Secondary News and Updates (01/12/24)

Secondary-School News

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.

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.

Love and Logic Parent Information Night

Monday, Jan. 22, from 5-7 p.m. – via Zoom or in-person in the High School Commons

New for the 2023-24 School Year, our teachers and staff will incorporate guidance and curriculum from Love and Logic, a research-driven, whole-child philosophy founded in 1977 to support students’ social and emotional well-being. Throughout the school year, we will hold several Parent Information Nights to learn about Love and Logic, how it is being incorporated and implemented, and how it can be applied at home. We hope you’ll join us via Zoom or in person.

Middle School Course Selection Information Night

Thursday, Jan. 25, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Middle School Cafeteria

The Middle School Counseling and the Teacher Support Team will be holding a Course Selection Parent Information Night for families with Middle School students, as well as our families with fifth graders who will be staying at STEM for Middle School. Families will get an overview of the Academic Planning Guide, as well as how to help their students select their courses for next year. This is a very important event and all families are strongly encouraged to attend. Please park in the Elementary School or the High School Staff Parking Lot and enter through the Athletics Entrance.

To prepare, please click on the buttons below to review the Academic Planning Guide as well as the corresponding Course Selection Worksheets. Please bring any questions to the Parent Information Night.

High School Course Selection Information Night

Thursday, Jan. 25, from 7-8 p.m. – Middle School Cafeteria

The High School Counseling and the Teacher Support Team will be holding a Course Selection Parent Information Night for families with High School students, as well as our families with eighth graders who will be staying at STEM for High School. Families will get an overview of the Academic Planning Guide, as well as how to help their students select their courses for next year. This is a very important event and all families are strongly encouraged to attend. Please park in the Elementary School or the High School Staff Parking Lot and enter through the Athletics Entrance.

To prepare, please click on the buttons below to review the Academic Planning Guide as well as the corresponding Course Selection Worksheets. Please bring any questions to the Parent Information Night.

2024 HS Winter Formal

STEM's Got Talent Auditions

Wednesday, Feb. 7 and Thursday, Feb. 8, from 3-6 p.m. – Location TBD

Calling all of our talented K-12 students!!! It’s time to prepare your audition for our 12th annual STEM’s Got Talent Show!

Auditions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, February 7th and 8th in room 149 (secondary music room).

Please follow these steps if you are interested in auditioning:

  • Step 1 – Click the button below to complete the audition form and sign up for a time slot.
  • Step 2 – Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Step 3 – show up, on time, on your audition date. Be sure to bring everything. you need for a polished audition, including your background music and/or links.

Contact Mrs. Ridder (maura.ridder@ with any questions.

News and Updates

FBLA District 11 Conference Judge Volunteer Request

The FBLA District 11 Conference is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 7, starting at 7:30 a.m., at the Arapaho Fairgrounds, and they are looking for volunteers from our STEM community to take part in judging students from around the Douglas County School District. If interested, please complete the form via the button below.

WHERE: Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Events Center. Located at 25690 E Quincy Ave, Aurora, CO 80016. Judges’ registration, breakfast, and briefing will take place in the Events Center Conference Room. Judge’s parking is available in the lot just east of the Events Center.

MEALS: A light breakfast will be provided. Coffee and water will be provided throughout the morning. Please indicate if you will be staying for lunch.

JUDGE’S RESPONSIBILITIES: Each judge will be given a “section” of approximately 10-15 competitors. The judge will be provided with a copy of the event, suggestions about how to interact with the competitors, and a detailed, task-specific score sheet for each student. In a nutshell, you will interact with each student or team and then score and rank them based on how well they accomplished the tasks listed on the score sheets. Judges, please bring a computer, iPad, or phone to complete electronic score sheets.

JUDGES TRAINING: A concise yet thorough training will be provided for our judges before the competition. We will provide you with all the help you need to work with our students at this competition.

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.

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. Click the button below to submit whether your student will be taking the SAT’s in April with the Essay or without. This form must be completed by Friday, Feb. 2. If your student does not complete the opt-in/opt-out form, they will be ordered to take the SAT without the essay.

STEM Internships Available for Second Semester!

Are you looking for an internship to enhance your current IT or Marketing skills? STEM is currently looking for 2 students to support our Communications team with IT and Marketing activities. If you have experience creating a website, or would like to put your savvy marketing skills to work, then reach out to Nicole Ryan at nicole.ryan@ to learn more. We are excited to be able to support two interns during the second semester.

Are you interested in a career in healthcare?

The Colorado Health Careers Academy (CHCA) is an excellent opportunity to learn more about some of the fastest-growing health occupations in Colorado. If you are between the ages of 16-24 and have an interest in the healthcare industry, you are invited to join the academy this summer from June 10th through July 26th. Information sessions are being held monthly with the next opportunity to join on January 9th. More information can be found on the Arapahoe Community College’s Colorado Health Careers Collaborative website. If you need additional information or have questions, please feel free to reach out to Nicole Ryan at nicole.ryan@

Lower your college costs through ASCENT!

Are you looking to reduce your college costs? Did you know you can attend one of our partner colleges/ universities for one year after your 12th grade and incur no tuition costs? STEM School Highlands Ranch participates in the ASCENT program permitting students to take a 13th year of high school while attending college. Students earn credits toward their degree program while helping to reduce college costs. To be considered, students must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours by the end of their 12th-grade year. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Nicole Ryan at nicole.ryan@

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@

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.

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