Secondary News and Updates (03/24/23)

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.

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

Secondary Conferences

Thursday, March 30, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. – Middle School Cafe, Secondary Commons and Secondary Gym

We have rescheduled conferences for Thursday, March 30, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Middle School Core Classes will be in the Middle School Cafeteria, High School Core Classes will be in the Secondary Gym, and MS/HS Elective Classes will be in the Secondary Commons.

Families can park in the High School Staff Parking Lot and the Elementary School Parking Lot and enter through the New Athletics Entrance on the West side of the school. (along Barrons Blvd.)

Please keep in mind that with the rescheduled date, some teachers may be unable to attend. If you want to confirm that your student’s teacher will be there, please email them in advance. If your student’s teacher will not be there, you can schedule a conference at another time, either in-person, via phone or over Zoom.

Your Student Support Services Team will be present during conferences for families to visit with. The team is available to discuss students’ social and emotional wellness, academic progress or concerns, and almost anything else. They will not be discussing schedules at conferences. If you’d like to discuss your student’s schedule for next year, please make another appointment with them if needed to address this.

In order to provide the best service to our families, we’d like to request that any family who would like to meet with our team to please click on the specific counselor’s name below to see their availability. There are both in-person and virtual time slots depending on the day and the counselor, so please look carefully when you are signing up.

We hope to be able to connect with you and discuss how we can further partner for your student’s success at STEM.

CMAS Testing for Grades 7 & 8

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Testing is coming up and we wanted to provide the following information to families. Testing for 7th and 8th graders will begin on Thursday, March 30.

Thursday, March 30

  • 7:50-9:50 a.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 1 – 8th Grade
  • 8-9:20 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 1 – 7th Grade
  • 9:35-10:50 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 2 – 7th Grade
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 2 – 8th Grade
  • 12:45-2:45 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 3 – 8th Grade
  • 1:20-2:40 p.m. – CMAS Math Unit 3 – 7th Grade

Please note: ALL 6th graders will be VIRTUAL on Thursday, March 30, due to CMAS testing.

CMAS Testing for Grades 6 & 8

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Testing is coming up and we wanted to provide the following information to families. Testing for 6th and 8th graders will be on Monday, April 3.

Monday, April 3

  • 7:50-9:50 a.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 1 – 6th Grade
  • 8-9:20 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 1 – 8th Grade
  • 9:35-10:50 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 2 – 8th Grade
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 2 – 6th Grade
  • 12:45-2:45 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 3 – 6th Grade
  • 1:20-2:40 p.m. – CMAS Math Unit 3 – 8th Grade

Please note: ALL 7th graders will be VIRTUAL on Monday, April 3, due to CMAS testing.

CMAS Testing for Grades 6 & 7

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Testing is coming up and we wanted to provide the following information to families. Testing for 6th and 7th graders will begin on Tuesday, April 4.

Tuesday, April 4

  • 7:50-9:50 a.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 1 – 7th Grade
  • 8-9:20 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 1 – 6th Grade
  • 9:35-10:50 a.m. – CMAS Math Unit 2 – 6th Grade
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 2 – 7th Grade
  • 12:45-2:45 p.m. – CMAS ELA Unit 3 – 7th Grade
  • 1:20-2:40 p.m. – CMAS Math Unit 3 – 6th Grade

Please note: ALL 8th graders will be VIRTUAL on Tuesday, April 3, due to CMAS testing.

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors' Meeting

Tuesday, April 4, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building)

The monthly STEM Board of Directors’ Meeting will be Tuesday, April 4, 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

High School Spirit Week Coming Up!

April 10-14 – Spirit Week

  • Monday: PJ Day
  • Tuesday: Soccer Mom vs. BBQ Dad
  • Wednesday: Anything but a backpack day
  • Thursday: Throwback Thurs/ Dress like you did back in MS or ES
  • Friday: Prom Color Wars/ Black vs. Gold/Yellow

SteMed Safe Driving Carnival

Friday, April 7, from 3:30-5 p.m. – Secondary Gym

Mark your calendars for the SteMed Safe Driving Event on Friday, April 7, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Secondary Gym. This is a carnival event for students to learn more about safe driving habits and the dangers of distracted driving. More information will be shared in the coming weeks about the different events.

CMAS Testing for Grades 8 & 11

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Testing is coming up and we wanted to provide the following information to families. Testing for 8th and 11th graders will be on Monday, April 10.

Monday, April 10

  • 7:50-8:50 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 1 – 11th Grade
  • 8-9:30 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 1 – 8th Grade
  • 9-10 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 2 – 11th Grade
  • 9:40-11:10 a.m. – CMAS Science Unit 2 – 8th Grade
  • 10:10-11:10 p.m. – CMAS Science Unit 3 – 11th Grade
  • 1:20-2:50 p.m. – CMAS Science Unit 3 – 8th Grade

Please note: ALL 8th graders will be VIRTUAL on Tuesday, April 3, due to CMAS testing.

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 with any questions.

Spring 2023 HipPOPs Gelato Truck
STEM Youth Lacrosse Night

News and Updates

Preparing for CMAS Testing

These assessments are administered under standardized conditions to ensure the reliability and validity of the results. Click below to see the complete testing schedule to reference testing times and class sessions for all students. PLEASE NOTE: certain grades will be virtual on certain days so please check the schedule carefully.

Important Reminders:

  • It is essential that students are present and on time on the days of testing. Any student who is tardy will not be able to take the test and will need to sit in a designated space until the test is complete.
  • Please avoid scheduling trips and appointments for your child during this day.
  • Also, ensure your child is well-rested and has had a good breakfast on testing days.

If you’d like to opt your student out, please click here to complete the form. Please click here to read the opt-out instructions.

Concurrent Enrollment Information

Hello Spartan Students and Families,

If you want to participate in concurrent enrollment in the Fall, this email is for you! Concurrent enrollment (CE) allows you to enroll in college coursework in high school. STEM offers college-level courses at STEM, and students can attend our local colleges and universities.

If you plan to enroll in a concurrent enrollment course (at STEM or another college/ university), you and your parents must complete the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement. If you are taking classes at STEM or ACC and have yet to apply to ACC, you must complete the ACC application first (see instructions below). You can complete the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement here: STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement Form.

New STEM CE and new ACC students only: All students completing a CE course (at STEM or ACC) must apply to ACC (even if you are completing the courses at STEM). If you still need to apply, please do so online. You will need to create an account and complete the ACC application. Typically, applications are processed within three business days. You will need your S# from ACC before completing the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement Form. Applying to ACC

At ACC registration: If you will be taking courses at ACC and still need to complete the ACC orientation and admissions/ registration, you need to complete them before you can register for classes through the ACC portal. You can follow the step-by-step instructions: ACC Orientation & Admissions/ Registration. ACC course registration begins on March 13th.

MSU Denver: Please see the attached flyer for online course selection options. Other MSU courses will be available but may have additional fees. If you want to register for MSU, please select your courses and indicate your preference on the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement form. I will reach out regarding the registration steps.

CSU, Extended Studies: We are tentatively looking at ANEQ 103, Introduction to Animal Science, and PSY 100, General Psychology. Please indicate your preference on the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement form if you want to enroll in one or both courses. I will reach out regarding the registration steps.

CSU, Pueblo: Coming Soon! Reach out to me for registration information.

Other College/ University: If you intend to enroll at a college/ university other than those listed, don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Prerequisites: Please ensure you have reviewed the course prerequisites to ensure you are eligible to enroll for the course. For ACC courses, you can check courses, prereqs, and course descriptions on the ACC website here: ACC Course List. If you plan to enroll in the English Comp or Literature courses, you must meet English proficiency. For English proficiency, current high school students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. For incoming first-year students and students that do not have a 3.0 GPA or higher, you can take the Accuplacer to meet the prereq. The Accuplacer will be held at STEM on April 21st at 9 AM. Curious about other ways to meet proficiency, visit the ACCs English & Math Placement Guide.

Keep in mind, it is your responsibility to ensure that courses selected align with your high school requirements. You can review high school requirements with your counselor.

Please complete the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement form by April 21st. The deadline will allow time to register and ensure course availability and credit review.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Again, all students, regardless of college/ university selected, must complete the following form: STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement Form.

Niche $25,000 No Essay Scholarship

DEADLINE: March 29, 2023

Help cover the cost of college without writing a single essay!

Niche is giving one student $25,000 to help pay for tuition, housing, books, and other educational expenses.

Apply below for your chance to win so you can focus on what really matters instead of worrying about finances. Good luck!

Community Service Hours for Seniors

Attention Seniors and Families! It is that time to be turning in your community service hours. Please don’t forget that ALL seniors must have 20 hours of community service in order to graduate. If you do not have twenty hours turned in, you will not graduate from high school. For those who declared STEM Scholar, you must have 100 hours of community service turned in ASAP.

Spring break is a great opportunity to finish any outstanding hours. Be reminded that we must have all hours turned in no later than April 15.

Middle School CS - YESS Program

Hello Parents!

Our Middle School Computer Science classes are part of district-wide youth programming called Youth Education and Safety in Schools (YESS). These lessons are taught in class with regular classroom teachers, with the support of Deputy Sean Heidman. These in-class lessons were covered throughout the month of March. Please take the opportunity to talk to your child about online and offline safety at home and at school.


Relationships – covers friendships, tools for healthy relationships, peer pressure, tolerance/acceptance/resilience, bullying/harassment, boundaries (physical and emotional), consent for intimate contact, sexual harassment, dating violence/grooming, and associated legal issues.

Digital Citizenship – covers internet safety, cyberbullying, cyber-predators, hackers, sexting, human trafficking, and associated legal issues.

Substance Use – covers nicotine products and vaping, marijuana, alcohol, opioids, various illicit drugs, addiction, physical and mental effects of use, and associated legal issues.

Deputy Sean Heidman, #14-20
Youth Education & Safety in Schools (YESS) Instructor; CIT Course Director
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Flexible Volunteer Opportunity – Seeking Volunteers for 7th Grade Investigation

Friends of STEM,

Our 7th graders will be investigating real-world biodiversity problems beginning on April 12th.

We hope to engage students with knowledgeable adults throughout this investigation. Your involvement can range from presenting information, sharing about your career, hearing student ideas and giving simple feedback, answering students’ questions, or a combination of these. Any level of experience with biodiversity, life sciences, or genetics will suffice.

This can be in-person or virtually (Google Meets) on any date/time that works for you! If this is something you are interested in, please share a date(s) and time frame that you would like to volunteer between the dates of April 12 and May 5. Please share this information with anyone else you might know who might be interested!

For questions and/or more information, you can contact the 7th-grade science teacher, Kathy Dwyer (

Seeking In-Person Panelists for MS and HS Students

riends of STEM,
We are seeking panelists to listen to students’ ideas and provide simple feedback.

High school and 7th/8th grade students identified mental health problems facing teens and will propose their ideas for feasible solutions. As a panelist you would attend class in-person, listen to student ideas, ask questions, and share advice if applicable. View more information about being a panelist, and about problem based learning on the document attached.

There are 80-90 minute slots available on April 3rd or April 5th.

For more information about this PBL investigation, you can reach out to the students’ teacher –

Eighth Grade Boston Trip Recording/Information

Click the link below to see the Zoom recording from the Parent Information Meeting.

Please note on the website there is a price discrepancy: At this time, due to the date of our trip info meeting being past the usual early registration date, you will only see the regular pricing ($1799) on the registration page rather than the early registration pricing. However, WorldStrides has confirmed that we are still eligible for the $1699 early registration total trip price through March 17. The best way to work around this situation is to register with the “Pay Monthly” option. WorldStrides will then manually apply the $100 early discount to your account within a week after you complete the registration process. That way you won’t be overcharged. If you choose the “Pay in Full” option, you will be charged the regular price of $1799 but will receive a $100 refund later. Let Heather Dillon know if you have any questions.

Trip Dates: October 24-27, 2023

Price: $1699 for all-inclusive trip, based on quad occupancy

Family members and dependents of current educators, the military, and first responders receive a 5% discount off the base trip price.

Registration Deadline: Sign up by 3/17/23 to receive the $1699 discounted price above which includes $100 off!

Trip ID: 208086

Optional Full Refund Protection Plan: $219

Summer STEM Camp Opportunity

Attention Rising Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors! Are you looking for something to do this summer? The US Air Force Academy is hosting a week long STEM Engineering & Construction Camp this summer from July 6 – 12, 2023. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2023! See the attached flyer for more information.

STEM Eng & Const Camp
PTO After Prom Fundraiser - Lazy Dog
After Prom Donations Flyer

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.

After Prom Butter Braid Fundraiser

Mentors Needed for Business & Resume Workshop

Our high school entrepreneurship class is seeking in-person professionals for our Resume-Building Workshop on April 6th from 3-4 p.m. Please email if you’re interested in participating.

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

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 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

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

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 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

DCSD News and Resources

District Accountability Committee Seeks Charter School Parent Member

DCSD’s District Accountability Committee (DAC) is currently accepting applications for a charter school parent member. The District Accountability Committee (DAC) meets monthly throughout the year and makes recommendations to the Board regarding spending District money, charter school applications, improvement plans and parent engagement plans. If you have a child in one of our DCSD charter schools and are interested in serving on this important committee please complete and submit the DAC Application.

Mental Health Resource of the Week

We Can All Prevent Suicide

Learn the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Help is available by calling or texting 988 – the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Literacy Tip of the Week

Literacy Tips for Parents of Adolescents

Here are some activities that parents can initiate at home to help ensure successful literacy outcomes for their adolescent students.

Health and Wellness Tip of the Week

DCSD Parent University: Nutrition – What Growing Bodies Need to Eat!

Wednesday, March 29, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and to prevent various health conditions. Do you feel like you can’t keep up with the latest nutrition news for growing children because it’s always changing? While it’s true that what is known about nutrition and diet is evolving, there are some nutrition basics that can help you sort through the latest research and advice. Join DCSD’s Nutrition Services Specialists in this informative webinar. This is a free online event made possible by a partnership between the Douglas County School District and Sky Ridge Medical Center. Please register to receive information on joining the webinar.

Lunch and Learn: The Facts About Fentanyl

Hosted by the Douglas County Youth Initiative

Tuesday, April 4 | 12-1:30 p.m., 100 Third St., Castle Rock – Miller Building Hearing Room

  • Complimentary Lunch is Available, please bring your own water
  • Limited seating. RSVP to
  • Speaker: Lindsey Simbeye, External Relations Strategist
  • Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
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