Vol. 10, Iss. 22
Sept. 3, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone enjoyed the virtual Back to School Night yesterday. I know I learned a lot by watching all the videos. I think the remote learning days seem to be going smoother. Just one note, please reference the Back to School Night videos, the teacher's websites, and Google Classroom before sending emails to teachers about logins, websites, etc. Teachers are spending a lot of time answering emails and oftentimes the answers are in one of those resources.

At the last Board meeting, we decided to move parent-teacher conferences to the first week of November, instead of the first week of October. Please mark your calendar for virtual conferences on November 2 and 4. More to come on how those conferences will work. There will be no school on October 9 (now a teacher in-service day) and November 6 (now a teacher comp day). These days were already on the calendar but were labeled differently. If you have any concerns about your child(ren), please don't hesitate to reach out to their teachers. You do not need to wait for official parent-teacher conferences to have those conversations. 

As I mentioned during my Back to School Night presentation, there is a lot to talk about related to the school calendar. And, there are a few things we'd like your feedback on, so we hope you'll make time to complete the survey linked below. Our good news is that we are trending towards meeting our target of returning to full class sizes on September 21 for elementary students, and October 5 for our middle school. We have not had any cases of COVID-19 here at school, and no cohorts have had to quarantine. If your family is traveling somewhere this weekend that has a high COVID rate, please be careful and mindful of any symptoms that may show up a few days after you return. We will continue to succeed as a school if everyone remains vigilant and does not send students who are symptomatic to school. Out of an abundance of caution, we also encourage you to keep students at home if any family members are symptomatic.

The bad news is that when we go to full class sizes, the teachers will lose their dedicated planning day on Wednesdays. These days have been invaluable for teachers to attend meetings, record lessons, hold zoom sessions, plan, and meet with students. Teachers are reporting that they are working many extra hours outside of school to meet our families' needs for both remote and in-person learning. They have already lost some planning time during the normal school day due to new protocols (the library is closed, morning carpool is a more extended responsibility for teachers, etc.). Ensuring teachers have adequate planning time benefits all students, both in-person and remote. We will be creating a proposal to add in some additional planning days for teachers for the Board's consideration at the next Board meeting (September 15). We would like to have data from parents to include with our proposal as well.  

Additionally, some families have expressed the desire to move their student(s) to full remote learning when we go to full class sizes. There are questions related to this in today's survey as well to help us prepare.

If you are currently a full remote or remote support family, nothing changes for you when we go to full class sizes. You will have the opportunity to return to in-person learning after fall break if you wish.  

Here is the link to today's survey: https://forms.gle/KJXojCYJumfJJoov9

Be sure to check out the article below, introducing our new part-time staff member. He's fluffy, friendly, and oh so cute! We are excited to be the only charter school in the area with a certified therapy dog on our staff! 

I hope everyone has a safe and fun extended weekend. Please reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.


Mrs. Simpson

Scout tables
Sensing a need after conversing with his sister and Principal Simpson, 2020 BFA alum Tyler Sunahara determined outdoor picnic tables at BFA were a must and would make for a great Eagle Scout project.

"I really wanted to give back to my school that I attended for nine years and as a thank you to everything BFA has taught me," Tyler said.

According to Tyler, one of his reasons for wanting to build the picnic benches is that many middle schoolers eat their lunches outside (pre-COVID-19), but there are few places to do so.
"Currently, they do not have any place to sit beside the ground, so having picnic benches will be more comfortable, and they can talk to their friends easier," he said. The picnic benches also provide a place for middle school students to eat that is clearly defined versus eating somewhere that is not allowed, such as the blacktop.

Tyler raised funds for the project with financial donations from the BFA Board of Directors, the BFA Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and additional funds from friends and family. In addition, Alpine Lumber donated all of the lumber for the project, and Christy Sports sold the umbrellas to Tyler just above cost. With the help of 17 volunteers, Tyler's project produced three sturdy 8-foot tables that can accommodate 10 middle school students at each table (pre-social distancing).

In order to reach the rank of Eagle Scout, one must complete six ranks and a minimum of 21 merit badges plus an independent service project that serves one's community. Tyler looks forward to receiving his Eagle Scout rank this fall.

We sincerely appreciate Tyler's hard work and will enjoy using the picnic tables for years to come! 

We have a new part-time employee at BFA! His name is Audi, and he is going to be joining us as a therapy dog for two days a week to start. Audi is an F1B (hypoallergenic) Bernadoodle. He has gone through four weeks of training and has proven himself to be a very lovable companion. Audi will always be accompanied by an adult and spend his first few weeks getting to know the middle school students.  Interaction with Audi will always be optional. We are asking every family to fill out this consent form before Audi joins us at school. 

Please fill the form out for each student you have that attends BFA:

While we'd like all students in the building by 8:10 a.m. in the morning, we understand that life sometimes gets in the way of being on time for school! When students are tardy, parents must park and accompany their student inside the building to sign them in; however, with the current restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can only have two parents in the front office at the same time. Therefore, please park, escort your tardy student into the office, quickly (but legibly) sign them into school, and head back out to your car. This allows other parents into the office, if necessary.
If you need to pick up your student early, you must do so before 3 p.m. Similar to the tardy procedure, we'd like to ask that only two parents are in the front office waiting area at a time, and the remaining parents can form a line outside. When one parent leaves, another can come in and take his/her place in the front office to sign out his/her student.
As an alternative, parents can call the front office and speak to a staff member or send an email to attendance@bfacademy.org for late drop off or early pick up. Be sure to include the student's full name, grade and teacher, as well as a reason for late drop off/early pick up.
As instructed by our governor, please socially distance and follow the mask mandate.

The Community Events Committee (CEC) would like to welcome kindergarten parents to BFA! Although we were unable to hold our traditional BooHoo YaHoo event the first day of school, we have a little something special for ALL kindie parents. If your child is in Cohort A, your child will bring home a small gift on Tuesday, Sept. 8Cohort B will receive their gifts on Thursday, Sept. 10If your child is remote-only, we invite you to pick up your gift from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at BFA in the preschool parking lot. If you are unable to stop by school on Sept. 9, please contact Mindy Pooler, CEC co-chair, to schedule delivery.

parry's pizza
Parry's Pizzeria and Bar (9567 S University Blvd., 80126) will be hosting a BFA PTO Spirit Night from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17. Parry's will donate 20 percent of the purchases (dine in, carry out, or FREE delivery) back to BFA. So make plans to enjoy some delicious pizza, wings, calzones, or a salad all while helping BFA! Please remember to let them know you're with BFA.

A message from Melanie Peters, STEM committee chair...

We need YOU to join us at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 8, via Zoom! The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee is a great way to earn some volunteer hours while sharing your expertise and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math with BFA students and staff.  
This year many of our BFA STEM traditions, like the Expo, are on hold. Our first meeting will introduce the committee and focus on how to "adjust our sails" and figure out what we can do to support STEM at BFA during the 2020-21 school year.
The Zoom meeting details are on the BFA website calendar. If you can't make the meeting next week, please contact me for information or join us next month. STEM meetings will generally be held the first Tuesday of the Month (except in October when the meeting will be on Wednesday, Oct. 7).

Hope to see you there!

Are you interested in earning your required volunteer hours by participating in a fun, meaningful BFA school committee? If so, please join the Community Events Committee (CEC)! The CEC promotes interaction between students, staff, administration, parents and the surrounding community and is responsible for organizing many of BFA's traditional events such as Goodies with Grandparents, Muffins with Moms, Donuts with Dad and our annual Veterans Day celebration

All CEC meetings will take place the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Redstone Park. Meetings are open to all BFA parents. Please contact Mindy Pooler, CEC co-chair, if you are unable to attend the meetings, but want to learn more about the CEC. We hope you will join us!

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 are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and begin at 6:30 p.m. For the time being, they will be held via Zoom. To join the Zoom meeting, click here (Meeting ID: 756 7492 4070. Passcode: 9RjdRe).
For our meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9, we have something fun planned! Please come wearing/displaying your college or other alma mater gear to show your school spirit.
All BFA community members are welcome. In fact, attendance at meetings counts toward your family's volunteer hours. We look forward to seeing you there!
Want to learn more about the BFA PTO? Visit our web page: https://www.bfacademy.org/parent-teacher-organization/.

The CEC will hold their first meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Redstone Park (we will meet in the pavilion closest to the playground). We are looking for creative, thoughtful, organized parents to help plan unique events for the 2020-21 school year. Please join us!

Music Notes
There is a BRAND NEW after school Band and Orchestra program, with ALL NEW TEACHERS (see below) for BFA students in grades 4-8. Both band and orchestra will be offered through ThunderRidge Elementary Instrumental Music (TREIM). New and intermediate students are welcome. The program will start online and then hopefully will return in person at BFA soon. Band instruments include: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, french horn and percussion. Orchestra instruments include: violin, viola, cello and double bass. See the flier for additional details as well as the link for information about registration, costs and class schedules.
TREIM is very proud of their skilled teachers! Please see below for the bios of the new after school band and orchestra teachers.
Band Teacher: Ms. Achilles has studied at the University of Denver and Colorado State University. She also works with the marching band at Highlands Ranch High School and Standley Lake High School. She has been playing the French horn for 13 years now, playing gigs around Denver and teaching with a private studio. Ms. Achilles has been a part of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps for the past three years and tours around the country in the Summer, performing with them.
Orchestra Teacher: Ms. Greenberg has over 30 years of experience teaching and performing. She has a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Rice University Shepherd School of Music. She was a member of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, the Houston Ballet Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the Houston String Quartet, the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra (Durango), the Tetons Festival Orchestra, and the Elizabeth Trio. Ms. Greenberg has performed with a wide range of performers, including The Moody Blues, Yanni, The Three Tenors, Linda Ronstadt, Bernadette Peters, Smoky Robinson, Ray Charles, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. She has two children, a cats, two fish and a dog!  Kayaking, hiking and yoga are her hobbies. Her mission is "to nurture a love of music and to help her students develop their skills."

King Soopers and City Market replaced the reloadable grocery card fundraising program with a new, even better AND EASIER rewards program. The King Soopers Community Rewards Program helps our school earn money back from each purchase when you scan a linked King Soopers or City Market loyalty card at check out. Here's how it works:
  • Sign in to your digital account at King Soopers Community Rewards. (If you haven't already set up an account, you'll have to do that first--but it's handy to have an account as you can also download digital coupons!) Then, link your King Soopers card or phone number to your account.
  • Click on Community Rewards, Enroll Now and search for Ben Franklin Parent Teacher Organization or enter our code XN773. Click Save.
  • Next time you check out at King Sooper or City Market, scan your card (or enter your alternate ID), and BFA will get money back from your purchase.
Since the new program began in April 2019, BFA has earned over $4,900 from linked accounts. We hope you'll take the time to link your account to BFA so we can increase those easy fundraising dollars. Thank you to everyone for your continued support!

The PTO's store for spirit wear and spirit items is open and will remain open through the first trimester. Shop now for all your BFA gear including logo-ed t-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, MASKS and GAITERS in youth and adult sizes, desktop calendars, and more! Make sure your kids have sweatshirts for chilly classrooms and fleece jackets or vests for recess. Find all your items at MySchoolBucks.

There will be no in-person sales this fall. 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-learning family, please contact Rachael Hamburger, PTO spirit wear chair, to coordinate delivery.

Original Works
This year, everyone's favorite personalized art gifts through Original Works can be completed online. Parents will upload and send images of their children's artwork, shop for products and buy online. Original Works will then send the items to directly to your home. You'll receive a one-of-a-kind item featuring your child's art, and 33 percent of each order goes back to BFA's art program! The window for ordering is from September 25 through October 8, which ensures that families receive items by Winter Break. Please see the attached flier for details.

BASE logo
A message from Mrs. Savoy, BASE director...
The Before/After School Enrichment (BASE) program has moved to a new childcare system called Early Learning Ventures (ELV) for account maintenance and payments. It is replacing the ProCare program that we used in previous years. Now all of the registration process is online, no paperwork is involved. We've found this offers efficiencies for parents and administration alike. 
Your child must be enrolled in advance to use the BASE program. Therefore, any child not enrolled prior to the first day BASE is needed, will not be able to attend BASE. If you think that you may need BASE services at any time during the school year, please register now. For the link to register please email BASE at base@bfacademy.org.

Harper Arts has been a part of the BFA community for the last four school years, and this year Mrs. Harper is expanding Harper Arts lessons and coaching for our students. For the 2020-21 school year, students will have the option to have piano, guitar, ukulele, voice, acting and audition coaching during the school day!
Students are approved to participate in this opportunity during DEAR, recess, specials, electives (middle school) and advisory (middle school). There also will still be a number of spaces available before and after school. Along with the hybrid schedule, lessons will occur on A/B Tuesdays and Thursdays and can be tailored to fit in person learning or virtual! Mrs. Harper will also be offering lessons on Wednesdays at her Highlands Ranch studio with space for in person and virtual students.
Currently the program is full, but to get on the waiting list go to www.harperarts.org.

We are excited to announce that the first four weeks of school are now open on the BFA Rocks SignUpGenius. However, with the current uncertainty of what this year will look like, we will be opening up additional dates to paint it as we proceed through this year instead of all at once. The first four weeks of school are open on the SignUpGenius. We will add/announce new dates as we know more. Please do not pay in MySchoolBucks until you have secured your date in SignUpGenius, as we cannot offer refunds.
Monday, Sept. 7

No School
There will be no school on Monday, Sept. 7, in observance of Labor Day. Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, Sept. 8

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, via Zoom. The Zoom meeting details are on the BFA website calendar. If you can't make the meeting next week, please contact Melanie Peters, STEM Chair, for information or join them next month. 
Wednesday, Sept. 9

PTO Logo
The PTO is meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9 via Zoom. To join the Zoom meeting, click here (Meeting ID: 756 7492 4070. Passcode: 9RjdRe). 
Thursday, Sept. 10

The Finance Committee is meeting from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10. The meeting details will be on the BFA Calendar.  
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.