Elementary News and Updates (10/07/22)

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Director Update

A Message from Mrs. McElroy, Elementary School Director

Dear STEM School Elementary Families,

We are officially through the first quarter of the school year. It has been a busy and exhilarating start. Our students have grown so much in such a short period of time.

Next week is Parent-Teacher conferences. This is an opportunity for your student to showcase their learning so far but also a time for you to form a partnership with your student’s teacher to continue to support the academic and social-emotional growth of your student. It is important to have an open line of communication with the teacher. Your student’s teacher wants to work with you to provide the best possible learning environment for your student. It is important to address concerns with the teacher and for both parties to listen for clarity and understanding. It is through listening for understanding that we can work together as a team to develop the best possible outcome for your student. I encourage everyone to schedule a time this next week to meet with your student’s teacher. Teachers have sent their conference sign-ups in their weekly newsletter.

A couple of reminders as we continue with the school year:

  1. First, our lost and found is already overflowing with items; lunch boxes, water bottles, coats, etc. When you come to conferences this week, please check the lost and found for your child’s belongings. Unclaimed items will be donated over Fall Break.
  2. Second, safety is my number one priority at STEM. In my three years here, I have witnessed numerous times where either staff or students have almost been hit by a car in the driveline. It is important that during the driveline, you are extra vigilant. Please stay off your cell phones, put your car in park while waiting and obey the speed limit (5 mph) while driving through the parking lot. I also ask that we, as adults are good role models for our students and use the crosswalks AT ALL TIMES.
  3. Finally, one of our expectations at STEM is to keep our hands and feet to ourselves. The purpose of this rule is to respect others’ space and to ensure no one gets hurt. I have recently seen an increase in students being unable to meet this expectation (i.e., hitting, kicking, grabbing clothing, etc.). Most incidents occur between friends who are engaging in “play fighting” type games during recess. We consistently remind students that play fighting is not allowed at school because we do not want others to get hurt. I ask a favor in helping us by talking with your students about this expectation.

As I close, I can not emphasize enough the importance of the partnership that must be formed to ensure our students are safe and achieve their fullest potential. It truly takes a village to raise children, and STEM will continue to be part of your village. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

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.

Lockdown Drill

Monday, Oct. 10, after 1 p.m.

On Monday, Oct. 10, we will be conducting our first Lockdown Drill of the school year. Students will practice this drill using the Standard Response Protocol. Deputy Uribe, other Douglas County Sheriff representatives, and Douglas County School District personnel will be on campus to assist members of the STEM Leadership Team with this drill.

The drill will begin with students hearing an announcement over the loudspeakers throughout the school from an administrator. Then the re-recorded Lockdown Drill message will be played over loudspeakers. Each teacher will also be asked to discuss the drill process with their class before the start and during the drill.

Our Student Support Services Team, along with mental health professionals, will be on-site to assist students and staff that need assistance after the drill is complete. Therapy dogs with Go Team Therapy Dogs will be available at the Center for Strength for students to visit after the drill. STEM’s therapy dog, Daisy, will be in the Elementary School Gym for students who need and cannot make it to the Center for Strength. Please keep in mind that therapy dogs are available to those who need assistance with coping with the impact of the drill.

Before this drill, please take a moment to discuss the Standard Response Protocol with your child. Please note that these drills are mandatory. We know these drills may be difficult for some students, and we appreciate your support in practicing our safety response. Please reference our Mental Health Supports page if you need additional resources.

Please email communications@stemk12.org with any questions or concerns you may have.

Monthly STEM Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building

The monthly STEM Board of Directors Meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 6, 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.

Elementary School Bubble Run

Thursday, Oct. 13, from 8-11 a.m. – Playfield

Elementary Students will participate in a Bubble Run on Thursday, October 13.

Order of Classes running:

  • 3rd Grade – 8-8:45 a.m.
  • 4th Grade – 8:25-9:10 a.m.
  • 5th Grade – 8:50-9:35 a.m.
  • 1st Grade – 9:20-10:05 a.m.
  • 2nd Grade – 9:45-10:30 a.m.
  • Kindergarten – 10:10-10:55 a.m.

There will be free T-shirts, popsicles, yard games and more. Click the button below to sign up to volunteer.

Monthly DEI Committee Meeting

Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4-6 p.m. – Secondary Parking Lot

BEST Robotics and CSHS have come together to create a drive; on October 12 and 13th, from 4-6 pm in the secondary driveline. We are asking students, teachers, and parents to donate unused computer hardware and non-perishable food. The proceeds will go to our computer science department and a local food bank. Please pull up to the field in the secondary drive line and students will help you unload your car. This will greatly impact our community and our teams getting ready to compete in their respective competitions soon, please donate as much as you can.

No need to get out, just pull up and we’ll remove the items from your car. Contact dylan.moran@s.stemk12.org or evan.hunt@s.stemk12.org with questions.

Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences

Monthly DEI Committee Meeting

Monday, Oct. 24, from 5-7 p.m. – High School Commons & Zoom

If you’re interested in getting involved in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at STEM, we encourage you to attend to find out more information. Email amie.mcelroy@stemk12.org with questions.

STEM Theater Presents: Little Women

November 10 & 11, at 6:30 p.m., & November 12, at  3 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars!

Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s indecorous and headstrong, and one day she will be a great American novelist. As she and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent, and imaginative young women. But as adulthood approaches, each sister must negotiate her private ambitions with society’s expectations. In a war-torn world defined by gender, class, and personal tragedy, Jo March gives us her greatest story: that of the March sisters, four dreamers destined to be imperfect little women.

Tickets are $10. Links to purchase tickets will be provided soon! Contact Max Schwartz (max.schwartz@stemk12.org) with any questions.

News and Updates

Update from Mrs. Gasser on Standards Based Learning

Thank you for your patience while our staff is learning about grading through Standards Based Learning. At Friday’s professional development, our teachers worked on using Canvas and MasteryConnect to enter their grades. We worked on aligning our units to our standards and determining which assessments best allowed students to demonstrate their understanding. Here are some things to look out for.

For our Elementary School families, you should have received an email from MasteryConnect asking you to set up an account. This account will link you to your student’s MasteryTracker, which shows your student’s grades. We ask for some grace for our teachers as they learn all the pieces of MasteryConnect. If you notice that there is a mistake in one of the trackers, please kindly reach out to the teacher via email so that they can look into the issue.

For our Secondary School parents, we have finally been able to turn off the averaging function and the decimal point function in your student’s grade book. All assignments entered into the grade book prior to Friday might still have a decimal point and a number in the parenthesis. The number in the parenthesis is the score that the student received on that assignment. Any assignment entered after today will have a raw score of a 4, 3, 2 or 1.

Students should view their grades in the grade book by clicking on the show more details button in the top right corner. This will show the assignment grade, as well as the learning mastery grade. We ask for some grace for our teachers as they learn all the pieces of the learning mastery grade book. If you notice that there is a mistake in the grade book, please kindly reach out to the teacher via email so that they can look into the issue.

I have created the handout below that helps break down what you will see on Canvas for your child. In each unit, the teacher will determine which standard or standards they are assessing and then will provide feedback to students along the way. Teachers will collect assignments and assessments throughout the unit that demonstrate knowledge of the standard and enter them into the Canvas grade book. Students should monitor their grade book for feedback and to see their demonstration of knowledge grade.

Please have grace with our teachers while they are learning our new grading systems, as there might be a few hiccups along the way. We ask students to politely email their teachers with grading questions and clarification. If you have any questions about grading or Standards-Based Learning, please check out our website, and click on student support, academics, and Standards-Based Learning.

Thank you,

Michelle Gasser, Director of Professional Development

Don't forget to order your school photos

School photos have been uploaded for families to view. Families can access their photos by visiting the link below, selecting the School Portrait Proofs link, and when prompted enter their private password in the following format: studentid#.

Elementary Yearbook Information

Elementary Yearbooks for the 2022-23 School Year are now on sale! Use the link below to purchase a soft cover ($21), or a hardcover ($31) yearbook.

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.

Calling all Industry Experts, Parents and Community Members!

Career Discovery Information (Facebook Post)

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Second Wind Fund

The Second Wind Fund is a Colorado-based youth suicide prevention organization that covers the cost of 12 sessions of therapy. In order to provide families with greater access to mental health treatment, Second Wind has made some exciting changes by allowing parents/guardians to make their own referrals for their children. Learn more at https://thesecondwindfund.org/.

Literary Resource of the Week

Reading is a Process: Strategies to Use Before, During, and After Reading

Check out this and other literacy resources from Reading Partners.

Total Wellness Resource of the Week

Teens and Drug Use: How to Talk About Substance Abuse with Your Teen

Children’s Hospital pediatric addiction specialists share their advice on talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol, how to address the rising dangers of fentanyl and important resources.

2023 U.S. Senate Youth Program Application available

The United States Senate Youth Program application for Colorado students is available. The 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned for March 4–11, in Washington, D.C. Each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies, with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science.

High school juniors or seniors with demonstrated leadership by serving in elected or appointed positions in which they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and community service are eligible to apply.

Applications are due on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

2023 Daniels Scholar Applications Now Open

Colorado high school seniors can apply now to become a 2023 Daniels Scholar and receive up to $100,000 toward their college degree. Apply at www.DanielsFund.org/Scholarships by October 15 to be considered for a scholarship.

The Daniels Scholarship Program provides the opportunity for students to attend the college of their choice. The scholarship, based on financial need, provides up to $100,000 for a student to attend any two- or four-year nonprofit, accredited college or university in the United States.

Parent University: Online Safety with Y.E.S.S.

Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Virtual Event

Our children are constantly communicating through phones and online. Learn about the resources that students are educated with in DCSD using the Y.E.S.S. Program (Youth Education and Safety in Schools) to keep them safe online. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sean Heidman, will be presenting on how the Y.E.S.S. Program prepares our students for online safety. Parent University is brought to you by the Douglas County School District and Sky Ridge Medical Center.

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