Elementary News and Updates (11/12/21)

Elementary-School-News Image

Update from Ms. Kovalesky

Greetings STEM Families!

Day to day life at STEM is beginning to return to our pre-pandemic continuous learning buzz. It has been wonderful to see so many families at our school events, parents volunteering, and classes regularly attending field trips. Students are bubbling with excitement to be in school with their peers and engaging socially and academically with others.

Morning Arrival

As winter approaches our days are getting shorter and colder. It is often dark and cold when the driveline begins each day. We know that with these changes comes an increased struggle to get our kids up and moving each morning. Please consider when necessary adjusting bedtimes and incentivizing getting to school on time. Classes begin at 7:30 a.m. When students enter the building after 7:40 a.m. they are marked tardy.

When students are tardy, anxiety increases and the class is often disrupted. Please do your best to get your children to school on time each day. Timely attendance helps set them up for success.

**When the temperatures are below 32 degrees or the wind chill drops below freezing, students will wait in the cafeteria for their teachers.**

Lost and Found

Our lost and found is overflowing with your students’ personal items. We have more jackets than we do hangers. Please take the time to label ALL of your child’s items. Our normal process is to donate all items before each break. As temps have dropped, I have decided to hold off on donating items. If our lost and found continues to grow and we are unable to store all of the items, they will be donated before Winter Break. If you know they are missing a few items, please stop by and pick them up. I dislike having to donate items that I know cost so much money and students need.

Thank you for your continued support and partnering with our STEM Staff.

We appreciate you.

Ms. Kovalesky

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.

Thanksgiving FOOD Drive

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@stemk12.org with any questions.

STEM Center for Strength: Paws 2 Read

Tuesday, Nov. 16 and Nov. 30, from 3:15-3:45 p.m. for Read-Along; 3:45-4:15 p.m. for Independent Readers

On Tuesday, Nov. 16 the STEM Center for Strength will be holding a Paws 2 Read event for Elementary Students. Come and read with our much-loved pups, Chama and Haku. The event starts at 3:15 p.m. for the Read-Along portion. The Independent Readers portion begins at 3:45 p.m. This event will be at the STEM Center for Strength (640 Plaza Dr., Suite 130, Highlands Ranch, CO. 80129).

COVID Testing

Tuesday, Nov. 16, in the morning

STEM will be offering COVID Testing for students and staff again on Tuesday, Nov. 16 in the morning.

ELEMENTARY FAMILIES: Elementary students whose parents have consented to testing will be pulled from their classes by the Health Assistant. No sign-up form (aside from the Consent form) is needed.

State of STEM

Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Elementary School Gymnasium

The State of STEM is STEM’s annual report to the community on a reflection of the previous school year, as well as a look ahead for the current school year. Please join us in person for the great event. We’ll have a presentation by each of the department leads and an opportunity to meet and greet afterward. Please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 30 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Elementary School Gymnasium. Please park in the Elementary School Parking lot and enter through the Elementary School Entrance.

News and Updates

Do you intend to return to STEM?

For enrollment planning purposes, please let us know, either way if your child plans to return to STEM School Highlands Ranch next year. Please complete the Intent to Return Form for each of your currently attending STEM students. If you are currently enrolled at STEM please let us know that your child is returning. You do not need to “open enroll” to remain at STEM. If your child is currently attending STEM, they will be automatically enrolled for next year. Please also complete the form if your student is planning to seek enrollment at another school so that we can have an accurate count of returning students.

Do you Have a Sibling Who Wants to Attend STEM Next Year?

Does your current STEM student have a sibling who is interested in attending STEM for the 2022-23 school year? Did you know that they have priority on our waitlist? Please add them to our waitlist now! STEM’s open enrollment is now open and we will begin notifying families of accepted spots for the 2022-23 school year beginning Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Now Accepting Waitlist Names for the 2022-23 School Year!

STEM is now accepting names for the waitlist for 2022-23 and beyond. Please spread the word to your family and friends. They can add their child to the waitlist. We will begin notifying families of accepted spots beginning on December 1, 2020. Please note that STEM does not follow the Douglas County Open Enrollment process.

Intent to Attend Your Neighborhood School

If you wish to attend your neighborhood school, you must return this form to that school no later than January 5. This will allow your child to attend that school in the fall of next year (2021-22).

Questions? Please call the Secondary office at 303-683-7836 or check the website for more enrollment information.

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@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.

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 stemafterprom@stemk12.org.

FALL 2021 Parent 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 2021 STEM Parent Survey (please complete one per student) regarding the 2021-22 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. 19, 2021.

Thank you,

School Accountability Committee (SAC) & STEM School Administration

Important Message from our SRO Deputy Gabe Uribe

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families,

Please click the button below to read a message from our School Resource Officer Deputy Gabe Uribe about an incident that happened this past week during drop-off. Please read it carefully. The STEM Leadership Team supports and echos what is being shared by Deputy Gabe.

Welcome to STEM! Brandon Bragg is our New Security Specialist

We are happy to introduce our new Security Specialist Brandon Bragg to the STEM Team. Be on the lookout for a welcome video in the coming weeks. Brandon will be working with our security team to support STEM’s security efforts.

Check Out the SpartMart!

New SpartMart Hours

STEM’s SpartMart is your go-to place for all STEM apparel, gear, and more! Are you hungry for a bag of chips or want a drink? SpartMart has the perfect selection of food and beverages! Would you like a brand new hoodie? Or how about a new shirt to show off your spartan pride? We have perfect merchandise for all ages and groups from teachers to parents to students!

Come to the SpartMart in-person on Monday and Wednesday after school, or on Wednesday mornings. You can also visit our website to place on online order via the button below.

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.

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.

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.

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. Please click the button below to see the latest Volunteer Opportunities at STEM.

  • Elementary Veterans’ Day Celebration
  • Secondary Social Studies Veterans’ Day Celebration
  • DECA District 4 Conference Volunteer Judges Needed
  • Elementary Library Organizer
  • Elementary and Secondary Driveline
  • Lunchroom Volunteers
  • Spartan Afternoon Program
  • TSA Volunteers

Volunteer of the Month

Suzanne Savolainen is our volunteer of the Month for October, logging 141.5 hours dedicated to BEST Robotics. Thank you so much for all your time given to our Robotics Team Suzanne, we appreciate you!

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.

Resources and News from DCSD

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Seize the Awkward: Having Conversations About Mental Health

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? Learn some conversation techniques from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that can help you help those in need.

Literacy Resource of the Week

17 Ways to Keep Your Middle Schooler Interested in Reading

Even though reading may get put on the back burner as kids get older, you can still help your middle school student keep the pages turning with a few simple tactics.

Total Wellness Resources of the Week

Rethink Your Drink!

The American Heart Association recommends that children and teens consume no more than 24 grams of added sugars per day. Many juices and drinks aimed at children exceed this amount in a single serving. Swap out the juices, sports drinks and sodas for WATER. A Gatorade has the same added sugar as 4-5 cookies (over 34 grams)! You can quickly jazz up your child’s water with a splash of fruit or a squeeze of lemon.

Community Event

Elementary Literacy: The Importance of Reading Aloud With Your Child
In Partnership With Sky Ridge Medical Center
Wednesday, November 17 | 5:30-6:15 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.


Apply to Join the DCSD Equity Advisory Council

The Equity Advisory Council will commence on December 8, 2021. If you are interested in serving on this council, please complete the Equity Advisory Council Membership Application. For membership and other details, see the Equity Advisory Council Bylaws and Addendum 1: Inaugural Year Processes and Procedures. Applications are due by the close of business on Wednesday, November 17.

Meetings will occur on the second Wednesday of each month, and the first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Members will be selected and notified no later than November 30, 2021. Additional information is available on the DCSD website’s Educational Equity page.

The Equity Advisory Council serves to support and advise the Superintendent (or Superintendent’s designee) and the School Board on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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