Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members:
In his award winning book Good to Great, author Jim Collins states: “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.” This is the theme that is driving the students, families and staff for the 2012-2013 school year at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. In our journey to travel from “Good to Great” we are all making the necessary choices to guide our daily practice. The quest for high academic achievement and the appreciation and respect for cultural and ideological differences is the norm and daily mission of the Benjamin Franklin Middle School community. The ultimate goal is that students become lifelong learners and active members of our democracy.
Benjamin Franklin Middle School students are provided with many opportunities for extracurricular activities when the traditional school day comes to a close. The selections include: band, orchestra, chorus, performing choir, jazz band, intramural sports, peer tutoring, student government and yearbook production. The student government provided an opportunity for elected students to represent their peers concerning issues in the school as well as in planning social and community service events. The BF Achievers group targeted 6th, 7th and 8th grade male students and provide them with opportunities to explore careers, address current issues, develop leadership skills and foster bonds and rapport with their peers and adult volunteers from the community.
Last year, DREAMS, the girls mentoring program addressed adolescent issues in workshop forums, allowing students to examine their perceptions more in depth and engage in dialogue to increase their awareness. Students were encouraged to build communication skills and become more involved within their school community. Overall, the goal was to provide them with emotional support, assist them in learning more about themselves, and building their leadership potential for future achievement.
We will continue our unique partnerships with Fairleigh Dickinson University and William Patterson University. Students from Fairleigh Dickinson University were frequent visitors to our sixth and fifth grade classrooms and assisted our students with literacy interventions. Select students from our eighth grade class had an opportunity to be a “college student for a day” at William Paterson University. The students visited the campus, experienced a classroom setting, interacted with undergraduate students and dialogued with university professors and administrators about the college admission process.
The Benjamin Franklin Family is enthusiastic about creating an even better learning community. The Parents/Guardians are encouraged to join and be active partners through their participation in such forums as the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Building Quality Management Team (BQMT). The PTO sponsored many informational sessions and discussion opportunities for parents and teachers. They also supported and highlighted student achievement through honor roll celebrations and school wide assembly programs. Parents and community members are also encouraged to participate in our “lunch date” program. Last year we had over twenty five volunteers. In this program parents and community members are encouraged to have lunch with a select group of students to discuss their professional and academic journey during the school day. Parent and community insight are always appreciated as we venture towards greatness.
Lennox H. Small, Ed.D.