The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter January 31 - February 4

Monday, January 31st

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Disney Dress Day - All School

  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Tuesday, February 1st

  • Used Uniform Sales - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • No PALS AM Meeting
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall
  • PALS will be holding our 2nd OC Meeting from 6 - 7pm. This meeting will be held virtually due to increasing Covid cases.

    If you would like to attend the meeting, please find the link and password below.

    Zoom link:

    Meeting ID: 315 336 0668 Passcode: PALSOC

Wednesday, February 2nd

  • Middle School Electives Schedule
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall
  • House Color Day - Dress in Your House Color

Thursday, February 3rd

  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Chess Club - 3:15 Markell Hall Cafeteria
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Friday, February 4th

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15 Markell Hall

Upcoming Events

  • 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

  • Family Night Out with Mod Pizza, February 28th

  • 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:



Pals Operating Committee meeting will be Feb 1st from 6-7pm. This will be a virtual meeting. The meeting is open to all families who wish to attend. If you would like to attend the meeting, please find the link and password below:

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 315 336 0668

Passcode: PALSOC

Please see Agenda Below.

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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Second Grade Learns all About Balance!

Second graders have been exploring the science of balance and motion. This week we learned about stable positioning, counterweights, balance points and counterbalancing. Students participated in three balance investigations. They balanced a paper crayfish on its nose using counterweights. Students also balanced the shapes of an arch and a triangle on a popsicle stick using counterweights.

Friday's lesson compiled the knowledge that students had gained from prior lessons throughout the week to invent a way to make a pencil balance on its point, using wire, clothespins, a pencil and a popsicle stick. This independent engineering activity was extremely challenging and required perseverance and persistence of the students.

The students were so excited when they accomplished their goal of balance!

Here's what else 2nd Grade has been up to...

Mrs. Lyzwinski shared this:

We have had a very active week of learning here in 2nd grade. This week we covered a lot of curriculum....


We completed our Topic 4 (Fluently Add Within 100) lessons and our Topic 4 Assessment. Graded assessments came home in students' red folders yesterday. We will be moving on to Topic 5 (Subtract Within 100 Using Strategies) next week. Students are encouraged to continue practicing regrouping with addition at home.

Writer's Workshop:

Students completed their amazing personal narratives. We published them and students worked hard to illustrate each page, making sure that the words and pictures match on each page. Students began their Personal Narrative Presentations today and we will continue these next week. The presentations are in front of both 2nd grade classes as the students are excited to share their published and illustrated work with all of their classmates!

Word Work:

This week we focused on the short "e" sounds (i.e. "test"), long "ee" words (i.e. "sweet") and long "ea" words (i.e. "steam").

Read Aloud:

We finished our book "The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White. Students were excited to watch the movie during our quiet time! Our upcoming read aloud is "The Magic Tree House: To The Future, Ben Franklin!" by Mary Pope Osborne. We will start this book next week.

Literacy/Daily 5:

We practiced identifying the main idea in a text as well as the supporting details. We learned how to highlight the main ideas in a close read and also practiced while reading to a classmate.


During Coding, we built a Star Wars game and played it! So much fun!

Social Studies:

We started our unit on "Famous Inventors" and learned about the life and inventions of Benjamin Franklin (our school's namesake!). Our class read several books about Benjamin Franklin, watched a short video, and participated in a close read and "KWL" chart activity. We also learned about his intrigue with electricity and the kite experiment which involved a kite, a key and a lightning storm. Students completed kite art and an acrostic poem.

I spy with my little eye...something that is black and white...Penguins!

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Middle School Boy's Basketball!

Our boy's basketball teams are approaching the last part of their season. We are so proud of how much they have improved. Here are a few images from their final games this season.

Mrs. Brewin's 1st Grade Update!

Here's an update on reading groups:

-one group is reading and responding to the book Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel.

-one group is reading and responding to the book Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat by Cynthia Rylant.

-two groups are reading nonfiction articles about a particular habitat and then organizing and writing information about it.

-We also continue to practice phonics and spelling patterns in various ways during our reading group time.

-in phonics we started learning that the letter y at the end of a one syllable word usually makes the sound of long i (try) and usually makes the sound of long e at the end of a two syllable word (happy).

Here's an update in our other subjects:

-in writing we are finishing up our Mystery Animal writing project. This coming week students will read their animal clues to their classmates and the class will guess their animal.

-in math we are continuing to work on place value concepts.

- in science we are learning about habitats and adaptations. We just started an adaptations project based on the book What if You Had Animal Ears by Sandra Markle. Students chose an animal from the book and then they will create a picture of themselves with that animal's ears and write about why they would want those ears. Ask your student which animal they chose!

Check out these photos of students working with a partner to draw numbers using base ten blocks and a photo of a reading group at work.

Read-Together Booklets in Kindergarten!

Kindergarten Teacher Miss Yorks shared yesterday, "Our read-together is a booklet about Benjamin Franklin, the great inventor. Amazingly, he donated his ideas for many public improvements, so that everyone could benefit. We started illustrating our booklets with pictures of some of his inventions and discoveries. It's exciting to find out more about this incredible man whose name is on our school! He helped found public libraries, hospitals, volunteer fire departments, street lighting, and made sure the mail arrived on time. He invented bifocals, a chimney insert stove, and swim fins! We are glad for this creative, engaged, caring, good citizen!"
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The Reading Corner with Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

Parenting is already stressful enough, and this pandemic is adding so much more! It is hard right now to worry about ALL OF THE THINGS, so I thought I could try to at least reduce any worry you have about your student’s reading at home. If you are worried that they are a reluctant or late reader, I have some easy strategies to help! There’s a good chance you are already doing some or all of them, which means one less thing on your plate.

The best way for students to learn to read and learn to love reading is to BE AROUND BOOKS. Having a home full of books, magazines, and e-books will encourage them to sit down and flip through something. I keep a few books as permanent “car books” that live in the backseat next to my own children’s car seats—it’s a great response to “I’m bored” when we are on a short trip or stuck in traffic. (And of course, audio books are great for road trips.)

Model reading! When kids see the adults in their life reading, they are more likely to sit down and try it out as well. If you prefer reading on a device, be sure to clue your kids in now and then that you are reading, and not playing a game or perfecting a TikTok dance. If you ARE perfecting a TikTok dance, please send me a video because I would love to see that. ;)

Kids can read anywhere at home! Their bed, the floor, upside down on your couch, etc., as long as they are safe and reading. (For the safety of the book, please don’t read library books in the bathtub!)

They can reread a favorite! Rereading is comforting because it is predictable, and we could all use some extra comfort right now. It is also likely that your student will pick up on new things as they reread some books. As long as they are still challenging themselves with new genres and harder reading levels, there is no harm in rereading a favorite.

Reassure yourself that as long as your student is around words, sees others reading, and has access to reading material, it will help them a long way towards being a successful reader.

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Samuel

Mrs. Samuel's Joke of the Week!

Why did the student eat his homework?
Because the teacher told him it was a piece of cake!

Ms. York's Kindergarten class shares about Gymnastics in PE!

Oliver led us to PE, and it was amazing! My camera couldn't even capture our leaping motions in the low light.. we were jumping and rolling and posing with great control and joy! Mrs. Fox "spotted" us at the first station: we got to bounce on a trampoline and jump off to the mat! There was a low balance beam, and a wedge-shaped mat to roll down, a balance station, and an obstacle course. For that one, we climbed over the bars, went through the tunnel, jumped onto and off of three steps, and then fast-footed through the 5 hula hoops lying on the mat. Then we did it all over again! We showed good control and great creativity. It is so much fun to work on our own moves! We love gymnastics stations!

Mrs. Pickerill's Classroom Update

Last week in art we made a penguin craft out of construction paper and painted an icy scene for polar bears using liquid paints.

We also talked about the habitats for penguins and polar bears. We learned that all penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere. Some live in Antarctica, and others live in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. We learned how polar bears can live in the cold Arctic because of their thick fur and fat that keeps body heat in and the Arctic cold out. Polar bears are also great swimmers and they spend a lot of time in the water to hunt for their food. During our math/STEM time we used different types of blocks and cubes to create "ice blocks" for the animals to walk on.

Mrs. Owen's Early Kindergarten Classroom Update!

We had an icy week filled with many cool activities. We discussed polar habitats, climate, many of the animals found in the Arctic and Antarctic, and discovered that these environments are like no place on Earth. We also learned a little more about Martin Luther King Jr. and continued to discuss vocabulary like cooperation, acceptance, peace, and equality. Your kiddos are concrete, so I brought the topic to their level by discussing how we need to care for everyone in our classroom and in our families. Today, we started working on sight words.

What are sight words?

Think of them as the building blocks of literacy. Sight words are words, like the, was, or are, that don't follow the rules of spelling. These words have to be memorized. Students are taught to memorize sight words as a whole, by sight, so that they can recognize them immediately (within three seconds) and read them without having to sound them out. Put simply, sight words are words that we teach our young readers to know by heart.

Here's what else we have been up to:

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

-Intro to Super Sight Word I, we had fun finding it in read aloud stories and taking turns saying I sentences

-For Math, we practiced counting with colorful bear math manipulatives and unifix cubes, continued our addition unit with polar bears and snowflakes, and learned All About Number 7, tallies, number lines, number word, and base ten.

-Along with Bears, we talked about hibernation, camouflage, the predator/prey relationship, and learned some really cool facts about polar bears

-For Science, we performed an experiment called Don't Melt the Ice. We started out by making trays of blue and purple ice cubes. While making the ice, we discussed the States of Matter solid, liquid, and gas and how water can be all three. The next day we took a closer look at our ice. We passed ice cubes around the circle with bare hands while observing the ice quickly melt. Then we each put on gloves and passed more ice around the circle. This time, we noticed that we could hold the ice longer and that there was less drippy ice water. We then went on to discuss how Insulators stop the transfer of energy and engineered our very own insulated cup using a variety of materials like Styrofoam, glass, rubber, and cork to see if we could prevent the ice from melting. We discovered, as we observed our cups throughout the day, that certain materials provide better insulation than others. After approximately four hours the Styrofoam still had solid ice cubes! Now that's cool!

-We had a lot of fun scraping acrylic paint to create our Arctic Scene with Aurora Borealis and putting fake snow as fur onto our polar bears.

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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. Killian's Preschool Classroom Update!


We are learning about the letter N this week with Nigel the Night Owl. Preschoolers are fascinated by owls, and there are many fun winter stories about owls.


Our math focus this week was on symmetry. Snowflakes involve a lot of math. We learned that water freezes into a hexagon shape, and ice crystals form on each point symmetrically. The preschoolers then looked at various shapes to determine which ones are symmetrical. We as humans are also symmetrical.

We planted an amaryllis bulb our first week back. The preschoolers have been tracking the growth of our plant and measuring it once a week. It has grown multiple inches each week.


Our focus on science this week was on winter weather. We learned how snowflakes form, and what causes a blizzard. On Wednesday the preschoolers created a storm in a jar. The learned the 3 elements needed to create a blizzard.

Gross Motor

Winter can be long, and can be a wonderful time to bring movement games into the classroom. This week we practiced throwing snowballs(pom poms). Each team had a goal to throw as close to the plate as possible.

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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:

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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).

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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