Check-In with Ms. Kovalesky (04/21/23)

Check-In with Ms. Kovalesky

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families and Students,

It is hard to believe that there are only five more weeks left in this school year. The last few weeks of every year are always so busy. Our days are filled with testing, celebrations, and fun for our community. We hope to connect with our families at some of our end-of-the-year events.

Over the next few weeks, STEM’s SAC and Student Advisory Committees and our Teacher Support Team will survey their stakeholders. Each survey is designed to elicit constructive feedback to promote growth and improvement. I ask that you take a few moments to share what you feel is going well and/or improving and areas of needed improvement by filling out the SAC Parent Survey. The data collected helps guide decisions made throughout the summer and into next year. Your input matters as we strive to make STEM Stronger Together!

As the year comes to a close, many changes will occur. Students and staff must prepare to say farewell to friends and colleagues, and everyone’s daily routines begin to shift. Change is sometimes challenging. Our staff is committed to supporting our students and staff through these changes. Please reach out to us for any assistance. Check out the video below outlining all of the Mental Health Resources at STEM.

2023-24 Staffing Update

In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible, below are our current TEACHING vacancies. We have been attending various job fairs and have these openings posted on our website and others. STEM follows DCSD’s pay scales and offers staff competitive benefits packages. If you have any family and/or friends interested in joining the STEM community, please have them visit our employment page on our website.

Positions we are looking to fill:

  • 10 – Teacher Vacancies (relocating, other district positions, change in profession, retirement)
  • 4 – Unfilled Positions from the 2022-23 School Year
  • 2 – Newly Added Positions

Support from the Center for Strength

The Center for Strength is also available to support our students, families and staff. If you are not familiar with the Center for Strength, please check out their website and check out the promotional video below.

Here is a message from Jess Monda, Program Administrator for the Center for Strength:

Dear STEM Community,

It has been a pleasure and honor to get to know and meet most of you in the last three years. While the world we live in has not been kind, I feel so grateful that we have been able to provide a safe space for adults, teens, families, and staff to learn about building resilience and healing in the wake of a mass violence incident at the school.

You may know we are a grant-funded Resiliency Center that was put up in response to the school shooting on May 7th, 2019. The grant that currently funds us expires this December 31st, 2023. However, we are hoping to hear from YOU about whether we should keep our doors open and go after other funding options to sustain this vision to continue to provide trauma-informed resources and safe spaces for our community to continue to heal and build resilience in this tough time.

Why are we asking this question?

We see on average, 80-100 students/staff/parents come through our doors to access free resources, like – therapy, group support, quiet time, studying, art activities, therapy dogs, and MORE. We host about 10 activities per week.

Additionally, we expend about $200/week (paid by donations, not paid by the grant) to feed the community (mostly hungry teens, haha), as it is very important that our kids’ tummies are full so they can use their brain for more learning, healing, and growing. This is to emphasize; the Center is heavily used by the STEM Community.

With that said, our heart is to continue to keep the Center open at least through May 2024, but our big dream is to build a Resiliency Center like ours with sustainable funding that would be available to serve our youth’s mental health.

How will we do this? – We need to hear from YOU!

Please take this 2-minute survey that will help us understand how important the need is for this Center to continue to support our community as a Resiliency Center. The Deadline for taking this survey is May 18th, 2023. Survey –

With your response, our hope is to deliver the survey results to you by May 25, 2023. Please share amongst your people (current and former STEM members). We appreciate hearing from you to partner in this dream to provide ongoing support for our youth’s mental health!

Jess Monda, Program Administrator of Center for Strength

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider the information provided by the Center. They are a great resource to all of our students and staff and we gratefully appreciate all the work they do. I strongly encourage our community to check out all of the events happening at the Center as we approach the week of STEMShares and May 7.

In partnership,

LynAnn Kovalesky

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