Elementary News and Updates (08/12/22)

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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.

Parent Coffee with Administration

Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. – Elementary Cafeteria

Join us for our first Parent Coffee with Administration gathering on Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the Elementary School Cafeteria. You can meet our STEM Administrators and have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about them. We’ll have coffee and light pastries.

Please park in the Elementary School Parking Lot and check-in at the Elementary School Front Office. Please bring your ID so that you can be provided with a Visitor Badge.

Bond Mill Levy Q&A with DCSD Superintendent and STEM Leadership

Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Elementary Cafeteria (Zoom option available)

Join us for a Q&A Session with Dr. Karen Johnson (Interim CEO of KOSON Schools), LynAnn Kovalesky (STEM Executive Director) and Erin Kane (DCSD Superintendent) as they discuss the proposal for the Mill Levy/Bond issue that is expected to be on November’s Ballot.

All three panelists will take questions from those in attendance. Please park in the Elementary School Parking Lot and Enter the Elementary School Cafeteria.

Parent Coffee Connection at the Center (Sponsored by STEM PTO)

Thursday, Aug. 18, from 7:30-9 a.m. – STEM Center for Strength

STEM PTO will be hosting a Parent Coffee Connection at the STEM Center for Strength. Stop by after you drop off your students to meet other parents, tour the Center and create lasting connections. The STEM Center for Strength is located at 640 Plaza Dr., Suite 130, right across the street from STEM.

Elementary Back to School Night

Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5-7:30 p.m. – Elementary Gymnasium/Classrooms

Our Elementary Back to School Night is your opportunity to meet your student’s teacher, see their classroom and meet other parents of students in the same class. It’s also the opportunity for our grade levels to present about what to expect for the school year. Please note that this is not the opportunity to discuss individual student needs. If you need to discuss individual student needs, please reach out to your child’s teacher via email.


  • 5-5:10 p.m. – Presentation in the gym K/1
  • 5:15-5:45 p.m. – K
  • 5:35-6:05 p.m. – 1
  • 5:40 – 5:50 p.m. – Presentation in the gym 2/3
  • 5:55 – 6:25 p.m. – 2
  • 6:15 – 6:45 p.m. – 3
  • 6:20-6:30 p.m. – Presentation in the gym 4/5
  • 6:35- 7:05 p.m. – 4
  • 6:55 – 7:25 p.m. – 5

Grade-level presentations will be in the individual teacher classrooms. Each teacher will present for 15 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q and A. Parents only need to attend one session in the gym. The presentation will be the same for all of the groups.

News and Updates

Congratulations Amy Dupays

This week, Amy Dupays celebrated her 30th anniversary as an employee of DCSD and with DCSD’s BASE program. Congratulations Amy!

Please join us in congratulating Amy and thanking her for her years of commitment to the Douglas County Community. Amy started with Sand Creek BASE as a teenager, and went on to work at Summit View and then Trailblazer before moving onto STEM BASE. In her tenure, Amy has not only cared for literally thousands of children, but she has also mentored BASE staff, developed and facilitated BASE-specific training, led the charge for COA Accreditation, and helped develop the platform for Virtual BASE during the COVID shutdown (just to name a few of her many accomplishments).

Simply put, BASE would not be where it is today without Amy’s innovations and advocacy of BASE.

Amy Dupays, DCSD BASE Director

Elementary Placards

The remaining Elementary Driveline Placards that have not yet been picked up have been placed in each teacher’s mailbox. If you need additional placards, please submit a support ticket to support@https://stemk12.org. If you’ve already submitted one, please resubmit so that we can make sure to fulfill your request. All placards must be displayed on the dashboard throughout the driveline to assist our Driveline aides and volunteers with the loading and verifying process.

Elementary Reminders

We want to thank our families for their efforts in helping to make driveline run smoothly. Monday will be our first day with Kindergarten students getting picked up during driveline. Please know that this is their first time going through dismissal and while we practice with them, it can be daunting for them. Please be patient.

Also, if you are picking up a student via our Walker Door, please know that the Walker Door shuts down at 2:50 p.m. Students who are not picked up prior to 2:50 p.m. will be dismissed to their stones at 2:55 p.m. and families can pick them up there.

WayToGo Carpool Information

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Join STEM School Highlands Ranch’s Schoolpool program to connect with other families to drive, walk or bike to school together. 

Looking for help getting your student to and from school to after-school activities, or want to find a buddy to commute to school with? STEM School Highlands Ranch is pleased to once again partner with Schoolpool, a free program to make it easier to get to school.

Enrichment Update

Greetings! My name is Melanie FitzRoy. I have been on staff with STEM School Highlands Ranch since 2017 in a variety of roles, including Educational Assistant in elementary and middle school, Lead In-House Substitute K-12. My daughter started at STEM in 5th grade and is now an incoming Sophomore. Before my time at STEM, my career focused around design, marketing and event planning. Registration for many of the elementary clubs will begin opening up next week, like FLL, Destination Imagination, Game Club and several more.

Registration for Fall Enrichment is open for the following Elementary programs:

  • Ballet
  • Chess
  • Fencing
  • HipHop
  • Theater
  • Yoga

More registrations coming soon!

We are looking for interested coaches/parent volunteers to help facilitate the following Elementary clubs at STEM this fall:

  • First Lego League (Lego Robotics)
  • Destination Imagination

If you want more information on coaching/volunteer opportunities with our school-based clubs, contact Melanie FitzRoy at melanie.fitzroy@https://stemk12.org. Click the button below to start registering for clubs.

School Lunches will NOT be Free This Year

Over the last two years, the USDA has provided school waivers that provide meals at no cost to the students. Those waivers expired after the 2021-22 School year ends. This means that a return to paid meals will begin August 8, 2022 for students that do not qualify for Free or Reduces Meal Benefits. DCSD is asking that ALL families please complete the Free or Reduced Lunch Application. While you’re completing the application, please make sure to check the box that allows for the information to be shared with your student’s school. Sharing this information with STEM allows for your student to be eligible for more benefits throughout the school year.

If a family does not qualify for FRL, the meals will cost the following:

$3.25 – Elementary

$3.75 – Middle School

All meal prices include an entree, fruit, veggies and milk. Ala carte options are available at all schools and prices vary by option. Students pay for school lunches through their MySchoolBucks account.

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.

News from DCSD about Funding Challenges

Do you know how STEM gets funded? Not many people know. As a free, public charter school in the Douglas County School District, we receive funding through Per Pupil Revenue (PPR). That means for each student we get a predetermined (by the State) amount of money. That money is then used to cover our operating costs, which include facilities, teacher/staff salaries and more. DCSD is one of the lowest-funded school districts in the state.

Any funding for capital improvements like the CHSAA Gym/Building Remodel Project is funded through Bond money that STEM receives from investors. Teacher/staff salaries cannot be paid using that money.

In order for STEM, and the other schools within DCSD, to provide competitive teacher/staff salaries, DCSD must find other ways to find funding. One avenue is through a Mill Levy Override (MLO) or a Bond. DCSD has established a committee to explore these funding options and we wanted to provide our community with information in order to stay informed and to help spread the word.

STEM B.A.S.E. is Hiring

STEM BASE is URGENTLY hiring! We are looking for 1 Program Assitant Manager and 2 Senior Program Leaders to work in a busy and fun program. If you or someone you know is looking to develop management skills and gain experience in a growing program with a fun, experienced, and dedicated staff, this is the right move for you. The Assistant Manager position is a “Select Charter Position” that offers an additional 10% monthly pay stipend, 30 hours per week and full time hours on school breaks. Sr Program Leader hours are M-F 1:30-5:30/6. Part-time and full-time hours are available during school breaks. Happy to coordinate BASE managers who have staff looking for more hours. Feel free to call or email me for more details or questions. amy.dupays@dcsdk12.org /(720) 688-2928.

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

988 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

“988” is the new three-digit, nationwide phone number for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It makes it easier to connect people in need of confidential support to the existing network of more than 200 local crisis call centers around the country, with the hopes of also decreasing the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. People can also call the number if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

Literary Resource of the Week

Supporting Your Child’s Literacy at Development Home

Take part in literacy experiences at home. Taking part can develop your child’s reading ability, comprehension, and language skills. It could also improve your child’s interest in reading, attitude towards reading, and focus.

Total Wellness Resource of the Week

Helping Kids Stay Active and Eat Healthy

Healthy eating and physical activity are important ways to support your child’s growth and development. Parents can help their children make necessary changes to ensure they are eating healthier and staying active by making mindful choices each day. The healthy habits your child learns now can last a lifetime.


“I Voted” Digital Sticker Contest

All high school students throughout the state can submit their designs for a new “I Voted” digital sticker. Visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website for more details.

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