BF October Newsletter

Introducing Friends of Ben Franklin!

  • The Ben Franklin Middle School PTA sponsors students’ field trips, special events, teacher appreciation items, and special classroom needs requested by teachers and staff. In order to support these needs, we must raise funds annually. Normally, we sell magazines or other goods, and the BFMS PTA gets part of the money raised, while the rest of the funds go to the fundraising organization. This year, we decided to take a more direct approach and ask for direct donations through this new link on SchoolPay. By donating to Friends of Ben Franklin, you send money directly to the BFMS PTA to be used at Ben Franklin or for programs supported by the school and its PTA. There is no “middle man” – no third-party fundraising organization to pay. All of your donated money stays with the school!

    The BFMS PTA is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and your donations are tax deductible. Check with your employer to see if they match non-profit donations to double the benefit of your donation.

    Donations to Friends of Ben Franklin will be accepted at any time throughout the year, and anyone can donate! You can find the links at the bottom of this page. The suggested donation amount is $10 per student, but please give as you are able. The small additional transaction fee at checkout comes from SchoolPay. Thank you for your help with this new program. Go, Wildcats!

    These funds cover:

    • Field trips
    • Team-building activities, such as the 6-2 trip to the NDSU Sudent Union Rec Center
    • All-school trip to a Red Hawks game
    • Student of the Week tshirts
    • Wildcat water bottles

    “The Ben Franklin PTA paid for three original compositions written by local composers, to be performed at our 8th grade holiday concert. These pieces were written for band, choir and orchestra so our performing music groups could collaborate and perform a piece together to end the concert. We are so grateful to our PTA for their support!
    -Ben Franklin Music Department

    “PTA funding has allowed our students to travel the world through the stories of author, photographer, and world traveler; Bruce Junek, who with his wife, Tass Thacker, have created “Images of the World,” a slide show presentation which documents their global travels while also matching our middle level curriculum. Our sixth graders, who study world religions, enjoy “Mummies and Mosques.” Our seventh graders, who study world geography, are enlightened through the “World Bicycle Tour.” Eighth graders learn about “Volcanoes of the World” which matches their earth science curriculum. Without PTA funding, our students would not hear the inspiring stories of these world travelers!”

    Thank you again for donating as Friends of Ben Franklin!

  • Online Donations

    Family & Friends - Click here to donate online.

    Parents - log into PowerSchool and go to SchoolPay or click above.


Hello Ben Franklin Families! Join our PTA!

Join Ben Franklin Middle School PTA! Go to the Ben Franklin Website and click on Parent Teacher Association under the Quick Links. Our PTA meets every other month in the library at 5:30pm. Here are the dates:

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Please join us for "Break the Silence" on Thursday, October 28th from 6-7pm in our Auditorium

The Fargo Police Department and our Ben Franklin PTA present “Break the Silence,” a video focusing on suicide prevention and education. The video was made by the Fargo Police Department and features stories of people from right here in our community that have been affected by suicide. Representatives from the Fargo Police Department, Robbie's Hope, First Link and a local family featured in the film will be here as well for a panel discussion after the viewing. Please come and join us for this free event for students, parents and staff.
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Reminder to parents about morning drop off times:

Our doors are unlocked at 8:00am in the morning each day. As weather gets colder, please keep this in mind for when you drop your students off in the mornings. Thank you!

Meet our Ben Franklin Student Resource Officer, Officer Taylor Savageau!

Hello everyone, my name is Officer Taylor Savageau. I am in my third year as the School Resource Officer at Ben Franklin Middle School. I was hired with the Fargo Police Department in February of 2015. My first three years were spent on patrol on the evening and day shift here in Fargo. My first school year at Ben was in 2019. I work every day that the students are in school, and I try to make myself visible in the building and available to everyone.

As an SRO we are tasked with many things, one of which is teaching. Over the past few weeks, I have been asked to go to classrooms and teach. This year’s topic revolves heavily around social media, hate speech and the drama caused by our digital lives. I encourage you as parents to speak to your children about their social media accounts and get to know more about how they use them. During one of the presentations, I ask a question of the class, “How many of you personally know everyone on your followers or friends lists?”. Very few raised their hands and said that they do know everyone on those lists. I then go into talking about how that is scary and not safe. Some understand, but some need more explanation. I tell them, by allowing these people to be friends with you or follow you, you are giving strangers access to your personal lives. They know where you live, where you go to school, who your friends are, etc…. As a parent this would make me very uncomfortable, and I would use that to ask more questions and be more involved in their social media lives. I tell them to go through those lists and remove people they don’t know, and to also make sure their privacy settings are correct to make it more difficult for people to see and find them on these platforms.

I also encourage the students to use their voice and their platform for positive things. Social media has its faults, but it can be a great tool. It can be a way to lift others up and to spread positive messages. We will not win the battle with them when it comes to them using these platforms, but we can try and help them understand how to use them in a safe and positive way.

A recent campaign of the Fargo Police Department is bringing awareness to Mental Health in our community, specifically our children and teens. The Fargo Police Department made a video in partner with Dakota Medical Foundation called “Break the Silence”. This video is very powerful and uses testimonials from local families and individuals that have been affected by suicide. I am happy to announce we will be showing the video on Thursday October 28th at 6pm, in the Ben Franklin Auditorium. There will be a panel available to have a question-and-answer session after the viewing of the video.

I hope to continue this series every few weeks. I would like to make each one relevant to what I am seeing or what I am dealing with in the school.

Feel free to reach out to me at the school if you have questions or concerns. My office number is 701-446-3619 and our Text a Tip phone number is 701-715-3852.

Citizenship Test as a Requirement for Graduation

The North Dakota state legislature has passed HB 1087, requiring all students to demonstrate proficiency in civics as a requirement for high school graduation. The law states: “a student may take the test, in whole or in part, at any time after enrolling in grade seven and may repeat the test, or any portion thereof, as often as necessary to demonstrate proficiency.” Every middle school in the district will be offering that test to students in grade eight this year. The information on the civics test is closely related to the material covered in eighth grade social studies. Students who do not demonstrate proficiency (70% or above) will have the opportunity to take the test again at the high school. There is no penalty for taking the test multiple times and there is never a fee to take the test. The questions for the civics test are taken from the federal government’s Naturalization Test. If you have questions or would like further information, please feel free to contact one of our 8th grade history teachers. Jessica Rice 8-1 (ricej@fargo.k12.nd.us) or Ryan Gravalin 8-2 (gravalr@fargo.k12.nd.us)

IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS

Ben Franklin Main Office

Main Office - 446-3600

Shane Martin, Principal - 446-3604

Jennifer Olson, Assistant Principal - 446-3605

Cory Holten, Dean of Students/Activities Director - 446-3606


Jaime Dougherty, Administrative Assistant - 446-3607

Sue Berg, Office Assistant - 446-3608

Laura Jacobson, Activities Secretary - 446-3609


ATTENDANCE OFFICE

Ann Buerkley - 446-3610


COUNSELING OFFICE

Stacey Penoncello, Registrar/Secretary - 446-3611


COUNSELORS

Lannette Christmann (A-G) - 446-3612

Patti Bathie (H-N) - 446-3613

Sarah Klimek (O-Z) - 446-3614


STUDENT SERVICES

Jamie Benson- Student Wellness & Family Facilitator - 446-3666


SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER

Officer Taylor Savageau, SRO - 446-3619


SCHOOL NURSE

Ellen Sondreal, School Nurse - 446-3640


NUTRITION SERVICES

Shelly Kosienski - 446-3717

ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING DURING SCHOOL HOURS

Fargo Public Schools is pleased to announce that we are using the Raptor Visitor Management System in all of our schools to strengthen our program of campus safety for students and staff. Part of keeping students and staff safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times, and the Raptor system allows us to do so. The Raptor system also allows us to better screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools to provide us with a safe environment for our students and staff.


Upon entering the school building, visitors will be asked to present an ID, such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system. Once entry into the building is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of their visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.


A video overview of our pilot and how the system works is available at: https://youtu.be/8qwHwTmp-80

Please see the graphic below for the approved masks to wear at Fargo Public Schools. The masks in the green column are to be worn while in school buildings.

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YEARBOOKS

Yearbook orders can be paid online in SchoolPay or by bringing cash or check to the main office. The cost is $15. To ensure that your student will receive a yearbook at the end of the year, it must be ordered and paid for in advance. The deadline for ordering a yearbook is Friday, February 11, 2022.

ATTENDANCE 446-3610

Research shows that attendance is the SINGLE most important factor in school success.

FIRST STEP: Always call or send a note when your student will not be in school.


  • A parent/guardian must call the attendance office to report a student absence by 9am. If no phone call is received, the student will need a signed note excusing them when they check in to attendance upon return.
  • Students coming to school after classes have begun or who are returning to school after an appointment, must stop at the Attendance Office for a return slip. They need a signed note to check in unless we have already received a phone call.
  • If you know in advance that your student will be absent, please send a signed note to attendance including student name, grade, date and time of absence, parent name and phone number and reason for absence.
  • Absence for family vacation- A note needs to be turned in to the Attendance office prior to the absence. Students must arrange for homework before the absence. The students is responsible for makeup when they return to school.

SECOND STEP: Early release passes


  • Students leaving during the day must pick up a release slip from the Attendance Office by 9am. Their signed note from home must include student name, grade, time of release, reason and phone number. Students will be excused to meet their ride at the time listed on the note. Parents do not need to enter the building.
  • Any absence not verified by phone or note will be considered unexcused.

PARENTAL/FAMILY COMMUNICATION

Communicating with parents and families is always our goal at Ben Franklin Middle School.


You may subscribe to Ben Franklin's Newsletter and Daily Announcements on our website by going to “Content E-Alerts” on our website. Parents/guardians can sign up to receive alerts about new Daily Announcements, Newsletters, etc., for each school your students attend. E-Alerts are sent to users who have subscribed to a homepage or website section of interest. You will receive an email notification that content has been modified.


You may also want to add our school calendar to your personal calendar. This will help you stay informed about all the activities that are happening at Ben Franklin.

Ben Franklin Cycle Days Calendar

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What if my student has to quarantine or is gone for extended illness/etc?

Regarding quarantine, this is taken from the FPS COVID-19 webpage on quarantine guidelines/procedures:

  • COVID-19 post-exposure guidelines of:
    • Mask to mask exposure: exemption to quarantine
    • Fully vaccinated contacts: if no symptoms, no quarantine but should monitor for symptoms.
    • If one or both individuals are unmasked: 14-day quarantine. Contacts may release from quarantine after day 10 if no symptoms or after day 7 with a negative test collected on day 5 or later.
    • COVID-19 Close Contact Procedure


For our students who are quarantined, or absent for any extended illness/hospitalization (COVID or non-COVID-related), etc. our procedures are as follows:


  • Students and families have access to the Ben Franklin announcements on our website so they can stay abreast of the happenings in the school while they are not in the building.
  • Parents/guardians should call the Ben Franklin attendance clerk to notify school of child’s absence at 701. 446.3610.
  • Student should always reach out to their teachers via e-mail with any questions and include parent/guardian in the e-mail addresses so everyone can stay in the loop.
  • Student should check their class Canvas course and their school e-mail account daily if they are feeling well enough to do so for updates and correspondence. Assignments will be posted on Canvas and teacher work with our students on being flexible with assignments such as in-person labs, etc.
  • Counselors are happy to set up Zoom appointments with students who are out of the building to provide additional support if needed or do check-ins when the student is out. Students or parents/guardians should let the counselor know if this is something they would like to do.