Secondary News and Updates (02/16/24)

Secondary-School News

Directors' Updates

A message from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

I am writing to bring awareness of an uptick in inappropriate behavior that is affecting our students. It is natural for middle schoolers to develop feelings for others and want to connect with each other; unfortunately, we are finding that some of our students are attempting to express these feelings in inappropriate ways. I would like to inform you about this issue, its impact on our students, and what you can do to help.

The first step is to increase awareness: what does it mean, what does it look like, and how does it make people feel? Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature made by a student. Sexual harassment doesn’t just affect the person being harassed; witnesses can also be victims if they are fearful it can happen to them.

Sexual Harassment can have a negative impact on students, such as:

  • Limits ability to study and focus in school
  • Reduces self confidence
  • Increases stress
  • Induces Fear and anxiety
  • This causes a student to be more introverted, angry, and less social

What can you do? Talk to your child. Define what sexual harassment is. If you hear your child or his/her peers say a sexist or degrading comment, step in. Talk to your child about what to do if they are harassed or degraded. Encourage and expect your child to stand up for themselves and others. Provide your child with multiple sources of recognition and self-worth. Finally, encourage and support your child in activities to build up their self-worth.

If your child reports sexual harassment to you or you are concerned that your child is being harassed, please contact Mr. Barrios or myself.

A copy of our school policy on sexual harassment can be found in the Parent/Student Handbook on our website. We are committed to providing a safe school environment where all of our students can learn and thrive. Thank you for your attention and for helping us to maintain a safe environment for all students.

Important Dates and Events

  • TSA State Competition – February 22 – 24
  • STEM’s Got Talent Show – March 7
  • Parent Teacher Conferences – March 14-15
  • Spring Break – March 15-24

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

A message from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Hello Spartan families,

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through the third quarter! We are currently in the process of completing our course selection process. Thank you very much for the time that you dedicated to helping your students select the right courses. We use their course selections to guide our staffing for next year, which is why we are unable to grant too many schedule changes once the schedules are released.

Black History Month

A couple of years ago, our student government wanted to do more for Black History Month. Led by Tjaden Litwiler, they took over a bulletin board in the school and began posting facts about Black History. While our student leadership has changed, our student government has continued the work to celebrate Black History Month. And in honor of Black History, here are a few historical events that I would like to highlight.

Today in History: February 16-18

  • February 16, 1857- Frederick Douglass was elected President of Freedman Bank and Trust. The Trust was established as a secure bank for Black soldiers would deposit their money.
  • February 16, 1923 Bessie Smith makes her first recording, which sells 800,000 copies.
  • February 16, 1970 – Joe Frazier defeated Jimmy Ellis to become the World Champion of boxing.
  • February 17, 1891- AC Richardson invented the churn.
  • February 17, 1963- Basketball legend Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York.
  • February 18, 1688- The first formal protest against slavery in America occurred in Germantown PA.
  • February 18, 1896- Henry Grenon patented the Razor Stropping Device, which was a device used to quickly sharpen straight edge razors used for shaving.

Senior Parents

I am writing to you about a senior game that some of our students are playing. Before I go into details, I want to caution you that some of you may find this alarming, and some of the words may be triggering.

The name of the game is “Senior Assassin.” This game is not sponsored or supported by the school in any way. This game is played by high school seniors across the country. Students who have signed up to play this game target one another with squirt guns, and when a student is hit, they are eliminated from the game. While I do not know which seniors are playing, it appears that there are a large number of them participating. If you see a student carrying around a pair of swim goggles, they are playing this game. This is a very public game, and the kids are playing across the community.

Senior parents, please take a moment to discuss this with your student. As I mentioned, this game is not sponsored or supported by the school. Students cannot play the game here, and school and district policies will be enforced. Squirt guns or any other gun facsimile is strictly prohibited. The “rules of the game” also list schools as off-limits. However, we need help getting the message out so our kids stay out of trouble. The Center for Strength is also considered a “safe zone,” and playing this game is strictly prohibited there as well.

Thank you very much for working with us on this. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks Everyone!

Go Spartans!


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.

STEM SAC Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. – KOSON/P-TECH Building (Mechatronics Lab)/Zoom

The meeting will also be available to watch via Zoom. 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 parents 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.

Love and Logic Parent Night

Monday, Feb. 26, from 5-7 p.m. – via Zoom or in-person in the High School Commons

Join us on Monday, Feb. 26, from 5-7 p.m. for our fifth installment of Love and Logic, focusing on Guiding Kids to Own and Solve their Problems. Participants will learn:

  • Why problem-solving skills are so critical for success in life
  • How to apply five steps for helping children learn to own and solve their problems
  • Practical examples of how to apply these steps to common problems, such as bullying, teasing, problems with teachers, etc.
  • What to do when children refuse to own and solve their problems
STEM PTO Skate City (Instagram Post)
NHS Wish Week Save the Date (Instagram Post)

Vision and Hearing Screening

Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 6, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Colorado law (C.R.S. 22-1-116) states that grades K, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9th shall be tested for sight and hearing. We also screen students who are new to a school district and any referrals. C.R.S. 22-1-116 “The sight and hearing of all children in the kindergarten, first, second, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth grades, of children in comparable age groups referred for testing, shall be tested during the school year by the teacher, principal, or other qualified person authorized by the school district. Each school in the district shall make a record of all sight and hearing tests given during the school year and record the individual results of each test on each child’s records. The parents or guardians shall be informed when a deficiency is found.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any child whose parent or guardian objects on religious or personal grounds.”
It is important to note that this is a screening, not a complete exam. If your child wears prescription glasses or contacts, it is necessary that he/she wear them during the screening.

You will receive a referral letter if your child does not pass the vision screening. Children with concerns should be evaluated by a Vision health care professional. Please take the letter to your appointment and have the provider complete the bottom
of the form and then return it to your school’s health office/school nurse. Students who do not pass the hearing will be rechecked by DCSD Audiology Department, and they provide follow up communication.

Standards for hearing and vision are available at:

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, March 5, 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, March 5, 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's Got Talent Rehearsal and Show

Tuesday, March 5, from 5-7 p.m. – Dress Rehearsal for students at Mission Hills Church

Thursday, March 7, from 6-9 p.m. – Show time at Mission Hills Church

STEM's Got Talent Promo
SGT Performers

News and Updates

Sixth-Grade Boys Book Club

Ms. Clay and Ms. Williams are hosting a book club for 6th-grade boys during this spring semester. Each group will be able to hold 6-8 students. Participants are expected to read both during group and outside of group and participate in group discussions. We will be reading Restart by Gordon Korman and meeting weekly during Lunch or ACCESS. There will be themes revolving around; identity, responsibility, reputation vs. reality, bullying, and loyalty. Each week students will receive prizes for participation and preparedness. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Clay or Ms. Williams! We look forward to hearing back from you! The club will begin soon so don’t delay in signing up.

Summer Programming Opportunities

Are you looking for something to do over the summer? Below are a few ideas to get you started. The following organizations are currently taking applications for their summer programs.

As a reminder, you can continue earning college credit by taking a course through one of our partner institutions. Please reach out to Nicole Ryan at with questions. Registration for Arapahoe Community College opens March 11th for Summer and Fall courses.

Mikron Group Summer Internship Program - Application Open

Attention Class of 2025! Are you looking for a summer internship with a leading technology company? Are you interested in learning from leaders in the industry? Mikron Group is currently accepting applications for its paid summer internship program. They are seeking 11th-grade students to participate in the program with the potential of leading to a paid apprenticeship senior year. Please review the job description for the Industrial Manufacturing Technician and Industrial Electrician roles. If you are interested in applying, please email Nicole Ryan at The application period will close on March 1st.

College Night for Juniors Presentation

This past Monday, College and Career Counselor Kelli Myrick presented to families of current juniors all about what to expect throughout the college application process and what students and parents should start doing now. Click the button below to view the presentation.

2024 Douglas County Outstanding Youth Award Nominations

The Outstanding Youth Award recognizes teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 who have overcome personal adversity and created positive change in their lives. The Youth Awards focus on teenagers who have triumphed over great odds and serve as inspirations and role models. If you know young people who would be good candidates for the Youth Awards, please help identify them by completing the nomination form. Award winners receive a cash gift! Nomination forms are due by Friday, March 29.

Altitude Driver Safety Foundation

Senior Cap and Gown Order Reminder

Please click the button below to place your senior’s Cap and Gown order. The deadline to place your order is Friday, March 15, 2024. Jostens has shared with us that many families have not completed this step and are concerned that our seniors may not have their caps and gowns in time. This information was shared directly with students in the Fall during the Senior Assembly and was sent out via email. Thank you so much for completing this step in a timely manner.

Kelli Myrick, College and Career Counselor

Announcing BOLT Summer Camp - June 10-13, 2024

the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz is offering Bioengineering Opportunities and Leadership Training (BOLT) camp June 10 – 13, 2024.

BOLT is a camp for high schoolers that teaches students about the diverse careers available in biomedical engineering and STEM. BOLT is designed to introduce students to biomedical engineering design and leadership topics. Campers will learn about what biomedical engineering is, dive into the theory of general engineering principles, and get a sneak peek of cutting-edge research taking place at the Anschutz Medical Campus. There will be several hands-on activities to introduce and demonstrate concepts in circuitry, prosthetics control, and tissue engineering. Student teams will work together to design, build, test, and iterate to create a device prototype to compete in a design competition the last day of camp.

BOLT alumni: if you are interested in being a camp leader please reach out to Camp leaders will assist with the coordination of camp activities and have opportunities to engage with current bioengineering students and faculty.

There are a limited number of scholarships and seats so be sure to register soon!

BOLT Camp Details:

  • Who: The camp is open to all students entering 9-12 grade in Fall 2024
  • Dates: June 10 – 13, 2024
  • Times: 8:00-4:30 with 1-hour lunch break
  • Cost: $900 (scholarship applications due March 15, 2024)
  • Location: Anschutz Medical Campus, 12705 E. Montview Blv, Aurora, CO
  • Supplies: Lunch and all supplies are provided

If you have any other BOLT questions, please email Kate Hoch at

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 for any accommodation questions.

Please contact Julie Adamek at for any testing questions.

Medical Career Collaborative - Accepting Applications

Attention, current sophomore high school students! Are you interested in the healthcare industry, but not sure where to begin? The Medical Career Collaborative (MC2) is a multiyear program that provides high school students with healthcare experiences to jumpstart their careers, and provide personal/ professional support. The program is a collaboration with Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health. Learn more by visiting their website. Applications must be submitted by March 6th, 2024 at 5 PM. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Nicole Ryan at

NYU GSTEM High School Research Program

July 1-August 9, 2024 – New York City

GSTEM is an NYU summer research program for talented high school juniors interested in STEM. Founded and sponsored by the world-renowned Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, GSTEM offers opportunities for an incredible summer. Our mission is to support those historically underrepresented in STEM including girls and other minorities. Application is open and early deadline is March 15. Final deadline is April 15.

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

Accuplacer Exam Registration at STEM

Friday, Apr. 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – at STEM

Arapahoe Community College (ACC) will be proctoring the Accuplacer exam on Friday, April 26th, at 9 a.m. at STEM. The Accuplacer is required for certain concurrent enrollment (CE) courses being offered in the Fall Semester. Courses that require proficiency/ college readiness in Math and English are as follows:

  • CE-ENG 1021, English Composition I
  • CE-MAT 1340, College Algebra
  • CE-MAT 1150, Technical Mathematics
  • CE-CSC 1019, Introduction to Programming

ock AP Statistics Exam

Saturday, Apr. 27, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Room 231

Students taking the AP Statistics exam will have the opportunity to take a full-length practice test in preparation.

FREE Virtual Exchange STEM Program

The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM prepares participants to be more civically engaged and lead change. This fully funded six-week summer virtual experience teaches high school students to formulate and implement STEM projects in their local communities. The Experiment Digital is designed to connect hundreds of young people across the United States, Middle East, and North Africa (MENA) region.

Our application to the 2024 Experiment Digital program is now OPEN! To learn more about our program, click here. Spaces are starting to fill, so be sure to share the application with your students. Students and parents/guardians can apply by clicking hereFinal admissions deadline: May 13, 2024

Read and share our program flyer here.

If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email or reach out at: We’d love to see your students at The Experiment Digital! Click here to visit the website.

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