The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter - February 14 - 21

Monday, February 14th

  • Valentine's Dress aka Red, Pink and White Day
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall

Tuesday, February 15th

  • Used Uniform Sales - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • PALS AM Meeting - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Middle School - 8th Grade Volleyball Game @ Assumption 4:00

  • Middle School - C Squad Volleyball Game @ Assumption 5:00
  • Board Meeting - 4:00 – 6:00pm ZOOM Link Below

Wednesday, February 16th

  • Middle School Electives Schedule
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall

Thursday, February 17th

  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Chess Club - 3:15 Markell Hall Cafeteria
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall
  • Used Uniform Sale 5:00-6:00pm @ Markell Hall (by appointment only)

Friday, February 18th

  • No School - Mid Winter Break

Monday, February 21st

  • No School - Presidents Day

Upcoming Events

  • Family Night Out with Mod Pizza, February 28th
  • Annual Auction - In Person - Rescheduled - March 26, 2022 Bellwether Hotel

  • STEM Fair - Wednesday, March 30th

Board Meeting Agenda and Zoom Link - Please Join Us


Opening matters
Opening Prayer
Confirmation of Quorum
Approval of Agenda
Approval of Minutes

Report of Officers and Committees
President’s Remarks
Head of School Remarks
Finance Committee
Marketing and Admissions
Other Updates

Executive Session

Topic: TFA Board Meeting

Time: Feb 15, 2022 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 770 130 5282

Passcode: 164171

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Returning Families Priority Registration Ends Today, Friday February 11th!

We are so excited to invite you to return to the Franklin Academy for the 2022-2023 school year. Please bring your enrollment contract and a check for 10 percent of the total tuition or payment in full.

Other items to note:

  • Enrollment opens to outside families Monday, February 14th at 8 a.m.
  • Tuition must be paid in full, or you must have signed up for a FACTS payment plan by April 29th.
  • Tuition assistance is now open (K-8th grade only). Click here to apply. The maximum assistance given is 50% of tuition. All supporting tax documents must be completed before processing will take place.
  • Click here for the Parent Handbook for the 2022-2023 school year. A student information form will be released closer to next school year .

If you have any questions, please know that we are happy to assist you. We look forward to a great 2022-2023 school year at The Franklin Academy!

Thank you,

Gretchen Bucsko

Outside Family Registration Begins Monday, February 14th at 8:00am

If you have a child not currently enrolled at our school (like a sibling), please don't delay in getting an application submitted as-soon-as-possible (ASAP). Please email if you need a copy of the application.

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:



Ben and Kiersten Horton

1st and 3rd Grade

The first-year experience at The Franklin Academy has exceeded our expectations. From day one, our family has felt welcomed and connected with the community. Our kids have grown in their academic curiosity, critical thinking, and self-confidence. They love learning here and have enjoyed the community events and hands-on classroom experiences.

It has been an incredibly positive transition for our entire family and we are looking forward to the remainder of this year and beyond.

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House Color Day Photos!

Mrs. Rail's Kindergarten Class Learns About Static Electricity!

This week, along with learning about Lunar New Year and Groundhog day, we started our unit on Famous People. Over the next several weeks we will talk about Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Mae Jemison, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln.

This week we focused on Benjamin Franklin, the amazing inventor, scientist, writer, and founding father our school is named after. We learned that Ben Franklin is most famous for his experiments with electricity. He performed many experiments that proved that lightning is in fact electricity. This led to his invention of the lighting rod, which helps to keep buildings safe from lighting. We talked about how lightning and static electricity are connected. We also discussed that everything around us is made up of atoms. These atoms contain electrons, which are positively or negatively charged. When atoms come in contact with each other, they can transfer electrons. Our experiments today showed us how we can transfer electrons through static electricity.

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Feb greeters:

March greeters:

Auction help:

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.

Ms. Dizon's Kindergarten Class Update!

We had a busy, fun-filled week. We celebrated Groundhog Day and learned about groundhogs. The students now know that groundhogs are rodents, not meteorologists. We read books about groundhogs, made crowns and did other groundhog crafts. In addition to that, the students studied how shadows are formed. Outdoor activities were planned about shadows but the sun didn’t cooperate this week.

Another interesting activity was Dental Week. The class talked about proper care for the teeth and mouth. In the discussion about eating healthy food and dental care, some of the answers given by students were brushing, visiting the dentist and not eating too much sweets. To demonstrate the effect of foods on teeth we did an “Egg-as-Teeth” experiment. One egg was soaked in water, another in milk, and another in soda-pop. Students' predicted that milk is the best drink for teeth. The next day when we checked the eggs soaked in water or milk didn’t change color but the egg soaked in soda turned brown. Guesses why included that the brown color stained the egg and that the sugar stained the egg. The students' predictions about water and milk were right, they concluded that milk is good for the teeth and soda is bad. (photos attached) Eggshells are a lot like tooth enamel. And, like tooth enamel, they will get eaten away when they come into contact with acidic beverages.

Students did an awesome job reading their Books in class. I’m so proud of them! In writing, the students are still working on writing upper case at the beginning of a sentence and the use of finger spaces. In math, we learned about decomposing numbers 4-10. The goal for these lessons was to write equations and show parts or decompose a given number.

Here is our Daily News:

“The best part of my day was…”

Toby: “playing shark and minnows when no one hug me.”

Jena: “brushing the egg that was soaked in soda.”

Samara: “was doing a good job in math.”

Xia-Mari: “recess because I got to play frisbee outside.”

Caden: “reading my book to class.”

Jaxon: “I was the fishie in the shark game in P.E.”

Savitri: “I had fun in P.E.”

Kellan: “getting a special card.”

Knox: “playing with Caden.”

Lola: “bringing back my book folder.”

The Reading Corner with Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

With Valentine’s Day next week, we wanted to write about the books we love, particularly the ones we love to share with students! Here is a list of the books featured in our pictures. See if you recognize any favorites!

Mrs. Snyder loves to share with students:

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

Verdi by Janell Cannon

The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan

Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

You are Special by Max Lucado

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick

Sulwe by Lupita Nyongo’o

Timothy and the Strong Pajamas: A Superhero Adventure by Viviane Schwartz

The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Mrs. Samuel loves to share with students:

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Hiding Phil by Eric Barclay

The Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier

When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins

Pugtato by Sophie Corrigan

Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale

The Watcher by Joan Hiatt Harlow

Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke

Librarian on the Roof!: A True Story by M. G. King

The Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale by Koko Nishizuka

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

You Are a Lion!: And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeen Yoo

Anything by Ally Carter or Stuart Gibbs

And we BOTH love to share with students:

The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart

The Pete the Cat books by James and Kimberly Dean

Anything by Mo Willems or Beverly Cleary

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

Mrs. Samuel's Joke of the Week!

What did one Jedi say to the other on Valentine's Day?

Yoda one for me!

Mrs. Owen's Early Kindergarten Class Update!

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?! We have had so much fun this week learning all about Punxsutawney Phil and the history of Groundhog's Day. We made our own weather predictions, compared/contrasted Winter and Spring, and learned some really cool groundhog facts.

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

-Letter Gg Review, how it looks, writes, hard sounds/soft sounds, and signs

-Intro to the gr blend- words that begin with a gr, groundhog, graph, grass, green, etc.

-Sight word my- have your kiddo try and find this word while reading at home or anywhere

-Continued our Addition Unit with Groundhogs while counting the dots on dice as we rolled them

-We made a graph of our class weather predictions and outcome of Groundhog's Day...Punxsutawney Phil says 6 more weeks of Winter.

-We discussed that light is a form of energy that travels in a straight line until it hits an object. This absence of light creates shadows. We made groundhog puppet shadows and performed a Groundhog Balloon Shadow experiment. This is your typical acid/base reaction, however, this time the CO2 created was trapped. As it filled up our balloons silly groundhog faces appeared. We then placed a flashlight on the floor to create balloon shadows. We discovered that smaller jars fill up faster and have smaller balloons, while larger jars fill up slower and have larger balloons. We really enjoyed this!

-For a team building, fun, and hands-on STEM activity we engineered a cool groundhog burrow out of paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, tape, and paper. We worked in small groups to color the chambers or rooms of the burrow. We discussed the purpose of each chamber as we worked together to connect each one to the main entrance and plunge hole.

-We created really cute heart shaped groundhogs, a peek-a-boo groundhog puppet, groundhog hats, and worked our fine motor skills to color groundhogs with crayons.

Mrs. Brewin's First Grade Update!

I can't believe we are halfway through the school year and approaching the 100th day of school. This year the 100th day is on Valentine's Day so that should be fun! (and maybe a little crazy ).

Here's what we were up to this week:

-we learned about Chinese New Year and read some great books about Chinese New Year traditions.

-in math we learned about comparing numbers using greater than, less than, and equal to symbols. In the attached pictures students are playing a card game called Place Value Top-it to practice comparing numbers.

-in science we are learning more about habitats and animal adaptations. We continued working on our habitat booklets and recorded facts about oceans and grasslands. Students also worked in groups to read, practice, and present information about a particular animal's adaptations. Pictures of the groups presenting are attached.

-on Wednesday we learned about Groundhog Day. We also watched a Mystery Science video about if animals can predict the weather. Ask your student if they remember the funny name that groundhogs can be called!

-in literacy, we reviewed the differences between fiction and nonfiction and introduced some nonfiction text features and what they are used for: table of contents, headings, photographs, illustrations, captions, labels, and glossary. Then students got to be "text feature detectives" and they hunted in books to find the different features.

Mrs. Ho's Class makes a Gigantic Cookie!

This week we read "The Biggest Valentine Ever," and decided as a class to make our biggest valentine ever in the form of a giant cookie.

Below is our creation. We all worked together and came up with this big cookie.

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Washington State Science and Engineering Fair Opportunity

There is an awesome opportunity for Franklin students coming up on April 9th. In addition to our in school Science Fair on March 30th, students have the opportunity to participate in a virtual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. Each student or student group will sign up for a Zoom meeting time, in which they will present their science fair project in front of a panel of qualified judges. This is on a Saturday, outside of school. Students will converse with professionals in the field, have the chance to win prizes, and move on to compete at a higher level. The registration details can be found on the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair website. There are four required registration forms, and a $30 registration fee. A couple of the forms are meant to be filled out prior to completing the science fair project, but Middle School students can still fill them out after the fact. The website also mentions that a Scientific Journal and paper are required. These two things are highly encouraged; however, they are not required for registration. Lower School students can register under a parent's name, and Middle School students can register under my name. The registration deadline is March 15th. If your student is interested in participating, please respond to this email, so I can check in with them about the registration process.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. I look forward to seeing some of our students participate!


Ms. Harris

Middle School Science Teacher

Ms. Yorks' Kindergarten Classroom Update!

Jackson was our line leader and calendar adjustor today. He fixed it up just right. Nicely done, Jackson! Good work! After Calendar, we wrote our handwriting sentence in a little book, and then tried to write it even more nicely on the next page. We'll finish these books and send them home for you to admire! :D

Our main Friday work was involved in Science. Using what we know about the Arctic and Antarctic animals, and what we have experienced this winter, we investigated how to stay warm.

We made quite a list of clothing that we were either wearing or have worn in order to stay warm. We discussed shirts as an example. Shirts can be long-sleeve, short-sleeve, with or without vests, undershirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, or coats. Some layers we'd choose for cool weather, and others for colder times. Then we talked about how animals keep warm.

It seems that they use layers, too! The wolf and fox have layers of fur, the owl has layers of feathers, the groundhog and polar bear have layers of fur and fat. Some of our bright scientists have heard that polar bears and penguins have a blubber layer, as seals and whales do.

Blubber is an unusual layer. It has more blood vessels than fat, and it can constrict those vessels, reducing the blood flow to the surface skin. The surface cools without freezing, and the inner animal stays warmer. I told the students about a bit of research I'd done, as an example of how science continues to learn and consider what it knows. Scientific American considers the polar bear to be wrapped with a layer of blubber. Polar Bear International disagrees, and calls the layer "fat". I explained that Polar Bear International had done an interesting experiment. They measured the temperature of the polar bear, above and below the layer, and found it to be the same, without variation even though the temperature outside changed. This indicated the layer wasn't acting like blubber. I explained that I didn't know for certain which organization was correct, but the Polar Bear association had at least provided evidence to support their contention. I asked the class how "evidence" is helpful, and got the quick and accurate reply: it's when you find out something new. Looking for evidence is good science!

Hmmm... whether blubber or fat, fur or feathers, the animals can't change their layers when they want to! Our advantage is our ability to easily adjust our comfort by adding or taking off our layers. It's more fun to be able to change! We can go skiing with lots of layers, and then relax in a hot tub with just a swimsuit! We can travel to cold places or hot places, and pack our layers or no layers with us. Since we are warm-blooded, our inner temperature stays at a nice even temperature (unless we are fighting off an infection with a fever).

We held our hands out next to each other, palms down. This is us, at a comfortable temperature. We raised one hand up to show the outside temperature was getting hotter. This is when we can bear it, or take off layers. We dropped the hand down, to show the outside temperature getting colder. Again, we can adjust, or add layers. Meanwhile, our inside temperature hand stays steady.

Cold-blooded animals have a different problem. Again we put our hands out next to each other. This time, our hands went up together! Cold-blooded animals' inner temperature goes up when the outside temperature goes up! And when it gets cold, as our hands dropped together to show, their inner temperature drops too. We acted out what this would be like for a snake. We spent the night in a warm burrow, coming out to rest on our warming-up "rock" chairs as the sun rose, and draping across the nice hot "rocks" of our tables until we started getting too hot and had to move to the shade to cool off. We would have to spend all day trying to get comfortable!

We were liking our clothing layers more and more! Some animals have to wait to grow their layers! Baby penguins are covered with a thick layer of downy feathers. They huddle together to keep warm in the dry, freezing Antarctic weather. Snow can't get through the thick layer, but water would! The babies can't swim yet! They have to wait to grow their adult waterproof feathers. We did an easy demonstration of this, by covering our penguin drawings with fluffy down or feathers. We oiled the feathers, just as grown-up penguins do with natural oils. When we added water, the down became soggy, but the water made beads on the oiled feathers! We can tell you all about this, as we brought our papers home!

Mrs. Pickerill's Classroom Update!

This week we will learn about Dental Health and the importance of taking care of our teeth. We will talk about visiting the dentist and some of the things that dentists do for their job. We will also work with the letter D.

Last week we learned more about groundhogs and celebrated groundhog’s day. We made groundhog hats, hand puppets, and shadow groundhogs. We made predictions as a class and most of us thought the groundhog would see his shadow. We also talked about what makes a shadow. We learned that shadows are formed when an opaque object or material is placed in the path of rays of light. The opaque material does not let the light pass through it. The light rays that go past the edges of the material make an outline for the shadow. We also watched a video from Pennsylvania and found out that the groundhog saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter!

In addition, I would like to introduce two new helpers to our class. Their names are Anabelle and Brynn, who are sixth graders from Markell Hall. They will be our buddies, who come to visit our class every Wednesday for about an hour in the afternoon. They are sweet friends and we look forward to getting to know them better. Last Wednesday, they helped us with decorating our Valentine bags for next week.

Mrs. Ho's Preschool Update!

Last week we started talking about the letter "D" and we worked on different projects all week to help us recognize the letter. All the letter recognition we do in class is leading up to the children being able to write their name and they are all doing very well in that area. It is exciting as a teacher to see how much your children have learned in such a short time. After working on letter, number and shape recognition we painted. All week we splatter painted. You will see what I mean when you see all the pictures. The children decided not to wear paint shirts because the paint shirts did not stop the paint from going on their shoes and socks. We also painted our feet and hands a lot. The children love having their feet and hands painted. Now they say it doesn't tickle.

We were able to celebrate Brook's birthday at school. What a treat that was. Everyone was so happy. To end our week Mr. Gooey came in to make Frost with the children. Next week he is also doing an experiment with ice. It will be a STEM hands-on experiment and Mr. Gooey asked me to set up a Zoom meeting for all the parents to join us on Friday at 11:30. I will set up the meeting and send you the link on Thursday. If you would like to join us for science we would love to see you.

If you have not brought in a box please do so by Tuesday morning they are going to be wrapped and we are decorating them on Wednesday.

I hope you had a relaxing weekend and I look forward to seeing all the children bright and early in the morning. All the pictures to follow.

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Questions? Email Us By Clicking the Link Below:

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

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).

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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