Secondary News and Updates (08/25/23)

Secondary-School News

Directors' Updates

A message from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Middle School Families,

We are three weeks into the year, and all is well! I am truly grateful to our staff, families, and volunteers for helping to make the start of the year so smooth. Seeing so many familiar faces and meeting new families at our Back to School Night last week was wonderful. Thank you for coming out and seeing what your students are doing with this incredible faculty. I have been visiting classrooms, and it is exciting to observe our students engaged in all of their classes. I have yet to see a cell phone out in a middle school class, and it is clear that our students are absorbed and engaged in their lessons. What an incredible start to our school year!


Tardies: Thank you to all of you who are assisting your students in arriving at school on time for their classes. Even with the Evolv System, we have significantly fewer tardies this year. Our students are less stressed and happier as a result.

Exciting Extracurriculars: Our Middle School Club Rush was a success. Students rushed to sign up for basketball, cross country, TSA, Robotics, photography, STEMed Jr, Science Olympiad, and countless more after-school programs. Remember, if your student did not find a club he/she was interested in, please encourage them to propose a club that interests them. Reach out to Mrs. Fitzroy at with any questions.

Volunteers: Our Office Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator Mona Loptien has launched our new Volunteer Management System through Raptor Technologies and will be processing Volunteer Applications that are in the system this coming week. The next step is to get all applicants run through a Criminal Background Check that Raptor will do for us. If you haven’t signed up to be a volunteer yet, please click here to learn more.

Love and Logic Parent Sessions: Love and Logic is a research-driven, whole-child philosophy that has been used by parents and educators around the world. The Love and Logic approach is built around the science of caring and respectful relationships. An authentic connection between parents/educators and children forms the foundation of good behavior and healthy decision-making. We are excited this year to be implementing Love and Logic in the classroom. As part of adopting Love and Logic at school, we will be offering parent sessions throughout the year. The hope is to have both parents and our educators partner to best support our students. Our first Love and Logic Session will be on Monday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. in the High School Commons or via Zoom. Hope to see you there!


  • Monday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. – Love and Logic Parent Night
  • September 22nd – No school for your students due to a staff professional development day.
  • October 12-13 – Parent Teacher Conferences
  • October 16-20 – Fall Break

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

A message from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch High School Families,

Wow, I cannot believe we have completed three weeks of school! The past three weeks have been fantastic. I have enjoyed reconnecting with the students and hearing about their summer breaks. I also enjoyed seeing most of you at our annual Back to School Night. I want to thank the parents, students, and staff for the great opening of the school year. Teachers and students have spent the past few weeks establishing relationships with each other as well as exploring the new curriculum that every student faces as they move up in grade level and subject to the next. Each brings exciting new challenges as students use the prior knowledge gained with the new knowledge learned. This connection is essential to both students and staff members as we strive to reach our full potential as life-long learners.

On the athletic side, our fall teams are off to a fantastic start. The girls’ volleyball opened the season on Wednesday against Nederland. This was our first volleyball game in our gym, and the girls walked away with a win, beating Nederland in three games. I know it was fun for the girls to play on our home court, and it was fun for the crowd as well. This Saturday, the girls will play in the Twin Peaks Classical Academy tournament. We do not have a home game next week, but the girls are playing Ascent Classical Academy on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. Ascent does not have a gym yet, so the game will be played at Douglas County High School. The boys’ soccer team is also underway. They have two games next week. On Tuesday, they travel to Mile High Academy, and on Friday, they travel to SkyView Academy. Both games start at 4:30 p.m. Also this weekend, our cross-country team will run in the Steve Lohman Invitational at Cherry Creek High School. This is always a competitive race, and I cannot wait to hear how we do!

This month, we have had a couple of safety drills. We started the school year with a routine fire/evacuation drill and also conducted a lockdown drill earlier this week. While we have already communicated about those events, as the administrator in charge of safety for our school, I want to emphasize how vital safety and security are to all of us. I recognize how complex these drills can be for our students, staff, and community, but they are important to practice. As I said in the video earlier this week, practicing these drills is not just important for school safety, but the routines learned can be used in other emergency situations should they arise. I encourage you to talk about safety with your students at home as well. For more information on our safety drills, please visit the I Love U Guys Foundation site.

Thank you very much, everyone.


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.

Love and Logic Parent Night

Monday, Aug. 28, from 5-7 p.m. – via Zoom or in-person in the High School Commons

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

Session 1: Module 1: Putting an End to Arguing Back-Talk and Begging

Participants will learn:

  • Why arguing, back-talk and begging can place a child at risk for having large emotional and behavioral problems later in life.
  • Practical strategies for ending arguing, back-talk and begging
  • The basics of the Love and Logic approach
  • That mistakes made early in a child’s life provide valuable learning opportunities if handled appropriately by parents
  • The importance of holding children accountable for their poor decisions through the use of logical or natural consequences
  • That mistakes made in life typically have much smaller “price tags” than those made later on

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors' Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, Sept. 5, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab in P-TECH/KOSON Building

The KOSON/STEM Board of Directors will be holding its Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, from 5:30-7 p.m. 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

News and Updates

SpartMart Is Open

SpartMart needs your feedback!

The SpartMart is looking for feedback on apparel, accessories and food options that it currently sells and what it could sell in the future. Please click the button below to complete the feedback survey. You’ll be helping The Business Club Students improve what SpartMart has to offer so your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Seacamp information for 7th Graders

Welcome back to the returning STEM families and welcome to STEM to all of our new 7th Grade families.I wanted to send an email with information for the field trip for 7th grade students to SEACAMP in the Fall 2023. Please read all of the information in the attached SEACAMP Registration Packet.

The SEACAMP trip is offered to our 7th Grade students. There are spaces available on the first trip: October 30 – November 3, 2023. To sign up for the Seacamp trip, you need to complete the payment of the $300 deposit through MySchoolBucks and you also need to complete physical copies of the SEACAMP forms.

Click the button below to read more.

National English Honor Society Flier

STEM France and Germany Trip Information

Exciting News! Students who are currently in a French Class or who have taken French 4, are eligible to go on a class trip to France and Germany. The trip will take place from March 16-24, 2024. Click the button below to view the PDF for more information about the trip. Those who qualify should look out for a parent information meeting that will be coming up soon!

Setting up Canvas Parent Observer

One way to do this is to first be logged into your child’s account. Go to “Account” and then “Settings” on the left side. Then on the right side you should see a gray box that says “Pair with Observer.” This will give you a code that you can then enter in your parent Canvas account. You will need to do this from a computer, not a mobile device.

If that does not work for you, email, title the email “IT Canvas Observer Support” and include your child’s name and student ID number in the email so that IT can generate a code for you.

Update from IT Department about Securly

For any device at STEM to connect to our network, a certificate needs to be installed. A certificate or digital certificate is a unique, digitally signed document that authoritatively identifies the identity of an individual or organization. In our case, it associates the certificate with the STEM email. To download the certificate, go to and download the file associated with the operating system. The file is a program to run on the machine, but it only installs the certificate.

Once the certificate is installed and the computer is on STEM’s network, Securly Filter will ask once for the person’s identity. Once logged in with the STEM email account, Securly matches the email and the certificate and it then knows who it is and how the computer should be filtered. This system of identification using a certificate is the same that we have had in the past. We are just using a different vendor for that certificate. If students have issues installing the certificate, please send them to the IT office in RM 164.

Access Update

Our new ACCESS periods for secondary students started this week. The focus has been on security and the Evolv system, changes in Standards-Based grading, getting an introduction to our counseling team, and an overview of what to expect in ACCESS. Community building has also been a consistent part of our week, and will continue to be a priority in the weeks ahead. ACCESS periods, which occur on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week, provide a time for students to receive extra support from teachers and specialists, participate in social-emotional learning activities, get classwork completed, and to hold school-wide events such as Pep Rallys and other assemblies. For the remainder of August, ACCESS will focus on the following:

Week of Aug 28: Bullying

  • (HS) Bullying
  • (MS) Bullying, Setting ACCESS expectations

Secondary Yearbooks are On Sale!

Now is the time! Don’t delay purchasing your Secondary Yearbook for the 2023-24 School Year. Click the button below to place your order by October 31 and only pay $50. After October 31, yearbooks will be $60.

Special ads are also due on October 31 and can be purchased via the link below. Portraits and quotes should be sent to

Stem Highlands Ranch Senior Yearbook Info

NMSQT Information for 11th graders

Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 7:50 a.m. to 12 p.m.

On October 10, 2022, STEM juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT and STEM seniors will be virtual. The NMSQT is used as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program. For more information about these assessments, please visit

K-8 Typical School Day

  • 6th, 9th, 10th, 12th will have a Virtual day – students will log into Canvas and/or Zoom to complete attendance and coursework per their teacher’s instructions.
  • 11th and 12th-grade students must opt-out
  • Those testing will be responsible for knowing missed content, missed tests or quizzes and project work but will be excused from afternoon assignments/homework.

New SAT Testing date for 12th graders

Wednesday, Oct. 11

Those signed up for SAT’s will be taking the SATs on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Those students will be pulled from class.

PSAT 8/9 Information for 7th and 8th Graders

Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 7:40-11 a.m. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, STEM 7th and 8th-grade students that did not opt-out will take the PSAT 8/9. This assessment is not part of state-mandated accountability testing but an opportunity for parents, students, and teachers to see what skills students need to prepare for High School and college. More information about the PSAT 8/9 can be found here. Following testing, students will resume their daily schedule. Students in grades K-5 will follow their normal schedule.  Students in 6th, 9th, 10th and those 12th graders not testing will follow their typical schedules virtually.

Student IDs for the 2023-24 School Year

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.

Common App 101 and After Grad Packet

important information below and attached for any senior applying to a 4-year university!!! Please make sure you are reading EVERYTHING!!

Common App 101 – This document walks you through setting up your Common App account, adding recommenders for letters of rec, determining additional supplemental essays you will need to write, and anything else college app related! 🙂 Make sure you are adding my contact information for ANY counselor requests in application portals. This is very important!!! If you are asking Ms. Birchfield for your counselor letter, I will still be the one uploading the letter.

I’ve also attached the After Grad Packet with this email. You MUST send me your completed AG Packet if you are requesting a letter of recommendation. I also suggest sending this packet and your resume to teachers that are writing your teacher letters of recommendation.

Secondary Student Parking Pass Waitlist

Students with valid driver’s licenses can put their names on the Parking Pass Waitlist via the button below. Parking passes cost $50 for the school year, and the fee will be added to the student’s MySchoolBucks account. The fee must be paid prior to picking up the parking pass. Students who are approved will receive an email with instructions on how to pick up.

Need Help with PikMyKid?

We are asking all families, K-12, to please download the PikMyKid Parent App and set up an account. We will continue to use the PikMyKid App for dismissal for Elementary Driveline, and will be adding PikMyKid to our Emergency Messaging platforms for all of K-12. We will not implement the dismissal component for Secondary at this time, and will release more information in the coming months.

If you have set up your account and do not see your student, please click the button below to complete the PikMyKid Help Form so that we can help you.

Lunches will be FREE This 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.

DCSD Free Meals Flyer SY 23-24 UPDATED

DCSD News and Updates

B.A.S.E at STEM is hiring!

We are looking for 2 Program Leaders to work in a busy and fun after-school program. If you or someone you know likes working with kids, has some experience working with children ages 5-12, and is eager to develop and learn new skills in a growing program with a fun, experienced, and dedicated staff, this is the right move for you. Program Leader hours are M-F, 1:30-5:30/6 p.m. Part-time and full-time hours are available during school breaks. This position is a “Select Charter Position” and offers an additional 10% (to hourly base rate) monthly stipend. If you are interested but need more flexibility, we are hiring Program Leader substitutes. Substitutes can work 2-3 days each week. We are also happy to coordinate with STEM who are looking for more hours. Feel free to call or email me for more details or questions at, or (720) 688-2928.

DCSD Board Unanimously Approves MLO/Bond for Ballot

On Tuesday, the DCSD Board of Education voted unanimously to place a $66M Mill Levy Override and $484M Bond on the November 2023 ballot (see the press release). All seven Board directors expressed their strong support and personal dedication to our students and our staff. During public comment the Board heard from students, teachers, neighborhood school principals, charter school principals, business leaders, elected officials and more – and all expressed strong support for additional funding. I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to the public comment – the support for YOU, our teachers and staff, from every part of our community was overwhelming.

  • Click here to watch the public comment portion of the meeting.
  • Click here to watch our presentation to the Board where we outlined staff recommendations for a Mill Levy Override and Bond.

The Board also unanimously adopted a compensation resolution that will automatically trigger if the MLO passes. For school district staff, this means pay increases would happen automatically should the MLO pass (with increases being paid retroactively back to July 1). For charter school staff, exact details about pay increases will come from your school’s board and leadership.

To learn more about how additional funding would benefit our schools and our staff, visit I also encourage you to read through our MLO/Bond plan.

Mental Health Resource

iMatter Program

The iMatter program can connect youth (and adults) with a therapist for up to six free virtual counseling sessions that are completely confidential.

Literacy Resource

Overdrive Kids via the Douglas County Libraries

Safely search e-books for readers 12 and younger, including read-alongs for preschoolers. Filter by format, subject, device or reading level.

Health and Wellness Resource

Introducing Family Health Resources on Your Mobile Device

Healthier Generation is excited to launch the Kohl’s Healthy at Home text messaging service, designed to help families prioritize healthy living and thrive. Sign up today to receive tips, activities, and resources for parents and caregivers.

A Project of the Douglas County Youth Initiative

Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – Colorado State Capitol

Students, grades 9 – 12 are invited to attend Youth Congress. During this event, youth from around Douglas County get to weigh in on issues that affect youth and are of interest to youth. One of the missions of the Youth Congress is to communicate your thoughts, ideas, and solutions to elected and community leaders.

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