Vol. 10, Iss. 13
April 9, 2020

Dear Parents,
Our third week of remote learning is wrapping up. I hope everyone enjoyed our virtual spirit week. I know I loved seeing pictures each day. It's not the same as being in school together, but it did add some fun and connection to our community.
Next week, we will have our regularly scheduled remote learning Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday, we have something special and unique planned. Each year, our students have participated in a Junior Achievement (JA) Day at school, whereby parents and community partners come to the school and teach lessons involving entrepreneurship and financial literacy. This year our JA day has gone virtual! Next Thursday, all students K-8 will be participating in JA activities instead of their traditional lessons. Each of your teachers will communicate what the lessons are and how to get them online. Thursday will be a fun day exploring some different topics. Next Friday, there will be no lessons sent as we are taking our previously planned in-service day to start our planning for next year.
You may have noticed in the Douglas County communication from last week that the district schools are taking every Monday morning as planning time for their teachers. Our teachers have embraced the task of teaching remotely and are doing a tremendous job. They have had to learn new technologies and new ways to present lessons. This does take time, planning, and preparation to do well. We acknowledge this need and will be building in some extra team plan time for grade-level teams each week. After three weeks, most teachers, students, and families have developed a routine, and we don't want to disrupt that. I asked each grade level team to pick one half-day a week, which would be the least disruptive to previously established schedules for their weekly team planning time. The teams have selected the following times:
Kindergarten: Wednesdays from 12-3
First Grade: Fridays from 12-3
Second Grade: Thursdays from 9-12
Third Grade: Wednesdays from 12-3
Fourth Grade: Wednesdays from 9-12
Fifth Grade: Fridays from 12-3
Sixth Grade: Mondays from 12-3
Seventh Grade: Fridays from 12-3
Eighth Grade: Fridays from 12-3
What does this mean for parents and students? On the day that your grade level has their team planning, your students will receive their daily emails; however, they will be assigned about half of their usual workload. This will be a great day to catch up on missing work, enjoy some time outside, or work on some of the Specials assignments. Teachers will not be answering student or parent emails during their planning time. If the planning time is in the morning, teachers will answer emails that afternoon; if the planning time is in the afternoon, they will answer emails the next morning (Monday mornings for Friday plan times). These plan times will begin the week of April 20.
I have an exciting announcement to end this week's newsletter. Back in late February and early March, we launched a hiring committee of teachers and other staff members to hire a new Assistant Principal for grades 5-8. We were able to complete the process and hired Sarah Boland as our new AP. Sarah will be joining our staff virtually in May. Here is a little bit more about her:
Sarah is thrilled to be joining the Ben Franklin Academy team! She has been in education as a teacher and leader for 20 years and truly enjoys building relationships with students, teachers, and families! She is passionate about working with educators to support students in their educational journeys and make their time at school as meaningful and positive as possible. Sarah taught sixth grade in Seattle, Washington, and high school social studies at Highlands Ranch High School. She has been an Assistant Principal at Englewood Middle School and, most recently, STEM School Highlands Ranch. She loves being around creative and inquisitive people who are focused on putting students first.
Sarah grew up in Littleton and attended the University of Northern Colorado for her Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education and went on to get her Masters Degree in Supervision and Administration. She has worked in a variety of schools with students of all ages, but loves middle school the most! Sarah is happily married to her college sweetheart, Brent, and is raising two wonderful sons, Asa and Amos. When she is not at school, she likes to read, swim, listen to live music, and play with her family.
We are excited to have Sarah join us and we can't wait to introduce her in-person to everyone in August!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Mrs. Simpson

Now is the time to engage in the Board election process! The Ben Franklin Academy (BFA) community is seeking leaders, who are passionate about and committed to BFA's mission and vision, to serve on the seven-director BFA Board of Directors ( Board). As previously announced, there are six outstanding candidates for the open Board positions.
The ability of any charter school to carry out its mission and vision depends on the strength of its organizational foundation and a critical element of this foundation is the charter school board itself. Advocating for BFA and its educational philosophy is an important function of the Board and involves promoting the mission, vision and goals of BFA within both the BFA community and the community at large. Based on the composition of the BFA Board and the anticipated short- and long-term needs of the school, the desired skills and knowledge for this election/appointment cycle include the following: 
  • Organizational and Financial Management
  • Strategic or Long-Range Planning
  • Banking and Trusts
  • Business/Corporate
  • Academic/Education
  • Technology
We hope the BFA community spent time reading about the candidates and/or listened to the Candidate Q&A session. Staff and parents are invited to vote for two open positions on the BFA Board--you'll need to use the following form to select ONE candidate for Seat 5, Class C, then scroll down to select ONE candidate for Seat 6, Class C. Each family/BFA staff member should only complete the form once; and you will use your family number (on your blue carpool tag) or employee ID (for staff who do not have children currently attending BFA). Preschool parents received separate instructions. Please be sure to submit your completed response.
VOTE NOW before the Voting Group period ends on April 19 at 11:59 p.m. Results will be announced at the Board meeting on April 21.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Sarah Nisbet, director at large, BFA Board of Directors.

Becky Archunde, our Occupational Therapist, has some advice for all of us working at home. See below for her tips on how to create an ergonomically correct work area.
  • Your hips, knees and ankles should all be at 90 degree angles. You can achieve this by starting with the correct height of chair. Your femur (the long bone above your knee) should be exactly parallel to the ground. If your feet don't touch flat on the ground, use a book or foot stool to be able to maintain the 90-90-90 posture.
  • Your keyboard should ideally be at about belly button height, but since many of us are using laptops, that makes it pretty hard to balance the height of the screen which should be at the height between your shoulder/nose. If you are using a laptop, try to balance between those two heights to do the best you can.
  • When you are sitting at your desk/table, you should ideally be using an office chair that
    supports the curve of your spine, especially an inward curve for your low spine. If you have to use a kitchen-type chair, try using the flattest sofa pillow you have or a folded up towel to put on the bottom of the chair to support that low back.
  • When sitting at your desk, keep reminding yourself to squeeze your shoulder blades down and together to engage all the back extension muscles to maintain an upright spine posture to be as tall as possible.
  • As easy as it is to get wrapped up in what you are doing, take a break at least every hour or whenever a body part starts to "talk" to you (don't ignore your body). Lay on the floor on your back with your arms stretched out fully to your sides for a few minutes. Bend your knees slightly or put a pillow under them. Don't put a thick pillow under your head. Just use a flat pillow or towel with it slightly bunched up under your neck to allow for the forward curve to be supported.
And, some thoughts especially for students...
  • Most kids aren't going to be able to tell you when they are getting uncomfortable, but when they do, you might be able to tell my their actions because they will probably fidget more in their seat and focus will go down.
  • Change up where they are sitting based on what they are doing. If they are doing writing tasks, they should probably be at a table/desk to best support their posture and their arm to produce their best handwriting. If they are watching a video or doing a class chat, maybe they could sit on the couch, criss cross, with a pillow or two on their lap so they don't have to lower their head/neck to look at the screen. If they are reading a book, maybe they could lay on their stomach on the floor. On a nice day, let them read outside--maybe on a trampoline if you have one. Another good idea is to change up the desk spaces all your students are using every couple days. Keeping the standard daily routine, but making novel pieces to the routine, will keep the situation more engaging.
  • The student's smaller bodies don't fit onto adult sized chairs like they are meant to. To accommodate the large chair, keep the 90-90-90 posture for them, you may have to put a firm couch pillow behind their back to support an upright spine posture. Then look at using something under their feet to support them to keep the femur parallel to the ground.

The PTO is excite to announce that enhancements to the outdoor classroom are complete. Our landscaper was able to get the work completed over the week of Spring Break. Students and staff will be able to enjoy the new artificial turf ground cover and privacy from the carpool lanes when we return to school. These enhancements were made possible through funds raised at last fall's BENefit Bash. Thank you, BFA Community, for your continued support!

PTO Logo
Given the current stay-at-home order, and recognizing the importance of continued social distancing even after the order is lifted, the PTO has made the difficult decision to cancel the Spring Social (April 25) and postpone the Spring Uniform Buyback Sale (May 17). The regular PTO meetings in April (April 15) and May (May 6) will be held as scheduled via Zoom. (See BFA calendar for Zoom call details.) Our annual volunteer appreciation event at Pirate's Cove (July 19) is being left as-is. Volunteer appreciation gifts will be distributed at Pirate's Cove and at registration in the fall.

We all need LESS screen time--so let's read instead! Ms. Williams has organized an online book fair for the school that will be open until April 22. Check out the NEW LINK to order books for your family!

Our own BFA mom, Cara Brzezicki, had planned to do an author visit for us but kindly agreed to do a virtual reading of her book instead. Her book is up for two children's book awards and can be purchased on Amazon. Ms. Williams will host a book signing next school year for any students who purchase the book. Parents can help their kids find more information about how they can help the planet as well as how they can access fun things like coloring pages and bookmarks at the end of her video--here is a sample of her coloring pages.
Please click on this link to hear "Jazzie Beans Saves the Planet."  

The BFA PTO will use SCRIP for end of year staff gifting again this year. This convenient, online program replaces room parent collections and facilitates convenient group gifting. Each family makes one payment through MySchoolBucks for all of their teacher and staff gifts. At the end of collections, each staff member will receive an email with the total collected on their behalf and is able to select gift cards they would like to receive.
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. Families will be able to place SCRIP orders via MySchoolBucks and pay by credit card. You may designate how much you would like to give to each teacher/staff member in one-dollar increments. Collections will take place April 11-17 with gifts being delivered to the staff by the end of the year. For your reference, a complete staff list can be found here.
A form for preschool-only families is available online. The completed preschool form and a check may be mailed to the address provided on the form and must be received by April 17.
For more details on how to contribute to your teacher's gift, click here! Questions? Visit the PTO webpage or contact  Rachael Hamburger, SCRIP coordinator.

BFA Summer Camp
We're very excited about all the fun things we have planned for summer camp this year! If you would like a copy of the summer camp calendar, please email summercamp@bfacademy.org. Our weekly sign-ups are split into the following options: 
1) Three days of In-House Summer Camp for $105/week, per child; and 
2) Two days of Bolts Adventures Field Trip Summer Camp for $100/week, per child. 
In MySchoolBucks, you can choose either option, or choose both In-House AND Bolts Adventures Summer Camps to ensure child care for the entire week. We hope that gives parents the additional flexibility they enjoy, while streamlining the process for parents who need weekly coverage. With this change, the full week cost is $205 per week. 
The annual registration fee has not changed, and is $35 per child. Please click here to register your child(ren); sign-ups for In-House and Bolts Adventures Camps will be available later this spring. The first week of camp will be May 27-29 and will cost $115, as camp will only be three days that week (we will not split out this week into In-House and Bolts Adventures Camps).
Program Details:   
Dates: May 27-August 14 (Closed June 29-July 3)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Days: Monday through Friday
Summer Camp is open to any 2020-21 enrolled BFA Kindergarten-eighth grade student 5-years-old and above. Your child must be 5 on or before May 27, 2020 to participate. 
If you have any questions please email:  summercamp@bfacademy.org.
Friday, April 10

Tomorrow is the final day of our virtual Spirit Week! It's Character Day so dress as your favorite character from a movie or book!
Wednesday, April 15

PTO Logo
The PTO's monthly meeting will be held via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15. All are welcome to join members of the PTO as they meet virtually. The details are available on the BFA website calendar. 

The CEC's monthly meeting will be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15. All are welcome to join members of the CEC as they meet virtually. The details are available on the BFA website calendar. 
Thursday, April 16

This year our Junior Achievement (JA) day has gone virtual! On Thursday, April 16, all students K-8 will be participating in JA activities instead of their traditional lessons. Each of your teachers will communicate what the lessons are and how to get them online. Thursday will be a fun day exploring some different topics.  
Friday, April 17

No School
There is no school for students on Friday, April 17, as it is an in service day for teachers.   
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.