Vol. 8, Iss. 22
Aug. 30, 2018
 
Dear Parents,

Thanks to those of you who attended Back to School Night last evening! It was wonderful to see so many parents in the building. I know that the teachers enjoyed visiting with you about what is going on in their classrooms, how best to communicate with them, and how you can help by volunteering. I am excited to see the fifth through eighth grade parents at tonight's event!
 
If you have a fourth through eighth grade student, you should have received your student's CMAS scores in the mail. While these tests are important, please remember they are just one measure of a student's growth. That is why we also use NWEA, iReady and other internal assessments to gauge a student's progress. If you have questions about the scores or would like to discuss them, please contact either your student's teacher, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Rau or myself and we would be happy to look at them more closely with you.
 
As a school, our CMAS results revealed much growth over previous years. In fact, our results showed a19 percent increase in growth across the school. We also exceeded the state's expectations for academic achievement in elementary and middle school, and in growth for the middle school. We beat the state and the district in every category. This had much to do with the hard work of our students and teachers last year, as well as not having as many families opt out of testing. We were very close to our goal of 95 percent participation.  
 
As was announced last spring, we have added a new assessment to our testing schedule. The district chose iReady as their Colorado READ Act assessment, and we have decided to implement it at BFA as well. All students will be taking (if they haven't already) the iReady assessment in math and reading. This assessment will give us new, relevant data to examine; however, since this is the first time our students are taking this test, the fall results may be somewhat skewed. We will continue to analyze the information we receive from this testing to see if we can phase out NWEA testing. We have eliminated the monthly STAR tests for our first through fifth graders, as this new assessment will take it's place and we don't want to "over-test" our kids. The iReady assessment will provide a Lexile score that we can convert to an AR level, so students will still have AR goals. If you have any questions about the iReady testing, please email me to discuss.  

I hope you all enjoy the long Labor Day Weekend!

Sincerely,

Diana Simpson

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KINDIE PARENTS: SHOW US HOW IT'S DONE! 
 
Kindie families--it's your turn! 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 kindergarten families to sign up for open volunteer spots in carpool. If you don't have a kindergarten 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.' 

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 eighth grade parents, as we'll be asking you to help with carpool In October.

Sunshine
DRESS OF CHOICE DAY
 
Friday, Aug. 31, is a Dress of Choice (DOC) Day for students who have not had two uniform violations since school started. Per the uniform policy, " Clothes worn by all the students during the DOC days shall be modest, in good condition, and neat in appearance. Students are not allowed to wear pajama items or clothing that contains wording or images that could be interpreted as racial, vulgar, or offensive in any way. Revealing clothes are not acceptable (i.e. tank tops, midriffs, sleeveless, etc.)."

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT 
 
BFA's Back to School Night for parents with kids in fifth through eighth grade will be held tonight, Aug. 30. The purpose of Back to School Night is to help parents become better acquainted with the school, staff and information specific to their child's grade level.
      
This year, there is a short meeting with Principal Simpson for ALL parents (new and returning) from 6 - 6:15 p.m. in the Thunder Gym.
 
Back to School Night Schedules, Grade 5
Back to School Night is an important time to learn all about how your student's classroom works. The presentation for fifth grade parents is in the Lightning Gym tonight, Aug. 30. The teachers have scheduled two presentations so parents can choose to go to the first or second session. This allows families with more than one child to go to multiple classes. A detailed schedule is below:
 
Thursday, August 30
Grade 5:
6:00 - 6:15        Meet with Principal Simpson in Thunder Gym (ALL Families)
6:20 - 6:50        First class presentations in the Lightning Gym
7:00 - 7:30        Second class presentations in the Lightning Gym
 
Back to School Night Schedules, Grades 6-8
Parents of students in grades 6-8 can either bring a copy of their student's schedule, or pick up a copy in the Middle School Commons from 5:45 - 6 p.m. tonight during Back to School Night. Parents should follow that schedule for the evening. 
 
When your student has specials, please come to the Middle School Commons to hear from the specials teachers. If you have both a fifth grader and a middle school student or two middle school students, please email the teachers you are not able to meet and ask them to send you the information covered at Back to School night.
 
After visiting with all the teachers, there will be a presentation on social media for middle school parents in the Middle School Commons.
  
Grades 6, 7 and 8: 
5:45 - 6:00       Retrieve schedules in the Middle School Commons
6:00 - 6:15       Meet with Principal Simpson in Thunder Gym (ALL Families)
6:20 - 6:30       Period 1 (Sixth Grade Specials)
6:35 - 6:45       Period 2 (Eighth Grade Specials)
6:50 - 7:00       Advisory 
7:05 - 7:15       Period 3 (Seventh Grade Specials)
7:20 - 7:30       Period 4
7:35 - 7:45       Period 5
8:00 - 8:30       Social Media Presentation in Middle School Commons
  
Mr. Macias (PE), Senora Connell (Spanish), Ms. Konesky (Technology), Mrs. Harlow (Life Skills) and Mrs. Woudenberg (MS Counselor) will be available in the Middle School Commons from 6:15 - 8 p.m. Please report to the Middle School Commons when your student has specials on their schedule to hear from these teachers. 
 
We look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night! 

No School
NO SCHOOL MONDAY
 
There will be no school on Monday, Sept. 3, in observance of Labor Day. Enjoy the long weekend!

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BRING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE  
 
Please remember your driver's license the first time you come to the school to pick up your student early, volunteer or attend a meeting. For safety reasons, every person who enters the school needs to have their Driver's License scanned each school year. Please keep in mind, this is also a requirement for any friends or relatives who would like to enter the school. 

TREAT YOUR FAMILY AND HELP AND EIGHTH GRADER!
 
Want props for being the BEST PARENT EVER? Just keep some of everyone's favorite cookie dough in your freezer ready to thaw and use any time! 

Our eighth graders are working to raise money so they can go to Washington, D.C. by selling Eileen's Cookie dough. Ask an eighth grade friend or neighbor how to purchase your three-pound (approx. 33 cookies) tub of frozen cookie dough, and be ready to choose from among their most popular cookies-- Chocolate Chip, Monster Oatmeal, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter, M&M, Sugar Cookie and Oatmeal Raisin

Eileen's cookies are perfect for that after-school snack on a crisp fall day; save them to bring to your student's Halloween party; or keep them on hand for Thanksgiving guests. The cookie dough is only $15 per three-pound tub! (And, you can re-freeze it after it thaws.)

Eighth graders will sell the dough from Sept. 4 - 30. This is their BIGGEST individual fundraiser of the year so please consider supporting them individually; however, if you'd prefer, you can also purchase the dough via the BFA Store from Sept. 4 - 16, and the proceeds will benefit the entire group of students headed to Washington, D.C. Please keep in mind, dough purchased through an individual student will be delivered to your front door the week of Oct. 15, and dough purchased through the BFA Store will be available for pick-up at fall parent teacher conferences on Oct. 2 and 4.

See this flier for additional details.

Parents with eighth graders--there will be a student meeting to discuss the fundraiser and receive relevant paperwork during advisory next Tuesday, Sept. 4, in Ms. Dychus' room.

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GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY FOR THE HARVEST FESTIVAL
 
Join us for a night of family fun at the  eighth annual Harvest Festival from 4 - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at BFA.
 
Tickets are $10 per child or maximum $25 for a family (siblings only), with advance purchase. Adults and children under three are FREE! Tickets at the door will be $10 per child; the family discount will not be available. Purchase your advance tickets now through Tuesday, Sept. 11, on the BFA Store, under the 'Events' tab. Wristbands for those who prepay will be sent home with the oldest child before the event.

Families who have completed their 30 hours (15 hours for single family households) of volunteer service for the current school year, and have logged them by tomorrow, Aug. 31, will be given FREE admittance to the event!

Your admission fee includes: carnival games, inflatables, outdoor field games, and of course, the
cake
CAKE WALK! Also included are: 
face painting, balloon twisting, popcorn, lemonade, apple juice and assorted baked goods.

 
You can purchase dinner and/or a refreshing treat at the Harvest Festival this year, too. The eighth grade Washington, D.C. students will be selling Chick-fil-A (credit cards accepted) and Kona Ice will be available outside.

Volunteers are needed to make this event a success! If you're interested in volunteering, sign up today.
 
And, click here, if you'd like to donate baked goods and cakes for the cake walk.

DIRECTORY ON TAP - BFA'S ONLINE DIRECTORY
 
Now that school is underway, it is time to update and add new families to the BFA directory!
 
We will be using Directory On Tap again this school year for our online school directory. It's an incredibly handy resource, with names, addresses and phone numbers for BFA families. This year, the directory will be available in late September.
 
If you would like to update your family's information for the directory or opt out, you need to act today! You have until Friday, Sept. 7, to do the following:
  • If your child goes by a nickname or shortened name, please email us that information.
  • If you have recently moved or changed an email/cell number, email the school registrar with that information. If you have moved, you will need to include Proof of Residence by providing one of the following documents:
    1. Deed of Trust
    2. Warranty Deed
    3. Tax Notification
    4. Rental/Lease Agreement
    5. Notarized letter if living with friends or relatives
  • 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 Natalie Lucero, PTO vice president, with questions.

Gift
ATTENTION VOLUNTEERS - LOG YOUR HOURS FOR A CHANCE TO BE REWARDED!
 
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.
 
Another volunteer will be 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.
 
So, keep logging your hours! And don't stop logging them once you have reached 30 hours.
 
Remember, reaching your 30-hour volunteer quota can also earn you free tickets to the Harvest Festival (if you have 30 hours logged by tomorrow, August 31), and priority in signing up for parent-teacher conferences.

Check out our Volunteer Management web page for information and links to current volunteer opportunities. 

AND, THE WINNER IS... 
 
Thank you to the BFA community for a VERY successful first spirit night at Bahama Buck's. The line extended out the door the entire afternoon and your generosity helped a very appreciative group of eighth graders pay for a portion of their upcoming spring Washington, D.C. trip.  

AND THE WINNER IS....Ms. Rooney's fifth grade class! Ms. Rooney had the most students attend the spirit night; and in return, her class has earned a BAHAMA BUCKS SHAVED ICE PARTY. Mrs. North's first grade class and Mrs. Van Wyk's fourth grade class tied for a close second and will receive classroom popsicles. Be watching for details of September's spirit night at Cold Stone Creamery.

Broncos
BRONCO SPIRIT DAY NEXT WEEK
 
Friday, Sept. 7, 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. 

GOODIES
GOODIES WTIH GRANDPARENTS
 
BFA is honored to host students and their grandparents from 7-8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the Lightning (small) gym for coffee, juice and light morning treats. This event is popular so please arrive early and park in the overflow lot as to not disrupt carpool. Students should be in their classroom at the usual time (8:10 a.m.). Grandparents must remain with their grandchildren in the gym until 7:45. At that time, grandparents may walk their grandchildren to their classroom for a quick visit. Gluten free items will be available upon request. 

Please sign up to help CEC with our Goodies with Grandparents event and get some volunteer hours. We need help both during the event and setting up the night before. Thank you!

SPREAD THE WORD - SCHOOL TOURS START SOON 
 
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 Sept. 4 through Nov. 27 (with no tours on Oct. 9 and Nov. 20 due to school breaks). At that time, Principal Simpson will 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 Drivers License and arrive a few minutes early so we can scan their license before the tour begins.

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GIRLS OCEANOGRAPHY AND EXPERIMENT CLUB
 
Register for this after-school STEM club and read the book "Shark Lady" by Ann McGovern, then learn about the true-life adventures of Eugenie Clark, an expert on sharks, whose research has been recognized around the world. Discover buoyancy, explore ocean currents as well as the fascinating features of sharks. The club is for girls in grades 3-5, and meets Mondays from 4-5 p.m. on September 10, 17, 24, and Oct. 1. To register, go to the payments page on our website. See the flier or email Mrs. Lewicki If you have questions.

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BOYS ONLY ELECTRICITY STEM CLUB
 
Discover the amazing qualities of electricity! Boys in grades 3-5 will experiment with batteries, wires and light bulbs, as well as build an electromagnet and a homopolar motor. The club meets Mondays from 4-5 p.m. on October 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5 To register, go to the payments page on our website and click on 'after school clubs.' See the flier or email Mrs. Lewicki if you have questions.  

ROCK
GOT SOMEONE OR SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE?
RENT THE ROCK! 
 
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. 

MAKE YOUR STUDENT'S BIG DAY SPECIAL--SEND A BIRTHDAY BAG! 
 
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.   

test
COGAT TESTING  
 
The Universal CogAT testing window for third and fifth grade will be Sept. 4-24. More information will be sent home to these parents in Thursday folders.

BASE logo
ONLY ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL YOU CAN WEAR A SPIRIT DAY SHIRT! GET YOUR SPIRIT WEAR NOW!
 
Now's the time to get your BFA spirit wear--next Friday, you can choose to wear a Spirit Day shirt (or a Bronco's jersey) with your regular uniform bottoms. 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.

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SKI COLORADO!
 
K-5 EPIC School Kids
EPIC School Kids is a FREE program that offers students in kindergarten through fifth grade FOUR days of skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Learn how to sign up and/or find out more information here
 
5th Grade Passport Program
Colorado Ski Country USA's 5th Grade Passport Program provides every fifth grader in the state of Colorado the opportunity to ski and snowboard for three FREE days at EACH of the 22 member resorts. Ski all 66 days or just a few!
 
6th Grade Passport Program
The 6th Grade Passport Program provides four days of skiing/snowboarding at EACH of the same 22 participating Colorado resorts for $105. 
 
Click here to find out more about the fifth and sixth grade programs. 

Newsletter
BFA COMMUNICATES! 
 
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.   

SIGN UP TODAY FOR AFTER SCHOOL PERFORMING ARTS PROGRAMS 
 
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!
OverDrive
 
READ WITH OVERDRIVE   
 
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
 
Example
Username: Smithbk
Password: Dcsd123456 
 
GET YOUR DISCOUNT TICKETS TODAY!   
 
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.
 
Please see this flier for details about all the events happening this fall/winter including how to get discounted tickets to Oklahoma!, Corduroy, A Christmas Carol and White Christmas.
 
If you'd like to purchase discounted tickets to the CU Buffs game on Aug. 31 at Mile High, or on Oct. 27, at Folsom Field, go to www.cubuffs.com/promo and use code 2018DCSD.
 
If you are a Rockies baseball fan, and are interested in attending a Rockies game for only $14 on Sept. 7, 8, or 9, please see this flier.
 
FREE ORCHESTRA TICKETS 
 
The Denver Young Artists Orchestra is offering two free tickets to a concert this Season! Please see their  website, for more details. This voucher can be used on the following concerts:
  •  Oct. 7, 2018 2:30 p.m. Femme Fatale Newman Center for the Performing Arts
  •  Nov .11, 2018 4:00 p.m. Soundtracks on the Stage Central Presbyterian Church
  •  Nov. 17, 2018 2:30 p.m. Sounds of the Season Plymouth Congregational Church
  • Nov. 18, 2018 2:30 p.m. Sounds of the Season Lakewood Cultural Center
  • Feb. 24, 2019 2:30 p.m. DYAO Spectacular! Boettcher Concert Hall
  • April 28, 2019 6:00 p.m. Final Bow Boettcher Concert Hall
  •  May 5, 2019 4:00 p.m. Spring Splendor Gateway High School
  •  June 2, 2019 4:00 p.m. Tour Farewell Central Presbyterian Church
This voucher is valid for up to two (2) general admission tickets. Please complete this voucher form, and bring it to the concert 30 minutes in advance of the start time to exchange it for your complimentary tickets. If you have any questions, please call the Denver Young Artists Orchestra's office at (303) 433-2420.

Thursday, Aug. 30

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT 
 
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.  

Friday, Aug. 31

Sunshine
DRESS OF CHOICE DAY
 
Friday, Aug. 31, is a Dress of Choice (DOC) Day for students who have not had two uniform violations since school started. Per the uniform policy, " Clothes worn by all the students during the DOC days shall be modest, in good condition, and neat in appearance. Students are not allowed to wear pajama items or clothing that contains wording or images that could be interpreted as racial, vulgar, or offensive in any way. Revealing clothes are not acceptable (i.e. tank tops, midriffs, sleeveless, etc.)."

Monday, Sept. 3


No School
NO SCHOOL 
 
There will be no school on Monday, Sept. 3, in observance of Labor Day. Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, Sept. 4

PROSPECTIVE PARENTS CAN TOUR SCHOOL
 
Tours for prospective K-8 families will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 4 through Nov. 27 (with no tours on Oct. 9 and Nov. 20 due to school breaks).  At that time, Principal Simpson will show prospective parents around the school so they can see firsthand why we are the STEAM School of Choice in Douglas County. 

STEM
STEM COMMITTEE MEETING  
 
The BFA STEM Committee organizes several events and activities throughout the year to enrich science, technology, engineering, and math education for students. They meet monthly and all are welcome to attend their meetings. They are meeting from 5:30 - 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, in the Sanders Science Lab. Plan to attend and learn more about STEM at BFA!

Wednesday, Sept. 5

unifrom
FORMAL UNIFORM DAY  
 
The first Wednesday of every month is a Formal Uniform Day, so please send your student to school in their Formal Uniform next Wednesday, Sept. 5. As a reminder, Formal Uniform is a navy polo with the BFA logo and tan pants, shorts, skirt or a skort. 

Friday, Sept. 7

Broncos
BRONCO SPIRIT DAY 
 
Friday, Sept. 7, 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, they 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. 
Additional Upcoming Events: BFA Calendar
Middle School:  Athletics 
CONTACT US:
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.