Elementary News and Updates (08/13/21)

Elementary-School-News Image

Greetings from Ms. LynAnn Kovalesky, Elementary School Director

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Elementary Families,

Welcome to what is going to be an amazing 2021-22 school year! It is an honor to serve our community, support STEM teachers, and work with all of your children. The STEM Leadership Team worked through the summer to ensure every child will be provided a safe, engaging and rigorous learning environment.

Even though this will be my third year as a member of the Leadership Team at STEM School Highlands Ranch, I am continuously enchanted by the learning that occurs in all of our classrooms. Through the use of Problem-Based Learning, STEM Elementary School teachers provide students with unique learning opportunities that surpass a traditional classroom environment. Students are encouraged to dig deeper on topics that interest them. They are able to work collaboratively with peers and participate in countless hands-on learning opportunities. Our students are engaged in their learning and excel in all areas because they are able to make connections to the real world and think critically about the world they live in.

I believe in the power of partnership with all stakeholders. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you to ensure your student reaches his/her full potential. I ask all parents to play an active role in their child’s education. I encourage all parents to be involved on campus with our staff and learners. Please attend community and school events, volunteer often, ask questions and offer support whenever possible. Please have daily conversations with your children about what they are learning in school and how things are going with their classmates. Together we will make a difference!

Every staff person at STEM is here for your child and we all want our students to succeed. If you haven’t already familiarized yourself with our Communications Pathways document, please take a moment to review it. This is the best way to start with locating who to contact with what specific area. We want to make sure you get to the right person to get your questions answered. I am also always here to assist you if needed. You can reach me at LynAnn.Kovalesky@stemk12.org.

We are #STEMStrongerTogether.

Ms. LynAnn Kovalesky, Elementary School Director

Donation and Volunteer Opportunities

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.

Volunteer Opportunitities

Driveline (Earn Double Volunteer Hours):

  • Parent supervisors needed during AM & PM Driveline! sign up here. Arrive 5 minutes early to find parking and grab a vest. Extra incentive: Earn double hours ie: log 60 hours in Driveline. (that’s 30 actual volunteer hours). Click here to sign up.

Elementary Lunchroom Volunteers:

Spartan Afternoon Program:

  • A great way to avoid waiting in the afternoon drive-line, and maybe even take your own child home with homework complete. This opportunity is after school and only requires volunteers to monitor students (no tutoring involved). If you are interested, please click here.

TSA Volunteers

To volunteer for TSA or to provide snacks please click here.

Driveline Volunteers

Classroom Wishlists

Click the buttons below to see our Teacher’s Classroom Wish Lists.

School Donations

Both our Elementary and Secondary Offices are always in need of donated items. Click the button below to see what we need and to sign up. Please bring the items to the appropriate front office with a label for what it is for.

Upcoming Events

School Pictures

Thursday, Aug. 19, during the day

Elementary students will go in small groups with their homeroom teacher to get their photos taken by DR Photo. Click the button below to order online.

Elementary Back-to-School Nights

Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Kindergarten through Second Grade

Thursday, Aug. 26, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Third Through Fifth Grade

Parents are invited to come to school and follow their student’s schedule for the evening. Parents may tour the building, meet administrators, visit their student’s teacher, and see a grade level presentation. Parents only please. Please park in the Elementary School Parking Lot and enter through the Elementary School Entrance. No sign-up is needed.

News and Updates

Driveline Reminders for Elementary (West) Driveline

All families should know our West Driveline Procedures when coming to drop-off or pick-up students.

Please make sure to have your PikMyKid account set up prior to coming to pick up your student. While we want to help everyone, we do not have enough staff to assist you with questions during driveline. Please reference this page for helpful tutorials and how to get help.

    • UPDATE: If you’ve set up your account and you are not seeing your student, please log out and log back in. If after doing that you still do not see your student, please complete this form.

Please make all Pick-Up Mode and/or Delegation changes no later than 2 p.m.

    • UPDATE: Pick-up modes for this year are West Driveline or Walker. BASE and Sibling Pick-Up are not options at this time. If your student is registered for BASE, a representative will pick them up from class and bring them to where they need to be.

CAR RIDERS

  • There is NO LEFT TURN into the parking lot from Barrons Blvd. (Please approach the Elementary School from the south)
  • In the mornings, ur driveline attendants will be there to open car doors and direct students where to go so please stay in your cars. Teachers will meet students at their class stones and bring them into the school building.
  • To help traffic flow, we are using the third lane on the back-side of the parking lot. Please be kind and allow that lane to merge into the middle lane as traffic comes around the corner.
  • Remember to be patient as we have a lot of new families learning about driveline.
  • Please do not park and get out of your car to drop off your student.
  • Please stay in your lane. Changing lanes can cause accidents. We’ve had several so please know that it does happen.
  • PLEASE NOTE: VERY IMPORTANT, Please do not line up on Barrons prior to your pick-up window!! Not only is it against the law and unsafe, but families in the Green Placard group are also getting stuck in our Orange Placard group which is creating congestion on Barrons.
  • Families picking up kindergarten and first-grade students ONLY (Green Placards) can begin entering the Elementary School Parking Lot at 2:15 p.m. for pick-up.
  • Families picking up students in second through fifth grade (Orange Placards), who also have a first-grade student, can begin entering the parking lot at 2:30 p.m. for pick-up. (Please do not park at the entrance to the parking lot before your pick-up time)
  • Families picking up students in grades first through fifth grade, who also have a sibling in our Secondary School (Yellow Placards) can begin entering the parking lot at 2:55 p.m. for pick-up.
    • Secondary students with Elementary siblings will enter and exit school using the Middle School Cafeteria.
  • ALL FAMILIES using our West Driveline MUST use the PikMyKid App for pick-up. Please make sure your account is set up and ready to go prior to getting in line. We will not have enough staff on hand to help you troubleshoot. Please see our PikMyKid page on our website for more information.
  • Please allow for patience during pick-up as everyone learns how to “Announce” using the app, and navigate driveline.

WALKERS

  • It is so important that our walkers use the Cross Walks when coming to school. In addition to it not being safe to cross where there is no crosswalk, it causes delays in getting cars in and out of our parking lot as they have to wait for pedestrians to cross the street.
    • See the image to the right to see the suggested route and where to cross and not cross.
  • If you will be walking up to the building to pick up your student (meaning you will not be in our driveline process), please make sure to have your student’s Pick-Up Mode set to “Walker”. Please make sure that you ONLY CLICK the “Announce” button when you arrive and are physically on site.
    • UPDATE: To avoid congestion around the front Elementary School Doors, we are asking that Walker Parents please go to our East Elementary Entrance. We will have signs and helpers to direct you to your new pick-up spot. See the image to the right for the updated pick-up spot.
  • Very important!! Please do not announce prior to arriving. Some families are announcing at 2:30 and not picking up their student until 2:55 p.m. or later. This means that your student is then waiting outside with our attendant that entire time.
Walking Path and Do Not Cross
West Walker Pick-Up

Hello STEM School Highlands Ranch Elementary Families,

I wanted to send out a big thank you to all the families this week for your patience and cooperation in the ES afternoon driveline. My name is Kelly, and I’m the one trying to squeeze as many cars as I can into the parking lot every afternoon. I’m a parent volunteer that also serves as a Parent Director on our STEM Board and a member of the STEM SAC. I really enjoy my volunteer time during the afternoon because it allows me to disconnect from work and connect with our STEM community.

I know this first week has been a crazy and afternoon driveline seems unbearable, but as the weeks go on you will see the process get progressively better. I find that when people understand the “Why” behind the process they tend to view the situation a little differently.

Why do we do what we do in Driveline?

The short answer is to adhere to our Traffic Management Plan, or TMP. The TMP is our commitment to mitigate traffic congestion for the neighboring businesses and residents. Our Charter contract requires a TMP to be in place and followed or we can be penalized for violating our contract. Our TMP can be found on the STEM website on the Driveline page.

Why do we have staggered entry times and why is it important to come at your designated time?

When everything is running smoothly the staggered entry times allow for fewer vehicles to stack up on Barrons Blvd. When vehicles arrive earlier than their designated time it creates congestion and illegal stopping/standing/parking on Barrons Blvd, which puts STEM at risk for violating our TMP. Stacking on Barrons Blvd also creates confusion for those that are arriving at the correct staggered time. These parents are forced to drive around the line of vehicles and use the center turn lane as a commuting lane. This can be a huge safety issue.

Why do we ask vehicles in the lot to move closer to the vehicle in front of them?

Simple, to get as many vehicles off Barrons Blvd as quickly as possible to avoid stacking. The less space we waste, the more cars we can get off the road. This is also why we direct vehicles to specific lanes when the parking lot starts to fill up. We use the third lane to help minimize the congestion on the road. I understand some drivers prefer one lane over the other because of the direction you leave the parking lot; however the afternoon does not allow for this flexibility, but there is the option to use the residential neighborhood to correct your course by rounding the block. I realize this can be a small inconvenience, but it is a huge help to keep Driveline moving smoothly.

Why do we ask for pedestrians to use the crosswalk?

Safety is our number one priority and it is important for everyone to respect this request. We ask that you please use a crosswalk or if there is traffic control at the Driveline exit that you please wait for instruction to cross the street. You will be asked to not cross the street at the Driveline entrance. Along those same lines, we ask that you do not cut through the parking lot from the sidewalk. We are looking into potentially adding a designated crossing area at the south end of the line for pedestrians to cross our parking lot safely, but that has not been implemented yet.

Why driveline runs on time one day and then later another day?

It takes a lot of people to operate any driveline efficiently and safely. If there is even one member of the STEM driveline staff that is out sick or not able to assist us with dismissal, it slows us down. That is why the need for driveline volunteers is so crucial. Please consider volunteering when you can. We especially need help as the weather starts to get cold.

Although you may not be able to volunteer in Driveline, please know that when you follow the guidelines for Driveline safety you are playing a huge part in helping us execute the process. Feel free to say hi next time you see me running around, and if I can answer any questions I am happy to do so. I am looking forward to an amazing year and wish the best to everyone.

Warmest regards,

Kelly Reyna
STEM Parent and Board Member

Update to our Virtual Weather Day Procedures

We have so many offerings for our students to get involved in clubs and activities at STEM. Click the button below to see all of our offerings. Don’t see something that interests your student? Email Mrs. Sara Phelps (sara.phelps@stemk12.org) to see if that club could be added.

Here are the latest Elementary School Clubs that have been added:

Important News

Lunch: Lunch is FREE so please remind your student that if they want a DCSD lunch, they must go through the line and use their lunch number for inventory purposes.

Update to our Virtual Weather Day Procedures

In the event that DCSD determines that the district should follow the DCSD 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:

  1. Snow Day – Douglas County Schools (check www.dcsdk12.org) calls a snow day – The STEM building is closed and implements a Virtual School Day with 20% of the learning being synchronous. (NEW; STEM will not have Snow Days morning forward)
  2. Late Start Day – Douglas County Schools calls a Late Start day – STEM is closed and implements a Virtual School Day with 20% of the learning being synchronous.
  3. All Schools Open – Douglas County Schools declare Highlands Ranch area schools open – STEM is open and operating to our regular schedule.

Did you know?

Entrances to the School

We will not longer have a High School Entrance. In order to better serve our students, our High School Office has been transformed into the Counseling Offices. This means that our Middle School entrance will now be the Main Secondary Entrance, and our Middle School Office will now be our Secondary Office Suite. All Secondary Students should enter and exit through the Secondary Doors.

Forgotten Items Table

If your student forgets something in the morning and needs it for that day, there is a table in the lobby on which you can leave something for your student. Please make sure that their name is on the item. If it is electronic in nature, please bring it to the office. Please remind your student to check that table or the front desk if they are expecting you to bring an item. So as to not interrupt the classroom, we will not call them to get the item from the table. It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve the items you leave for them.

Lost and Found

Please put your student’s name on everything. If an item (other than electronics) is lost, it can be retrieved from the Lost and Found table in the back of the cafeteria. Electronic items that are found will be at the front desk. We donate the items not retrieved before Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break and at the end of the school year (or as needed).

BASE is Hiring

Come join us for a rewarding career in serving families in out-of-school time! The hours depending on school times are:

  • 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. (9:05 a.m.)
  • 3:15 (3:45) – 6 p.m. (6:15 p.m.)
  • Full-day hours vary from 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (6:15 p.m.)

For more information reach out to basebusinessrequest@dcsdk12.org.

2021-2022 BASE Sub Compensation Rates

  • Sub Program Aide: $12.32
  • Sub Program Leader: $13.80
    • Compensation would be set at this rate for a new DCSD employee, or if a current DCSD classified employee applies, who also holds a classified secondary position, such as an Educational Assistants 1-3,
  • Sub Program Leader: $14.80
    • Compensation would be set at this rate, if a current DCSD classified employee applies, who also holds a classified secondary position, with unique qualifications/experience/training that would meet the needs of specific students, such as an Educational Assistant 4.
  • Sub Program Leader: $15.80
    • Compensation would be set at this rate, if a current DCSD licensed employee applies, who also holds a secondary position, such as a Teacher (Substitute Teachers excluded).
  • Sub Senior Program Leader: $15.23
  • Sub Preschool Assistant: $13.30
  • Sub Preschool Instructor: $15.92
  • Sub Assistant Program Manager: $16.91
  • Sub Program Supervisor: $20.10

Join the STEM Elementary Team

We’re hiring! We need Instructional and Educational Assistants to join our Elementary Staff for the 2021-22 School Year. Click the button below to find out more about each position. We’ve also got an opening in our Secondary School. Click the button below to see all of our job openings.

How to apply

STEP 1: If you are interested in applying for a position, please click here.
STEP 2: Please submit the following to careers@stemk12.org.
  • Application Note, you will need to download this application form, fill it in and save it locally to your computer, then return it via email with the following items:
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • References

Elementary Yearbook Information

Elementary Yearbooks are ready for pick up!

Families can pick up their yearbooks from the Elementary School Office starting the first week of school. We have a few extras, so if you are interested in buying one click the button below.

Whatever you are going through, AllHealth is here to help

AllHealth Network offers mental health services for students and families onsite at STEM School Highlands Ranch with a licensed professional counselor, Kathleen Shook. Kathleen uses evidence-based treatment approaches to talk and play with kids of all ages to help them with anxiety, depression, trauma, and adjusting to life’s changes. Sessions happen during school hours for your convenience and most insurances are accepted.

Additionally, AllHealth Network offers free services such as counseling, support groups and opportunities for social connection to students, families, and community members affected by May 7th at the STEM Center for Strength located at 640 Plaza Dr., Suite 130.

To get connected to any of the services AllHealth has to offer, contact Kathleen at 720-462-9645 or the STEM Center at 720-980-5761.

DCSD Nutrition Services Information

Nutrition Services is excited to start the new 2021-2022 School Year. After a year of so much change, we too are looking forward to a return to “normal” operations. We wanted to make sure all Building Leaders were aware of how Nutrition Services will be operating this year. Below are some highlights of what you can expect from this upcoming year:

  • USDA has extended Meals at No Cost through June 30, 2022. This means that breakfast (where offered) and lunch will continue to be provided at no cost to all students.
  • Remote meal bags will no longer be provided once the school year begins. All meals will be served in school cafeterias to students.
  • Nutrition Services will resume use of our Harvest Bars, allowing self-serve bulk fruit and vegetable options for kids at all levels to increase consumption. Self-Serve procedures are all Tri-County Health Department approved. Hand Sanitizer stations and gloves will be available on all serving lines for customer use.
  • Nutrition Services has raised our starting wages for Kitchen Assistants to $15 per hour and Kitchen Managers to $18.26 per hour to assist in our hiring. Central Office
  • Age-Appropriate Smart Snack-approved Ala Carte items will be served at all school sites in conjunction with breakfast and lunch. Parents can opt-out as well as add limits to their child’s account at any time by contacting Nutrition Services at paula.wilson@dcsdk12.org.

In addition to these operational changes, Nutrition Services will be resuming our fun, in-person events, such as Colorado Proud Day on September 15th, our Turkey Day feast on November 17th, National School Lunch Week October 12-16th and our Nutrition Services Taste of DCSD Open House (timing TBD). We hope to see more of you all this year as we work to provide delicious, nutritious meals alongside a sense of normalcy for our students.

Comments are closed.