Elementary News and Updates (03/31/23)

Elementary-School-News Image

Director's Update

A message from Mrs. McElroy

Dear STEM Families,

I want to take this opportunity to thank our families and students for a successful CMAS week. Even with the weather on Monday, students were able to arrive safely and be successful on the first day of CMAS. Students who missed any tests this week will be pulled over the next few weeks for make-ups. For 5th-grade students, Science CMAS is scheduled for April 11 and 13.

I also want to thank our community for their efforts around following the rules and procedures of our Driveline. We had a very productive meeting with Douglas County this week as it relates to the impact of our Driveline to the surrounding community. Currently, the county is observing the traffic impact to Grammercy St, which is the neighborhood street at the exit of our Driveline.

I would like to remind our families that when exiting our Driveline, you must only make a right or a left. Cars SHOULD NOT be driving straight across Barrons onto Grammercy. I would also like to remind families to please use the cross walks at all times.

We are approaching the end of the year, which means there will be many fun events scheduled. Please check the All-School Calendar and communicate with your teacher so your student and family do not miss any of the fun end-of-year events.

Here are a few important announcements:

  • Lost and Found: Our lost and found is overflowing with items. Please have your students check the lost and found for missing items.
  • Yearbooks: Families can order the 2022-2023 yearbook by clicking here. PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO PLACE YOUR ORDER
  • Volunteers: We always look for volunteers in the cafeteria, playground or driveline. Please visit the Get Involved page of our Parent section of the website to learn about all of the ongoing opportunities.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

In Partnership,

Amie McElroy, Elementary Director

Upcoming Events

STEM All-Events Calendar

Please take a moment to check the STEM All-Events Calendar on our website.

There are lots of events already scheduled so please take a moment to take a look at the calendar to familiarize yourself with some of the events at the start of school. This calendar will continue to be updated throughout the summer as we get closer to the start of school.

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors' Meeting

Tuesday, April 4, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building)

The monthly STEM Board of Directors’ Meeting will be Tuesday, April 4, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Mechatronics Lab of the P-TECH/KOSON Building. The STEM BOD is comprised of parents and community members who volunteer their time. The Board’s role and purpose is to provide oversight of the Executive Director, who implements the policies set forth by the Board. The Board also provides support and direction of STEM’s long-term vision and mission. Additionally, the Board is active in making sure that STEM remains in compliance with all DCSD, state and federal compliance requirements, as well as STEM’s Charter Contract.

Meetings are open to anyone to attend. Anyone who would like to address the Board Members must sign-up in advance by completing the Public Comment Form no later than 12 p.m. the day of each Board meeting. If written testimony or a handout is submitted, presenters are asked to supply one (1) copy via email to communications@stemk12.org.

SteMed Safe Driving Carnival

Friday, April 7, from 3:30-5 p.m. – Secondary Gym

Mark your calendars for the SteMed Safe Driving Event on Friday, April 7, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Secondary Gym. This is a carnival event for students to learn more about safe driving habits and the dangers of distracted driving. More information will be shared in the coming weeks about the different events.

Fifth Grade Revolutionary War Reenactment

Friday, April 7, from 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Practice Day (Elementary Parking Lot)

Friday, April 14, from 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Practice Day (Elementary Parking Lot)

Thursday, April 20, from 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Practice Day (Elementary Parking Lot)

Wednesday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Chatfield State Park (The Plum Creek Picnic Area)

Our fifth graders will be taking part in the annual Revolutionary War Reenactment this April. They’ll be three practice sessions at STEM School Highlands Ranch, in the Elementary Parking Lot, where students will learn how to march, create formations, learn about the dress and the weaponry used during that time. The practices will culminate in the actual reenactment on Wednesday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Chatfield State Park at the Plum Creek Picnic Area. Parents are invited to attend the final reenactment.

CMAS Testing for Grades 5

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Testing is coming up and we wanted to provide the following information to families. Testing for 5th graders in science will be on Tuesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 13.

Tuesday, April 11

  • 7:50-9:20 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 1
  • 9:30-10:55 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 2

Thursday, April 13

  • 7:50-9:20 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 3

STEM PTO Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, April 12, from 6:30-8 p.m. – Zoom

STEM PTO is comprised of parents from the STEM community who work together to help foster a strong sense of community and provide enhancement activities for students, faculty, staff, and families while also helping to increase educational, social and emotional experiences for the members of their families.

STEM PTO is organized to enhance the quality of each student’s education, the school as a whole, and the entire community through the development of resources and the participation of parents, school staff, and the community. Meetings are open for anyone to attend.

STEM Youth Lacrosse Night

News and Updates

Preparing for CMAS Testing

These assessments are administered under standardized conditions to ensure the reliability and validity of the results. Click below to see the complete testing schedule to reference testing times and class sessions for all students. PLEASE NOTE: certain grades will be virtual on certain days so please check the schedule carefully.

Important Reminders:

  • It is essential that students are present and on time on the days of testing. Any student who is tardy will not be able to take the test and will need to sit in a designated space until the test is complete.
  • Please avoid scheduling trips and appointments for your child during this day.
  • Also, ensure your child is well-rested and has had a good breakfast on testing days.

If you’d like to opt your student out, please click here to complete the form. Please click here to read the opt-out instructions.

Flexible Volunteer Opportunity – Seeking Volunteers for 7th Grade Investigation

Friends of STEM,

Our 7th graders will be investigating real-world biodiversity problems beginning on April 12th.

We hope to engage students with knowledgeable adults throughout this investigation. Your involvement can range from presenting information, sharing about your career, hearing student ideas and giving simple feedback, answering students’ questions, or a combination of these. Any level of experience with biodiversity, life sciences, or genetics will suffice.

This can be in-person or virtually (Google Meets) on any date/time that works for you! If this is something you are interested in, please share a date(s) and time frame that you would like to volunteer between the dates of April 12 and May 5. Please share this information with anyone else you might know who might be interested!

For questions and/or more information, you can contact the 7th-grade science teacher, Kathy Dwyer (kathy.dwyer@https://stemk12.org).

Seeking In-Person Panelists for MS and HS Students

Friends of STEM,

We are seeking panelists to listen to students’ ideas and provide simple feedback.

High school and 7th/8th grade students identified mental health problems facing teens and will propose their ideas for feasible solutions. As a panelist you would attend class in-person, listen to student ideas, ask questions, and share advice if applicable. View more information about being a panelist, and about problem based learning on the document attached.

There are 80-90 minute slots available on April 3rd or April 5th.

For more information about this PBL investigation, you can reach out to the students’ teacher – Nancy.Szczekocki@https://stemk12.org

PTO After Prom Fundraiser - Lazy Dog
After Prom Donations Flyer

Lunches will be FREE Next School Year

FREE lunches are back for students! Starting in August of 2023, students will once again receive free lunches. Students must chose an entree, fruit/vegetable a milk for the free lunch. Snacks are not free.

While lunches will be free, it is important for families who need additional financial support to still complete the Free/Reduces Lunch application. Those who qualify for FRL status will only receive the additional benefits (free/reduced school fees, free/reduced trips, priority for scholarships in non-FRL field trips or Enrichment programs, and/or graduation fee reductions, etc.) of the program if they complete the application.

In order to assure that the District and STEM receive accurate data, DCSD and STEM are requesting that ALL families complete the FRL application that opens on July 15, regardless of financial status. A new application must be completed each school year. Families can also still apply for this school year using the link below.

Elementary Yearbook Reminder

Don’t forget!! Order your Elementary Yearbook today using the link below. Soft-cover yearbooks at $21 and hard-cover yearbooks are $31.

DR Photo Yearbook Graphic

Student Fees Reminder

Reminder!! If you haven’t yet, please log into your MySchoolBucks account to pay your student’s fees. We currently have approximately $30,000 in outstanding student fees, and we anticipate that is due to the technical issues at the start of the school year with Express Check-In. If you have questions about your student’s fees or want to get on a payment plan, please email ashley.westfall@https://stemk12.org.

Reminder about Early Pick-Up Times

Reminder STEM Families! If you’re coming to pick up your student early, please do so before 1:45 p.m. Please do not come after 1:45 p.m. to pick up your student early. Exceptions will only be made for parents picking up students in the health room or who were called by the front office to pick up their student.

Unscheduled pick-ups after 1:45 p.m. interfere with driveline operations, as well as make it difficult for the front office to assist. Thank you for your understanding in helping to make our operations in the front office run smoothly.

Free Chromebooks for Free-Reduced Lunch Students

We are happy to share that we will be offering students who are part of the Free and Reduced Lunch program the opportunity to get a Free Chromebook if the following parameters are met:

  • Chromebook is signed out by a parent
  • The student must remain enrolled at STEM for three years. (if the student leaves STEM during those three years, they will need to return the laptop)

Laptops can be kept over the summer. For more information, please email ashley.westfall@https://stemk12.org to confirm your Free and Reduced Lunch Program status. Not sure if you qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch? DCSD recommends that you apply regardless so that they can assist you further. Click the button below to access the application.

Calling all Industry Experts, Parents and Community Members!

Career Discovery Information (Facebook Post)

Updated Snow Day Policy

As the winter season approaches, we want to announce updates to the current Virtual School Day for Inclement Weather policy. Last spring, one of our STEM students presented a proposal and justification regarding changes to our current Virtual School Day policy. As a result, the administration and Board of Directors determined that a change is recommended to the Snow Day Policy. We appreciate the leadership and voice our STEM students display and are happy to announce that STEM will follow the DCSD Snow Day policy with a closure. STEM also reserves the right to modify the calendar, schedule, or this policy, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or construction that interrupts the required instructional minutes as set forth by the Colorado Department of Education. The following is a reminder of the current policies.

Late Start Schedule

STEM does not mimic the Late Start Policy and schedule put forth by DCSD. In the event that Douglas County calls for a Delayed Opening, STEM’s Virtual School Day Policy will take effect.

Virtual School Day for Inclement Weather

If DCSD determines that the district should follow the Delayed Opening protocol, STEM School Highlands Ranch will abide by its Virtual School Day Policy. When it snows, our school’s operation and instructional expectations will be determined by one of these three scenarios:

  • Updated: Snow Day – Douglas County Schools calls a snow day – STEM is closed (check www.dcsdk12.org)
  • Late Start Day – Douglas County Schools calls a Late Start day – STEM is closed and implements a Virtual School Day.
  • All Schools Open – Douglas County Schools declare Highlands Ranch area schools open – STEM is open and operating to our regular schedule.

Connect with other Parents

In case you didn’t know, families have specific Class Pages on Facebook where they can connect with other families from their student’s grade. You can find all of the different class pages on our Get Connected page of the Parent section of our website. Click the button below to see them.

Please note that these pages are administered by other parents and not by STEM.

Center for Strength News and Events

DCSD News and Resources

District Accountability Committee Seeks Charter School Parent Member

DCSD’s District Accountability Committee (DAC) is currently accepting applications for a charter school parent member. The District Accountability Committee (DAC) meets monthly throughout the year and makes recommendations to the Board regarding spending District money, charter school applications, improvement plans and parent engagement plans. If you have a child in one of our DCSD charter schools and are interested in serving on this important committee please complete and submit the DAC Application.

Mental Health Resource of the Week


The mission of Safe2Tell is to ensure that every Colorado student, parent, teacher and community member has access to a safe and anonymous way to report any concerns to their safety or the safety of others, with a focus on early intervention and prevention through awareness and education. Learn more or make an anonymous report by visiting www.safe2tell.org or calling 877-542-7233.

Literacy Tip of the Week

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Reading to children early and often builds strong foundations in literacy, encourages a love of reading, and increases the potential for learning success in school. The Douglas County Libraries are excited to put great books into the hands of children across Douglas County to provide even more opportunities to read together. Through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, children from birth to age five receive a free book each month, sent straight to their home, that they get to keep.

Lunch and Learn: The Facts About Fentanyl

Hosted by the Douglas County Youth Initiative

Tuesday, April 4 | 12-1:30 p.m., 100 Third St., Castle Rock – Miller Building Hearing Room

  • Complimentary Lunch is Available, please bring your own water
  • Limited seating. RSVP to malston@douglas.co.us
  • Speaker: Lindsey Simbeye, External Relations Strategist
  • Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Comments are closed.