Getting Informed at STEM

Informed families are empowered families. We want to make it as easy as possible for families to access all of the information needed to help their students have the best experience possible. This page includes information about the  Student/Parent Handbook, our newsletters and more.

Student/Parent Handbook

The Student/Parent Handbook is the ultimate resource for all of our families. Click the button below to download the Handbook.

Attendance Information

Attendance Line: (303) 683-7836

A student should be sent home if they exhibit any of the following:

  • Skin eruptions/rashes
  • Nausea / vomiting / diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • Eye drainage

Other conditions that are indicators of illness and are considered when determining illness are:

  • Decreased activity – droopy, tired appearance
  • Irritable behavior
  • Sore throat / swollen glands
  • Runny nose/cough

When can a child return to school?

After 24 hours of medication for the following conditions:

  • Strep throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Infected skin eruptions
  • Other conditions requiring antibiotics

The student has been free of the following conditions for at least 24 hours:

  • Fever
  • Eye drainage

The student has been free of the following conditions for at least 48 hours:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Source: Health Guidelines Manual

Absence or Tardy

If your student is ill or late, please call the attendance line (303) 683-7836 by 8 a.m. stating a clear reason why they are missing school or if they will be late. If your student is late, please be sure that they clearly write their name on the Late Arrivals sheet in the their school office. Elementary students MUST be signed in by a parent.  Secondary students will need either a note from their parents, doctor office, etc., or a phone call from the parent. The attendance dialer will inform parents if a student is absent or tardy.

Click the button below to access the Attendance Correction Form. It will open an editable PDF that you can fill out, save and attach to an email to your student’s teacher who marked them absent. The teacher will then complete the bottom portion of the form and submit it to the appropriate front office for processing.

Truancy Tracking Process

  1. Each week, admin members will receive a Truancy Tracking Report from our registrar.
  2. First contact – after 3 unexcused absences (days); parents will receive a phone call home.
  3. After 5 unexcused absences or 10% total – a letter will be sent home
  4.  If a student has 10% or more excused/unexcused absences, additional communications will be sent home to set up an appointment for an Attendance Contract.

If a student fails to abide by the School Attendance Contract ​and has continued absences, a referral to the Student Assistance Department​ is made by the school for a potential Student Attendance Review Board hearing. Aside from the referring school representatives, t​he Board is made up of representatives from ​the following departments/agencies: Probation, WrapAround, Student Wellness, Health Services, Mental Health, Department of Human Services, ​At-risk and Expulsion Services, community-based truancy experts and the Juvenile Assessment Center. The purpose of this ​collaborative problem-solving team is to incorporate strength-based practices​ to increase family engagement, identify foundational roadblocks to attendance, and provide immediate resources. This panel examines the attendance situation and reviews the attendance contract with the student and family. If a student fails to abide by the district ​contract and has continued absences, a referral to the Douglas County courts for truancy will be filed by the Douglas County School District attorney. For truancy questions, contact Deb Kaufman at 303-387-0705.

Students will need to be signed out by a parent at the respective office (Elementary or Secondary). The steps below outline the steps to follow in order to cause the least amount of disruption to the classroom:

  • Secondary:
    1. Pick your student up during the passing period. (Secondary)
    2. Send a signed note in with your Secondary student to receive an Early Dismissal Pass from the front office (students will be able to show this to their teacher before class begins, and leave at the appropriate time).
  • Elementary:
    1. Call ahead to the Front Office so that they are aware that you are coming.
    2. Elementary students will be released upon the arrival of their parents.

NO unscheduled early pickups are allowed after 1:15 p.m. This is to minimize disruption to the last period of the day. Additionally, for Elementary, please avoid picking up your student after 2 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Elementary Driveline. For Secondary, please avoid picking up your student after 2:30 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Secondary Driveline.


We have a check-in syhttps://stem called Raptor. Visitors, vendors and volunteers are required to submit their driver’s license or proof of identification to be scanned into this syhttps://stem before proceeding into the building.

In the event DCSD determines that the district should follow the Delayed Opening protocol, our school will abide by its Virtual School Day Policy (from the STEM Handbook).

When it snows, our school’s operation and instructional expectations will be determined by one of these three scenarios:
  • Snow Day – Douglas County Schools (check calls a snow day – school is closed.
  • Late Start Day – Douglas County Schools calls a Late Start day – school is closed and implements a Virtual School Day.
  • All Schools Open – Douglas County Schools declare Highlands Ranch area schools open – our school is open and operating to our regular schedule.

Virtual Days Q&A

  • What is a Virtual School Day? The school is closed and our students complete work from home.
  • Where do we find the assignments? Faculty will advise students where to find the Virtual School Day assignments. Teachers will clearly label what the student is expected to do that will be equivalent to a class period.
  • If my student is ill or cannot make it to school for some reason, may I choose to let him or her participate in a Virtual Day? Virtual Days must be approved through the Virtual Day Application process. Please see the office for the request form.
  • Is this similar to Virtual Fridays? Yes! Just like our Virtual Friday students, when the completed assignment is uploaded, the student is coded “activity” and not absent. We will count this as an instructional day similar to a field excursion.
  • Must students stay home on Virtual School days to complete the assignment? Students do not need to remain at home but the school will be closed; however, the student must submit the assignment according to the due date/time as indicated by the teacher.
  • What if our Internet is out or we do not have Internet at home? If the student does not have Internet due to weather or other reason, students will have a few days to complete the work.
  • If DCSD calls a snow day, do we still have a Virtual School Day? No. Snow day means the school is closed and no work is required.
  • If DCSD calls a Late Start Day, will school be open? No, school will be closed, but students will be required to do their work via our Virtual School Day requirements.

About Virtual Days

The idea for Virtual School Days is partially derived from our successful experiences with “Virtual Fridays” for students who commute long distances, are on ski teams or need flexibility due to other family needs. Virtual Days will:

  • Minimize the Impact of Reduced Classroom Time – Minimize the craziness of reduced classroom learning time that occurs on late start days. Shortened classes do not allow for our usual in-depth studies and impact our academic focus.
  • Reinforce Evolving 21st Century Workplace Skills – Expose our students to a common, 21st Century, professional workplace dynamic involving productive, flexible, and accountable remote work just like many adults today. This evolves our goal of building independent students who work effectively anywhere, anytime, which is more important than ever at universities and employers today. For many professions, “going to work” will be a poorly understood concept in the near future.
  • Promote Safety by Reducing Highway Risk, Stress and Chaos – Reduce parent and staff risk dealing with getting to our campus when our weather creates bad travel situations. About 50 percent of our families live in eight other school districts with some commuting over 50 miles each way from all corners of the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.
  • Negate High Absentee Rates – We have observed that late start days have a high absentee rate for students and staff because of highway conditions. When so many are absent, teachers are often reluctant to teach new material and use the time to review material and work on long-term projects and it is difficult to get substitutes to cover the teachers unable to drive to our school.
  • Reduce Driveline Problems – Morning and afternoon drivelines take twice as long when we have a late start day, plus it gets short staffed, again because of highway concerns.

We will institute a Virtual School Day at our school when the Douglas County School District institutes a Late-Start Day. Our faculty will explain to students where to find their Virtual School Day assignments on Canvas. With a Virtual School Day, I understand that parents will express some concerns:

  • Student will miss a school day. We are working in advance with our teachers to design Virtual School Day assignments to be rich and complex and more instructional compared to compressed Late Start Days. I am confident our staff will see this as an opportunity to again creatively evolve and advance our delivery model.
  • Poor weather can impact Internet connections. If a student cannot log in to complete work from home, extended time will be given for completion and we will ask parents to let us know how their home connectivity was impacted.

We are closely monitoring our Virtual Days, but also want to emphasize to teachers and students that a Virtual School Day is not a snow day. It will be an instructional day just as our Virtual Fridays are for the many students who now use this option.

We will collect data from our teachers and all students will submit their work as evidence of participation. When Douglas County School District decides weather is significantly poor to delay the start by 90 minutes, a Late Start day, STEM School Highlands Ranch will be closed and all students will remain at home completing their Virtual School Day assignments.

STEM School Highlands Ranch Student Dress Code – 2022/23 School year

STEM School Highlands Ranch respects students’ rights to express themselves in the way they dress. All students who attend STEM School Highlands Ranch are also expected to respect the school community by dressing appropriately for a K-12 educational environment. Student attire should facilitate participation in learning as well as the health and safety of students and the adults who supervise them. The purpose is to provide and maintain a safe school environment that is conducive to student learning. The primary responsibility of the student’s attire rests with the student and their families. This policy is intended to provide guidance for students, staff, and parents.

22-23 Student Dress Code Example

Minimum Requirements:

  1. Clothing must cover areas from one armpit across to the other armpit, down to approximately 3 to 4 inches in length on the upper thighs. Tops must have shoulder straps. Rips or tears in clothing should be lower than the 3 to 4 inches in length.
  2. Shoes must be worn at all times and should be safe for the school environment (pajamas, bedroom shoes or slippers shall not be worn, except for school activities approved by the director).
  3. See-through or mesh garments must not be worn without appropriate coverage underneath that meet the minimum requirements of the dress code.
  4. Head accessories including hats, caps, and scarves are allowed. Eyes and ears must be visible at all times. (Cultural and religious exemptions may apply.) Hats must not be worn in conjunction with a mask so as to obstruct the face.
  5. Specialized courses may require specialized attire, such as sports uniforms, closed toe shoes, or safety gear.

Additional Requirements:

  1. Clothing may not depict, imply, advertise, or advocate illegal, violent, or lewd conduct, weapons, ammunition, or the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other controlled substances.
  2. Clothing may not depict or imply pornography, nudity, or sexual acts.
  3. Clothing may not display or imply vulgar, discriminatory, or obscene language or images.
  4. Clothing may not state, imply, or depict hate speech/imagery targeting groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or any other protected classification.
  5. Sunglasses may not be worn inside the building.
  6. Clothing and accessories that endanger student or staff safety may not be worn.
  7. Apparel, jewelry, accessories, tattoos, or manner of grooming that, by virtue of its color, arrangement, trademark or any other attribute, denotes membership in a gang that advocates illegal or disruptive behavior is prohibited.
  8. Student ID’s are considered a vital part of the dress code and are to be on the student at all times. Once lanyards are issued to students, the lanyard will be required to be visible on the student. It may be worn around the neck or displayed on the belt, with the ID card attached and visible from the front view.

STEM reserves the right to determine what constitutes appropriate dress. Students who do not adhere to these guidelines will be required to change in order to attend class. Parents will be called if appropriate clothing is not available or the student refuses dress-code appropriate clothing.

Cell Phone Policy for the 2022-23 School Year

  1. Cell phones may be used on school grounds before school, during lunch, during passing periods, and after school.
  2. Cell phone use is prohibited in classrooms, study halls, and restrooms, unless otherwise stated by a teacher.
  3. Upon entrance to each class or study hall, students must turn off their cell phone and place it in their backpack.
  4. If a student chooses to use their phone during class, the student will be assigned to place the phone in a cell phone pocket. (Please see below for the steps.)
  5. If students need to place an emergency phone call during the day, they should request to go to the main office to use an office phone.
  6. If a student needs to use the restroom, the student MUST place their phone in the designated area on or near the teacher’s desk.
  7. Students will be subject to disciplinary action if the use of their cell phone disrupts the school’s educational environment. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: cheating, bullying, harassment, unlawful recording or photographing, violating other school rules. Further, it is prohibited to take another students’ picture or video without their consent.
  8. If a student fails to follow the procedures, the student will be prohibited from having a cell phone at school.
  9. STEM School Highlands Ranch and its staff are not responsible for damage to or theft of a student’s cell phone.

All teachers will teach responsible use of technology in their classrooms.

If students violate the school’s cell phone, the following may occur:

First offense:
  1. The student’s cell phone will be confiscated by a staff member and the staff member will have a restorative conversation with the student. The conversation which will include a review of the cell phone policy.
  2. The phone will then be placed in the classroom cell phone pocket or labeled and placed in “cell phone jail” until the end of class.
Second offense:
  1. The student’s cell phone will be confiscated, labeled, and held in the main office cell phone jail until the end of the school day.
  2. The student’s parents will be contacted and informed of the refusal to follow the school’s policy.
  3. The student’s phone will be housed in a classroom pocket assigned by the teacher.
Third offense:
  1. The student’s cell phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the student’s parents are able to come to pick it up.
  2. The student will receive an RZ and will be prohibited from bringing their phone to school OR required to check their phone in/out for two weeks.
Fourth offense:
  1. The student’s cell phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the student’s parents are able to come to pick it up.
  2. The student will receive two days of RZ and will be prohibited from bringing their phone to school OR required to check their phone in/out for one month.
Fifth offense:
  1. The student’s cell phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the student’s parents are able to come to pick it up.
  2. The student will receive one day of suspension and will be prohibited from bringing their phone to school OR required to check their phone in/out for the remainder of the semester.

**The administration reserves the right to adjust these consequences on a case-by-case basis if needed. For example, extreme behaviors that break the law or engage in bullying or harassment of other students may result in suspension.

***Please click here for the research and reasoning behind this policy.***

Technology Support

The Technology Suppor Team helps to support all of the technology needs of our students and staff, while also assisting our families with getting connected.

Transportation Management Plan

To ensure the safety of the students and to fulfill the commitment to the neighborhood in managing the traffic and parking impacts, the STEM School Highlands Ranch has developed this transportation management plan (TMP). This plan defines the strategies for the next year and this should be a living document that continuously evolves with the growth of the school and neighboring area. 

The Plan identifies policies, procedures and improvements to provide safe and efficient access to the school for parents, students and staff and to mitigate potential traffic and parking impacts on the adjacent business park neighborhood.

Driveline Information

Click the button below to learn more about the Driveline policies and procedures for student drop-off and pick-up. In order to be good neighbors to the local businesses and communities, it is important that all families abide by the policies and procedures that are outlined.

Here you’ll find more information on the PikMyKid App for Elementary families, our Secondary Carpool Program through Way to Go, and how to request placards.

Additional Resources

The food service program at STEM is provided by the Douglas County School District Nutrition Services. They are committed to providing the highest quality meals for your child. Research shows a student who eats breakfast has improved attendance, is more attentive, better behaved and has an increased energy level.  All of these elements are tied to academic success.

School Meals are Safe, Nutritious and Balanced. Food safety is a priority. We have implemented a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program throughout the District to reduce the chance of a foodborne illness event. Temperatures of all food products are monitored throughout production and service.
School meals contain 30% or less of total calories from fat, less than 10% total calories from saturated fat, and contain at least 1/3 of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein, Vitamins A, C, Iron, Calcium and calories.

School Lunch Menus

Grades K-5 Grades 6-12
Lunch Lunch

Cost of Lunch

Over the last two years, the USDA has provided school waivers that provide meals at no cost to the students. Those waivers expired after the 2021-22 School year ends. This means that a return to paid meals will begin August 8, 2022 for students that do not qualify for Free or Reduces Meal Benefits. DCSD is asking that ALL families please complete the Free or Reduced Lunch Application. While you’re completing the application, please make sure to check the box that allows for the information to be shared with your student’s school. Sharing this information with STEM allows for your student to be eligible for more benefits throughout the school year.

If a family does not qualify for FRL, the meals will cost the following:

$3.75 – Elementary

$4 – Middle School

All meal prices include an entree, fruit, veggies and milk. Ala carte options are available at all schools and prices vary by option. Students pay for school lunches through their MySchoolBucks account.

Douglas County School District Nutrition Services

(303) 387-0320 | | 2812 N. Highway 85, Bldg E, Castle Rock, CO
Below is a letter from the DCSD with information about the Free and Reduced Lunch services.

Free and Reduced Lunch Program

Families are required to complete a new application each school year, unless you have received a letter of notification that your child was directly certified for the 2024-25 school year.

The submission of a free and reduced-price meal application and subsequent determination of benefits goes beyond eligibility for free or reduced-priced meals. In addition, submitting an application also helps ensure students receive the maximum amount of benefits they are eligible for, including discounts on school fees and bus passes. It also ensures schools also receive additional resources to support healthy meals for students and afterschool programs.

Please apply online at If you are in need of a paper application, please contact your school bookkeeper or Susan Babineau at 303-387-0368. All applications are available in both English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. If another language is needed, contact Susan Babineau.

If approved for meal benefits, and the release to share information for Medicaid or other school fees was NOT elected on the application and you would like to share this information, please complete the Information Release form that can be found by clicking on the Free & Reduced tab above and choosing the tab: Information Release and send it to DCSD NS, 2812 N SH 85 Bldg., Castle Rock, CO 80109. Some charter schools have alternative policies regarding transportation fees. Please check with your individual school to see the policy on transportation fees.

For information regarding Immigrant and Refugee Status applications, please click HERE.

Para obtener información sobre las solicitudes de Inmigrante y Estado de Refugiado, haga clic AQUÍ.

If you notice that your fees are not waived in MySchoolBucks, please reach out to

The health and safety of our students is a top priority at STEM School Highlands Ranch. Our full-time registered nurse not only handles the daily bumps and bruises with ease, but she is also qualified to monitor ongoing health concerns. Submit any questions and/or important health-related forms to

School Health Policies

STEM School Highlands Ranch follows the same immunization policies as the Douglas County School District. You must have your immunization forms on file prior to the start of school.
For the 2024-25 School Year

There will be two ways to file a non-medical exemption.

  1. File the certificate of non-medical exemption WITH a signature from an immunizing provider to our School Nurse, OR
  2. File the certificate of non-medical exemption received upon the completion of our Online Immunization Education Module to our School Nurse.

Parents of students in grades K-12 claiming a non-medical exemption must file one annually. Non-medical exemptions expire on June 30 each year. If you submit a non-medical exemption on or before June 30, it will not be valid for the upcoming school year unless you signed the exemption during early registration.

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medication Policies

STEM School Highlands Ranch has different policies for each grade level regarding over-the-counter and prescription medications on campus. Please link below for the appropriate grade level of your student.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Policies

Vision and Hearing Screenings

Vision and hearing screenings are held each year at STEM School Highlands Ranch.  You will be notified in the coming months when they will be scheduled for this year.

STEM B.A.S.E. Program

Spartan B.A.S.E. provides care after school and full days during in-service days and school breaks for STEM Elementary students. The B.A.S.E. program is licensed through the State of Colorado Office of Early Childhood Education and run by the Douglas County School District. B.A.S.E. is staffed with at least one qualified teacher for every 15 students on site. B.A.S.E. provides a safe, enriching, environment, that combines quiet time for homework with enrichment activities, as well as time for free and gross motor play.

Enrichment at STEM

Enrichment at STEM is the place students can find all of the school’s after-school, summer, and other enrichment offerings. Because many of the offerings are as unique as our school is, we invite students from throughout the Denver metro area to participate in our Enrichment program. Through Enrichment at STEM, students can participate in a variety of amazing clubs and programs, in arts, athletics, robotics, technology, and a variety of special interests.