Check-in with Interim CEO Dr Karen Johnson (04/07/23)

Interim KOSON CEO Announcement (Presentation)

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families, Students and Staff,

As Spring finally comes into full force, we see more energy and excitement from students and staff. There are a number of events taking place that help us celebrate our student’s accomplishments and our continued focus on building community. We are also in the testing season, which we recognize may add additional stress in varying ways. Our staff is continually focused on the social and emotional needs of students throughout each day. We do expect that the next few weeks will have their share of highs and lows, so please reach out to us and/or the Center for Strength for assistance as needed.

As communicated in the past, we may be seeing and hearing media coverage related to the events of May 7th and an ongoing litigation process between STEM and the Castillo family.

While it may be portrayed in the media that we are “hiding” things, we want to be as transparent with our community as possible, that we are following all processes and expectations set forth by the court. At this time, STEM is working with a court-appointed Special Master to determine which documents related to the incident on May 7th will be released to the public and which will be held in confidentiality.

We also want to emphasize that of the documents in question, the percentage of documents that we are requesting to remain confidential is minimal in comparison. A vast majority of the documents that were collected throughout both trials and through discovery of this current lawsuit, were made public already and heavily scrutinized.

Several of the documents in question, if released, would expose current safety and security practices and improvements that have been made each year since May 7. STEM’s position remains focused on holding confidential items related to the safety and security of our current staff and students as a priority.

While the family has made several claims against STEM, we believe we 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.

Over the next several weeks, you will see the EVOLV sy pilot program coming to fruition. This is one area in which we strive to be innovative regarding the continued pursuit of safety and security measures for the entire community. We have an EVOLV implementation team in place that will be working on additional communication in the upcoming weeks. Please keep in mind that this is a pilot program and there will be pros and cons as we identify and look to improve this sy Our goal with this new technology is to see if it would be a viable option for other schools to implement after we’ve gone through the pilot program to see how we can improve it.

We have come such 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 occurrence of remembrance.

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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