The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter - March 14-18

Sunday, March 13th

  • Daylight Savings Time - Spring Forward

Monday, March 14th

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Middle School Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:30

Tuesday, March 15th

  • PALS AM Meeting - Markell Hall 8:10am
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Middle School - 8th Grade Volleyball Game @ Home 4:00
  • Middle School - C Squad Volleyball Game @ Home 5:00

Wednesday, March 16th

  • Middle School Electives Schedule
  • Auction Volunteer Meeting 8:15 Markell Hall Chapel
  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Middle School Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:30

Thursday, March 17th

  • St. Patrick's Day - Wear Green
  • Lost and Found Clean Up 12:00-5:00pm
  • Student Led Conferences
  • Early Release - No Lunch Service
  • 11:30 AM Release Early PS/PS/2nd Grade
  • 11:35 AM Release all Pre-K/Early K/3rd Grade
  • 11:40 AM Release all K/4th Grade
  • 11:45 AM Release all 1st and 5th-8th Grade
  • Middle School - 8th Grade Volleyball Game @ Home 4:00 (No C Team Game)

Friday, March 18th

  • Lost and Found Clean Up 12:00-2:00pm
  • Student Led Conferences
  • Early Release - No Lunch Service:
  • 11:30 AM Release Early PS/PS/2nd Grade
  • 11:35 AM Release all Pre-K/Early K/3rd Grade
  • 11:40 AM Release all K/4th Grade
  • 11:45 AM Release all 1st and 5th-8th Grade

Upcoming Events

  • Track and Field Begins - Middle School - March 21st
  • Spring Day - celebrate the first day of Spring by wearing bright colors or floral prints - March 21st
  • Annual Auction - In Person - Rescheduled - March 26, 2022 Bellwether Hotel

  • STEM Fair - Wednesday, March 30th
  • Spring Break - April 4-8 - No School
  • Chess Tournament at TFA - Saturday, April 16th approximately 8:30-3:00pm

Important Conference Info and After School Care

  • Conference Days, Thursday and Friday are half days. No lunch at school that day.
  • After school care is available to students who are signed up, and those students will need to bring their lunch and snacks, please contact Violet Lord,

Lost and Found Clean Out!

Is your student missing a winter coat, gloves or a water bottle? The Lost and Found will be located in the lobbies of Robin Hall and Markell Hall during Student Led Conferences on Thursday, March 17 from 12:00-5:00pm and on Friday, March 18 from 12:00-2:00pm. Please stop by and collect any items that belong to your student. Any items remaining on Friday after 2:00pm will be given to the PALS Uniform Closet or donated.
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The Auction is Two Weeks Away!

Our school's biggest fundraising event of the year is happening on Saturday, March 26th at 5:30pm.

The Franklin Academy Gala and Auction is an evening of fine wines, an elegant dinner, and silent and live auctions at the Hotel Bellwether.

As the Hotel Bellwether has limited space, we can't fit all of our parents, but do still have tickets available.

If you would like to purchase a ticket, the price is $150 per person/$300 per couple.

Please click the link below or email our development director, Katie Cole Dement, at, if you would like to attend. Tickets will be given on a first come first served basis until we reach room capacity.

Whether attending or volunteering, we really appreciate your support of our school!

Gretchen Bucsko, M.Ed.

Head of School

We are excited to see you at the Auction!

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Check out These Exclusive Live Auction Items!

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Whiskey Tasting with a Master Distiller

Enjoy an evening of fine whiskey tasting for 12 people with the Bucsko's!

Grandpa Bucsko, a renowned food scientist and maker of Tennessee Whiskey, will share stories of the whiskey making process and each of the bottles. This tasting journey will take you through original, unopened bottles of Tennessee Whiskey, Rye, American, and Canadian Whiskey. Highlights are Heaven’s Door Bootleg #1 and Sweetens Cove 1st bottling. Heavy appetizers will be served.

This package includes:

• An evening of whiskey tasting for 12 guests

• Mutually agreeable dates in Spring/early Summer 2022

• Tasting flights of 12 Whiskeys, each $25-$500 in value

• A take home whiskey basket to enjoy at home

DONATED BY: Richard, Blaise, and Gretchen Bucsko

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Ultimate Football Package

We are honored to once again present the Ultimate Football Experience for Husky and Seahawks fans.

Experience the thrill of Seattle’s finest football teams in one weekend! First, join the University of Washington Huskies on Saturday for an action-packed home game at Husky Stadium. On Sunday, be the “12th Man” as you cheer on our Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.

On Saturday evening between the games, you will stay at the Inn at the Washington Athletic Club, a full-service private club in the heart of downtown Seattle. This is truly a unique package for people who love the game and value a special experience.

This package includes:

• Four tickets to one Husky football game, on the 100 Level at the 45 yard line of Husky Stadium. Mutually agreeable dates.

• Four tickets to one Seattle Seahawks game, on the 45 yard line of Lumen Field, Club Level.

• Parking passes for both games

• Two rooms for one night at the Inn at the Washington Athletic Club, and an exclusive private club hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle.

DONATED BY: Emily Pacheco and John Mitchell

John and Mimi Ferlin

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Condo In Cabo

Unobstructed views of glorious morning sunrises!

This is how you will start your day at this luxurious condo in Casa del Mar, Cabo Real. Casa del Mar is located on the Sea of Cortez at the 20-km marker between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Spacious, well maintained, recently updated, and very comfortable for four (4) guests. The master bedroom, guest bedroom and the living room/dining area all feature a beach view. A walk-out patio provides immediate access to the beautiful pools and beach.

The Casa del Mar Hotel is located a short walk from the condo and its fine restaurants and other amenities are available to condo guests. Golfing, fishing and other recreational outings are easy to arrange locally. Mutually agreeable one-week period during the next 12 months, excluding holidays and spring vacation.

Note the condo is offered for a 7-day period, not necessarily Saturday to Saturday, and weekday airfares are generally less expensive than weekend airfares. Alaska Air offers daily non-stop flights from Seattle to Los Cabos, with easy connections from Bellingham. Airfare is not included.

Casa del Mar is a low-density development, Covid has not been an issue. The owners will be flexible if travel plans must change due to Covid. Rules for international travel can be seen on the Alaska Air website. Maximum 4 people plus one young child.

This package includes:

• One week stay at Casa del Mar, mutually agreeable dates, subject to availability

DONATED BY: D.C. Morse, Jr and Jan Marchbanks

Order Lunches Today for After Spring Break

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Annual K-8 Franklin Academy State-qualifier Chess Tournament

We are thrilled to announce the "Annual K-8 Franklin Academy State-qualifier Chess Tournament' which will be held at Franklin Academy on Saturday, April 16th from approximately 8:30-3:00pm.

Please put this date on your calendar if your student is interested in participating and stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

If you are interested in helping support this event, please reach out to our

Athletic Director, Stephanie Fox:

or Parent Liaison: Barbara Overson:

Thank you for supporting Chess at Franklin Academy and in Whatcom County!

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Don't Delay, Enroll Today.

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

If you have not turned in your enrollment, please do so as soon as possible. Classes are reaching maximum capacity.

Other items to note:

  • 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 the next school year.

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:


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!


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Jesse Nickerson and Steph Barmann

Children in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade

The Franklin Academy (TFA) has been a wonderful addition to our lives this year! Since we’ve been at TFA, our children have truly thrived in the small classes, and they have thoroughly enjoyed the exposure to a STEM-based curriculum. They are frequently budding with excitement to share their latest artistic masterpiece, or about new words that have expanded their Spanish vocabulary. We feel that TFA provides a well-rounded academic experience. We have especially appreciated TFA’s commitment to providing a safe & quality in-person education for our children during COVID-19. The school’s policies during the pandemic seem thoughtful, deliberate, and sensible—what more could you ask for? While the academic engagement has been high, our children have also made many new friendships. They are expanding their social-emotional skill set as they are able to be in school with peers and have wonderful mentors. We are grateful that our children are able to attend TFA—it has been an abundantly positive experience during our first year! We are excited to come back next year, too.

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Photos from Reading Week!

Mrs. Pickerill's Pre-Kindergarten Classroom Update!

Last week we celebrated reading week and enjoyed reading books by Jan Brett and Dr. Seuss. We also enjoyed reading The Cat in The Hat by Dr. Seuss and made red and white hats in art.

In math, we read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. We used rainbow goldfish to count, sort, and graph the goldfish crackers.

Our sixth grade buddies, Brynn and Anabelle, helped us on Wednesday with our Green Eggs and Ham rhyming book. They also helped the children read the book together when they finished coloring them.

In writing, I asked the question: “If The Cat in The Hat came to school, I would…”

Dallas: “bring a bar of chocolate to the Cat in the Hat and we would eat it together with Yellowy, give high fives, and tell him I like his hat.”

Dane: “play with the Cat in the Hat outside with my yellow teddy.”

Dillon: “get the net and trap thing 1 and thing 2.”

Finley: “make a mess with him and thing 1 and thing 2.”

Gurnoor: “hide from him.”

Lachlan: “talk to the fish.”

Leandra: “show him my books, pencils, and crayons.”

Maya: “talk to the fish.”

Norah: “grab the net to trap him.”

Quorra: “get the net to trap thing 1 and thing 2.”

Mrs. Ho's Preschool Classroom Update!

Good morning! I hope your weekend is a relaxing one. Last week was reading week. We began our week reading "The Hat" by Jan Brett. When we finished we got busy making hats and animals from the story to decorate our door. The hats we fingerpainted and then we made handprint animals. Each child chose what animal they would like to be and then we used a paint brush to splatter paint the clouds. Our door won the "Best Handprint Animals."

The children are also dressed-up as their favorite book character.

During circle time we talked about the letter of the week. This last week was the letter "K." We start out with our letter box. Each child comes up to the front of the class and chooses something out of the box and tells us what it is and what sound it makes. Lua, picked out the Kangaroo and when asked where Kangaroos live she said Australia. Camron spoke up and said, "Do you know that Kangaroos have extra skin?' That sparked a discussion. Clara said, "It's a pouch." I asked the children if they knew what the Kangaroo carried in the pouch and Lukas said, "A baby Kangaroo." I said, "Baby Kangaroos are called "a Joey." The children laughed. After we finished taking out all the items and talking about them and the sounds they made Brooks brought out the sharing bag. This sharing bag cycle the children pick a letter in their name. They take the bag home and with the help of their family find things that begin with that letter and fill up the bag to share with the class. Brooks chose "K." It was great to see all the things he found that started with "K."

The rest of the week we read "Cozy" by Jan Brett and books by Dr. Suess. "The Cat in The Hat. pictures to follow of the activity we did. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish." We used fly swatters to paint the fish bowls and handprints to make the fish.

then we read Green Eggs and Ham." We made green eggs (which they all tried) and surprisingly all but two of the children loved them.

Mrs. Killian and Ms. TeVelde's Pre-Kindergarten Update


Preschoolers love dinosaurs and we needed another week to learn about dinosaurs. On Monday we painted our fossils that we made last week. Tuesday we talked about how dinosaurs are all different in the way they eat and defend themselves. We went on a search for dinosaur bones in class, and built our own dinosaurs using playdough and straws.

Dinosaurs hatched from eggs, and on Thursday we enjoyed investigating fossil eggs. We were excited to discover various types of dinosaurs.


We are continuing to work on counting and number recognition. We enjoyed a fun game of roll and cover on Tuesday.


The beginning of March is always reading week at Franklin. This year our author of focus is Jan Brett. She is a talented writer and illustrator. We have enjoyed hearing stories from around the world in her beautiful books.

We had many fun dress up days this week. On Friday we dressed up as our favorite book characters. Here are a few pictures from Friday..

We returned to our letter of the week curriculum this week, and met Robbie the Rabbit. In class we are working on writing our letters. We use a variety of tools in this process, including chalkboards and shape blocks.

Gross Motor

Mrs. Fox, our P.E. teacher, is introducing our class to basketball. In class we are moving and jumping to build our endurance.

The Reading Corner with Mrs. Snyder

Did you know it’s really easy and super fun to add music and sound effects to picture books? Last week, in honor of reading week, we incorporated books into our kindergarten and first grade music lessons. As I am the music teacher and K-1 librarian, I enjoy doing this as much as possible.

If you have a child in kindergarten, ask them about the story, “Romper, Stomper and Boo.” Using drums, castanets and silly voices, we had a blast! In first grade we read, “Mabela the Clever,” which is based on a story from the Limba tribe located in Sierra Leone, Africa. We sang and added a xylophone accompaniment pattern. It is always a crowd favorite! First grade also played a rhythm for each of the eight woodland animals in, “The Mitten,” by Jan Brett.

Other books that are fun to add body percussion or drums to are “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, and, “Jungle Drums,” by Graeme Base. For books with songs, check out some of Eric Litwin’s original “Pete the Cat,” books. “I Love My White Shoes,” and “Rocking in my School Shoes,” both have songs that he himself recorded and can be found for free at his website: You can also take any repeated text and turn it into a melody or rhythm. The possibilities are endless!


Mrs. Snyder

Mrs. Snyder’s Joke of the Week!

Why do hummingbirds hum?

Because they forgot the words!

Bonus joke:

What kind of spells do Leprechauns use?

Lucky charms!

Our Math Program is Awesome!

The goal of our math program is to provide a strong foundation in mathematics through course placement that is appropriate to the various needs of our students. One of the ways we do this is with the flexibility of our common math hour where students can place into the right placement. Our small class sizes ensure high-quality individual attention, where teachers aim to understand the needs and aspirations of every child and then help them to achieve their goals. This one-on-one focus promotes personal growth and enables students to learn and progress at their own pace. Mrs. Schmidt shared, “Our program is set up with opportunities for students to be both supported and challenged. Mathematics plays a crucial role in understanding the contents of our other core subjects such as science, coding, social studies, and even music and art.”

Mrs. Owen's Early Kindergarten Classroom Update!

We have really been enjoying our fun and festive reading week! Our focus book was Hedgie Blasts Off! by Jan Brett. We had a lot of fun decorating our door, it's OUT of this WORLD! See if your kiddos can tell you what happens in the story. We enjoyed reading many Jan Brett titles and quietly walking around the school to see everyone's door and what they are reading. We also celebrated Parker's half birthday and loved learning a little bit more about her during her star week. Thank you for sharing and the frozen treat!

Here's what else we have been up to:

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

-Super Sight Word in, see if your kiddos can find this word anywhere

-We brushed up on our rhyming with some Seussy fun and Sleepy Time Rhymes on Pajama Day

-Number 12, handwriting, tallies, number lines, base ten+, number word

-Seussical Addition unit, counting fish, and pattern review

-In our story the lead scientist explained to the astronauts that Big Sparkler isn't working properly and that it is much like a bottle of fizzy water. He placed a cork in the bottle and shook it up until the cork flew out and the water soaked the lab. To connect our learning and story we performed the very fun and never boring Diet Coke and Mentos Geyser. We discussed that geysers are holes in the ground that shoot out hot water and steam, that soda is filled with dissolved CO2 gas and an accelerant aspartame, and that mentos have pits where the CO2 gets trapped to create large amounts of foam and bubbles. With such a small opening the pressure just pushes everything out to an amazing height! This was a blast!

-Created our door art, splat painted a galaxy, painted a red rocket, had a lot of fun scribbling the planet of Mikkop from our story (we do not get to scribble that often), used rubbery rings to paint and glitter Big Sparkler from our story, used liquid watercolors to paint our handprints to make the special flowers that grow on Mikkop, and placed gold coins all over design

Mrs. Rail's Kindergarten Classroom Update!

This week was so fun! I just LOVE reading week! We read SOOO MANY books! Our author of the week was Jan Brett. I love her books because the pictures she draws are so detailed and they include hints as to what's coming next. Some Jan Brett books that we listened to include: The Hat, The Mitten, The Umbrella, The Mermaid, and Armadillo Rodeo. We also read a couple Dr. Seuss books: The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. It was great getting to share your kiddo's favorite books with the class! We made it through all 11 - including a chapter book! It really was book week in kindergarten! Check out the pictures to see our writing assignment on what we like best about our favorite books. Plus, check out our decorated door!

This week was also dental week. On Monday, Piper Pediatric Dentistry came out to do a presentation about keeping our teeth healthy and clean. We got to pretend to be teeth and have the sugar bugs brushed off of us. Our science experiment this week had to do with teeth - we did a Tooth Enamel EGGsperiment. We tested out how eggs did when left in soda vs. water. We even had one egg in soda that we took out and brushed each day. The eggs that sat in soda ended up turning brown and getting cracked and their shells got thinner! Their shells were even brown on the inside! Crazy! The egg that we brushed each day was a little less brown than the one that sat in soda all week.

In math, we finished unit 9 on Teen Numbers - look for your kiddo's math test in their backpack today. We started unit 10 - Equations with Teen Numbers. For writing (and to practice handwriting), we will be practicing with writing prompts. Each week we will write about a new topic. This week we wrote about our favorite book, next week we will write about leprechauns. We also learned the sight words by and can. Next week we'll be learning about Thomas Edison and doing an awesome electricity experiment.

Ceramic Owls, 2nd - 4th grades

In this fantastic Ceramic Owl's art project, we made clay owls with a variety of textures, and colors. Our creative kids had fun learning how to roll out the clay into slabs, draw and cut out the bird shapes, using clay tools to add textures of feathers and wings. We make triangles for beaks, & rolled out balls of clay to attach with the score and slip method. The clay balls become the big owl eyes. All the colors we added were with a new and fun technique of using oil pastels, then brushing an ink wash, and painting a super glossy top coat to make them shine like the stars at night!

#BeKindLetsShine ~ Miss Rachel Simpson

Ceramic Chia Pets for 5th-8th grades

Our talented middle school artists learned out to make two pinch-pots and hand-build Chia Pets out of clay this winter. We worked hard to make each of our Chia Pets both unique, and sturdy enough to handle with the option of growing their own Chia seeds at home. Students chose the animal, and the colors of underglaze, with the options of using a clear glaze as a top coat. I'm very impressed with how well each of our MS Artists made these Chia Pets & they should be very proud of their artwork! #BeKindLetsShine ~ Miss Rachel

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