Vol. 8, Iss. 25
Sept. 20, 2018
A message from Ann Citrin, vice president, BFA board of directors...

Dear Parents,

As a member of the Board, I want to assure our parents that safety for our students is a top priority. Accordingly, I wanted to update our parent population regarding the Board's work to seek a reduced speed school zone on Plaza Drive, and to seek out additional parents that would like to continue to work together to pursue this goal.
Since the school was built, the Board and the founding principal worked with Douglas County and their traffic engineers to identify and address steps to take concerning this issue. Our most recent discussions with them occurred less than a month ago.
There are two strategies that BFA has used and will continue to use to reduce speeding on Plaza. First, BFA works with the Douglas County Sheriff. The Sheriff's department takes care of traffic enforcement , and they are the ones to contact if BFA is hoping for increased patrols. They have a traffic safety hotline where anyone can leave information. Douglas County Sheriff's number is 303-660-7539, and the patrol division can be reached at 303-660-7546 . Any parent may call the hotline and leave messages with them to increase the patrol of the area.
Second, BFA is working with the Douglas County Traffic Division (DCTD) to try to change the area's designation and get a reduced speed school zone with flashing lights. BFA has been in contact with DCTD since it originally decided on the Plaza Drive location for the school. The DCTD relies upon the recommendations of their traffic engineers and the guides they use. Specifically, the engineers first look at the original designation of the road in question. In this case, it is Plaza Drive. Further, they look at the volume of students that would be required to cross Plaza Drive in the Douglas County School District's "suggested walk route" to the school.
DCTD explained that when Plaza Drive was built, it was designated as an "arterial road," or through road, and it was intended for all road users, rather than a "local road" which is intended for a limited number of road users. Hence, Plaza Drive is a four-lane road with a median to accommodate all the through traffic. Most elementary schools are located on a two-lane local road. It is generally only charter schools that have their buildings on arterial roads, because they had land donated to them or were offered reduced rates for purchasing that land. Further, DCTD explained that the roadways are designated before they are built with consideration of what buildings or development would be on the road, rather than designating the road after the development.
Since BFA was built, Plaza Drive is and has been signed as a School Zone with additional signs that restrict U-Turns within the zone and provide information to drivers and warn them of the school area. According to DCTD, the Federal guidelines state that Reduced School S peed Z ones ("RSSZ") should be limited to areas where drivers may encounter a volume of students in the roadway. RSSZ are not intended to restrict the volume of traffic, but to provide a safer environment for students crossing the road. Per Douglas County policy, RSSZ are established and installed primarily at elementary schools along the suggested walk route and where there is a high volume of crossing activity by students. Currently, there are less than five (5) students crossing Plaza Drive, and, due to the nature of this roadway, Douglas County School District would not recommend that elementary -aged students cross any four-lane roadway. At this time, DCTD informed BFA that a RSSZ is not appropriate on Plaza Drive.
We will continue to work with the Douglas County Sheriff's office to ensure that the traffic rules on Plaza Drive are enforced. Further, we will continue to have discussions with DCTD regarding the re-designation of Plaza Drive. I invite parents who are interested in working together towards a re-designation of Plaza Drive to contact me .


Ann Citrin

No School
Please remember there is no school tomorrow, Sept. 21, as it is a professional development day for teachers.


The BFA families at last spring's " Seussical Jr." production weren't the only ones who left smiling and singing silly Dr. Seuss-inspired songs; representatives from National Youth Arts enjoyed it as well and recently surprised us with FOUR AWARDS and SEVEN NOMINATIONS for our rendition of "Seussical Jr.!"
Last week, National Youth Arts announced their 13th Annual National Youth Arts nominations and award winners, and BFA was the sole winner for Outstanding Junior Production! In addition, the following BFA students/graduates earned recognition for their performances: 
Award Winners:
  • Lead Performance (Junior Division): Riley Hibpshman as Gertrude
  • Lead Performance (Junior Division): Sarah Rosenbaum as Cat in the Hat
  • Supporting Performance (Junior Division): Marin Disbrow as Mayzie
  • Lead Performance (Junior Division): Connor Brock as Horton the Elephant.
  • Lead Performance (Junior Division): Evan McDermott as Jojo
  • Featured Performance (Junior Division): Julie Jurkowski as Sour Kangaroo
BFA also received nominations for Ensemble (Junior Division), Set Design, Choreography and Direction (Jaime Johnson, LaCretia Gelley, Brenda Bauer, and Sammie Legg). The winners will receive their awards at the National Youth Arts ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the D.L. Parsons Theatre in Northglenn.
Ms. Johnson was thrilled, saying, "I'm most excited about winning 'Outstanding Junior Production' and being nominated for our outstanding ensemble because it shows what a great team these kids become throughout rehearsal. Musical theatre is a team sport; we need ensemble members, leads, backstage crew, tech board operators, directors, choreographers and more! If we were missing one of these groups or if someone didn't pull their own weight, our show wouldn't be nearly as strong. I want to thank all 50 cast members, 15 crew members, four directors and two tech directors (plus parent volunteers) for all their dedication."
The National Youth Arts originated in San Diego as a resource for youth theatre, and has become a national resource for a variety of arts, including music, dance, film, and writing. This year, as part of their efforts to honor outstanding work by youth in the arts, they considered more than 650 productions in 17 states and the United Kingdom. "When I consider the scope and thoroughness of the National Youth Arts award process, I'm even more awestruck by these awards," said Ms. Johnson. " Seussical was put together with only 23 hours of rehearsal, while most after school groups have around 80 hours. The fact that our kids put on such a great show is a testament to our students' passion, dedication and hard work. They come in during lunch for extra rehearsal, and practice their dance routines home.  The cast and crew become a family throughout the process and I'm thrilled that all their hard work is being recognized!"

Congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients!


It was great to see all our BFA families at last weekend's annual Harvest Festival! Thank you to everyone who worked before, during and after the Harvest Festival. This year was our biggest festival to date with approximately 1000 people in attendance. Around 100 people baked 130 cakes and 100 DOZEN baked goods, and there were more than 130 people who volunteered their time to help make the event a success. Special thanks to Gwen Feifarek, Rachel
Molieri, Melissa Drake Powell, Shari Richard, Dawn Becker, Jacob Kent, Kimberly Kent, Jennifer Pierce Gautier, Zach Gautier, Tavia McMahon, Jennifer Homan, Jonathan Feifarek, Mollie Anderson and many PTO leads who did their "job" so well. The BFA Community appreciates you and the time you gave to ensure the Harvest Festival was a success!

Congratulations to our Guessing Jar winners who get bragging rights and a gift card! There were 823 pieces of candy corn in the jar--our closest guesses were from fourth grader, Kayden James who guessed 827 and BFA parent Kerri Barrick who guessed 818.

PTO Logo
The PTO is excited to announce that work is underway on the new outdoor classroom! In addition to fulfilling teacher requests, last year's BENefit Bash funds were raised to help construct an outdoor classroom for our students. The classroom will be built in the small courtyard between middle school and the STEAM wing of BFA. Thank you to all the families who supported the BENefit Bash last year--you made this classroom possible!  


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. 
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 NOW through Sept. 30. This is their BIGGEST individual fundraiser of the year so please consider supporting them.  Please keep in mind, dough purchased through an individual student will be delivered to your front door the week of Oct. 15. 

If you purchased dough through the  BFA Store, plan on picking up your dough at fall parent teacher conferences on Oct. 2 and 4 .

See this flier for additional details. Thanks for your support!

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.

The PTO's 2018 Fun Run is less than a month away! This event will be a fun-filled, FUNdraising event for the whole school. Kids in Pre-K through fifth grade will participate in a Fun Run and middle school students will participate in a Color Run.  Look for more information in the next few weeks.

BFA's STEM Committee can't wait for your student(s) to attend the annual STEAM Expo on Friday, Sept. 28! The Expo is a wonderful opportunity to expose BFA's more than 900 K-8 students to a wide variety of STEAM-oriented activities and presentations. There will be representatives from all sorts of STEAM organizations, including Lockheed Martin, the National Park Service, HRCA, Tri-County Health Department, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Kids Concussion Clinic, Kodo Kids, Modular Robotics, and more! BFA students also will have an opportunity to create art projects and perform experiments at the Expo. It's a fantastic time for all, and a terrific volunteer opportunity. Sign up today to volunteer and help ensure the 2018 Expo is a success!

BASE logo
During  BFA's fall break, Oct. 8-12, the BFA BASE program will offer a Fall Break Camp. It will be similar to the Summer Camp program, with a field trip, activities, movies and fun the entire week! We need at least 15 families to sign up for the program otherwise it may be cancelled. The camp will be open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.; and, the cost will be $50 for the field trip day and $35 for each of the other days.
Registration IS OPEN now and will close on Tuesday, Oct. 2 . All registrations are non-refundable unless we do not have the required number of families. Enrolled families will be notified of the status on Wednesday, Oct. 3, and refunds given if we need to cancel.
To register online, please go to payments on the BFA website,  and choose BASE Camp.  Families that have not enrolled in BASE for the current year will be contacted to do so and also pay the 2018-19 BASE registration fee of $25. To obtain the registration paperwork and read the parent handbook please click here .
If you have any questions please email Mrs. Savoy

The new school year means another opportunity to participate in the BFA PTO Sponsorship season! Each year, annual PTO sponsorships allow BFA to continue to grow and to meet the needs of our school, as well as our teachers, staff and students.  If you are interested in a sponsorship opportunity, check out this flier or visit the PTO webpage  for details and information on how to secure your sponsorship. Questions can be sent to Denise Battista, sponsor committee manager. 

It's time for the  7th Annual Mountain Vista elementary one-mile cross country race! Students in grades 3-6 are invited to race against the other elementary runners in the Mountain Vista High School feeder area. The race is at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Mountain Vista High School cross country course. Warm up with the State Champion Vista Nation cross country athletes! All racers will receive a Vista Nation XC T-shirt and a finisher's medal. We have ribbons for the top 10 boys and girls in each race and a gift card raffle at the end. Pizza, chocolate milk and cookies will be available for purchase after the race. 
Registrations and fees ($10) are due TODAY, Sept. 20, to the BFA front office. Late (after Sept. 20) and walk-up registrations are $15.  
Click here for more information or email Sara Hope. Go BFA runners!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for....Cold Stone Spirit Night!

Come enjoy some yummy ice cream, scooped by our wonderful BFA staff, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Cold Stone Creamery in the Highlands Ranch Town Center (9338 Dorchester St).

BFA's Enchanted Forest Fall Scholastic Book fair will be held Monday, Oct. 1, through Thursday, Oct. 4, in conjunction with Parent Teacher conferences. This is also the week before fall break, so whether you're traveling or staying home, be sure to pick up something fun for your student to read! The fair will be open as follows:
  • Monday, Oct. 1, and Wednesday, Oct. 3: 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 2, and Thursday, Oct. 4: 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Please remember the front office is closed during carpool from 3 - 4 p.m. 
See this preview of all the exciting selections that will be offered this year. And, when you visit the fair, you can enter your child's name in the raffle drawing to be held after the fair. We will be giving away books and miscellaneous items. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

piggy bank
The Middle School Social Committee is hosting a  bake sale from 7:45 - 8:10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at BFA. The Middle School Social Committee plans parties for the entire middle school student body and this is their only fundraising opportunity for the year, so p lease support their efforts!
Interested in helping out with the bake sale? Contact Lynsey Humphries, middle school social committee chair. 

Is your son/daughter a bookworm? Do they enjoy competition? If so, check out a reading program called  Battle of the Books.  This year's teams are coached by Mrs. Lewicki and Ms. Rooney. For information about the sixth grade competition, your sixth grader can talk to Ms. Mares; and to preview the books, students can check out the folder outside Ms. Rooney's classroom. Please click to read the letter from the coaches if you think your son/daughter is interested.

Destination ImagiNation
If you missed the Destination Imagination (DI) information meeting but are still interested in info and/or participating, please click one or more of the following:  BFA DI  Frequently Asked Questions  or the  DI Informational Presentation .
If you are interested in participating in DI, please fill out the following formBFA DI Interest Form  and  email to Jason Sunahara , BFA DI Coordinator, by Monday, Oct. 1. You also are welcome to  contact  Jason  with any additional questions.
While DI is a BFA-sponsored program, it relies solely on parent volunteers to serve as team managers (and appraisers for competitions and South Metro's Instant Challenge Day). While the BFA DI coordinators are happy to create a team for interested students, teams can't come to fruition without the support of a parent volunteer(s) to serve as a team manager(s). There is no guarantee that your child will be placed on a team simply by filling out the interest form. In addition, once your child is officially part of a BFA DI team, there is a registration fee of $65 per participant ($30 for Rising Stars! which are DI's non-competitive participants). More information on the registration fee will come from your team manager/BFA DI coordinators at a later date.
DI's vision is " to teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever changing world." 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. 

Did you know every three years the middle school performing arts students take a trip to perform at Disneyland?
The next trip is in the spring of 2020 and it is open to current fifth, sixth and seventh graders. 
Students will spend four days in California and visit Disneyland, Universal Studios as well as the beach. At Disney, students will perform 30 minutes of music in either Disneyland or California Adventure theme park. They also will participate in a Recording Studio Workshop. At the workshop, students will work with a Disney music director and sight read two Disney songs. Then they will record the pieces and sync them with the original Disney movie.

There is room for around 40 students on this trip.  Sign ups to join will be in the spring but you can start fundraising now!  Email  Ms. Johnson if you would like to help get a head start on fundraising.

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 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.

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.   

BASE logo
Now's the time to get your BFA spirit wear. 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 now.
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 Oct. 27, at Folsom Field, go to www.cubuffs.com/promo and use code 2018DCSD.
Friday, Sept. 21

No School
Please remember there is no school on Friday, Sept. 21, as it is a professional development day for teachers.
Monday, Sept. 24 - Wednesday, Sept. 26

Seventh graders are headed to Keystone Science Camp next week for several days of team-building and working together on fun science projects. 
Tuesday, Sept. 25 

Tours for prospective K-8 families will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays 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.
Wednesday, Sept. 26

Come enjoy some yummy ice cream, scooped by our wonderful BFA staff, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.  on Wednesday, Sept. 26 , at the Cold Stone Creamery in the Highlands Ranch Town Center ( 9338 Dorchester St).
Thursday, Sept. 27

The School Accountability Committee (SAC) is meeting from 4:10 - 5:10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, in the Conference Room. All are welcome to attend.  

Ben's Brigade is meeting from 8 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Starbucks inside Super Target ( 1265 Sergeant Jon Stiles Dr.).
Friday, Sept. 28

BFA's STEM Committee can't wait for your student(s) to attend the annual STEAM Expo on Friday, Sept. 28! The Expo is a wonderful opportunity to expose BFA's more than 900 K-8 students to a wide variety of STEAM-oriented activities and presentations. It's a fantastic time for all, and a terrific volunteer opportunity. Sign up today to volunteer and help ensure the 2018 Expo is a success!
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.