The Franklin Academy

Weekly Update Newsletter - February 7 - 11

Big picture

Monday, February 7th

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

Tuesday, February 8th

  • Used Uniform Sales - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • PALS AM Meeting - Markell Hall 8:00am
  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall

Wednesday, February 9th

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

Thursday, February 10th

  • Pizza Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Chess Club - 3:15 Markell Hall Cafeteria
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall

Friday, February 11th

  • Port of Subs Lunch for those who pre-ordered
  • Girls Volleyball Practice 3:15-4:45 Markell Hall
  • Last Day for Returning Student Priority Enrollment

Monday, February 14th

  • Enrollment Opens up to Outside Families at 8 a.m.
  • February 14th - Valentine's Dress aka Red, Pink and White Day

Upcoming Events

  • 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
Big picture

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 (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:



John Larsen and Fiona Tucker

8th Grade Graduate and Current 8th Grader

In 2018 our family had the privilege of discovering the Franklin Academy. Having just relocated from Australia to the United States with our two middle school aged children, Josh and Ash L., we were apprehensive about an unfamiliar school system. The decision to enroll in the Franklin was an easy one - the small class sizes, the caliber of teachers, and the caring attitude of the administration all quickly allayed any concerns.

Fast forward almost four years, and Ash is in his final semester of eighth grade. We have been delighted to see Ash excel in his studies. For Ash, the STEM focus has seen him discover an aptitude for engineering, which he has enjoyed exploring through the Science Fair. Not to mention, the strong friendships he's made have been wonderful.

Josh graduated Franklin in 2020 and is now a sophomore. Highlights for Josh whilst at Franklin, were belonging to the basketball team, Yearbook, and House Council. The opportunity to belong to a team and take on responsibility, saw his confidence and social abilities strengthen. We believe that because of this, and the strong academic foundations provided by Franklin, the transition to high school has been so successful.

As Franklin parents, it has been wonderful to find ourselves part of such a supportive community. We’ve enjoyed meeting other parents that share the same concerns and goals for their children. We can confidently say The Franklin Academy has been a positive force in us putting down roots in Bellingham, and in setting our children up for success here and far beyond.

Big picture


We need more morning greeters. Sign up Here:

Also we have a couple of evenings for uniforms sales open this month by appointment only:

We are offering after school volunteer hours on select Fridays cleaning up our school grounds, pruning, spreading bark, and planting in the spring. Please sign up below if you are interested. This opportunity does not require vaccination.

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.

Middle School "Student Teacher Helper"

The Middle School students that have selected the "Student Teacher Helper" elective with Associate Head Mrs. Hurley are already helping younger students. They have been taught leadership skills and some reading strategies to assist in classrooms. As a result, they know how to engage in a positive manner while being excellent role models.

Photo Credit: Miss Camaya

Big picture

6th Grade Science learns about Types of Maps!

Ms. Harris our Middle School Science Specialist shared this: "6th grade students have been learning about different types of maps in Science, starting with topographic maps. In order to understand how topographic maps are made, students made their own landforms out of clay, sliced then into 1 cm increments and traced each slice to make contour lines.

Dissecting Squid in 7th Grade and Cow Eyes in 8th!

Ms. Harris our Middle School Science Specialist shared this:

7th grade students dissected squid to wrap up their unit on Body Systems and 8th grade students dissected cow eyes to wrap up their unit on the behavior of light, lenses, and vision.

We Love Mrs. Snyder our Music Specialist!

From drumming to learning music notes, Mrs. Snyder provides our students with a wonderful foundation in music!

Middle School Elective World of Dance Celebrates Chinese New Year!

Mrs. Samuel shared this:

"This week in my World of Dance elective, we learned a Lion Dance for Chinese New Year. Each student created a mask to dance in."

Then they Danced! Love it!

Middle School Elective World of Dance

Mrs. Brewin's First Grade Update!

We had a jam-packed week of learning. Here are some highlights:

-in reading we continued to work on visualizing, wondering, and responding to a story in writing. Next week we'll begin to learn about nonfiction text features in preparation for researching and writing our own nonfiction book about a polar animal.

-in writing, we finished our Mystery Animal writing project. Attached are photos of students reading their clues and having their classmates guess their Mystery Animal.

-in science we are having a great time learning about habitats and animal adaptations. Students finished their animal ears projects and they turned out awesome! We have been reading many great animal adaptations books. The What if you Had Animal....series has been a huge hit. We also enjoyed animal adaptations books by Steve Jenkins such as Creature Features.

-we have been creating a habitat flip book where we write an interesting fact we learned about each habitat. So far we have done rainforest and desert. Ask your student to share something they learned about those habitats.

-in math we are continuing to work on place value. Today we learned about using the 120 chart to find 1 more, 1 less, 10 more, 10 less than a number. We played a teachers vs. students game using the giant 120 chart and the students won, of course.

-I also attached some pictures of students' free choice creations!

P.E. With Mrs. Fox!

Mrs. Yorks shared this about her Kindergarten class enjoying P.E.

"Mrs. Fox is surely creative. We were delighted to see buckets of colorful balloons! And lots of colorful dots on the floor. Mrs. Fox had set up 4 stations, and after we warmed up, we moved to a station. One station had us bouncing our balloon on one finger! Another, on our palm, and next on a fist, and last, on our thumb. OH... and we had to keep one foot on one of the dots. This was so tricky! We were stretching, and balancing, and laughing! We had to use good control, or the balloon simply got away! We were trying for 20 or more hits in a row. That was amazingly hard and yet so much fun! We loved trying and trying! This was such a delightful way to get a good muscle and coordination workout! Thanks, Mrs. Fox!"

Ms. Dizon's Kindergarten Class Update!

This week was “All About Penguins” and we had so much fun learning about this special bird which was incorporated into all subject areas.

The class enjoyed watching videos to see real, not animated, penguins in their natural habitats. I read books to the class, and students read and colored their own emergent reader booklets; “My Silly Penguin” and “The Colorful Penguin”. As they read, they highlighted all the sight words that we had learned.

The book, “If You Were a Penguin?” inspired students to brainstorm ideas and write their own story.

In math penguins were part of addition and subtraction worksheets.

Our STEM experiment was, “How do penguins stay warm and dry in cold climates?” We had learned that different layers of feathers trap body heat. Using crayons (wax) on paper to simulate the oils that are preened into the feathers, we sprayed water on the wax to see if it ran off. True to science, some of their experiments worked better than others, but the point was learned.

A craft activity rounded out the week. Using creative thinking, students made a colored paper penguin, adding details so their penguin would look like an emperor, rockhopper or macaroni penguin.

We also had a race where we waddled like a penguin while protecting our pretend egg (ball).

We ended our unit by singing and dancing the penguin dance!

Mrs. Owen's Early-Kindergarten Class Update!

We have been keeping our hands nice and warm this week in our cozy mittens. There are certain books that seem to resonate with children, and Jan Brett's The Mitten does just that. I love watching the kids get wrapped up in this story. We read the story several times, reenacted the story, made puppets, and sequenced the story. Please have your kiddo use the mitten coming home today to retell the story to you, so that you too can enjoy these special moments.

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

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

-All About Number 8 handwriting, tallies, base ten, and number word

-Sight word see. Please have your kiddo read the winter reader that was sent home yesterday, we had fun taking reading turns around the circle. We talked about a reading technique called using our eagle eyes. When kiddos come to words that they are stumped on, have them look at the picture.

-Continued our addition unit with Ten Frame addition with mittens

-Prompt: “How could so many animals fit into the mitten?” I brought in a variety of large gloves/mittens-some made of wool that stretched quite a bit, and others made of leather that didn't stretch at all. We split up into small groups and at least one child in each group knew it was because the mitten had stretched. We then took bear counters and unifix cubes and compared how many bears could fit into the leather mitten vs how many could fit into the wool mitten. We graphed our results and quickly realized that more bears fit into the stretchy mittens.

-For Science, we made a Snowstorm in a Jar. The kids counted down as I added Alka-Seltzer tablets to our water, paint, glitter, and baby oil solution. Our snowstorm quickly turned into a blizzard! We learned about the density of liquids and that water and oil are immiscible as we observed the chemical reaction that creates carbon dioxide bubbles. We listened very closely and could even hear the bubbles.

-Crayon Resist Winter Hats. Kiddos made their own designs on a winter hat using white crayons. As they painted their hats with watercolors, their designs magically appeared. We discussed how paper absorbs water and how wax repels water.

-Today, I placed a large paper mitten onto the floor. We then took turns pulling animal names out of a mitten. As I called out the animals the children all tried to fit "inside" of the mitten. It was a tight fit, but we had lots of laughs, especially when the bear sneezed!

-We created snowy mittens with our hand prints inside, really enjoyed painting with shaving cream again, and scooped real cocoa mix onto our giant mugs of hot cocoa crafts.

Big picture

The Reading Corner with Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Snyder

Special thank you to the kindergarten and first grade families for making the effort to treat their books with care. There are less damaged books being returned, and both kids and parents are being more proactive in communicating with Mrs. Snyder if something happens to them. Thank you for taking care of these important school resources!

Grades 2-4 will be doing a book care review this month in library as well, and we thought we would share with you some of the things we cover. We talk about not ripping or writing in library books, keeping books away from pets and younger children, and keeping them away from water, which can be hard with all the rain and with water bottles in backpacks! Thank you for doing all that you can at home to keep the books in good condition.

Please never hesitate to reach out to us about damaged or lost books. It happens all the time (even with our own children!), and I promise that neither of us are the stereotypical old librarian who will grump at you about it. ;)

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Samuel

Mrs. Samuel's Joke of the Week!

I'm close friends with 25 letters of the alphabet, I don't know y.

Big picture

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

Mrs. Rail's Kindergarten Class Designed and Created a Hibernation Structure!

We just finished up our Winter science unit today. Over the last month we've covered winter weather, Arctic and Antarctic animals - with a focus on polar bears and penguins, snowflake symmetry, and hibernation. We started this week with a snowflake symmetry challenge. Kiddos had to work with a partner to build the largest possible symmetrical snowflake design.

We took turns using popsicle sticks and pattern blocks to build our snowflakes. (To learn a little more about snowflake symmetry, check out this video we watched:

Today we completed talking about hibernation with our Hibernation Station project. The kids built a hibernation structure that they felt would keep their animals as warm as possible during the winter. Ask your kiddo to show you how they built their Hibernation Station.

Mrs. Killian and Ms. TeVelde's 4 Year Old Preschool Update!


In December we worked on writing teen numbers. We spent time reviewing this concept this week. On Tuesday we played “Build A Snowman” and worked on adding snowballs to our snowman. The preschoolers took turns rolling the dice, and adding snowballs on the teen number box.

We are continuing to work on patterns during math. When introducing this concept, we use both physical movement and manipulatives. This week we used unifix cubes, and winter pictures to develop this skill.


We are concluding our unit on liquids and solids. In class we have talked about how adding water to ice melts the ice. On Monday we made predictions about what would happen if we added regular water vs. salt water. The preschoolers were able to compare the two solutions.

Winter weather has been fun to explore outside of the classroom, and we love opportunities to explore what we see outside in the classroom. On Friday we learned that moisture in the air can turn into frost when it gets cold. We created frost on a jar by adding ice and salt, and putting the lid on the jar.


After reviewing the letter N last week, we met Olive to Octopus, and learned about the letter O. This is a letter that most preschoolers recognize, and are able to draw. We focused on the fact that O says two sounds. As part of our writing curriculum we made snowmen pictures, and wrote about clothing we need to wear in the snow. Music is a wonderful way to introduce academic ideas. On Thursdays we have our music specialist, Mrs. Snyder. One of the activities she did this week involved telling a story using instruments.

Gross Motor

Next week is the beginning of the Winter Olympics, and we are having a small version of them in our classroom. On Monday the students learned how to cross country ski, using paper plates. We went on a fun ski trip around the classroom on our “skis”.

Mrs. Pickerill's 4 Year Old Pre-Kindergarten Update!

This week we will learn fun facts about groundhogs, celebrate groundhog’s day on Wednesday, and work with the letter K. We will also talk about the new month of February and all of the upcoming celebrations and holidays (Valentine’s day, Lunar New Year, President’s Day, etc.).

Last week we worked with the letter M, and in math we used M&Ms to sort, count, and write the amount of M&Ms for each color. It was a fun activity and a sweet treat to enjoy.

During science we learned about hibernation. “True” hibernators are animals that enter a deep sleep during winter and drastically change their body temperature and heart rate. Animals that nap during the winter enter a mini hibernation-like state called torpor. These animals include: black bears, raccoons, chipmunk, and skunks.

We also talked about snow and how it forms. Snow forms when the atmosphere is at or below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), but snow doesn’t always form every time it’s freezing outside. There must be a certain amount of moisture in the air to make snow. Snow crystals form when ice particles cling together combined with air. This makes a sort of puffed ice that turns into snowflakes.

Later in the week we then did an experiment on making pretend snow. We used and mixed together baking soda with hair conditioner and baking soda with shaving cream. The children then decided and chose which way of making “snow” they each liked better. It was pretty evenly split with the class, and it was a fun hands-on activity to do together.

Polar Bears Art by K-1st

K-1st grade artists created these wonderful Polar Bears with a variety of fun materials. We learned how to draw a portrait of a polar bear with pencil, and then we added color using Watercolor Pencils & Watercolor Crayons. It was fun to see how the color changed when we added water with a brush onto the drawings. Next, we painted the sky with Crayola Watercolor paint pans, & added salt for the stars in the sky! #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).

Big picture


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