Congratulations on a great Year; Have a Great Summer!

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The last days of the school year wrap up with beautiful summer weather, field days, park events, last field trips, graduations and boxing up classrooms for deep cleaning over the summer. It is always a time of excitement combined with the sadness of saying goodbye to students and each other for the long summer break. Across the country, the month of May has always been a time of high anxiety in schools because there is so much finality and change. We are even more susceptible to these feelings due to the impacts from May 7th.

The tragedy at Robb Elementary in Uvalde Texas traumatized the world and retraumatized the STEM community. Sandy Hook teachers reached out to STEM teachers in the days after May 7th. STEM students, teachers and staff immediately reached out to Robb Elementary staff. Feeling the care and concern from others who have experienced something similar can be exactly the comfort needed in a time of profound loss.

At STEM, faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to give our students the best possible experience to close out the year while coping with the complex feeling of loss. For teachers, the struggle is always going to be the balance of making each student’s last days great ones, with also having to rush to meet deadlines of posting grades and other requirements. Students have come to school knowing that being with friends, their teachers and the comfort of routine can be the best path forward while processing trauma. Having a strong social network helps us all move through grief.

There is always far more work in schools than time. For those of us who work through the summer, we begin the race to complete the work necessary before we welcome back students and staff in August. Each year brings new challenges and complexities and the summer months allow for STEM leaders to reflect, evaluate, and assess to improve our school. I know that the STEM Leadership Team, led by Interim Executive Director LynAnn Kovalesky, will do everything they can to ensure that we have a successful start to the 2022-23 school year.

Some staff have decided to retire, take a break from work or seek other opportunities. Many were committed to remaining after May 7th until the school stabilized before making the choice to leave to explore other opportunities. I am profoundly grateful for their dedication to our students and our community. I know those were selfless decisions.

STEM will be posting for all open positions over the summer and I have full confidence that the right candidates will be hired for the open positions at our flagship campus. As positions become available, internal candidates will apply, which if they are chosen, will open up their current position and we will have to post and hire for that as well. Each hiring session of the process is always inclusive of teachers, staff, parents and students. If you’d like to be involved in the hiring process as one of our stakeholder groups, please email careers@stemk12.org. You might receive a call or email requesting your participation as candidates apply to join our amazing school.

As I close my final newsletter of the 2021-22 School Year as the outgoing STEM School Highlands Ranch Executive Director, I am excited to shift my focus entirely to the KOSON Network of Schools and our efforts around replication. It is not going to be an easy road ahead as we face two very different school boards that have a variety of constituents to please. While we anticipate that both of our applications will be challenging due to the current landscape in both districts, we have assembled a great team of high-level supporters who will be assisting us along the way if we must appeal to the State Board of Education. Our Board of Directors is committed to providing more students the opportunity to experience problem based learning for a better tomorrow.

I wish you and your family a restful and peaceful summer,

P.J. Eucker PhD
CEO KOSON Schools

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