Our goal from the onset of our Return-to-School Plan has always been to eventually welcome back all of our students in grades K-12 to full time, in-person learning, while still offering the virtual option. The effort to launch the school year with our two Academic Plan models required enormous courage by our students, parents, faculty and staff. While planning over the summer was complex we built confidence that with multiple layers of safety, STEM could remain open.
As our first confirmed case showed, our multiple layers of safety did not result in any additional cases. This gives us confidence that we are doing what is right to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Myself, along with our Leadership Team, believes that now it is time to start looking at opening up our school to four-day in-person learning on a gradual basis to our youngest learners. . We are working with our Staff Advisory Council, our Elementary School faculty and staff and our school nurse to make sure that we can accomplish this, while still maintaining our health and safety standards. .
We understand that our youngest learners and their families have been impacted the most with getting used to virtual learning and we want to be able to meet the needs of our families to the best of our abilities. Both parents and students are learning how to use STEM’s technology, and that it is a fast-pace learning curve. Our younger students need assistance with understanding written instructions, and require close parental presence to work through the tasks.
We recognize that neighboring charter schools in DCSD are open five days a week with full classes of 25 without any clusters of infection, and that the Cherry Creek School District and the Jefferson County School District also have full K-5 classes five days a week without outbreaks.
In order for us to be able to take the next steps, our Elementary families will receive a survey asking for their Feedback. The survey will close next Tuesday to allow for us to review the data and present it to our staff. STEM would like to better quantify parent needs to problem solve how STEM can creatively meet. We understand that not all preferences can be met, and that some preferences are in conflict with others. By being flexible, STEM can fulfill the majority of needs that our families are sharing with us.
If the published recommendations for schools in DCSD remain a green light, STEM will continue to move in the direction of offering more in-person flexibility for our students and families. . This will require massive cooperation across our entire community. We will continue to offer the 100% Virtual/Online option for all of K-12 to meet the needs of our families who prefer this option.
Thank you for your commitment to STEM and our mission of Never Stop Innovating.
P.J. Eucker PhD, Executive Director