Check-in with Interim CEO Dr Karen Johnson (02/17/23)

Interim KOSON CEO Announcement (Presentation)

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families, Students and Staff,

It is not widely known yet, but it may be circulating in the news in the near future that the lawsuit filed by the Castillo Family regarding the events of May 7th will be dismissed by District Court Judge Jeffery K. Holmes.

The dismissal outlines that STEM’s insurance company will pay the amount of $387,000 to the registry of the Douglas County District Court, which will then be passed on to the Castillo’s attorneys for the benefit of Mr. and Mrs. Castillo.

Before the lawsuit was filed, STEM had always had the offer to provide the maximum amount available of monetary damages to the Castillo families, and we support the judge’s decision to uphold our offer with this dismissal.

STEM was also supportive of the Castillo family’s request to conduct Discovery to prepare for a trial, as numerous current and former staff members sat for depositions while also handing over thousands of pages of documents and reports.

As outlined by the Judge’s Conclusion, the deposit of the funds does not deem STEM to have admitted liability or confessed judgment. While the family has made several claims against STEM, STEM believes it did everything possible before, during, and after the event to keep students and staff safe. This was a heartbreaking tragedy that we will never forget.

STEM has also instituted several additional safety and security measures since the incident, that includes additional training and incorporation of best practices and procedures from local, state and national safety and security agencies and experts.

Over the next several weeks, you may see media coverage that will aim at disparaging our school and former members of our staff and community. We understand that this is part of the process. Still, it will not deter us from staying focused on providing the best possible educational experience for our students and staff in the safest environment. To the Castillo family and our entire community, I’d like to extend my sincerest wishes for peace and comfort during this difficult time that we will be faced with over the next few weeks and months.

We have come a long way as a community, and I want to encourage anyone who may be impacted by what comes out to please reach out to the Center for Strength for mental health and counseling resources.

We know that this is a difficult time for all parties involved and that there will be several questions that our community still has. At this time, I know we can take those next steps in healing that we desperately need as we head into the fourth anniversary this coming May.

Our students have taken an active role in the planning and organizing of several STEMShares events that have already started and I encourage you to be on the lookout for those events. This is our opportunity not only to reflect but to honor those who sacrificed and supported our community that day by giving back.

We are a STEMStrong community that pulls together to support one another when we need it, and for that, I am truly grateful to be a Spartan and part of this community.

In partnership,

Dr. Karen Johnson, Interim CEO KOSON Schools

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