Vol. 9, Iss. 20
August 15, 2019
Dear Parents,

Welcome Back to School!  Whether you are a brand new family or a founding family who has been here since the beginning, we are so excited to welcome you to the 2019-20 school year at Ben Franklin Academy! I am so excited for our ninth year to begin. This will be a special year as our first class of kindergartners are eighth-graders this year. 
Each year, we choose a theme or motto to challenge and inspire our students. This year we have chosen "Don't stop until you're proud." We want to encourage our students to always do their best and not to give up. We want them to give their best not only in their schoolwork, but also in their interactions with others. This theme will connect very well with the thirteen virtues that we practice here at Ben Franklin. For those families who are newer to BFA, each month we focus on one or more of our 13 virtues. You'll be hearing more about the thirteen virtues in upcoming newsletters.
The theme also closely relates to our school-wide implementation of Second Step, our new social-emotional curriculum. Each student in our building will be getting weekly instruction in the areas of building resilience, coping and communication skills, as well as kindness and acceptance. I will be presenting more on this important addition to our curriculum at Back to School night in a couple of weeks.
There are awesome things that happen in our building every day! We highlight those activities in this newsletter as well as on our public Facebook page. Starting this year, we also have an Instagram account! Be sure to follow BFAmazing to see what is happening every day. You never know who might pop up on the 'gram!
I am looking forward to another amazing year. Please know that you can reach out to me at any time with questions, concerns or comments; sending an email is a great way to reach me. I look forward to hearing from you throughout the school year!

Diana Simpson

Students can bring a lunch, or purchase their lunch at school. Douglas County Nutrition Services (DCNS) provides lunch and strives to offer healthy options. You can view the lunch choices for the week on the Nutrislice  website , and set up a payment account through  MySchoolBucks

Please make sure your child knows when they should order hot lunch and what their choice is for that day (including whether they'll be purchasing doubles). Teachers are asked to give a count of how many students will be ordering lunch and what choice they would like each morning. To find out more, see the BFA website.

Families with kids in grades  K-4, please plan to attend the Back to School Night from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28 . Families with kids in grades  5-8, please plan to attend the Back to School Night from 6 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29 . 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. More details to follow.
Ben Franklin Academy requires all families to perform 30 approved hours (15 hours for single parents) of volunteer service. More information can be found in the  Volunteer and Visitor Policy. Volunteer hours are approved by the principal and tracked by the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) using HelpCounter, a software system  that allows you to register for volunteer opportunities and track your volunteer service. All volunteer service must be logged into  Help Counter  within 48 hours of performing the service or the hours will be deemed unearned. If you are volunteering inside the building, you should record your hours by signing in and out using the computer in the office. If you are volunteering from home, you also may come into the building and log your hours, or you can send an  email  to our volunteer coordinator who will log your hours. If you choose to email the volunteer coordinator, please include your name, hours/minutes to log, and a detailed description of your work. It is recommended that each parent/guardian make a separate account to track their volunteer hours. Your hours will be linked to your Family Number (the number on your carpool tag) so we can tally volunteer hours per family.   
RETURNING FAMILIES - Please log into  HelpCounter and do the following:
  • Click on 'Update Profile Information' to make changes to your profile and record your student's grade/classroom.
  • Click on 'Check for Upcoming Opportunities' to sign up for lunch or carpool.
  • Click on 'Update your Volunteer Interest Form' to indicate what types of volunteer opportunities interest you.   
  • Bookmark it! Don't miss out on volunteer hours because you failed to log your time--be sure to bookmark the HelpCounter link.
  • If you are new to BFA, you can go to http://Helpcounter.net/volunteer to request access to the system. The system will help you find BFA and ask for your email address. You will then add your personal information and submit. Once you are an approved volunteer, you can start adding hours.
  • Once you are in the system, please specify the areas you are interested in volunteering for--this does not commit you, rather it allows the coordinator see who is interested in specific opportunities. 
  • Click on 'Check for Upcoming Opportunities' to sign up for lunch or carpool.
If you are a single parent family, please  email  Michelle Bynum so she can update your volunteer quota. If you have questions about HelpCounter or logging hours,  email  our volunteer coordinator.
Volunteering Ideas at BFA 
  • Help with Lunch - Ben Franklin's lunchroom couldn't run efficiently without our wonderful parent volunteers. Our volunteers assist our lunch aides with setting up the lunchroom tables, help students open food and drink containers, monitor student safety and activity, clean tabletops between lunch sessions, and assist with final cleanup after all students have eaten. Our volunteer sessions last from 10:50 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. You are welcome to show up to volunteer; beginning Aug. 26, our signups also will be available via Helpcounter (log into HelpCounter first to be directly linked). Please note, younger siblings are not allowed in the lunch room during volunteer shifts. 
  • Volunteer for Carpool - Parent participation in carpool is essential as it helps ensure the safety of our kids, other volunteers and BFA staff. You may show up and ask the front office if you can assist for a shift; or, beginning Aug. 26, you can also use HelpCounter (log in first) to sign up for carpool shifts. Please arrive by 7:30 a.m. for the morning shift, or 3:15 p.m. for afternoon carpool.
  • Come help out in the Art Room - Mrs. Hinkle is always in need of volunteers in the art room! You can sign up to volunteer in your student's art class (full-day Kindie through fifth grade), or any time slot that works for you. 
  • Sign up to Volunteer in the Library - The library needs volunteers, so please sign up today! This is a popular volunteer opportunity, so please sign up for a few shifts, then give others the opportunity to sign up. You can check back in a week or two and add additional slots. If you sign up, but are unable to show up, please delete your shift. If you would like to volunteer during your student's classroom time, please check with their teacher for their library schedule.
  • Volunteer in the Science Lab - You don't have to be a scientist to help Mrs. Ward in the lab! Just click on this sign up and look for opportunities to volunteer in K-5 classes. 
  • Look for Teacher Sign-ups - Many of our teachers send out sign-ups to help with reading, science lab, Thursday folders, etc. Please watch for these and sign up to help your student's class.
  • Committees - BFA has many committees that work to support the mission and vision of the school. Many of these committees have opportunities to volunteer that fall outside of traditional school hours. To learn more about the committees and how to contact them, check out each committee's web page.

The BFA Board of Directors meets monthly during the school year, generally on the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in our school's library. Parents are welcome to attend the Board meetings, or use the call-in number listed on the agenda to listen to the meeting. The next Board meeting is from 5:30 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the Dana Library. The agenda will be available via the BFA website 24 hours prior to the meeting. 

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 absence reporting, lunch, payments and volunteer management. Our website went through a facelift in July/early August, so please be patient as we get it all updated for this school year. 
  • 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!
  • Soon, you'll hear more about the BFA Instagram account--so stay tuned.
  • Additional communications will be sent routinely to Middle School and Preschool families.
If you are not receiving communications from Ben Franklin Academy, please contact Carrie Keen.

BASE logo
BFA Cross Country registration will open later this week. Any BFA middle school boy or girl interested in joining the team should register (no tryouts necessary) and practices will begin on Aug. 20 directly after 'all call.' We will meet near room 164 (Mrs. Mashburn's room) and head outside for warm ups and a run. Practices will be held every Tuesday and Thursday and uniforms will be issued on Aug. 22 in Coach Mashburn's room. Remember to bring water, running shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt. If you are unable to attend, please  contact  Coach Mashburn  ahead of time. A list of meets will be handed out as well. If you have not done so already, please turn in your physical form to Coach Macias or Coach Mashburn. Hope to see many of our middle school kids at practice!

PTO Logo
Join us for our monthly PTO meetings to find out more about what's going on at BFA and get connected with other parents. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanders Science Lab, unless otherwise noted. The dates for this year's meetings are: Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 23, Nov. 20, Dec. 18, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, March 11, April 15, and May 13. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there!
Want to learn more about the BFA PTO? Visit our webpage.

The Spirit Rock is an opportunity to share exciting events with our school community by painting your own message. Parents, students, and staff may "Rent the Rock" to recognize a student's birthday, show school spirit, wish a team good luck, thank a teacher, announce an event, etc. It is a great way to spread positive messages and increase excitement! The introductory daily rate to rent the Rock is $15 per day. All proceeds benefit Ben Franklin Academy!
First, reserve the date you want by visiting the 'Rent the Rock' SignUpGenius. Rock reservations are on a first come, first serve basis, so make your reservations NOW!! ( NOTE: Your 24-hour rental starts at 4 p.m. the day prior to your rental. If your child's birthday is August 15, reserve August 15, and you may begin painting AFTER 4  p . m . on August 14 .)

Next, pay for your reservation through MySchoolBucks. Payment is due when the reservation is made.
Have questions? You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the PTO web page, or contact Sara Hope, Spirit Rock Committee Manager.

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 September 30. 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 in October at parent teacher conferences. The online store will close September 30 and remain closed until the spring. So, be sure to get your spirit wear now!

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
Username: Smithbk
Password: Dcsd123456 
Thursday, Aug. 15

The Finance Committee will meet from 6 - 8 p.m. today, Aug. 15, in the BFA Conference Room. All are welcome to attend. 
Tuesday, Aug. 20

The next Board meeting is from 5:30 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the Dana Library.  Parents are welcome to attend the Board meetings, or use the call-in number listed on the agenda to listen to the meeting. The agenda will be available via the BFA website 24 hours prior to the meeting.
Wednesday, Aug. 21

PTO Logo
Plan to attend the PTO meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, in the Sanders Science Lab. The PTO members would love to see you there!
Thursday, Aug. 22

The members of Ben's Brigade encourage BFA Dads to attend a Ben's Brigade meeting this year! Their first meeting is from 8 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Highlands Ranch.
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.