Vol. 9, Iss. 33
November  21, 2019

Dear Parents,

Once again it is the time of year where we focus on gratitude. I read in a recent article that practicing gratitude has been proven to have some great benefits including better sleep, increased happiness, healthier eating habits, and increasing heart health. Here's the article in case you'd like to read the whole thing:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/compassion-matters/201911/the-hidden-powers-gratitude
I am so blessed to spend every day with passionate people who truly have a heart for kids. I am very thankful for all of our staff. I am also thankful for the students and families we serve. Our students are so positive--they're remarkably good at finding the joy in life and that inspires us every day. We also really enjoy getting to interact with families, including extended families, who are very involved in the school. As in years past, it's been so much fun getting to know many grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, and, of course all of our terrific moms and dads! This school would not be the wonderful place that it is without the support of the families, students, and staff. I am thankful every day for BFA!
I'm also thankful that our teachers' and students' hard work has paid off again. I am very excited to announce that Ben Franklin Academy is the winner of the John Irwin School of Excellence award for the second year in a row! Teachers and students don't challenge themselves because they're seeking awards, but it is nice to be recognized at the State level for all of the learning that happens in this building every day.  
Another way that we can recognize, in a public way, the amazing work our teachers, staff, and administrators do every day is nominating them for an Apple Award. Each year the Foundation for Douglas County Schools asks parents and students throughout the district to nominate teachers and support staff for the coveted Apple Awards. Nominees receive a certificate and recognition at the school level. Then, the school chooses two of the nominees to represent the school at the District awards ceremony, where they have the opportunity to win Teacher of the Year, Classified Staff of the Year, or Administrator of the Year.
This is a great way to honor our wonderful teachers and staff while highlighting the innovative work they do to challenge and inspire our students. Similar to last year, nominations are in the form of a video or written testimonial that will be posted publicly on a customized web page for our school. Anyone over the age of 18 can nominate, as well as students age 13 or older (if they have your permission).
Click on this link before the nomination window closes on Dec. 1 , and nominate your favorite BFA teachers and staff for these prestigious awards.
I hope you all have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends, food, and gratitude! See you all in December.


Diana Simpson

Tomorrow, Nov. 22, is a  Dress of Choice Day! Please follow the uniform guidelines and remember that your student may not dress out if he/she has received two uniform violations since the last regular Dress of Choice Day. 

BFA will be on Thanksgiving Break from Nov. 25 - 29. We hope you're able to spend lots of time enjoying friends and family during break. 

The Maker Space is NOW OPEN! This terrific space was made possible
by your support of the 2018 PTO Fun Run. 

Our Maker Space provides different types of opportunities for creativity and hands-on learning. The room is full of all sorts of materials designed to spark students' imaginations--from crafting
supplies to sticker makers, 3D pens, robots, keva planks and lego tables. 

Our teachers are already making use of the space; in fact, Mrs. North's first grade class came up with their own hieroglyph alphabet, then used Maker Space materials to create bookmarks as part of their
Egypt unit. 

Special thanks to Ms. Williams, our librarian, for all her hard work in researching materials, designing the space and ordering all the supplies. 

We can't wait to see what our kids make next!

We need parent involvement in BFA's carpool; while most of the BFA staff help with carpool in some manner, we need a few parent volunteers each day to ensure both morning and afternoon carpool run smoothly.  Please consider volunteering! This month, we're sending out a special request to all FIRST GRADE FAMILIES - we'd appreciate your help in carpool in DECEMBER. Carpool volunteers are critical so sign up or show up today.

The CEC selected the VA Hospital this year as the organization to support for Veterans Day and we received an overwhelming number of donations! Thanks to our community who generously donated items to support our local veterans. BFA will be donating the following to the Veterans served by the VA Hospital:
  • 292 Hand Warmers
  • 101 Toe Warmers
  • 82 Gloves
  • 37 Hats
  • 25 Fleece Blankets
  • 23 Scarves/Neck Warmers
  • 12 Pairs of Socks 
Special recognition goes to our wonderful THIRD GRADERS who donated the most items! As a reward, all third graders will be receiving a special treat today. 
The CEC invites you to please join them for their monthly CEC Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Starbucks Cafe at Target in Highlands Ranch Town Center. If you can't attend the next meeting, save the date for an upcoming one--they meet the first Tuesday of each month. They'd love to see you there!

If you have a student interested in performing arts, there are several exciting after school options for you to consider this spring, including:

Stage Makeup:
Applying stage makeup is a skill all actors need. The objective of the course is to expose students to the various aspects of theatrical makeup. They will learn about products, tools and techniques of makeup application for the stage including basic highlight and shadow, character make-up, old age make-up and injury special effects. 

Improv is acting on the spot! This class provides an introduction to the fundamentals of improvisation. Students will learn the basic tools, rules, and philosophy of improv through games, drills and simple scenes.

1-2 Musical:
Production musicals will incorporate acting, singing, and dancing in a story telling performance. All students are cast in the musical "Race to the Finish."

3+ Musical:
This is a class for students that enjoy the grade level musicals and want to learn the next level. This is NOT a riser musical. Students will learn about acting, singing and how to move on stage as they practice and perform in the musical, "The Most Epic Birthday Party Ever."
More information about each class can be found in this brochure. And, you can register beginning Dec. 2. Please contact Ms. Johnson with questions.

Have your kids had a growth spurt or are you ready to get new uniforms for next year? If so, mark your calendars for the upcoming Uniform Consignment Sale from 9 - 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Lightning Gym.

If you would like to sell your uniforms, please be sure your items are tagged properly and brought to the front office with the inventory form between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, through Thursday, Dec. 5, as uniforms WILL NOT be accepted outside of this window. Please follow the tagging instructions and complete the inventory form. Any unsold items will need to be picked up between 12-1 p.m. after the sale on December 7. Note that items will not be held after December 7.

If you would like to shop at the uniform sale, please note that the PTO only accepts cash or check. They have uniforms in all sizes and genders, so be sure to check it out!  If you would like to volunteer to help with the sale, please visit the SignUp Genius link .

The BFA PTO will use SCRIP for holiday staff gifting again this year. This convenient, online program replaces room parent collections and facilitates convenient group gifting. Through this program, each family places their order and makes one payment through MySchoolBucks for all of their teacher and staff gifts. At the end of collections, each staff member receives an email with the total collected on their behalf and is able to select gift cards they would like to receive. By consolidating donations, we are able to provide teachers and staff with meaningful gifts.
Further, by purchasing gift cards in bulk, the PTO is able to purchase the requested gift cards at discounts ranging from 2 - 21 percent, depending on the retailer. That discounted amount comes back to BFA from SCRIP in the form of a rebate and is used for PTO funded programs, such as the year-end all staff luncheon.
Families will be able to place SCRIP orders via MySchoolBucks and pay by credit card beginning on Monday, Dec. 2.  You may designate how much you would like to give to each teacher/staff member in whole-dollar increments. Beginning this year, you may also elect to have your student's name only (not dollar amount contributed) shared with the recipient when you place your order on MySchoolBucks. Collections will take place Dec. 2-6, the week after Thanksgiving break. Due to the time needed to calculate all gift amounts, and place and coordinate all gift orders, we cannot accept orders after Dec. 6.  The gifts will be given to the staff the week before Winter Break, and will be in lieu of any other class gift/collection.
Participation in the SCRIP program is completely voluntary. You are welcome to participate with any amount, or alternatively gift the teachers and staff on your own.

Questions? Visit the PTO webpage or contact Rachael Hamburger, SCRIP coordinator.

Lost and found
Please ask your student(s) to check the Lost and Found if they are missing a sweater, BFA sweatshirt, coat/jacket, lunch box or water bottle. Items will be donated tomorrow, Nov. 22.

Original Works
We have good news for our busy elementary parents--Original Works is taking late orders until tomorrow, Nov. 22! Just use the instructions on the Original Works Customer Brochure that you received earlier this fall to place your order. While orders placed before the deadline will be received before the holidays, late orders are not guaranteed to arrive before Winter Break. Don't miss out on preserving your student's art in a fun and unique way! Contact Mrs. Hinkle with questions.

DCSD's Nutrition Services plans to honor all cookie lovers by celebrating National Cookie Day on Wednesday, Dec. 4. On that day, every child who purchases a lunch will receive a free cookie. If your student brings their lunch, he/she can purchase a cookie with cash or their lunch account for $1.25. The cookies served are
Hershey's Triple Chocolate Cookies. Please contact Holly Long, DCSD kitchen manager, with any questions.

We need your help with pictures for the yearbook! Do you have pictures of class parties and activities, after school activities, middle school sports, or field trips? Earn some volunteer time too; simply click here t o upload your photos There are separate links for each grade once you click on the link, so you can select the appropriate grade and upload your photos!

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.   Please contact Señora Connell if you have any questions.

DCSD's online Open Enrollment has started for the 2020-21 school year. Parents of ALL NEW K-8 BFA students for the 2020-21 school year need to take action by completing the Open Enrollment process. Even if you have a student who currently attends kindergarten through eighth grade at BFA, you will need to complete DCSD Open Enrollment for any NEW or incoming K-8 students.

Note: If you are a current BFA family and plan to Open Enroll a student in BFA's 2020-21 kindergarten class, please complete this Preference Form and submit it to Colleen Bobbin by Monday, Nov. 11.

First Round of Open Enrollment 

FIRST ROUND: Runs through 3:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. All families are highly encouraged to complete Open Enrollment during the First Round.
  • Parents will use their DCSD EngagED Parent Portal to login and access the Open Enrollment tool. (Hint: You used your EngagED Parent Portal to complete Express Check-In in August.)
    • If you do not know your username and password, please email BFA's registrar, Colleen Bobbin, BEFORE Thanksgiving Break.
  • Parents without a DCSD EngagED Parent Portal account will be able to create one once First Round opens on Nov. 1.
  • For Kindergarten, your child MUST turn five on or before Oct. 1, 2020 to be eligible for 2020-21 kindergarten.
  • Open Enrollment submissions during the FIRST ROUND ONLY will have priority based on the following:
    • Children in the household of Founding Families;
    • Siblings of current students. Siblings that share the same birth date (ie. twins or triplets) shall receive automatic enrollment; and
    • Children of full-time teachers;
    • BFA preschool students, as detailed in the Enrollment Policy.
IMPORTANT: Parents with students who have the above priorities who miss First Round of Open Enrollment will NOT receive priority in the Second Round of enrollment. If you want to leverage your priority status, please plan to complete Open Enrollment during First Round.

First Round Offers:
  • To accept an Open Enrollment offer, parents MUST accept via the EngagED Parent Portal before 4 p.m. on Dec. 16.
    • If a parent does not accept an offer by the deadline, the student automatically will be placed on the Second Round Open Enrollment wait-list.
  • Parents who accept an offer will receive enrollment requirements and deadlines via email from the BFA registrar. Get a head start on some of these requirements by ensuring you have the following information handy: copy of your student's birth certificate, updated immunization records and proof of residency. One of the following will be required for proof of residency:
    • Lease Agreement
    • Purchase Agreement
    • Tax Notice
    • Warranty Deed
    • Deed of Trust
SECOND ROUND: Runs Jan. 22 - Aug. 3, 2020
  • Open Enrollment during Second Round is "first come, first served." Parents requesting open enrollment for their child in the Second Round are placed on the wait-list behind those that are currently on the wait-list from first round. Priorities will NOT be considered. 
Second Round Offers:
  • As space becomes available, offers during Second Round will be made via the email address parents submitted during Open Enrollment. (Offers during this round will not be visible from the Open Enrollment tool, rather parents should look for an email from the school's registrar.) Parents who accept an offer will receive enrollment requirements and deadlines via email from the BFA registrar. Unfortunately, if parents miss the deadlines outlined in the registrar's email, the enrollment offer will be withdrawn and another student on the list will be given an opportunity to enroll.
The DCSD  Open Enrollment webpage provides the most up-to-date information and specific details about the process, as well as answers to commonly-asked questions. Please visit this  site well before Open Enrollment begins on November 1. If you have questions about enrollment, please  email our registrar or call 720-383-4519 x3104 to reach the regi strar.

Current K-8 students intending to return to BFA next school year DO NOT need to take any action. If your student will not return to BFA next year, please let the registrar know via  email.

Preschool Enrollment for the three-year-old and four-year-old classes will take place via the preschool  webpage on the BFA website. Preschool enrollment for current BFA families will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2. Preschool enrollment for the general public will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 13.

If you are interested in the Ben Franklin Academy Preschool program, please click  here for more information.
Thursday, Nov. 21

The School Accountability Committee (SAC) is meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, in the BFA Conference Room. All BFA parents are welcome to attend!
Friday, Nov. 22

Friday, Nov. 22, is a Dress of Choice Day for students who have not received two uniform violations since the last regular Dress of Choice Day. Students should follow the guidelines outlined in the Dress of Choice policy.
Nov. 25-29

BFA will be on Thanksgiving Break from Nov. 25 - 29. We hope you get to spend lots of time enjoying friends and family during break. 
Tuesday, Dec. 3

Join the Community Events Committee (CEC) for their monthly CEC Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Starbucks Cafe at Target in Highlands Ranch Town Center. They'd love to see you there!
Wednesday, Dec. 4

Students should wear Formal Uniform on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Formal uniform is a navy polo shirt with the BFA logo and tan pants, shorts, skirt or a skort. 

The after school choirs will have a dress rehearsal from 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, on the Performance Stage.

Come see our second graders perform a retelling of the timeless Christmas classic Clement Clarke Moore poem at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, on the performance stage.
Thursday, Dec. 5

Music Notes
Our after school choir, Disney choir, band and orchestra are all performing at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, on the Performance Stage. All are welcome to come enjoy their beautiful music! 
Saturday, Dec. 7

PTO Logo
The PTO is hosting a  Uniform Consignment Sale from 9 - 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Lightning Gym.
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.