Franklin e-Newsletter

Monday, January 11, 2021

Follow us on Twitter: @FranklinBolts

No School: Monday, January 18 | Monday, January 25 | Tuesday, January 26

This past week, while a challenging time in our nation, was a great learning opportunity for our students and staff. The events at the Capitol building was on the minds of many of our students. Our staff gave our students a forum to discuss the events as well as answer questions or hear concerns our students had. What you see below are a list of common themes identified by our cohort teachers. We also shared the video that we began the day with on Thursday, January 7.

Thank you to those families that reached out in support of the work our students and staff did last week. Our goal is to keep our students informed, all while teaching them the importance of valid sources, disagreeing respectfully, and valuing one another's opinion.

Franklin Announcement (1-7-21)
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News & Information

End of 1st Semester

The end of the first semester is quickly approaching. The last day for students to turn in work or complete reassessments is Friday, January 22. Teachers will finalize all grades for students the week of January 25 and progress reports will be sent home through US Mail. This will be for all in-person and remote learners.

School Pictures

We are continuing with school pictures this year and will provide opportunities for all our learners: In-person, Remote, and CRVA. School picture day is scheduled for Friday, February 5. See the attachment below to access the flyer. Please see the information below for how we'll do these:

In-person Learners

Students will have their pictures taken during the school day. We will rotate all our cohorts through. All students, whether you purchase a packet or not, will have their picture taken for school IDs.

Remote & CRVA Learners

We will offer time after dismissal for families to drop their students off for a quick walk through picture process. Families can arrive any time between 1:45-3:00PM. To maintain social distancing we will have students dropped off at the Main Entrance (Door #1) along 20th Street. Students will go through the entrance and then to the Student Lounge. At this point, families will drive through the main lot to our B Avenue entrance. After students have their picture taken they will exit out the B Avenue (Door #2) where you can pick them up. We will have staff in the hallways to help direct students.

Re-takes will be Friday, March 26. Times TBD.

Masks & Water Bottle


We appreciate our students and families keeping one another safe by wearing their masks throughout the school day. We've gone through a number of our disposable masks that are available for students if they forget. We would appreciate it if students have multiple masks they can use throughout the day so we don't have to keep purchasing new ones. Thank you for your support in helping with this.

Water Bottles

All students received a CRCSD water bottle when we returned to school. Because of our COVID regulations, the spigots to the fountains are turned off. The only part of our water fountains that do work are the bottle fillers. We encourage students to have a water bottle during the day they can use to get water.

Dance Marathon

Long before Iowa football fans began waving, Franklin Middle School students were giving their all to support kids with cancer at University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Our past fourteen dances have combined to raise over $75,000, and we were looking forward to our fifteenth year. However, like so many events in the past year, our fundraiser will be a little different this year. While we cannot hold an actual dance, we will still be holding our “Money Mash” competition, selling t-shirts, holding snack sales (prepackaged items only), and challenging students to become “spirit dancers” by raising $25 or more for the cause. In addition, we will have a competition between grade levels to see who can raise the most for our cause with a movie reward on the line.

For those of you who are new to Franklin, let us first explain why we do it. It started years ago with an eighth-grade language arts class writing some pen pal letters to a sick child. It then ballooned into a mini dance marathon complete with pizza and bake sales, in the hopes of helping more children. Unbeknownst to us our first year, we had a cancer survivor within our student body, who knew all too well the many struggles associated with cancer. Even harder to believe is the fact Franklin has had a cancer survivor or current cancer patient walking the halls every year since! It would be an easy year to just give up; everything about 2020 was a struggle after all. However, we know the kids and their families still need our help, especially after 2020!

So, we continue our work to support both our Franklin friends and all the children being treated for life threatening illnesses at the University of Iowa. The funds we raise provide for free summer camps, an annual Adventureland trip, crafts and activities at the hospital, improved facilities, wigs, holiday gifts, some family assistance and more! See below for more information on our fundraising activities. This is a great opportunity to get your student to earn some extra dollars for a very good cause while completing some extra chores around the house for you!

Virtual Donation Option

This can be utilized by virtual students if they would like to get involved, and all students can reach out to other family members to make a donation for their grade level. Simply go to the University of Iowa Dance Marathon website. Click on the green DONATE button in the upper right corner of the screen, and then type in Franklin in the “find a dancer” box. You can then choose which grade level you are supporting. A bonus donation will be made here each week for the grade level winning the in school money mash competition. Donations made here cannot be used for spirit dancer pledges, t-shirts, money mash totals, etc. However, this is a great way for grade levels to add to their overall totals in the race for the movie reward.


“We’re making GOOD THINGS happen in 2021” is our t-shirt motto this year. Cost is $12. Order forms can be picked up and turned into the main office. Final due date for orders is noon on Monday, January 25th. We will have an online order option also though Ironside Apparel. FYI: Those ordering through the retail store online will have to pay a sales tax also. We will post that link on the Franklin website.

Snack Sales

Beginning January 21st, we will also have a snack sale each Thursday. We can sell prepackaged goods only, and cost will be $1.00 each. Mrs. Dvorak and some of her student council students will be helping run this. Items will be placed on carts and wheeled to home rooms during the last hour of the day for students to make a purchase. We will be asking each grade level to make some snack donations. Some examples would be chips, Little Debbie’s, candy bars, single serve cookie packs, or even Gatorades. Sixth graders will be asked to bring in one dozen items for the first sale on January 21st. Seventh graders will be asked to donate for the January 28th sale, and eighth graders will donate for the last sale on February 4th. Items can be brought in at any time, and should be taken to Mr. Jeffords in room 206 or to the main office. Thank you for any donations you can send us!

Money Mash

This coin battle between home rooms will have your children scrounging through the couch cushions for change! It is a math lesson on positive and negative numbers, as all COINS count positively. Paper money and checks count as negatives to lower the totals of your opponents. This year we will play by grade level, which is why our virtual donation option has a choice between all three grade levels. Money Mash competition days will be the following four Thursdays: January 14th, January 21st, January 28th, and February 4th. Grade level winners will receive some small prizes each week of the competition.

Movie Reward

This is a new addition in place of the dance. One grade level will earn the chance for a movie reward in the auditorium. We will add online donations and spirit dancer donations to each grade level’s final money mash total to determine the overall winner. The grade raising the most funds overall will win. For this reason, it will be even more important for students to identify their grade level on spirit dancer forms.

Spirit Dancers

Spirit dancers raise $25 or more and turn that money into the main office. In normal years, they would get free admission to the dance, a free slice of pizza, drink, and a chance to throw a pie in a staff member’s face. This year, Spirit Dancers will be earning an invite to the movie reward, whether their class wins the overall competition or not. Students turning in spirit dancer forms early will receive a treat bag, and I will also pull names each week to award a prize to a lucky spirit dancer. Our top three fundraisers will still be able to throw a pie in a staff member’s face (thank you to Mr. Ptacek and Mr. Baylor) before the movie reward.

Congrats Mock Trial

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Mock Trial: Zooming Against All Odds

Click here for entire write-up

The 8th grade mock trial team recently finished in the top four of the virtual Iowa Middle School Mock Trial State competition organized by Mr. John Wheeler, Director of ISBA for Law and Civic Education at The Iowa State Bar Association It was the first middle school virtual state mock trial competition in the country and as Mr. Wheeler said, “All eyes are on Iowa.”

Overall, it proved to be a success for all teams involved and especially for our Franklin team. Although it was an unprecedented season, the middle school students all rose to the occasion. Here is our story.

We scrimmaged against Taft Middle School in October to get the feel for the Zoom mock trial competitions. In order to be ready for the virtual competitions, we prepared such things as making our backgrounds look professional, practiced sharing computer screens for exhibits and adjusted camera angles so we could be viewed properly by the judges. Judges rated each of our participants on a ten-point scale, regarding their performance during the trial. The team with the highest point performance would move on. Judges would also nominate students they felt were top attorneys and witnesses for each round.

Our journey to state started in November. We competed in a play-off round starting with 88 schools and then made it to the top 32 teams. We competed again and advanced to the state tournament, which included the top 24 teams from the state.

The Iowa State Middle School Mock Trial Tournament took place the first week in December. We competed as both plaintiff and defense and found out on Thursday, December 3rd that we had advanced to the final 8 teams.

We competed Friday night, December 4th and advanced to the Final 4. All of this, including the awards ceremony, was done by Zoom. By that time, we were all jumping and screaming with joy during our post team Zoom meetings that became a norm. It was an unbelievable feeling!

The Franklin team ultimately did get beat by the eventual state champion team from Harding Middle School on Saturday morning, December 5th. It was a close match and the team once again performed very well.

The team consisted of: Geniva Bann, Cade Beck, Sophie Beltz, Miriam Legge, Brian Li- (named all state attorney), AJ Miller, Vivian Tarvestad, Abby Wilcox. Coaches: Deb Siebenga & Scott Shoemaker.

Link to District story

Pick-up & Drop Off Locations

It takes the coordination of all of us to have a smooth pick-up and drop off each morning and afternoon. We encourage all families to have conversations with their student about where they are planning to pick-up students at the end of the day for dismissal. If possible, pick a different location than the main entrance along 20th Street. We would like to get away from the double and triple parking that occurs on a daily basis. See the attached map, but we would recommend the tennis courts along 21st St. & B Ave. or the alley north of the main parking lot.

For entrance, Doors 1 & 2 (Main Entrance & B Ave) are the primary doors to be used for entrance into the building. Door #7 is a primary door for bus riders. Please do not use Door #7 for pick-up or drop-off.

More than anything else, we would appreciate your PATIENCE. Thank you in advance for your support.

Health & Safety Guidelines (UPDATE)

CDC updated its quarantine duration guidelines on December 1st and Linn County Public Health (LCPH) adopted the guidance effective December 2nd. CRCSD will align with LCPH guidance. The newest guidance provides parameters on shortened duration of quarantine. Please visit our CRCSD Health and Safety Hub for more information.

Reminder: CRCSD will follow Linn County Public Health’s guidance regarding “close contact” definition, as it aligns with CDC recommendations. On November 12th, LCPH released updated guidance for contact tracing and quarantine related to the definition of “close contact.” Throughout the pandemic, CRCSD has worked closely with LCPH and will continue this partnership within our specific county. While this updated local county guidance is a departure from the Iowa Department of Public Health, LCPH is aligning their guidance with CDC recommendations in order to mitigate the current high rate of Linn County community spread.

  • Close contact is defined by CDC, and subsequently LCPH, as: Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before illness onset or testing.*
  • Living in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person
  • Direct physical contact with a COVID-19 positive person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Exposure to respiratory droplets from a COVID-19 positive person (sneezed on, coughed on, etc.)

*Even if you had a mask on. Please note this is the significant differentiator between CDC/LCPH and Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines.

Please review the attachment below that addresses symptoms and guidelines our district will follow with your students.

Continuing Information

Updated District Calendar

After the derecho, our district calendar was updated from the one that went out in our back to school mailing. Click on the link below to view the updated calendar.

School Fees

Just a reminder that you can pay for your student's Book Fees thru the Parent Portal in Infinite Campus! The Book Fee is charged to every student to cover electronic textbooks, general textbooks, instructional and consumable materials. The Full Pay Book Fee is $57.00 and the Reduced Fee (if you qualified for Free/Reduced lunch benefit) is $36.00. You may pay with a credit card in the Parent Portal or you may mail a check to Franklin. Checks should be made out to Franklin Middle School.

If you have any questions regarding the Book Fee, please call the Main Office at 558-2452.


Attendance remains one of our top priorities and is key to a student’s success. Attendance will be taken each day and monitored throughout live instruction. We will have proactive collaboration between home and school if attendance and engagement becomes a concern.

For in-person and remote learners, if your student has a pre-arranged absence or is unable to attend their scheduled classes, please call our Attendance Office at (319) 558-2162 to have it documented.