Elementary News and Updates (11/11/22)

Elementary-School-News Image

Director Updates

A message from Mrs. McElroy, Elementary School Director

Dear STEM Families,

The school year is going by fast. Students are having fun, and they are actively engaged in their learning. As we approach Thanksgiving week, I want to say I am thankful for: all of our STEM staff for being here for our students every day, all of our families who continuously support our students both in and out of school, and, of course, all of our students for putting their best foot forward every day. I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving break.

Here are a few Elementary School reminders:

Annual Elementary Thanksgiving Food Drive

The Student Council is hosting its annual Thanksgiving food drive. The drive started Monday, Oct 31, and will run through Wednesday, Nov 16. Please consider donating non-perishable food items or $20 grocery gift cards. Items can be dropped off at the main office or with Chelsea Bench. All donations will be delivered to the families of Doull Elementary on November 18.

Fall Book Fair

The fall scholastic book fair is from November 11-18. Students will have the opportunity to shop for books with their class throughout the week. Please be on the lookout for more information from your classroom teachers.

Lost and Found

Our lost and found is quickly filling up. If your child is missing anything, feel free to come to check our lost and found located in the front lobby or remind your child to check it. Please consider labeling your children’s belongings with their names. This helps us return the lost items to students.

Parent Coffee with Admin

Our monthly coffee with admin is on Tuesday, Nov 15, at 8 a.m. in the Elementary School Cafeteria. We always appreciate the conversation and feedback from our parent community. I hope to see you there.

Thank you for your continued support.

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.

Scholastic Book Fair

November 11-18

This Scholastic Book Fair will once again be at STEM. We’re so excited to offer both an online and in-person option. Check out the days and times below.

Days and Times:

  • Friday, Nov. 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Students Only
  • Monday, Nov. 14, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Students Only
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Students Only
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Students Only
  • Thursday, Nov. 17, 7-7:30 a.m. – Parents; 7:30-2 p.m. – Students Only
  • Friday, Nov. 18, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Students; 2:30-3:30 p.m. – Parents

Parents can visit our In-Person Store at the specified times above. Please enter through the Elementary School Entrance.

STEM Elementary School Food Drive

October 31-November 16

We are collecting non-perishable Thanksgiving items (canned veggies, instant potatoes, pasta, etc) and $20 grocery store gift cards to donate to a local school in need. Donations may be placed in the box in the front lobby of the Elementary Schools. Gift cards to Ms. Bench or office staff. For more information, email chelsea.bench@stemk12.org.

Elementary Food Drive

Parent Coffee with Administration

Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 8-9 a.m. in the ES Cafeteria

Join us for our monthly Parent Coffee with Administration from 8-9 a.m. in the Elementary School Cafeteria. This is your opportunity to get to know our administration team, ask questions and learn more about the ins and outs of STEM. Please park in the ES parking lot and check in at the Elementary School Front Office.

STEM SAC Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Mechatronics Lab of P-TECH/KOSON Building

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.

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.

KOSON/STEM Board of Director's Working Session

Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the P-TECH Conference Room

The KOSON/STEM Board of Director’s will be holding a Working Session on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the conference room of the P-TECH/KOSON Schools Building. Members of the community may attend to observe, however there will be no Public Comment.

NHS Holiday Toy Drive

November 28-December 19

This year our National Honor Society chapter is organizing a toy drive! We will collect toy donations from Elementary, Middle, and High Schools from November 28th to December 19th. After all the donations have been collected, they will be donated to the Toys for Tots foundation. We hope everyone is willing to send in their donations!

Please drop off new toys at either the Elementary or the Secondary School Lobby.

Contact: Lasya Gudur: at lasya.gudur@s.stemk12.org or Mischa Dvoretsky: at mischa.dvoretsky@s.stemk12.org with any questions.

NHS Holiday Toy Drive

News and Updates

Intent to Return/Not Return Form

It’s that time of year! We’re starting to prepare for the 2023-24 School Year (can you believe it?!?) and we need our CURRENT STEM Families to complete the Intent to Return/Not Return process.

This information will help our Leadership Team plan for the new school year as it pertains to budgeting, facility use, staffing and more. This process also helps us to know how many new students we will have openings for in the upcoming school year so that we can invite students off our waitlist in December.

Please complete a separate form for each of your CURRENTLY ATTENDING STEM students so that we know your student is either returning or not returning to STEM. Completing the form does not require your student to attend STEM for next year should you change your enrollment plans. The form allows you to update your submission should you change your mind over the next few months.

Current Families with Siblings Wanting to Attend STEM

Does your current STEM student have a sibling who is interested in attending STEM for the 2023-24 school year? Did you know that they have priority on our waitlist? Please add them to our waitlist now. STEM’s open enrollment is open and we will begin notifying families of accepted spots for the 2023-24 school year beginning December 1, 2022.

DCSD Open Enrollment Window Information

The Douglas County School District’s Open Enrollment Window is now open, however current STEM families who wish to stay at STEM for next year DO NOT complete that process. Your student(s) will be automatically enrolled. The DCSD Open Enrollment Process (via their website) is if your student is interested in attending their neighborhood school, or another school that uses the DCSD Open Enrollment Process.

The First Round of the Open Enrollment Window for DCSD will close on December 1 at 4 p.m. The Second Round of the Open Enrollment Window will open on January 23 at 8 a.m. and close on August 1, 2023, at 4 p.m.

(Note: Parents of any students who wish to go back to their neighborhood middle school for their 7th-grade year must file an intent to return form, by January 10, 2023; applicable also for parents of 6th-grade students whose attendance area is within the Cimarron Middle School, Rocky Heights Middle School and Sagewood Middle School boundaries.)

Parking and Loitering in the surrounding Business Park

The Building Manager for the Office Building where the Center for Strength is located has informed the Center, as well as STEM, that several students have been caught inside of the empty offices that are being renovated. They are asking us to inform families to please speak to their students about this behavior and to refrain from “hanging out” inside the building. Students should only be inside the building if they are visiting the Center. If this behavior continues, the Building Manager has indicated that it will ask the Center to vacate its offices and the building.

Additionally, the Building Manager has indicated that students and parents are parking in their lot in the morning, throughout the day and in the afternoon, which is in violation of their business park rules. If you or your student is doing this, please stop. They have indicated that they have been very understanding neighbors but they feel as if their requests to the community to stop this behavior have not been heeded. They do not want to resort to towing and ticketing cars because they do not want to put that expense on the student or parent, but if the behavior does not cease, they will be forced to move forward with ticketing and towing.

Please help be good neighbors and stop parking in their parking lot. This also goes for the Hotel Parking Lot.

Fall 2022 STEM SAC Parent Pulse Survey

As we continue to focus on further improving our school, we look to the STEM families for feedback. We are asking for feedback related to the teaching staff, curriculum, school culture, and parent engagement. This survey is a shortened version of the end of the year Parent Survey and only contains 11 questions.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the Fall 2022 STEM Parent Survey (please complete one per student) regarding the 2022-23 school year so far.

We greatly value your feedback. As an organization, we are committed to ongoing improvement in all facets of our school to better serve our students. This survey will be open through Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

Thank you,

School Accountability Committee (SAC) & STEM School Administration

An Update on Standards-Based Learning from Mrs. Gasser (11/4/22)

I wanted to provide an update on Standards-Based Learning and some tips and tricks for you as you are trying to determine your child’s grades. Our teachers have been working very hard to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge on standards and have been recording them in the grade book.

For Elementary Parents

You can review your student’s progress on MasteryConnect by following the link that was emailed to you in September. You will be asked to set up an account linking you to your child’s courses and their MasteryTracker. If you did not receive that email to set up your account, please email your child’s teacher so they can get that emailed to you.

You can switch from subject to subject to see your student’s mastery and to determine areas for growth. These are great conversation starters for you and your child. Most elementary school classrooms have students set goals using their MasteryTracker. Be sure to ask your student to share their progress with you.

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 demonstrating 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 at www.stemk12.org, and click on student support, academics, and Standards-Based Learning.

Thank you,

Michelle Gasser, Director of Professional Development

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@stemk12.org to confirm your Free and Reduced Lunch Program status. Not sure if you qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch? DCSD recommends that you apply regardless so that they can assist you further. Click the button below to access the application.

Calling all Industry Experts, Parents and Community Members!

Career Discovery Information (Facebook Post)

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.

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Life can be challenging at times! The great news is you have the power to overcome these challenges by integrating purposeful pauses throughout the day to calm both your brain and body. Maybe you need a quick nature fix, a guided relaxation practice or some quiet music in the background. Enjoy it all and explore! Be careful, some of these links can be rather mesmerizing — you may want to use a timer ;-).

Literary Resource of the Week

Survey for Elementary School Teachers and Families

The Douglas County School District wants to hear from our elementary school educators and families about their perceptions of our new core reading programs Wonders and Benchmark. Please take a few moments to complete a short survey by Friday, November 18. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Parent University - Teenagers and Substance Use with Author Laura Stack

Hosted by Sky Ridge Medical Center and Douglas County School District

Wednesday, November 30 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Join this very special Parent University Webinar hosted by Laura Stack, Author of “Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story: The Dangerous Truth about today’s Marijuana” as we discuss Teenagers and Substance Use (Marijuana, Fentanyl, Vaping, etc.) and Mental Health (effects on teenage brain development). This is a free event. Please register to receive information on joining the webinar.

Comments are closed.