Vol. 9, Iss. 23
September 5, 2019
Dear Parents,
Last year, the Ben Franklin Academy Board of Directors, the BFA PTO, and the school administration made a difficult decision around fundraising and how it would be handled going forward. We announced last April that we were re-structuring fundraising to return to one of the core founding principles of the school which was to have one large fundraiser instead of many small ones. As part of this change, it was decided that small groups (any group wanting to raise money that doesn't impact the whole school or the community) would need to fundraise outside of BFA. Currently, those groups include students participating in the Washington, D.C. trip, Disneyland Choir and Destination Imagination. The change was further explained by describing these parameters: 
  • The PTO will still have one large annual fundraising event (ie. BENefit Bash, Fun Run, or possibly a cash drive).
  • Spirit wear sales, restaurant/spirit nights, spirit rock, and SCRIP for teachers will continue.
  • Spirit rock proceeds will be placed in a grant account that will be held for use by small groups who can apply for funds via a grant application.
  • Community service events benefiting a non-BFA group or organization may still occur at the discretion of the BFA Board or Fundraising Committee.
  • The PTO's community events (Harvest Festival, Sweetheart Ball, Spring Social) will be unaffected as those events have never been fundraising events and are funded through ticket sales as opposed to fundraising monies.
We are trying to find new ways to support our smaller groups that want to fundraise. The PTO Grant account will have funds available that the groups can apply for. The application and information about the grant fund can be found on the PTO page here (scroll down to 'Important Forms'). Smaller groups can fundraise on their own, outside of BFA and we encourage them to do so. Some groups are already having very successful fundraising campaigns while not consistently asking our community for donations. 
The Student Council and CEC will still be allowed to do fundraising (including donations of goods) to support their philanthropy projects. These fundraisers could include (but are not limited to) bake sales, $1 Dress of Choice days, Penny Wars, etc. Our community has always been generous to outside groups in need (Make a Wish, American Heart Association, Wish of a Lifetime, Veterans Groups, for example). Community service has been another core value of Ben Franklin Academy and it will continue to be a part of our programming each year. 
The school is in a strong financial position and has put our new Mill Levy funds to use in ways that we feel most directly impact families. We gave each grade level $5,000 to spend towards field trips so that the financial impact of those trip is less for families. We also cut student fees in half this year. We cut student fees and did not cut any teacher supply budgets or any services being offered to our students.  
We heard the feedback of the community when we were asked to reduce the number of "asks." We realize that while some are relieved with the idea of fewer fundraisers, some are frustrated. We do our best to make the best decisions we can for our whole community. We welcome continued feedback and will regularly evaluate the needs of our community.  


Diana Simpson

BFA loves its volunteers, and we want to show our appreciation for all of your work. This year, the PTO will be recognizing 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. 

For the month of  SeptemberRandy and Richawna James have been selected as the Ben Franklin Academy Volunteers of the Month.  Randy and Richawna are being honored for volunteering during annual family registration.  Richawna volunteered at the school's front entrance. She provided a warm, welcome face to everyone arriving at registration while maintaining the order needed to keep the process running smoothly and efficiently.  Meanwhile,  Randy  volunteered in the carpool room again this year.  Additionally, Randy has volunteered multiple times in the science lab. Between the two of them, they have already exceeded their family's volunteer quota for the school year. Way to go! For their efforts we'd like to say thank you and are happy to recognize them.
The James family has lived in Highlands Ranch since 2003. They feel fortunate to have had their daughter, Kayden, start attending BFA as a preschooler in 2013. Their son Connor, started preschool in 2017. They feel especially grateful for the BFA faculty and fellowship with other parents as we watch our children grow and thrive.
Congratulations, Randy and Richawna! And, thank you again for all you do for our school.

Tomorrow, Sept. 6, students get to celebrate the beginning of the Bronco football season by wearing their favorite Bronco T-shirt or jersey. Students also can elect to wear a different football team's T-shirt/jersey.
If your student prefers, he/she may also wear a Spirit Day shirt. Regardless of whether your student wears a Bronco shirt or a Spirit Day shirt, your student should wear regular uniform bottoms. 

We kindly ask that you  park in designated spots only , and  refrain from parking in reserved spaces . The reserved spaces are for those who have been recognized as the volunteer of the month, staff member of the week, OR for the family who won the spot at last school year's auction. In addition, parking along the curb in the lot becomes an issue for others trying to back out of a space, and the Fire Department has advised us against letting cars park in the fire lane.  Please be respectful of others and park in designated spots ONLY.

Attention eighth grade families-PLEASE HELP IN CARPOOL THIS SEPTEMBER!  To help fill crucial carpool volunteer roles, we're asking parents in each grade level to make a special effort to volunteer one month of the school year. In September, we'd like our eighth grade families to sign up for open volunteer spots in carpool.
Carpool volunteers are critical, and we need your support. Even if you don't have an eighth grader, we still need you so please consider signing up today. Just log into HelpCounter and click on 'Check for Upcoming Opportunities.' 
If you are a new family and have not logged into HelpCounter yet, or want to volunteer but simply can't help with carpool, see our Volunteer Management webpage. Get ready Kindergarten parents, as we'll be asking you to help with carpool in October.

BFA's teachers and administration are always happy to hear from parents and welcome your questions and feedback. If you have a classroom issue, your first step is to contact your student's teacher. Mr. Gomez is our assistant principal for students in K-4; and Mr. Rau is our assistant principal for students in grades 5-8. To reach out to Principal Simpson or anyone on our administration team, simply go to the administration webpage for contact information

In addition, BFA's Board of Directors also has a process for accepting open comments from the parent community. Parents can go to a Board meeting and make a short comment in person during the Open Comment time period; or, submit a comment electronically using the Open Comment form by noon the day of the Board meeting. If you want to submit a comment online, please look for 'Our School' on the main navigation bar of the BFA website, then go to the ' Board Transparency' page, scroll down to 'agendas' and look for 'Board of Directors Meeting Open Comments Form.' Open comment forms received by the deadline will be read aloud during the open comment period of the Board meeting.


The new school year means another opportunity to promote your business while supporting BFA. Each year, sponsorships allow BFA to continue to grow and to meet the needs of our school, as well as our teachers, staff and students. 
Sponsorships will go on sale TOMORROW, Sept. 6. They are limited in quantity, and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.  Visit the PTO Sponsorship webpage for details on the various sponsorship options and pricing  (look for the 'sponsors' tab).  If you are interested in a sponsorship opportunity, please contact Denise Battista, sponsor committee manager.

Join us for a night of family fun at BFA's 9th Annual Harvest Festival, from 4 - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at BFA.  
Tickets are on sale NOW through MySchoolBucks. Tickets are $10 per child, with a maximum of $25 for a family (siblings only), with advance purchase. Adults and children under 3 are FREE! Tickets at the door will be $10 per child; the family discount will not be available. Purchase your advance tickets now through September 10. Wristbands for those who pre-pay will be sent home with the oldest child before the event.
Families who have completed and logged their 30 hours of volunteer service (15 hours for single family households) for the current school year before tomorrow, Sept. 6, will be given FREE admittance to the event! Qualifying families will be notified on Sept. 7 by email.

Your admission fee gets you into the: carnival games, inflatables, outdoor field games, and of course, the cake walk! Also included are: face painting, balloon twisting, popcorn, lemonade, apple juice, and assorted baked goods.
You can purchase dinner and a refreshing treat at the Harvest Festival this year, too. The 'Tacos Tequila Whiskey' food truck, run by a BFA family, will be selling delicious food, and Kona Ice will be on site with their irresistible shaved ice!


The BENefit Bash is the PTO's primary fundraising event for the school year. This year's BENefit Bash includes a lot of changes. Below are important dates related to event tickets and online registration:

Sept. 6 - Event tickets go on sale at  www.BFAcademy.PTAPal.com. Main event and after party tickets start at $20 per person, per event (main and after party). Overnight packages are available for $230+ per couple.
Sept. 29 - Event ticket prices increase.
Oct. 12 - Event ticket sales end. Online auction registration continues thru Oct. 24.
Oct. 20 - Online auction opens. Registration is FREE.
Oct. 24 - Last day to register for online auction. Online auction ends.
Oct. 26 - BENefit Bash main event and after party. Main event begins at 5 p.m. at Palazzo Verdi. After party begins at 9 p.m. at Max Taps.
Oct. 29 - Item pick-up in the Middle School Commons (4-7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 4-8 -  Last chance auction, if needed.

The online auction will take place during the week prior to the event (Sun.-Thurs.) and will be open to anyone who registers FOR FREE on  www.BFAcademy.PTAPal.com . Each K-5 class or Middle School grade with more than 75 percent parent registration on  www.BFAcademy.PTAPal.com will earn an extra dress of choice during the second trimester! Individuals who purchase a ticket to the main event will be able to bid in the mobile and live auctions during the event. Additionally, there will be even more, fabulous mobile and live auction items available only at the after party. Teacher experiences and spectacular socials will only be available during the mobile auction at the main event.

We realize the BENefit Bash is close to Halloween. If you like to dress up, then we've got something for you! There will also be a costume contest. Groups of four or more who dress alike as their favorite Hollywood stars (new or old) or Hollywood characters (real or fictional) can compete for a chance to win. Start planning now to earn bragging rights and a special award!

Hey Dads! Come join Ben's Brigade from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, at Max Taps. It's a chance to get to know our Principal and Assistant Principals as well as meet some other Dads. No cost to attend. Sign up here.

Destination ImagiNation
Got DI? Want to know more about it? If so, p lease attend a Destination Imagination (DI) informational/kick-off meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, in the Middle School Commons (second floor) to learn more about this great program. We encourage you to bring your student if s/he is new to DI.
DI is an international, educational program that gives kids an amazing outlet for their creativity, while teaching them leadership, teamwork, positive thinking, project management and so much more. Annually, DI offers seven new academic challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts, service learning and early learning. In solving a challenge, students learn the creative process from imagination to innovation and the skills needed to thrive in school, their careers and beyond. Teams of kids solve one of six challenges in their own unique way and present their solutions at the South Metro Regional Tournament in March. Teams also solve an on-the-spot Instant Challenge at the tournament where they must think quickly on their feet and work together to solve a problem (generally in five minutes).
DI can use parent volunteers as well (a variety of roles are available, but Team Managers are always needed), and these hours count toward your BFA volunteer hours.
Last year, BFA had four DI teams compete at the regional level, three teams progress to the state competition, and three teams advance to Global Finals with one team finishing in the top 10! We are looking forward to another great year. If you are interested in joining a team or being a Team Manager, please  email  Jason Sunahara , BFA DI coordinator.

Mark your calendar! The Community Events Committee (CEC) will be hosting Goodies with Grandparents  from 7-8 a.m. on  Thursday, Sept. 26, at BFA (please note date change). All students are welcome to spend the morning with their grandparent(s) for coffee, juice and light morning treats. You don't want to miss this special BFA tradition!

Hot Lunch
DCSD Nutrition Services is having a art contest! Students can send in works of art based on the theme, "What Does Food Mean to Me?" Submissions must be received by Friday, Sept. 20. See this flier for more details.

Now that school is underway, it is time to update and add new families to the BFA directory! BFA uses Directory on Tap for our online school directory. It's an incredibly handy resource, that contains each family's class roster(s) and contact information, as well as the entire BFA directory.   

Directory on Tap is an app-based online directory the PTO offers to BFA parents. The FREE app is available for download through the App Store and Google Play, simply search for: "Directory on Tap (DoT)." Once this year's directory is ready in late September, you will receive an email from DoT with your one-time password. 
If you would like to update your family's information for the directory or opt out, you need to act today. You have until Tuesday, Sept. 24, to do the following:

1.   If your child goes by a nickname or shortened name, contact Natalie Lucero at ptovp@bfacademy.org.
2.   If you have recently moved or changed an email address or cell number, update your information in the Douglas County School District database AND email the school registrar.
3. Go to the following site and complete the online form if you DO NOT want any or all of your personal information listed in the directory. You may OPT OUT completely, or partially, by filling out this form. If you take no action, your information will be included in the BFA Directory.

Please contact PTO vice president Natalie Lucero with questions.


It takes a village to put on the Harvest Festival and we can't do it without you. Volunteers are needed to make this event happen. We hope you'll consider volunteering! You can volunteer for an hour here or there, throughout the event, or for all four hours. 

Additionally, this is a great
volunteer opportunity for your NJHS student or responsible high school student needing volunteer hours.
Please consider running a game o r supervising a station (a dults supervisors only, please).
Also, please consider donating goodies for the event, or cakes for the cake walk. 

Thank you in advance for your help in making the Harvest Festival a success!

Do you know any families interested in sending their student(s) to BFA? If so, we'd love to show them our amazing facility!  Tours for prospective K-8 families will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays  from September 3 - November 19, and again from January 21 - March 31. We'll also have a tour on April 7 and May 5. Please note, there will be no tours while students are on break--Oct. 15 and March 17.

We look forward to showing prospective parents around the school so they can see firsthand why we are the STEAM School of Choice in Douglas County. Anyone going on a tour should bring a Driver's License and arrive ten minutes early so we can scan their license before the tour begins. There is no need to RSVP, and tours last around 45 minutes.

If you have a friend interested in our preschool program, they should contact  Kristen Goldberg, preschool director.

After school performing arts classes start in two weeks! Sign up now for tap dance, choir, band, orchestra or audition prep:

Register on the music website  or here .

Zumba is designed for EVERY BODY! We take the work out of working out by mixing high and low intensity moves for an interval style dance fitness party. Zumba combines all elements of fitness, cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility. Students in grades 4-8 are invited to come join the party! Classes will be held from 3:30 - 4:15 on Tuesdays from Sept. 10 - Oct. 29. The Sept./Oct. session is $20 per student; payments will be due via cash or check (made out to Kelly Whelan) on the first day of class. Please email Ms. Whelan to register!

Is your elementary student interested in learning Spanish? If so, our middle school Spanish teacher,  Señora Connell, is offering a Spanish class for elementary students . You can sign up for classes by the month. The cost for this activity is $50 per month, per student; and, payments should be made via Zelle or check (made out to Patricia Connell).

Morning classes: Kids in grades K-5 will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. in the Spanish classroom (#276)
Afternoon classes:  Kindergarten through second grade will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 - 4 p.m. in the Spanish classroom (#276). Third grade through fifth grade will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 - 4 p.m. in the Spanish room (#276).

You can sign up for one month at a time . Classes follow the regular BFA school calendar for breaks/days off, and continue until the end of May. Sign up today as classes begin SEPT. 3! Please contact Señora Connell for registration, payment information and questions.

It's time for STEM club! This year, Mrs. Lewicki is offering two after school sessions, one for students in grades 2-4, and another for kids in grades 5 and 6. Both clubs will meet from 4 - 5 p.m. on select Thursdays, to focus on the Engineering Design Process and explore the concepts of structural engineering. Students will experiment with different geometric shapes used in structural designs and determine how design choices affect the height and strength of structures, such as skyscrapers and bridges. 
The cost is $75 per club session, and is due the first day via cash or check (made out to Jennifer Lewicki). (There is also a drop in option if your student is only able to come on one of the dates. For drop in classes, $20 per session due on that date.) 
Session 1: Thursdays Sept. 12, 19, 26, and Oct. 3;  Register students in grades 2-4 
Session 2: Thursdays Oct. 24, 31, and Nov. 7, 14;  Register students in grades 5 and 6 
Please email Mrs. Lewicki with any questions. 

Middle school students - it's time to show your school spirit! Cheer club is back this year beginning Monday, Sept. 9; and there are two sessions for interested students. During each season, the Cheer Club will have weekly practices, cheer at home games and school pep rallies!
Fall/Winter (Sept.-Nov.): Sports: Boys Basketball          
Winter/Spring (Jan.-March): Sports: Girls Basketball
Practice:  Mondays 3:30-5 p.m. (No practices on Mondays the school is closed.) The first practice will be Monday, Sept. 9.
Cost:  $100/season and a one time uniform fee of around $60 (Your child will keep the uniform and be able to use it for both seasons and in following years.)
If your child is interested in learning basic cheers, jumps, stunts and showing their school spirit, please complete this form so we have an idea of how many students are interested. Both boys and girls are encouraged to join! If we have more than 16 cheerleaders we will host try-outs. There will be a separate registration process that will need to be completed at a later date.  
We are excited to get the year started! Please contact Coach Goldberg or email Coach Inman with any questions.

BENefit Bash

The BENefit Bash procurement team has been working hard since the spring. They've got a great start on procurement but are still looking for donations including events, ski tickets and mountain accommodations. If you or your company has one of these or another unique service or item you'd like to donate to the BENefit Bash, we'd love to hear from you! Please email Rachelle Calahan and Courtney Chesy, co-procurement committee managers, for more information.
The wine wall is growing this year and will include spirits. We are seeking donations of new, sealed wine and spirits ($15+ value) and will be collecting them at the following times/locations: BFA front office, Harvest Festival (outside the main entrance). If you would like to make a donation outside of those times/locations, please contact Anne Giusti.
Lastly, we will not be doing class baskets for the BENefit Bash as we've done in previous years. Instead of coordinating class baskets through room parents, the PTO has set up an Amazon wish list with various items that will be used to build fantastic auction items for the Bash. Simply add any of the items to your cart and check out. Please make sure the shipping address for any BENefit Bash wish list items is set to the school's address.

Parents are welcome to attend an informational meeting from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Sanders Science Lab (room 145) to learn about our new Daisy Troop at BFA! As a Daisy, your Kindergartener will gain new friends as a part of a troop, earn new petals and badges by embracing the Girl Scout Promise and Law, make a difference in her community, and explore nature and the outdoors! We'll be sharing details about the troop, meeting dates and signup information.  Send questions  to Katie Duncan or Jackie Wuchter .

Applications are now being accepted for National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). All seventh and eighth grade students interested in joining NJHS need to fill out paperwork and return it to Mrs. Murphy no later than Sept. 23. New members need to complete the application packet, and returning members need to complete the BFA NJHS policy form. Both the application packet and policy forms can be found on the NJHS website located under the middle school tab and in Mrs. Murphy's classroom. Please have your student contact Mrs. Murphy with any NJHS questions. 

As you prepare for your eighth grader's  high school enrollment, you may need to request transcripts and/or other records. If that's the case, please  email our registrar, Mrs.  Bobbin, and let her know exactly what the high school requires. (They should specify which records are needed, and understanding their exact requirements will eliminate delays in processing.) Please note: I f the high school requires a first trimester grade report, but your preference is to submit your records to the high school earlier, then you can print the report card and send it to the school when the grade report becomes available (some time after Nov. 8). 
It takes some time to gather all the necessary documents, so please allow three business days (72 hours) to complete the request. Once the student's packet has been completed, the registrar will email the requesting parent and leave the packet at the front desk for pick up. 

PTO Trucker Hat
Now's the time to get your BFA spirit wear! Inventory is stocked; the PTO has great items like the navy trucker hat (pictured); and the online store is open! NEW THIS SCHOOL YEAR - You may purchase your spirit wear online at the School Store on MySchoolBucks. Purchases can be made from now through September 30. 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 in October at parent teacher conferences. The online store will close Monday, Sept. 30, and remain closed until the spring. So, be sure to get your spirit wear now!

Have a birthday coming up? Is your child celebrating something special? Or, do you just want to cheer on the Bolts? Rent the rock and shout out your news! The spirit rock is an opportunity to share exciting events with our school community by painting your own message. The daily rate to rent the rock is $15. ALL proceeds directly benefit the PTO's grant account, that will be used to support BFA's small group fundraising.
Want to rent the Rock? Here's how:
Step 1: Reserve the date you want by visiting the 'Rent the Rock' SignUpGenius. Rock reservations are on a first come, first serve basis, so make your reservations NOW!

Step 2: Pay for your reservation through MySchoolBucks. Payment is due when the reservation is made.
Have questions? You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the PTO webpage, or contact Sara Hope, spirit rock committee manager.

Every Kid in a Park
The National Parks has launched its  Every Kid in a Park program, which provides an opportunity for each and every  fourth grade student  (and their families) across the United States to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2019-20 school year for  FREE . To obtain your pass, click  here . Be sure to bring your printed out pass to the National Park you visit (electronic copies are not accepted) and exchange it for your free pass at the park.
Friday, Sept. 6

Friday, Sept. 6, students get to celebrate the beginning of the Bronco football season by wearing their favorite Bronco T-shirt or jersey. Students also can elect to wear a different football team's T-shirt/jersey.
If your student prefers, he/she may also wear a Spirit Day shirt. Regardless of whether your student wears a Bronco shirt or a Spirit Day shirt, your student should wear regular uniform bottoms. 
Tuesday, Sept. 10

Group tours are offered at 9 a.m. every Tuesday from September 3 - November 19, and again from January 21 - March 31. We'll also have a tour on April 7 and May 5.  Please note, there will be no tours while students are on break--Oct. 15 and March 17.
Anyone going on a tour should bring a Driver's License and arrive ten minutes early so we can scan their license before the tour begins. There is no need to RSVP, and tours last around 45 minutes.

2018 Washington DC
We will be hosting a short informational meeting about the Washington, D.C. trip beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Middle School Commons.
This is the same information that was presented at our meeting last May, so if you attended that meeting it is not necessary to also attend this one.

An information sheet that includes all of the registration information is attached HERE just in case you can't attend the meeting.  
Thursday, Sept. 12

Come join Ben's Brigade from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, at Max Taps. They have invited BFA principals and all BFA dads, uncles, grandpas are welcome to come and hang out!

BFA's Finance Committee will meet from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the BFA Conference Room. All welcome to attend. 
Saturday, Sept. 14

Join us for a night of family fun at BFA's 9th Annual Harvest Festival, from 4 - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at BFA.   Tickets at the door will be $10 per child.  Your admission fee gets you into the: carnival games, inflatables, outdoor field games, and of course, the cake walk! Also included are: face painting, balloon twisting, popcorn, lemonade, apple juice, and assorted baked goods.
You can purchase dinner and a refreshing treat at the Harvest Festival this year, too. The 'Tacos Tequila Whiskey' food truck, run by a BFA family, will be selling delicious food, and Kona Ice will be on site with their irresistible shaved ice!
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.