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.

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 system called Raptor. Visitors, vendors and volunteers are required to submit their driver’s license or proof of identification to be scanned into this system 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.

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

Lunch is currently FREE for the remainder of the 2021-22 School Year. The student must take a fruit or vegetable to make a reimbursable meal. There will be additional ala carte items available for purchase which would include second entrees.

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.

Volunteer to Serve Lunches for DCSD

Help Feed our DCSD Students by signing up to volunteer at one of our schools. Shifts will generally be from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (depending on the school. Click here to sign-up.

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 2021-2022 school year. If your child received meal benefits for the 2020-2021 school year with Douglas County School District, meal benefits will continue for up to 30 days, allowing parents to reapply for benefits in the 2021-2022 school year. A new application must be submitted and approved by the expiration of the carryover date.

This year, Douglas County School District will provide breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge, regardless of the child’s free or reduced-price meal benefit status. However, it is still highly encouraged that families continue to complete and submit free and reduced-price meal applications.

The submission of a free and reduced-price meal application and subsequent determination of benefits goes beyond eligibility for free or reduced-priced meals. Based on your application, you could be eligible for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. P-EBT is a program that provides cash-like benefits to purchase groceries for students to replace meals they would have normally received when in-person at school during the pandemic. 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 and Spanish. 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.

Families can access their photos by visiting the link below or going to, selecting the School Portrait Proofs link, and when prompted enter their private password in the following format: Student ID#

Friday, Oct. 8 – Photo Retake Day

  • Elementary students will go in small groups with their homeroom teacher.
    • Parents MUST sign-up their Elementary Student for retakes (so that we know which student will need to go down with an EA to have their picture taken)
  • Secondary students will go during their study hall.
    • If a student does NOT have a study hall, they can get their photo during their lunch break.

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.

Elementary Yearbooks

Yearbooks have arrived. They will be handed out on Monday, May 23. We will have a yearbook signing station at our Field Day picnics.

  • K-2nd Grade Field Day is Tuesday, May 24
  • 3-5th Grade Field is Wednesday, May 25

If you did not pre-purchase a yearbook and would like one, please use the following link to order it now. Supplies are limited so it is first-come, first-serve. If your child will not be present during the last week of school, their yearbook may be picked up on Friday, May 20 at dismissal.

Secondary Yearbooks

Yearbooks are expected to arrive at STEM soon and will be distributed to your student during their lunch on May 11, 12, and 13. Your student should come to the Yearbook table located in the cafeteria on one of those dates to receive their book.

If you haven’t yet purchased a yearbook, they are sold at for $55. Contact Michelle Vitale, yearbook advisor, at with any questions.

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 immunizations policies as the Douglas County School District. You must have your immunization forms on file prior to the start of school.
For the 2021-22 School Year

Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, the process of filing a nonmedical exemption will change. 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 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.