The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter January 24-28

Monday, January 24th

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered

  • MS Boys Basketball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Tuesday, January 25th

  • Used Uniform Sales - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • PALS Meeting - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Chapel Service Guild Meeting - Markell Hall Chapel 2:00 – 3:00pm

  • MS Boys C Team Basketball Game @ Home 4:00pm

  • MS Boys 8th Grade Team Basketball Game @ Home 5:15pm

Wednesday, January 26th

  • Middle School Electives Schedule
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • MS Boys C Team Basketball Game @ Home vs. Lynden MS 4:00pm

Thursday, January 27th

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

Friday, January 28th

  • Free Dress
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • MS Boys Basketball No Practice

Upcoming Events

  • Girl's Volleyball Season begins Monday, January 31st

  • Disney Dress Day - All School - Monday, January 31st

  • House Color Day - Dress in Your House Color Wednesday, February 2nd

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

  • February 14th - Valentine's Dress aka Red, Pink and White Day
  • Board Meeting -Tuesday, February 15th 4:00 – 6:00pm

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

  • Annual Auction - In Person - Rescheduled - March 26, 2022 Bellwether Hotel

  • 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:


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Learning about Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week our 1st Grade students read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and had a discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and message. "They talked about the importance of our words in promoting peace," Mrs. Brewin shared. Have a delightful Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

The Family Ice Skating Event was So Much Fun!

This past Monday our Parents Actively Lending Support (PALS) coordinated a fun family ice skating event at the Bellingham Sportsplex from 12:45-2:45 p.m. It was enjoyable for families to mingle and socialize together.

Enjoy the photos!

Photo Credit: PALS Co-President Sara J.

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The Reading Corner with Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The Robin Hall library recently made a huge improvement to its science section. The subjects include books about dinosaurs, space, the earth, and simple experiments kids can do using food and everyday objects. Many of the books would be great to read with an older sibling or an adult. The kindergarten and first graders have gobbled them up, so be on the lookout for those beautiful new science books coming home in your child's backpack/book bag.

Mrs. Snyder

Mrs. Samuel's Joke of the Week!

What do pirates pay for corn?

A buck an ear!


1) Huge thank you to all the families that attended the Ice Skating event! We hope everyone enjoyed themselves!!

2) Pals Operating Committee meeting will be Feb 1st from 6-7pm. This will be a virtual meeting (zoom link to follow soon). The meeting is open to all families who wish to attend.

3) Family Night Out with Mod Pizza, February 28th .

Mod Pizza will donate 20% of all purchases either in-store, via the app, or online done on February 28th. to Pals.

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PE Shirts

We wanted to send a reminder that all PE shirts and uniform sales are made via the link below through PALS, with all payments being made online rather than through either front desk at Robin or Markell.

Anything purchased will be delivered to your child's classroom. As a reminder, the used uniforms can vary in size due to wear and shrinkage, so it's best to come in and try them on. We are working to add more uniform store availability for working families, hopefully in the evenings (by appointment).

5th Grade Social Studies Update!

Our 5th Grade students are enjoying an interactive assignment in Social Studies where they are playing along as a member of Colonial America. Ms. Bull shared, "Each level provides a chance to explore and make decisions as the early members of our country did." These types of assignments immerse students into a new world of problem solving and discovery!

Ms. Yorks' Kindergarten Classroom Update!

Suzanne Yorks is one of our fabulous Kindergarten teachers. She sends lovely emails home to the parents of her students each day. Here is her update from Wednesday this week. Her emails are so wonderful they make me feel like I am getting peak into the classroom!

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Today our fun and our work were so mixed up together! There is a need to review ordinary procedures, because it is FOREVER (in Kindergarten terms) since we've had an actual ordinary schedule with good weather for the whole week. It's actually not that long, but can seem that way... we needed reminders about when to go and where to go and oh, yes, bring in our lunchboxes after snack, LOLOL! (Only one of us forgot, but half the class had to check to see if it was theirs, because they couldn't remember!)

We had a good line leader in Audrey, so we mostly followed her lead, which was a big help. She fixed up the calendar, too. Nicely done, Audrey! Thanks! As a group, we retold what we know about Dr. King, for those who needed review or who had missed parts. We did an excellent retell! When we watched a short video about Dr. King, we knew just what they were talking about!

Audrey led us to PE, and there were those colorful mats again! We got to take off our shoes again! It is so much fun to wiggle our toes and watch them wiggle inside our socks! Then we settled down and remembered our basic PE procedures. First we practiced our movements with the descriptive names: inchworm and the like. Then we listened to exciting new directions and we got to use the jump steps. Although these are short platforms, those inches give us enough elevation to feel like our jumps are awesome! Before we jump, we take our controlled stance, and we "stick our landing" with control. In between, we jump with specific moves in mind, and we made "X"s, and half-turns, and stars, and full turns, and more! We loved it!

Our ice and snow study is about to wrap up. We are finishing our habitat pictures this week, and we'll make our polar bear figures next. We found out that polar bears have black skin, and their fur is actually made up of clear hairs. We figure that they look white because they are against the snow, and this is good camouflage. And then we looked at the color, "white". Snow is actually many shades of white, and we found some in our classroom! If a polar bear was just white like a piece of paper, we could easily see it against our wall, or against our whiteboard, or against our reading binders. Each of those has a different shade of white, and we'd never noticed that before! With its clear hairs, a polar bear can camouflage against any shade of white!

So, why not a white-skinned bear with clear hair? Miss Yorks wanted to show us, but the weather has not cooperated. For a good experience, we need a lovely stretch of flat snow, a sunny day, and no wind. That hasn't happened on a school day (yet?)! So instead of individual setups, we did a class observation setup, using a bag of snow from the freezer. As line leader, Audrey put one piece of white paper and one piece of black paper on the icy snow, which we placed in the sunniest spot we could find, outside by the lunchroom.

When we checked back, nothing much had happened, so we left it and Miss Yorks will bring it in later. Meanwhile, we had fun with some snow scraps, and melted them and tossed them and stomped on them and enjoyed that cold cold feel on a pretty day. Tomorrow, we'll see if anything changed on our papered snow!

Our Art class project this time is a polar bear portrait. Miss Rachel was amazing in Art class! She always helps us individually succeed. This time, she also helped catch up those of us who missed our last Art class. We had such fun, even as we followed multiple-step directions with pencil, watercolor crayons, water, watercolors, and, of all things, salt! Our bears have so much personality! And they have beautiful fur and backgrounds, too. We like the contrasts between light and dark, colors and plain, wet and dry. We experience a different vocabulary in Art class! Our polar bears had to dry, so they will thrill you at a later date! Ask your student how salt figures into this...

That was probably enough for any Wednesday, but we still had math to do! Some of us remembered the subtraction steps, some of us didn't, and some of us don't recall that we ever heard them. Here is our chant for this stage of subtraction, given the pictures on our math pages. This will work for all our early subtraction problems:

>> First I count them all, and write the number down.

>> Then I cross some out, and write the number down.

>> Last I count what is left, and write the number down.

Everyone had some success with our subtraction pages today. Congratulate your student, especially if they say it was tricky, because they all stuck with it and tried hard. And because of that, tomorrow will be even easier!

Today was our popcorn party!!! Hurray for us! We are a delightful class.

And today:

Audrey liked Art, because she got to start her polar bear.

Jackson had fun in PE, because he got to jump off.

Kais enjoyed Art because he finished his polar bear.

Oliver had fun doing the star jump.

Weston liked the snow experiment with the paper and wet snow.

Rutger had fun doing the movements in PE.

Mariko liked Art because she sprinkled salt on her picture.

Tal had fun in PE.

Hans liked drawing and painting his polar bear.

Eli enjoyed PE because he did the "X" jump.

Aria might like jumping in PE.


Miss Suzanne Yorks

Mrs. Dizon's Kindergarten Classroom Update!

Artwork Display! Snow Angels in a Winter Wonderland! Hibernation!

In Science, we finished our lesson about Hibernation. We watched a short video about hibernation and why some animals hibernate. We learned how animals prepare to hibernate, where and why they hibernate.

Adding to our learning we read the short book, “Hibernation Station” and made a STEM activity of building a shelter for the hibernating animals (cut out pictures of animals). The students were paired in twos and they were creative designing and building the shelters with the use of very limited materials like paper plates, popsicle sticks, masking tape and foil. After the activity, we reflected about the challenges of building a shelter and other ways to build it.


-reviewed, read, and hand-sign spelled the Super Sight


-reviewed digraphs and worked on a digraph activity page.

-read their Daily 5 Binder and work on their unfinished



-used minus sign to separate numbers.

-made up problem story problems that involved subtraction.

-worked on subtraction pages.

Mrs. Brewin's First Grade Classroom Update!

The students have settled back into school after the break and they are doing an excellent job. These kids are such a pleasure to spend time with each day!

Our class celebration on Friday was a fun time. We made lollipops with Jolly Ranchers and watched an episode of the Magic School Bus (the old school one) about habitats. And we had a little extra free choice time at the end of the day. (pictures attached of the kids with their lollipops).

Here are some highlights from the week:

-we read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and had a discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and message. We talked about the importance of our words in promoting peace.

-in writing we started a fun Mystery Animal writing project. Students chose an animal and brainstormed adjectives/features about that animal. Then they started writing 6 sentences about the animal so that others can guess what animal they are describing. This writing links to our learning about adjectives and habitats. Ask your student what animal they chose!

-in math we introduced place value. We practiced counting groups of ten and writing the numbers, examined the 120 chart and practiced counting on by tens from a given number, and introduced base ten blocks with ones, tens, and hundreds to model numbers. Pictures are attached of students working with base ten blocks.

-in science we learned about what makes a habitat and read about various habitats. Next week we will start learning about animal adaptations and will do an adaptations project using the great book series What if You Had Animal Ears/Eyes/Tails etc. by Sandra Markle.

-in our reading groups, each reading group will be working on new books beginning next week. Some groups are focusing on fiction and others will be reading non-fiction.

-we finished our school auction art project.

Mrs. Owen's Early Kindergarten Classroom Update!

We have been cozy and warm snuggling up with what does not quite feel like the Winter season!

Here's what we have been up to this week:

-Letter Ww, how it looks, writes, sounds, and signs

-Beginning letter sounds for Winter Words

-Do you want to build a snowman sequencing by ordinal number

-Started Addition with Winter Snowflakes, the takeaway "when we add are we making numbers larger or smaller?"

-I played a little sciency trick on the kiddos called Hot Cocoa Surprise. I hid baking soda in the bottom of my hot cocoa and had the kids help me prepare it. First we scooped spoonfuls of real cocoa mix into the mug. Then we added marshmallows. As we poured on what they thought was water, it was actually vinegar, my hot cocoa started reacting very slowly to produce giant chocolate bubbles! We had a lot of fun with this! Then, we enjoyed our very own mug of hot chocolate and danced to the hot chocolate song from the Polar Express.

-We celebrated Martin Luther King's Birthday today and discussed words like peace, friendship, love, kindness, and equality. We have been focusing daily on KINDNESS.

-Created coffee filter snowflakes and revisited absorption, used our fine motor skills to make snowy scenes with whimsical snow people, painted winter trees with shaving cream and glue, and finished up our unique and one-of-a-kind Auction Art Project.

-Had fun doing our Winter Gross Motor Movements, float like a snowflake, scoot like a walrus, waddle like a penguin, skate like an ice skater, and throw snowballs like a kid

Mrs. Killian's Preschool Classroom Update!


Our letter of the week was letter N, and we met Nigel the Night Owl. We will learn about the letter N next week.

On Thursday we learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our introduction to this topic is very basic at the preschool level. We discussed how he wanted all people to be treated equally, and how we can be a friend to all. The preschoolers talked about, and made pictures of how they are friends.


We worked on recognizing numbers to 20 at home this week by playing a few games. On Thursday we were able to return to class, and continued learning about symmetry. The preschoolers made snowflakes by repeating a symmetrical pattern.

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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. Pickerill's Preschool Classroom Update

This week we will learn about Arctic and Polar animals. We will read stories about polar bears, penguins, seals, and walruses. We will also celebrate Quorra’s 5th birthday on Wednesday at school.

Last week we had a great time reading about snowman stories and learning about how snowflakes are made. We painted snowmen with white paint and snow fluff. We also used white cut out circles to create a snowman and counted the letters in our names and wrote them on the circles. We also read stories about Martin Luther King Jr. and talked about how MLK day is a day to remember and honor the great Civil Rights leader.

In writing we drew our own snowman and shared about what we liked to do in the winter time.

"In the winter, I like to..."

Dallas: build a snowman!

Dane: play in the snow!

Dillon: make snowballs and throw them!

Finley: go sledding and make a snowman!

Gurnoor: play in the snow!

Lachlan: go sledding and play in the snow!

Leandra: go ice skating and build a snowman!

Maya: go sledding and play in the snow!

Norah: build a snowman!

Quorra: play in the snow!

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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:

Thank you to some of our Gold Level Sponsors of this year’s Gala & Auction

- Dairy Queen (DQ)

- Starvin' Sam's Mini-Marts: Serving Whatcom County Since 1988

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Mrs. Rail's Kindergarten Classroom Update!

This week we did a lot with our science unit on arctic animals. We started on Monday with a STEM project of building a snowball structure using toothpicks and marshmallows. We learned about engineering and how to use different three dimensional shapes to create the strongest structure. The kids did awesome! (Make sure you check out the photos linked below). We continued the rest of the week learning about polar bears. We did polar bear art and wrote sentences about what we learned. Next week we will learn about penguins.

In math we started our subtraction unit. It's a bit of a transition since we were working on addition so long, but the kids are getting the hang of it. In handwriting we learned how to correctly write the letters k and y which can both be a bit tricky. We also learned the sight words: for and was.

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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