Ben Franklin Academy (BFA), located near C-470 and Lucent Boulevard, is “The STEAM School of Choice” in Douglas County, Colorado. We are a kindergarten through eighth grade public, charter school that combines a challenging, sequenced curriculum with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) as well as character education. BFA also provides a tuition-based, Core Knowledge preschool.
The mission of BFA “is to develop young adults with character like America’s founding Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin: well-read, scientifically curious, and civically engaged.”
This is supported by BFA’s vision that:
Our students will excel academically through a challenging, sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, and literacy. We will be a data driven institution, focusing on individual students. Our students, teachers, parents, staff, and leaders will be held accountable for the success of our school. Finally, we recognize that an education is incomplete without fostering the arts, sports, nature, and character.
BFA uses the proven Core Knowledge Sequence (not to be confused with Common Core) to provide preschool through eighth grade students with a well-rounded education, which places emphasis on science, mathematics and literacy. We focus on the success of each individual student through the use of flexible ability grouping and differentiated instruction. BFA uses grade-level field trips to enhance classroom instruction and create exciting additional hands-on learning opportunities for our students. Further, our character education program is modeled on Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues and enhanced by other programs, such as Rachel’s Challenge.
In middle school, our students benefit from receiving a dedicated Chromebook for use during their tenure at BFA. We also offer these students honors core classes (science, math, language arts and social studies) as well as a wide range of electives in addition to their PE/Health, STEAM Lab, Life Skills and Spanish rotation. Consistent with our mission and vision, students can participate in middle school sports and are presented with a variety of leadership opportunities, including Student Council and National Junior Honor Society.
At BFA, parents and teachers work collaboratively toward the success of our school. BFA families commit to volunteering for the school and annually have logged more than 20,000 volunteer hours (the equivalent of more than 10 full-time employees). BFA volunteers can be found helping students out of their cars in carpool and with their lunches, listening while young students learn to read, assisting teachers in preparing a grant application, organizing a school fundraiser and doing so much more. Having parent volunteers at BFA shows our students that we take an interest in and value their education. Moreover, we are teaching by example that it is important to participate in the larger community.
BFA’s continued success is due to the partnership and dedication of our students, teachers, parents, staff and leaders.
History and Facility
Driven by their desire to provide a choice in educational programs for their children, parents in Douglas County, Colorado, came together and created a vision for BFA in the winter and spring of 2010. BFA opened its doors for instruction at its new facility on September 6, 2011 for preschool through sixth grade. Since then, both its student body and facility have grown. BFA now serves students in preschool through eighth grade and maintains a waitlist for enrollment.
BFA’s facility is a two-story building of about 84,500 square feet with more than 40 classrooms, including two preschool classrooms. BFA recently completed a $5 million, 18,500 square foot addition on the north side of the building. The new space features additional instructional space to enhance our students’ STEAM experience.
The new STEAM enhancement contains a full-sized gym for PE and middle school sports; two state-of-the-art technology labs, including one with a dedicated robotics space; new science rooms; a new, larger art room with tons of natural light and a kiln; and a bigger music room with plenty of space for creative expression and instruments. The addition also features a large performance area, complete with sound system and performance-quality lighting. An additional paved lot with more than 170 spaces also was part of the project.
In addition to these recent enhancements, BFA has a second gym, a dedicated elementary science lab, a robust library and a middle school commons. BFA’s classrooms are equipped with audio enhancement capabilities for improved instruction, and teachers use the whiteboards installed in each classroom with iPads to further engage the students.
BFA continues to invest in its students and programs, consistent with our original vision for the property, so we can fulfill our mission and vision. As America’s founding father and inspiration for BFA’s name, Benjamin Franklin said, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’
Getting It Started