Great News for STEM School Highlands Ranch as we head into the 2021-22 School Year

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Great news this week from STEM’s authorizer, Douglas County School District (DCSD). The contract to operate as a charter was extended to a maximum allowable time frame of five years. Granting the maximum extension is a critical metric for Moody’s, STEM’s rating agency. The confidence DCSD has in STEM will result in a lower cost of our next bond to fund the CHSAA gym, two new engineering labs, a new middle school cafeteria and a playground for grades 3-5.

Thank you to all who contributed to STEM’s successful charter extension, especially the STEM Board, staff and our community who rallied. A big thank you to the DCSD Board of Directors and DCSD staff for your partnership through the years.

Hiring has been extremely successful this summer. STEM has a unique model where future faculty teammates, parents and students participate in the interview process. Candidates tell us they have never had an interview that involved all stakeholders. Most welcome the inclusive process.

One of our student participants last week reflected with the following:

I am grateful to the administration team at STEM for allowing students to be part of the interviewing process for several staff positions. Therefore ensuring that the student body has a voice in the education they are receiving. This program has not only allowed students to have a say in the people who are hired to teach them, but it has also been a great learning experience that helps prepare students for the future. By interviewing and observing many candidates I have learned what to do and what not to do when I am being interviewed for jobs, programs, and internships. Once again, a big thank you to the administration at STEM for providing students with this incredible opportunity!

One of our parents shared this about her experience:

I wanted to write a quick email to thank you for allowing us to be a part of the interviews at STEM. When I first asked my boys, Joseph (11th grade) and Luke (10th) grade, they were curious and had many questions. After the interviews, we discussed a lot of things. They were so thankful to be included in the process- even though it started very early during summer hours.

They loved meeting the candidates and were really impressed with all ten of them. They felt empowered that they were a part of the process. They felt supported by the STEM Staff member, who helped organize their discussion time. They loved that they were able to freely answer the candidates questions once the formal questions were complete. They did both mention that they would have enjoyed more time with each group.

I am so thankful that my teenagers got to experience being a part of the interview process. They felt seen and heard. They felt like their voice and opinion mattered. It filled me with pride to see each candidate express thanks for STEM’s process. That different stakeholders were represented- staff, admin, teachers, parents, and students. Many remarked how much they liked seeing the students in the process. I really do think this sets us apart. Thank you for adding to my teenagers life skills. Thank you for including them and me in this very important process.

Each summer, Mike Pritchard, Director of IT hires a cadre of talented STEM students to assist with summer IT updates, imaging and inventory of equipment. This cadre interviews the student candidates for the next summer. Elevating students to the role of the interviewer is one of the most powerful lessons on how to best present one’s talents to peers.

One year, this student group was part of the interview process for an adult helpdesk applicant. The students marked the candidate down due to never looking at the students even when they generated the question. The adult interviewers missed this fact. Students and parents see with different eyes that help with the selection of the best candidate.

STEM continues to post widely for the remaining open positions. Please help us network out to recent STEM retirees or those considering a sabbatical year who might enjoy teaching for a year. Part-time or full-time positions are available. STEM will assist with the CDE process to be approved.

Enjoy these beautiful Colorado summer days,

P.J. Eucker PhD
Executive Director

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