Getting Informed at STEM

Informed families are empowered families. We want to make it as easy as possible for families to access all of the information needed to help their students have the best experience possible. This page includes information about the  Student/Parent Handbook, our newsletters and more.

Student/Parent Handbook

The Student/Parent Handbook is the ultimate resource for all of our families. Click the button below to download the Handbook.

Attendance Information

Attendance Line: (303) 683-7836

A student should be sent home if they exhibit any of the following:

  • Skin eruptions/rashes
  • Nausea / vomiting / diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • Eye drainage

Other conditions that are indicators of illness and are considered when determining illness are:

  • Decreased activity – droopy, tired appearance
  • Irritable behavior
  • Sore throat / swollen glands
  • Runny nose/cough

When can a child return to school?

After 24 hours of medication for the following conditions:

  • Strep throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Infected skin eruptions
  • Other conditions requiring antibiotics

The student has been free of the following conditions for at least 24 hours:

  • Fever
  • Eye drainage

The student has been free of the following conditions for at least 48 hours:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Source: Health Guidelines Manual

Absence or Tardy

If your student is ill or late, please call the attendance line (303) 683-7836 by 8 a.m. stating a clear reason why they are missing school or if they will be late. If your student is late, please be sure that they clearly write their name on the Late Arrivals sheet in the their school office. Elementary students MUST be signed in by a parent.  Secondary students will need either a note from their parents, doctor office, etc., or a phone call from the parent. The attendance dialer will inform parents if a student is absent or tardy.

Click the button below to access the Attendance Correction Form. It will open an editable PDF that you can fill out, save and attach to an email to your student’s teacher who marked them absent. The teacher will then complete the bottom portion of the form and submit it to the appropriate front office for processing.

Early Dismissal

A student will be excused to leave class with an Early Leave Pass from the office. The student may exchange a note from the parent for the pass at the office.  Also:

  • A phone call to the office may be needed for younger Elementary School students.

The course of action that will cause the least amount of disruption to the classroom is to:
  • Pick your student up during passing period
  • Send a note in with your student to receive an Early Dismissal Pass (students will be able to show this to their teacher before class begins, and leave at the appropriate time).
  • NO unscheduled early pick-ups will be allowed after 1:15 p.m.


We have a check-in system called Raptor. Visitors, vendors and volunteers are required to submit their driver’s license or proof of identification to be scanned into this system before proceeding into the building.

In the event DCSD determines that the district should follow the Delayed Opening protocol, our school will abide by its Virtual School Day Policy (from the STEM Handbook).

When it snows, our school’s operation and instructional expectations will be determined by one of these three scenarios:
  • Snow Day – Douglas County Schools (check calls a snow day – school is closed.
  • Late Start Day – Douglas County Schools calls a Late Start day – school is closed and implements a Virtual School Day.
  • All Schools Open – Douglas County Schools declare Highlands Ranch area schools open – our school is open and operating to our regular schedule.

Virtual Days Q&A

  • What is a Virtual School Day? The school is closed and our students complete work from home.
  • Where do we find the assignments? Faculty will advise students where to find the Virtual School Day assignments. Teachers will clearly label what the student is expected to do that will be equivalent to a class period.
  • If my student is ill or cannot make it to school for some reason, may I choose to let him or her participate in a Virtual Day? Virtual Days must be approved through the Virtual Day Application process. Please see the office for the request form.
  • Is this similar to Virtual Fridays? Yes! Just like our Virtual Friday students, when the completed assignment is uploaded, the student is coded “activity” and not absent. We will count this as an instructional day similar to a field excursion.
  • Must students stay home on Virtual School days to complete the assignment? Students do not need to remain at home but the school will be closed; however, the student must submit the assignment according to the due date/time as indicated by the teacher.
  • What if our Internet is out or we do not have Internet at home? If the student does not have Internet due to weather or other reason, students will have a few days to complete the work.
  • If DCSD calls a snow day, do we still have a Virtual School Day? No. Snow day means the school is closed and no work is required.
  • If DCSD calls a Late Start Day, will school be open? No, school will be closed, but students will be required to do their work via our Virtual School Day requirements.

About Virtual Days

The idea for Virtual School Days is partially derived from our successful experiences with “Virtual Fridays” for students who commute long distances, are on ski teams or need flexibility due to other family needs. Virtual Days will:

  • Minimize the Impact of Reduced Classroom Time – Minimize the craziness of reduced classroom learning time that occurs on late start days. Shortened classes do not allow for our usual in-depth studies and impact our academic focus.
  • Reinforce Evolving 21st Century Workplace Skills – Expose our students to a common, 21st Century, professional workplace dynamic involving productive, flexible, and accountable remote work just like many adults today. This evolves our goal of building independent students who work effectively anywhere, anytime, which is more important than ever at universities and employers today. For many professions, “going to work” will be a poorly understood concept in the near future.
  • Promote Safety by Reducing Highway Risk, Stress and Chaos – Reduce parent and staff risk dealing with getting to our campus when our weather creates bad travel situations. About 50 percent of our families live in eight other school districts with some commuting over 50 miles each way from all corners of the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.
  • Negate High Absentee Rates – We have observed that late start days have a high absentee rate for students and staff because of highway conditions. When so many are absent, teachers are often reluctant to teach new material and use the time to review material and work on long-term projects and it is difficult to get substitutes to cover the teachers unable to drive to our school.
  • Reduce Driveline Problems – Morning and afternoon drivelines take twice as long when we have a late start day, plus it gets short staffed, again because of highway concerns.

We will institute a Virtual School Day at our school when the Douglas County School District institutes a Late-Start Day. Our faculty will explain to students where to find their Virtual School Day assignments on Canvas. With a Virtual School Day, I understand that parents will express some concerns:

  • Student will miss a school day. We are working in advance with our teachers to design Virtual School Day assignments to be rich and complex and more instructional compared to compressed Late Start Days. I am confident our staff will see this as an opportunity to again creatively evolve and advance our delivery model.
  • Poor weather can impact Internet connections. If a student cannot log in to complete work from home, extended time will be given for completion and we will ask parents to let us know how their home connectivity was impacted.

We are closely monitoring our Virtual Days, but also want to emphasize to teachers and students that a Virtual School Day is not a snow day. It will be an instructional day just as our Virtual Fridays are for the many students who now use this option.

We will collect data from our teachers and all students will submit their work as evidence of participation. When Douglas County School District decides weather is significantly poor to delay the start by 90 minutes, a Late Start day, STEM School Highlands Ranch will be closed and all students will remain at home completing their Virtual School Day assignments.

Transportation Management Plan

To ensure the safety of the students and to fulfill the commitment to the neighborhood in managing the traffic and parking impacts, the STEM School Highlands Ranch has developed this transportation management plan (TMP). This plan defines the strategies for the next year and this should be a living document that continuously evolves with the growth of the school and neighboring area. 

The Plan identifies policies, procedures and improvements to provide safe and efficient access to the school for parents, students and staff and to mitigate potential traffic and parking impacts on the adjacent business park neighborhood.

Driveline Information

Click the button below to learn more about the Driveline policies and procedures for student drop-off and pick-up. In order to be good neighbors to the local businesses and communities, it is important that all families abide by the policies and procedures that are outlined.


Carpools enjoy special Driveline perks! There is a carpool “express” lane in each Driveline Loop. Carpools (meaning three or more students, or three or more families riding together) will need to obtain a carpool sticker to use carpool lane. Request a carpool sticker by emailing  The school has partnered with Way To Go: School Pool to help families find carpool groups.

Before and After School Care at STEM

STEM B.A.S.E. Program

Spartan B.A.S.E. provides care after school and full days during in-service days and school breaks for STEM Elementary students. The B.A.S.E. program is licensed through the State of Colorado Office of Early Childhood Education and run by the Douglas County School District. B.A.S.E. is staffed with at least one qualified teacher for every 15 students on site. B.A.S.E. provides a safe, enriching, environment, that combines quiet time for homework with enrichment activities, as well as time for free and gross motor play.

Enrichment at STEM

Enrichment at STEM is the place students can find all of the school’s after-school, summer, and other enrichment offerings. Because many of the offerings are as unique as our school is, we invite students from throughout the Denver metro area to participate in our Enrichment program. Through Enrichment at STEM, students can participate in a variety of amazing clubs and programs, in arts, athletics, robotics, technology, and a variety of special interests.

Additional Resources

The food service program at STEM is provided by the Douglas County School District Nutrition Services. They are committed to providing the highest quality meals for your child. Research shows a student who eats breakfast has improved attendance, is more attentive, better behaved and has an increased energy level.  All of these elements are tied to academic success.

School Meals are Safe, Nutritious and Balanced. Food safety is a priority. We have implemented a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program throughout the District to reduce the chance of a foodborne illness event. Temperatures of all food products are monitored throughout production and service.
School meals contain 30% or less of total calories from fat, less than 10% total calories from saturated fat, and contain at least 1/3 of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein, Vitamins A, C, Iron, Calcium and calories.

School Lunch Menus

Grades K-5 Grades 6-12
Lunch Lunch

Cost of Lunch

The cost of lunch is $3.25.  Elementary and Middle School lunches contain an entree, milk and the student’s choice of fruit/vegetable or both. If neither a fruit or a vegetable are taken, everything will be priced as separate a la carte items.
Payment Options
  • is an online payment portal especially designed to allow parents to make quick and easy online payments to the children’s school accounts. The system allows parents to manage their children’s lunch accounts quickly and easily.
  • Pay with a Credit Card
  • Check Your Child’s Account Balance
  • See What Your Child is Eating
  • Receive Account Balance Alerts
  • Sign up today!
  • Nutrition Services also accept checks. Please be sure your student’s name and ID number are on the check.

Additional Information

Students who purchase a lunch choose their food and stop at the register for payment. They will use a pin pad to punch their student ID number into the system. A screen on the monitor appears with the student’s name and photo. The cashier will enter the items purchased and the student will be on his/her way. It would be very helpful for your student to learn his/her ID prior to the upcoming year.

Parents are Welcome at Lunch

We invite our parent and families to come and see how school lunch has changed. Parents are always welcome! We are proud of our program and our hardworking employees and we encourage you to eat with your child. DCSD Nutrition Services invites all parents to have lunch with their children at any time during the school year. The cost is just $3.75 for and an adult meal without milk; with milk, the price is $4.25. We hope to see you soon!

Douglas County School District Nutrition Services

(303) 387-0320 | | 2812 N. Highway 85, Bldg E, Castle Rock, CO
Below is a letter from the DCSD with information about the Free and Reduced Lunch services.

School pictures for students that do not have a current photo for this school year:

We will be offering a picture day at STEM on February 16 & 17 (Elementary on the 16th only)

  • Elementary students will go with their class at a time of their teacher’s choosing (teachers will communicate the time with their e-learners).
    • There will be a Class Composite created for each class.
    • Parents will have the opportunity to purchase individual and class composite photos.
  • Secondary students should go to the gym during their lunch hour to have their picture taken.
    • Please remind your student on picture day as they will not be called down.
    • E-learners should come in their cohort day between 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

If your student is unable to take advantage of this picture day at school, please set an appointment to have their picture taken at the photographer’s studio.

  • The deadline to have the updated picture included in the yearbook is February 17, 2021

Elementary School Yearbooks:

Order Elementary School Yearbook Before April 1
Families interested in placing an order for a yearbook should do so prior to April 1 via the DR Photo website by clicking here. Teachers interested in purchasing a yearbook should use the code FACYBR185 to get a $5 discount. Any orders placed after April 1 will be sent to the student’s home address.

Middle School & High School Yearbooks:

Senior Tribute Ad Deadline Extended to November 15
Parents of STEM Seniors! If you’d like to recognize your senior in the yearbook, remember to submit your senior tribute ad no later than November 15. You can purchase a senior tribute ad at
2020 HS & MS Yearbook Prices Increased (as of November 1)
Don’t miss out on the memories. 2019 yearbooks sold out, so make sure you pre-order your copy now. Yearbooks are have increased to $55. To purchase a yearbook, click here. Yearbooks are no longer a part of school fees and must be purchased directly through the publisher online. Not sure if you purchased one yet? Visit to find out (“Find an order”)!

2019-20 Laptop Purchase Recommendations

Laptops are only required for middle and high school students. For STEM laptop purchase recommendations, please click here. 
Dongle for Laptop
Our new wireless structure will require that all computers connect to 5GhZ radio. This may impact students with older computers. Most newer devices already have a wireless card installed that connects to 5GhZ radio.  If your computer is older or does not connect to 5GhZ radio, you will have to purchase a WIFI dongle. It can be purchased online or at any tech retailer starting at about $30. Search for “WiFI Dongle 5 GHz.”  There should be a lot of options!
The health and safety of our students is a top priority at STEM School Highlands Ranch. Our full-time registered nurse not only handles the daily bumps and bruises with ease, but she is also qualified to monitor ongoing health concerns. It’s all in a day’s work at our health services office, located in the Middle School offices. If you have any questions about Health Services at STEM, please reach out to our School Nurse Karen Lewis at

School Health Policies

STEM School Highlands Ranch follows the same immunizations policies as the Douglas County School District. You must have your immunization forms on file prior to the start of school.
For the 2021-22 School Year

Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, the process of filing a nonmedical exemption will change. There will be two ways to file a non-medical exemption.

  1. File the certificate of non-medical exemption WITH a signature from an immunizing provider to our School Nurse, OR
  2. File the certificate of non-medical exemption received upon the completion of our Online Immunization Education Module to our School Nurse.

Parents of students in grades K-12 claiming a non-medical exemption must file one annually. Non-medical exemptions expire June 30 each year. If you submit a non-medical exemption on or before June 30, it will not be valid for the upcoming school year unless you signed the exemption during early registration.

Over the Counter and Prescription Medication Policies

STEM School Highlands Ranch has different policies for each grade level regarding over the counter and prescription medications on campus. Please link below for the appropriate grade level of your student.

Prescription and Over the Counter Policies

Vision and Hearing Screenings

Vision and hearing screenings are held each year at STEM School Highlands Ranch.  You will be notified in the coming months when they will be scheduled for this year.


Check out this tutorial on how to use Canvas from a parent’s perspective:

Infinite Campus (IC)

Infinite Campus (IC) is the Douglas County School District’s Student Portal that houses all information about a student, including grades, schedules, report cards, credits, transcripts and historical information. The IC app can be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple App Store for your Smartphone.

After downloading the app to your phone, use the DCSD ID QKKYJL during set-up. Student username is Last Name, First Initial and Middle Initial. (Ex: SpartanSE) No spaces or punctuation is needed.

Your password will be Dcsd and your student number. (Ex: Dcsd123456) No spaces and the D must be capitalized.

Google Apps for Education

DCSD provides students and staff access to Google Apps for Education, a collaborative suite of web-based programs providing email, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, calendaring and other productivity tools.

Google Apps for Education aligns with our 21st century teaching practices, as well as with the DCSD’s Board of Education’s End Statements and the DCSD Strategic Plan. In line with DCSD’s Choice objective, each school leader can individually decide what tools shall be available for use in their building.

All STEM students will be assigned a email address that will stay with them throughout their enrollment at STEM. This email will give them access to the Google Suite of Educational Apps. Log-in information will be provided once the student is enrolled. Questions about student emails should be submitted to

How to Access your Google Apps Account:

As parents and guardians, you can access your student’s Google Apps account login information through the Infinite Campus’ Parent Portal. After logging into your IC Parent Portal account, click on the Student Account Info link in the left column to see your student’s current username and password.

Privacy and Student Data Security
Google has provided a thorough resource page discussing many of the questions you may have about data security and your student’s privacy while using Google Apps for Education. Learn more about Google’s security practices.

Please note: As a District provided service, we have the obligation and right to monitor and view any student inbox based on concerns over privacy, security, and/or technical issues.

May I opt out of Google Apps?
What if I prefer that my student not have a Google account, may I opt out?
If you prefer that your student is not provided with a DCSD Google Apps for Education account, please contact your school registrar; they will assist with turning off Google Apps for your student.

Student Data Privacy

The STEM School Highlands Ranch cares deeply about the privacy of our students. We are committed to ensuring that their data is protected in every instance, and that we are in compliance with the Colorado Student Data Transparency and Security Act (HB 16-1423) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

DCSD has always protected student data. The new Colorado Student Data Transparency and Security Act is helping to reinforce this protection by focusing on:

  • Reinforcing protocol for using software and working with vendors
  • Transparency for our community on what student data the CDE and DCSD collects and how its collected
  • Bringing greater awareness of elements to look for on click-through contracts for free online apps

View FAQ’s on Student Data Privacy from the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy