What if STEM School Highlands Ranch did not exist? Our community of over 5,000 with almost 1800 students, 2700 parents (and far more grandparents), and 200 staff would be dispersed to other schools with a sense that school could and should be so much more. Our community understands that Never Stop Innovating means that we ask hard questions, relentlessly pursue excellence and accept the imperfection that comes with being a future-focused educational community.
In a year of never-ending challenges, we deeply understand that STEM has an obligation to exist. STEM serves students and families who are seeking something far, far beyond neighborhood schools.
Spring break allows us all to pause as we anticipate the final quarter of a challenging year. 25% of the instructional time is left for us to accelerate learning in a year where so many other schools lost their way. STEM’s entire community rallied together as a collective force to say we can do this.
- Our faculty bravely came to work setting aside any fears they may have had and shouldered a great task of teaching multiple modalities each day simultaneously.
- Our support staff made the school safe and welcoming for our teachers and students.
- Our Leadership Team did everything needed moment-by-moment to keep the doors open.
- STEM’s Board of Directors committed every resource to keep STEM open throughout the year.
We are a model of what can be achieved when we all do our part in a pandemic. I have profound gratitude to each person who made this year of in-person learning possible. Our final quarter will merge the two secondary cohorts and this will require massive cooperation from our staff, students and families. I challenge our entire community to continue vigilance. STEM has not had a single in-school transmission of the virus and it will be a celebration to end the year with this holding true.
While the end of the school year is in sight, there is still much to be done in these remaining two months that will require a lot of hard work and patience. As I shared in a previous message, school personnel across the country go through a process of completing intent-to-return forms around this time of year to allow for schools to plan for the upcoming school year.
The next step in each school’s planning process includes looking at what funding and enrollment look like for the new year, as well as making sure that class schedules are as efficient as possible. A part of this process includes renewing and non-renewing staff members. It is never easy to lose a member of our staff and we do not make these decisions lightly. It is, however, part of a process that all schools go through, and we will be focusing on that part over the next few months.
This year has been exceptionally hard for educators across the country. National data shows that educators are leaving the profession in record numbers due to the impact that COVID has had on trying to teach students safely and meet everyone’s needs. Our Teacher Care Model is an integral goal of our Strategic Plan and we are working hard to try to be as responsive as possible to the current climate.
I hope that everyone enjoys their Spring Break and returns rested and ready to close out the school year strong.
P.J. Eucker PhD