Vol. 10, Iss. 1
January 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

Happy 2020! I hope everyone had a wonderful break and holiday season. It was so nice to see the students come in this week refreshed and ready to learn.
Our virtue for this month is resolution, which is fitting as January is the time when many people set resolutions for the year. I recently read a statistic that less than 25 percent of people stay committed to their resolutions past 30 days, and less than 8 percent keep them for the whole year. I also came across a quote that I would like to share, "Don't make resolutions, create habits." This resonated with me because I believe that's really what we're trying to achieve through our New Year's Resolutions. Most all of us want to incorporate positive, sustainable habits into our lives that will help us improve personally, professionally and as a family. For my part, I intend to set some goals (monthly and for the year) and then work on the habits that are necessary to achieve those goals. 
I would encourage you to discuss goals for the rest of the school year with your children. What do they want to accomplish this year? What new practices do they need to incorporate into their lives to achieve those goals? Students (and parents) often have the goal of improving grades. If that's the case, help your student think about the habits they may need to add/change to facilitate that goal. For example, maybe they can simply focus on turning their work in on time, begin studying for tests a few days earlier, or reach out to their teacher for extra help. In order to be successful, it's best to set smaller, more achievable goals that lead to accomplishing a bigger objective. You may need to write down daily or weekly goals. The key is to celebrate success and don't give up if there are setbacks.
I'm excited to hear about the goals our students set for the rest of their year. If you (or they) would like to tell me their goals, please email me. I'd love it if they would share their goals with me so that I can encourage them along the way.
One of my goals is to connect directly with more BFA families throughout the year (more on that goal in future newsletters). Another one of my goals is to get my newsletter done earlier...so I better call this one done!
Have a great week!

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 TWO volunteers each month. One volunteer will be chosen as the 'Volunteer of the Month,' and will get exclusive use of the dedicated 'Volunteer' spot in the parking lot for their month.
Each month, a second volunteer will be randomly chosen through a monthly 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.

For the month of January, Amy Urbach has been selected as the Ben Franklin Academy Volunteer of the Month. She is being honored for her work on the Community Events Committee (CEC) and with last November's Veterans Day celebration, in particular. She is hardworking, reliable, consistent and, according to her fellow CEC members, a pleasure to work with. For all of her efforts, we'd like to say thank you and recognize her.
Amy and her husband, Ryan, have been married since 2006. They have two kids at BFA - Carter (1st grade) and Caylee (Kindergarten). Amy and Ryan will tell you that they are doing their best to raise their two kids, get outside, be involved at church, and have some sort of balance amidst the crazy. Amy is originally from Grand Junction, has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, and works as a Global Finance Manager at Accenture. She loves running, skiing, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

When asked what she likes best about BFA, Amy responded, "I have been overwhelmed by the amazing teachers and incredible student support professionals at BFA. The care and compassion they have shown our kids has made school wonderful, working to truly understand the kids' strengths and weaknesses. They have an uncanny ability to meet kids where they are at, have a huge repertoire of teaching methods, and truly invest to find a path our kids can be successful on. They have had a wonderful impact on our family. I am so honored to be the Volunteer of the Month!"

Congratulations, Amy! We're honored to have you working so hard on behalf of the entire BFA community!

This month, Courtney Chesy is the winner of our drawing for her volunteer time in December. Courtney volunteered writing thank you notes for the BENefit Bash. She has won a $10 gift card to Starbucks. Congratulations, Courtney! And, thank you again for your time and volunteer work to support BFA.

Diana in Library
Ms. Williams, our librarian, is featuring local authors in the BFA library this month. She's reading from the list of Colorado Children's Book Award nominees to our elementary students. In fact, they'll get to hear all 10 books during the next few weeks, then have an opportunity to vote for their favorite three. Kids have enjoyed listening to the books--and some of our first grade classes received an extra special treat when Principal Simpson read to them this week! There have been several other guest readers as well--thank you Mrs. Hildebrand, Mrs. Susan Hodge, Mrs. Dunn  Grandparent Mary Arboleda and several of Ms. Poleschook's students who also took a turn reading to elementary students.
After Ms. Williams tallies the votes, she'll submit them to the Colorado Children's Book Award Committee. They'll gather votes from participating schools and an award will be given to the winning Colorado author this March. We'll be sure to let you know the name of the winning author and book!

The American Heart Association's (AHA) Kids Heart Challenge program starts next week at BFA. This program is a great opportunity for elementary students to learn, serve and make a difference in fighting our nation's #1 health crisis - heart diseases and stroke.  Here's what you'll want to know before we begin:
  • Your kids will learn the following from six Heart Heroes:  the importance of moving more, adding color to their plates, staying away from tobacco - and, new this year - how to be ready, be kind and help others. 
  • Your kids will get to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association by sharing what they are learning with the people who support them the most - either face-to-face or using technology tools like the AHA's app, emails, and social media.
  • Your kids will earn rewards - the more they do, the more they will receive.
Get Ready: download the app Kids Heart Challenge, or go to  www.heart.org/KHC to sign-up! (INSTANTLY receive a wristband with a leadership message on kick-off day the next day!) 

Conversation Prompt:  When your elementary students come home with their envelopes - ask them which Challenge they want to take (be prepared, be active, be kind) and discus the benefits of each. Also, you may want to have an age appropriate discussion about the effect of heart disease and stroke within your family and how you can work together to prevent it.

Finally, the AHA wants to make sure you know some great news-- as of Sept 1, 2019, no one in Colorado can purchase tobacco products until they are 21 years old. This will prevent thousands of high school students from starting the habit and curb the high school and middle school vaping epidemic that grew 78 percent last school year.  This legislation was sponsored by the AHA with funds raised by The Kids Heart Challenge! 

Please note, our middle school students can also get involved with all the great things happening at the AHA when they support Dodgeball for Dollars later this spring.

BFA's Student Council is hosting two Scavenger Hunt Skate Nights! These fun socials will be held for all BFA students:
  • Thursday, Jan. 16: BFA middle school students (grades 6-8 only) are invited to attend the Skate City Scavenger Hunt social from 5-7 p.m. at the Skate City in Littleton; and
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21: BFA elementary students (grades K-5 only) are invited to the Scavenger Hunt from 5-7 p.m. at the Skate City in Littleton. 

Admission is $5 per person and skate rental is $3. Dinner is FREE, compliments of Student Council--either a slice of pizza and a drink, OR one hot dog, chips, and a drink. Skate City is also offering a special $15 game card for only $5. It's sure to be a good time for all so we hope to see you there!

Congratulations to sixth grader Mallory Holway and fifth grader Kyra Spykerman for winning December's middle school virtue gift card drawing! 

More than 30 students were recognized this month for the virtue of  FRUGALITY:  Be Frugal.  Do not waste the school's resources.  Respect what you have been given. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Have you volunteered for CEC this school year? Are you looking for a fun committee to get involved in to obtain your volunteer hours? If so, CEC is the committee for YOU! 

Please join us  on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Old Blinking Light  in Highlands Ranch (please note the date AND location change!).  We  will be hosting a fun, relaxing evening with light appetizers as a THANK YOU for supporting the CEC . We will gather in the front part of the restaurant. We hope you will join us!

The PTO is changing things up this year, and giving our sons an opportunity to show off their sweet dance moves.  Calling all BFA boys and their "special" adult to a super "Night in Gotham City" to enjoy some dancing, games, light snacks and dessert. Get silly in the superhero photo booth and capture the moments you want to remember. Everyone is encouraged to dress as their favorite superheroes, and the PTO will offer a prize for the best costume! It's guaranteed to be a SUPER night.
Event Details: 
When : It's from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25.
Where:   BFA 
How Much:  A ticket pair is $20, and an extra single ticket is $5.
Next Steps : Get your tickets via MySchoolBucks from January 12-23.
NO tickets sold at the door.
 Lynsey Humphries, PTO social coordinator, if you have questions or would like to help with putting on this fun event. There also are many opportunities to help decorate, check-in guests, clean up and make/bring food to the event; just click here if you can assist with any of those tasks. 

Last year, the PTO changed the names of the Father/Daughter Dance and Mother/Son Event to the Sweetheart Ball and Spring Social, respectively. Our reasoning for making the name changes is that we recognize that there are kids at our school who, for whatever reason, do not have a mom or dad in their lives. With the feedback we've received over the last few years, it felt like the right time to change the event names to be more sensitive to, and respectful of, those non-traditional family arrangements.
Additionally, this year, in an effort to offer something for everyone, we're giving the boys and girls each an opportunity to attend a different type of event. The boys will be invited to attend the Sweetheart Ball, while the Spring Social will be for the girls. We realize that this swap may not appeal to everyone, so next year, the events will switch back to a dance for the girls and a sporty event for the boys. We appreciate your support of the change-up this year and welcome your feedback. Please contact Mollie Anderson, PTO president with any feedback you'd like to share.

The next Box Tops collection day is Wednesday, Jan. 15, so, gather up your Box Tops and send them in to school! You can put them in a sealed plastic baggie and send them in with your kiddo. Happy clipping!
Don't forget to scan your receipts with the Box Tops app to collect any new Box Tops earnings. We have earned more than $1,000 so far this school year!
Questions?  E-mail  Alaina Tinney , Box Tops Committee Chair.

We hope our Dads will be able to attend Donuts with Dad from 7 - 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, at BFA. We need volunteers to make this event a success, so we hope some of our terrific parents will sign up to help out!

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.
Friday, Jan. 10

Spelling Bee
The BFA spelling bee will take place tomorrow , Jan. 10 , in the afternoon. After the qualifier, the following students have been selected to compete:  Megan Heckwolf, Liliana Molieri, Architha Kannojoo, Kennedy Fletemeyer, Laurel Henbest, Asah Rangel, Colby Mayka, Dallin Sarver, Tyler Sunahara, and Jeremy Lewicki. Congratulations, contestants! 
Tuesday, Dec. 14

There is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee meeting from  5:30 - 7:30 on Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Sanders Science Lab . BFA parents are welcome to attend and find out more about STEM Committee activities at BFA!

If you've volunteered for a CEC event this school year, or if you're looking for a FUN committee for which to volunteer, please join members of the CEC  on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Old Blinking Light  in Highlands Ranch.  They   will be hosting a fun, relaxing evening with light appetizers as a THANK YOU for supporting the CEC
Wednesday, Jan. 15

Third grade parents - we hope you can join Tumbili the monkey, Tembo the elephant, Kiboko the hippo, Twiga the giraffe, and the rest of the jungle gang for a very special African adventure! A group of adorable storytellers narrates the story of a tiny mouse who uses her charm to escape the claws of a ferocious lion. But when that same lion gets caught in the hunter's net - who do you suppose will be the first to his rescue?

Join us for the third grade performance beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, on the performance stage. 
Thursday, Jan. 16

BFA's Student Council is hosting a Scavenger Hunt Skate Night from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16,  at the Skate City in Littleton.  BFA middle school students (grades 6-8 only) are invited to attend.

The Finance Committee will meet from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, in the Conference Room. All are welcome to attend.
Friday, Jan. 17

Winter snowflake
Students can wear Dress of Choice on Friday, Jan. 17, if they have not had two dress code violations since the last Dress of Choice Day. Clothing should follow the guidelines outlined in the uniform policy.
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.