The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter January 17-21

Monday, January 17th

  • No School Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • PALS Event - Family Ice Skating @ Bellingham Sportsplex 12:45 – 2:45pm

Tuesday, January 18th

  • Used Uniform Sales - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • PALS Meeting - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • MS Boys C Team Basketball Game @ Meridian 4:00
  • MS Boys 8th Grade Team Basketball Game @ Meridian 5:15

Wednesday, January 19th

  • Middle School Electives Schedule
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • MS Boys Basketball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Thursday, January 20th

  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Chess Club - 3:15 Markell Hall Science Rooms
  • MS Boys C Team Basketball Game @ Home 4:00
  • MS Boys 8th Grade Team Basketball Game @ Home 5:15

Friday, January 21st

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • MS Boys Basketball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Upcoming Events

  • Free Dress - January 28th

  • February 7th - 11th Priority Registration for Returning Families

  • Annual Auction - In Person - Rescheduled - March 26,2022 Bellwether Hotel
  • Girl's Volleyball Season Begins - January 31st
  • Board Meeting -Tuesday, February 15th 4:00 – 6:00pm

  • School Closed - Mid Winter Break/President's Day - February 18th - 21st

  • STEM Fair - Wednesday, March 30th
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Priority Registration for the 2022-2023 School Year for Returning Families - February 7th - February 11th

Re-enrollment packets will be available to families on Friday, February 4th. Our returning families will get priority registration for one week from Monday, February 7th to Friday, February 11th.

Enrollment opens up to outside families on Monday, February 14th at 8 a.m. If you have a child not currently enrolled at our school please don't delay in getting an application submitted. If you know someone interested in learning more about our program or wanting to set up a virtual tour, please encourage them to reach out to:

Admissions Director, Natalie Bennett:


Happy New Year Goals from Ms. Rail's Kindergarten class!

Our experienced Kindergarten teachers personally know the needs of each student, because we deliberately hold our class size to a maximum of 15 students in each class. Students are encouraged as an individual: socially, emotionally, and academically. Here are some delightful Kindergarten resolutions from Ms. Rail's class.
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Congratulations Christian Leon for Earning His Adult Black Belt!

Last week Christian tested for his Adult Black Belt from Shayne Simpson Rock Solid Kenpo in Bellingham. It was held at the Bellingham Farmers Market Building on Railroad. This is a remarkable achievement and we are so proud of your had work and determination.

Here are some pics from his Journey!

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Mrs. Misday and Ms. Dudley's 4th Grade Washington State Map Project

This fall 4th grade began studying Washington State. Students learned the state symbols of Washington, where Washington is located in the world and where we live within Washington state. We then studied the natural features of our state; landforms, resources, climate, habitats, vocabulary terms, and the five distinct regions of Washington state. Knowledge of the unique characteristics of each region was recognized as students compared and contrasted the landforms, landmarks, and water features of each region. The culminating activity for this unit was to create a large Washington state map that outlined the five regions, geographic features, interstate highways, major cities and towns and rivers; complete with a compass rose and detailed map key developed by each student.

Diamante Poems

The students also used their knowledge of the Washington State Regions to create diamante poems describing each region, using imagery and descriptive word choice.

Mrs. Rail's Kindergarten Update

What a crazy first week back it's been! We've had some seriously crazy winter weather... But that made for some good conversations for our new unit on Arctic Animals and Hibernation.

This week we:

*welcomed our new student, Astrid

*talked about New Years and set goals for the new year

*reviewed our addition knowledge and then took our addition test

*started our new set of sight words and learned the words "of" and "so"

*learned how to correctly write lowercase letters e and l

*practiced our handwriting

*did lots of writer's workshop (we're getting better at sentences!!!)

*painted watercolor backgrounds for our snowy mountains art project

*discussed hibernation

*reviewed what winter weather is and how to dress for it

*read several books on snow and hibernation

*started ceramics in art

*started gymnastics in PE

*studied snowflakes

*had a snow day!

*celebrated Connor's Birthday!

It was an awesome week!

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The Reading Corner with Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

With the return of school, I decided now was a good time to ask the staff of Markell Hall to help me in promoting reading! Staff members have been posting signs outside their classrooms and offices, telling others about the book they are currently reading. I have high hopes that it will encourage students to ask their teachers and the office staff about what they are reading, and to help them see that adults read too! I have really enjoyed walking around and reading everyone’s signs—I’ve already added more titles to my never ending “to read” list.

Donated books and books we purchased through Scholastic (so many shipping delays!) have been trickling in, and it is so fun to see students light up when they find a book they have been wanting to read. Thank you for all your help with this, whether by donating books or purchasing items at the book fair.

Enjoy your long weekend with a good book!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Samuel

Mrs. Samuel's Joke of the Week!

How does a cucumber become a pickle?

It goes through a jarring experience

Makerspace: Mrs. Harris

In Makerspace, one of the elective options for middle school students on Wednesday's, students have the option to make and create (it's like the modern shop class). Projects can be independent or require collaboration. For example, ideas can range from creating a multi-resource animal sculpture to recreating a bike. Regardless of where students' creativity takes them, they are all eagerly engaged.

Students also take part in many group challenges such as building landing prototypes for a MARS mission, creating a 21st century wind turbine, and building a rocket ready for launch.

Below are some of the projects the students are working on.

Piñata Making: Sra. Smith

Piñatas Making is another of the elective options for middle school students on Wednesday's.

Check out the class description from Sra. Smith: In this elective you and a partner will learn how to craft and design a paper mache piñata. This can be completed in 5 easy steps. From strawberries to the more traditional 7-coned star, you will use your imagination and hands to create your masterpiece! In this elective you will also learn the history of the piñata and how it came to be a centerpiece of Mexican celebrations.

Wow! The Piñatas are turning out beautifully!

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Volunteer for the STEM Fair!

Dear Franklin Families and Scientists,

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be hosting the Whatcom County Science and Engineering Fair, but we will be hosting a STEM Fair day on Wednesday, March 30th, with an in-school, competitive exhibition science fair. All students in grades 5-8 are required to participate in the fair. 5th grade students will present their team engineering design project they have been working on in class, and 6-8 grade students will present their individual projects they have been working on at home. All Middle School projects will be evaluated by volunteer judges on this day. Students in 3rd grade will complete a project in class. If K-2, and 4th grade students wish to complete their own projects, they will need to be done outside of school. All K-4 students will also have the opportunity to present their projects on this day.

More details about this event will be sent out soon. Right now, we are in search of vaccinated volunteer judges and guest speakers to help make this day a success! Volunteering to judge is a rewarding and uplifting experience that is best seen when a participant is presenting his/her science project and realizing someone understands and cares about their efforts. Anyone who has a desire to promote the advancement of the sciences and science education can be a judge. Judges will be expected to evaluate projects in an impartial manner while applying the judging guidelines and providing positive feedback to the student.

We are also looking for guest speakers! If you are working in science, technology, engineering, or math, and are interested in sharing what you do with Middle School students, you would make a great guest speaker! Click here for more details.

The time commitment for volunteering as a judge or guest speaker is approximately 5 hours. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the sign-up form by March 1st. If you have questions about volunteering, contact Bre Harris at We look forward to involving you in this day!


Ms. Harris

Middle School Science Teacher

The Franklin Academy

(360) 733-1750

Mrs. Mello's Preschool Class Learns All About Penguins!

We Love PE with Mrs. Fox!

Mrs. Rail captured these fun photos of her Kindergarten class enjoying PE. Mrs. Fox is an amazing fun part of every student's week. She is the PE specialist for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. She is also a fantastic coach and Athletic Director! We are so lucky to have her as part of our school community!

Mrs. Brewin's First Grade Classroom Update

Here are some things we were up in class to this week:

  • We practiced our classroom routines and reviewed our classroom agreements.
  • In writing we drew and wrote about our winter break. We practiced adding details to our writing and reviewed how we check our own work for COPS (capitals, organization, punctuation, and spelling). Our writing goal right now is 4-5 complete sentences per journal entry.
  • We read Squirrel's New Year's Resolution and discussed what a resolution is. Then students came up with their own goals for the new year. We put these on a fun New Year's party horn craft.
  • In math we started a new unit on place value. Then for a math challenge we worked on addition magic squares, where each line of 3 numbers has to add up to a particular number.
  • We also started working on a math fact fluency app called Xtramath. After an initial assessment, students practice math facts and the app keeps track of the facts students have mastered and facts they are still working on, then moves them forward as they are ready.
  • In science we started studying habitats. We worked in groups to brainstorm and record what we know about various habitats (pictures attached). We'll do an overview of habitats, then learn about animal adaptations, then we'll zoom in on the polar regions. One of our big projects will be a research report about a polar animal.
  • We began a new chapter book read aloud, Mr. Popper's Penguins.
  • We started working on our class art project for the school auction. It will be a painted paper collage of a northwest forest and mountains. Should be pretty cool!

Mrs. Owen's Early-K Classroom Update

We had a great start to the New Year 2022! We started out by reviewing and practicing our routines and enjoyed sharing stories with each other about our many adventures over winter break. We also welcomed our new classmate, Keke. We have really been enjoying getting to know her. Then we got right back into the swing of things with our learning.

Here's what we have been up to:

  • Letter Yy, how it looks, writes, sounds, and signs.
  • Intro to 3D Shapes, cubes, spheres, cones, pyramids, and rectangular prisms
  • All About Number 6, tallies, number lines, number word, and base ten. Counted backwards from 20.
  • Started our unique and one of a kind auction art project to be auctioned off during our biggest fundraiser of the year.
  • Made our first snowman paper craft, painted New Years Hats, and hand printed fireworks.
  • Firework Salt Painting Experiment. This was a great way to combine art and science together and provided a cool visual for the kiddos to learn about absorption as they transformed their salty white glue into brilliantly colored designs.
  • Today, we did a New Year's Eve Ball Drop and Countdown with confetti poppers!!! What a BLAST!
  • We also built a pretend fire outside at recess to warm our hands during today's snow shower.

Ms. Camaya and Ms. Johnson's Class Update

We learned about different arctic animals this week and made cotton ball polar bears and painted snowy owls.

For STEM, the class learned about how magnets can pick up certain metals and did a motor skill magnet activity.

We worked on Letter Qq and we named some things that start with Qq. The class is doing so well with their tracing skills!

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Auction Update

Please know that we consider the health and well being of all members of our community to be our top priority.

Out of an abundance of caution, The Franklin Academy has decided to postpone our School Gala (scheduled for Saturday, January 29th).

We will instead hold our Gala, as planned, at the Hotel Bellwether on Saturday, March 26th.

Please mark your calendars for the last Saturday in March and stay tuned for updates and information in the days ahead.

Gretchen Bucsko, M.Ed.

Head of School

Questions? Email Us By Clicking the Link Below:

Mrs. Pickerill's Classroom Update

This week we will welcome the new winter season, learn about snowflakes, and read some snowman stories. We will also work with the letter W. In math we will continue to work on counting, patterns, and basic shapes. I will also introduce some 3D shapes.

Last week we had a great time celebrating and welcoming the new year, 2022. On Friday, we celebrated by decorating and making 2022 hats and a handprint craft. We also celebrated with a countdown and popped off some confetti streamers in class. We had a blast and we're excited for the rest of this school year!

"In the new year, I want to......"

Dallas: go to Starbucks!

Dane: go and see the butterflies!

Finley: go sledding and ice skating!

Gurnoor: ride my scooter to the park!

Lachlan: go see all of the movies!

Leandra: go ice skating!

Maya: ride my scooter outside!

Norah: play with my friends!

Quorra: play magic with Mama and Eowyn!

We Love Art with Miss Rachel!

Miss Rachel is our art specialist Kindergarten through 8th Grade! She is so talented and helps the students learn new skills to create incredible art! Mrs. Rail captured these photos of her class working with clay in Miss Rachel's art class. Creative, hands on learning! We are so pleased to have Rachel as part of our school community!

Mrs. Killian's Preschool Update

Preschool News

It has been wonderful being back in the classroom. The preschoolers came back ready to learn after a long Christmas break. We hope you enjoyed your time together during this break. With the onset of winter, we may have to cancel school if it is not safe to come in. Make sure to check your email in the morning. If you feel that it is not safe to come to school when we are open, we understand if you choose to stay home, please just let us know.


We began the year by learning about winter and snow. It is exciting that we have snow outside, and are able to bring snow into the classroom for hands-on learning activities. Our science focus is on winter weather. We are learning what happens to rain when it freezes. On Monday we made predictions about what would happen when we created a gas(baking soda and vinegar) and added it to snow. Our guess was that we would create a volcano, but were surprised that the gas melted the snow and moved down in the ice.

We are learning how waterdrops turn to ice. The preschoolers were each given a ball, which represented a water drop. Their raindrops fell from the sky, until the temperature dropped. In class we learned that water drops expand, and stick together when they get cold.

On Friday we learned about freezing water in the water cycle. We made predictions about what could happen when you add water to ice. We turned ice to water really quickly.


Our letter this week is the letter M, which can be challenging to write. In class we worked on using sticks to create our letter. We met Missy the Mouse during phonics. M can be challenging to write so we practiced using popsicle sticks.

Our class is enjoying watching a bulb grow in the classroom. Each preschooler is drawing the different stages of the bulb’s life cycle. They are predicting that it will grow a flower at some point. This is an early introduction to the writing process. We are still learning to write words, but can document events using pictures.

Gross Motor

When it is cold and rainy outside we take the opportunity to move in class. On Fridays the preschoolers have P.E. with our P.E. teacher, Mrs. Fox. For the month of January they are doing gymnastics.

In class we worked as a team to throw snowballs into a bowl. Each team had a goal to throw as many as they could in 5 minutes.


The preschoolers are hard at work reviewing how to write teen numbers. This week we created ten frame snowball sheets. Each student counted out a number of snowballs, and practiced writing the numbers.

Jen Stark Muralist Inspired Collaborative Art

MS Art Students created their own paint drip design, inspired by LA mural artist, Jen Stark. We used pencils, black sharpie markers, and watercolors, and we cut-out the designs to be taped together onto pig pieces of paper. They are all hanging together to make a similarly eye-catching Jen Stark Mural in the main floor hallway of Markell Hall. ~ Miss Rachel Simpson

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If you shop at, this is a great opportunity to raise money for Franklin Academy. Sign up at Amazon Smile and 0.5% of your purchase price will go towards the FA Annual Fund. Here’s how:

1. Go to Amazon Smile

2. In the “pick your own charitable organization” box type in Franklin Preschool

3. Click on the Bellingham Franklin Academy (may still be listed under St. Paul’s Episcopal School through the summer)

4. Very Important! Please make sure whenever you shop on Amazon you go to the Amazon Smile webpage. If you shop on we won’t receive the donation.

The Franklin Academy

A supportive community with STEM focused education in a safe, small class environment for all grades.

The Franklin Academy Points of Contact

Gretchen Bucsko, Head of School,

Melanie Hurley, Associate Head of School,

Dawn Regier, Administrative Assistant Markell Hall,

Rachel Lee, Administrative Assistant Robin Hall,

Natalie Bennett, Admissions Director,

PALS (Parents Actively Lending Support)

After School Care Supervisor Violet Lord