Vol. 8, Iss. 10
March 15, 2018

Dear Parents,

I know that we are all looking forward to our spring break next week. This is a great time to recharge our batteries, spend time with family and friends and get ready to come back and have a strong finish for the 2017-18 school year.
When we return from break, our students in grades 3-8 will be taking the state assessment tests (CMAS: Colorado Measures of Academic Success). I understand that the standardized testing can bring about some anxiety for both parents and students, however, we must not forget that we were once sitting in our children's seats. You probably remember the days when you were told to bring a #2 pencil so you could take the standardized test. I distinctly remember, as a sixth grader, taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and wondering why people in Iowa cared how well I could read or do math. I didn't understand then that my score impacted my school or my classes. 
Taking the tests is not a traumatic experience; it is a reasonable and necessary one. Our teachers do their best to create a positive testing environment, and the data we receive is very valuable to understanding each student's academic achievement and growth. We use this data to focus on strengthening various skills or concepts and to ensure students are appropriately challenged. This is also the data that the state uses to rank and grade our school. At BFA, we embrace the test data. We use it to celebrate success and pinpoint areas for improvement. Test data is never used as a punishment, rather, it is used to set goals and measure progress.
The benefits of the CMAS tests are as follows:
  • We can see whether a child is performing at grade level as well as how he or she is performing relative to other students at BFA, within the district and nationally. 
  • It prepares students for standardized assessments that they will be required to take in high school and/or college (SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT...).
  • BFA receives a more valid evaluation of the school's performance when there is a larger sample size.
  • We can make informed decisions and choices for our students. Test data is used by administration and staff to drive curriculum and professional development choices.
  • Test data may identify learning gaps that can be addressed.
With open enrollment, many schools are requiring a copy of test scores as part of the student's file. This can impact our eighth graders that want to open enroll in the school of their choice.
Taking these tests is truly a life-long skill. Students will eventually need to take a test to obtain their Driver's License, to gain admission into some high schools or colleges, to obtain a license to work in certain trades, and countless other things.
 As a staff, we want to get the students excited about the test and show that it is not a burden. In fact, we have three simple rules for all tests:
  1. Take the test seriously! 
  2. Do your best! 
  3. Don't stress!
Our schedule for this year's testing is as follows (it also can be found on the website):
  • Third Grade - March 27, 28, 29:  8:30-10:15 a.m. and 12:15-1:35 p.m.
  • Fourth Grade - April 2, 3, 4:  8:25-9:40 a.m. and 12:40-2:25 p.m.; April 9, 11 and 12:  12:40-2:15 p.m.
  • Fifth Grade - April 2, 3, 4: 9:15-11 a.m. and 12:45-2:05 p.m.; April 9, 10, 11: 9:15-10:50 a.m.
  • Sixth Grade - March 28, 29, 30:  9:30-11:45 a.m. and 1-2:20 p.m.
  • Seventh Grade - April 10, 11, 12: 10:20-11:40 a.m. and 12:55-3 p.m.; April 13: 10:20-11:50 a.m. and 12:55-2:25 p.m.; April 16: 8:30-10 a.m.
  • Eighth Grade - April 5, 6 and 9: 8:30-10:45 a.m. and 12:40-2:15 p.m.; April 10, 11, 12:  8:30-10:05 a.m.
If at all possible, please make sure your children are here for their testing times. Our goal is for Ben Franklin Academy to have 100 percent participation for this important testing.
Please have a safe and fun Spring Break and we will see you all in a week!

Diana Simpson

Tomorrow is a Dress of Choice Day! Students who have not received two uniform violations since the last regular Dress of Choice day can wear  Dress of Choice tomorrow, March 16

Spring Break
Next week, March 19 - 23, is Spring Break. We hope our students and staff enjoy their time off!

BFA is so proud of the four middle school students that worked extra hard on their science fair projects and advanced to the Denver Metro Regional Science Fair that was held at the Auraria Campus in February. Congratulations to Ella Keen, Mary KodenkandathSahithi Mathukumilli, and  Sreehitha Sajja for representing the "S" of our STEAM school! Their projects will be on display during the Elementary School Science Fair, April 11-12.

Congratulations to all of the BFA teams that competed in the  Destination Imagination (DI) South Metro tournament last Saturday. For the first time in BFA history, FIVE BFA teams are moving forward to the State Competition on April 7! (Photos of teams that were unavailable for the last issue of the newsletter are included below.)

The teams advancing are as follows: 
  • First Place: Unlikely Attraction (Scientific Challenge), Middle (Level), BFA BEASTs (Team Name): Evan McDermott, Tyler Sunahara, Siva Sundaresh, Anson Washeck and Brynna West. Team Managers: Amy Sunahara and Missy Washeck
  • Second Place: Drop Zone (Engineering Challenge), Elementary (Level), Magnificent Mangoes (Team Name): Tristan Bettis, Rohan Mansingh, Aidan Murphy and Matthew Thiessen. Team Managers: Jessica and John Thiessen
  • Third Place: Drop Zone (Engineering Challenge), Middle (Level), Awesome is Our Middle Name (Team Name): Kaitlyn Blum, Mary Kodenkandath, Sahithi Mathukumilli, Sreehitha Sajja and Luke Trotter. Team Managers: Doug and Kimberly Blum
  • Fourth Place: Unlikely Attraction (Scientific Challenge), Elementary (Level), Colorful Creative Kangaroos (Team Name): Evan Heitman, Bryn McDermott, Caleb Olson, Téa Sunahara and Makenna Washeck. Team Managers: Amy and Jason Sunahara
  • Fourth Place (Tie): Drop Zone (Engineering Challenge), Elementary (Level), Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies (Team Name): Cooper Akin, Kiefer Bale, Madeline Blum, Deagan Clendening, Trevor Debellis and Matthew LaSelle. Team Manager: Darick LaSelle

We also would like to recognize the following team who placed in the top six at the Regional Tournament:

Sixth Place: Maze Craze (Technical Challenge), Elementary (Level), The Pirate Parrots (Team Name): Audrey Debellis, Megan Heckwolf, Benjamin LaSelle, Anna Mundackal and Jacob Ringkob. Team Manager: Lynda LaSelle

Save the date to watch our teams participate in the state competition on Saturday, April 7, at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Competition times are not yet available, but we'll share them when they are announced. 

Destination ImagiNation
BFA also received two special Destination Imagination (DI) awards at the Regional Tournament in addition to the BFA DI teams that qualified for the State Tournament in April. They are as follows:
  • Da Vinci Award: For Outstanding Creativity: Matthew LaSelle, Individual Award
The Da Vinci Award honors those individuals and teams who most clearly demonstrate that spirit of adventurous risk in their solutions - those who most creatively traveled to reach truly new and unique destinations. The Da Vinci Award is named to honor one of humanity's greatest creative thinkers, Leonardo Da Vinci. Matthew received the award for composing, arranging and producing the music the team used in their presentation.
  • Renaissance Award: For Outstanding Design, Engineering, Execution, Performance: Magnificent Mangoes, Team Award
The Renaissance Award recognizes those who demonstrate extraordinary amounts of effort and preparation in their solutions or outstanding skill in engineering, design or performance. While the destination is creativity, these fellow travelers make the journey itself memorable. The Magnificent Mangoes team ( Tristan Bettis, Rohan Mansingh, Aidan Murphy and Matthew Thiessen) received the award for their Sudden Event Depictor (aka confetti canon). 

Middle school teachers are always looking for a fun way to teach concepts, and yesterday, March 14, provided an excellent occasion because, as they'll tell you, it's Pi Day! In this case, Pi Day is not some strange made up holiday like World Nutella Day or Lima Bean Respect Day, rather it is an AWESOME way to remember the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, 3.14, and a fun way to celebrate all things MATH!  

This year sixth graders enjoyed their introduction to Pi Day. In math, they worked backward to
measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects, then calculated how close they could get to Pi. They also had a contest to see how many digits of Pi they could memorize. Check out these amazing kids who blew away the previous BFA record for memorizing digits of Pi:
  • Ashley Grissom memorized 116 digits,
  • Siva Sundaresh memorized 133 digits, and
  • Ethan Duffy memorized 142 digits of Pi.
Sixth graders ended the day with a pie eating contest and feasted on pie. 
Seventh graders   constructed circles by creating single sectors and combining them. Students came up with a radius and central angle to construct their sector. Next they calculated the circumference and area using 3.14 for Pi. These circles turned out beautifully and will be on display in the middle school hallway after spring break. Finally, they ate all types of 'pie,' from pizzas, to cheesecake, to traditional pie (although, they couldn't figure out how to serve it!)

Eighth Graders also participated in multiple activities including:   graphing the frequency of the
numbers zero through nine in the first 100 digits of Pi; solving word problems related to circumference and diameter;
  designing a "pi picture;" and measuring circular objects, then calculating the ratio of circumference to diameter. And, because no Pi Day would be complete without snacks--they also enjoyed a Pi-themed treat.
Thanks to all the teachers for coming up with these fun activities!

A message from BFA eighth grader, Connor Brock...

In the fall  Trey Sieradski (pictured here), a BFA graduate and the son of our eighth grade Language Arts teacher,  Mrs. Sieradski, was diagnosed with Stage II Burkitt's lymphoma. Burkitt's lymphoma is a fast-growing cancer of the lymphatic system (where your immune system does its work).  Trey has been battling this cancer for three months, and HE IS WINNING!!
In honor of Trey and for his courage and strength, I've set up a team to help raise awareness about childhood cancer by shaving their heads and fundraising.  We currently have eight BFA students on Team KCA for Trey!  There are three eighth graders, one seventh grader, three sixth graders, and one second grader. Anyone is still welcome to join. 
We have collectively raised more than $2,000, and are still raising funds. Click here to join our team or donate to the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
We will be shaving our heads at  7:15 p.m. at Snooze in Lone Tree ( 10002 Commons St, Unit E1, Lone Tree). The Sieradskis will be there at about 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to come support the Sieradskis and the team. 
Please come support us and help us get the word out.

The Battle of the Books A team fought hard this year! They lost their final battle against Northridge by one question. We're extremely proud of their season as they finished in second place for the Highlands Ranch District. Thanks to the student participants and their parents, as well as assistant coaches Anna Ricks and Olivia Velasco. Look for the certificate which will be displayed in BFA's trophy case.

If you do not plan to re-enroll at BFA for the 2018-19 school year, it's time to notify us in writing by sending an  email to  Rachelle Patterson , registrar. It's helpful to know who may be leaving for planning purposes, and  parent/guardian confirmation is required before student records are forwarded to a new school. 
If you have recently moved, please bring your proof of residency to change your address in the system or email it to the registrar. One of the following will be required:
  • Lease Agreement
  • Purchase Agreement
  • Tax Notice
  • Warranty Deed
  • Deed of Trust

Congratulations to Presley Hite in Mrs. Harms' second grade class! She's this month's winner of the Virtues Awareness Bookmark Contest. Her winning bookmark design was chosen for her beautiful artwork, which epitomizes the virtue of Tranquility.
Grades K-5, look for your copy of Presley's winning bookmark in your Thursday folder.
Middle School will have a poster of sixth grader Aiva Titus' winning design on display in the Commons.

PTO Logo
The SCRIP gift-giving program, launched last December, allows each family to consolidate their family's teacher and staff gifts by sending in one payment. Order forms and the associated payment are turned in by each family; then funds from all the families who donated are totaled for each staff member.  Staff will receive an email with the total amount gifted, and they can select which gift card(s) they would like to receive. 

By consolidating donations, we're streamlining the gifting process and are able to provide teachers and staff with meaningful gifts It is a "win/win/win" for everyone involved. Families win by having a convenient way to participate in a group gift. The amazing BFA staff wins, as they can choose what gift cards they want and need. And, the school wins by receiving fundraising dollars in the form of a rebate, ranging from 2-21% per card. This rebate is a result of buying the gift cards in bulk and does not affect the staff gifts.  Thanks to your participation in the 2017 holiday SCRIP program, the PTO earned $504 in rebates.

For end-of-year staff gifts, we'll ask for donations the first week in April. The gift cards will be distributed to staff on May 11, the last day of Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week. Please keep an eye out for additional information including order forms and deadlines.

The SCRIP gift card program will be offered in lieu of any other class gift/collection.  Room parents will not be collecting money for class gifts. Order forms may be dropped off in the red lockbox in the front office or during one of the afternoon carpool collection dates.

Participation in the SCRIP gift-giving program is completely voluntary.  You are welcome to participate with any amount or, alternatively, gift the teachers and staff on your own. This is just one option--it's really up to you!

Questions? Please email the SCRIP Coordinator .

Thanks for your support of the Middle School Charity Week! The kids (and teachers) enjoyed wearing fun socks, caps and jerseys to team up against cancer. And, the Penny Wars were a big hit too. In fact, we heard a rumor that some kids (who shall not be named) were running behind in carpool because they were sneaking silver in another class's jar! It was a fun week for all, and we raised $7284.82 for the American Cancer Society Special thanks to the Student Council, as well as Mrs. Denham and Ms. Dychus for coordinating the event.

PTO Logo
The next monthly PTO meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight, March 15, in the Sanders Science Lab. Come learn about what the PTO is working on, get connected, and earn some volunteer hours just for attending. Whether you want to volunteer a little or a lot, we've got a role for you. Everyone is welcome!

The spring Moms Night Out has been scheduled at Hacienda Colorado! You deserve a relaxing night out so please join us from  5 - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, at Hacienda Colorado  (5066 S Wadsworth Blvd). The PTO will provide a nacho bar, so  please RSVP to let us know you're coming!

PTO Logo
Are you interested in helping BFA while connecting with other parents who are passionate about our school? If so, they hope you'll consider becoming a member of the PTO team! When you join the PTO, you make a real, meaningful difference at BFA and build lasting friendships with other BFA parents.
The PTO is an integral part of Ben Franklin Academy. Since it began serving BFA, the PTO has raised funds to provide all sorts of items needed by the school, including playground equipment, library books, a climbing wall as well as tools and resources needed by the teachers, staff and administration. They also organize social events to bring together the entire BFA community.
This year, there are several Officer and Committee Chair positions up for election by the school community, and many Committee Manager positions that are selected by the PTO Board. If you are interested in becoming a PTO Executive Officer, Committee Chair, or Committee Manager, please submit the following information to the PTO co-secretaries by April 2, 2018. (For all elected positions, the information provided will be posted on the election ballot.) 
  1. Your Name
  2. Number of children enrolled at BFA
  3. Grade of each child
  4. How long your family has been at BFA
  5. How many PTO Meetings you have attended in 2018-19
  6. Why are you interested serving on the BFA PTO?
  7. Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position?
  8. Is there any other information you would like to share?
With approximately 30 open positions, there's a role for most all skill-sets! Please see the recent news article for a list of open positions, visit the PTO page on the BFA website and look under 'important forms' to view a description of each, or  contact  Mollie Anderson, PTO president.  

Please note, if you are elected for multiple officer/committee manager positions, you may only serve in one position.   

Following are BFA's procedures regarding the administration of Tylenol and/or acetaminophen.
  • Tylenol cannot be administered from the Health Office without a medical order from the doctor, signed by both the doctor and a parent.
  • MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS (grades 6-8) can carry a ONE DAY supply of an over-the-counter pain reliever (Tylenol/Ibuprofen) in its original packaging. Please do not send in large bottles of medication.
If a student has had a fever of 100 degrees or more, they can only return to school after being fever free (without the use of any fever reducing medicine) for 24 hours. 
Per Douglas County School District, no essential oils or homeopathic remedies can be administered by our Health Room staff or be carried by students. Please use these at home only. The oils may cause allergic reactions to other students or staff.

All middle school girls interested in playing soccer for BFA are required to attend an i nformal meeting with Coach Elliott from 4 - 5 p.m. on Monday, March 26, on the turf.

Tryouts for Girls Soccer will be from 4 - 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, on the turf. There are 20 spots open and team placements will be offered on Wednesday, March 28. If you accept the placement, registration is required to be completed by Friday, March 30. 

Parents, please attend the first 15 minutes of tryouts on March 27 for an informational meeting about the upcoming season.

Register ONLY after your player has been offered placement on the team, and you have accepted it with the coach. Please go to the BFA web page and click on " make a payment" link for registration. The cost for a season is $90. Please also complete "Medical Form" and "Authorization to use Private Vehicles" and bring to the first practice. Team drivers will be needed for away games.

Act now to get your discount tickets to the Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC beginning at 1 p.m. on April 14 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Tickets are $20, and a portion of the sale goes back to BFA (please select our school). The back-up game is at 2 p.m. on April 29. See the flier for more details.

The PTO's online store is now open  through April 15. What does that mean to you? This is your chance to get that coveted T-shirt, hoodie, or other spirit wear items before the school year ends. Please visit the store to check out all the terrific items for sale. If you have any questions, please email  Rachel Molieri, PTO spirit wear coordinator.

Did you know you can earn money for BFA each time you shop at King Soopers and Safeway? Buy groceries, gasoline at fuel centers, lottery tickets and postage stamps while helping BFA at the same time! (Safeway gift cards also can be used at Albertson's locations.) 
Simply  order a dedicated BFA King Soopers and/or Safeway gift card from the BFA Store, and use it to buy your groceries. Then, re-load your King Soopers or Safeway gift card at Customer Service or at the register before you scan your first item.
Online shoppers can use grocery cards too! Shoppers using Safeway's online service can make purchases with their Safeway grocery card, while King Soopers online shoppers can pay using their grocery card when they pick up their order. 
Ordering your King Soopers and Safeway cards is easy!
Just go to the  BFA Store, click on 'Grocery Cards' and order yours today. The cards are pre-loaded with $5. When ordering, be sure to include your FIRST/LAST NAME and FULL MAILING ADDRESS. Your King Soopers/ Safeway card(s) will be mailed directly to the address provided. Once the order is received, please allow five business days for processing.
Need a new card?
If it's been a while since you used your card, and it's been left with a zero balance, your card will expire! Please  order a new card through the store, as the zero balance card will no longer give rebates back to BFA.
The King Soopers and Safeway fundraising programs donate five percent of your purchases back to the school. BFA raised more than $5,500 through this program last year! 
For more information or questions,   email   Rachel Molieri, PTO spirit wear and grocery card coordinator.


Buy yourself something the entire family will enjoy--a coupon book containing discounts for some of our favorite places, including:   Pierre Michele French Bakery, Indulge, Mici's, Cuba Cuba, Cold Stone, Honey Baked Ham, Gigi's, Timbuk Toys, Arts on Fire, Pirates Cove, Dart Warz and Junglequest.
Coupon books are only $35 each and is a gift that you or a loved one can use all year! The paper coupons can be used once, and with the app, you get the discount AGAIN with duplicate coupons. Also, this year your purchase includes a small card good for multiple uses at five businesses.
To purchase,  email Erin Fierro, D.C. Fundraising Committee Manager. 
Hurry and get these valuable coupon books today before they're all gone!

Send them a Birthday Bag!
Celebrating birthdays at BFA just got more fun! Order your child a Birthday Bag for just $10, and s/he will receive:  
  • A bag full of goodies such as erasers, pencils, bouncy balls, etc. (no food or candy will be in the bags);
  • A birthday certificate good for a free bake sale item at the next bake sale;
  • A personalized note from you, if requested; and
  • A 'Happy Birthday' serenade by the eighth graders who deliver the bag to your student's classroom.
Did your child already celebrate their birthday or do they have a summer birthday?   
We also will deliver "Un-birthday Bags" for students who have already celebrated their birthday, and "Half-birthday Bags" for summer birthdays.
You can purchase Birthday Bags online through the BFA Store.
Thursday, March 15

PTO Logo
All are welcome to attend the PTO meeting from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, in the Sanders Science Lab. 
Friday, March 16

Students who have not received two uniform violations since the last regular Dress of Choice day can wear Dress of Choice on Friday, March 16
March 19 - 23

Spring Break
Next week, March 19 - 23, is Spring Break. We hope our students and staff enjoy their time off!
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.