Secondary News and Updates (01/05/24)

Secondary-School News

Directors' Updates

A message from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

As another semester is now closed, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support and partnership in your child’s education. We have had another fulfilling semester filled with rigorous academics, team building, assemblies, basketball games, track meets, robotics competitions, and a host of other exciting activities and events. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this well-deserved break and I look forward to welcoming your students back on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

During this time, I hope you and your family were able to cherish the moments that make the season so special. Whether it’s baking cookies, decorating the tree, sharing stories by the fireplace, or simply spending quality time together, I hope you were able to savor the joy and warmth of the holidays.

Remember, our dedicated teachers and staff will return on January 9th to welcome our students for another exciting semester. In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and restful remaining few days of winter break.


Maura T. Ridder, Middle School Director

A message from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Dear STEM Spartan Students and Parents,

It is hard to believe that we’ve already turned the calendar to the year 2024; where does the time go? The past few months have been filled with musical performances, the fall play, and many athletic contests. We couldn’t be more proud of the academic, artistic and athletic accomplishments and talents of our students.

The second semester will begin when the students return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Then, just a few short weeks after that, we will begin our course selection process for the following school year. Although we are not registering for courses yet, it is critical that you and your student begin to think about what to take next year. Please take a moment to review our academic planning guide on our website for more information.

On the athletic front, prior to Winter Break (Thursday, Dec. 21), our boys’ basketball team defeated Ascent Classical Academy 32-18 and improved to a 7-3 overall record. It was great to defeat one of our Douglas County rivals. And those who attended the game also had the opportunity to listen to our first pep band performance! I want to give a shout-out to Mr. Gomez and the pep band! They sounded fantastic and really added a positive and fun atmosphere!

As we come back from Winter Break, I wanted to remind everyone to please take a look at the All-School Calendar on the website to see about all of the upcoming events.

I hope everyone had an awesome Winter break! We will see everyone on Tuesday, Jan. 9!


Ryan Alsup, High School Director

Upcoming Events

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.

KOSON/STEM Monthly Board Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Mechatronics Lab in P-TECH/KOSON Building & Zoom

The KOSON/STEM Board of Directors will be holding its Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. in person and via Zoom.  The BOD is comprised of parents and community members who volunteer their time. The Board’s role and purpose is to provide oversight of the KOSON Schools Chief Innovation Officer, who implements the policies set forth by the Board. The Board also provides support and direction for STEM’s long-term vision and mission. Additionally, the Board is active in making sure that KOSON Schools remains in compliance with all DCSD, state and federal compliance requirements, as well as STEM School Highlands Ranch’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

STEM PTO Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 10, from 6:30-8 p.m. – Zoom

Join the STEM PTO for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10, from 6:30-8 p.m. via 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.

6th Grade Keystone Trip Parent Information Zoom Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 10, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. – Zoom

Families of current sixth graders are invited to attend the 6th Grade Keystone Trip Parent Information Meeting via Zoom, starting at 6:30 p.m. Mrs. Stephanie Hart will be available to answer questions about the upcoming trip. Contact stephanie.hart@ with any questions. Click the button below to access the Zoom.

STEM PTO After Prom Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 11, from 6-7 p.m. – Middle School Cafeteria

STEM PTO will be meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 6-7 p.m. in the Middle School Cafe to start planning for After Prom. All are invited to attend if you’re interested in taking part in the planning process. After Prom will be immediately following Prom on Friday, April 26, 2024, and will be held at STEM. After Prom is a fun event for our juniors and seniors to take part in to allow them to have a safe, fun-filled environment following prom.

2024 STEM School Highlands Ranch Spelling Bee

Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. – Elementary Gym

The 2024 STEM School Spelling Bee is here! Come join us as we hold the annual competition to see which student from grades 4-8 will be crowned this year’s Champion and qualify for the District Bee and maybe beyond. Herr Voorn will host the Bee in the ES Gym after school on January 17, please come by to support our school’s top spellers!

ES Students will participate in a qualifying Bee in their classes; MS students take a written qualifying test in their Language Arts class. Contact Evan.Voorn@ with any questions.

STEM Monthly SAC Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. – P-TECH Mechatronics Lab (KOSON Building)

The meeting will also be available to watch via Zoom as a trial. In-person participation is strongly encouraged to help build engagement. Additionally, those who would like to participate in Public Comment must do so in person.

The purpose of the SAC is to inform, encourage and provide opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and quality improvement processes. The SAC makes recommendations concerning the School’s performance, improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plan, and meets to discuss the implementation of the School’s plan and other progress pertinent to STEM’s accreditation contract with the Board of Education. The SAC makes recommendations to the director for prioritizing the spending of school money.

Monthly DEI Committee

Thursday, Jan. 18, from 4-5:30 p.m. – Room ES 206

STEM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will have its monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18, starting at 4:00. We will meet in ES206. We welcome all parents, students, and teachers! Email kate.jackson@ with any questions.

News and Updates

January Access Update

To kick off 2024 in ACCESS, lessons will focus on self-reflection on first-semester successes and revisiting/revising students’ goals for semester 2. Students will also participate in some community building, catch up on required iCap assignments, and connect with teachers to get organized with Canvas assignments as they get a couple of weeks into their classes. Middle School specifically will add some lessons around study skills and executive functioning, while High School students get to start the semester with a Pep Rally.

Important Information for Families on how to view Grades in Mastery Connect

As the semester comes to a close, we wanted to provide families with important information on how they can begin getting familiar with Mastery Connect to check their student’s grades. Please click the button below to read the tutorial. You can also view the videos below that give a step-by-step tutorial by school-level.

Middle School Mastery Connect Information Video

High School Mastery Connect Information Video

Mastery Connect Parent Information Video

Testing Accommodations Information for PSAT and SAT

With the PSAT and SAT tests now all digital, please note how accommodations will work and see if they are still needed for your student:

Timing and Accommodations Chart
Digital SAT Chart

Please contact Julie Fletcher at Julie.fletcher@ for any accommodation questions.

Please contact Julie Adamek at Julie.adamek@ for any testing questions.

SAT Essay Opt-In/Opt-Out Information

Attention 11th-Grade Families. In January, a Google Form will be available regarding the SATs on April 16, 2024. Your student will pick whether they want to take the SAT with the Essay or without. Please complete it by the deadline. If your student does not complete the opt-in/opt-out form, they will be ordered to take the SAT without the essay.

Metropolitan State University - Spring Virtual Network Classes

Metro State University is offering four online courses through its virtual network program for the second semester. The virtual network program is available to high school students looking to take an online course, which is comprised of other high school students throughout the Denver metro area. While there may be a textbook cost, no additional student fees exist. Please review the attached flyer and contact Nicole Ryan for scheduling.

Cablenet Aerospace Internship - January 2024

Are you looking for an internship 2nd semester? Cablenet Aerospace, Inc is a contract manufacturer, supplying the Aerospace, Aircraft, Military, Medical, and OEM industries with quality products and services for over 27 years. They are looking for Electronics/ Electro Mechanical and Cable Assembly Technician interns starting in January for their location in the DTC area. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Ms. Ryan at nicole.ryan@

Recording of Boston Information Trip Meeting

Dear Families of 7th Graders,

In case you missed it, click here to view the recording of the Boston trip information meeting held Monday night.  Click the buttons below to find out more information about our trip and to register. Have a great day, and I’m looking forward to this trip next year with your students!

Mrs. Dillon, 8th Grade Language Arts Teach

Update from IT Department on student email passwords

We are constantly working to make our digital domain safer. One of those is to require strong passwords within our Google domain. We will implement this on 1/14. We are also going to have our minimum character length set to 12. When we push this out, any students who have a weak password will be forced to change their password. We will also begin forcing a password change every 365 days. If a student has not made any password changes in over one year, they will also be forced to change their password.

You can work with your student to change their password in advance and then this will not affect them.

The best strong password is a passphrase. Here are some of the suggestions that Google provides:

  • A lyric from a song or poem
  • A meaningful quote from a movie or speech
  • A passage from a book
  • A series of words that are meaningful to you
  • An abbreviation: Make a password from the first letter of each word in a sentence

Avoid choosing passwords that could be guessed by:

  • People who know you
  • People looking at easily accessible info (like your social media profile)

Click the button below for a Google article about strong passwords.

Create a strong password & a more secure account – Google Account Help.

For about three years, we have used a service that scours the dark web and informs us whenever anyone at our school has their email associated with a breach. When we get this information, we send an email to the student along with their parents, providing them with the info we have been provided. If a password was found, we share this so that the user can know a password that should never be used again.

Reminder! Please check your MySchookBucks Account

Our Business Office would like to request that all parents please verify their contact information in MySchoolBucks and update it if needed. Beginning November 20th, families with an outstanding balance will begin to receive late fees. Please reach out to ashley.westfall@ with any questions.

Help us spread the word! is an online platform that helps connect families with their future schools in their neighborhoods. It is one of the top search platforms that families use when looking for a new school. If you love STEM and what we have to offer your student(s), please consider leaving us a review. Click the button below to visit our school’s profile, where you can leave a review. Thank you in advance!

Secondary Yearbooks are On Sale!

Now is the time! Don’t delay purchasing your Secondary Yearbook for the 2023-24 School Year. Click the button below to place your order. Since it is after October 31, yearbooks are now $60.

Setting up Canvas Parent Observer

One way to do this is to first be logged into your child’s account. Go to “Account” and then “Settings” on the left side. Then on the right side you should see a gray box that says “Pair with Observer.” This will give you a code that you can then enter in your parent Canvas account. You will need to do this from a computer, not a mobile device.

If that does not work for you, email support@, title the email “IT Canvas Observer Support” and include your child’s name and student ID number in the email so that IT can generate a code for you.

Update from IT Department about Securly

For any device at STEM to connect to our network, a certificate needs to be installed. A certificate or digital certificate is a unique, digitally signed document that authoritatively identifies the identity of an individual or organization. In our case, it associates the certificate with the STEM email. To download the certificate, go to and download the file associated with the operating syhttps://stem. The file is a program to run on the machine, but it only installs the certificate.

Once the certificate is installed and the computer is on STEM’s network, Securly Filter will ask once for the person’s identity. Once logged in with the STEM email account, Securly matches the email and the certificate and it then knows who it is and how the computer should be filtered. This syhttps://stem of identification using a certificate is the same that we have had in the past. We are just using a different vendor for that certificate. If students have issues installing the certificate, please send them to the IT office in RM 164.

Comments are closed.