Vol. 9, Iss. 21
August 22, 2019
Dear Parents,
We hope to see you next week at one or more of BFA's Back to School Nights. This year, I'm inviting everyone (new and returning families) to attend a short presentation to learn more about Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum, then move on to your student's classroom(s) for important information from your student's teachers. The purpose of Back to School Night is to help parents become better acquainted with the school, staff and information specific to their child's grade level.
During Back to School Nights teachers will share information about:
  • Teaching methods
  • Classroom discipline policies
  • Curriculum overview
  • Grading policies
  • Classroom expectations
  • How to volunteer in the classroom
  • What you can do to help your child succeed in school
  • What you can do to help the teacher and the class, and
  • The best way to communicate with your student's teacher(s).
Please note, there may be time for a few general questions, but there is not time for an individual conference. If a conference is needed, please schedule an appointment with the teacher. 
Back to School Night Schedules
Back to School Night is a great way to learn all about how your child's classroom works. If your student is in kindergarten through third grade, their teacher will present information to parents in their classroom. The presentation for students in fourth grade will be held in the Middle School Commons. Fifth grade parents are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29, and parents should go to their student's homeroom class to receive schedules after the Second Step meeting. 

The K-4 teachers have scheduled two presentations so parents can choose to go to the first or second session. This allows families with more than one child to go to multiple classes. A detailed schedule is below:  
Wednesday, August 28

Grades K-3:   
6:00 - 6:15 p.m.           Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- Mrs. Simpson,   
                                      Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:50 p.m.           First classroom presentation with homeroom teacher
7:00 - 7:30 p.m.           Second classroom presentation with homeroom teacher
Grade 4 :
6:00 - 6:15 p.m.            Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- Mrs. Simpson,   
                                         Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:50 p.m.            First class presentations in the Middle School Commons
7:00 - 7:30 p.m.            Second class presentations in the Middle School Commons
On Wednesday, Aug. 28,  Mrs. Hinkle (art),  Ms. Johnson (music),  Mrs. Crespo (PE),  Mrs. Tickle (technology) and  Mrs. Ward  (science lab) will be available in the Art Room from 6:15 - 8 p.m. to meet with parents.
Thursday, August 29

Grade 5:
6:00 - 6:15       Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- Mrs. Simpson,   
                           Thunder Gym
6:20-6:45         Student's Homeroom (receive schedule/science and social) (25 mins) 
6:50-7:05         AM literacy/math (15 mins) 
7:10-7:25         PM literacy/math (15 mins) 
7:30-7:45         PM science/social (15 mins) 
Grades 6-8:
Parents of students in grades 6-8 can either bring a copy of their student's schedule, or pick up a copy in the Middle School Commons from 5:45 - 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, during Back to School Night. Parents should follow that schedule for the evening. 
When your student has specials, please come to the Middle School Commons to hear from the specials teachers. If you have both a fifth grader and a middle school student or two middle school students, please email the teachers you are not able to meet and ask them to send you the information covered at Back to School night.
After visiting with all the teachers, there will be a presentation on social media for middle school parents in the Middle School Commons.
5:45 - 6:00       Retrieve schedules in the Middle School Commons, if necessary 
6:00 - 6:15       Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- Mrs. Simpson,   
                         Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:30       Period 1 (Sixth Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
6:35 - 6:45       Period 2 (Seventh Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
6:50 - 7:00       Advisory 
7:05 - 7:15       Period 3 (Eighth Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
7:20 - 7:30       Period 4
7:35 - 7:45       Period 5
Mr. Macias (PE), Ms. Harlow (Life Skills), Ms. Konesky (Technology), and Mrs. Woudenberg (Mindful in the Middle) will be available during specials times in the commons to give a quick overview of their classes. 

I look forward to seeing all of you at Back to School Night!

Diana Simpson

don't forget
Please remember your driver's license  the first time you come to the school to pick up your student early, volunteer or attend a meeting. For safety reasons, every person who enters the school needs to have their Driver's License scanned each school year. Please keep in mind, this is also a requirement for any friends or relatives who would like to enter the school. Thanks for helping us keep our kids safe!

Please remember that when BASE is in session (M-F, around 4-6 p.m.), you cannot be on the back playgrounds or the turf field with your children. This is per the State of Colorado Child Care Licensing Rules and Regulations. If you have any questions please email Mrs. Savoy.

Mark your calendars and log those volunteer hours because the 9th annual Harvest Festival is almost here! Join us for a night of family fun from 4 - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at BFA. Festival activities include: carnival games, face painting, balloon twisting, inflatables, and of course, the cake walk! For more details about the event, see the flier.
Tickets will go on sale starting Aug. 29 on MySchoolBucks. Families who have completed and logged their 30 hours of volunteer service (15 hours for single family households) for the current school year before Sept. 6 will be given free admittance to the event! Qualifying families will be notified on Sept. 7 by email.
It takes a village to put on the Harvest Festival and we can't do it without you. Volunteers are needed to make this event a success! We hope you'll consider volunteering
We also need parents to help supervise an activity.
And, finally we hope parents will donate baked goods and cakes for the cake walk.

Thanks in advance for your help making the Harvest Festival successful!

If your student enjoys the performing arts, musical theatre, choir, would like to play an instrument, or learn how to tap dance, please check out all the options available through Ms. Johnson's After School Performing Arts programs. Descriptions are available on her catalogue, and registration is NOW OPEN for many of the programs.

It's time for STEM club! This year, Mrs. Lewicki is offering two after school sessions, one for students in grades 2-4, and another for kids in grades 5 and 6. Both clubs will meet from 4 - 5 p.m. on select Thursdays, to focus on the Engineering Design Process and explore the concepts of structural engineering. Students will experiment with different geometric shapes used in structural designs and determine how design choices affect the height and strength of structures, such as skyscrapers and bridges. 
The cost is $75 per club session, and is due the first day via cash or check (made out to Jennifer Lewicki). (There is also a drop in option if your student is only able to come on one of the dates. For drop in classes, $20 per session due on that date.) 
Session 1: Thursdays Sept. 12, 19, 26, and Oct. 3;  Register students in grades 2-4 
Session 2: Thursdays Oct. 24, 31, and Nov. 7, 14;  Register students in grades 5 and 6 
Please email Mrs. Lewicki with any questions. 

Box Tops Logo
This year, you have two ways to earn Box Tops money for BFA:

- You can still clip any Box Tops that you have (with a valid expiration date), and send them in to school. These will be collected in the classrooms on the third Wednesday of each month.

- And, new this year, you can skip the clipping and use the new smartphone app. To use the app to collect your Box Tops, simply download the app, and then snap photos of your receipts. The app will automatically tell you if you have any qualifying purchases, and will add them to the BFA total. For additional details, see this flier.

Thank you to everyone who sent in Box Tops last year--you helped BFA earn $1,200!
Questions? E-mail Alaina Tinney, Box Tops committee chair.

Applications are now being accepted for National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). All seventh and eighth grade students interested in joining NJHS need to fill out paperwork and return it to Mrs. Murphy no later than Sept. 23. New members need to complete the application packet, and returning members need to complete the BFA NJHS policy form. Both the application packet and policy forms can be found on the NJHS website located under the middle school tab and in Mrs. Murphy's classroom. Please have your student contact Mrs. Murphy with any NJHS questions. 

As you prepare for your eighth grader's  high school enrollment, you may need to request transcripts and/or other records. If that's the case, please  email our registrar, Mrs.  Bobbin, and let her know exactly what the high school requires. (They should specify which records are needed, and understanding their exact requirements will eliminate delays in processing.)
It takes some time to gather all the necessary documents, so please allow three business days (72 hours) to complete the request. Once the student's packet has been completed, the registrar will email the requesting parent and leave the packet at the front desk for pick up. 

PTO Trucker Hat
Now's the time to get your BFA spirit wear! Inventory is stocked; the PTO has great items like the navy trucker hat (pictured); and the online store is open! NEW THIS SCHOOL YEAR - You may purchase your spirit wear online at the School Store on MySchoolBucks. Purchases can be made 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 Monday, Sept. 30, and remain closed until the spring. So, be sure to get your spirit wear now!

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.
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 in late August, 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 in late August, 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.

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. (Thanks for reading it today!)
  • 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!
  • BFA has a new Instagram account--BFAmazing! Start following us TODAY!
  • 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.

Have a birthday coming up? Is your child celebrating something special? Or, do you just want to cheer on the Bolts? Rent the rock and shout out your news! The spirit rock is an opportunity to share exciting events with our school community by painting your own message. The daily rate to rent the rock is $15. ALL proceeds directly benefit the PTO's grant account, that will be used to support BFA's small group fundraising.
Want to rent the Rock? Here's how:
Step 1: 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!

Step 2: 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 webpage, or contact Sara Hope, Spirit Rock committee manager.

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 

Many of us love living in Colorado because it gives us access to many wonderful things to do outdoors with our families. As a helpful reminder for our busy parents, it's the time of year when some organizations are offering free or discounted skiing passes:
Kids in grades K-5 can go here for more information:
Fifth and sixth grade parents can look here for discounts.
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.

All are welcome to attend the School Accountability Meeting (SAC) beginning at 4:10 p.m. tonight, Aug. 22, in the BFA Conference Room.  The SAC is tasked with informing, encouraging, and providing opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school's instructional program and quality improvement processes. Go to the BFA webpage to read more about SAC and look at the agenda. 
Wednesday, Aug. 28

Grades K-3:   
6:00 - 6:15 p.m.           Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- 
                                      Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:50 p.m.           First classroom presentation with homeroom teacher
7:00 - 7:30 p.m.           Second classroom presentation with homeroom teacher
Grade 4:
6:00 - 6:15 p.m.            Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum-    
                                         Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:50 p.m.            First class presentations in the Middle School Commons
7:00 - 7:30 p.m.            Second class presentations in the Middle School Commons
On Wednesday, Aug. 28,  Mrs. Hinkle (art),  Ms. Johnson  (music),  Mrs. Crespo  (PE),  Mrs. Tickle (technology) and  Mrs. Ward  (science lab) will be available in the Art Room from 6:15 - 8 p.m. to meet with parents.

Thursday, Aug. 29


Grade 5:

6:00 - 6:15       Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- 
                           Thunder Gym
6:20-6:45         Go to Student's Homeroom (receive schedules/science and social) (25 mins) 
6:50-7:05         AM literacy/math (15 mins) 
7:10-7:25         PM literacy/math (15 mins) 
7:30-7:45         PM science/social (15 mins)
Grades 6-8:
5:45 - 6:00       Retrieve schedules in the Middle School Commons, if necessary 
6:00 - 6:15       Introduction to Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum- Mrs. Simpson,   
                         Thunder Gym
6:20 - 6:30       Period 1 (Sixth Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
6:35 - 6:45       Period 2 (Seventh Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
6:50 - 7:00       Advisory 
7:05 - 7:15       Period 3 (Eighth Grade Specials-Middle School Commons)
7:20 - 7:30       Period 4
7:35 - 7:45       Period 5

After visiting with all the teachers, there will be a presentation on social media for middle school parents in the Middle School Commons.
Mr. Macias (PE),  Mrs. Harlow (Life Skills),  Ms. Konesky (Technology), and  Mrs. Woudenberg (Mindful in the Middle) will be available during specials times in the commons to give a quick overview of their classes. 
Friday, Aug. 30

Students who have not received two uniform violations since the beginning of this school year will be able to wear Dress of Choice on Friday, Aug. 30. 

Please keep in mind what the policy says regarding Dress of Choice (DOC) days, " Clothes worn by all the students during the DOC days shall be modest, in good condition, and neat in appearance. Students are not allowed to wear pajama items or clothing that contains wording or images that could be interpreted as racial, vulgar, or offensive in any way. Revealing clothes are not acceptable (i.e. tank tops, midriffs, sleeveless, etc.)"
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.