Vol. 6, Iss. 35
Dec. 15, 2016
Dear Parents,
Ben Franklin Academy is "The STEAM School of Choice" in Douglas County, Colorado. But what does that mean? In the past year, BFA has made many refinements to its rigorous programming to reflect a commitment to individualized learning and an evolution of our STEM emphasis to now include "Arts."  As you know, BFA has invested in a new STEAM "wing" which includes a gymnasium, two middle school science labs, two technology labs, an art room, a music classroom and a performance area.
Just as the acronym STEAM captures so many disciplines--Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math--so does BFA's programming. BFA takes an interdisciplinary approach to academics. Through the implementation of the Core Knowledge Sequence (not to be confused with "Common Core"), what BFA students are learning in their social studies classes is supported by the literature lessons, spelling words, and the period art to which they are exposed. This interdisciplinary approach is strengthened with the addition of the STEAM emphasis. 
As you may know, we listened to feedback from students, parents, teachers and volunteers, and have tailored the annual science fair to keep the student experiments fresh and grade-level appropriate. Students in grades kindergarten, first, second, third, fifth and seventh will continue to participate in the annual science fair. For those students in kindergarten and first grade, the process has been modified to allow for more meaningful, grade-level participation while still emphasizing key components of the scientific process. Third, fifth and seventh grades will continue to participate in the traditional BFA science fair. Last week, the seventh grade students impressed the judges with the level of sophistication of their projects.  We are excited to see what the other grade levels will produce in their Science Fair this spring.
To further support the STEAM emphasis, BFA fourth, sixth and eighth grade students now participate in a "Social Studies/Academic Fair," where they also are given "arts" related options for their academic projects. This fall, fourth grade kicked off this new tradition with a Medieval Fest celebrating the culmination of the unit with student presentations, chainmail armor, medieval games and a feast. Similarly, in November, sixth grade students celebrated their Mediterranean Fair, where they adorned togas and robes and performed Greek myths. They also enjoyed a feast while reviewing videos and projects created by their peers. In the spring, our eighth graders will present their individual projects based on modern U.S. History. We were extremely impressed with the creativity of our fourth and sixth graders and look forward to seeing the eighth grade projects. 
To strengthen the resources for BFA's STEAM emphasis, in addition to the STEM Committee, we now have an Arts Committee. These committees work collaboratively with our teachers and volunteers to further showcase the talents of all BFA students. 
BFA will never rest on its laurels. Long after our construction is complete, we will continue to look for opportunities to improve the educational experience for all BFA students. Thank you for joining us as we move full STEAM ahead!


Bob Barber 
Following is a message from Paige Brock, president, BFA Board of Directors: 
At Ben Franklin Academy, we take great pride in the fact that our students, parents and teachers work together to mold the future. One critical element in this process is identified in the BFA vision statement--character development. We continue to provide character education founded on Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues by focusing on one or two of the virtues monthly; and last school year, BFA enhanced its character programming through the implementation of Rachel's Challenge and character assemblies. However, BFA does not stop there.
In addition to receiving instruction and being recognized at school, BFA students engage and serve the school community. For example, many of our middle school students serve on the Green Team, where they educate other students and assist the school with recycling. BFA middle school students also can become members of the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club wherein they offer "random acts of kindness" to their peers to help develop a culture of caring. Middle school students also can serve as Teacher's Aides, which provides assistance to teachers as well as role models to the younger students.  
Of course, our staff, parents and students collaborate to broaden the impact of our students and the BFA community. For example, BFA's National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) has been busy in the community by volunteering for the House of Hope, Botanic Gardens Pumpkin Fest, University of Denver "Zero Waste" recycling program, Brookdale Senior Living and Holiday Celebration at the Highlands Ranch Mansion and, in January, will be assisting with BFA's Winter Fest. Hosted by the school and the Community Events Committee (CEC), students in BFA's NJHS and Student Council also welcomed veterans from the surrounding community at our annual Veteran's Day celebration. Many students delivered appreciation cards, students sang the military service songs/hymns and the Boy Scouts presented the colors as BFA students of all ages thanked the veterans for their sacrifices. Students also collected and donated candy for Operation Gratitude and the Denver Rescue Mission.  
This week, BFA's Student Council organized its first community service event. This student-initiated/student-run food drive will help ensure that kids at Aurora's Crawford Elementary School will not struggle to get food over winter break. The impact of BFA will again be felt throughout the community as our students participate in the One Act of Kindness (OAK) holiday parties on December 16. The CEC, working in conjunction with the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), will provide materials and opportunities for students to make cards for the Wind Crest Retirement Community and blankets for The Children's Hospital and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for distribution to women's shelters and displaced families. 
Clearly, character development permeates the course of instruction at BFA. Our students meaningfully participate in their communities now and are laying the foundation to be active citizens in the future.  
Thank you to all the seventh grade students who did an amazing job on their projects, as well as the parents who volunteered to judge the science fair. The judges and members of the STEM Committee had a great time talking to the students about their projects. Students with the top projects have been invited to participate in the Denver Metro Regional Science Fair in February 2017.

Congratulations to Annie Cellar, Rowan Dwyer, Julie Jurkowski, Annika Svensen, Isaiah Hafler, Colin Thomas, Connor Duffy, Colin Fiero, Devon Lopez, Matt Belveal, Alec Singleton, Hunter Hagerman, Shriyan Andem, Taylor Jarvie, Katelynne Altonen, Caleb Haynes and Megan Akin!

Middle School Spanish students showed off their new foreign language skills last Friday at BFA's first Spanish Festival. They wore traditional dress of Spanish-speaking countries and performed various Spanish songs.
Local restaurants, Casa Caliente and Pisco Sour, sold food typical of Mexico and Peru, respectively. Thank you to all the students and  Senora Connell for putting on this fun event!
PTO Logo
Do you want to learn more about the exciting things happening at BFA, or would you like to get more involved in your child(ren)'s school?  Then,
make plans to attend the next Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meeting, held TONIGHT, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanders Science Lab. Free childcare provided. All are welcome and encouraged to come!
If you are attending your student's classroom holiday party this year, you may notice that the Community Events Committee's (CEC) instituted One Act of Kindness activities for each grade. Similar to last year, the CEC reached out to local entities in our community to spread a little joy. Kindie and first graders are making cards that will go to residents at Wind Crest, a retirement community down the street from BFA. Students in grades 2 - 5 will be making blankets for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for their work with displaced families and women's shelters. Middle school kids also are making blankets, but their blankets will go to the Children's Hospital in Highlands Ranch. Thanks to the CEC, PTO and all of our staff and students for putting Rachel's Challenge into action during the parties by participating in small acts of kindness that make a difference in our local community. 
For those planning classroom holiday parties  tomorrow, please remember to bring all necessary utensils and serving dishes. The BFA Kitchen is run by Douglas County Nutrition Services and is not allowed to lend or hand out utensils or kitchen tools, as it is a nut-free facility and this risks contamination. Thank you for your understanding.
Lost and Found
If your student is missing a coat, sweater, sweatshirt or water bottle, please check the lost and found tomorrow, Dec. 16. There are also several books and even a basketball! These items will be donated during the break if not retrieved.
Apex Fun Run

This year's Fun Run, the Parent Teacher Organization's (PTO) major fundraiser for 2016-2017, raised more than $64,000! We couldn't have done it without the hard work of our enthusiastic students and their supportive parents. These funds will be used for STEAM and playground enhancements.
Our collected funds to date are about 92 percent of the total pledged (almost $70,000). If you still have pledges outstanding or would like to make a donation, you can still send them in. Make checks payable to BFA PTO, and drop them off in the front office or mail them to the school.
Drop the kids off at tomorrow's Parent's Night Out childcare, to benefit the eighth graders going to Washington, D.C. This month's theme is pajama party. Let your children wear pajamas and bring a pillow, blanket or stuffed animal. In addition to showing the movie "Finding Dory" and providing popcorn and water, there will be a couple of stations set up to entertain kiddos with coloring, drawing and games. Concessions will be available for purchase upon drop-off. We will offer Sour Patch Kids, mini M&Ms, and granola bars for $1 each, cash or check.
Childcare will run from 6:30-9 p.m. and is just $5 per child. Volunteers will watch your child(ren) while you grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. We can only accept BFA students (including preschool students). 
This is the last evening to sign up. Please sign up each child individually, and please be sure to feed your child(ren) dinner before they come.  
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Rd) will be hosting a BFA Spirit Night at its Trail of Lights event on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The Gardens are giving $2 back to BFA for each $8 admission - just be sure to get in the line marked "Ben Franklin Academy." Come see Santa Claus and enjoy the holiday light displays!
Ben Franklin
Want to learn more about what is going on at BFA? Attend a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. For your convenience, we've scheduled two meetings--the first is from 8:30 until 10 a.m., and the second is from 7:30 - 9 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the BFA Gym. Complementary childcare will be available for BFA students during the evening session. Stay tuned for additional details.
Winter snowflake
Join us for a wonderful afternoon of friends, food and games. Winter Fest will be held from 4 - 7 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2017.
The PTO will have another Winter Fest planning meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. The meeting will be held in the Starbucks inside King Soopers at University & Highlands Ranch Pkwy (9551 S University Blvd). You are welcome to join the team preparing for the event. If you have questions, please email Gwen Feifarek, Winter Fest committee manager. 
Preschool enrollment for current Ben Franklin Academy families is open now! If you are a current family who is interested in one of our preschool programs, please email Kristen Goldberg, preschool director, with the following information: 
  • Child's name
  • Date of birth 
  • Class preference (in priority order) 
Parents looking for a class for their three-/four-year-old can indicate their preference between a Tuesday/Thursday class or a Monday/Wednesday/Friday class. If your student is a four-/five-year-old, there are additional options, including morning, afternoon and full-day programs.
Spots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Spots for current families are not guaranteed and classes will fill up, so please be sure to email Mrs. Goldberg soon. After the enrollment period, you will be notified which class is available for your student. Enrollment will open to the public on Jan. 9, 2017. For more information about BFA's preschool program and available classes, please visit our website.  
This is a friendly reminder that you may only park in a reserved spot if that spot is assigned to you, and we ask all parents to park in marked, or designated parking spots when coming into the school for an event or to volunteer. 
No matter what day of the week or time of day, please do not park in parking spaces that are reserved for someone else. There are more than 250 spots in our lot, so there is no need for you to park in spots assigned to the employee of the month, volunteer of the month, Volunteer Quota Award Winner, or the spots of families who paid to use a specific parking space.  
Additionally, there are many parents who have been parking along the curb in the lower parking lot. When that occurs, it is difficult for staff and other parents to back out of their parking spot, and you run the risk of incurring damage to your vehicle. Parking is only allowed in marked spots.
Please be respectful of our staff, other BFA parents and our award recipients, and refrain from parking in spots not assigned to you or along the curb in the lower lot.  

Denver Nuggets
Douglas County Community Events is offering discounted Denver Nuggets tickets again this year. Watch the Nuggets take on the Los Angeles Clippers at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Pepsi Center. Tickets are $51 each for the lower level and $19 each for the upper level. Families who purchase tickets in the lower level will receive a free Denver Nuggets hat or beanie. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets. Get your tickets today! 
Educational Outfitters, our uniform vendor, is having their annual 10 percent off sale this month. Shop in their store (8170 S. University Blvd.), online or call them at 720-200-6666. Educational Outfitters is open Monday - Friday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Registration is open for next year's after school music programs. Ms. Johnson will offer a Junior Musical Theater program for first and second graders on Mondays from 3:35 - 4:10 p.m. beginning Jan. 23. Students in grades 3 - 8, can sign up to participate in Musical Theater on Wednesdays beginning Jan. 18, from 3:30 - 4:15 p.m.
Spring Band starts the week of Jan. 16. Beginning Band for grades 4 - 8 is on Tuesdays from 3:30 - 4 p.m. Students in this class focus on reading music and learn how to play an instrument, such as the flute, clarinet, sax, trumpet or percussion. Intermediate Band for students in grades 4 - 8 who already play an instrument is on Thursdays from 3:30 - 4 p.m. Check out this flier for more details about the program as well as key performance dates. Space is limited for all of these programs,  so sign up now!

Mini Movie Makers club is back by popular demand! This after-school club teaches your student how to create an animated movie using Frames. Kids in grades 3-6 can sign up to learn how to design characters, record voices, create backgrounds and so much more! T he new session is on Thursdays from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. and begins Jan. 5. Spots are limited, so sign up today at the BFA Store. If you have questions, checkout this flier or email Ms. Goldin.
Looking for a great gift idea for you kiddo? Last month a representative from SpeedStacks, a Englewood company, visited some of our PE classes to teach the kids how to use the speed stacking cups and share a little bit about the history of Speed Stacking. While speed stacking was a favorite activity among some BASE participants in years past, Mrs. Bauer had not added Speed Stacking to the PE curriculum as she was not sure the students would be moving enough. After watching the kids during the Speed Stacking demonstration, Mrs. Bauer noted that the games are full of movement and the kids loved them! Many of the students left class that day asking how they could get a set of their own. If they also mentioned how much they enjoyed speed stacking to you, there are several ways you can purchase a set of speed stacking cups for your family:  
  • Click on this link for more information.
  • Stop by the office and pick up a set. (You can pay with a check made out to BFA.)
  • Return the order form sent home in Thursday folders last week. (On the envelope, please put 'attention Mrs. Bauer.')
Not every K-5 class has had the chance to do Speed Stacking, but they all will sometime in the next few weeks. If you have any questions, please email Mrs. Bauer, PE teacher.
Who has the best teachers in the Douglas County School District? The answer is easy--Ben Franklin Academy does! BFA's teachers and staff are highly dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day to make sure our kids are educated in a safe and caring environment where they feel comfortable and confident to take chances. Teachers have established high expectations for all students and provide all the tools necessary for the students to accomplish those expectations. 

If you would like to formally recognize a BFA teacher or staff member, consider nominating them for the DCEF Apple Awards.

The Apple Awards were created in 2006 to provide the opportunity to recognize and celebrate excellent, innovative teachers, administrators and support staff. Nominations for the Apple Awards can be submitted online by staff, students, parents and members of the community. You may nominate more than one person; and nominations must be made using the online form. This year, the DCEF would like to know how your nominee advances the District's Strategic Plan. The nomination window is open now, and goes through Jan. 13, 2017.

Nominations can be made by going to the DCSD website. 

Celebrating birthdays at BFA is fun! For $10, your child will receive the following:
  • A bag full of goodies, such as erasers, pencils, bouncy balls, etc. (no food or candy will be in the bags) delivered to their classroom by eighth graders
  • A personalized note from you (if requested)
  • Eighth graders singing happy birthday to your child in his/her classroom while delivering the bag
Did your student already celebrate his/her birthday? Is his/her birthday in the summer? We also will deliver "unbirthday bags" for students who have already celebrated their birthday or "half-birthday bags" for summer birthdays. 
Thank you for supporting the eighth graders' trip to Washington, D.C.!
To order your birthday bags, click here. If you have any questions, please email Mrs. Simpson.

Ben Franklin

The School Accountability Committee (SAC) is meeting at 4:10 p.m. in the BFA Conference Room. Their next meeting is Jan. 19, 2017.  

PTO Logo

The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is meeting from 6:30 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, in the Sanders Science Lab. Their next meeting is Jan. 19, 2017.  
Friday, Dec. 16


Dress of Choice day is Friday, Dec. 16. The next Dress of Choice Day is Jan. 13, 2017. 


Children participating in jr. choir will be caroling at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, at BFA.


Holiday parties for students in grades K-5 will begin at 1:45 p.m. Students also will participate in One Act of Kindness activities.   


 Parents Night Out childcare is scheduled from 6:30-9 p.m. and costs $5 per child.
Monday, Dec. 19

Winter snowflake

Winter break begins on Monday, Dec. 19. We hope you enjoy the holiday season! Monday, Jan. 2, is a teacher work day; and school resumes on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. 
Additional Upcoming Events: BFA Calendar
Middle School: Blog | Athletics 
Ben Franklin Academy
2270 Plaza Drive
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
Main Office: (720) 383-4519 info@bfacademy.org 
Attendance: (720) 432-9239 attendance@bfacademy.org 
Fax: (303) 974-1738
Our mission is to create young adults with character like America's founding Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin: well-read, scientifically curious, and civically engaged.
Our students will excel academically through a challenging, sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, and literacy. We will be a data driven institution, focusing on individual students. Our students, teachers, parents, staff, and leaders will be held accountable for the success of our school. Finally, we recognize that an education is incomplete without fostering the arts, sports, nature, and character.
Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Purity and Humility.