Nov. 12, 2020
Weekly Update
A message from Principal Simpson...
Dear Parents,

A huge thank you to the Community Events Committee (CEC) for our Veterans Day celebration today! I was very impressed by their creativity and flexibility in the planning and execution of the event. We were able to keep a cherished BFA tradition alive and well. Thanks to all of you who participated and volunteered. KUDOS to the CEC!

Our BFA COVID Task Force met yesterday afternoon and I’d like to share our recommendations. After reviewing survey results, emails, and other feedback about our remote learning option, we will recommend the following to the Governing Board:

  • We should continue to offer remote learning; and,
  • We will continue to have remote Wednesdays throughout the second trimester.

The majority of staff and families are supportive of keeping the remote learning option available for families.

The Task Force also discussed the surge of cases in our community, as well as decisions made by surrounding school districts to go fully remote. Tuesday night, the DCSD School Board agreed with their Interim Superintendent's recommendation that district schools go fully remote from Thanksgiving through Winter Break. This recommendation came about primarily because of operational challenges, including managing numerous school closures and quarantines, contact tracing, filling substitute positions, as well as the additional stress on teachers of changing modes so often. Schools continue to deal with many students being exposed outside of school and the ripple effects of those exposures. The data continues to support that schools are not high transmission areas.

Douglas County will move to Safe at Home: Level Orange tomorrow due to increasing case numbers and positivity rates. Level Orange doesn't require schools to move to remote learning. We believe that we can operate successfully under the restrictions that Level Orange puts in place. After much discussion and review of our most recent surveys, the BFA COVID Task Force recommends that BFA stay in person as long as possible. Level Orange is one level away from Level Red, which is Stay at Home. If the county or the state were to move to Level Red: Stay at Home, we would go fully remote at that time.

Quarantines and closures are still possible anytime we remain in-person. We continue to monitor our data daily, perform extensive contact tracing and keep meticulous records. We need the continued support of the school community to remain open. Tomorrow, I will send out another email detailing how our families can help protect the students and staff at BFA.

In order to provide the best instruction possible, we are going to need to make a major change to our full remote learning option. Up to this point, we’ve allowed families to flex their remote learning as necessary. The most recent survey indicated that thirty percent of families would choose remote learning if the district went fully remote—this is an increase of 18 percent from our current population of remote learners. If 30 percent of our students move to remote learning, we will need to make some instructional realignments. Because of those realignments, we will no longer be able to let families flex into remote learning at any time. We are asking families to commit to either full remote learning, or full in person (four days in-person, Wednesdays remote) for the entirety of the second trimester. 

If you are changing your child(ren)'s mode of learning for the second trimester, please fill out this FORM for each of your students. Please remember that this is your choice for the entirety of the trimester and you may not change during the trimester. If you do not wish to change your child(ren)'s mode of learning for the second trimester, you do not need to fill out the form. The deadline for filling out the form and changing your student's mode of learning is Saturday, Nov. 14. These changes will take effect on November 30. 

Please email me if you have any concerns or questions.  


Mrs. Simpson
Volunteer Recognition
BFA loves its volunteers, and we want to show our appreciation for all of your work. The PTO recognizes two volunteers each month. A volunteer will be chosen as the Volunteer of the Month, and will get exclusive use of the dedicated, reserved Volunteer of the Month spot in the parking lot for their respective month. 

In addition, each month a volunteer will be randomly chosen through a drawing to win a fun, surprise gift. All you have to do to be eligible to win, is log at least ONE hour of volunteer service in the month prior to the drawing.

Thanks to all our volunteers for your continued support of BFA!
Congratulations Nicole Hayes!
For the month of November, Nicole Hayes has been selected as the Ben Franklin Academy Volunteer of the Month. Nicole is being honored for her work on the recent uniform buyback sale. She recognized the importance of offering discounted uniform items to our community, while understanding that the traditional way of hosting the sale would not work during COVID mitigation. She adjusted her sails and came up with a safe and effective plan for the sale that met the needs of our parents. Her efforts were thoughtful and intentional which led to a successful sale. Thank you Nicole!

After growing up moving all over the country and the world, Nicole and her husband, Dave, moved to the Denver area in 2010 to start their family. In 2011, Nicole left a career in Counter-Terrorism to stay home and take care of their growing family. Joshua (3rd grade) has been at BFA since Kindergarten. Next year, his younger brother will be starting Kindergarten at BFA. Their family enjoys skiing, being together and good food.

The three things they love most about BFA are (1) BFA cares about and educates students on more than just academics; (2) the staff are amazing; and, (3) it is a wonderful community!

Congratulations again, Nicole. And, thank you for all you do for BFA!
Thank You Emerald Holden!
This month, Emerald Holden is the winner of our drawing for her volunteer time in October. Emerald volunteered at last week’s Trunk or Treat, and also has been logging hours as the Treasurer for the PTO. She has won a $10 gift card to Target.

Congratulations and thank you again for your time and effort at BFA.
BFA News
Veterans Day Wrap Up
One Day Left to Donate Items to the VA
Thanks to everyone who participated in the CEC's Veterans Day Parade this morning! We sincerely appreciate those of you who decorated your cars and we were so grateful for the enthusiastic reception you gave our veterans and active duty service members! More than 20 veterans and service members were honored at the parade. They were greeted by the CEC with thank you notes, breakfast burritos from Mi Cocina at Broadway and County Line (thanks to John for giving us a discount and coming in early!), and coffee from Starbucks (870 Cpl Max Donahue Ln). Kelly Enders from Starbucks not only donated the coffee, but she also brought four of her staff members to help serve. Our favorite bagpiper, Andy Machaud, did an amazing job--his beautiful music created a really special atmosphere for the veterans. Andy was one of the first volunteers to arrive and the last to leave.

The CEC was thrilled to have the support of Ben's Brigade, and a large contingent of volunteers who helped decorate both inside and outside the school. Special thanks to Jackie Wuchter who organized the Daisy's/Scouts and made the life-size thank you notes for our school entrance, and Julie Roper who created the video again this year.

The CEC also wants to recognize Monte Brook and the BFA staff for their work behind the scenes, including Mrs. Hinkle who ensured our veterans received poppies again this year.

Don't forget...the CEC is collecting donations for the Veterans Hospital for one more day. The VA is in dire need of single fleece blankets, hand/foot warmers, gloves/mittens and socks. (Please, do not send in hats this year.) Donation boxes are located at each entrance so students can easily drop items on their way into school each morning. Thank you in advance for assisting veterans in our community who are in need of extra support.
BFA families invited their favorite Veterans to be recognized
Veterans being Honored by our Daisy and Scout Troops
Andy Machaud playing the bagpipes
Students Recognized for Displaying Virtues
Congratulations to all the students who were recognized for the virtues of Cleanliness and Order! The PTO’s virtues awareness program helps teachers recognize students displaying the virtue(s) of the month. In grades 5-8, teachers place the names of students displaying these virtues in a Virtues Box. Each month, a drawing is held and several students receive recognition and a gift card. Following are the middle school students recognized this month (who all happened to be recognized for Order):
Eva Rehnberg
Sixth Grade
Virtue: Order
Lily Smith
Sixth Grade
Virtue: Order
Westley Watson
Seventh Grade
Virtue: Order
Time to Get Your Original Works Gifts!
Original Works is opening it’s store again so more families can participate. They have removed all deadlines, but cannot guarantee delivery by the holidays. See the flier for additional information and instructions on how to order a personalized gift for you or a loved one.

Remember, our art program benefits from every BFA order.
School Accountability Meeting
Would you like to be involved in reviewing policies that drive the direction of BFA? If so, please join us at our monthly School Accountability Committee (SAC) meeting as we review the following policies: Mobile Electronic Device Usage, Assistance for Qualified Free/Reduced Lunch Recipients and the Teacher Compensation Policy. 

The SAC is meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 19, via Zoom. The details of the Zoom meeting are available on the BFA calendar. If you would like information about serving on the SAC or participating in the Zoom meeting, please contact Woody Haynes.
Community Events
Community Events Committee Meeting
Please join the Community Events Committee (CEC) at their next meeting from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Smokin Fins in Highlands Ranch. They plan to meet on the patio. All are welcome, but anyone planning to attend should RSVP by Nov. 15 so they have an accurate count for the reservation.
PTO's Online Auction
Want your own reserved parking space at BFA? How about front and center seats to eighth grade graduation? Now’s your chance! These items will be up for grabs at the PTO's online auction beginning on Cyber Monday, Nov. 30, and running through Friday, Dec. 4, at You’ll be able to bid on six reserved seats to eighth grade graduation as well as the five reserved parking spots (4 annual and 1 monthly). Parking spot reservations will be for January 2021 through June 2022. That's reserved parking for 18 months!
You can also purchase Pathway to Learning commemorative bricks during the online auction through the website. These commemorative bricks are a great way to leave a lasting memory of your time at BFA. They will be placed in front of the school alongside the existing bricks. Bricks purchased at last year's BENefit Bash are being installed now. 
Visit the online auction website to register, buy a brick, and place your bids! Please contact Brooke Mitisek, PTO fundraising coordinator with questions or for more information.
Say Thanks - Holiday Gift Giving with SCRIP
SCRIP is the staff gifting program that we introduced a few years ago to facilitate convenient group gift-giving. Through this program, each family makes one payment for all of their teacher and staff gifts. Then, each teacher/staff member receives an email with the total amount collected, and selects which gift cards they would like to receive. By consolidating donations, we are able to provide teachers and staff with meaningful gifts.
This program allows the PTO to purchase the requested gift cards at discounts ranging from 2 - 21 percent, depending on the retailer. That discounted amount comes back to BFA from SCRIP, and will be used for PTO funded programs at school.
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 November 30 - December 6.

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.
The gifts will be given to the staff the week before Winter Break, and will be in lieu of any other class gift/collection. Look for more information in future newsletters regarding details on how to contribute to your teacher's gift! 
Questions? Visit the PTO webpage or contact Natalie Lucero, SCRIP coordinator.
Get Your Yearbook Before Prices Go Up!
Yearbooks are on sale now! Similar to last year, the only way to purchase a yearbook is through the vendor, Walsworth. Right now, yearbooks cost $26 per book, but don't wait, as the price will go up on Saturday, Nov. 14! See the flier for additional details.

You may also order a dedication (or ad) for your student through Walsworth’s website. What a fun way to help commemorate a remarkable school year!

Order and pay for your 2020-21 yearbook and dedication today.
Don't Forget - Chipotle Spirit Night on Tuesday
The BFA PTO Spirit Night is from 5-9 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Chipotle (2209 W. Wildcat Reserve Pkwy). Chipotle will donate 33 percent of the proceeds to BFA, so be sure to tell the cashier that you are with BFA to make sure your purchase will count! If you order online, the BFA Spirit Night order code is: Q7N33KH. See the updated flier for details.
PTO Trucker Hat
Shop Before Spirit Wear Store Closes
This is the last chance to get your spirit wear/items before the store closes for 2020. The PTO's store for spirit wear and spirit items is open through tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 13, and will be closed for the second trimester, before opening again in February. There will be no in-person sales this year. All orders must be placed online at MySchoolBucks. Orders will be delivered and sent home through your child's classroom. Masks and gaiters are not returnable. If you are a remote family, please contact Rachael Hamburger, PTO spirit wear chair, to coordinate delivery.
Check out our selection of BFA hoodies, sweatshirts, and fleece jackets/vests on MySchoolBucks. Hoodies and sweatshirts are available in navy or red with either the embroidered BFA logo or BFA in plaid letters. Fleece jackets and vests are available in red or navy with the embroidered BFA logo. All are available in youth and adult sizing. And, only middle school students (grades 6-8) may wear the hoodies in class.
Paint the Rock - Dates Available through May 2021
Sign-up dates through the end of the school year are now available on the BFA Spirit Rock SignUpGenius. If you've got something or someone to celebrate, reserve your date now before someone else claims it!

Please do not pay in MySchoolBucks until you have secured your date in SignUpGenius as we cannot offer refunds.

See the spirit rock flier for additional details.
National Junior Honor Society
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 the basket outside of Mrs. Murphy’s classroom no later than Friday, Nov. 20.

New members need to complete the application packet and the policy form, and returning members only need to complete the BFA NJHS policy form. (Both the application packet and policy forms also can be found on the NJHS website located under the middle school tab.) If you do not have a printer at home, please email Mrs. Murphy and she will deliver a copy to your child’s homeroom teacher. Please have your student contact Mrs. Murphy with any NJHS questions that are not answered on the NJHS policy form or the BFA NJHS website.
Spanish Club
Senora Connell is offering before and after school Spanish classes for elementary school students (grades K-5). Classes will max out at 10 students. They began the week of Nov. 9 and will be offered on the following schedule:

  • Mondays and Tuesdays: 7:30 – 8 a.m. or 3:30 – 4 p.m.
  • Thursdays and Fridays: 7:30 – 8 a.m. or 3:30 – 4 p.m.

For more information please contact Senora Connell.
Interested in DI?
Destination Imagination (DI) is an international, educational program that gives kids an amazing outlet for their creativity, while teaching them leadership, teamwork, positive thinking, project management and so much more. 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.
For the 2020-21 season of DI, teams can meet completely virtually or in-person (as long as they adhere to local county, city and state guidelines for COVID-19). For a preview of this year’s DI Challenges, please click here. For a more detailed “first look,” click here. In Colorado this year, tournaments also will be held virtually with all Central Challenge and Instant Challenge solutions being submitted via video. Remember, volunteering with DI counts toward your BFA volunteer hours (and Team Managers are always needed).
For more information about DI, please go to the BFA DI webpage, which includes FAQs and videos. If your child is interested in joining a team and you are interested in being a Team Manager, please email Jason Sunahara, BFA DI coordinator, by Tuesday, Dec. 1.
School Tours for Existing and Prospective Parents
Do you know any families interested in sending their K-8 student(s) to BFA? If so, we'd love to show them our amazing facility! Please direct interested parents to our website or directly to the SignUpGenius.

In addition, we have an existing BFA family tour for those parents who accepted enrollment without being able to tour the building due to Covid-19 related closures this spring/summer. The existing family tours will be held on Nov. 12 and Dec. 10 from 4:30 – 5 p.m. Interested families should sign up soon! 
Upcoming Events
BFA's Guiding Principals
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, the arts, 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 social emotional development, character, sports, and nature.

13 Virtues:
Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Purity and Humility.