Vol. 7, Iss. 3
Jan 19, 2017
Dear Parents:

"The pen is mightier than the sword." Many people are familiar with this phrase that was coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839. The idea behind this phrase is to indicate that communication is a more effective tool than violence. There is no denying the power of the written word. While the original phrase was coined a long time ago, I feel an updated version of it might be, 'the keyboard is mightier than the pen.'

Social media means any form of online publication or presence that allows end users to
engage in multi-directional conversations. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, blogs and the countless other social media outlets are readily available to anyone with a computer, cell phone or other personal electronic device. The value of using social media is undeniable. It is a great way to catch up with long lost friends, brag about your child(ren)'s accomplishments, show pictures of your latest adventures, and countless other things.
Social media is a powerful communication tool. There really is no other way to reach the magnitude of people in such a short time. Information can be pushed out to thousands of people in a matter of seconds. As with anything that is so prevalent in society, there is great potential to misuse social media.
Students of all ages are very involved with social media. Kids enjoy engaging with tablets, computers, or cell phones at home, in the car, or even while the family is eating dinner at a restaurant. I have even seen kids (and some adults) text each other while they were sitting at the same table. Many students stay connected to their friends and family 24 hours a day using social media. While you take steps to ensure your student behaves in a restaurant, at church, or in other public settings, you may not have reviewed social media rules with your child.
It's important that all kids follow certain rules when participating in social media. And, that requires reviewing those rules with your child from time to time. To make sure your child is behaving online, review the proposed social media rules below. Add your own or personalize the list below as you see fit. You can even turn the tips below into a social media contract that your child has to sign and follow, or possibly lose his or her privileges. It is my belief that parents have an obligation to monitor what their child is doing on social media.
Be Polite: Unfortunately, many people who use Facebook, Twitter or YouTube are rude, obnoxious or just plain mean-spirited to others. Be sure your child understands that you won't tolerate rude or ugly comments, and that you will be watching and reading what s/he posts. It's fine for your child to express his or her thoughts and individuality, just be sure they also know that it's not acceptable to single out or harass people who don't agree. This is a lesson that your child will be able to apply to other parts of his life.
Don't Bully: Bullies have taken to Facebook, cell phones, Twitter and other online services to harass other children. It's horrible and it shouldn't be tolerated. Let your child know that bullying others is always wrong. It hurts, and can get your child into a lot of trouble at school and possibly even with the law. Take a minute to think how you would feel if you knew your child was being bullied via social media.

Don't Expose Family Problems: No family is perfect, and while it's important to work through family issues, it's not okay to expose family challenges in a public forum. Family members deserve privacy, so your child should understand that ranting about a sibling or relative on social media is not appropriate.

Be Positive: If you spend any amount of time involved in social media you'll see that people spend a lot of their time online complaining. It can become contagious and can influence how you behave when you're not online. Try to get your child to see social media as a way to focus on the positive instead of complaining about everything that's not so perfect in life. Being positive online may help your child develop a positive attitude offline.

Select Photos Carefully: One of the biggest dangers of social media is how photos can be quickly shared and possibly even used against you. Help your child develop a strategy for selecting photos to put online. And remind him/her that they shouldn't feel the need to share everything that goes on in their private life with contacts online. Recommend your child follow this rule: If s/he wouldn't want Grandma to see the photo or read an update, then they probably shouldn't put it out there for everyone else to read.

Know Your Limits: Social media should be a privilege and something that your child doesn't take for granted. If your child's online involvement is interfering with their life, you might want to limit his/her time online. The same applies should grades fall, or should your child withdraw from family or friends. Many parents require all devices (phones, tablets) go to a central location each night at bedtime for charging. This allows kids to 'turn off' social media and get rest without the pressure to respond to a text or Facebook post.

No giving out personal information, such as your phone number and address, online or to people you don't know: Most kids think they're pretty safe from potential dangers online. This can make them more likely to share their personal information with strangers. They may knowingly hand out their information to someone who "seems harmless" or they may accidentally give out information by posting messages such as, "I wish I didn't live next door to the school." Set clear rules about information you don't want your child giving out. This includes having conversations about the importance of not sending inappropriate pictures.

Never feel bad about "getting in your kid's business" by insisting on checking their social media devices. My guess is that you pay for their cell phone/device and any data plan that goes with it. You have every right to know what they are doing, saying or texting. Set up a regular time each week to review their posts and texts. Finally, remember that teaching kids how to interact via social media is an ongoing process and not just a one-time conversation or listing off a set of rules. It requires parents to engage with their kids on a regular basis and use real-life situations as learning experiences.

Bob Barber 
Craving a night out, but want to make sure your kids have a fun evening too? We have your solution--sign up for the Parents Night Out from 6:30 - 9 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 20. For only $5 per child, volunteers will watch your kids while you enjoy an evening out. Kids are welcome to come in their favorite pajamas. In addition to offering games coordinated by middle school students, we'll show a movie and provide popcorn and water. Additional concessions will be available for sale at check-in, but please feed your child dinner before they come. We can only accept BFA students (including preschoolers). The proceeds benefit students going on the Disneyland Choir trip. Sign up today!  
J oin us for tons of winter-themed activities and games, as well as the much anticipated cake walk from 4-7p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28! Games, treats and hot cocoa are included with your admission. There will be pizza, chips, and drinks available for purchase from 4:30-6:30 p.m., to help support the middle school Disney and Washington, D.C. trips. You also can enjoy tours of the new building hosted by student council members. Tickets are available now online at the BFA Store, for $5 per person or $20 for your whole family (up to 7 members). Volunteer opportunities are available
For planning purposes, we would appreciate it if you could take a short survey about Winter Fest today. We look forward to seeing you all at BFA's first Winter Fest. 
The Ben's Brigade meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.  It has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Target Starbucks inside the Highlands Ranch Target (1265 Sergeant John Stiles Dr.).
A Financial Seminar/Ben's Night Out will be offered from 7 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2. This will be an informative and fun-filled evening with pool, pizza, classic cars and more. Click here to find out more information and to sign up.  

Plan to dine at Kneaders Bakery and Cafe (1105 Sergeant Jon Stiles Dr.) in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, Jan. 24, for an all-day fundraiser. To ensure BFA gets credit, please bring this flier, show the cashier a copy of it from your phone, or mention BFA when ordering. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner--they are all delicious at Kneaders!  Proceeds benefit all BFA students.  
Dads are our real superheroes! Mark your calendar today to celebrate your special Dad at Daybreak with Dads from 7 - 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27. If you'd like to help out with the event, sign up today to volunteer.
BENefit Bash
The BENefit Bash will be the PTO's primary fundraiser next school year. This biannual event is a BFA tradition, and parents look forward to a night out with friends as well as an opportunity to support the school through a silent and live auction. The first Bash planning meeting will take place  at 7 p.m.   on Monday, Jan. 30, at the Target Starbucks (1265 Sergeant Jon Stiles Dr.). If you're looking to get more involved, or just want to know more about the event, please join us! Email Serena Grissom and Rachael Hamburger, PTO fundraising coordinators, with questions.
Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held Feb.15-16. All families who have met their annual 30-hour volunteer quota (15-hours for single family households) by Wednesday, Jan. 25, will r eceive their teachers' sign-ups early to get first dibs on their preferred time slots. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities now and be sure to record all your hours by midnight on Jan. 25!
Order your 2016-17 yearbook by Tuesday, Jan. 31, as there will only be limited copies available after that date. Please email Katie Devlin with questions.
father daughter
Mark your calendars for the father/daughter event  from 6 - 8 p.m. on Saturday,  March 4, at BFA. You will whisk your daughter(s) away for a night in Paris! Tickets will be available the first week of February online at the BFA store.
(Please note the date change; this event was previously scheduled for Feb. 25.)
PTO Logo
Thanks to your generosity, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is able to provide BFA with tools, materials, and financial support for important BFA programs each year, including Lexia, Accelerated Reader incentives, Directory on Tap, new software, student planners, teacher/staff/volunteer appreciation and community events--just to name a few.  This school year, the PTO has also purchased: 
  • Bookshelves for the Library 
  • Literacy kits  
  • A pilot program for Discovery Education student science online tech book 
  • Camera kits used in middle school STEAM classes
  • Costumes and sets for the upcoming Aladdin performance 
  • Chain replacements for playground swings, and 
  • The PTO contributed toward the purchase of new artificial turf above Zone B.
We look forward to supporting further enhancements to the playground and new STEAM building soon.
Douglas County School District (DCSD) is hosting a presentation for parents called, Screenagers: Growing Up in a Digital Age. The presentation will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Mountain Vista High School, and Thursday, Feb. 9, at Highlands Ranch High School. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Click here to watch the trailer. Registration is now open and tickets are just $5. Below is a description of the event:   

Are you watching kids scroll through life? With their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time-friction she knew all too well. In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, we welcome you to discover surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists in this extraordinary and timely film.  Please email Kimberly Romine or contact Lauren LaComb for additional information.
The 2017 Vision and Hearing Screenings are just around the corner. They'll be held on Monday, Feb. 6, and Tuesday, Feb 7. Screenings are conducted for all students in state-mandated grade levels, K - 3, 5, and 7, as well as new and special education students in other grades. Please mark these important screening dates on your calendar and ensure that your student wears their contacts or glasses on those days. For more information, click here to read the flier. If you have questions about your student's vision and/or hearing, email the health assistant.
ARC Thrift Store
Feeling over-stuffed or ready to declutter? We have your solution:
WHAT:  Eighth graders will be collecting donations for ARC. In return, you'll get a receipt for tax purposes when you drop off your donation.
Feb. 6:  10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7:30 p.m.
Feb 7:  10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.
Feb 8:  10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m.
Feb 9:  8:30-11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Drop off your donations at 9260 Lark Sparrow Trail, Highlands Ranch, 80126. If you can't drop off, let us know. We have parent volunteers that will be happy to pick up your items.
WHY:  To support the eighth grade Washington, D.C. trip. We will receive $1 for each bag donated.
Please bag your donation items in Target/Walmart size bags (please, no King Soopers bags because they are a bit smaller and break easily). Items can be placed in a box if needed. Items that aren't accepted include, furniture, TVs, computers, car seats, mattresses, and large items that require more than one person to carry.
Email  Tiffanie Vaught , Washington, D.C., fundraising committee manager, for more information, or to schedule a pick-up of your items. Start your new year off with some spring cleaning and bag your unwanted items for donation! 
Has your kiddo sustained a bump or bruise at school that required an ice pack? The ice packs used in the health room are not disposable; instead, they are sanitized and reused. If your child has brought one home, please return it to the school. 
Keep those New Years resolutions to stay active and volunteer more by helping out with carpool! We still have plenty of openings. Click here and scroll down for the carpool online sign ups. There is one sign up for each day of the week. 
Preschool enrollment for Ben Franklin Academy is open now! If you know a family who is interested in one of our preschool programs, please direct them to the website to submit their registration.  
Spots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. For more information about BFA's preschool program and available classes, please visit our website.  
Please keep in mind, reserved parking spots are assigned to the purchaser, volunteer or staff member 24 hours a day, which means you cannot park in a reserved spot at any time. If grandparents or other guests are coming to BFA for an event, please advise them that they are not allowed to park in a reserved spot. 
Theatre Masks
BFA now offers private voice and/or acting lessons on campus. Lessons are after school between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the Music Room. The pricing is $30 for 30 minutes and $60 for an hour.

The instructor is Sydney Harper a performer and teacher from Denver.  She has soloed with esteemed organizations such as the Colorado Symphony and the Denver Philharmonic. She has been directing professional and amateur children's theatre for 11 years and has a private studio of more than 50 students. She holds a BA in Music Theatre. 
For more information, contact Ms. Johnson or email Sydney Harper.  
Douglas County Community Events is offering a variety of discounted tickets. Take advantage of these great prices today!   
Happening now through January 22: Get discounted tickets for the  National Western Stock Show Days. A variety of exciting events are available. For a calendar and information on purchasing tickets, click  here
Saturday, January 21 at 7 p.m .: 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! Two alternate games also available $40/$16 with a portion of sales going back to your school.   
Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m .: Colorado Mammoth Community Night vs. Calgary Roughnecks. Tickets are $15/$23. Event flyer and ticket ordering info will be available soon. 
Denver Center for the Performing Arts presents, ' The Secret Garden.' For discounts on all performances between April 21 - May 7, Click  here and enter promo code DCSDFUND. Promo code is good for price levels A, B, & C.
On Friday, June 2, Saturday, June 3, or Sunday, June 4, the DCSD community can enjoy a fun-filled day of rides and attractions at Elitch Gardens for only $27.99 (reg. $49.99). If you purchase tickets before May 31, you will receive a free return ticket to the park, valid mid-August through mid-October. Ticket ordering info will be available soon on the DCSD website.
This the time of year when many parents resolve to get more involved in their child's school, and one way to do that is by participating in one of BFA's committees. BFA has a rich tradition of volunteerism because, volunteering not only supports your child(ren)'s education, but it also is a great way to meet other families who truly care about the success of the school and is a personally rewarding experience.
Now is the time to consider becoming involved! Parents are always welcome at BFA Committee Meetings, so drop into a meeting soon to see if there is a committee or project that interests you. And, you don't have to join a group to participate--many of our committees have activities you can help with on a formal or informal basis. Following are short descriptions of several BFA committees: 
ARTS - The Arts Committee is dedicated to helping our students gain awareness and expertise in a wide variety of visual and performing arts. Specifically, they strive to: integrate the arts into our curriculum and extra-curricular activities; help our arts teachers by recruiting and coordinating volunteers; and increase awareness, involvement and recognition of our arts activities. The Arts Committee meets the third Wednesday of the Month at 5 p.m. in the BFA Art Room.

CEC - The mission of the  Community Events Committee (CEC) is to promote interaction between students, staff, administration, parents and the surrounding community with emphasis on community service and outreach. The Committee also connects parents and students with the BFA internal and external community through annual service projects. The CEC meets at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in the BFA Library. 
PTO - The mission of the BFA Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is to seek resources to strengthen, enhance and encourage the educational and social experience at BFA. The resources primarily will be directed toward educationally focused goals. The committee also works to cultivate a strong sense of community and school spirit and support the school by encouraging a strong volunteer network. The PTO also supports Ben's Brigade, which is a group of BFA Dads (as well as grandpas and favorite uncles) who complete various projects for the school. The PTO meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of every month in the Sanders Science Lab.
SAC - The state of Colorado requires each school to have a School Accountability Committee (SAC) consisting of parents, teachers, and community members charged with advising the administration on the improvement of the school. The SAC is tasked with informing, encouraging, and providing opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school's instructional program and quality improvement processes. The SAC meets at 4:10 p.m. the third Thursday of every month in the BFA Conference Room.
STEM - The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee organizes several events and activities throughout the year to enrich science, technology, engineering, and math education for students. Specifically they coordinate the STEM Expo, Fruit Toss After-school Club, Science Fair, Destination Imagination, Earth Day, and National Space Day. However, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to participate! The STEM Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month in the Sanders Science Lab.

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.
Thursday, Jan. 19

The School Accountability Meeting will be held at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19 , in the BFA Conference Room. Their next meeting is Feb. 16.   

PTO Logo
There will be a PTO meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, in the Sanders Science Lab. The next PTO meeting is scheduled for Feb. 16 .
Friday, Jan. 20

Spelling Bee
The annual spelling bee will be held at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, Jan. 20, in the new Gym.    

There is a Parents Night Out from 6:30 - 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. For only $5 per child, volunteers will watch your kids while you enjoy an evening out.  
Tuesday, Jan. 24

Plan to dine at Kneaders Bakery and Cafe (1105 Sergeant Jon Stiles Dr.) in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, Jan. 24, for an all-day fundraiser.    
Thursday, Jan. 26

The Ben's Brigade meeting was rescheduled for 8 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Target Starbucks inside the Highlands Ranch Target (1265 Sergeant John Stiles Dr.).    
Friday, Jan. 27

Mark your calendar today to celebrate your special Dad at Daybreak with Dads from 7 - 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27.   
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.