Elementary News and Updates (10/29/21)

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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

Thanksgiving Food Drive for Doull Elementary and STEM Families

Monday, Nov. 1 – Monday, Nov. 15

STEM will once again be collecting Thanksgiving food items to put together baskets for Doull Elementary in the Denver Public School District. Please help us by donating non-perishable food items to help benefit the families of students who attend Doull Elementary. We hope to also help some of our most needy families as STEM as well with any additional baskets that are made.

Please drop off food items to the collection boxes in the lobby by the Elementary or Secondary Front Offices. Examples of donation items include:

  • Canned food (peas, carrots, etc.)
  • Boxed food (potatoes, stuffing, etc.)
  • Toiletries (shampoo, soap, etc.)

Gift cards can also be donated to go into each basket for the perishable items. Please make sure that the gift cards and either in $5 or $10 increments.

STEM Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5:30-7 p.m – High School Commons

The monthly STEM Board of Director’s Meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 2 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the High School Commons. 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.

Prospective Parent Building Tour

Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 10-11 a.m – Secondary School Entrance

Each Wednesday, STEM opens up its doors from 10-11 a.m. for a building tour to interested families who would like to learn more about our school. We’d like to encourage our families to spread the word to anyone they know who might be interested in having their student(s) attend STEM. Interested tour participants should arrive 10 minutes early to get checked in and badged. They must bring a valid ID in order to get checked in.

STEM PTO Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 6:30-8 p.m – High School Commons

The monthly STEM PTO Meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the High School Commons. STEM PTO is comprised of parents from the STEM community who work together to help foster a strong sense of community, provide enhancement activities for students, faculty, staff and families, while also helping to increase educational, social and emotional experiences for the members of their families.

STEM PTO is organized for the purpose of enhancing the quality of each students’ education, the school as a whole, and the entire community through the development of resources and participation of parents, school staff, and the community. Meetings are open for anyone to attend. Please park in the High School Parking lot and enter through the High School doors.

CHSAA Gymnasium and New Building Remodel Project Groundbreaking

Friday, Nov. 12, starting at 3 p.m. – outside of the Middle School Cafeteria

On Friday, Nov. 12 we will be holding a groundbreaking event for our new CHSAA Gymnasium and Building Remodel project. This event is being hosted in conjunction with STEM PTO. The event will begin at 3 p.m. with guest speakers and some celebrations. Following the official groundbreaking, guests will be invited into the Middle School Cafeteria to enjoy some light snacks, drinks and to learn more about the project. All are invited to attend this groundbreaking event to celebrate the final piece to STEM’s Campus Master Plan.

Click the button below to let us know that you’re planning on attending so that we can plan accordingly for snacks, drinks and giveaway items.

Scholastic Book Fair

Monday, Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 19

Mark your calendars! The STEM Scholastic Book Fair will take place from Monday. Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 19. The Book Fair is a great way to get educational materials and gifts for your students and friends. More details will be shared soon.

We’re looking for volunteers to help with set-up, running the store during school hours and break down. Click the button below to sign-up. Please email chelsea.bench@https://stemk12.org with any questions.

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.

STEM SAC Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Room 101/Zoom

The monthly STEM School Accountability Committee (SAC) meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Room 101. The meeting will also be available to watch via Zoom as a trial. In-person participation is strongly encouraged to help build engagement. Additionally, those who would like to participate in Public Comment must do so in person. Please park in the Secondary School parking lot and enter through the Secondary School Entrance.

The purpose of the SAC is to inform, encourage and provide opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and quality improvement processes. The SAC makes recommendations concerning the School’s performance, improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plan, and meets to discuss the implementation of the School’s plan and other progress pertinent to STEM’s accreditation contract with the Board of Education. The SAC makes recommendations to the director for prioritizing the spending of school money.

Elementary Assembly

Friday, Nov. 19, from 8:15-10:15 a.m. 

Each month the Elementary School holds an Elementary Assembly for students in grades K-5 to honor students and provide updates on Elementary initiatives.

News and Updates

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. Please only cross at the designated crosswalks. We’ve had two very close calls within the last few days and it is very important that we all model good citizenship for our students and our community. Please speak to your students to cross at the designated crosswalks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Online Butter Braid Fundraiser

Help support STEM PTO in raising funds for the STEM After Prom 2022 event by purchasing from our online Butter Braid fundraiser. Items available include:

  • Butter Braids
  • Gluten Free products
  • Coda Coffee.

The online store is open now through December 6. Products will be delivered to STEM on the afternoon of December 13. More information will be shared soon. Contact Susan Montgomery at https://stemafterprom@https://stemk12.org.

Resources and News from DCSD

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Colorado is offering children three free counseling sessions. Here’s how to sign up. Coloradans age 18 and younger are now eligible to receive three free mental health counseling sessions through the “I Matter” program, an effort from the state to respond to its worsening youth mental health crisis. Parents can also use the program to assess their child(ren)’s needs and get connected with resources.

Literacy Resource of the Week

Share Some Spooky Stories With Your Little Goblins. This Halloween, check out the Douglas County Libraries’ website for downright spooky reads for kids of any age.

Total Wellness Resources of the Week

“Rose, Bud, Thorn”

Each day, ask the members of your family to share their rose (what went well for them that day), their thorn (what they wish went differently) and their bud (what they hope happens tomorrow).

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