Secondary News and Updates (09/02/22)

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.

Student Forum/Information Session

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 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, Sept. 6, 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 Board of Director's Meeting

Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building

The monthly STEM Board of Director’s Meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 6 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

STEM Theater Presents: Little Women

Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 3:15-4 p.m – HS Commons

November 10 & 11, at 6:30 p.m., & November 12, at  3 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars!

Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s indecorous and headstrong, and one day she will be a great American novelist. As she and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent, and imaginative young women. But as adulthood approaches, each sister must negotiate her private ambitions with society’s expectations. In a war-torn world defined by gender, class, and personal tragedy, Jo March gives us her greatest story: that of the March sisters, four dreamers destined to be imperfect little women.

Tickets are $10. Links to purchase tickets will be provided soon! Contact Max Schwartz ( with any questions.

News and Updates

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: If you had your student ID for this school year and already lost it, please complete 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.
  • New student IDs: We will have a student photo day on Monday, Sept. 12 in the ES Gym from 8:30-11:30 a.m. If you’ve already had your photo taken for your ID card, this session is not for you.
  • Lanyards and pouches: For Middle School students, Mrs. Wise and Mrs. Bartlet in the Secondary Front Office will have the lanyards and pouches available to any students who have not yet received one and have an ID already. For High School students, you can receive your lanyard and pouch during your High School Study Hall or lunch period in the High School Commons. Please show your ID to receive it.
    • For High School Students, if you are not able to get your lanyard and pouch this week, students can obtain their lanyard and pouch form the Secondary Front Office starting on Monday.
Thank you to those of you who are already wearing your IDs in a visible manner. Starting on September 19th, all students must have an ID badge visible while on campus.

September College and Career Newsletter

In this College Newsletter make sure you check out the following sections:

  • Common App and Naviance Matching
  • Letters of Rec and Transcript Request Instructions (includes how to request letters from former STEM teachers in Naviance)
  • Senior College Night Presentation and Notes
  • Scholarship Newsletter
  • College visits at STEM
  • College fairs in the Denver metro area

Email with any questions.

A Message from Mrs. Gasser about Standards-Based Learning

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Michelle Gasser and I am the Director of Professional Development. Part of my role is providing support to our community on Standards Based Learning (SBL). Over the past two years, we have worked hard to support our parent community on why we are switching our grading system to Standards-Based Learning and what that will mean for your students.

For our elementary school students, not much is going to change. Our K-5 teachers have done SBL in some form or another since the elementary school opened its doors. What we will be doing differently this year is that we will provide more details as to which standards students have mastered and which standards they are still struggling with. Through the use of MasteryConnect, an SBL grade book through Canvas, teachers can report on each standard for each subject area. This allows a teacher to determine exactly what a student needs to work on and communicate that with parents.

For our secondary parents, I have created this handout that helps break down what you will see on canvas for your child. In each unit, the teacher will determine which standard or standards they are assessing and then will provide feedback to students along the way. Teachers will collect assignments and assessments throughout the unit demonstrating knowledge of the standard and enter them into the Canvas grade book. Students should monitor their grade book for feedback and their demonstration of knowledge grades.

Please have grace with our teachers while they are learning our new grading systems, as there might be a few hiccups along the way. We ask students to politely email their teachers with grading questions and clarification. If you have any questions about grading or Standards-Based Learning, please check out our webpage for more information. You can also email me directly at

Connect with other Parents

In case you didn’t know, families have specific Class Pages on Facebook where they can connect with other families from their student’s grade. You can find all of the different class pages on our Get Connected page of the Parent section of our website. Click the button below to see them.

Please note that these pages are administered by other parents and not by STEM.

Hiring for an IT Help Desk Technician

Our IT/Technology Support Team is hiring! They’re looking for a part-time IT technician to help during the school year from 7:30-11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and then from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday in the summer months. If you or someone you know is a good fit for this position, please check out the job description via the button below and follow the steps to apply.

Independent Study Courses for Seniors

STEM Students have an opportunity to enroll in the Quantum Computing Course offered by MIT and UC Berkeley and a NEW Machine Learning Course with the Department of Defense. Please enroll using the links below if you are interested in signing up. Students receive STEM credit upon successful completion of the course. Both courses are through Independent Study.

Quantum Course Registration

Described by alumni as ‘”life-changing” and “the best course ever,” applications are now open for our Introduction to Quantum Computing course with IBM Quantum.

Taught by quantum researchers at MIT and UC Berkeley, the course is open to high school students and above, including university students and members of the workforce. In this course, students will:

  • Develop foundational knowledge and skills in quantum computing, including learning quantum mechanics and how to code on a real quantum computer
  • Hear from leading quantum experts from top universities, companies and national labs, such as IBM, Harvard, and NASA
  • Be eligible for quantum internships and research following the course
  • Join an international cohort of future quantum leaders

Registration closes September 10, so apply soon.

Machine Learning Course:

STEM students are also eligible to take the high school Introduction to Machine Learning course, sponsored by the Department of Defense, The format will be identical to that of the quantum course.

Girls in Aviation Day at Wings Over the Rockies

Girls in Aviation Day event will be at Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight at Centennial Airport on Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Unlike some of the past events that had structured activities, a large portion of this year is geared more toward giving girls the opportunity to get a closer look at career opportunities in aviation and aerospace. There will be representatives from airlines, flight schools, and aerospace colleges and companies to talk one on one with and learn from like a career fair. This event is free for girls 8-18, so please RSVP, any parents who wish to accompany them throughout the event will need to pay the $12 entrance fee for Wings Over the Rockies.

Calling all Industry Experts, Parents and Community Members!

Career Discovery Information (Facebook Post)

Secondary Tardy Policy Update/Reminder

Thank you for your patience and positivity during our first two weeks of school. Our students are genuinely excited to come to school, and it is absolutely wonderful to see their smiling faces each day.

This year, I am proud to report that most of our students are arriving at school and to their classes in a timely manner. Starting Monday (baring any impacts from weather), our new breezeway will connect the two buildings, resulting in shorter paths between classes. Now that students have a feel for the distance between their classes, our staff has been instructed to implement STEM’s Tardy Policy.

NMSQT, SAT and PSAT 8/9 Coming Up on October 12

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

On October 12, 2022, STEM juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT and STEM seniors that signed up will take the SAT. These assessments are not part of state-mandated accountability testing, but an opportunity for students to improve SAT scores or practice for the SAT. The NMSQT is used as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program. For more information about these assessments please visit

Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 7:40-11 a.m. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022 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 in order 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.

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: $45 until October 31, 2022, $55 thereafter

If you want to personalize the book, namestamping 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.

Powderpuff and Powderpuff Cheer info!

Info below about Powderpuff and Powderpuff cheer! If you have any questions about Powderpuff or Powderpuff cheer feel free to contact Alex Rogers at

Calling all High School girls!

Do you want to participate in the most exciting battle of the classes in school? Join STEM’s powderpuff team where the freshmen and juniors will take on the sophomores and seniors in a game of flag football! Show your school spirit by playing in this thrilling game during the week of Homecoming, Wednesday, Sept. 21!

If you are interested in participating, fill out this survey which will be open until Wednesday, Aug. 31. After you have signed up, a follow-up email will include the amount in cash you must bring to Mrs. Myrick (Room 124) no later than the September 5. This will cover a personalized powderpuff shirt with your name and number on the back.

We will have a team meeting on September 2 after school, so please attend. Details will be sent out in a future email to those who have signed up.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Spartan Boys,

The time for honor has come again. Powderpuff is coming on September 21, and you know what that means: cheer time!

Join the magnificent Powderpuff cheer crew today to cheer on our wonderful teams!

If you are interested, click here to fill out a form to sign up. Registration will be open until Wednesday, August 31st! Emails on an informational meeting will be sent out after sign-up closes.

Let’s go, cheerleaders!

Mrs. Myrick

School Lunches will NOT be Free This Year

Over the last two years, the USDA has provided school waivers that provide meals at no cost to the students. Those waivers expired after the 2021-22 School year ends. This means that a return to paid meals will begin August 8, 2022 for students that do not qualify for Free or Reduces Meal Benefits. DCSD is asking that ALL families please complete the Free or Reduced Lunch Application. While you’re completing the application, please make sure to check the box that allows for the information to be shared with your student’s school. Sharing this information with STEM allows for your student to be eligible for more benefits throughout the school year.

If a family does not qualify for FRL, the meals will cost the following:

$3.75 – Elementary

$4 – Middle School

All meal prices include an entree, fruit, veggies and milk. Ala carte options are available at all schools and prices vary by option. Students pay for school lunches through their MySchoolBucks account.

STEM B.A.S.E. is Hiring

STEM BASE is URGENTLY hiring! We are looking for 1 Program Assitant Manager, and 2 Senior Program Leaders to work in a busy and fun program. If you or someone you know is looking to develop management skills and gain experience in a growing program with a fun, experienced, and dedicated staff, this is the right move for you. The Assistant Manager position is a “Select Charter Postion” with offers an additional 10% monthly pay stipend, 30 hours per week and full time hours on school breaks. Sr Program Leader hours are M-F 1:30-5:30/6. Part-time and full-time hours are available during school breaks. Happy to coordinate BASE managers who have staff looking for more hours. Feel free to call or email me for more details or questions. /(720) 688-2928.

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

How to Calm a Child in 5 Steps

This article will help you understand how you can help a child calm down from intense emotional states and how to prepare for it.

Literary Resource of the Week

Target the Problem!

Welcome to Target the Problem!, information to help parents and classroom teachers understand the specific problems a child may be having with reading. You’ll find practical suggestions on what you (and kids themselves) can do to help students overcome or deal with their reading difficulties.

Total Wellness Resource of the Week

When Kids Should Start Swimming Lessons

It’s important for every child to know water survival skills as well as how to swim. While swimming lessons can’t eliminate the risk of drowning completely, they can keep kids safer around water and help to prevent tragic water accidents, particularly for kids over age 1. Here’s an age-by-age guide on swimming lessons for kids, including what to look for and what to expect.

2023 U.S. Senate Youth Program Application available

The United States Senate Youth Program application for Colorado students is available. The 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned for March 4–11, in Washington, D.C. Each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies, with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science.

High school juniors or seniors with demonstrated leadership by serving in elected or appointed positions in which they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and community service are eligible to apply.

Applications are due on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

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