Ben Franklin Focus

Back to School Edition

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Upcoming Events

August 10- 6th Grade & New Student Orientation

August 13 - First Day of School

August 16 - Back to School Night from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

August 24 - Picture Day

Welcome Back!

Welcome to Benjamin Franklin Middle School! We are so thankful to have you here and we look forward to the opportunity to get to know and work with you and your child throughout the school year. We know that with the start of school comes many questions, so we wanted to provide as much information to you as possible in this newsletter. Please know that if you ever have any questions, concerns, or ideas, we welcome you to contact us. We are here for you!

School Information

We want you to stay connected! For up to date information throughout the school year, please visit:

  • Our school website- Ben Franklin's Website. Here you will find information including school supplies, informational links, and upcoming events.

  • Facebook - Like and follow us at Benjamin Franklin Middle School (@BFMS.Valpo) where you will be given information and insights into the wonderful happenings at our school.

  • Twitter- Follow us at BFMS Middle School (@Valpo_BFMS) where you will also be given information and insights into the happenings at our school.

Lockers & Schedules

Lockers (Student Information tab) have been posted in Skyward Family Access. Schedules (Schedule tab) will be posted in Skyward by Wednesday, August 8th. Our school office will be open from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. this week. Please be sure to enter at door 4 off of Park St. due to our main office construction. If possible, please be sure to print schedules and locker information prior to the first day. Thanks!

6th Grade & New Student Orientation

Friday, August 10th, is our 6th grade and new student orientation day! All 6th grade and NEW 7th and 8th grade students are expected to attend school from 7:50-10:15 a.m. on this day. Students will meet their teachers, follow their class schedule, and learn how to open their lockers. All students will start their morning in the auditorium where they will be welcomed by Mrs. Sienkowski and Mr. Slater. From there, students will be dismissed by groups to go with their 1st hour teacher.

If your child rides a bus, pickup information can be found on Skyward Family Access by clicking on the “Busing" tab. This will give the time and location of both pick up and drop off times. Bus riders will be picked up Friday morning and dropped off after our 10:15 a.m. dismissal.

Students are asked to bring their schedule, locker information (found on the "Student Information" tab), and ear buds. 7th and 8th grade students who have already attended BFMS should remain at home on this day.

We can't wait to see your kids!

Dress Code

While fashion changes, the reason for being in school does not. As students mature and become adults, they will be required to meet certain dress standards for many occupational obligations and social functions. Student/staff health and safety, common decency, student schoolwork, and school and classroom order are all affected. This basic dress code does not infringe on students’ rights of freedom of expression, but rather encourages students to “dress for success” and come to school properly prepared to participate in the professional, educational process. Students are expected to observe ordinary standards of good grooming, with attire appropriate to a comfortable, yet professional and working school atmosphere.

In keeping with the above philosophy, and in order to reduce misunderstanding, the guidelines listed below have been approved by the VCS School Board.

1. The maintenance of common decency and classroom order requires adequate coverage of the person. Any clothing which reveals undergarments or the lack of undergarments will be considered inappropriate.

2. Cleanliness of person and apparel is required.

3. Pungent sprays, patchouli oils, and strong perfumes and like substances are not to be used or worn to school. These odors are disruptive to the educational process and harmful to the health of others.

4. Students will not be permitted to wear clothing which contains profanity or other suggestive inscriptions, advertises or promotes the use of death, suicide, destruction, gangs, cults, alcohol, drugs, or other substances which, if used by a minor, would be illegal. Additionally, clothing will not be permitted which advertises, promotes, or vie innuendo or double meaning, suggests inappropriate ideas or behavior not conducive to a positive school climate or is disruptive to the educational functioning of the school.

5. Students will not be permitted to wear garments such as halter tops, those which reveal bare midriffs or backs, strapless tops, see-through tops, those which contain spaghetti straps, and garments with plunging or revealing necklines. Shirts and tops must be long enough to tuck in.

6. Pants must be worn on the waist without undergarments exposed. Skirts and shorts must have an inseam of four inches or greater. Any holes in pants must be below the knee.

7. The maintenance of health and safety includes the wearing of shoes, sandals, or boots, and such additional items that may be required in special classes such as industrial technology, laboratories and physical education.

8. Unauthorized costumes will not be permitted.

9. Slippers and pajamas or other nightwear will not be permitted.

10. Attire that may cause property damage or personal injury is not to be worn (i.e., chains, shoes that may leave black marks or scuffs on the floor, etc).

11. Upon entering the building during the school day all students are to remove sunglasses, caps, hats and other head coverings.

12. A jacket or coat, which is normally worn outdoors, is to be placed in a locker during the school day. In addition, backpacks are to be stored in a locker during the school day.

The administration reserves the right to use its discretion in determining the type of clothing appropriate for the school setting. Wearing inappropriate apparel will result in the student’s removal from class until the problem is corrected and/or may result in possible further disciplinary action.

Thanks in advance for dressing for success!

Book Rental and Lab Fee Estimates

Book rental and lab fees will be based on the courses in which your child has been enrolled and scheduled. The following values are estimates for each grade level: 6th Grade $146.00, 7th Grade $187.00, and 8th Grade $195.00. Exact fees will be released in September and you will be notified. Those persons who are experiencing economic hardship may apply for textbook assistance through the registration process. Families who qualify for the free lunch program will also qualify for textbook assistance. You must check the appropriate spot on the free lunch application in order to qualify for textbook assistance. Those families that qualify are still responsible for student lab fees.

Physical Education Uniforms

6th grade and new 7th and 8th grade students may purchase physical education uniforms from Blythe's Sport Shop. You can purchase online or pick it up at the store (located at 2810 Calumet Avenue) for a cost of $27.00 ($12.50-shorts, $14.50-shirt). Students are welcome to wear uniforms purchased for older siblings. All students are expected to wear P.E. uniforms. Purchase Online

What's New This Year?

We are excited to roll out our new schedule this year with Viking Time, similar to Advisory, 9th hour for all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Viking Time will be a 27 minute class at the end of the day, which will give all students the opportunity to organize and plan for the next day. In addition, students' academic classes will increase in length to 50 minutes while Allied Arts courses will be 40 minutes long. Band, Choir, and Orchestra will be offered as an Allied Art elective rather than out of Advisory/Viking Time. Middle school classes will begin at 7:50 a.m. and conclude at 2:50 p.m. In addition to these schedule changes, we will also be introducing a new type of teacher teaming which breaks the large grade level teams into smaller teams to which students are assigned.

We are also thrilled to welcome new staff members including: Mr. Cody (6th grade ELA), Mr. Bell (6th grade Science), Mr. Brown (7th grade Math), Mrs. Mersman (P.E./Health), Mr. McAninch (German), Ms. Gloden (office), Mrs. Sorrick (Core Lab), Mrs. Frye (PASS), and Ms. Marlow (instructional assistant). We are ready for a wonderful school year!

Core Plus-New Course for 6th Graders

Valparaiso Middle Schools are excited to roll out a new class for all 6th graders called Core Plus. English Language Arts and Math teachers from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools have been busily collaborating to develop the curriculum for this class. The fifty-minute class will consist of 3/5 English Language Arts activities such as novel studies and composition while the other 2/5 of this class will be math activities to enhance learning in the students’ regular math class. The grade for the Core Plus class will be determined by the English Language Arts portion of the curriculum. The math grades earned in this class will be shared with the students’ regular math teacher and incorporated into their regular math grade. We feel the collaboration between teachers as well as the reinforcement of essential math and English skills for students in this class will benefit all. We look forward to the enhanced learning in both English and Math which Core Plus should provide our students this year.

Core Lab for 6th & 7th Graders

This class is available for students in grades 6 and 7 and is designed to help bridge gaps in students’ ELA and Math learning as well as assist them in their current classes. Students are placed in this class based on NWEA and ISTEP scores as well as teacher input. Core Lab is included as an Allied Arts/PE rotation.

Core Lab for 8th Graders

This class is available for all 8th grade students and it is scheduled as one of our Allied Arts rotations. This course is designed to enrich and challenge students according to their individualized ability levels in core academic areas. Students will also experience CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) during this lab rotation.

School Day & Calendar

Middle school classes begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. on Monday - Friday.

Open House

Our annual Open House will be held on Thursday evening, August 16, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. School doors will open at approximately 5:45 p.m. Stay tuned for further details about the this exciting night. We look forward to seeing you!



Pickup and drop off information can be found on Skyward Family Access by clicking on the “Busing” tab. Be sure your child is at the bus stop at least 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled pick up time and please understand that the afternoon drop off times are an estimate only and will most assuredly run a little later the first few weeks of school.

Pick Up and Drop Off

Students should only be picked up and dropped off at the parking lot at the corner of Park and Weston Streets. Weston is a one-way, southbound street. Campbell Street and Park Street are usually busy at dismissal when buses pick up students. We request that any parent who picks up a child after school not park across from the buses on either of these streets since it is dangerous for your child to cross the street between buses. Your cooperation in keeping our students safe is appreciated!


Regular school attendance is essential for a student’s success in school. If a student must be absent, the parent must call the attendance office before 8:00 a.m. the day of the absence at 219-531-3020 ext 4203. Additional information can be found in the student handbook.

School Lunches

To access information regarding school lunch prices, payment options and menus, please visit the Valparaiso Community Schools School Nutrition website.

Handbook/Student Expectations

The student handbook is included in assignment notebooks which each student will receive on the first day of school. It is important that both students and parents read the handbook since it contains a wealth of information designed to improve communication between home and school. This assignment notebook should help students stay organized and inform parents about assignments and other information. We hope you find it helpful!

Physical Examinations

All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students are encouraged to have a physical examination form filed out by a physician. We encourage you to do this as soon as possible. Physical examinations are mandatory for students participating on a school athletic team. Students must have a physical on file before they will be allowed to participate in practice. Ten practices are required before an athlete may participate in their first contest. Physicals that were completed after April 1 of the 2017-18 school year will be accepted for the 2018-19 school year. Athletic packets that contain the physical form are available from our main office.

Medical Appointments

Parents should make every effort to schedule medical appointments outside the school day. In the event this is not possible, he/she should bring a note from the parent to the office before school on the day of the appointment. A pass will be issued to excuse the student at the appropriate time. A copy of the return to school note from the doctor’s/dentist’s office should be given to the attendance office upon the student’s return to school.

Leaving During the School Day

Parents must come to the school office and provide a picture ID before picking up their child. Students will not be permitted to meet parents in the parking lot. Only adults whose names appear on the child’s emergency card will be permitted to pick up a student from school. Please enter Door #2 off of Campbell Street.

After School Activities

Students who miss any part of the school day, other than because of a prearranged appointment, cannot participate in or attend after school contests, practices, performances, meetings, or similar activities that same day.

Messages & Deliveries

We are unable to pass along messages or deliver items to students during the school day except in the case of emergencies. Parents may bring forgotten items to the office. Your child will then be able to retrieve these items during one of their passing periods.

We Can't Wait to See You!

We look forward to working with you and your child this coming school year! We know that we are going to have a wonderful time together. Thanks for all you do. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if there is anything you need!

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