Vol. 9, Iss. 2
Jan. 17, 2019
Dear Ben Franklin Academy Families,

BFA's virtue for January is resolution. Our definition of this virtue--completing tasks on time and being prepared--aptly describes our Board, especially as it relates to fiscal responsibility. Our Board of Directors has always resolved to be good stewards of the money that the school receives, and, in conjunction with our Business Office, they dedicate much time and energy into ensuring BFA is financially secure and has ample savings. BFA's strong financial position is one of the reasons we have a high standing in the district and we were able to secure our contract renewal.  
Last fall, the voters in Douglas County voted to pass 5A and 5B, which will increase our school's funding. I wanted to share with you how this additional funding will impact BFA. Following are a few of the goals/objectives we're able to accomplish as a result of the Mil Levy passing:
1.  Our salary project, which had been a 3-year plan, was accelerated into a 2-year plan. Our salaries continue to be competitive with surrounding districts.
2. We've been able to fund several security enhancements; including placing even more cameras around the school and adding window security film to all lower windows as well as interior door windows.  
3.  We are adding a part-time Gifted and Talented teacher to help support the elementary teachers and Mrs. Murphy, our gifted and talented specialist.
4. We are adding more chrome books to fourth grade and will replace the Macs in both computer labs.
5. We have increased our Professional Development budget for the year to invest more in teacher training.
6. We have given each grade level a small budget to offset the costs of some field trips, so that parents will pay less out of pocket for these fun learning experiences. 
These are a few examples of how we are using those extra dollars to impact your students every day. If you ever have questions about funding or our budget, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. Another great way to keep up on financial information about the school is to attend monthly Board meetings or take a look at the financial transparency page on our website.
Today, we celebrate Ben Franklin's Birthday. Thank you to the PTO for providing Ben's wisdom through fortune cookies to our students...what a fun idea! I heard many Ben quotes floating through the halls today.
Also in today's newsletter is a new feature. We'd like it to become a regular feature, but we need your help. We are starting an "Alumni Corner" and will highlight our former students who are out in the world doing amazing things! In order for us to do this on a regular basis, we need to know what is going on with your BFA graduates. Please send me any updates that you would like to share with the community. Thank you!
Enjoy the long weekend, and we'll see everyone on Tuesday.

Diana Simpson

Grant Porter, a 2018 graduate of Ben Franklin, earned a GPA of 4.1 his first semester of high school at Columbine High School. He was recognized this morning at the school for his achievements. Grant and his mom attribute his success to how BFA prepared him for high school.  Congratulations Grant!
Taylor Eubanks, a 2016 graduate of BFA, was awarded the Wags and Menace Make a Difference Foundation Scholarship. When Taylor was in sixth grade here at BFA, she organized (with the help of Mrs. Hinkle) a coloring contest for the Wags and Menace Make a Difference foundation. She has since continued her work in the areas of humane education and animal welfare through various roles of volunteering, event planning, and advocacy. Taylor would like to give a special "shout-out" to Mrs. Hinkle for helping her get started in this work six years ago.  Congratulations Taylor!
We are so proud of our graduates and love to hear what they are up toPlease email Mrs. Simpson with any news you would like us to share in an upcoming Alumni Corner. 

school bucks
In case you missed our previous announcements, we want to be sure you know that we've moved to a new payment processing system, My School Bucks, for our field trips, sports and after school activities (such as music classes and summer camp). This system will replace RevTrak. The change to this system was driven by Douglas County School District and is being used by all schools across DCSD. 
As we mentioned in last week's newsletter, with this new system, we are finding a few differences from what we are all used to. Please note the following important items:
1) The parameters of this new system DO NOT allow us to extend enrollment deadlines for any event. You will need to pay special attention to registration deadlines sent to you by your student's teacher/coach and complete your registrations before the close date. 
2)   Due to this system being used by all of DCSD, you may see activities from some/all schools in our district. All BFA events will begin with "BFA" in the title. Therefore you can filter your search using "BFA" to only show activities or events for our school.  
3)  We are finding that the MySchoolBucks website is more user friendly and strongly recommend that you use the website for all registrations rather than the MySchoolBucks mobile app. They are still fine tuning the app and until it is complete, please use the website for registrations to ensure important permission items are not missed. 
If you have any questions, please contact Kerry Alder or Halsley Hoff in the Business Office.

Spirit Week
Thanks to you, it's been a FUN Spirit Week. Tomorrow, Jan. 18, is the last day and we're ending the week with a Dress of Choice Day. Thanks also to our Student Council for organizing the themes and activities.

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there will be no school on Monday, Jan 21. Enjoy the three-day weekend!

Spelling Bee
Last Thursday, BFA hosted our annual Spelling Bee. There were LOTS of terrific spellers--in fact, the competition was so fierce that the Spelling Bee ran long! Congratulations to the winners Matthew LaSelle (fifth grade) and Evan Roper (sixth grade). They will be representing BFA at the district finals on Feb. 2 at Castle Rock Middle School.

The Geography Bee also was very competitive this year! All the participants did a fantastic job, and we even had to resort to tiebreakers in the final round. The winner of the Geography Bee was Max Hatfield (8th) and the runner up was Justin Holmes (6th). Congratulations! 

Congratulations to Ethan Kraft in Mrs. Lewicki's fourth grade class and to Presley Hite in Mrs. Marchisio's third grade class! They are the winners of the December Virtues Awareness Bookmark Contest. Ethan's bookmark design was chosen for December's virtue, Frugality. Ethan's colorful, detailed design beautifully demonstrated the school's virtue of Frugality. Presley is our runner up, and her poster will hang in the hallway at school. Presley won for the virtue of Tranquility.
Elementary students, look for your copy of Ethan's winning bookmark in your Thursday folder! And, look for both Ethan's and Presley's posters in the school hallway.
The new entry form for February will be in your Thursday folder. The contest will be for February's virtue of Purity.
~Be pure in thought and deed. White lies, a little gossip, and small mean words are painful and say more about you than about others. What you think about others is how you will treat them. Develop good thoughts and feelings towards all.~

Does your middle school student like to paint or draw? Do they want the chance to paint the Spirit Rock with their design? Tell them to enter into the PTO's Virtues Awareness poster contest for a chance to paint the rock. Each poster entry gets participants into the drawing, and the winner of the drawing has the privilege of painting the Spirit Rock this May. To enter the poster contest for February, complete the form with a design that highlights the virtue of Purity.

BFA will conduct our annual hearing and vision screenings at school on Monday Feb. 4, and Tuesday, Feb. 5. Hearing and vision impact learning, so it is important to conduct screening, and Colorado law (C.R.S. 22-1-116) states that students in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 should be tested for sight and hearing. We also screen students that are new to the district and any referrals. 
This year, the school has contracted with Tender Care Consulting, LLC, for the screenings. It is important to note that this is a screening, not a complete exam. If your student wears prescription glasses or contacts, it is necessary that he/she wear them during the screening
You will receive a letter if your student does not pass the screening. Students with concerns should be evaluated by a health care professional. Please take the letter to your appointment and have the provider complete the bottom of the form, and return it to your school's health office.
Colorado Department of Education Standards for hearing and vision are available online.
Please contact the Health Room if you have questions or concerns about your student.

Lost and Found
All items still remaining in the Lost and Found will be donated on Jan. 21. If your student is missing a coat, sweatshirt, sweater, book, water bottle or lunch bag, please stop by the lost and found or ask your student to do so by end of school tomorrow, Jan. 18.

Calling all BFA girls and their "special" adult to a beautiful "Night in Hollywood" to dance the night away, enjoy dessert and light snacks, along with other fun activities!

Saturday, Jan. 26 
6 - 8 p.m. 
The Falls Event Center
8199 Southpark Ct.
Highlands Ranch, 80120

Tickets are on sale NOW through Jan. 18 on the BFA Store  
Ticket Pair $35 and Extra Single Ticket $15
NO tickets sold at the door!

This event has traditionally been known as the father-daughter dance. And, it's still the father-daughter dance but has had a name change to reflect changing and evolving family dynamics. The PTO wants each BFA girl to know that she's invited to bring the special adult in her life - dad, stepdad, grandpa, uncle, or mom - whoever that adult may be.

We need  volunteers to help make this event a success , so please consider signing up to 
volunteer for the day of the event or to  provide baked goods or refreshments. Thanks in advance for your help.
Contact Emerald Holden or Rachel Molieri with questions.

At BFA, the PTO thinks all birthdays are important especially that of our school's namesake Ben Franklin. Born January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, today marks his 313th birthday. To help celebrate his special day, the PTO brought in birthday treats for all students and staff. Fortune cookies with various quotes from Ben on the fortunes were distributed today, along with allergen friendly fruit snacks, to all students and staff. Be sure to ask your student what their fortune was from Ben. Thank you PTO and happy birthday, Ben!

BFA's Community Events Committee (CEC) is honored to host students and their MVD (Most Valuable Dad) from 7 - 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, in the Lightning Gym for coffee, juice and donuts. (Please note this is a date change from the paper BFA desktop calendars.)  As always, a favorite uncle, grandpa or other special guest is welcome to attend if dad is not available. This event is popular, so please arrive early and park in the upper lot as to not disrupt carpool. Dads must remain with their students until they are able to head to class at 7:45 a.m. 

We still need volunteers to host this event, so please sign up to help. It's a fun way to get some volunteer hours!

Are you interested in learning more about the policies that shape our school? Would you like to be a part of the development and implementation of the Parent and Student Surveys and boost your volunteer hours? If so, the SAC is the place for you!
The School Accountability Committee (SAC) will have multiple open positions for the 2019-20 academic year and invite all interested parents to attend one of their upcoming meetings and learn more about what they do. Meetings are the fourth Thursday of each month from 4:10-5:10 p.m. in the conference room; in fact, there is a meeting next week on Jan. 24. Mark your calendar and come check it out!

Please contact Cindy Brawley for more information.

Musical Theatre
Ms. Johnson has several exciting after school performing arts programs available this spring. Read more about them and get signed up today!

Stage Combat for students in grades 3-8 will be held from 3:30 - 4 p.m. on Tuesdays from Jan. 22 through March 12. This course is an introduction and exploration of stage combat. The main goals are to develop the ability to safely portray violence onstage within the context of a play with dramatic power. Other aspects include: the development of strength, flexibility and eye/hand coordination; understanding principles of safety in working with a partner during a fight sequence; and, learning how to advance your character journey.

Improv Acting for students in grades 2-8 will be held from 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. on Thursdays from Jan. 24 through March 14. Improv is acting on the spot! This is an introductory class for students to learn the fundamentals of improvisation--the basic tools, rules, and philosophy--through games, drills, and simple scenes. 

If you have not already registered for these classes, there is still time! Registration will be available via the MySchoolBucks website through Jan. 25.  For more information contact  Ms. Johnson or check out this guide .

Looking forward to a Valentine's Day date night? Or, do you need a quiet, kid-free evening? The eighth grade Washington, D.C. students have you covered!
Drop your kids (BFA students, kindergarten and older) off for dinner (pizza, drink and dessert included), games, crafts, movies, gym activities and snacks from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. You'll get a night off, the kids can hang out with their friends, and you'll be supporting the eighth graders raising money for their Washington, D.C. trip!

The cost for babysitting, dinner and crafts/activities is only $25 for the first kiddo in your family, and $10 for each additional child. Registration opens TODAY and ends on Monday, Feb. 4. We must have 20 participants signed up to hold this event....so make a plan with your friends and/or your sweetheart and join in the fun! Please register NOW through the BFA Store (look under the 'events' tab).

Send a pencil gram to your child(ren) for Valentine's Day!  Smencils are No. 2 graphite pencils made from recycled newspaper. They're fun to write with because they're colorful and have a unique scent. New this year--MYSTERY SMENCILS--the same fun pencils, but with 10 mystery scents. What scent will your child receive? Scents will be revealed at school after delivery! You also can include a personal message with your gift. Smencils are $2 for a single pencil, and $10 for a set of six.

Also new this year are BACKPACK BUDDIES! Oh So Yummy Backpack Buddies are cute, scented plush characters that come attached with a keychain to hook on your backpack. There are six different characters all with their own unique scent. The eighth graders will attach a personalized message from you to the backpack buddy and deliver your gift on Valentine's Day. Backpack buddies are $6 each, or 3 for $15. 

Beginning TODAY, you can order Smencils and/or Backpack Buddies online through the BFA Store. Please place orders by Monday, Feb. 4.and the eighth graders will deliver them on Valentine's Day! Proceeds benefit the eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C.

SECOND GRADE FAMILIES--please volunteer in carpool this January! 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 January, we'd like our second grade families to sign up for open volunteer spots in carpool. If you don't have a second grade student, but enjoy volunteering in carpool--WE STILL NEED YOU so please consider signing up today. Just log into  HelpCounter and click on ' Check for Upcoming Opportunities.' 
Yearbook sales have officially launched! This year, the only way to purchase a yearbook is through our vendor, Walsworth. We will not be offering yearbook sales at any other events throughout the year. Don't wait, as prices will increase beginning in March!  
  • Jan. 1 - Feb. 28: $31 per book
  • March 1 - 31: $36 per book 
You may also order a dedication (or ad) for your student through Walsworth's website. What a fun way to help commemorate a great school year!
Order and pay for your 2018-19 yearbook and/or dedication today.

We need your help with pictures for the yearbook! We  need more candid pictures --including past events such as Harvest Festival, after school activities, middle school sports, field trips etc.  Earn some volunteer time and click here to upload photos.  The code is 'YEARBOOK2019.'

Do you have friends interested in a preschool that uses the Core Knowledge Sequence and offers a nurturing environment and individualized instruction to ensure your little one is ready for Kindergarten? If so, please let them know that enrollment for the BFA preschool is NOW OPEN to the general public via the BFA website. For more information, interested parents can email our Preschool Director,  Kristen Goldberg.

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, Colleen 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.)
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. 

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 student (less on shorter months).
  • Kindergarten, first and second grade will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8 a.m.
  • Third, fourth and fifth grade will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8 a.m.
Y ou can sign up for one month at a time; classes continue through the end of May and follow the regular BFA school calendar for breaks/days off. Sign up today through My School Bucks! Please  contact  Señora Connell with any questions. 

Have a birthday to celebrate or a team to cheer on? Then rent the Spirit Rock! You've probably already seen the fun messages painted on the rock, and it's just $15 per day for you to display your message.
For more information on how to rent and paint the rock, visit the PTO webpage. If you have questions, email  Sara Hope , spirit rock committee manager. 

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 Foundation for Douglas County Schools  Community Events Program  is out with their latest fundraisers! The Foundation works with our community event partners to provide substantially discounted tickets to cultural venues and sporting events; and, best of all, your ticket purchases benefit DCSD. Go to their website for the latest information on discount tickets. 
Friday, Jan. 18

Students can wear Dress of Choice Friday, Jan. 18, as part of the Student Council's Spirit Week. Clothing should follow the guidelines outlined in the uniform policy.
Monday, Jan. 21

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there will be no school on Monday, Jan 21. Enjoy the three-day weekend!
Tuesday, Jan. 22

Tours for prospective K-8 families will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays through March 26 (except March 19 as it's Spring Break).

During the tour, we'll show 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 a few minutes early so we can scan their license before the tour begins.

Thursday, Jan. 24

The School Accountability Committee (SAC) will meet from 4:10-5:10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, in the conference room . All parents are welcome to attend. Please contact Cindy Brawley if you need more information.

Ben's Brigade is meeting from 8 - 9 p.m., Jan. 24, at the Starbucks inside Super Target (1265 Sergeant Jon Stiles Dr, Highlands Ranch ). All BFA Dads, Stepdads, Grandpas are welcome to attend.  
Friday, Jan. 25

BFA's Community Events Committee (CEC) is honored to host students and their MVD (Most Valuable Dad) from 7 - 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, in the Lightning Gym for coffee, juice and donuts. Dads must remain with their students until they are able to head to class at 7:45 a.m. 
Saturday, Jan. 26

We're looking forward to seeing you at the Sweetheart Ball! It's from
6 - 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the The Falls Event Center (8199 Southpark Ct. Highlands Ranch, 80120). NO tickets will be sold at the door. 
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.