Secondary News and Updates (09/15/23)

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.

Homecoming Dance

Saturday, Sept. 16, from 7-10 p.m. – Secondary Gym

Our annual Homecoming Dance will be on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 7-10 p.m. in the Secondary Gym. Tickets will be sold during lunches and Access for $15. Tickets sold at the door will be $25. This year’s theme is Cosmic Night. Homecoming is for students in grades 9-12. If you’d like to donate snacks or drinks for this event, click the button below to sign up. Please bring all items to the Secondary Front Office labeled “Homecoming.” Don’t forget that every donated item worth $20 equates to one volunteer hour.

Love and Logic Parent Night

Monday, Sept. 18, 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 students’ 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 or in-person.

Module 2: Teaching Responsibility without Losing Their Love

Participants will learn:

  • Why children fail to learn responsibility when their parents refuse to let them make affordable mistakes.
  • Why children also fail to learn responsibility when their parents rescue them from the consequences of their poor decisions.
  • Why consequences provided without empathy and love are ineffective.
  • Practical tips for remaining calm and empathetic when children do things that upset us.
  • Practical tips for building and maintaining positive parent-child relationships

France & Germany Interest Meeting

Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Room 106

This meeting is for those interested (open to high school students currently enrolled in French or having already taken French 4) in the STEM Spring Break trip to France & Germany—future logistics meetings to come. The meeting will be in person in Room 106. Please email Mrs. Tomic for a Google Meets Link if you cannot make it. The trip will take place from March 16-24, 2024. Click the button below to view the PDF for more information about the trip.

Contact: Abby.Tomic@

Please park in the Secondary Parking Lot and enter through the Secondary Main Doors.

Parent Resiliency Forum

Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6-7:30 p.m. – Room E137

For former and current STEM families to discuss trauma in students’ lives from May 7, COVID, and/or other personal trauma. The goal is to support the community with recovery and build our resiliency identities as individuals and as a community. This event is for Elementary, Middle and High School Parents. Please park in the High School Staff Parking Lot or the Elementary School Parking Lot and enter through the Athletics Entrance.

Contact: Colene Birchfield (colene.birchfield@, Madison Grebe (madison.grebe@

Middle School Fall Awards Ceremony

Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. – Secondary Gym

This year, we will be holding two Middle School Awards Ceremonies. The first will be in the fall, and the second will be in February. This year, our first one will be held in the Secondary Gym on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.. The ceremony will occur during our Access period so that our entire middle school student body can attend. Parents are most welcome! Please be sure to show up in plenty of time to check in through our Raptor syhttps://stem and retrieve a badge from the front office.

SAC Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. – KOSON/P-TECH Building (Mechatronics Lab)/Zoom

The meeting will also be available to watch via Zoom. In-person participation is strongly encouraged to help build engagement. Additionally, those who would like to participate in Public Comment must do so in person.

The purpose of the SAC is to inform, encourage and provide opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and quality improvement processes. The SAC makes recommendations concerning the School’s performance, improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plan, and meets to discuss the implementation of the School’s plan and other progress pertinent to STEM’s accreditation contract with the Board of Education. The SAC makes recommendations to the director for prioritizing the spending of school money.

DEI Committee Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 21, starting at 4 p.m. – Room ES 206

STEM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will have its monthly meeting on September 21, starting at 4:00. We will meet in ES206. We welcome all parents, students, and teachers! Email kate.jackson@ with any questions.

STEM PTO Skate City Night

Thursday, Sept. 21, from 5-7 p.m. – Skate City Littleton

This is a Private Skate City event just for STEM School Highlands Ranch at Skate City Littleton (5801 S Lowell Way, Littleton, CO 80123). Admission is $7 and skate rentals are $4. All waivers will be signed at Skate City drop-off. Wear your Broncos gear to receive a FREE $5 Game Card with admission. Email PTOevents@ with any questions. Teachers and Staff are free with a staff badge so don’t forget to show that!

No School - September 22

Friday, Sept. 22 – No School for Professional Development

There will be No School on Friday, Sept. 22, as it is a staff professional development day.

STEM Unicef - Remember the Embers Maui Fundraiser

September 25-29 – Afternoon Driveline

The STEM Unicef Club will be collecting donations during driveline each afternoon during the week of September 25-29 to raise money for the Maui Fires. Click the button below to donate to STEM’s Go Fund Me campaign.

September 27, from 4-7 p.m. – Secondary Gym

STEM Unicef will be hosting a 3×3 Basketball Tournament in the Secondary Gym to raise money for the Maui Wildfires. Email nancy.szczekocki@ or omar.rahin@s. with any questions.

Academic Advisement Committee Meeting

Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 3:30-5 p.m. – Mechatronics Lab/P-TECH Building

The Academic Advisement Committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 3:30-5 p.m., in the Mechatronics Lab of the KOSON/P-TECH Building. The goal of this committee is to provide feedback and suggestions for School Leadership in regard to academics and our curricular resources. If you have any questions, please contact michelle.gasser@

STEM Blast Off 2023
STEM TSA Cookies and Cocoa Flier (Social Square)

News and Updates

Lockheed Martin HS Internship Program

Mark your calendars! Lockheed Martin’s summer intern program application window is from October 5th thru Jan 4th for the Summer 2024 program. Register for one of the upcoming virtual information sessions via their website.

AI & Quantum Computing Courses

The Coding School will be offering two award-winning courses at the forefront of the technological revolution: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence & Introduction to Quantum Computing. Registration deadline is September 15th! Click the button below to register and view the flier.

University of Colorado Anschutz CUPS Program

Applications are open for the CU Pre-Health Scholars program. The program is available for middle or high school students. It will expose students to high-impact events, research, STEAM and Healthcare careers.

CUPS One Pager

National Security Agency High School Work Study Program and Scholarship programs now open

Calling all Juniors and Seniors

The NSA currently has programs available to HS seniors and juniors. Applications are being accepted now for next summer and the 2024-25 school year. Reach out to Nicole Ryan (nicole.ryan@ with questions.

Join the Academic Advisement Committee

The Academic Advisement Committee is looking for parent, student, and teacher members for the 2023-24 school year. The goal of this committee is to provide feedback and suggestions for School Leadership in regard to academics and our curricular resources. Our first meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the KOSON Building.
This year, our focus will be on the following:

  • Elementary math curriculum
  • Concurrent Enrollment Credits
  • Course Proposals for secondary
  • Updating our academic planning guide

If you want to join this advisory committee, please complete this form by Wednesday, Sept. 20. If you have any questions, please contact michelle.gasser@

Standards-Based Learning and Mastery Connect Update

A message from Mrs. Gasser, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Now that the school year is well underway, we want to share a bit about where we are with Standards-Based Learning and MasteryConnect. Our Teacher Support Team has been working with our staff on aligning instruction to standards, especially with the release of new 2022 State Standards. Additionally, our teachers have been analyzing data to align units better and ensure that we have data-informed instruction for our students.

Teachers have also been utilizing MasteryConnect K-12 and have been working with students to understand better what their grade represents. In secondary, Access teachers have had class lessons on how to understand MasteryConnect, how to access the grading for each class, and how to determine which lessons still need to be submitted or need to be redone.

All classes K-12 should have at least 1 grade in each subject area, not for each standard. Please make sure to log into Canvas to view your student’s MasteryTracker. The parent portal is very cumbersome. It is suggested that you log into your student’s account and view MasteryTracker in that way.

Secondary Only

Since this is our first year using MasteryConnect, we want to make sure that students understand how to use it and the information that is displayed within it. Because of this, we have decided to remove the Grade tab temporarily. Once students are familiar with MasteryConnect, we will add the Grade tab again and use our Access time to help students navigate between the two.

Additionally, our Access teachers have shown students how to use the calendar feature. In Canvas, when an assignment is created by the teacher, it is placed on the student’s calendar based on the due date. When a student submits the assignment, the assignment name is crossed off on the calendar. If you monitor your student’s Canvas, you can click on their calendar to see which assignments are due and which have or have not been submitted.

As with all new technology, please provide our teachers with grace. We are utilizing our Access time to work with students, and teachers are providing additional opportunities for students to submit or retake assignments. Please contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns.

Update about printed School Photos

If you ordered school photos and selected to have them delivered to the school, you should start to receive them next week. Our photographer has indicated that we should receive them next week. It will then take us a day to distribute them to the appropriate teachers. Thank you for your patience.

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.

Access Update

Looking ahead to the month of September, students will be busy with a variety of things during their ACCESS periods. They will focus on getting into the routine of utilizing their independent time to monitor their grades and work completion, get ahead on studying and organizing their tasks, and get the opportunity to visit various teachers to get further support as needed. Students can travel between classes to visit teachers if they need help getting make-up assignments, need further support with specific concepts, continue working on a project, and more. We will also have some colleges on campus for students to meet with and learn more about. Students will be able to access these college visitors during the second half of the ACCESS periods. The visiting colleges for September and October are scheduled as follows (and subject to change) and will be in Ms. Myrick’s office from 11-11:40 a.m.:


  • Wednesday, Sept. 20: Colorado College
  • Thursday, Sept. 21: Elon University
  • Thursday, Sept. 28: Colorado School of Mines – There will be a presentation from the admissions counselor in Ms. Graham’s room starting at 11:05 am!


  • Wednesday, Oct. 4: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Thursday, Oct. 5: University of California – Irvine
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11: Hofstra University
  • Thursday, Oct. 26: Regis University

In addition to getting going with independent work time and teacher support and taking advantage of our college visits, students will also participate in social-emotional lessons focused on executive functioning. They will also receive a follow-up on Standards-Based Learning and Mastery Connect. Finally, we get to kick off Homecoming 2023 with our Pep Rally and celebrate our students at our Spring 2023 Awards assembly.

YANA-BackPack Society-Family Field Day

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 yearbook@s.

Stem Highlands Ranch Senior Yearbook Info

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!

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 support@, 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 syhttps://stem. 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 syhttps://stem 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.

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.

DCSD News and Updates

Alliance Invitation

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.

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.

Mental Health Resource

Signs of Suicide (SOS) for Parents and Caregivers

When teens are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, it is common for them to turn to each other. This is why it’s important for every student to know when to ACT. 1) Acknowledge signs of suicide, 2) show their friends they Care, and 3) Tell a trusted adult.

Literacy Resource

Experience Dyslexia(R) Simulation, Hosted by DCKID

Wednesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Castle Pines Library

This hands-on simulation session lets participants experience some of the challenges and frustrations faced by people with language-based learning differences. Participants will be guided through different learning tasks commonly encountered in the classroom or workplace, including reading comprehension, fluency, writing, spelling, listening, and processing speed.

Health and Wellness Resource

Concussion Awareness Day

September 15th is Concussion Awareness Day. It is an opportunity for school professionals, community members, families, and peers to raise awareness around the signs, symptoms, and implications of concussions to foster discussions and plan support.

Comments are closed.