STEM School Highlands Ranch

Never Stop Innovating

Secondary News and Updates (04/30/21)

Secondary-School News

Secondary News and Events

Volunteer and Donation News

Volunteering and giving to STEM are vital to the success of our school.  Our school has a charter that requires a commitment of 30 volunteer hours per family (15 hours per single-parent family).

To make volunteering easy and seamless, please refer to the Volunteering Basics section that will allow you to set up your volunteer account and keep track of your hours.  We are extremely grateful for the time and energy donated by STEM parents each year.

With COVID 19, and visitors or volunteers not being allowed in the building this year, STEM has continued volunteer needs as the year finishes.
Please consider what your family can contribute with time or donations.

Upcoming Events

Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-6

Teacher Appreciation Week is Monday, May 3 through Thursday, May 6 and STEM PTO would like to invite the entire community to leave messages of thanks and support for our whole staff. Click the button below to access the Flip Grid sheet that has a link for each of our staff members.

STEMShares coming up May 3-7

May 3-7, 2021

STEMShares is our opportunity to bring our community together to give back and share what being #STEMStrong really means. Our community showed an amazing amount of support for us in our time of need, and giving back is a great way to honor the heroic actions of our students and staff. Click the button below to learn more.

STEM Student Film Festival

Wednesday, May 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – YouTube

STEM will be holding its first-ever STEM Film Festival on Tuesday, April 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. via YouTube. This event is to showcase the creative, video work that is being done within our student body. This event is for Middle and High School Students.

A max of 15-minute Short MP4 Films should be submitted by April 15 to stemfilmfest@stemk12.org. Categories include:

  • Horror/Thriller
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Educational

Contact Dan Levinson (dan.levinson@stemk12.org) with any questions.

Important Senior Dates

May 6 – Last Day for Seniors and Senior BBQ

Seniors will have lunch out in the HS parking lot from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Donations are being requested for this. Please visit our Donations request page to learn more.

May 20 at 2 pm at EchoPark Stadium

We just received news that each graduate can get up to 15 tickets to graduation. Seniors will receive information on how to sign-up for tickets the week of May 10. Please make sure you have completed your ICAP and paid all your senior fees (required to walk for graduation). If you haven’t had the chance to fill out the Phonetic Spelling of Your Name, so Mr. Ryan and Dr. Leddy can pronounce them correctly, and are attending graduation please do so by Wednesday, April 14. Reach out to Karen Adam (karen.adam@stemk12.org) to get that form.

Senior Prom on May 8

May 8 – Senior Prom at Baldoria on the Water

Where: Baldoria by the Water (https://www.baldoriaevents.com)(146 Van Gordon St, Lakewood, CO 80228) from

When: 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.

Cost: Tickets will be $20 and information about purchasing them will be sent out soon.

Desserts and drinks will be provided. There will also be a DJ and a photo booth. Tickets will be $20 and information about purchasing them will be sent out soon. Dates are permitted and can be from other high schools and other high school grades.

Thanks for your patience and if you have any questions, feel free to email Rebekah Vaughan, Sean Mauch, or Karen Adam.

Skype-A-Scientist

Friday, May 14 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Are you interested in chemistry and biology? Do you want to talk to a professional about their career? Then we have the event for you! On Friday, May 14 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. the Science National Honors Society will be hosting a Skype-A-Scientist event on Zoom with a Chemist. Look for more information from SNHS regarding zoom links and potential updates. Email Kent Schnacke (kentschnacke@stemk12.org) with any questions.

Middle School Fairytale Dance

Saturday, May 22, from 2-4 p.m. in the Middle School Parking Lot

Spring Fairy Tale Dance Poster

News and Updates

Registrar News

Please check Infinite Campus to make sure we have your current address. If you have a change of address please email Tiffany Klenke (tiffany.klenke@stemk12.org), K-12 Registrar, with a proof of residency. Douglas County School District and STEM School Highlands Ranch only accept the following legal documents as proof of residence:

  • warranty deed
  • deed of trust
  • lease agreement
  • tax notice
  • county assessor
  • notarized letter

Update on Secondary Schedules for 2021-22 School Year

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Secondary Students and Families,

The Teacher Task Force has been working diligently over the past few weeks to get a complete understanding of the challenges impacting the Secondary Schedule process and how to best innovate in order to accommodate the needs of students and teachers.

On April 16, our team met with Dr Eucker and Dr Mary Lindimore (scheduling consultant) to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to build a schedule (required number of instructional minutes, staff support, building capacity, enrollment numbers, finances, course offerings, etc) and also how changes can be made. The team also discussed teacher feedback and considerations around how teachers feel they can teach to the best of their abilities. It was determined in that meeting to send out another survey to gather more information. The team met again on Wednesday, April 21 to review the data and feedback and brainstorm additional ways to make adjustments to the schedule.

After reviewing everything from the last few weeks, the team, along with Dr Eucker, has decided to move forward with the following.

Schedule Proposal:

  • Block schedule will remain in place for Middle and High School
  • Exploring opportunities for a 6.5 class schedule for teachers (where applicable) where there could be co-teaching opportunities to then create 1.5 periods of planning. – NEW
  • Depending on the development of the schedule, some teachers may have to teach seven classes, but the scheduling team will be doing their best to mitigate that where they can.
    • A stipend ($3,000 per semester) for CORE, Computer Science and Engineering will be provided to those who teach seven classes with multiple preps and only one planning period per semester. – NEW
  • For CORE teachers who have classes that require more planning/grading (AP/CE), two planning periods will be made available.
    • For teachers who do not meet this, up to two flex days per semester based on need will be available. Flex days are for grading, planning and teacher collaboration time that will be covered by a sub paid for out of a department’s budget.
  • Fewer meetings and office hours
    • Office hours one day a week
  • No exchange – but still RtI/MTSS (as needed) This is a federal law requirement.
  • Teacher Instructional Support Personnel for PBLs will be available for each school level.
  • Instructional Assistants/Graders will be added to assist the English Department as a pilot program. – NEW

Commitments moving forward:

  • Ms Dougan and Mrs Webb are finalizing what the master schedule will look like for next year and will be providing opportunities for secondary teachers to view the final draft version and provide comments (i.e. which courses to teach, which classroom to teach in, etc) for each teacher’s individual schedule.
  • Ms Dougan and Mrs Webb will meet regularly over the summer to continue to track enrollment numbers and make adjustments to the schedule where needed, while also communicating the changes with teachers individually.
  • The team will meet again in September of 2021 to review how the current changes are going and what additional supports need to be considered and implemented. 
  • Additionally, the team will be working on developing additional improvements that can be made for the 2022-23 Schedule.
  • Lastly, an aggressive enrollment campaign will be developed and executed over the next few months with the goal of bringing our enrollment numbers back up. 
    • This will help the team to work to bring back additional plan time that can be afforded financially.

We thank the entire community for their patience and understanding as we worked through this difficult and challenging process. Getting a complete holistic view of the challenges and opportunities that face STEM allowed for the team to be innovative and take steps in the right direction.

Thank you,

The Teacher Task Force and PJ Eucker, PhD, Executive Director

(Mike Shallenberger, Heather Dillon, Jon Jennings, Cameron Ryan, Dave Snow, Liz Dougan, Stephanie Webb, Jenny Johnson and Anna Magle-Haberek)

Join the School Accountability Committee (SAC)

Are you looking to get more involved with the school, but not sure where to start? Are you interested in learning about STEM and the impact we as parents, teachers, and staff have on our students? Or are you just curious how our school runs and what goes into making our school a success? If you said yes to any of these questions please consider joining the STEM School Accountability Committee, SAC. All parents are welcome to attend our meetings, but we are currently looking to fill three parent voting member positions for the 2021-2022 school year. You can submit your letter of interest to sac@stemk12.org.

We are looking for a diverse representation of our school, which can be grade level, culture, committees, or anyone that has a direct impact on a large population of our school. We currently have parent representation at each of the school levels, elementary, middle, and high school. Each elected member serves a two year term; however, your role on the board may change from one year to the next within the elected term. The SAC time commitment is minimal and qualifies towards volunteer hours. The SAC typically meets the third Wednesday of the month from 6-8 p.m.

The SAC is an advisory committee to the Director(s) about things such as…

  • Discuss results of State testing
    • School Performance Framework
  • Provide input regarding
    • School Budget
    • Unified Improvement Plan (UIP – the school’s academic goals and action plans)
    • Staffing Needs
  • Parent Survey
    • Distribution
    • Collection
    • Data Analysis
  • Collaborate with the PTO and reports to the Board of Directors
  • SAC provides feedback to the DAC (District Accountability Committee) regarding:
    • Spending district money
    • Charter applications and renewals
    • School improvement plans

If you have any questions or are interested in becoming an advisor on the SAC please submit your intent to participate to SAC@stemk12.org by Friday, May 7. The election will be held May 10-17 via electronic ballot. To know your school is to love your school!

Nominations Open for 2022 CDE Colorado Teacher of the Year

Do you know an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 teacher? Nominate one of your colleagues to apply for the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year award. The nomination form is now open. When you nominate someone, they will be notified of their nomination by CDE and encouraged to take the next step to apply.

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher will automatically become Colorado’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition.

This special teacher also gets to attend the following events:

  • The National Teacher of the Year Induction, an opportunity for the country’s teachers of the year to come together and understand their individual identities in their new roles.
  • Washington Week, an opportunity to go to the nation’s capital for recognition. Teachers will get to visit the White House and meet the president as well as attend the National Teacher of the Year gala.
  • NASA Space Camp, where teachers participate in a version of astronaut training designed specifically for educators to take strategies and concepts back to their classrooms.
  • College Football Playoff National Championship Game to participate in the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers event, which elevates the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering quality teachers.

All this can be possible for one exceptional Colorado teacher so tell the one you’re thinking of right now to apply. Nominate them using this form via the button to the right by June 15, 2021.

CyberPatriot XIV - Registration - Interest Form

Registrations for CyberPatriot XIV are now open. Please complete the Interest form via the form below if you are interested to register for the next academic year. Once we get the interest number, teams will be registered so the teams can access the practice/training/exhibition rounds during summer as well. For any questions: please email Ms. Basu at simi.basu@stemk12.org.

HS Leaders Needed for Camp Invention

Are you a High School student looking to complete some community service hours this summer? Come volunteer with Camp Invention during the week of June 7t-11! As a leadership intern, you help to guide elementary students through various fun and engaging modules throughout the day and build relationships with some amazing kids! Reach out to Sara.Phelps@stemk12.org for more information.

Student Illustrator Contest!

Do you like to draw? Have you ever dreamed of illustrating a children’s book? Mrs. Ridder is looking for a budding student artist to illustrate an upcoming children’s book. If you are interested, please contact Mrs. Ridder (maura.ridder@stemk12.org) for more information.

Secondary Lost and Found

It’s that time of year. If you think your student is missing items, please have your student stop by our Lost & Found to look through what has been left behind. The Secondary Lost & Found is located outside the Middle School Cafeteria Doors. All items not picked up will be donated at the end of the school year.

Learn more about Standards-Based Learning at STEM

STEM School Highlands Ranch is moving toward Standards-Based Learning and Reporting to measure and communicate students’ learning and academic growth and achievement with greater accuracy. By switching we are able to provide clearer feedback to students based on specific learning goals.

In a traditional hundred-point grading system, grades are generated from the work assigned to students. These scores often include points for extra credit or deductions for behavior, such as turning work in late, and are an average of all of these things. This system does not take into account the learning process and doesn’t accurately show what a student can do. There are also biases within this system since teachers apply points differently. Students often do not know what a grade means and grade meanings can vary from class to class. Earning points becomes the motivating factor for students, causing them to chase points instead of knowledge.

Standards-Based Learning focuses on the mastery of essential content.

Reminder about Student Parking Passes/Tickets

Please be aware that the High School Parking Lot is for High School Students that have paid for a parking pass for the school year. Illegal parking without a correct pass will be given a warning violation. After two warning violations, the vehicle owner will be cited with a parking ticket and access a fine payable to STEM. Please reach out to communications@stemk12.org with any questions.

20-21 Parking Map

Buy Your STEM Class Shirts Today!

As is a tradition at STEM, your class shirts for the 2021-2022 school year are now available for purchase! Please use the links below corresponding with your incoming class to order today! All orders close on May 5, so make sure to order soon. If you have any questions, you can email tavin.turner@s.stemk12.org.

STEM Using School Messenger

To help expand our ability to communicate with our families, we will be rolling out the use of the Douglas County School District’s School Messenger platform to send notifications to families. The use of School Messenger allows for us to add text messaging and phone calls to the emails we already send through Infinite Campus. We will be implementing School Messenger to assist with communications around COVID-19 quarantine notifications. Currently, members of our admin team make individual calls for each quarantine. Implementing School Messenger will allow the team to notify families more efficiently.

Reminder of Senior Fees

The STEM Business Office would like to remind families of seniors, that if there are any outstanding fees on a student’s account, they must be paid for prior to graduation. Emails have been sent to families who have an outstanding balance. Fees can be paid for through MySchoolBucks.

Advanced Placement Exams begin Monday, May 3, 2021

Your child and their teachers have been working hard throughout this unprecedented year to support their success. Each high school has a plan to allow for in-person and remote Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

Please review the following resources to help prepare and encourage your child to check their email for updates from The College Board:

Live and Recorded Review

Some students may be unsure of their readiness for the AP Exam. Students can access recordings of every session on AP Classroom.

Digital Testing App – for REMOTE Testing ONLY

The College Board recommends ALL students download the remote testing mobile app and take the practice test in case there is a need to move to a remote exam.

  • Please encourage your child to follow the links below to access the App, practice with example questions, try tools and features, and confirm that their technology works as expected.

Exam Terms and Conditions

All students must accept AP Terms and conditions prior to taking each exam.

The College Board will send AP students email reminders to review these terms and conditions at cb.org/apexamterms before the exam administration.

iReady Assessment Information

Students have been completing the iReady Diagnostic assessment within language arts and math classes during this week and through May 14. The information gathered from this assessment will assist staff in identifying gaps in learning and areas of acceleration as we plan for the upcoming school year. If your Virtual Learner is taking the assessment at home, please support your student in completing the assessment on their own to the best of their ability in order to allow for an accurate picture of student needs. Please do not spend an enormous amount of time on this task, an hour is the average. If you would like a copy of your student’s results, please complete the form via the button below and it will be emailed to you.

Grading Scale Change for Semester 2

STEM School has decided to adjust the second-semester grading scale for our secondary level, as outlined below (with the exception of Concurrent Enrollment courses).

STEM Secondary Grade Scale – Second Semester 2020-2021

  • 88 – 100% = A
  • 76 – 87% = B
  • 64 – 75% = C
  • 52 – 63% = D
  • below 52% = F

We strongly feel this decision is the right thing to do for our secondary school students to ensure that their future plans are not derailed due to a pandemic that is out of their control. Thank you again for your continued patience and support for the STEM community.

Welcome to STEM Presentation Video

Special Offer from DR Photo

STEM families, we have partnered with DR Photo to offer our families yard signs and banners to celebrate your student’s graduation (Kindergarten or High School). If you would like to order a sign or banner please click the button to the right.

We also are offering graduation portrait sessions. You can schedule a private session at their Littleton studio by clicking the link to the right.

School Photos Update

STEM had picture Day on February 16 & 17 for students needing a current school photo. If your student was unable to take advantage of the picture days at STEM, please set an appointment to have their picture taken at the photographer’s studio. Check out the buttons to the left to schedule an appointment or order photos.

New Gear available for sale in the SpartMart

Don’t Delay! Show your STEM Spartan Pride by ordering from the NEW gear that is available in the SpartMart Store. Check out the flier to the right for more information. The SpartMart is operated by STEM students and the gear is designed by STEM students as well.

February 2021 SpartMart Sale

Athletics News/Updates

Season D Registration is LIVE

Registration is LIVE on the website for Season D sports – if you are planning to participate please register! If you have any questions you can reach out to Mrs. MH (anna.magle-haberek@stemk12.org) or any of the head coaches for your sport! (Chris.Smith@stemk12.org -Track and Field, Forrest.Walker@stemk12.org – Lacrosse, Edward.Cooper@stemk12.org – Girls Soccer).

Lacrosse Season has started!

We’re so excited! The Spartan Lacrosse Team has finally started practicing. Practices are at Plum Valley Park Monday through Friday from 3:30-4:45 p.m. The season began on April 26 and is comprised of ninth through 12th-grade students. See the photos to the right to see our team!

Ultimate Frisbee Photos

Fundraising Opportunities for STEM Track and Field

There are several ways our community can help to support our STEM Track and Field Team this season.

King Soopers Community Rewards

King Soopers Community Rewards!

  1. Log in to your Kingsoopers.com account and locate the Community Rewards section.
  2. Add the following Organizational Number: XG949
  3. Save and start shopping!

Road Runner Sports Fundraiser

Shoppers who purchase items from Road Runner Sports in Lone Tree from now until Thursday, May 6 can help to support our STEM Track and Field team.

2021 STEM School HS TF flyer

Enrichment Update

Summer Camps at STEM

We are excited to host a variety of summer camps this upcoming summer.

  • Camp Invention (K-6) | June 7-11, 2021
  • Cyber-SPY Camp (K-2) | June 14-18, 2021
  • Cyber Detectives (3-5) | June 21-25, 2021
  • FRC 4418’s Lego Mindstorm Camp (K-5)
  • Peter Pan Theater Camp (K-5) | June 21-25, 2021

Please visit our Enrichment page to view current openings and sign up.

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