We are serving lunch this week! Our vendors are excited to work with us, providing students with foods they know and love. Please get your orders in ASAP!!! It’s not too late to order for Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday! We are anxious to show our vendors that this will be profitable for them and worth their time. Follow this link:
https://secure.orderlunches.com/access.php, get registered and get those orders coming to show your support of our new lunch program!
https://secure.orderlunches.com/access.php, get registered and get those orders coming to show your support of our new lunch program!
The mission of Benjamin Franklin High School is to train students to be intellectually curious - akin to the namesake of our school. Through intensive study of the true, the good, and the beautiful, students develop to
their academic and personal potential. Additionally, the school will train the hearts of students according to universally accepted and eternal virtues – understanding that the best education is only valuable upon a moral foundation. Thus, our students walk with integrity and character, knowing what it is to be a thoughtful citizen in a democratic-republic and a positive force in their community.
BFHS will not have BLOCK DAYS the first two weeks of school. Wednesday, July 30th - Friday, August 1st we will be on REGULAR SCHEDULE. Monday, August 4th - Friday, August 8th will be ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE. School will begin and end at the regular time. Please note these changes and feel free to contact the HS office with any questions.
Summer Assignments/ Book Lists
English Assignment 7th Grade Book List
English Assignment 8th Grade Book List
English Assignment 9th Grade Book List
English Assignment 10th Grade Book List
AP European History Assignment
English Assignment 11th Grade Book List
AP English Assignment
Foreword from Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal
democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly
older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an
externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is
required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw
it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that
undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost
infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Interestingly, this book was written in 1985. Sadly, Mr. Postman has proven to be more of a prophet on this matter than even he could have imagined.
I highly recommend this book and would note this is a prime reason why we educate our youth and more specifically, why we need to education them classically. Images have
replaced the written word as the primary vehicle for conveying ideas, and
consequently our ability to transmit our culture to succeeding generations has
suffered due to the fact that the greatest ideas in the history of the world cannot be done justice through multimedia. It is like teaching the Declaration of Independence through the use of smoke signals – the messenger obscures the message.
As people, young and old, worship at the altar of technology and become increasingly distracted and desensitized, it is our mission to hold firm to eternal truths and pass along
the heritage that has made our country great. This is not to say that technology does not serve a very important purpose in every society – we are not Luddites. However, our focus should have a higher aim.
The season of enrollment is upon us. I know that many parents are already looking toward next year in figuring out where to place students. We have had some wonderful "Open House" nights, where parents and students from the community have come to see our school and a presentation about what makes us different, special, and in our opinion, superior. However, many of our own parents are unaware of the scope of what we offer and are planning to offer at the high school level. I would encourage those parents that are still considering their school options to look at our curriculum maps and course catalogue in order to get an idea of the sort of education that we offer. And of course you can always call or email me if you have any questions about our program.
I wanted to take a moment in order to give our families an update on the progress of our athletic fields and also, to share some exciting news.
We are proud to announce that the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has accepted our application for membership for the 2014-2015 school year. This will allow our sports programs opportunities to compete at a high level as well as provide stability in the scheduling of all our extra-curricular activities.
While we had hoped and expected to have our athletic fields in place by this point, some unforeseen delays have postponed the process. Now the good news – the fields are on their way! The funding is, and has been, in place for some time. The
engineering and planning (one of the final hurdles) is happening as we speak and
should be completed by month’s end. The timeline for completion is approximately two months after the commencement of the project. In short, you should see
progress on our athletic fields soon – allowing for completion before the summer
begins. Again, we thank you for your patience as we are all looking forward to that time in the near future when our athletic fields are complete.
Dr. Arnn's visit to our school on February 19th
Benjamin Franklin High School is extremely honored to have Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, coming to speak at our school. Dr. Arnn is one of the
leading voices in the United Stated regarding many principles that are near and
dear to us here at Benjamin Franklin; such as liberty, constitutionalism and the
need for a robust education in the Western Tradition. Dr. Arnn is a constitutional scholar, author, lecturer, and educator and an expert in classical education and the history of American education. Dr. Arnn spent 1977 to 1980 at the London School of Economics studying international history and then modern history at Oxford. While in England, he worked as Director of Research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill.
Dr. Arnn can be heard each Friday from 6-7 pm on syndicated radio via the Hugh Hewitt show (locally on KKNT 960) where Dr. Arnn guides listeners through the great people and works of Western Civilization. Archives of these broadcasts can be found as podcasts under the label Hillsdale Dialogues, and they are extremely entertaining, informative, and highly recommended. Additionally, Hillsdale publishes Imprimis, a free monthly speech digest dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political and
educational issues of enduring significance. In the interest of spreading the ideals of constitutional government and free market ideas, Hillsdale College also offers several online courses, including those on economics and the Constitution.
This is an event that should not be missed. Because he believes so strongly in our vision, Dr. Arnn has agreed to speak at our school; this opportunity will most likely not present itself again. Dr. Arnn’s lecture for this event is titled, “Liberty
and Learning.” I can say without reservation, there is no better spokesman in the country for a classical and constitutional education. Please make arrangements to attend - you will not be disappointed.
What does the word "opportunity" mean?
One of the most frequently asked questions or expressed sentiments that I hear is about "opportunities" that our school offers versus larger, district schools. Opportunity can be a counterintuitive idea. What I mean is this: The larger the school and the more opportunities that a school offers its student body can actually limit opportunity for the individual student. While larger schools with two, three or four thousand students may offer more opportunities on paper and in total, how many of those will your child be able to participate in? What most students experience when attending larger schools is that they must dedicate themselves to one sport, activity, or club in order to be able to participate. The school is so large that every activity has a number of students that specialize in each one - thus limiting the number things a student can reasonably expect to be involved in. Every sport has a number of club players that also play for the school. Each club and activity has a dedicated number of students that also specialize. Therefore, students are forced to dedicate and commit themselves to one thing in order to participate in anything.
A classical, liberal arts program eschews this modern phenomenon of taking children at an early age and pigeonholing them - either academically or in extracurricular activities. A truly educated person is a well-rounded, and we like to say, well-grounded person. We are building our program with a very clear vision. One aspect of this vision is that our school will always remain small, relative to the surrounding district schools. This allows our students to be involved in many, many activities and to gain the benefit of the corresponding learning and experiences. So far this year we have had a varsity basketball player and cheerleader sing the national anthem before the game. Football players have had to change in the car on the way to their choir concert. We have students performing in plays and with the orchestra and band on the same night. The list goes on. Our students learn what it is to truly have a respect and appreciation of all aspects of school life. Benjamin Franklin students are not a number - they are all integral parts of our campus fabric and contribute to our school culture in various and diverse ways.
There seems to be some misinformation floating around concerning AP courses at Benjamin Franklin High School and I hope to clear up any confusion. We currently have two AP offerings for our sophomores - AP Biology and AP European History. We are very proud that from our 43 current tenth graders, the combined enrollment for these course is 27. Next school year, as our students continue to roll up into their junior year, we will be offering AP 11 English, AP United States History and AP Chemistry. For the 2015-2016 school year, we will be offering AP 12 English, AP Government/Economics, AP Calculus, AP Physics, as well as the possibility of AP offerings in Art History and Music Theory. By the time our first crop of seniors graduates, they will have had the opportunity to take a minimum of nine AP courses. We are a college prep school with the goal of providing opportunities to our students that are limited only by their imagination, hard work, and desire. Oftentimes in life when a new and better option comes along, competitors and detractors will try to spread misleading information or downright untruths. If you have not had the opportunity to attend an orientation in order to get a clearer picture of our vision for our students, please plan on attending on either February 11th or March 5th at 6:30pm. Attached you will find our curriculum maps in order that you may peruse them for yourself.
English History Math Science Fine Arts
January 27, 2014
What is the Purpose of Education?
When we hear the word, "Education", it has many different meaning to different people. Education certainly had a more altruistic purpose in the time of the founders.
Certainly the Founders of America who wrote the Massachusetts
School Law of 1789 had a perception of education that differs widely from the aims of most current educations when they wrote about the importance of
“piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity,
and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry and frugality, chastity,
moderation and temperance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of
human society, and the basis upon which the Republican Constitution is
Here is an excerpt from the preamble of Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.: "And whereas it is generally true that that people will be happiest whose laws are best, and are best administered . . . whence it becomes expedient for promoting the public happiness that those persons whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens." Today, most schools tout their "vocational" programs as "skills for the 21st century. They are concerned with only the functional purposes of our existence, and not the higher aims of life. Jefferson would consider this type of "education" not worthy of our time and effort.
Here is Benjamin Franklin’s first line from his essay on the formation of an academy for Philadelphia: "The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness both of private Families and of
Finally, article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance of 1785 reads: Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
In our modern culture we must reconsider what it means to be truly "educated", and our template should come from the greatest minds of all time, specifically our Founders. Their aims for education were not acquire "skills", but rather knowledge and understanding that they could apply for the good.
January 23, 2014
Very, Very Exciting News
It is with great excitement and anticipation that we announce that on February 19th, Benjamin Franklin High School will be hosting Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College. We are honored that Dr. Arnn would make a special trip to visit our school and speak with our families and community about the history, heritage and benefits of classical education. This is an event that you will not want to miss! There will be a question and answer session following the presentation. Please mark the date on your calendar and reserve your tickets early as this will be a sold out event. Below you will find links to an event flyer, Dr. Arnn's biography and the esteemed history of Hillsdale College.
January 22, 2014
The Case for Latin
There are SO many reasons to study Latin, so in the interests of brevity here are but
1) Studying Latin serves as an in depth study of the English language. Over 50% of our language can be traced to Latin and the precise nature of Latin lends to a deeper understanding of English grammar.
2) Latin is the scholarly language of the sciences, law, history, etc. To understand Latin is to have a very big head start in many academic areas.
3) Those with a foundation in Latin score significantly higher on the SAT and ACT test. As a college-prep school, this is a fact that cannot be ignored.
4) Even more than the improvement in vocabulary which most students experience, the best reason for studying Latin and the Romans is that you will enter a new and
different world which can tell you much about your own and will help to educate
you, for understanding the past is a major part of being educated. As the famous
Roman orator Cicero said, "Not to know what happened before you were born is to
be forever a child." By observing Roman values, attitudes, and behavior and by
comparing them to our own, you can come to know another way of seeing reality
and can broaden your experience.
Across the nation, studies have shown Latin to be effective in improving SAT scores.
Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students
consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT.
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Latin 672 674 681 672 678 677 676 678
All Students 507 508 508 503 502 502 502 501
French 638 642 643 637 637 632 631 633
German 626 627 637 632 632 627 630 626
Spanish 575 575 573 577 574 565 557 561
Hebrew 628 630 620 623 622 611 619 612
*2003-2010 Taken from Tables 1 and 20 in College-Bound Seniors — A Profile of SAT Program. Test Takers. 2010 data taken from 2010 College-Bound Seniors-Total Group Profile Report.
In the District of Columbia, elementary school students who studied Latin developed
reading skills that were five months ahead of those who studied no foreign language and four months ahead of those who studied French or Spanish. Two years earlier, the same students had been excluded from foreign language classes because of substandard reading performance.
In Philadelphia, students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades received 15 to 20 minutes of daily instruction in Latin for one year. The performance of the Latin students was one full year higher on the Vocabulary Subtest of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) than the performance of matched control students who had not studied Latin.
Math Problem Solving
Sixth-grade students in Indianapolis who studied Latin for 30 minutes each day for five
months advanced nine months in their math problem solving abilities. In addition, the students exhibited the following advances in other areas:
Latin is the key to the vocabulary and structure of the Romance languages and to the
structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.
Dorothy Sayers, The National Review
January 21, 2014
With all that is involved in the creation of a new
program, it is easy to overlook one very important goal - namely, to communicate
consistently with parents about what is happening in their child’s school.
I hope this blog goes a long way toward rectifying this situation. There
is so much that I look forward to educating parents about regarding what we do
and why we do it. This will be a forum for just that. Please check back
often and I hope you will find this ongoing conversation enlightening and
Our school is unique. We have adopted a classical curriculum and philosophy that has educated the greatest minds in the history of the world – from the greatest minds of antiquity, through the ages, to our own Founding Fathers and
beyond. Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study (grammar stage). In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments (logic stage). In the high school years, they learn to express themselves (rhetoric stage). This classical pattern is called the trivium - and it produces graduates that have been refined by the process and are truly educated.
Modern day approaches to education make the mistake of thinking that our problems are exclusive to our times. They, therefore, cut off students from the wisdom of the ages. When an intensive study of the ancients is undertaken, we find that the greatest minds of history have already confronted these same issues, and we get to sit under their teaching and reasoning, all the while finding our own moral compass. When we choose those works of literature, art, music, and the like, our motto should be that of Winston Churchill: “I shall only be satisfied with the
Too often, schools are secretive and non-transparent. Here at BFHS, we strive to be neither. I am so excited about what we are providing for our students and I love talking about it. We teach differently because we have higher goals for our students’ education than to merely get a job; we assess and motivate our
students differently because we have loftier standards than those found in
the modern culture. Our goal is that our students exit our school knowing what
it is to be a virtuous citizen and ready to engage in what Mortimer Adler calls
the “Great Conversation” — the ongoing conversation of great minds down through