Vol. 10, Iss. 11
March 26, 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you for all of your support and your hard work this week as we jumped into remote learning. We are all learning as we go and, as promised, we will be making adjustments based on your feedback and teachers' experiences. 
 
I know some aspects of remote learning have been difficult and frustrating. I have heard of families spending many hours a day remote learning. The teachers have been asked to try and assign between 2-4 hours of work, per day (time will vary based on the student's pace of work). We are not expecting a regular school day (7-8 hours) worth of work. Our kindergarten through third grade teachers have been asked to focus assignments on essential learning while providing parents with optional activities such as skills practice and extension activities. You should start to see those delineations in lesson plans beginning next week or even sooner. The fourth through eighth grade teachers have been asked to make sure their work is focused and pared-down for essential learning. There will be no tests or projects during this time of remote learning. Plans for specials classes included in the daily emails are optional activities to give your students a break from paper and pencil tasks. 
 
We also are working on streamlining email communications. I know many of you receive multiple emails per day. If you have older students, you can request to be removed from the emails (5-8th) as the students are getting the emails as well. Our directive from Douglas County School District was that each teacher should email each student every day. We are trying to follow that rule while balancing the needs of our families. I hope there is flexibility around that rule since it was given before the closure was extended through April 17 and am working with our district contacts on this now. 
 
Teachers also will be incorporating more video content into their lessons. While all lessons will not be presented this way, you will see an increase in recordings for students to refer to. 
 
In order for us to keep making adjustments that are most impactful for families, each grade level will be sending out a survey at the end of this week. We would like to hear how things are going for each family.
 
I do have some good news to share. The Colorado Department of Education just sent the following out to districts: 
 
"The Colorado Department of Education has waived the minimum number of school days and teacher-pupil instruction hours normally required under state law. Instead, districts must make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time." For BFA, this means that we are not expected to extend the school year or start early next year to make up for lost in-person instructional time.
 
This means all of our efforts in remote learning will count, and we will not have to alter our academic calendar for the year. I know this is a relief for many people. In keeping with our academic calendar, we will still have a teacher in-service day on April 17. 
 
I know this has not been an easy week for anyone. On top of tackling remote learning, all of us, especially the kids, are experiencing loss. I have included some resources below that I found to be helpful. The article about grief especially resonated with me. In addition, I have included some daily planner pages that Mrs. Stolk made. Several classes have already shared them, but I thought everyone could benefit from adding this type of organization to their day. 
 
Thank you for your continued support, positive communication and feedback. None of us chose to be in this position, but we will all get through it together. 
 
Mrs. Simpson

Resources:

Parents Guide to Remote Learning- This Blog has some great ideas!

 READ ABOUT THE BOARD CANDIDATES
 
We hope you've made time to  read about all our excellent candidates for the BFA Board of Directors. If not, please go to the Board's webpage and do so today! The  Candidate Q&A Session has been rescheduled as a Zoom conference call and will be held from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31 . Parents can use the Zoom meeting ID to listen in, but we kindly request that you use the mute function in Zoom so we are not interrupted by background noise and we can hear the candidates clearly.
 
In addition, Bryan Molen has announced that he will be stepping down from the last two years of his term due to changes in family circumstances. Therefore the Parent Voting Group will elect two Board members, and the Board will appoint two members this spring--one to fill the Seat 7, Class C for 3 years, and Seat 4, Class B for the remaining 2 years.
 
We hope you'll all be able to join the Zoom conference and hear from each of the six candidates before voting begins on Monday, April 6. The Zoom meeting details are outlined below:
 
Board Candidate Q&A
Time: March 31, 6 p.m. Mountain Time 
 
Zoom Meeting Link:
 
Meeting ID: 289 926 1448

Password: 033106

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NEWS FROM THE LIBRARY
  
Ms. Williams, our librarian, reached out to Scholastic, and they have agreed to host an online book fair for the school. Check out the link to order books for your family!

And, Ms. Williams wanted to let her elementary students know the winners of the Colorado Children's Book Award--the 2020 Picture Book Winner is, "Can I Be Your Dog" by Troy Cummings and the 2020 Picture Book Runner-Up is "Bob, Not Bob!" b y Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick.
 
As you may remember, earlier this year, Ms. Williams and her illustrious volunteers read all the nominated books to our elementary students. Then, she let the students vote on their favorite three. The books they selected ended up being the winners--great job kiddos!

Yearbook
LAST CHANCE TO PURCHASE 2019-20 YEARBOOK
  
There are only a few days left to purchase your yearbook. Be sure to order yours before sales end next Tuesday, March 31. The yearbooks are $36, and like last year, the only way to purchase a yearbook is through our vendor, Walsworth. Don't wait, get yours today before sales end!  
 
Order  and pay for your 2019-20 yearbook today.

2020-21 FIRST GRADE OPENINGS
 
This past year, the state issued mandates that resulted in changes to our kindergarten schedule and, subsequently, there are a few openings in our first grade program for the 2020-21 school year. BFA historically does not have many first grade spots available. With the changes, we're in a unique position for 2020-21 and beyond as we will most likely have some first grade openings.
 
If you know a family who will have an incoming first grader, and is interested in BFA, please encourage them to go on a tour and complete DCSD Open Enrollment. We plan to hold a tour on May 5. Interested parents should show up ten minutes early for the tour and bring their Driver's License. Any parent interested in enrollment at BFA complete the DCSD Open Enrollment Process soon. Prospective parents also can email our registrar with questions. 
 
You already know why BFA is a John Irwin School of Excellence and the Core Knowledge STEAM School of Choice in Douglas County, but feel free to share these highlights of our organization with other parents who may be interested in learning more about BFA.

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SAY THANKS WITH SCRIP
  
The BFA PTO will use SCRIP for end of year staff gifting again this year. This convenient, online program replaces PTO room parent collections and facilitates convenient group gifting. Each family makes one payment through MySchoolBucks for all of their teacher and staff gifts. At the end of collections, each staff member will receive an email with the total collected on their behalf and is able to select gift cards they would like to receive.

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. 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 April 11-17 with gifts being delivered to the staff by the end of the year.
A form for preschool-only families will be available online by April 6. The completed preschool form and a check may be mailed to the address provided on the form and must be received by April 17.

For more details on how to contribute to your teacher's gift, see the flier. Questions? Visit the PTO webpage or contact Rachael Hamburger, SCRIP coordinator.

PTO Volunteer
 SO MANY REASONS TO JOIN THE PTO!
 
Are you interested in serving on the BFA PTO next school year? To nominate yourself or someone you know who'd be a good fit in the PTO, please complete the  2020 BFA PTO Nominations form
There are so many reasons to get involved with the PTO. Here are just a few:
  • Your child benefits. Studies have shown that children of parents who are involved and active at their school do better scholastically.
  • We're about involvement, not just fundraising. Fundraising is an important part of what we do, but we're also about creating a strong school community.
  • Meet new people and have fun. Joining the PTO is a great way to get connected with others and with the school.  And, with so many positions, we've got a role that will suit your interests, talents and availability.   
PTO elections will be held April 27 through May 1 and we've got a variety of volunteer positions available. The right position is waiting for you! For more information on the PTO and what we do, please visit our  webpage. Or, come to one of our monthly meetings held on the third Wednesday of each month. See the event calendar for details. Thank you for your help in continuing to make BFA an amazing place!

Spanish
 ONLINE SPANISH AVAILABLE
 
Senora Connell is offering online Spanish lessons for new, intermediate and advanced students. You can sign up for the month of April; the cost is $10 per student for 30 minutes. Simply contact Senora Connell to get started!

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SUMMER BOOT CAMP FOR INCOMING 1-5 GRADE STUDENTS
  
Help prevent some of the inevitable Summer Slide by joining Sarah Harrell, Ellen Cain, and Katie Carvalho for Summer Boot Camp at BFA! They will be hosting Boot Camp sessions for incoming students in grades 1-5.
 
Incoming first graders will meet for 1.5 hours per day, and all other students will meet two hours a day. The June and July Boot Camps will meet over three consecutive days, while the August  Boot Camp (incoming 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade only) is a 1-day camp.
 
Please visit our SignUpGenius  for more information about exact dates and costs, as well as to sign up. Space is Limited!
Vol. 10, Iss. 11
March 26, 2020

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 SAC MEETING
 
SAC will meet at 4:30 p.m. tonight, March 26, via Zoom conference call. The link to join the call and listen in is:  Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/6251471859


 BEN'S BRIGADE MEETING
 
Ben's Brigade will meet at 8 p.m. tonight, March 26, via Zoom conference call. The link to join the call and listen in is:  Zoom Link:
https://zoom.us/j/420756422?pwd=NWRHeE9JWlJLTS83Y3hBczVxN3NOZz09

Additional Upcoming Events: BFA Calendar
Middle School:  Athletics 
CONTACT US:
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.