FAQs

What are the school hours?

  • School hours: 8:15 – 3:30
  • AM kindie hours: 8:15 – 11:15
  • PM kindie hours: 12:30 – 3:30

Does Ben Franklin Academy charge tuition?

BFA is a kindergarten through eighth grade public, charter school. We are funded by the state with tax dollars. BFA charges tuition for its Core Knowledge preschool and full-day kindergarten programs. Like neighborhood schools, we charge for supplies and other appropriate fees.

Are there academic requirements to attend Ben Franklin Academy?

No. BFA is a public school and cannot turn away children based on academic performance or any other factor.

Are uniforms mandatory?

Yes. Students wear uniforms at BFA. Uniforms reduce distractions related to clothing. The learning environment is significantly influenced by student’s attire.  The purpose of the uniform is to promote learning, reduce the distraction and cost of fashion, reduce disruptions and disciplinary problems, and to promote student pride in themselves and their school. Please see the uniform policy for details.

What makes Ben Franklin Academy unique from other charter schools?

We use the Core Knowledge sequence like many charter schools, but what makes BFA unique is our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) focus and our character education programs. We provide active learning opportunities through our science and technology labs, field trips and frequent use of hands-on lessons; and encourage good values through virtues education and recognition programs. In addition, we create a strong sense of community through our school-wide and grade-level traditions.

When asked what they like best about BFA, parents often comment that they appreciate the challenging curriculum, the focus on the individual student and the fact that, at BFA, parents are encouraged to get involved and have many opportunities to be a part of their student’s education.

Is Ben Franklin Academy too hard for my student?

A message from Principal Barber in response to this question:

Recently, I overheard a conversation between two parents who were discussing whether or not BFA is too hard for their kids. The conversation even went to the point that one parent said they were thinking of sending their child to one of the traditional neighborhood middle schools next year because it would be easier for their child. I must admit, that this is not the first time I have heard mention that there is a perception among a group of parents that BFA is too hard. I processed everything I heard and have an undeniable answer to the question about BFA being too hard. The answer is, NO! It is not too hard!

BFA offers students the opportunity to achieve and grow academically in a safe and caring environment. It is a school where students are challenged to do their best and given the resources to meet all challenges. When I hear the comment that BFA is too hard I interpret that to mean that school is impossible, burdensome, exhausting and overly frustrating. Instead, I believe BFA is appropriately challenging for students.

–        We set high expectations.

–        We hold students accountable; and

–        We recognize and reward students for their accomplishments.

A challenging curriculum can be fun and exciting especially when students and parents see just how well prepared they are for high school.

 WHAT IS RIGOR?

Academic rigor is determined not just by what is taught, but how it is taught and how it is assessed. To prepare students for the future, schools need to not only be able to teach complex concepts in a way that students with various learning styles can understand, but they need to ensure testing adequately gauges an understanding of the curriculum. This is what teachers at BFA strive to do every day.

A rigorous curriculum is “focused, coherent, and appropriately challenging.” The Core Knowledge Curriculum, not to be confused with Common Core, is a challenging curriculum; one that will prepare students to be successful in high school, college and throughout their life.

But curriculum design is only part of what defines rigor. What actually happens in classrooms is hugely important, too. Students are introduced to new concepts and skills in the classroom and given plenty of opportunities to practice and master those skills. At BFA, classroom learning is supplemented with hands-on learning to reinforce concepts. In addition, BFA teachers are available in the classroom to help students.

It is worth noting that many educators equate rigor with pain, rigid thinking, and harshness – they think it means HARD. Too often, rigor becomes ‘Let’s give more homework.’ Rigor does not mean more homework. Rather, it means giving students relevant and appropriately challenging work to further their reasoning and critical thinking skills. A rigorous and relevant curriculum requires students to use knowledge to create and apply solutions to complex, real-world problems.

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR MY SOON-TO-BE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT?

Middle School is not easy, nor is it hard. It’s not an easy time socially and emotionally for kids.  It’s not easy academically. Yes, our students are asked to work hard. We are an academically rigorous school, and our curriculum can be challenging. We balance these daily challenges with brain breaks, recess and advisory time. Furthermore, students can choose from a wide variety of electives based on their interests to round out their day. The skills they are learning, along with their academics, such as organization and time management, will help them to be successful in high school.

How do we know that what we are doing is working? Our former students tell us it’s working. They say that they were very prepared for high school and concepts new to other kids were a review for them. We hear this again and again from parents and former students. In fact, many mention they feel high school is easy. The reason they feel that way is due to the amazing foundation that was built while attending Ben Franklin Academy. The middle school teachers are the best in the business and will challenge the students, but will give them the support, encouragement and tools to meet all challenges.

The hard part is that most of the students (and parents) do not realize how well prepared they are for high school until they are actually in high school. That is when they realize the benefits of a BFA education. Hindsight is 20-20 vision. Foresight is having the trust and confidence to know that having your child complete kindergarten through eighth grade at Ben Franklin Academy is one of the best things you can do for your child.

Is BFA too hard? NO!!! Rather, it is the foundation of a successful future!

When will I know if my child has been enrolled?

Open enrollment and our lottery will occur early December. If your number was drawn, we will contact you via the information provided by you on your application.

How big are the core classes?

Kindergarten classes average between 14 and 16 students, depending on half- or full-day status.  Core classes in first through eighth grade average 26 students.

How does the lottery work?

BFA is the Core Knowledge STEAM school of choice where all students are eligible to enroll through our lottery process. We enroll new K-8 students using a lottery system so that every child has an opportunity to attend BFA. 

Here’s how our enrollment process works:

  • In the fall (one year prior to the enrollment year), new families may begin applying online for the next school year to fill available spaces after current families re-enroll.
  • New families will need to submit an online application in order to be included on our wait list.
  • A random lottery will be held for available openings in December.
  • Families selected via the lottery will be contacted and given 24 hours to accept or decline the offer.
  • Enrollment documents will be due 1 week after an offer is accepted.

Enrollment Priorities

Student enrollment is prioritized in the following order:

  1. Currently enrolled students;
  2. Siblings of current students. Siblings that share the same birth date (ie. twins or triplets) shall receive automatic enrollment;
  3. Children in the household of Founding Families;
  4. Children of full-time teachers;
  5. Currently enrolled Preschool students, then
  6. General wait list.

How are charter schools funded?

Charter schools are funded by tax dollars. Every student is allocated a dollar amount for his/her education (per pupil revenue). This money follows the student to his/her school, whether a traditional or charter public school.