Three generations of Angela Williams’ family has lived in Logan. She remembers when the residential tree-lined community boasted of well maintained home and one was proud to say they were a student or alumnus of the David Birney School. Gradually she saw the school located at 900 W. Lindley Ave. go from being a solid neighborhood school to being a building that folks tried to avoid sending their youngsters to.
Williams had her own apprehensions when her daughter, Christine Williams, had to place her 6-year-old son, Corey Williams, in the K-8 neighborhood school. Ironically, Christine Williams is a Birney alumnus. Angela Williams decided to give Birney a try when she learned that it was a “turnaround” school. She was present for the recent Paragon Night where young Corey was dressed as one of the orange and blue animal characters.
“The students here just do amazing things,” said Angela Williams. “Corey actually came home with a list of 65 spelling words. I thought it was a bit much for the students to be given that many. Between working with him at home and what he learned in school he actually was able to master those words. It was truly amazing to see how students progress here.”
Yet Williams said that the school works because so many parents are committed to ensuring that their children and grandchildren are well educated. She is among the entourage of parents, grandparents or guardians who volunteer in the classroom. Others volunteer in the hallways, with the Birney Home and School Association, or at special events.
What impressed Angela Williams most this past school year is the fact that the school welcomes parental presence. She said that this is certainly not the case when any institution has something to hide. “The fact that you can come in here and they are open about where they need help with whatever problems creates a better learning environment,” she said.
Angela Williams recalls that as little as two years ago Birney was a building to be feared in Logan. She said that there was “always a lot of drama” and chaos as the children were entering and leaving school. The students were largely unsupervised in the yard, she recalled.
“That old school is gone,” insisted Angela Williams. “I walk my grandson here in the mornings. I am pleased to say the yard is organized. The children are always supervised in the yard. I really like the school now. Ever since the switchover, it’s like being in a different place.”