to Birney since Kindergarten. I am so glad that he is a part of a school that prepares him for future success. The specials program really gets the kids involved and the teachers and principle really cares for the children. They recognize the children who have done great as far as IB learning and I'm proud to say this was a goal we set for my son to make it on the list and he finally did. He is also going on the limo ride with many other kids who had perfect attendance. They go to a local ice cream shop to get ice cream for working hard to keep perfect attendance. I'm excited for my daughter to be joining Birney this Fall. I love how a lot of the parents are involved and we do a lot to raise funds to help keep the specials running. My son loves specials. I'm a very proud parent to have my kids attending Alice Birney Elementary!

- submitted by a parent
April 03, 2014
I chose this school for my daughters after touring the facility and being blown away by the principal's leadership and the implementation of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. So far I have not been disappointed. The quality of the teachers is top-notch, the level of passion from the principal extends down into all the staff and I have been very pleased with the well-rounded education my daughters have been getting. I can't recommend this school enough!

- submitted by a parent
April 02, 2014
We were so fortunate to be allowed to choice to Birney Elementary. Its unique philosophy and specials programs sets this school apart from any school in San Diego. The IB component of the school encourages these children to explore the world around them, think outside the box, be risk takers and discover new things about themselves and others. The garden program is out of this world. Due to the amazing garden program at this school, I feel the kids at this school have such a leg up on understanding science and biology. My Kindergarten son uses scientific terminology and has a true understanding of nature that I never had. The school grows their own food for the cafeteria and produces hardly any garbage due to the amazing compost program. My son eats amazing foods now including kale, fennel, beets. The principal and staff are caring and passionate about their school and I was blown away by the parent of involvement. I could not have asked to be helping such an amazing group of parents that care so much and put so much effort in making this school the best elementary school of San Diego. I am truly thankful for our family to be able to be a part of this school.

- submitted by a parent
April 11, 2013
Birney is an amazing school. If you really want to embrace diversity, there's a whole world on the blacktop at Birney. The staff and teachers are all focused on those long-term IB goals: not just doing what the students need to succeed this semester, but what will support them through the rest of their academic life. When we were looking at schools, we kept looking at test scores and demographics. A lot of comparable charter schools showed demographics where most of the parents had at least Bachelors if not graduate degrees. Birney is not that way--some kids opt in, for some kids it's their neighborhood school. The demographics are accordingly across a broader range; it's in a high poverty neighborhood. When we looked at the test scores in that light, Birney's population--where a high percentage of kids eligible for free/reduced lunch and not every parent has a college education--was doing as well or better than similar schools where almost every parent had a college degree. To us, that meant that the teachers and staff at Birney were doing more for a broader swath of the population than the other schools that were more self-selecting. That's been true so far in our experience.

- submitted by a parent
October 02, 2012
We have been at Birney for 2 years and have nothing but positive things to say about our school !!!! ---- I spent a year looking for a great public school for my child. I visited and compared statistics for many schools. I chose Birney for the entire package it offers. The principal was involved and her strong leadership was evident. The IB principles were integrated through the curriculum by IB trained teachers. Although Birney was not at the top academically yet, their scores have been climbing every year. I saw a good school rising to greatness and I wanted my child to be involved in the ascent. ---- Growing parent support and involvement can be witnessed in the continuation of special enrichment classes. As the education budget is cut, parents have rallied and funded the programs themselves. ---- I am proud to be part of the Birney community !!!

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2012
My daughter goes to Alice Birney Elementary School. She loves her school. I really think this school's principal is excellent. She recognizes all students and their parents. She is so friendly and attentive to all her students and parents. This school offers IB program ( International Baccalaureate primary year), which teaches students for globalization, inquiring, and knowledgeable. I also need to mention that our PTA has been doing great job!! Although San Diego schools have budgets cut problems, Our PTA manages a lot of fun raisers to get funds for Birney school. Finally, I am glad for my dauther to go to this school.

- submitted by a parent
August 30, 2011
My son will be going into first grade this year. His kinder experience was excellent. He has ADHD and is on medication. They were very good about understanding his issues, adjusting the expectations and meeting his needs as an individual. Miss Amanda- the principal- is fantastic. She's strong, caring, direct and dedicated. I highly recommend the school. We need to be more involved ourselves, but the overall parent participation seems to be growing.

- submitted by a parent
July 18, 2011
Birney's principal is top-notch. She and the teachers show incredible enthusiasm and dedication for their school and students. There is a trickle-down effect and students test scores are rising year after year. The IB curriculum is fantastic! With classes like PE, theatre, music, dance, Spanish, computers, library, and even a beautiful and bountiful garden, it's no wonder the kids have smiles on their faces!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 25, 2010
Because is a school that always try to bring parents to participate and the Principal always there if someone needs something.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 25, 2010
I am so impressed with the quality of the teachers at this school. they care so deeply for their students.

- submitted by a community member
no rating April 25, 2010
This is truly a place where children and their well-being both physical and academic come first. Everything we do as teachers we do for our students. I feel privileged to work in an environment where parents and teachers work as a team!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 24, 2010
Fantastic caring, dedicated staff; great programs that include music, art, Spanish, PE, folklorico dance, and drama; targeted interventions to help students attain grade-level proficiency, International Baccalaureate (and magnet) program that promotes globally minded, independent, students; inclusive classrooms and successful special education program; teachers are given collaboration time for planning lessons and reviewing data so that they may develop lessons that target studnet needs-- all around AMAZING school led by the equally amazing leader, Amanda Hammond-Williams.

- submitted by a teacher
no rating April 24, 2010
We have the best teachers at Birney, and a Principal who truley cares and loves every student. We have alot of parent help and I believe that that effects the students. Our school is awesomeand I am so proud to be apart of Birney.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 23, 2010
My son has been at Birney for only 3 months, coming from a 9 rated school previously. He has gotten the attention that he needs for his reading and has jumped up almost 4 reading levels. He loves his new school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 22, 2010
Because the administration, teachers, staff and parents are all on the same page working together to elevate and preserve a standard of excellence in teaching our kids the civic virtues they'll need to contribute to an enlightened citizenry, a more equitable society, a greener planet, and the forging of common dreams.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
My son comes home everyday with a smile on his face and is happy about learning. The administration and staff work as one. The IB philosophy is the way we need to teach and treat everyone!

- submitted by a parent
April 21, 2010
Trista is thriving at Birney and she deserves the best!

- submitted by a community member
no rating April 21, 2010
The school has consistently improved its overall performance year after year thanks to a dedicated staff

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
Birney both models and nurtures intelligence, creativity, community and compassion: we all benefit.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
The principal and staff at Birney have repeatedly impressed me, individually and as a group, by maintaining an across-the-board committment to their students' best interests and unlimited potential. While we watch our schools' budgets and resources being subjected to annual slashing and chronic reductions, we can also watch as our students' test scores rise and their curriculum evolves into an International Baccalaureate program. These folks are creative, resourceful, and they persevere.

- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2010
A fun, diverse, school, that puts students first. An IB magnet school for Spanish and a great family community.

- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2010
Everyone at Birney is engaged in the goal of raising our children to be well-rounded, globally-minded, life-long learners. My boys are excited to go to school every day!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 20, 2010
Birney has been recognized as a California Distinguished School. The teachers & principal are outstanding examples of what public education can achieve.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 20, 2010
A school that puts students first. The teachers and the principal work together along with the parents to create an collobrative learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 20, 2010
The children, teachers, staff, and wonderful parent volunteers that make the school so special!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 20, 2010
Alice Birney is a wonderful city school: diverse student body, strong academics, a focus on shaping caring, kind, and passionate students. And, the kids have fun and want to go to school each day!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 20, 2010
They really have great teachers, and they care about the children.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2010
It has a great reputation and is heavily involved with our community

- submitted by a community member
November 05, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 02, 2009
My son is in kindergarten at Birney, and I have to say that we're very pleased with the school, staff and principle. There was an issue with some kindergarteners wandering outside the school gate before their parents came to pick them up (the K leave at a different entrance than the other students) and I brought it up to the principle and she immediately tightened up the system, ensuring no student leaves without a parent in hand. Her response was very impressive and immediate. Great school!

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2008
My son has been at Birney for 4 years now, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. The staff is friendly and everyone is willing to help whenever I need something. My son has an IEP and gets services from many of the special education providers, and each of them is nice and caring and concerned about his progress. From his initially being a grade behind, he is now at grade level in reading. The before-and-after school program is also good. They help with the homework before I get there, as well as having play time. This helps me after a long day at work. As I tell everyone, there is no other school I would rather have my son attend.

- submitted by a parent
July 28, 2008
I have totally enjoyed my experience at Birney. My child is now entering 1st grade and will have a class size of 15. The principal is very responsive to parent concerns and is very dedicated to the school. In a couple years this will be the school that everyone wants to get into.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2008
I have no idea what being an 'academy of international studies' has done to change the school. I think the whole thing is just to blow smoke at the parents and try to convince them thier kids are attending some type of special 'academy' when, really, it is just a standard neighborhood public school. The school is just average, with no extra features except a really cool garden that they recently put in on the strip of dirt near the parking lot fence. It seems though, that the kids did not really do much of the work. The school food is very strange. For breakfast my daughter is given bean and cheese burritos, quesadillas, and corndogs (called 'breakfast on a stick') which she is supposed to dip in syrup. Ugh. Maybe it's the quesadillas and burritos that make it an 'international' school.

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2008
Only great things are happening at Birney it is really above the rest. Small classes and great teachers really feels like you know everyone

- submitted by a parent
January 23, 2008
The principle is very involved in every aspect of the school. My daughter loves the diversity of the school and so do we. There are many positives but most of all due to its status as an international studies primary school I beleive will better prepare her for the globalization,

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2007
We started our child with the pre-k program, the teacher and her teaching were great. Now in first grade our child loves the school as we do too. They offer weekly special programs such as Spanish, art, dance, PE, afterschool clubs, and others. Some are offered more than once a week. The school is an older school, but it is kept as clean as much as possible (though a renovation should happen). The principal is genuine in her efforts to get the school academics up and working with the parents. They are very welcoming to parents and volunteering and they are very active with the local community. We are happy with the school.

- submitted by a parent
August 15, 2007
The principal, Ms. Amanda, has been a joy to watch over the two years in which my daughter has attended Birney. For a school that was derided by many of my charter school neighbors, I have found a jewel that is proving that a public school can shine with a motivated and involved principal. I much prefer seeing a public school moving up in the world with my involvement than throwing in the towel and abandoning it to go with charter schools. We need to stick together to keep our public schools strong.

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2007
My son attended Birney from Kinder thru 2nd grade. My other children attend charter schools and I have not had the best experience with traditional schools in San Diego. Our experience at Birney was quite different. Kindergarten was a very positive start and I decided that we could keep him at Birney for subsequent years. The past two years, things only got better. The principal is visible, approachable, and genuine. She really cares about that school and it shows. The garden program is absolutely wonderful and the 2nd grade teacher we were blessed with, Mrs. Donovan, was inspiring. This school proves that a neighborhood public school can do more than just get by, but can be a community where children can bloom. We have now moved to Oregon and I can only hope that we are able to settle into a school community as promising as Birney.

- submitted by a parent
no rating June 05, 2007
Alice Birney Elementary is now an International Baccalaureate School. Teacher quality is improving and extracurricular activities (art, music) have been added this year (2006-2007). They have a fabulous garden that the kids are becoming a part of and they are doing work to reduce energy use by using solar panels that the 4th and 5th grade kids are getting experience working with. While Birney is still working out the kinks, the principal is devoted to making the school a place we all will be proud to send our kids!

- submitted by a parent
May 23, 2007
Ms. Brierton is an amazing pre-k teacher, she is wonderful, caring, patient...I don't have enough words to describe her. My son was also on a special program, he started speech therapy making random sounds, in two weeks he was saying complete sentences. The speech program with Mrs. Sand is also great.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2006
My daughter has been attending Birney since kindergarten; she s in second grade now. Had she not had a great kinder teacher and had it not been her neighborhood school, I would have pulled her out of there after only one month. There is so much I wish I could say just to spare all you parents the trouble of finding all this out for yourselves. But I will say this: very unorganized and underfunded, no music or art programs. Cleanliness throughout the school is terribly poor. I still hesitate to take her there. Luckily I found out about the choice program in the district and she will attend a new school in September.

- submitted by a parent
May 03, 2006
My son goes to birney for pre-k, he loves it. He started the school year not knowing any letters or numbers, I thought that was something wrong with him. Six months later, thanks for ms brierton wonderful academic skills, he can not only count, but he can write his name and the rest of the family name, except for a few mistakes he can recognize e write all letter and numbers. Not many extra-curricular activities, maybe because he is not yet in kindergarten. The teacher has always a open door for concerns and opinions.

- submitted by a parent
April 13, 2006
This schools seems to be trying really hard to be on an upswing. I thinkk that in five years we will see major improvement in this school. However I would be loathe to send my son too this school in itas present condition.

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a administrator
November 27, 2003
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Birney Elementary School
4345 Campus Avenue, San Diego, CA  92103
(619) 497-3500
Last modified Birney Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5
Birney Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 48 reviews.