About Franklin West SU

School District in Fairfax, Fletcher, Georgia, VT. Apple Distinguished Program. League of Innovative Schools. "A belief in what is possible."


The tip-off of the 2018-19 BFA Fairfax basketball season is just around the corner, and the BFA Athletic Department is pleased to welcome two new members to the high school basketball family.  New junior varsity coaches Patrick Greene (boys) and Leslie Lamoureux (girls) are two experienced and highly skilled coaches who bring fantastic ideas and energy to our programs. We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce them to our school community.

Patrick Greene – JV Boys Basketball

Can you tell us about your coaching experience?

I have coached at all levels of basketball over the last 10+ years. Most recently, for the past four seasons, I have been an assistant coach for JV & Varsity at a DII high school in Providence RI where we made the playoffs 3 out of the last 4 seasons. I also coached the #1 ranked JV in the state two seasons ago (14-1). In addition to that I have been coaching for a well known, highly competitive AAU program in RI for the last 6 years, competing against the top competition throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

What are you most excited for this season?

Being in a new environment and getting to know all of the players and their families. I love being in the gym with the team for practices and games. Watching the players improve over the season, seeing their confidence grow, and teaching them things they might not have known about the game to start.

What will success look like for you?

Every team I coach I always measure success the same way; how many kids come back the following season. Everyone wants to win games, everyone wants to be successful and especially nowadays there is a lot of pressure on coaches, players, and all involved but if a player comes back the next season it usually means they had fun, felt challenged, learned some life lessons, and generally enjoyed the experience. To me that’s success.

Do you have a favorite sports memory?

Last year I was asked to “help out” if I could with a middle school CYO team. When I arrived to the tryout I was the only coach in a gym of 30+ kids much to my surprise. I had to run a tryout on the fly, make three teams, and head coach one of the teams. The team I coached ended up going 12-2 and had the #2 seed in the state playoff. We rolled through the playoffs and ended up beating the #1 seed in the state finals (a very good city team that beat us by 17 during the season). We won the state title and went on to represent RI in the “New Englands” in Hartford, CT.

Leslie Lamoureux – JV Girls Basketball

Can you tell us about your coaching experience?

5 years coaching high school girls basketball at Keene High School in Keene, NH.

What are you most excited for this season?

I am excited to see what the season will bring. Working with a new group of girls and in a different environment can seem a bit intimidating but this athletic program has welcomed me and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it.

What will success look like for you?

1. Building and working together as a team/program  2. learning how to become a better teammate 3. to of course HAVE FUN! ….all three I believe will lead to a successful season.

Do you have a favorite sports memory?

I played basketball at Norwich University. At one of our away games, the gym (at Simmons University) was located in a lower part of an athletic building, where we needed to take an elevator to get there. When the doors opened, we noticed a team was already practicing on the court. It was the San Antonio Spurs getting ready for their game against the Celtics that night! We were able to get a few autographs on our shoes. Quite the memory!!!

THE FWSU STORY: Celebrating 30 Days of Kindness at Georgia School

GEMS students celebrate kindness

This year, the fifth graders at Georgia Elementary Middle School are focusing on kindness.  Teachers started the year challenging the students to 30 days of random acts of kindness.  The students kept track of their acts of kindness on slips of paper and hung them outside Mr. Demar’s and Ms. Mandigo’s classrooms. 

During these 30 days, we saw students inviting new peers to sit with them at lunch or including them in play at recess. Teachers saw students leaving notes of appreciation for our custodial staff and other staff members throughout the school. They witnessed students picking up items off the floor that other students had dropped.  Teachers saw students supporting and encouraging each other. It has been great to experience all the random acts of kindness being extended by so many of our students. 

Along with the 30 days of random acts of kindness, each student painted a kindness rock. These rocks are under the lone tree by the labyrinth. 

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”


Through a generous grant, the entire fifth-grade teaching staff and students were presented with Be Kind t-shirts. These shirts will be worn by all of fifth-grade on the last Friday of each month. The last Friday of the month is also when the fifth-grade students are recognized for their many talents.

GEMS students display their kindness t-shirts

Building on the theme of kindness, fifth-grade students will participate in a Holiday Toy Drive for children. As many students as possible will bring gifts to school by December 14th to distribute within our community. 

It has been a great start to the school year!

UN SDG Global Goal 4: Quality Education

THE FWSU STORY: A Thanksgiving Celebration of Community at BFA Fairfax

Last Thursday, our students, families, and staff members came together to enjoy a wonderful meal and celebrate our community.

Thanksgiving lunch is one of my favorite events at our school. It reminds me how fortunate we are to have an engaged and supportive community in Fairfax.  

Thank you to The Abbey Group and our student volunteers for providing all of us a delicious meal. I hope everyone has a safe, relaxing day and an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this community.

Be well!


Thomas Walsh is currently Principal of BFA Fairfax Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @ecucatamount

THE FWSU STORY: Teaching Young Children Self-Regulation for Resilience

For young learners, it is important to take a break and relax during the school day.


Children in Miss Sweet’s class take 3 minutes each school day to lay down, relax their muscles and practice breathing in through their noses and out through their mouths.  It sounds simple but it requires practice! Many children try to pant or do quick breaths, those are not relaxing breaths.


These children are doing the Drain Breath.


Ask your children about the different breaths they’ve learned to create calm and balance in their busy day of learning. And it’s not just for children – adults can benefit from these techniques as well.


Self-Regulation is an important skill for young learners as a tool for maintaining social-emotional awareness and resilience.

Stay connected with all that is happening by visiting the Georgia Elementary Preschool Program blog

THE FWSU STORY: BFA Fairfax Students Return From China Learning Experience

Students and teachers are settling back in to daily life at BFA Fairfax after returning from a whirlwind week in China. It’s hard to imagine that just last week we were on the other side of the world.


We were graciously invited by Spiral International to be ambassadors for international exchange in which we visited six schools in three cities in five days. We were even able to reunite briefly with students in Chongqing and Chengdu who had previously participated in our summer cultural exchange program.  


Students and staff were very warmly welcomed to each school. We were invited to participate in  round table discussions with administration, morning exercises, flag raising and traditional fan dance ceremonies, dance lessons, paper cutting, kung fu, and a friendly basketball match all before lunch on Monday! We were treated to lessons in leaf pressing, calligraphy, and we are still humming the tune we learned about the kapok tree (in Mandarin). Students shadowed classes in physics, politics, psychology, mathematics, and of course English.

Though our days were full, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to explore numerous museums, the famous Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, and downtowns Chongqing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.

Our students made BFA proud. They were adventurous eaters, resilient travelers, and cultural ambassadors who reminded us constantly of the human connections which we all share.

Global Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals #teachSDGs


THE FWSU STORY: Fletcher Students Celebrate International Education Week with Cultural Read-Aloud

A collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, International Education Week aims to promote the exchange of learning world-wide, promote programs that prepare Americans for the global environment, and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.
Fletcher’s school-based leadership team members each selected a children’s book that reflects an international theme. Some of the books celebrated education specifically, while others shared cultural experiences. At a whole-school gathering, each reader presented a one-minute “book talk” about their chosen story and students then selected the book they wanted to hear. Following the read-aloud, the books each became available to students and staff in the school library.
“We came together to celebrate and appreciate our similarities and differences and learn about others,” instructional coach and leadership team member Denette Locke said. “In this small way, our world became just a little bit smaller for our students.”
“Every time I learn something new about a different place or different people I feel like I know them a little better and get more and interested in how things are different in other places,” sixth grader Monica King said. “I also learned that even though we do a lot of things differently around the world we are mostly the same.”
Fletcher’s cultural read-aloud was a registered event with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Exchange Programs. The books that were read included, Waiting on the Biblioburrothe story of how library books are delivered by donkey in another country, as well as Tikki Tikki Temboa playful tale of Chinese culture, among others.
“Our school’s leadership team understands that we are a small, rural school. At the same time we provide a tremendous amount of individual attention, we also recognize that our size and geographic location can be culturally isolating for our students. We have a responsibility to bring the world to students in an effort to help them understand, respect and problem-solve with others,” special educator and leadership team member Sarah Tucker said.
“In addition to the cultural aspects, ” Tucker said, “this type of literacy-based learning also reminds our students that they can easily learn about, and connect with, people and places around the world through the great literature they have at their fingertips at school. It’s a good reminder that you can visit people and places across the globe without leaving Fletcher.”
International Education week takes place simultaneously with American Education week.
GOAL 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.






Chris and Jackson

Christopher Dodge is the Principal of Fletcher Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @FletcherFalcon

THE FWSU STORY: Playing with Math and Literacy in Georgia Preschool

If you visit our preschool classrooms you will find so many learning opportunities for children.


These children were playing bakery and wanted to take down orders.


Children are given many different writing tools and mediums to explore writing and drawing.  When children experiment with writing tools, they develop symbolic thinking skills and fine motor skills.  Marks take on meaning.


This boy was saying letter names as he made marks on his paper.


These children were playing restaurant and taking orders.


Two of the preschool classrooms have “Shape Shops” up and running in dramatic play.  The shape shops are places where you can buy shapes.  You should hear the math language being used as children buy and sell shapes.  They can use the shapes to create a piece of art!


There are shapes to cut in the sensory table…


There are shapes to play with on the tables!


Math and literacy opportunities pop up in the most unexpected places.  What opportunities do your children have at home?  If you start looking and noticing, I bet you will be surprised at how many opportunities there are in your conversations, routines, and play.

Stay connected with all that is happening by visiting the Georgia Elementary Preschool Program blog