STEM School Highlands Ranch

Never Stop Innovating

Elementary News and Updates (04/23/21)

Elementary-School-News Image

Elementary News and Upcoming Events

Volunteer and Donation News

Volunteering and giving to STEM are vital to the success of our school.  Our school has a charter that requires a commitment of 30 volunteer hours per family (15 hours per single-parent family).

To make volunteering easy and seamless, please refer to the Volunteering Basics section that will allow you to set up your volunteer account and keep track of your hours.  We are extremely grateful for the time and energy donated by STEM parents each year.

With COVID 19, and visitors or volunteers not being allowed in the building this year, STEM has continued volunteer needs as the year finishes.
Please consider what your family can contribute with time or donations.

Upcoming Events

SteMed and SteMed Jr Donation Drive

April 19-30 – Donation Drive Window

SteMed and SteMed Jr. are hosting a donation drive to the Hope and Help Center of Castle Rock to help them during COVID. Donations can be dropped off at the middle school office from April 19th to April 30th. If you have any questions, please contact SteMed at stemed@s.stemk12.org or kent.schnacke@stemk12.org.

Donation Items:

  • Taco seasoning and taco shells
  • peanut butter
  • Kids drinks in pouches or boxes
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Sloppy Joe mix in cans or packets
  • Canned Spaghetti O’s or Ravioli
  • Canned Olives
  • Canned tuna fish
  • Non-refrigerated juice (orange, apple, cranberry, Sunny Delight, etc.)
  • Toiletry items: Shampoo and Conditioner (standard size), Toothpaste and toothbrushes (standard size), deodorant (standard size), bars of soap
  • Cleaning supplies: Spay bottles of Lysol or Clorox (any brand)
SteMed-Donation Drive

Parent Forum

Tuesday, April 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

We will be holding a Parent Forum on Tuesday, April 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. via Zoom. We will be providing an update on our Secondary Schedule Process and the work of the Teacher Task Force, as well as open up the opportunity for families to ask questions of the STEM Leadership Team. Click the button below to access the Zoom session. If you would like to submit your question in advance, you can complete the submission form via the button below.

Kindie Inventor's Visit

Tuesday, April 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Famous Inventor Mr. Ian Bernstein from Misty Robotics and Sphero will visit the Kindies to teach about Prototyping and Innovation in preparation of the Presentations to the US Patent and Trademark Office. He will meet with each Kindie Classroom on Tuesday, April 27 starting at 11:30 a.m.

First annual STEM Poetry Slam!

Thursday, April 29

For the first time ever, STEM Slam will take place during STEMfest on Thursday, April 29. Please join Mrs. Ridder’s virtual cafe to participate in the poetry slam or to enjoy our STEM Poets.

STEM FEST logo

STEM Fest, Sponsored by STEM PTO

Thursday, April 29 from 4-7 p.m.

PTO is excited to bring back one of STEM’s flagship events, STEM Fest, as a virtual event showcasing our school’s learning and accomplishments in a collaborative celebration with students, faculty, and community partners. Our theme of “Get Connected” centers around the idea of giving our community an opportunity to feel re-connected in celebration of our learning adventures and accomplishments. If teachers or clubs are interested, please feel free to Sign Up, below. Any and all questions can be directed to PTO@stemk12.org. Stay tuned for more details to follow. Click here to access the sign-up form.

The format of the event is outlined below:

  • 4 p.m. MST – Kickoff – Introductions – Led by Students from STEM Student Government (ES, MS, and HS)
  • 4:10- 4:25 p.m. – ES Breakouts / 5 activities (25 minutes)
  • 4:30- 4:55 p.m. – ES Breakouts / 5 activities (25 minutes)
  • 5 – 5:10 p.m. – Student Success Stories and Perspectives (Presented by ES Student Government)
  • 5:10-5:25 p.m. – MS Breakouts / 5 activities – Teacher Content/Clubs/Sports/Industry Partners (25 minutes)
  • 5:30-5:55 p.m. – MS Breakouts / 5 activities – Teacher Content/Clubs/Sports/Industry Partners (25 minutes)
  • 6 p.m. – Student Success Stories and Perspectives (Presented by MS Student Government)
  • 6:10- 6:25 p.m. – HS Breakouts / 5 activities – Content/Clubs/Sports/Industry Partners (25 minutes)
  • 6:30 – 6:55 p.m. – HS Breakouts / 5 activities – Content/Clubs/Sports/Industry Partners (25 minutes)
  • 7 p.m. – HS Student Success Stories and Perspectives (HS Student Government)
  • 7:10 p.m. – Closing Words from PTO, STEM Teachers, Students, Parents, etc. (brief time of thanks and final announcements)
  • 8 p.m. – Silent Auction closes

STEMShares coming up May 3-7

May 3-7, 2021

STEMShares is our opportunity to bring our community together to give back and share what being #STEMStrong really means. Our community showed an amazing amount of support for us in our time of need, and giving back is a great way to honor the heroic actions of our students and staff. Click the button below to learn more.

Specials Day (Field Day)

May 17, from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Specials Day is the new version of field day and will be on May 17. It will function a little differently than past field days because we can only do one grade level at a time (to keep with covid policies and cleaning procedures). During specials time for each elementary grade level, that grade will come out to the playfield and rotate between activities designed and run by the specials teachers.

Kindie Continuation

Friday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The 2021 Kindie Continuation Webinar will be held on Friday, May 21 starting at 11 am. This year we will compile the Kindies and Graduating Seniors aspirations into a celebration video. This will be aired on a Zoom webinar that families and friends can attend virtually. Click the button below to join.

News and Updates

Join the School Accountability Committee (SAC)

Are you looking to get more involved with the school, but not sure where to start? Are you interested in learning about STEM and the impact we as parents, teachers, and staff have on our students? Or are you just curious how our school runs and what goes into making our school a success? If you said yes to any of these questions please consider joining the STEM School Accountability Committee, SAC. All parents are welcome to attend our meetings, but we are currently looking to fill three parent voting member positions for the 2021-2022 school year. You can submit your letter of interest to sac@stemk12.org.

We are looking for a diverse representation of our school, which can be grade level, culture, committees, or anyone that has a direct impact on a large population of our school. We currently have parent representation at each of the school levels, elementary, middle, and high school. Each elected member serves a two year term; however, your role on the board may change from one year to the next within the elected term. The SAC time commitment is minimal and qualifies towards volunteer hours. The SAC typically meets the third Wednesday of the month from 6-8 p.m.

The SAC is an advisory committee to the Director(s) about things such as…

  • Discuss results of State testing
    • School Performance Framework
  • Provide input regarding
    • School Budget
    • Unified Improvement Plan (UIP – the school’s academic goals and action plans)
    • Staffing Needs
  • Parent Survey
    • Distribution
    • Collection
    • Data Analysis
  • Collaborate with the PTO and reports to the Board of Directors
  • SAC provides feedback to the DAC (District Accountability Committee) regarding:
    • Spending district money
    • Charter applications and renewals
    • School improvement plans

If you have any questions or are interested in becoming an advisor on the SAC please submit your intent to participate to SAC@stemk12.org by Friday, May 7. The election will be held May 10-17 via electronic ballot. To know your school is to love your school!

Nominations Open for 2022 CDE Colorado Teacher of the Year

Do you know an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 teacher? Nominate one of your colleagues to apply for the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year award. The nomination form is now open. When you nominate someone, they will be notified of their nomination by CDE and encouraged to take the next step to apply.

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher will automatically become Colorado’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition.

This special teacher also gets to attend the following events:

  • The National Teacher of the Year Induction, an opportunity for the country’s teachers of the year to come together and understand their individual identities in their new roles.
  • Washington Week, an opportunity to go to the nation’s capital for recognition. Teachers will get to visit the White House and meet the president as well as attend the National Teacher of the Year gala.
  • NASA Space Camp, where teachers participate in a version of astronaut training designed specifically for educators to take strategies and concepts back to their classrooms.
  • College Football Playoff National Championship Game to participate in the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers event, which elevates the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering quality teachers.

All this can be possible for one exceptional Colorado teacher so tell the one you’re thinking of right now to apply. Nominate them using this form via the button to the right by June 15, 2021.

Shiloh House Offering Parent Education Classes and Support Groups

Shiloh House is once again offering parents the opportunity to enroll in parenting classes and/or support groups. To register for these classes please call 303-695-7996 or email communityservices@shilohhouse.net. Click the button below to see the current schedule of Parent Classes and Support Groups.

A Message from the Colorado League of Charter Schools President

It’s literally go time! Any day now, a harmful piece of legislation will be introduced in the Colorado State Legislature that makes unnecessary changes to the public charter school appeals process leaving our schools vulnerable to the changing political winds.

We don’t often ask for help, but when we do it’s because we really need you and we need you now!

Take two minutes to learn more about the bill and add your voice to the hundreds of other charter school families, staff and supporters in telling House Education Committee members to vote ‘no’ on the charter schools appeals bill when it is introduced. ACT Now.

Student illustrator contest!

Do you like to draw? Have you ever dreamed of illustrating a children’s book? Mrs. Ridder is looking for a budding student artist to illustrate an upcoming children’s book. If you are interested, please contact Mrs. Ridder (maura.ridder@stemk12.org) for more information.

Elementary Lost and Found

It’s that time of year. If you think your student is missing items, please stop by our Lost & Found to look through what has been left behind. The Lost & Found is located in the Elementary School Lobby. All items not picked up will be donated at the end of the school year.

Recovery Resources Available

Elizabeth Brown joined STEM in January 2021 as the Recovery Coordinator for STEM. While her desk is located in the new admin side of the P-TECH building, she will be spending the majority of her time in the school. The broadest description of her position is to provide overall coordination for the recovery of students, parents, and staff. Dr. Euker has stated that it is a huge priority for her that Elizabeth reaches out and provides the necessary support and information to our community. Elizabeth is working under a grant that can make all kinds of resources available to those who would like them.

Her role is specifically to support all who have been impacted, so if there are needs that aren’t being met, questions that aren’t being answered, or services that aren’t being provided, it would be really helpful to let her know so she can be sure to address those issues. Please email her at elizabeth.brown@stemk12.org.

Building Parent Trust Committee Survey

The Parent Trust Committee of the Strategic Plan Goal “Building Parent Trust” would like to collect some data from our community (students and parents) on some of the favorite implementations of Problem Based Learning that teachers have created in their classrooms. The committee gathered feedback during the Town Hall in January that included helping to build a repository of PBLs for teachers to use.

Problem based learning is STEM’s instructional model. Teachers utilized different techniques to have students solve a real-world problem, while teaching the state standards and core competencies.

Learn more about Standards-Based Learning at STEM

STEM School Highlands Ranch is moving toward Standards-Based Learning and Reporting to measure and communicate students’ learning and academic growth and achievement with greater accuracy. By switching we are able to provide clearer feedback to students based on specific learning goals.

In a traditional hundred-point grading system, grades are generated from the work assigned to students. These scores often include points for extra credit or deductions for behavior, such as turning work in late, and are an average of all of these things. This system does not take into account the learning process and doesn’t accurately show what a student can do. There are also biases within this system since teachers apply points differently. Students often do not know what a grade means and grade meanings can vary from class to class. Earning points becomes the motivating factor for students, causing them to chase points instead of knowledge.

Standards-Based Learning focuses on the mastery of essential content.

Special Offer from DR Photo

STEM families, we have partnered with DR Photo to offer our families yard signs and banners to celebrate your student’s graduation (Kindergarten or High School). If you would like to order a sign or banner please click the button to the right.

We also are offering graduation portrait sessions. You can schedule a private session at their Littleton studio by clicking the link to the right.

School Photos Update

STEM had picture Day on February 16 & 17 for students needing a current school photo.

Elementary Students:

  • There will be a Class Composite created for each class
  • Parents will have the opportunity to purchase individual and class composite photos.

If your student was unable to take advantage of the picture days at STEM, please set an appointment to have their picture taken at the photographer’s studio. Check out the buttons to the left to schedule an appointment, or order photos.

Updates to 2020-21 Academic Calendar and Graduation

In late August/early September of 2020, STEM had to make an adjustment to its Academic Calendar to extend the school year by a few days in order to account for our delayed start. The last day (half day) for Elementary is Friday, May 21 and the last day (half day) for Secondary is Tuesday, May 25. You can view the updated Calendar here. Additionally, graduation has been moved to Thursday, May 20 at 2 p.m. at EchoPark Stadium.

Updates to Snow Day Procedure

Due to the delayed start at the beginning of the school year that has impacted our required academic minutes, if DCSD calls for a SCHOOL CLOSURE due to weather, STEM will operate on a Virtual Day Schedule instead. This decision was made to prevent having to add additional days at the end of the school year to make up for a snow day. If DCSD calls for a DELAYED START due to weather, STEM will operate on a Virtual Day Schedule.

PikMyKid Info

PikMyKid Logo

Make sure to designate your Pick-Up Mode and your Delegates (if necessary) prior to 1:45 p.m. each day.

Pick-Up Modes:

  • West Driveline Pick-Up Mode – ALL students being picked up by car
  • Walker – Meeting your student at the ES Doors
  • Sibling Pick-Up – ES students with Secondary Siblings that are walking

Remember to only enter the Driveline at your designated time and display your placard. To help our driveline volunteers, please keep your placard up until you leave the parking lot. Also, to help us be good neighbors to our business park neighbors, please do not stack along Barrons Blvd.

  • Green – K-1 Grades Only – 2:20 p.m.
  • Orange – 2-5 Grades (with K-1 sibling) – 2:30 p.m.
  • Yellow – K-5 with Secondary Sibling – 2:55 p.m.

New Gear available for sale in the SpartMart

February 2021 SpartMart Sale

Don’t Delay! Show your STEM Spartan Pride by ordering from the NEW gear that is available in the SpartMart Store. Check out the flier to the right for more information. The SpartMart is operated by STEM students and the gear is designed by STEM students as well.

Enrichment Update

Summer Camps at STEM

We are excited to host a variety of summer camps this upcoming summer.

  • Camp Invention (K-6) | June 7-11, 2021
  • Cyber-SPY Camp (K-2) | June 14-18, 2021
  • Cyber Detectives (3-5) | June 21-25, 2021
  • FRC 4418’s Lego Mindstorm Camp (K-5)
  • Peter Pan Theater Camp (K-5) | June 21-25, 2021

Please visit our Enrichment page to view current openings and sign up.

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