A Message from Mrs. McElroy, Elementary Director
Dear STEM Families,
Happy December! We are almost finished with the first semester of the 2022-23 school year. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. I have already seen so much academic and social-emotional growth in our students so far. I can’t wait to see what the second semester brings.
One of the things I absolutely love about STEM is our diverse population. We are always looking for ways to celebrate all of the different cultures we have here among our student body. Traditionally in December, we have hosted a K-2 Holidays around the World Celebration. This year we want to expand this tradition into a K-5 experience, but we need your help. We are seeking volunteers to share about a holiday or tradition that is special to your family and culture for our 1st Annual K-5 Holidays Around the World event! Each volunteer is encouraged to share information and prepare simple activities for children in grades K-2 or 3-5. The event will take place on December 16 from 8-10 am. Fill out this form by December 7 to participate! Please contact Mackenzie Harper (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
Here are a few elementary reminders:
Lost and Found
Our lost and found is very full. 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. We will donate any items left at the end of the semester during the break.
Parent Coffee with Admin
Save the date. Our monthly coffee with admin is on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 8 a.m. in the Elementary Cafeteria. We always appreciate the conversation and feedback from our parent community. I hope to see you there.
Thank you for your continued support.
Amie McElroy, Elementary Director
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Mischa Dvoretsky: at email@example.com with any questions.
KOSON/STEM Search Committee
Monday, Dec. 5, from 12-1 p.m., via Zoom
The KOSON/STEM Search Committee will be meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, from 12-1 p.m. via a Zoom Webinar to continue their work on the search for the KOSON CEO position. Anyone can attend this Zoom as an attendee using the link below.
The KOSON/STEM Search Committee was set up by the KOSON/STEM Board of Directors back in September to develop the next steps for the future of the KOSON CEO position. Currently, Dr. Karen Johnson is serving as the interim CEO. Agendas and minutes of the KOSON/STEM Search Committee can be found on the Board of Directors’ page on the website.
KOSON/STEM Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building
The monthly STEM Board of Director’s Meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 1 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fifth-Grade Snow Mountain Ranch Parent Information Meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 5-6 p.m., via Zoom
Fifth-grade families of students who will be going on the annual Snow Mountain Ranch field trip are invited to attend a Parent Information Webinar with the fifth-grade team. Please click the button below to access the webinar.
Elementary Spirit Week
STEM PTO Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 6:30-8 p.m. – Zoom
STEM PTO is comprised of parents from the STEM community who work together to help foster a strong sense of community and 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 to enhance the quality of each student’s education, the school as a whole, and the entire community through the development of resources and the participation of parents, school staff, and the community. Meetings are open for anyone to attend.
Parent Coffee Connection at the Center (Sponsored by STEM PTO)
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 7:30-9 a.m. – Center for Strength
STEM PTO will be hosting a Parent Coffee Connection at the STEM Center for Strength. Stop by after you drop off your students to meet other parents, tour the Center and create lasting connections.
Kindergarten Holiday Concert
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. – ES Gym
We are so excited to be performing some fun Holiday songs and sharing our solutions for our PBL unit. We hope to see you there!
STEM PTO Cookie Exchange - A Merry & Bright Gathering
Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 5-7 p.m. – Prost Brewing
Join STEM PTO on Wednesday, Dec 21, from 5-7 p.m. at Prost Brewing for a STEM cookie exchange. Bake or buy three dozen of your favorite cookies. Stay for a snack or a drink. Let’s chat and be merry. Bring a container if you want to take cookies home. We’ll pack boxes for the teachers and deliver them to the school on Thursday, Dec. 22, for the Staff Professional Day.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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
Parent University Recording: The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana
Watch the recording of this very special Parent University Webinar. Laura Stack, Author of “Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story: The Dangerous Truth about today’s Marijuana” discusses Teenagers and Substance Use (Marijuana, Fentanyl, Vaping, etc.) and Mental Health (effects on teenage brain development). This recording will only be available until the end of December.
Literary Resource of the Week
Top 10 Family Reading and Writing Ideas for the Winter Holidays
The winter holidays are a great time to create low-key learning opportunities centered around books, storytelling, writing, and family adventures.
Health and Wellness
Tips to Keep Kids Warm All Winter
Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the following tips can help keep your children safe and warm.