Secondary News and Updates (02/24/23)

Secondary-School News

Director Updates

A message from Mrs. Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

Greetings from the Technology Student Association (TSA) State Competition in the Denver Tech Center. It is so wonderful to spend time supporting our middle and high school students and former students from all over the Denver area. A huge shout out to Mr. Blue, Mrs. FitzRoy, Mrs. Nason, Mr. Reichmuth, Mr. Reinkensmeyer, Mr. Sweeney, and Mr. Shallenberger for being inspiring mentors to these students. Also, words cannot express how grateful we are to our parent volunteers: from food service to check-in to food donations, THANK YOU, ALL!

NHS Wish Week kicked off today with a few activities and some pep rallies. Next week, please come join us for some of the fun events and activities. The Wish Week calendar can be found in the parent newsletter and website.

STEM’S Got Talent is Thursday, March 2

Please come support our talented students on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Mission Hills Church! Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. All staff and students are free. You will not want to miss our 11th annual show and staff lip sync performance! All proceeds go to Wish Week.

Congratulations to our Middle School Science Olympiad Team

Congratulations to our Science Olympiad teams, who both qualified for the State Competition on April 1st. What an incredible feat! A huge thank you to our advisors, Ms. Dwyer and Mr. Reinkensmeyer for your hard work and support.

Parent/Student Conferences – Thursday, March 9 and Friday, March 10

Our spring conferences will occur on Thursday, March 9, from 3:30-7 p.m. and Friday, March 10, from 8-11:30 a.m. Please look for invites from your student’s teachers. Conferences are open house style. Core teachers (ELA, Social Studies, Science, and Math) will be located in the MS cafe, and electives will be located in the Secondary Commons. HS core classes will be in the gym.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Wish Week – Monday, February 27 – Friday, March 3rd
  • STEM’s Got Talent – Thursday, March 2
  • Parent Conferences – Thursday evening, March 9 and Friday morning, March 10
  • Spring Break – March 11-19
  • Coffee Truck on Campus for students, staff, and families – Monday, March 20, from 7-8 a.m.

Have a wonderful weekend!

In partnership,

Middle School Director

A message from Mr. Ryan Alsup, High School Director

Hello Spartans and families,

February has been a great month at STEM. The grand opening of our gym signified the end of a lot of hard work, but it is also, in many ways, is a new beginning for our school. The gym itself gives us an opportunity to start new traditions, and gives us another opportunity to focus on the culture of our school, bringing students and staff together. Since the grand opening on February 1st, we have hosted Winter Formal, several basketball games, including senior night, and held our first pep assemblies for both middle and high school in there today to kick off wish week. For me, it has been a lot of fun seeing the smiles on the students’ faces as they have participated in the activities. They really seemed to enjoy the dance, attending the games, and the pep assembly was a success.

Wish Week kicked off today with the assembly. As you all know, our NHS works with the Make-A-Wish foundation yearly to sponsor a student. This year we are sponsoring Colton from Parker. Colton loves Disney, and his wish is to go to Disney World. Next week will be filled with fun activities for our students to participate in, all in an effort to help grant Colton’s wish. For us to be successful, it will take effort from everyone, including our parents, as students will be collecting donations in drive line. There will be more information about the week in this newsletter and on our website. Please help us make Colton’s wish come true!

Athletics update:

The boys’ basketball team completed their inaugural CHSAA season last week. It was a tough season, but the boys played hard through the end. Nice job, Spartans! Last week we started our spring eSports season. I am proud to announce this season that I will not be coaching and have turned the team over to coach Price. Ryan Price works in our elementary school but is a skilled gamer and is doing a great job working with our kids. It should be a fun, competitive season this year!

Next week our spring sports will begin. We will compete in track and field, boys’ volleyball and girls’ soccer. We also teamed up again with Highlands Ranch High School to offer a full varsity boys’ lacrosse program. You can still register here if you would like to participate in boys and girls track and field, boys volleyball or girls soccer.

We will accept registrations all weekend, so if your son or daughter are interested in playing, please complete the form. Students interested in playing lacrosse can do so but must register through Highlands Ranch High School. Unfortunately, registration is closed for eSports, so anyone interested in playing must wait for the fall season.

Security update:

Safety and security of our students and staff is always my top priority. With that in mind, we will continue to complete routine drills to ensure our students and staff know what to do in emergencies. However, part of keeping our students safe is ensuring that we have a drug free environment. So, with that in mind, today we held a Secure and Hold drill to clear the parking lots and hallways. Once they were cleared, the DCSO canine deputy swept the area to ensure we were drug free. We will continue to do these drills on a routine basis, so we are prepared if needed. If you have any questions about the safety and security processes and procedures, you are welcome to contact me anytime. You can also learn more about them by visiting the I Love You Guys foundation website.

Looking ahead:

Our annual Stem’s Got Talent is this Thursday, March 2.  Please come support our talented students on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Mission Hills Church! Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. All staff and students are free. You will not want to miss our 11th annual show and staff lip sync performance! All proceeds go to Wish Week.

Parent/Student Conferences are on Thursday, March 9, from 3:30-7 p.m. and Friday, March 10, from 8-11:30 a.m. Please look for invites from your student’s teachers. Conferences are open house style.

Finally, I would like to recognize our SteMed club. This year our SteMed club has partnered with the Choose S.A.F.E. program to focus on teen driving safety. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, and the most dangerous time is from April-September. As a career high school educator, this is a very personal and important initiative to me as I have lost far too many students over the years. So I would like to thank the SteMed students for taking this on. This is very important work, and can significantly impact all of us.

And with that, I ask that you all have a safe weekend.


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.

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.

NEHS Writing Center Dates for Middle and High School Students

Tuesdays from 3-3:30 p.m., in Room 103 and on Google Meets

We are excited to announce that STEM’s Writing Center will be open to all Middle and High School students. Students looking for additional help on their English assignments can join us either in person (Room 103) or over Google Meets after school on Tuesdays from 3-3:30 p.m. Students can sign up for a 15-minute slot during which we can help them with any essay, assignment, or project.

We can’t wait to see you all!

Dates: 2/28, 3,7, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16

NHS Wish Week is Coming Up! February 27-March 3

NHS Wish Week Calendar 2023
NHS Wish Week - Meet Colton!_Page
NHS Wish Week - Meet Colton!_Page

Math Honor Society Pi Bake-Off

Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 3-5 p.m. – HS Commons

Do you like baking? Do you think you can make the best pie? Do you want to win $25? Bake the best pie (dessert or savory) and compete against your classmates on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 3-5 p.m. in the High School Commons during the annual Great STEM Bake-off! The esteemed judges, Mr. Moore, Ms. White, and Mr. Kerwin, will judge your pie based on creativity, taste, and presentation! This event is open to all students and families.

MHS Great STEM Bake-Off
PTO Skate City Promo
STEM's Got Talent Event

Career Discovery Day at STEM!

Thursday, March 2, from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Secondary Gym

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an engineer? Or what will it take to advance in the cybersecurity industry? We are excited to host a Career Discovery Day for our 8th grade and high school students on Thursday, March 2, from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Our 8th-grade students will be visiting with their classes from 12:45-2:45 p.m. Our high school students are invited to visit during their lunch hour, beginning at 11:45 a.m. We will be hosting the event in our Scondary Gym.

We will have industry professionals available to answer students’ questions on various career fields. Our guests are from companies such as Amazon, Boom Supersonic, Lockheed Martin, CoorsTek, Children’s Hospital, Merrick & Company, and many more. They are leaders in their fields with backgrounds that range from Engineers to Pharmacists to Cybersecurity and many more. Click the button below to see the complete list and their bios.

Come prepared to ask questions and learn more from local industry professionals. Your counseling team has put together a guide for you to help engage with our guests. Please reach out to nicole.ryan@ if you have any questions!! Let’s make it a great day.

KOSON/STEM BOD Parent Interest Meeting

Monday, March 6, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Mechatronics Lab in P-TECH/KOSON Building

Are you interested in joining the KOSON/STEM Board of Directors? Come join us on Monday, March 6 for a KOSON/STEM BOD Parent Interest Meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Mechatronics Lab of our P-TECH/KOSON Building.

KOSON/STEM Board Elections will take place this spring and this information meeting is a great opportunity to learn what being on the Board encompasses and what you could expect as a member. No sign up is necessary. We hope to see you there! Email with any questions about this event.

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors' Meeting

Tuesday, March 7, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building)

The monthly STEM Board of Directors’ Meeting will be Tuesday, March 7, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Mechatronics Lab of the P-TECH/KOSON Building. The STEM BOD is comprised of parents and community members who volunteer their time. The Board’s role and purpose is to provide oversight of the Executive Director, who implements the policies set forth by the Board. The Board also provides support and direction of STEM’s long-term vision and mission. Additionally, the Board is active in making sure that STEM remains in compliance with all DCSD, state and federal compliance requirements, as well as STEM’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

Student Forum/Information Session

Tuesday, March 7, from 3:15-4 p.m – HS Commons

Calling all students in grades 6-12! Join us for the first Student Forum/Information Session on Tuesday, March 7, from 3:15-4 p.m. in the High School Commons. This is your opportunity to learn more about what’s happening at STEM and get to know our STEM Administration Team. This event is organized by our Student Advisory Council.

STEM PTO Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, March 7, from 6:30-8 p.m. – 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.

HipPOPs Ice Cream Truck at STEM

Thursday, March 9, from 2-4 p.m. – Secondary Parking Lot

Kick-off Spring Break with a sweet treat from the HipPOPs Ice Cream Truck. The truck will be at STEM on Thursday, March 9, from 2-4 p.m. in the Secondary Parking Lot. Pre-orders are strongly encouraged to reduce wait times and impact to driveline. Click the button below to view the menu and to pre-order. Just put the items in your cart and make sure that you have March 9 as the pick-up date, and any time between 2-4 p.m. as your pick-up time.

Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thursday, March 9, from 3:30-7 p.m. & Friday, March 10, from 8-11:30 a.m. – Secondary School

Our spring conferences will take place on Thursday, March 9, from 3:30-7 p.m. and Friday, March 10, from 8-11:30 a.m. Please look for invites from your student’s teachers. Conferences are open house style.

Middle School core teachers (ELA, Social Studies, Science, and Math) will be located in the Middle School Cafeteria, and High School ccore classes will be in the Secondary Gym. Electives will be located in the Secondary Commons area.

Spring Break 2023

Welcome Back to School Tom's Coffee Truck Event

Monday, March 21, from 7-8 a.m. – High School Staff Parking Lot

The STEM Administration Team would like to welcome back our community from Spring Break with a morning treat! Tom’s Coffee Truck will be on campus on Monday, March 20 from 7-8 a.m. selling coffee to students, staff and families. See the attachments below for the menu.

The truck will be located in the High School Staff Parking Lot on the West side of the School. Cars may only park in the High School Parking Lot temporarily if they are purchasing from the Coffee Truck. (students may not be dropped off here)

Spring School Picture Retake Day
Parent Coffee with Administration

Don't forget to order your school photos

School photos have been uploaded for families to view. Families can access their photos by visiting the link below, selecting the School Portrait Proofs link, and when prompted enter their private password in the following format: studentid#.

News and Updates

Enrichment: Girls Middle School Basketball - Registration Deadline

Middle School Girls! Sign up for girls’ basketball! The season goes from April 7 to May 24. Games are Friday evenings at the brand new South Suburban Sports Complex, and practices are once a week at our new gym Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Come be a pathbreaker and have some fun! No basketball experience required – we would love to see you start a new tradition at STEM! Registration deadline is March 9, 2023. Cost is $200 for the season and covers everything from uniforms, fees and more. Contact Coach John.Griffin@ with any questions.

ACC Accuplacer Exam

Friday, April 21, from 9-11 a.m. 

Arapahoe Community College will be at STEM to administer the Accuplacer Exam. The Accuplacer is needed for any student (grades 8-11) who would like to take Concurrent Enrollment courses.

Contact Nicole.Ryan@ with any questions.

Lunches will be FREE Next School Year

FREE lunches are back for students! Starting in August of 2023, students will once again receive free lunches. Students must chose an entree, fruit/vegetable a milk for the free lunch. Snacks are not free.

While lunches will be free, it is important for families who need additional financial support to still complete the Free/Reduces Lunch application. Those who qualify for FRL status will only receive the additional benefits (free/reduced school fees, free/reduced trips, priority for scholarships in non-FRL field trips or Enrichment programs, and/or graduation fee reductions, etc.) of the program if they complete the application.

In order to assure that the District and STEM receive accurate data, DCSD and STEM are requesting that ALL families complete the FRL application that opens on July 15, regardless of financial status. A new application must be completed each school year. Families can also still apply for this school year using the link below.

Junior College Night Presentation

On Thursday, Feb. 16, College and Career Counselor Kelli Myrick held a College Night for juniors and their parents in our High School Commons. She reviewed the college application process, outlining where to begin, when to start searching for a university, what all will be required to submit for college applications and how Mrs. Myrick will support. Click the button below to view the presentation.

National English Honor Society Monthly Literary Competition

NEHS is proud to announce the monthly Literary Competition. You can submit any art or piece of writing to sophia.marks@s. and make the subject “February Literary Competition – [Art or Writing] and [Grade].” Our theme for this month will be Love! The winner will receive a $20 Target gift card! Please submit by February 28th!

Winter Weather Facts/ Resources

Mentors Needed for Business & Resume Workshop

Our high school entrepreneurship class is looking for feedback and advice from adults about their business ideas.

Your support would be online (Google Meets) on the following Fridays, though you are not required to attend all sessions to participate:

  • March 3, 2023 (any duration between 11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.) – Introduction/Initial Discussion
  • March 31, 2023 (any duration between 11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.) – Continued Feedback
  • April 14, 2024 (any duration between 11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.) – Continued Feedback
  • May 8, May 12 or May 15 (between 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.) – Final Presentation

You would work with the same 1-2 groups of students throughout the sessions you are available to attend and mentor them through their ideas. You will be provided a mentor guide with ideas for questions and conservation topics.


If you are not interested in this mentorship, we are additionally seeking in-person professionals for our Resume-Building Workshop on April 6th from 3-4 p.m.

Doodle for Google

Calling all creative K-12 students! Doodle for Google is officially open for its 15th year. We are excited to share that this year’s prompt is “I am grateful for…”. Students are encouraged to take a moment to reflect on what’s most important to them.

Students should be prompted to think about:

  • What moments, people, places and things are special to them
  • What or whom can they not imagine living without
  • What are the things that get them through the day

Not sure where to start? Head to for details on how to enter and to find lesson guides and videos to spark creativity!

Submission deadline is March 7 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Doodle for Google

Student Laptops Being Charged in IT Offices

Our IT department has been graciously allowing students to charge their computers in their offices; however, lately, it has become overwhelming for them. We are asking all parents to help support their students in bringing their computers to school charged each day and ensuring that they bring a charger with them to school. Starting Tuesday, Jan. 17, students cannot charge their computers in the IT department.

Student Fees Reminder

Reminder!! If you haven’t yet, please log into your MySchoolBucks account to pay your student’s fees. We currently have approximately $30,000 in outstanding student fees, and we anticipate that is due to the technical issues at the start of the school year with Express Check-In. If you have questions about your student’s fees or want to get on a payment plan, please email ashley.westfall@

Calling all Industry Experts, Parents and Community Members!

Career Discovery Information (Facebook Post)

Learn about the NEW Career Discovery Program at STEM

After Care Program for Secondary Students

Did you know that STEM has an affordable and safe option for your middle or high school student(s) when they need to remain on campus after school or after their club/activity? With the freezing winter temperatures upon us and Colorado’s often unpredictable weather, After Care is peace of mind that your student(s) is warm, able to access water and bathroom, and with a trusted adult in case of an emergency that can be utilized as needed. Drop-ins are welcome!

The After Care program is operated by STEM Enrichment in the Middle School Cafe and is available from 3-6 p.m. every day, school is in session throughout the school year. The cost is only $8/day.*

SmartCare allows parents to know that their student(s) are safe, as well as make easy payments online. Contact hiroko.ichijo@ to get your student registered with After Care today.

*Students that receive FRL benefits can attend After Care at no cost to the parent. FRL contact ashley.westfall@

Secondary Yearbook Information

This school year will live forever in your yearbook. Buy a yearbook. It’s easy.

Yearbooks may be purchased at

Enter STEM School Highlands Ranch and click on Buy a Yearbook. Follow the directions online. Enter your name and credit card, debit card or PayPal information, and click

Cost: $55 

If you want to personalize the book, name stamping starts at $6 extra and must be purchased before January 29, 2022.


Contact Michelle Vitale, the STEM Secondary Yearbook Advisor at michelle.vitale@

After purchase, you will be emailed a confirmation receipt. You may also verify your order at by entering your email in the “Find an Order” field.

Free Chromebooks for Free-Reduced Lunch Students

We are happy to share that we will be offering students who are part of the Free and Reduced Lunch program the opportunity to get a Free Chromebook if the following parameters are met:

  • Chromebook is signed out by a parent
  • The student must remain enrolled at STEM for three years. (if the student leaves STEM during those three years, they will need to return the laptop)

Laptops can be kept over the summer. For more information, please email ashley.westfall@ to confirm your Free and Reduced Lunch Program status. Not sure if you qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch? DCSD recommends that you apply regardless so that they can assist you further. Click the button below to access the application.

Updated Snow Day Policy

As the winter season approaches, we want to announce updates to the current Virtual School Day for Inclement Weather policy. Last spring, one of our STEM students presented a proposal and justification regarding changes to our current Virtual School Day policy. As a result, the administration and Board of Directors determined that a change is recommended to the Snow Day Policy. We appreciate the leadership and voice our STEM students display and are happy to announce that STEM will follow the DCSD Snow Day policy with a closure. STEM also reserves the right to modify the calendar, schedule, or this policy, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or construction that interrupts the required instructional minutes as set forth by the Colorado Department of Education. The following is a reminder of the current policies.

Late Start Schedule

STEM does not mimic the Late Start Policy and schedule put forth by DCSD. In the event that Douglas County calls for a Delayed Opening, STEM’s Virtual School Day Policy will take effect.

Virtual School Day for Inclement Weather

If DCSD determines that the district should follow the Delayed Opening protocol, STEM School Highlands Ranch will abide by its Virtual School Day Policy. When it snows, our school’s operation and instructional expectations will be determined by one of these three scenarios:

  • Updated: Snow Day – Douglas County Schools calls a snow day – STEM is closed (check
  • Late Start Day – Douglas County Schools calls a Late Start day – STEM is closed and implements a Virtual School Day.
  • All Schools Open – Douglas County Schools declare Highlands Ranch area schools open – STEM is open and operating to our regular schedule.

Update about Secondary Student IDs

Your School Directors (Mrs. Ridder and Mr. Alsup) wanted to share the following information with you in regards to Student IDs, Lanyards and the ID pouches.
  • Replacement IDs if lost/stolen: Students who have lost their ID should complete the Secondary Student ID Replacement Form to order a replacement. IDs are free for the first one and $5 for any duplicates. Duplicates will be printed by the front office and students will be notified when they are ready for pick up.
  • Lanyards and pouches: Lanyards and pouches can be picked up at the Secondary Front Office. Please show your student ID to receive one.
Starting on September 19th, all students must have an ID badge visible while on campus.

Center for Strength News and Events

STEM Center - Permission to Feel
STEM Center - Body Keeps the Score

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

988 – We Can All Prevent Suicide

Understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation around suicide. Learn more about risk factors and knowing the warning signs.

Literary Resource of the Week


AdLit is a national multimedia project offering information and resources to the parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers.

Health and Wellness

Health Fueled by Fun: Wellness Activities for Kids

A collection of health activities for kids to help them learn to make healthy eating, exercise and life choices.

DCSEAC Shining Star Nominations

The Douglas County Special Education Advisory Committee (DCSEAC) is now accepting nominations for Shining Star Awards. Shining Stars are DCSD staff member/s and schools nominated for outstanding service by the parents and/or caregivers of students receiving special education services. Visit for more information and to submit a nomination. Deadline for nominations is today, Friday, February 24.

Nominations for Douglas County Youth Awards Due March 3

Please nominate a student and pass along to others! The 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 us identify them by completing the nomination form. Nomination forms are due by: March 3, 2023.

The reception honoring nominators and award winners is: April 24, 2023, 6-8pm, Douglas County Miller Building, Castle Rock.

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