Vol. 7, Iss. 5
Feb. 2, 2017
Dear Parents:

I understand that the standardized testing debate has become very politicized, however, we must not forget that we were once sitting in our children's seats. You probably remember the days when you were told to bring a #2 pencil so you could take the standardized test. Every year, we had to take a timed test and answer various questions, then read stories and answer questions about what we just read. These tests required critical thinking skills that we have used throughout our lives.
Taking the tests is not a traumatic experience; it is a reasonable and necessary one. Today, students and parents hear that tests are stressful, unimportant and that schools can be punished based on overall performance. That's simply not true. Our teachers do their best to create a positive testing environment, and the data we receive are very valuable to understanding each student's academic achievement and growth. We use this data to focus on strengthening various skills or concepts and to ensure students are appropriately challenged.
The benefits of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests are as follows:
  • We can see whether a child is performing at grade level as well as how he or she is performing relative to other students at BFA, within the district and nationally. 
  • It prepares students for standardized assessments that they will be required to take in high school and/or college (SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT...).
  • BFA receives a more valid evaluation of the school's performance when there is a larger sample size.
  • We can make informed decisions and choices for our students. Test data is used by administration and staff to drive curriculum and professional development choices.
  • Test data may identify learning gaps that can be addressed.
  • With open enrollment, schools are requiring a copy of test scores as part of the student's file. 
At BFA, we embrace the test data. We use it to celebrate success and pinpoint areas for improvement. Test data is never used as a punishment, rather, it is used to set goals and measure progress.
Taking these tests is truly a life-long skill. Students will eventually need to take a test to obtain their driver's license, to gain admission into some high schools or colleges, to obtain a license to work in certain trades, and countless other things.
I am asking you to carefully consider this information when the testing window comes around. As a staff, we want to get the students excited about the test and show that it is not a burden. In fact, we have three simple rules for all tests:
  1. Take the test seriously! 
  2. Do your best! 
  3. Don't stress!
If you have any questions about the test, feel free to email me or Diana Simpson, assistant principal.


Bob Barber 
BFA students were thrilled to spend their morning with dad last Friday. More than 600 dads and their kiddos attended Daybreak with Dads and enjoyed spending some time together, checked out the building enhancement and had a breakfast treat. Thanks to the Community Events Committee (CEC) for hosting the event, as well as the volunteers who assisted with decorating, set-up, parking and handing out goodies.
Thanks to the volunteers, parents and students who helped make Winter Fest a success last weekend. More than 730 attendees participated in the cake walk, played games and jumped around on inflatables. Families enjoyed prizes, cocoa, baked goods and popcorn, as well as Anthony's Pizza and concessions. Parents were excited to receive tours of the school from student council members. Winter Fest (formally the Harvest Festival) is a wonderful BFA tradition that kids and parents alike look forward to every year. An event of this magnitude would not be possible without the support of many volunteers, including the PTO, the Winter Fest Committee, the Baking Committee, Student Council, National Junior Honor Society, as well as all our parent and student volunteers--we appreciate all your hard work!
A Financial Seminar/Ben's Night Out will be offered from 7 - 9 p.m. this evening, Feb. 2. This will be an informative and fun-filled night with pool, pizza, classic cars and more. Click here to find out more information and to sign up.  
BFA's eighth graders are excited to offer Smencil grams for delivery on  Valentine's Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14. Smencils are fun, scented pencils made from recycled materials, and each pencil comes in a tube with a decorative cap. When you purchase a Smencil for your student(s) it will be delivered with a personalized, Valentine-themed tag. Each Smencil gram is $2 or you can buy a bundle of six Smencils for $10. These must be purchased from the BFA PTO store by Sunday, Feb. 5. Late orders will not be accepted.

You won't want to miss this opportunity to have a special valentine delivered to your student on Valentine's Day.
This time of year, we generally see an increase in the number of students out sick, so BFA's health assistants would like to provide a few reminders about returning to school after an illness. Please pay special attention to these DCSD Health Guidelines about when a child can return to school:
Your student can return to school after 24 hours of medication for the following:
  •  Strep throat
  • Infected skin eruptions
  • Pink eye
  • Other conditions requiring antibiotics
Your student can return to school after being symptom free of the following conditions for 24 hours:
  • Fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
  • Vomiting
  • Eye drainage
Your student can return to school after they have been symptom free of the following conditions for 48 hours:
  • Any diarrhea
  • Vomiting accompanied with diarrhea 
Thank you in advance for adhering to these guidelines and helping to prevent the spread of illness in our school.
Congratulations Jennifer Pumphrey on your February Parking Spot! The Pumphrey family has met their 30-hour volunteer requirement, so they were qualified for an entry into the monthly Volunteer Quota Award drawing.
Did you know volunteering in Carpool or the Lunch Room could earn you a monthly parking spot even if you haven't met your volunteer quota?
Since volunteerism is what makes this school so great, the PTO is recognizing families that have met their annual 30-hour volunteer quota (15 hours for single-family households) with an entry each month into a drawing for a reserved parking spot. Regardless of meeting your volunteer quota, we also have decided to include families that volunteer in the lunchroom or carpool during the month prior to the drawing, as those volunteer opportunities have the most need each month.
Thank you to the Pumphrey family for spending time in the school. You make our school amazing! 
lunch bag
One of our fabulous lunch aids will be out the entire month of February, so we'll need extra help throughout the month. Please check your schedules and come in when you can. Please remember, working in the lunchroom earns you an entry in the parking space drawing for the following month.  
Tickets on sale now for the father/daughter event, 'A Night in Paris.' Please join us  from  6-8 p.m. Saturday, March 4at BFA for a night of dinner, dancing and more. Tickets are $10 per person and will be available until   Feb. 28; tickets will not be sold at the door. 
Please join us for the father/daughter event committee meeting at 7 p.m. this evening, Feb. 2, at the King Soopers Starbucks (9551 S University Blvd.). We need lots of volunteers to make the event a success.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Ben Franklin Academy's Battle of the Books teams had their very first battle. The battle took place at the James H. LaRue library against Platte River Academy.

The third/fourth grade team battled hard and lost the battle by only one question, bringing the final score to 43 to 48. They are currently in fourth place overall. The fifth/six grade team had a nail biting battle with both teams neck and neck for the first half. Ben Franklin had an exceptional second half of the battle and won. The final score was 35 to 51, placing them in first place overall.

Next week both teams will battle Heritage Elementary at the James H. LaRue library--with the third/fourth graders starting at 6:30 p.m. and the fifth/sixth graders battling at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Everyone is welcome to come (quietly) cheer on our teams!
Make plans with your sweetheart on Friday, Feb. 10, and send your BFA student to the Parents Night Out!Students will have a blast hanging out in their favorite pajamas, playing games and watching a movie.
Childcare will run from 6:30-9 p.m. For $5, volunteers will watch your children while you grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. We can only accept BFA students (includes BFA preschoolers). Please feed your children dinner before they come. We will offer popcorn and water, and concessions will be available for sale at check in.
Sign up each child you are bringing individually please, and provide a phone number that can be used to reach you the night of the event. Proceeds benefit the Disneyland Choir. 
Our BFA librarians, in partnership with Tattered Cover Book Store, are thrilled to announce that author, Jessica Brody, will visit our school on Tuesday, Feb. 21.  Brody is an accomplished writer who has published more than 12 books for teens, tweens and adults. While her focus has mostly been on young adults, she is debuting her first middle grade book this year, "Addie Bell's Shortcut to Growing Up."

Students in grades 5-7 are invited to the event at BFA where Brody will share her journey to becoming a published author, and encourage kids to look for the positive in every situation. If you would like to order one of Brody's books for yourself or your student, click here. This is the second visit by an author this school year. In the fall, our librarians worked with Tattered Cover to bring Mike Curato to speak to students in grades K-2.
BFA's Spring  Scholastic Book Fair will be held   Monday, Feb. 13, through   Thursday, Feb. 16, in conjunction with Parent-Teacher conferences:
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.Monday, Feb. 13, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, and
  • 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.Wednesday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, Feb. 16. Please note: the office is closed from 3 - 4 p.m. every day so unless you are in the building already, you will need to wait until carpool ends to come in and shop. 
Click   here  for a preview of all the exciting selections that will be offered this year. Visit the fair and enter your child's name in a drawing for books and miscellaneous items. The drawing will be held after the fair. We look forward to seeing you there.
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. this evening, 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! 

On   Friday, Feb. 10,  students may bring a dollar to their homeroom teacher for an extra dress of choice day.  Proceeds benefit students going on the Washington, D.C. trip.

Our last bake sale of the school year will be on Friday, March 3. Stay tuned for more information.
You can support BFA every time you shop by using Amazon Smile. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price on millions of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Just visit smile.amazon.com and select Ben Franklin Academy Parent-Teacher Organization as your charity. Then just be sure to use smile.amazon.com every time you shop on Amazon to benefit our school. As of November 2016, Amazon has donated almost $38 million dollars to charity through this program.   
PTO Logo
The PTO has moved their February meeting. Please join them from 6:30-8 p.m on Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Sanders Science Lab. They will not be meeting on Feb. 16 due to Parent Teacher Conferences. Hope to see you there!
Douglas County Sheriff's Office is hosting a Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S.) program on keeping youth safe as related to social/digital media. The presentation is from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Highlands Ranch High School. If you plan to attend, you will need to RSVP.
Click on this link to find out more about week-long summer tech camps in our area and get a coupon code. 

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.
The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) highlights one (or more) volunteer(s) each month who has gone above and beyond in his/her contributions to the school. This volunteer receives recognition in the school newsletter and on the school website. S/he also has the privilege to park in one of our reserved parking spaces.
For February, the PTO has chosen Gwen Feifarek. Gwen grew up in the Chicago area (Go Cubs!), and has now enjoyed living in beautiful Colorado for 25 years. She is an experienced accounting manager, but has spent the most recent years doing volunteer work that includes coordinating Harvest/Winter Festivals, preparing taxes and serving on a nonprofit board of directors.

Gwen's favorite thing to do is to spend time with her family. Her husband, Jonathan, works on Lockheed Martin's Orion program and helps with BFA STEM activities. They are very proud of their three adult children, BFA fiffth grader Alex, and their two adorable grandsons.

One of things that Gwen likes best about BFA is that, in addition to an excellent academic program, our school has outstanding "Specials" during and after school with music, art and sports.
Thank you, Gwen, for helping make BFA such a special place!
Thursday, Feb. 2

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.  

Please join us for the father/daughter event committee meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the King Soopers Starbucks (9551 S University Blvd.).    
Friday, Feb. 3

BASE logo
Friday, Feb. 3, is Spirit Wear Day. Students can wear a BFA Spirit Wear T-shirt, a field day shirt from a prior year, or their Apex Fun Run shirt.      
Monday, Feb. 6 and Tuesday Feb. 7

The 2017 Vision and Hearing Screenings are 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.
Tuesday, Feb. 7

 Join the Community Events Committee (CEC) for their meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the BFA Library. 
Thursday, Feb. 9

 The Finance Committee will be holding a meeting via conference call from 7 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9. 
Friday, Feb. 10

On Friday, Feb. 10, students may bring a dollar to their homeroom teacher for an extra dress of choice day. Proceeds benefit students going on the Washington, D.C. trip.

Valentine's Day parties will be held for K-5 students at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10.   

The Disneyland Choir is hosting a Parents Night Out from 6:30-9 p.m on Friday, Feb. 10. For $5 per student, your kids will have a blast hanging out in their favorite pajamas, playing games and watching a movie.  
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.