Vol. 8, Iss. 20
Aug. 16, 2018

Dear Parents,
Welcome Back to School! Whether you are a new family or a founding family who has been here since the beginning, we are so excited to welcome you to the 2018-19 school year at Ben Franklin Academy! I saw so many enthusiastic faces coming into the building this week (not to mention the eager faces of parents in carpool). The teachers, administration and staff have been here much of the past two weeks getting ready, and we are happy to finally have the kids in class so we can get down to the business of learning.  
Each year, we choose a theme or motto to challenge and inspire our students. Last year, our theme was, "Be Brave...Do Hard Things." Out students embraced that motto and we saw them try all kinds of difficult things. Kindergartners learned to read, third graders learned to multiply and our middle school students excelled on the athletic field as well as in the classroom. We were thrilled to see a tremendous amount of growth in our kids last year. 
This school year, we are focusing on respect. The students, and you as parents, will start to hear about Respect4. Respect4 stands for, Respect for 1) self, 2) others, 3) school, and 4) community. We hope to foster an atmosphere of respect throughout our building, whether we are on the playground, in the classroom, walking the hallways or enjoying a field trip.  
This theme will connect very well with the thirteen virtues that we practice here at Ben Franklin. For those families who are newer to BFA, each month we focus on one or more of our 13 virtues. You'll be hearing more about the thirteen virtues in upcoming newsletters.
I am looking forward to another amazing year. Please know that you can reach out to me at any time with questions, concerns or comments; sending an email is a great way to reach me. I look forward to hearing from you throughout the school year!
Thank you,
Diana Simpson

Families with kids in grades K-4, plan to attend the Back to School Night from 6 - 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Families with kids in grades 5-8, plan to attend the Back to School Night from 6 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30. The purpose of Back to School Night is to help the parents become better acquainted with the school, staff and information specific to their child's grade level. More details to follow.

The BFA Board of Directors meets monthly during the school year, generally on the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in our school's library. Parents are welcome to attend the Board meetings, or use the call-in number listed on the agenda to listen to the meeting. The next Board meeting is from 5:30 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Dana Library. The agenda will be available via the BFA website 24 hours prior to the meeting.   

Ben Franklin Academy requires all families to perform 30 approved hours (15 hours for single parents) of volunteer service. More information can be found in the Volunteer and Visitor Policy. Volunteer hours are approved by the principal and tracked by the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) using HelpCounter, a software system 
that allows you to register for volunteer opportunities and track your volunteer service. All volunteer service must be l ogged into Help Counter within 48 hours of performing the service or the hours will be deemed unearned. If you are volunteering inside the building, you should record your hours by signing in and out using the computer in the office. If you are volunteering from home, you also may come into the building and log your hours, or you can send an email to our volunteer coordinator who will log your hours. If you choose to email the volunteer coordinator, please include your name, hours/minutes to log, and a detailed description of your work. It is recommended that each parent/guardian make a separate account to track their volunteer hours. Your hours will be linked to your Family Number (the number on your carpool tag) so we can tally volunteer hours per family.   
RETURNING FAMILIES - Please log into HelpCounter and do the following:
  • Click on 'Update Profile Information' to make changes to your profile and record your student's grade/classroom.
  • Click on 'Check for Upcoming Opportunities' to sign up for lunch or carpool.
  • Click on 'Update your Volunteer Interest Form' to indicate what types of volunteer opportunities interest you.   
  • Bookmark it! Don't miss out on volunteer hours because you failed to log your time--be sure to bookmark the HelpCounter link.
  • If you are new to BFA, you can go to http://Helpcounter.net/volunteer to request access to the system. The system will help you find BFA and ask for your email address. You will then add your personal information and submit. Once you are an approved volunteer, you can start adding hours.
  • Once you are in the system, please specify the areas you are interested in volunteering for--this does not commit you, rather it allows the coordinator see who is interested in specific opportunities. 
  • Click on 'Check for Upcoming Opportunities' to sign up for lunch or carpool.
If you are a single parent family, please email Michelle Bynum so she can update your volunteer quota. If you have questions about HelpCounter or logging hours, email our volunteer coordinator.
Volunteering Ideas at BFA
  • Help with Lunch - Ben Franklin's lunchroom couldn't run efficiently without our wonderful parent volunteers. Our volunteers assist our lunch aides with setting up the lunchroom tables, help students open food and drink containers, monitor student safety and activity, clean tabletops between lunch sessions, and assist with final cleanup after all students have eaten. Our volunteer sessions last from 10:50 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., and our signups are via Helpcounter (log into HelpCounter first to be directly linked). You are welcome to sign up in advance or walk-in. Please note, younger siblings are not allowed in the lunch room during volunteer shifts. We love our lunch volunteers!
  • Volunteer for Carpool - Parent participation in carpool is essential as it helps ensure the safety of our kids, other volunteers and BFA staff. Please use HelpCounter (log in first)
    to sign up for carpool shifts, or you may drop in, unscheduled, at the school office and offer to help. Please arrive by 7:30 a.m. for the morning shift, or 3:15 p.m. for afternoon carpool.
  • Sign up to Volunteer in the Library - The library needs volunteers, so please sign up today! If you sign up, but are unable to show up, please delete your shift. If you would like to volunteer during your student's classroom time, please check with their teacher for their library schedule.
  • Look for Teacher Sign-ups - Many of our teachers send out sign-ups to help with reading, science lab, Thursday folders, etc. Please watch for these and sign up to help your student's class.
  • Committees - BFA has many committees that work to support the mission and vision of the school. Many of these committees have opportunities to volunteer that fall outside of traditional school hours. To learn more about the committees and how to contact them, check out each committee's web page.

lunch bag
Students can bring a lunch, or purchase their lunch at school. Douglas County Nutrition Services (DCNS) provides lunch and strives to offer healthy options. You can view the lunch choices for the week on the Nutrislice website, and set up a payment account through MySchoolBucks. Please make sure your child knows when they should order hot lunch and what their choice is for that day (including doubles). Teachers are asked to give a count of how many students will be ordering lunch and what choice they would like each morning. To find out more, see the BFA webpage.  

If you're interested in performing arts, Ms. Johnson has set up some terrific after school programs for our students. Check out this guide for more information. Registration for many of the programs is now open, so review the catalog and sign up today!
Ben Franklin Academy is committed to bringing unique learning opportunities to our students and we are pleased to continue a free reading service providing digital books through OverDrive.  
Why OverDrive?
The OverDrive collection is an extension of Ben Franklin Academy's physical library; kids have online access to eBooks and audiobooks. It's a convenient way for students to check out titles at home, on the weekends or during school breaks with no worry about misplacing a book or running up fees - these digital titles automatically return at the end of the lending period!
OverDrive can help students of all ages read more and improve comprehension. Struggling or reluctant readers, learning-challenged, second language learners, and gifted readers can all benefit from this service. There are so many benefits of reading, and using OverDrive can help with:
  • Enriching vocabulary and improving comprehension and pronunciation;
  • Introducing students to books above their reading level;
  • Teaching critical listening skills; and
  • Helping busy kids find time to read.
How does it work?
To use OverDrive, students browse our secure custom website, borrow with their Google single sign-on and enjoy books anytime, anywhere on a computer, tablet, smartphone, or eReader.
One you click on the Website, use the following information to login:
Username: Student's last name beginning with a capital letter, then first initial and middle initial
Password: Dcsd (capital D) followed by student ID number
Username: Smithbk
Password: Dcsd123456 

Looking for a great way to CELEBRATE the start of a new school year? Or, do you need a fun way to cool off after carpool? Maybe you'd like to meet up with some new school friends. If so, please join us for BFA's first SPIRIT NIGHT from 3:30 - 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at BAHAMA BUCKS!
Bahama Bucks is a new sweet treat spot that features snow cones, frozen lattes and lemonades, smoothies and frozen slushes. Bahama Bucks will kindly donate a portion of all sales proceeds back to BFA to support the eighth graders raising money to go to Washington, D.C. In addition, Bahama Bucks will donate a SNOW CONE PARTY to the BFA class with the most spirit night attendees. So, join us for some frosty fun...and don't forget to tell the Bahama Bucks cashier who your homeroom teacher is! Bahama Bucks is located at 8204 S University Blvd (in the same shopping complex as Educational Outfitters).

BFA uses multiple communication tools to ensure that parents keep track of all the exciting things happening at BFA. Check out the list below for more details about all the ways to stay connected:
  • Principal Simpson's weekly newsletter is sent out via email every Thursday. 
  • The BFA website is the central hub for news, calendars, policies, teacher webpages, committee webpages and essential quicklinks for lunch, BASE, carpool and volunteer management. 
  • BFA has a public Facebook page and posts various announcements and pictures throughout the day. 
  • Teacher websites, newsletters and blogs ensure you stay abreast of all the happenings inside your student's classroom.
  • The BFA app offers quick access to all the information you need from your mobile device, and if you enable notifications, you'll also receive helpful reminders throughout the year. The app is available on IOS and Android devices - get it now on the App Store or Google Play!
  • Additional communications will be sent routinely to Middle School and Preschool families.


If you are not receiving communications from BFA, please email us and we'll make sure your correct email address is on our distribution lists.   

Order your birthday bags today and help our eighth graders who are going to Washington, D.C. next spring. For just $10, our eighth graders will deliver a bag of goodies (no food included) to your child's classroom and surprise him or her with a special Happy Birthday song. We're happy to celebrate half birthdays too! Bags are available for purchase on the BFA online store. Please order early to ensure delivery on your child's special day.   

The PTO is proud to unveil our newest fundraiser, the Spirit Rock that you may have already noticed on the hill of the curve in the carpool lanes.
The Spirit Rock is an opportunity to share exciting events with our school community by painting your own message. Parents, students, and staff may "Rent the Rock" to recognize a student's birthday, show school spirit, wish a team good luck, thank a teacher, announce an event, etc. It is a great way to spread positive messages and increase excitement! The introductory daily rate to rent the Rock is $15 per day. All proceeds benefit Ben Franklin Academy.
Want to rent the Rock? Here's how:
First, reserve the date you want by visiting the 'Rent the Rock' Sign Up Genius here . Rock reservations are on a first come, first serve basis, so make your reservations NOW!! ( NOTE: Your 24-hour rental starts at 4 p.m. the day prior to your rental. If your child's birthday is August 15, reserve August 15 and you may begin painting AFTER 4 p . m . on August 14 .)
Next, pay for your reservation through the online BFA Store under the 'Categories' tab. Please note the date(s) you are reserving in the 'Notes' section.
Have questions? You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the PTO webpage, or contact Sara Hope, spirit rock committee manager.

The School Accountability Committee (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. SAC meets monthly, and their meetings are open to the BFA community. The next SAC meeting is from 4:10 - 5:10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, in the BFA Conference Room. 

PTO Logo
Join us for our monthly PTO meetings to find out more about what's going on at BFA and get connected with other parents. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanders Science Lab, unless otherwise noted. The dates for this year's meetings are: Aug. 22, Sept. 12, Oct. 17, Nov. 14, Dec. 19, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 13, April 17, and May 15. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!

BASE logo
Now's the time to get your BFA spirit wear. Inventory is stocked and the online store is open!  You may purchase your spirit wear online at the BFA Store from now through Oct. 31. All purchases will be delivered to the classroom and sent home with your student. If you want to purchase in person, we'll be selling spirit wear in October at parent teacher conferences. The online store will close Oct. 31 and remain closed until the Spring. So make sure to get your spirit wear at now.
Additional Upcoming Events: BFA Calendar
Middle School:  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.