Elementary News and Updates (10/15/21)

Elementary-School-News Image

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.

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

Lost and Found Coordinator

We’re seeking a Coordinator for our Elementary and Secondary Lost and Found. The coordinator would need to:

  • Tidy lost and found as needed
  • Help get Elementary items with names on them back to their owners (coordinate with Volunteer Coordinator)
  • Organize remaining items to get them ready for donation (at school breaks)

Have questions? Email volunteer@https://stemk12.org. Want to sign-up to be the coordinator? Click here.

Elementary Library Organizer

We are in need of at least (2) volunteers to help organize the ES Library for possibly a couple of days. Mornings, after the driveline, would be the ideal time, about 8-9 a.m. starting time. Volunteers will need to be able to use an iPad with an app (provided by us) to scan books and organize them by reading levels to be shelved in our “library”. If you are interested, contact Mona Loptien (mona.loptien@https://stemk12.org).

Lego Organizer

We are looking for parent volunteers to help organize all of our Lego materials. Please contact Michelle Gasser (michelle.gasser@https://stemk12.org) if you are interested.

Classroom Wishlists

Teachers always need additional supplies throughout the year in order to enhance their students’ experiences. Consider making a donation to a teacher’s classroom by getting something off their Wish List. You can view all of our teachers’ wishlists on our Parent Get Involved page, or by clicking the button below.

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

STEM PTO's STEMGives Campaign Underway

October 4 through December 7

STEMGives! is your opportunity to support your school, teachers, students and staff! Your donations help the STEM PTO to provide money directly to the school for teacher and school grants/requests and fund the STEM PTO’s activities, fundraisers and events. The campaign will run from October 4 through December 7 and all donations can be made online or via check.


  • The PTO will be accepting online donations through Colorado Gives at the link below. Colorado Gives is an online donation site that accepts credit cards, debit cards and bank account transfers. Donations can be made one time or recurring/monthly. $200/family or $20/month will make a great impact!
  • Donors can also pay by check. Checks should be made out to STEM PTO (write STEM Gives! in the memo) and delivered to the STEM Middle School office. Checks can also be mailed to the STEM Middle School Office at:

STEM School Highlands Ranch
℅ STEM PTO Treasurer
8773 S Ridgeline Blvd
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Meeting

Monday, Oct. 25, from 5-7 p.m. – High School Commons

STEM’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, Oct. 25 from 5-7 p.m., in the High School Commons. Reach out to K-8 Dean Amie McElroy (amie.mcelroy@https://stemk12.org) with any questions.

STEM Improv and Sketch Comedy Show

Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 6-7 p.m – Middle School Cafeteria

It’s Saturday Night Live, but on a Wednesday! It’s like Who’s Line is it Anyway?, and we REALLY don’t know who’s line it is! Come see STEM’s brand new sketch and improv comedy show!!! You’ll see hilarious original comedy sketches, witty improv from STEM’s brilliant middle school and high school minds, and original comedy video to top it all off!!! Tickets are $5 and you can contact max.schwartz@https://stemk12.org with any questions.

Trunk or Treat

Friday, Oct. 29, from 4:30-6:30 p.m – Elementary Parking Lot

Join us as STEM’s clubs, staff and community will show their Halloween spirit by decorating their trunks for STEM’s Annual Trunk or Treat. Anyone can walk around the Elementary Parking Lot and gather treats from the trunks.

Have questions? Contact Brinda Malik brinda.malik@s.https://stemk12.org or Karen Adam karen.adam@https://stemk12.org.

Want to donate candy? Click the button below to sign-up. Please mark the candy Trunk or Treat and bring it to the Secondary Office no later than Thursday, Oct. 28.

Parent Coffee with Administration

Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 8-9 a.m – Elementary School Cafeteria

On Wednesday, Nov. 17 we will be holding a Coffee with Administration event from 8-9 a.m. at our Elementary School Cafeteria. We are asking our families to sign up in advance so that we can plan for coffee and light pastries.

News and Updates

CoGAT Testing Coming Up for Fifth and Sixth Graders

DCSD is committed to implementing equitable practices to increase access to advanced/gifted learning opportunities. Based on state and national recommendations and requirements, we implement Universal Screening for students in 2nd grade (February) and 5th the student’s final year of elementary school (November).

5th/6th Grade Universal Screen

As part of this process, ALL students in 5th grade not identified for gifted programming will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) the week of November 1st for 5th grade and November 8th for 6th grade. This assessment indicates the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student in comparison to grade and age mates. These general reasoning abilities, which start developing at birth and continue through early adulthood, are influenced by experiences gained both in and out of school.

If your child missed their regular universal CogAT screening last year, they will be assessed during this window. This would pertain to students currently in 3rd and possibly 6th or 7th grade (depending on the last grade in elementary).

If your child is already identified for gifted programming, they will not participate in this universal screen testing. Your Gifted Education Facilitator will contact you directly with information about this process.

Gifted Identification Referral Testing

  • If your child is in grades 3, 4, and you believe he/she needs evaluation for Gifted Identification and Services, you may refer your child for testing by initiating the Gifted Identification Process.
  • NOTE: Requesting this assessment automatically initiates the process to evaluate for Gifted Identification.
  • Please request CogAT testing for your child by completing the Referral for Gifted Identification via the button below.
  • Upon receipt of this form, the Gifted Education Facilitator, Jon Jennings, will connect with you to discuss the next steps in the gifted identification process.

Future impact on Parking at the STEM Campus

Following the groundbreaking of the new CHSAA Gym/Building Remodel Project, the High School Staff Parking Lot will be fenced off to allow the construction company to stage all their equipment. No staff parking or vehicle access will be allowed in this parking lot. We are sharing this information because we know that several parents are using this lot as a pick-up and drop-off area, which is not permitted via our Transportation Management Plan. We are asking all families to please use the approved avenues for pick-up that are outlined in our TMP.


Spart Mart is open! The store will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 2:50 p.m. for Secondary and 2:25 p.m. for Elementary students (Not all Elementary students will be able to access the store so we strongly encourage using our online store). We have new merchandise for STEM spirit week and we have new food products such as Hi-Chew and Takis. Click the link below to order online and we will deliver it to the student during school hours, or leave it in the respective Front Offices for parent pick-up. Thank you for your support!

School Picture Retakes and Orders

Families can access their photos by visiting the link to the right or going to dr-photo.com, selecting the School Portrait Proofs link, and when prompted enter their private password in the following format: Student ID#

For virtual students, appointments will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. from September 14 – October 21. Click the link to the right to schedule your appointment.

Water Fountains now Water Bottle Filling Stations

In an effort to minimize the spread of germs the ES & MS water fountains will be water bottle filling stations only. Please remind your students to bring a water bottle (labeled with their name).

Elementary Yearbooks are Now on Sale!

Click the button below to access the prepayment site for the Elementary Yearbook. Soft Cover books are $20 and Hard Cover books are $30.

Important News

Reminder on Early Dismissals

Students will need to be signed out by a parent at the respective office (Elementary or Secondary). The steps below outline the steps to follow in order to cause the least amount of disruption to the classroom:

  • Secondary:
    1. Pick your student up during the passing period. (Secondary)
    2. Send a signed note in with your Secondary student to receive an Early Dismissal Pass from the front office (students will be able to show this to their teacher before class begins, and leave at the appropriate time).
  • Elementary:
    1. Call ahead to the Front Office so that they are aware that you are coming.
    2. Elementary students will be released upon the arrival of their parents.

NO unscheduled early pickups are allowed after 1:15 p.m. This is to minimize disruption to the last period of the day. Additionally, for Elementary, please avoid picking up your student after 2 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Elementary Driveline. For Secondary, please avoid picking up your student after 2:30 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Secondary Driveline.

Reminder of School Start Times and Tardies

Reminder Elementary Families! Our first bell of the day rings at 7:30 a.m. Students have 10 minutes to get to class before they are marked tardy after the 7:40 a.m. tardy bell. Students who arrive after 7:40 a.m. will be marked as Unexcused Tardy.  In order to accommodate the extra families that joined STEM this year with the addition of some grade-level classes, we have begun opening car doors at 7:10 a.m. for unloading. Any students who arrive at 7:50 a.m. or later will need to be signed in by a parent. You will need to park and bring your student inside.

Important Driveline Reminders

Thank you to all our families who are helping us make the Morning and Afternoon Drivelines run smoother and smoother each week. We’d like to remind our families of the following two items for our Afternoon Dismissal.

  1. If you are picking up your student via our Walker Pick-Up, please do not park in the surrounding businesses, where it is clearly marked that you cannot park. The surrounding businesses are private businesses and STEM families are not allowed to park in their parking lots to pick up their students. These local businesses have informed us that they will begin ticketing and requesting towing of any vehicles that should not be there.
  2. We are asking all families to please come to pick up their students during the designated pick-up windows. We have noticed that some families are not coming on a consistent basis until after 3 p.m., which is preventing our teachers from offering Office Hours for students, and/or getting their after-school clubs starting on time. Families with students who are not picked up during their pick-up window will receive a warning initially. If it continues to happen, the parents will be contacted with notification of the fee that will be assessed for child care after normal pick-up hours. Please reach out to LynAnn.Kovalesky@https://stemk12.org with any questions.
    1. Kindergarten & first grade: 2:20-2:30 p.m.
    2. Second-Fifth, with a Kindergarten and First-Grade Sibling: 2:30-2:55 p.m.
    3. Any Elementary student who has a Secondary sibling: 2:55-3:05 p.m.

Resources and News from DCSD

Mental Health Resource of the Week

The Happily Family Conference is a free, online conference taking place now through October 18, which features guest speakers on topics related to promoting mindful parenting and mental wellness. Join over 100 thousand parents, professionals, researchers, and authors sharing the science of parenting. Get practical tools to make everyday family life easier.

Literacy Resource of the Week

Want to keep your children reading during Fall Break, but not sure which books are best to match your child’s reading level and foster growth in literacy? Check out these great resources!

Total Wellness Resources of the Week

It’s well known that proper sleep is essential to a child’s development. But for the 15–25 percent of kids and teens who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, getting adequate rest can feel daunting. This article from the Sleep Foundation provides some great Sleep Strategies for Children. Find this and more resources from DCSD Healthy Schools.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

This October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across our Nation, ensuring that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. Check out the DCSD Information Technology department website for weekly ways you can implement stronger security practices.

Student-Led Board of Education Candidate Forums

DCSD students are hosting Board of Education Candidate Forums to give parents, staff, and community members the opportunity to get to know the candidates running for four seats on the DCSD Board of Education. Two forums took place this week at ThunderRidge High School and Castle View High School. Click the links to view the recordings. The final Candidate Forum takes place at Legend High School after Fall Break.

Monday, October 25
Legend High School
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
22219 Hilltop Rd, Parker
Click here to RSVP | Click here to view on YouTube

DCSD Parent University

How Parents Can Support Psychological and Physical Safety in Schools (In-Partnership with Sky Ridge Medical Center)

Wednesday, Oct. 27 | 5-5:45 p.m. – Online

Join DCSD Director of Mental Health, Dr. Stephanie Crawford-Goetz, and DCSD Director of Safety and Security, Jonny Grusing, for an overview of district safety procedures. They will discuss the ways safety drills like the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) are done with psychological safety in mind. They will also cover methods and procedures for suicide safety and threat assessment in schools. Finally, you will walk away knowing how parents are vital in contributing to a culture of safety, security and well-being.

Learn how to answer these questions in a special 30-minute webinar with Dr. Katrina Iverson, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Director at Sky Ridge Medical Center. She will guide you on how vaping impacts a young person’s health, how it affects the broader community, and what you can do to make a difference today. Plus, learn how vaping can affect COVID-19 infections and other respiratory issues. The presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

Elementary Literacy: The Importance of Reading Aloud With Your Child

In Partnership With Sky Ridge Medical Center
Wednesday, October 27 | 5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Free Online Webinar

Join Kathy Tirrill, DCSD Literacy Interventions Coordinator, to discover simple ways you can help your child engage with language. You will learn why reading aloud is important, what kind of questions to ask your child, and how to choose the right books to expand their independent reading. Moreover, you will find ways to strengthen your parent-child relationship through quality time spent reading together.

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