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Niskayuna Schools > Birchwood > Meet Our Principal

Debra Berndt, Principal
897 Birchwood Lane, Niskayuna NY 12309
Phone: (518) 344-2910 Fax: (518) 344-5610

Meet our principal

Principal Debra Berndt

The importance of a strong home-school connection

 picture of Principal Berndt with students

As the principal of Birchwood Elementary School, I feel it is essential that every person, both child and adult, feel valued when they enter our school. I firmly believe that we must continue to grow as people and as learners each and every day. It is our job to help each child to grow emotionally, socially, and academically. Through a strenuous curriculum and a well balanced character education program, we are able to assist students in all of these areas on a daily basis.

Birchwood Elementary School is child centered. This is evident through the many pieces of class work displayed throughout the building. Students are also provided opportunities to build independence. Programs and acitivities such as the safety patrol and the morning announcements help to include students in the day- to-day activities of the school. A variety of goodwill services are also sprinkled into the daily curriculum throughout the year. It is our goal to focus on the whole child and to help him/her grow in many ways.

We often hear many people tout the importance of a strong home-school connection. I too, encourage continuous communication between home and school. When teachers, parents, and community members work as a team, the very best programs result for the youngsters. Birchwood Elementary School has a very active Parent-Teacher Organization, P.T.O. This organization sponsors many events for children and their families throughout the year. They are also willing to help the school in any way they can.

We have worked as a community to build an awareness about bullying prevention. All students were read a book titled How Full is Your Bucket For Kids by Rath and Reckmeyer. Students are encouraged to fill each other's buckets by acting in kind ways and using kind words. Additionally, we have worked to improve student behavior on our buses and to build student responsibility as well. This is being accomplished through the use of the Peaceful School Bus program created by James Dillon.

In summary, Birchwood Elementary School is a positive place for all members of its community. Keeping children at the center of all decisions helps to lead us in the right direction. We are very proud of all that we do for children and of the continued support from everyone involved with our school.


Please feel free to call me at anytime if you have any questions or comments. Or, I can be reached by email at dberndt@niskyschools.org.

Mrs. Debra Berndt