Secondary News and Updates (09/30/22)

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.

KOSON/STEM BOD Working Session

Monday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – Zoom

The KOSON/STEM Board of Directors will be holding a Working Session via Zoom on Monday, oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. There is no public comment, however the community can tune in to watch the working session as an attendee on Zoom.

Student Info and Forum

School Picture Retake Day (Last of the Fall Semester)

Friday, Oct. 7, from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Elementary School Gym

The School Photographers from DR Photo will be on-site on Friday, Oct. 7, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Elementary School Gym for School Picture Retakes. Retakes are available at no charge. If a family would like their package reproduced then please return it to the photographer on picture day. DR Photo will not reproduce the package until the original package is returned. All images will overwrite previous image(s) and will be used in the yearbook. So only get a retake if you want a new image. Click the button below to order your photos. Ordering is available through June 30, 2023.

School Picture Retake Day
Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences

Boys' and Girls' Basketball Interest/Information Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6-7 p.m. – High School Commons

Families and students interested in participating in High School Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball are invited to attend an Interest/Information Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6-7 p.m., in the High School Commons. Contact Ryan.Alsup@ with any questions.

8th Grade Boston Pre-Trip Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. via Zoom

There will be a pre-trip Zoom meeting for families of 8th graders going to Boston in October, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. via Zoom.

STEM Theater Presents: Little Women

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 (max.schwartz@ with any questions.

News and Updates

Update from Mrs. Gasser on Standards Based Learning

Thank you for your patience while our staff is learning about grading through Standards Based Learning. At Friday’s professional development, our teachers worked on using Canvas and MasteryConnect to enter their grades. We worked on aligning our units to our standards and determining which assessments best allowed students to demonstrate their understanding. Here are some things to look out for.

For our Elementary School families, you should have received an email from MasteryConnect asking you to set up an account. This account will link you to your student’s MasteryTracker, which shows your student’s grades. We ask for some grace for our teachers as they learn all the pieces of MasteryConnect. If you notice that there is a mistake in one of the trackers, please kindly reach out to the teacher via email so that they can look into the issue.

For our Secondary School parents, we have finally been able to turn off the averaging function and the decimal point function in your student’s grade book. All assignments entered into the grade book prior to Friday might still have a decimal point and a number in the parenthesis. The number in the parenthesis is the score that the student received on that assignment. Any assignment entered after today will have a raw score of a 4, 3, 2 or 1.

Students should view their grades in the grade book by clicking on the show more details button in the top right corner. This will show the assignment grade, as well as the learning mastery grade. We ask for some grace for our teachers as they learn all the pieces of the learning mastery grade book. If you notice that there is a mistake in the grade book, please kindly reach out to the teacher via email so that they can look into the issue.

I have created the handout below 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 that demonstrate knowledge of the standard and enter them into the Canvas grade book. Students should monitor their grade book for feedback and to see their demonstration of knowledge grade.

Please have grace with our teachers while they are learning our new grading syhttps://stems, 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 website, and click on student support, academics, and Standards-Based Learning.

Thank you,

Michelle Gasser, Director of Professional Development

2023 DCSD Apple Awards

2023 Apple Awards Image

The nomination Window Opens on Monday, Oct. 3!

The Foundation for Douglas County Schools is proud to honor exceptional educators and staff who are inspiring a love of learning in students and are trailblazing extraordinary innovation in our schools. Over the years, the Apple Awards has grown to engage the entire community, bringing in thousands of nominations every year for teachers and staff members across the district.

PSAT/MNSQT Questionnaire Letter for 10th & 11th-Grade Families

Dear Families of 10th/11th-Grade Students,

As a part of the College Board (the PSAT/NMSQT testing vendor) resources, students can choose to complete a voluntary data questionnaire and opt-in to Student Search. The College Board’s Student Search Service is a free, voluntary program that connects students with information about educational and financial aid opportunities from nearly 1,900 eligible colleges and universities, and scholarships and other educational programs.

The following information on the data questionnaire is required by the College Board to generate a PSAT/NMSQT score report for your student: Student Name, Date of Birth, Gender, School, Grade Level, and State Assigned Student Identification Number. Completion of the Student Search Service portion of the data questionnaire is optional and voluntary for all students. Your child will have the opportunity to choose whether to complete the Student Search service portion of the questionnaire. The Colorado Department of Education and the College Board have created a consent form for students if they choose to complete the questionnaire to participate in the Student Search Service.

There is also a list of information that is collected by the College Board in the Student Data Questionnaire. Please review the consent form and discuss it with your child so he/she will know how to fill out the consent form at school and complete the questionnaire. There is no need to fill out the consent form at home. Students may also choose to complete the Student Search Service questionnaire at a later date through their College Board student account.

Your child’s school will be able to answer questions about taking the PSAT/NMSQT. If you have questions about the Student Data Questionnaire or student consent form, please contact:

Colorado Department of Education Assessment Unit: (303) 866-6929

College Board: (866) 433-7728

Thank you – and best of luck to your student on the PSAT!

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 michelle.vitale@

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.

Anschutz Medical Campus Youth Summit

Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8

Join the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and surrounding communities in celebrating the experiences of our Black Healthcare providers with two days of activities. Check out the image to the right for more information about this event. This is a FREE event.

Youth Summit Flyer

College and Career Newsletter

SENIORS: There are TONS of information for you to view, but it is all very important regarding application deadlines. Please make sure you read all of that information and let me know if you need a counselor letter of recommendation from me before the November 1 deadline. I need ALL counselor letter of recommendation requests by October 7, or I cannot guarantee I will have enough time to write and upload your letter before November 1.

JUNIORS: Make sure you are coming and talking with admissions representatives when they are visiting our campus!

As always, feel free to come by my office and chat, email, or schedule an appointment if you have any questions!

Mrs. Myrick, College and Career Counselor

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.

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.

WTS Colorado Scholarship Opportunity

The WTS Colorado 2022-2023 Scholarship applications are now being accepted and are due October 15, 2022. WTS Colorado is excited to o ̃er six scholarships
to female students interested in pursuing a career in the transportation field. We are excited to o ̃er two graduate-level scholarships ($5,000), two undergraduate-level scholarships ($4,000), a junior college/trade school scholarship ($1,500), and a high school-level scholarship ($1,500) to motivate students eager to make a meaningful contribution in the transportation arena.

Scholarship winners will receive recognition at the WTS Colorado Annual Awards Luncheon and Gala as well as consideration for WTS International scholarships with
awards up to $10,000. For additional information, please email the WTS Colorado Scholarship and Student Outreach Committee:

$50,000 Scholarship Opportunity

Covering the cost of college without writing a single essay? Sounds too good to be true! Niche is giving one student $50,000 to help pay for tuition, housing, books, and other educational expenses. Apply below for your chance to win so you can focus on what matters instead of worrying about finances. Good luck!

DCSD News and Resources

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Mental Health Myths and Facts

Can you tell the difference between a mental health myth and fact? Learn the truth about the most common mental health myths.

Literary Resource of the Week

Support Writing at Home

Young children like to scribble, make marks that look like letters, and play with writing. Chances are, your child will experiment with writing long before he or she learns to read. Here are some ways to help your child learn about and practice writing.

Total Wellness Resource of the Week

Parent University

Did you know that DCSD has a variety of videos related to mental health, wellness, and more? Check out the Parent University page of our website to see past Parent University events, many of which include great information from experts. We are proud to offer Parent University through a partnership with Sky Ridge Medical Center!

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.

2023 Daniels Scholar Applications Now Open

Colorado high school seniors can apply now to become a 2023 Daniels Scholar and receive up to $100,000 toward their college degree. Apply at by October 15 to be considered for a scholarship.

The Daniels Scholarship Program provides the opportunity for students to attend the college of their choice. The scholarship, based on financial need, provides up to $100,000 for a student to attend any two- or four-year nonprofit, accredited college or university in the United States.

Youth Congress - Friday, Oct. 7

Calling all DCSD high schoolers! The Douglas County Youth Initiative invites you to attend Youth Congress, an event where adult leaders work with youth on issues that affect the lives of Douglas County youth. This year’s topics will include: Mental Health Classes, Youth Criminal Justice, Pressure to Succeed, School Safety, Dogs in Schools, Youth Voice, Finances, and Trade School. The event takes place on Friday, October 7 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at the DCSD Legacy Campus in Lone Tree.

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