Secondary News and Updates (04/07/23)

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

Prom Spirit Week

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.

STEM PTO Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, April 12, 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.

Welcome to Middle School Parent Information Night

Thursday, April 13, from 5-6 p.m. – Middle School Cafeteria

On Thursday, April 13, New to Middle School families are invited to come to our Parent Information Night in the Middle School Cafeteria. Middle School Director Maura Ridder will present to families what families and students should expect as a part of middle school at STEM.

Welcome to High School Parent Information Night

Thursday, April 13, from 6-7 p.m. – High School Commons

On Thursday, April 13, New to High School families are invited to attend our Parent Information Night in the High School Commons. High School Director Ryan Alsup will present to families what families and students should expect as a part of high school at STEM.

Prom 2023
PTO After Prom
Senior Events Info
STEM Youth Lacrosse Night
Senior Walk 23

News and Updates

SOAR (Seeing Our Adolescents Rise) is Accepting Referrals for Therapy

SOAR is excited to announce that we are growing our Clinical Team and Adventure Therapy program to meet the needs of youth in our community. Here are some major highlights:

  • SOAR now accepts Medicaid (Colorado Access) for individual therapy services.
  • SOAR is accepting individual therapy client referrals. Individual therapy will utilize an adventure-based modality in connection with other clinical theoretical orientations.
  • SOAR has 3 Adventure Group Cohorts starting soon, for middle school & high school. SPACE IS LIMITED!
    • Due to various funding supports, SOAR is able to minimize the cost of this service. Please reach out to to learn more.
  • SOAR’s Engagement Coaching services support our Adventure Therapist’s work with clients and aligns with our regular service fees.
  • SOAR offers bilingual adventure therapy services. SOAR’s team offers therapy and coaching in English and Spanish.
SOAR Adventure Therapy

The Adventure Therapy program provides therapy services in a creative way using the principles of learning through experience. This program focuses on building youth’s ability to manage challenges in their life through developing resilience. The adventure therapy program supports adolescents in developing skills to navigate home and school successfully.


Youth participate in weekly adventure group sessions involving activities such as group team building, hiking, outdoor exploration, and more, designed to help build community and work on group & individual goals.


Youth participate in two (2) individual therapy sessions per month with a Mental Health Clinician in order to support and process group and coaching sessions as they progress toward their goals for therapy.


Youths regularly work with an Adventure Engagement Coach 1:1 to get support, practice skills, and stay focused on their goals. These are in-person sessions in their school, their home, or in the community or check-ins by phone or a virtual meeting platform. *minimum of two (2) per month


Youth are challenged through an all-day adventure filled with activities to cohesively work on the clinical goals they have focused on each month. This is an opportunity for community, growth, and skill-building as youth navigate varied levels of engagement.

Concurrent Enrollment Registration Deadline - Quickly Approaching

Hello Spartan Students! If you plan to enroll in concurrent enrollment (CE) courses in the Fall, it is time to register! Please complete the Concurrent Enrollment Agreement form before April 14, 2023. Students (and parents) must complete the form, regardless of the college or university they are attending.

As a reminder, all students completing CE courses at STEM or Arapahoe Community college (ACC) must apply for admission to ACC. You can follow the step-by-step instructions via the button below.

If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact Nicole Ryan at

Attention Healthcare Enthusiasts!

Are you interested in a health career? Do you have some free time this summer? For students aged 16 – 24, Arapahoe Community College & Community College of Denver are hosting a summer Colorado Health Careers Academy. What an excellent opportunity to learn about different healthcare careers! Plus, you will earn your Basic Life Support (BLS) certification through the program. See the flyer for more details!

Concurrent Enrollment Information

Hello Spartan Students,

If you are planning to take a concurrent enrollment (CE) course this coming Fall at STEM or at a college/ university, this email is for you!

You and your parents will need to 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.

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.

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.

The deadline to complete the STEM Concurrent Enrollment Agreement form is April 14th. Please note, this is a change from the original email.

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.

T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge

T-Mobile Foundation Changemaker Challenge

Do you know a young person with a bold new idea to transform your community for the better?

T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and Ashoka are teaming up for the fifth Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest that gives young leaders the opportunity to take their ideas for creating a more connected, equitable, and sustainable future to the next level.

Now, through May 18, 2023 (8:59 pm PT / 11:59 pm ET) anyone between the ages of 13-18 located in the US or Puerto Rico with bold ideas for driving digital empowerment, putting equity into action, and supporting a thriving planet can enter the Changemaker Challenge.

Why should they apply?

Fifteen finalists will be selected to win up to $15,000 in seed funding and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters to participate.

Debbie Jackson & Darrell Pridemore Memorial Scholarship Foundation

The Debbie Jackson & Darrell Pridemore Memorial Scholarship Foundation was originally founded in 2005 to promote and present scholarships to area high school seniors who have overcome adversity in their lives and have dreams of higher education in order to achieve the careers of their choice. The foundations founders and members are passionate in helping graduating students accomplish their dreams and goals and thru the foundation we thrive on seeing seniors who are passionate and believe in themselves in going forward into the world with an education that will benefit themselves and everyone around them.

The scholarship is a one-time award of $2,000-$4,000. High School students are encouraged to apply on or before April 21. Click the button below to view the application as well as instructions no how to submit it. Winners will be announced the first week of May, with a presentation to follow right after.

College and Career Newsletter

College and Career Planning Resources Graphic

Seniors: Make sure you are filling out the college acceptance form in the newsletter! Later this month a new form will be created for you to list your after-graduation plans that will be read at graduation, but the current form is for every school you have been admitted to. There is also a graphic that gives all the dates of senior events – please make sure you look that over and let me know if you have any questions!

Juniors: Make sure you are completing your After Grad Packet and sending that to me. Once I have received this, we can schedule your first official college meeting. There is a section for you of resources – this includes the AG Packet, Junior Night College presentation, and a walk-through of setting up your Common App account.

Make a difference in your community through the YouthBoard program!

The YouthBoard program is completely free and takes place in the evenings during the next school year. As part of the program, students will:

  • Direct thousands of dollars into their community
  • Develop leadership skills that will help them be successful in the future
  • Create meaningful connections with other young people
  • Learn the power of their voice to create change
  • Complete 60 hours of community service

Students who are passionate about making their community a better place should apply online by April 16th.

Please contact with any questions.

Internship Opportunities

Are you looking for a Summer Internship? Are you a junior or senior looking for a Fall or Spring Internship? If so, this message is for you!! Internships are an excellent opportunity for our Juniors and Seniors to explore various career fields while earning high school credit!

We are now interviewing for Summer internships for the following companies (see flyer for more information):

Calibre Engineering

Panther Electronics

If you are interested in any of the summer internships above or an internship within the Sheriff’s department, please contact Nicole Ryan at Please do not reach out to the company directly.

For Fall and Spring internships, please schedule an appointment with Nicole Ryan to discuss industry interests and next steps at

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 (

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.

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.

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

Center for Strength '23 Community Hiking Club

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

How to Help a Child with Anxious Feelings

We’ve all felt nervous or worried from time to time and our kids are no exception. Did you know that avoiding anxiety can make it stronger? By helping kids move forward while still feeling anxious, we can help them to do things while afraid.

Literacy Tip of the Week

Assessment Fundamentals: Understanding Testing and Evaluation of Dyslexia

Hosted by DC Kid

Wednesday, April 19 | 6:30 p.m.; Castle Pines Library

Learn about the Dyslexia assessment process in both school and private evaluation settings.

Health and Wellness Resource of the Week

Parent University Recordings

Check out recordings of DCSD’s past Parent University webinars made possible via a partnership with Sky Ridge Medical Center.

DCSD Events

Sources of Strength Ice Cream Social

Hosted by DCSD Health, Wellness and Prevention Department

Tuesday, April 18 | 4-6 p.m.

​​​​​​​This free event is to spread the word about the Sources of Strength program to our greater community, and to come together to have fun and enjoy yummy ice cream. Our Sources Student Leadership Committee will be providing games, crafts, and fun activities for all who attend. This event is open to all ages, we ask that you come ready to have FUN! Sources of Strength is a strength-based, comprehensive wellness program that focuses on suicide prevention, but impacts other issues such as substance misuse, bullying and violence. It promotes and focuses on connection, help-seeking and resilience through messages of hope, help and strength.

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