Dec. 10, 2020
Weekly Update
A Message from Principal Simpson
Simpson
Dear Parents,
 
Ben Franklin Academy's administration, teachers, staff and families have been committed to offering in-person learning as often as possible during this ongoing pandemic. We have all been working very hard to balance in-person students, quarantining students as well as fully remote learners. Families have been doing their part by being diligent, monitoring for symptoms and keeping kids at home when sick. Overall, we have been very successful. This week, we have had a few set-backs and currently have three cohorts quarantining as well as one grade level working remote. 
 
We currently have between 250-300 students who are either quarantining, working remotely or are full remote. In addition, every day this week we’ve received requests from families who would like to be remote next week in preparation for the holidays. We’re also finding it increasingly difficult to find coverage for teachers and IAs who need to be out of the building either because of COVID-related situations or for regularly scheduled absences. We are closing in on the cohort quarantine limit that would require us to close school, with new cases and individual quarantines happening each day. Our staff is experiencing rising levels of stress and anxiety. 
 
Given all of these factors, we have made the incredibly hard decision to change our schedule for next week. Here’s the plan:
 
  • Monday and Tuesday we’ll learn in-person.
  • Wednesday and Thursday will be remote learning days for all students.
  • Friday will be a day off for everyone.
 
Preschool will be open Monday-Thursday and closed on Friday. 
 
We recognize that this will put an additional burden on families, and I cannot express how heavy that weighs on my heart. However, we feel this new schedule will provide a much-needed buffer for both students and staff to feel safe going into break. 
 
Now some of you may be wondering....WHAT ABOUT WINTER SPIRIT WEEK? Don't worry--we have you covered! Monday will be PJ/Cozy day and Tuesday will be Tacky Holiday/Ugly Sweater day. We also will plan an additional Spirit Week after the holidays!
 
We have not wavered in our desire and dedication to learn in-person and will return on Monday, Jan. 4, to full class sizes. NOTE: The printed desk calendars list January 4 as a day off; that is an error. We will be back in school on Monday, Jan. 4. 

As always, please reach out to me with any questions.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Simpson
Message from the Board
Two Seats Open on the BFA Board of Directors in Spring 2021

A message from Adam Lucero, at-large director, BFA board of directors...

The Ben Franklin Academy (BFA) community is seeking leaders who are passionate about and committed to BFA’s mission and vision to serve on the BFA Board of Directors (Board). In the spring of 2021, the BFA community will elect one (1) director and the BFA Board will appoint one (1) director in accordance with the Board of Directors Election Policy to serve on the volunteer, seven-director BFA Board. Each seat is for a three-year term. We hope to receive a record number of nominations with a desire of having a diverse, talented and dedicated pool of candidates to draw from for BFA’s Board.
 
A critical element to the success of any charter school is its ability to advocate for its educational philosophy, successfully fulfill legal requirements, and carry out its mission and vision. Serving on the BFA Board is an opportunity for you to ensure that BFA is and remains “The Core Knowledge STEAM School of Choice.” Board directors use their backgrounds, experience and skills to focus on oversight and matters of strategic importance which can help improve BFA’s educational programs. In addition to helping teachers, staff and administrators lay a solid foundation in education for future generations and instill a love of learning in BFA students, the Board provides individuals a chance to grow personally and professionally, further develop skills, gain unique experience and make lasting connections with a team of other passionate and motivated individuals.
 
The Board encourages all individuals with a passion to serve the BFA community to get involved in the nomination and election process this spring. More details on the election/appointment process, director qualifications and Board needs will be communicated in early 2021.
Volunteer Recognition
BFA loves its volunteers, and we want to show our appreciation for all of your work. The PTO recognizes two volunteers each month. A volunteer will be chosen as the Volunteer of the Month, and will get exclusive use of the dedicated, reserved Volunteer of the Month spot in the parking lot for their respective month. 

In addition, each month a volunteer will be randomly chosen through a drawing to win a fun, surprise gift. All you have to do to be eligible to win, is log at least ONE hour of volunteer service in the month prior to the drawing.

Thanks to all our volunteers for your continued support of BFA!
Congratulations Shawn Heitman
For the month of December, Shawn Heitman has been selected as the Ben Franklin Academy Volunteer of the Month. Shawn is being honored for all of his volunteer work at BFA but, specifically, in carpool. Shawn and wife, Tania's, kids are currently remote learners. Given that the kids are learning remotely, Shawn does not even have to be at BFA--let alone carpool! Yet, almost daily, Shawn volunteers in carpool. His dedication to helping make carpool run smoothly is greatly appreciated by staff, students, and families. For all of his efforts, we'd like to say a HUGE thank you and recognize him.

When asked to share about his family and what they like about BFA, Shawn responded, "I appreciate that it was for the month of December, not one of those 28 or 30 day months so I can really maximize my prime parking spot. All kidding aside, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself, my wife Tania, and kids, Ariya and Evan, to thank the Ben Franklin faculty, board members and volunteers for all of their hard work, commitment and dedication throughout the years, but especially during the 2020-21 school year. Your efforts to keep our kids and community safe have not gone unnoticed and are greatly appreciated. We would like to wish you and the entire Ben Franklin family happy holidays and a safe, healthy new year. See you at carpool!"
 
Well said, Shawn! We sincerely appreciate you, and wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. Congratulations again.
Thank You Donovan and Lisa Schenck
This month, Donovan and Lisa Schenck are the winners of our drawing for their volunteer time in November. Donovan volunteered with Ben’s Brigade on their recent planter box project, and Lisa volunteered as Mrs. Triplett’s room parent and as a Vice-Chair of the SAC. They have won a $10 gift card to Gelato & Co.

Congratulations, Donovan and Lisa! And, thank your dedication to BFA.
BFA News
Students Recognized for Humility and Sincerity
Congratulations to all the students who were recognized for the virtues of Humility and Sincerity! The PTO’s virtues awareness program helps teachers recognize students displaying the virtue(s) of the month. In grades 5-8, teachers place the names of students displaying these virtues in a Virtues Box. Each month, a drawing is held and several students receive recognition and a gift card. Following are the students recognized for November's virtues:
Rea Roberts
Rea Roberts 6th- Humility
Preston
Preston Kent 6th - Humility
Gregory DeFauw
Gregory DeFauw 5th- Humility
Estella Boche
Estella Boche 5th- Sincerity
Enroll
Preschool Enrollment for BFA Families
Preschool enrollment is now open for families that have another K-8 student currently enrolled at BFA. Please complete this form to express your interest in our program.

Completing this form does not guarantee enrollment into the preschool as it is determined on a first come, first serve basis. You will receive an email confirming the spot requested or that you have been placed on the wait list. 

Please email the Preschool Director, Lori Hafner, with any questions.
snowman_snowy_dec.jpg
Winter Spirit Days
We are very excited to show our spirit next week! Below are the themes for each day:

  • Monday, Dec. 14 – Warm and Cozy day: Dress in your favorite warm and fuzzy PJ’s!
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15 – Deck the Halls, Tacky Christmas style: Wear ugly sweaters, mismatched plaid…whatever makes you feel festive!
RSVP to Moms (Virtual) Night Out This Saturday
Moms and ladies of BFA--it's your turn! Please join members of the PTO at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 12, for a virtual Moms Night Out with Canvas and Cocktails. The PTO is hosting a virtual, private party at Canvas and Cocktails. All of your supplies for the class will be provided. Space is limited. Please RSVP so we have an accurate count and can reserve your spot in the party.

After you RSVP, all you have to do is pick the supplies up at the Southglenn studio and join in for the fun from the comfort of your own home.
Spirit Rock
Sign Up to Rent the NEW Spirit Rock
The new spirit rock was installed last Friday and is ready for painting! Reserve your dates on the BFA Spirit Rock SignUpGenius. Rental rates remain at $15/day.

As an important reminder, the spirit rock is not a jungle gym. Please do not climb on or push against the rock. 

If you have any questions about renting it, please contact Sara Hope, Spirit Rock coordinator.
MICI Handcrafted Italian Spirit Night
Come enjoy a delicious dinner and support BFA! Mici Handcrafted Italian (9245 S. Broadway, Highlands Ranch) will generously donate 20 percent of all delivery and carry-out purchases between 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Just be sure to mention BFA!
 
Help us make this evening a success by sharing this great opportunity with your family, friends and colleagues!
Terrific Opportunity for Performing Arts Lessons at School
Harper Arts continues to offer lessons and coaching for our students during the school day and has a few openings beginning January 2021. This school year, students will have the option to have piano, guitar, ukulele, voice, acting and audition coaching.
 
Students are approved to participate in this opportunity during DEAR, recess, specials, electives (middle school) and advisory (middle school). There also will still be a number of spaces available before and after school.
 
Space for this program is EXTREMELY LIMITED! Click here to register now. Priority shall be given on a first come, first served basis!
Community Events
CEC December Meeting Cancelled
The Community Events Committee (CEC) meeting will be cancelled on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Please join us after the new year at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, for our next meeting (specifics TBD). We hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday!
NJHS Application DUE Next Week
Applications are now being accepted for National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). To give remote and quarantined students additional time, Mrs. Murphy has extended the deadline. All seventh and eighth grade students interested in joining NJHS need to fill out paperwork and return it to the basket outside of Mrs. Murphy’s classroom next week. If you think you may have problems turning the forms in next week, please reach out to Mrs. Murphy.

New members need to complete the application packet and the policy form, and returning members only need to complete the BFA NJHS policy form. (Both the application packet and policy forms also can be found on the NJHS website located under the middle school tab.) If you do not have a printer at home, please email Mrs. Murphy and she will deliver a copy to your child’s homeroom teacher. Please have your student contact Mrs. Murphy with any NJHS questions that are not answered on the NJHS policy form or the BFA NJHS website.
Upcoming Events
BFA's Guiding Principles
Mission:
Our mission is to create young adults with character like America's founding Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin: well-read, scientifically curious, and civically engaged.

Vision:
Our students will excel academically through a challenging, sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, the arts, 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 social emotional development, character, sports, and nature.

13 Virtues:
Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Purity and Humility.