Elementary News and Updates (04/05/24)

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Director's Message

A message from Mrs. McElroy, Elementary School Director

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Elementary School Families,

We are in the final quarter of the year, and we’re off to a great start. Last Friday, we had an assembly to talk about growth mindset and mindfulness in preparation for CMAS this week. Our kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders, were tasked with showing our upper grades support for CMAS by writing encouraging notes to the older students. This week, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders did an amazing job during CMAS. We are so proud of them. CMAS make-ups will continue over the next couple of weeks, and the 5th grade will take the science CMAS on April 17th and 18th.

On Monday, April 8, we will be having a solar eclipse watch party. Solar eclipse glasses will be provided to all of our students. Each grade level has been learning about solar eclipses in preparation for Monday. Also, our 4th graders will join the residents at Highline Place Assisted Living to watch the solar eclipse.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will begin creating class lists for next year. During class selection, we take into consideration academic strengths and weaknesses, social-emotional strengths and weaknesses, and the mix of students’ and teachers’ strengths and weaknesses when placing students. The process of placing kids is very thought out, as we want to ensure a heterogeneous mix of students in each class. If you would like to provide feedback for the team to consider, you may reach out to Bailey Phetchamphone or your classroom, who will provide you with a copy of the Parent Request Form. The parent request form needs to be submitted no later than April 26th.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • April 8 – 4th grade field trip to Highline Place
  • April 8 – 5th grade Revolutionary War Practice
  • April 10 – ES Theatre Performance (Peter Pan)
  • April 10 – PTO Meeting
  • April 11 – 5th grade Revolutionary War Practice
  • April 11 & 12- State of STEM
  • April 12 – 5th-grade Move Up to Middle School
  • April 12 – 2nd-grade field trip to Denver Aquarium
  • April 17 – STEM SAC Meeting
  • April 18 – DEI Committee Meeting
  • April 19 – 1st grade Market Day
  • April 23 – 1st grade to Denver Zoo
  • April 25 – PTO STEM Fest
  • April 26 – Professional Development Day – NO SCHOOL
  • April 29 – 5th grade Revolutionary War Practice
  • April 29 – May 10 – Spring iReady Testing
  • May 1 – 4th-grade field trip World of Waves
  • May 2 – 4th-grade field trip World of Waves
  • May 2 – 5th grade Revolutionary War Day at Chatfield
  • May 6 – New to STEM Parent Night
  • May 6-10 – Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 7 – No School
  • May 8 – Field Day (K-2)
  • May 9 – Field Day (3-5)
  • May 10 – 3rd-grade field trip to Golden History Museum
  • May 13 – STEM Art Show
  • May 14 – STEM Board Meeting
  • May 15 – SAC Meeting
  • May 15 – Kindergarten field trip to Children’s Museum
  • May 16 – DEI Committee Meeting
  • May 17 – 4th grade field trip to Civic Green Park
  • May 20 – Graduation Day
  • May 21 – Kindie Continuation
  • May 22- Last Day of School (half day)

Have a wonderful weekend. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

In Partnership,

Amie McElroy, Elementary School Director

Mrs. McElroy's Driveline Message

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Elementary Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break and enjoyed some of the beautiful weather. I am reaching out to all of our Elementary School Families to express my utmost thanks to all of you for your help and continued support to help us keep our driveline running smoothly and efficiently.

I apologize for the length of this message in advance, but it is a very important topic that I want to ensure is addressed with as much transparency as possible.

I know that any school’s driveline can be a pain point, and our goal with our Transportation Management Plan is not to be a burden but an easy guide for all of us to pull in the same direction so that we are not counterproductive.

While some may not agree with components of the TMP, it is a required document that is submitted to the Douglas County School District, as well as Douglas County, serving as our collective STEM-Community agreement that we will follow to ensure that we are not a negative impact on our surrounding businesses and community.

As we shared a few weeks ago, we have been short-staffed and asked other staff to fill in to help us with dismissal. During this time, our team has been working behind the scenes to identify improvements to our process, and we’ve identified a multi-phase process to help us make improvements.

Our first process includes:

  • Training and retraining of driveline roles and responsibilities for staff and volunteers, as well as dismissal procedures performed by teachers.
  • Slight shift in specific staff roles to expedite the loading of cars.
  • Ensuring all families have access to the PikMyKid app and are utilizing it to announce and make the appropriate delegations. (if you need help with your app, please click here)
  • Ensure that all cars entering the Driveline have a placard to display. (if you need a placard, please email support@https://stemk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/blog-1.jpgk12.org with your student’s name, grade and number of placards needed)
  • Ensure that cars are pulled forward as much as possible to reduce gaps.
  • Ensure cars are stacked in the third lane to accommodate the stacking of as many cars as possible to avoid back-ups on Barrons Blvd.

Our goal in this first process is to improve our internal and external efficiencies so that we can dismiss and load students quickly.

Once we have completed this first phase and identified that our improvements are assisting our efficiency, we will move to our second phase if needed.

Our second process includes the following:

  • Enforcing our TMP requirements off of our campus.
  • Identifying the cars that are lining up on the street before their designated pick-up time.
  • Cars will receive up to 3 warnings before receiving a fee assessed in the student’s MySchoolBucks account.
  • This process is outlined in our TMP, which is located on our website.
  • Identify cars that are parked in our surrounding businesses.
  • Cars will receive up to 3 warnings before receiving a fee assessed in the student’s MySchoolBucks account.
  • Our goal in this second process is not to penalize families but to encourage families not following the TMP to start making adjustments so that we do not have to issue tickets.

We’ve received a few questions as to why it matters when cars stack on the street before their pick-up time, and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Green placard cars get stuck in line and cannot pick up their student during their designated pick-up time. When green placards cannot access their pick-up time, it then overflows into our orange placards, which overloads our dismissal capacity during that time frame.
  2. Forces cars to use the center turn lanes as an active driving lane, posing a safety hazard.
  3. Blocks driveway entrance and exits for our neighbor businesses; inconveniences them; creates a dangerous situation when cars attempt to exit those business parking lots due to obstructed visibility.
  4. If an emergency happens and first responders need to access our campus, they need to be able to do so safely.
  5. Violates our TMP.

Thank you for your patience with all of this information. We hope that by sharing this with enough notice, we can all make the necessary changes together to improve our efficiency and all pull in the same direction.

You may see an officer out during driveline this week to start assisting us with moving cars off of Barrons Blvd., who are stacking on the street prior to their pick-up time.

Please reach out with any questions.

In partnership,

Amie McElroy, Elementary School 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.

Business Club HipPops Ice Cream Truck
State of STEM Save the date

News and Updates

The DAC is currently accepting applications for membership for 4 Parent Representatives. Please click below to apply.

CMAS Testing Information

We’re heading into testing season! Parents, please be sure to check our testing calendar and the State Mandated Testing page on our website to stay in the know of all of the upcoming important dates and how to prepare. Please reach out to julie.adamek@https://stemk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/blog-1.jpgk12.org with any questions.

Elementary Yearbook Order Reminder

Early Bird pricing is over, but you can still place your order online for an Elementary School Yearbook by Friday, March 29. Click the button below to place your order.

Driveline Reminders for Elementary Families

  • Please remember that Driveline opens at 7:10 a.m. and that students should not be dropped off prior to that time. The Elementary Aides will come out to open the car doors when we are prepared to receive students.
  • School starts at 7:40 a.m., so all students should arrive prior to that time. Any students who arrive at 7:40 or later must be signed in by their parent/guardian.
  • In the afternoon, please ONLY come at your designated pick-up times. Click here to review your pick-up times.
    • For families who are coming to pick up for the 2:30 p.m. time frame, please do not park on the street and/or block the business driveways along Barrons Blvd. Prior to break, we noticed many cars blocking driveways and trying to access the driveline prior to 2:30 p.m. If this continues, we will request for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to come out to issue tickets to anyone stopping/standing on an active roadway. Please help us be good neighbors by following the Traffic Management Plan.
  • Please make sure that your PikMyKid information is up to date and that you have your student’s pick-up mode updated in the app. If someone other than you is picking up your student, please make sure to have your delegations set prior to pick-up time.
  • If you are in need of a new placard, please email support@https://stemk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/blog-1.jpgk12.org to request a placard. Please include your student’s name, teacher’s name and number of placards requested.

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Elementary Families,

We’re emailing all Elementary School Families to request the following support from ANY ADULT who is coming to pick up students during the afternoon driveline.

PikMyKid App Update

  • PikMyKid pushed out an update to their app, and some families are not seeing their students any longer.
  • Please take a moment to log out and log back into your app.
  • If you still do not see your student after logging out and logging back in, please complete the PikMyKid Help Request form.

Delegating in PikMyKid

  • If your student is getting picked up by someone else, please remember to delegate your student to that other adult.
  • Students who are not delegated will result in us pulling the car out of the driveline so that we can confirm with the parent that the student is allowed to go home with the other adult waiting in driveline.
  • When students are not delegated, this creates major delays and inconveniences.
  • If you’re unsure how to delegate, please see the tutorials on our PikMyKid webpage.

Announcing in PikMyKid

  • Due to the time of year, we have several staff who are out sick, resulting in us being short-staffed for the afternoon driveline. We are pulling staff from other positions to assist.
  • Additionally, we are anticipating inclement weather tomorrow during the afternoon driveline.
  • It is incredibly important that you announce your student once you arrive to assist our staff and to help keep driveline efficient.
  • Announcing your student speeds up the inputting process and allows teachers inside the building to release students quickly.

Driveline Placards

  • Please display your placards on your dashboard from the time you enter the driveline to the time you leave.
  • Doing so helps our staff during the inputting process in PikMyKid and also helps volunteers make sure that the right student gets in the right car.
  • If you do not have a placard, please email support@https://stemk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/blog-1.jpgk12.org with the following information:
    • Student Name
    • Student Grade
    • Student Teacher
    • Number of Placards Needed

Coming at the right time

  • We’ve asked several times to please only come at your designated time, and we would like to please ask for your assistance with this again.
  • Lining up on the street before your pick-up time is not allowed and violates our Transportation Management Plan. It also slows down our driveline because Green Placards get stuck behind those blocking traffic.
  • We are understaffed and cannot dedicate a staff member to ensure that cars are not stacking on the street before 2:30 p.m.
  • We’ve requested that a Douglas County sheriff’s Deputy assist us with this, and we’ve been informed that any additional assistance will require us to pay to have a deputy come out. We do not have the budget to accommodate this request on a continuous basis and believe that our funds should be better spent on the instruction of our students.
  • We are ASKING NICELY FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE to please STOP stacking on Barrons Blvd and only approach the Orange Placard timeslot at 2:30 p.m.
  • We cannot say thank you enough to those who are abiding by this and assisting us with following our TMP. We truly appreciate your support and thoughtfulness.

Please reach out with any questions to communications@https://stemk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/blog-1.jpgk12.org.


Nicole Bostel, Communications Director

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