Secondary News and Updates (10/01/21)

Secondary-School News

Please help us with Official Student Count Day

Douglas County’s Official Pupil Count Day is Friday, Oct. 1. The count window lasts for five days prior to October 1 and five days after October 1. Please be sure to have your student in attendance for the full day whether it be in person or virtual. If possible, we ask that you avoid scheduling any appointments for your student on that day. We want to have all of our students present and counted. This will affect the overall funding for our school. We appreciate your help!

Donation and Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering and giving to STEM are vital to the success of our school. Our school has a charter that requires a commitment of 30 volunteer hours per family (15 hours per single-parent family).

To make volunteering easy and seamless, please refer to the Volunteering Basics section that will allow you to set up your volunteer account and keep track of your hours. We are extremely grateful for the time and energy donated by STEM parents each year.

Volunteer Opportunities

Driveline (Earn Double Volunteer Hours):

  • Parent supervisors needed during AM & PM Driveline! sign up here. Arrive 5 minutes early to find parking and grab a vest. Extra incentive: Earn double hours ie: log 60 hours in Driveline. (that’s 30 actual volunteer hours). Click here to sign up.

Lunchroom Volunteers:

Spartan Afternoon Program:

  • A great way to avoid waiting in the afternoon drive-line, and maybe even take your own child home with homework complete. This opportunity is after school and only requires volunteers to monitor students (no tutoring involved). If you are interested, please click here.

TSA Volunteers

To volunteer for TSA or to provide snacks please click here.

Driveline Volunteers

Lost and Found Coordinator

We’re seeking a Coordinator for our Elementary and Secondary Lost and Found. The coordinator would need to:

  • Tidy lost and found as needed
  • Help get Elementary items with names on them back to their owners (coordinate with Volunteer Coordinator)
  • Organize remaining items to get them ready for donation (at school breaks)

Have questions? Email Want to sign-up to be the coordinator? Click here.

Elementary Library Organizer

We are in need of at least (2) volunteers to help organize the ES Library for possibly a couple of days. Mornings, after the driveline, would be the ideal time, about 8-9 a.m. starting time. Volunteers will need to be able to use an iPad with an app (provided by us) to scan books and organize them by reading levels to be shelved in our “library”. If you are interested, contact Mona Loptien (

Lego Organizer

We are looking for parent volunteers to help organize all of our Lego materials. Please contact Michelle Gasser ( if you are interested.

Volunteer of the Month

Our volunteer of the Month for September is Terri Irish with 68 logged hours to date. Terri’s dedication to the Drive-Line is amazing, and we are more than grateful. Thank you Terri!!!

Classroom Wishlists

Teachers always need additional supplies throughout the year in order to enhance their students’ experiences. Consider making a donation to a teacher’s classroom by getting something off their Wish List. You can view all of our teachers’ wishlists on our Parent Get Involved page, or by clicking the button below.

School Donations

Both our Elementary and Secondary Offices are always in need of donated items. Click the button below to see what we need and to sign up. Please bring the items to the appropriate front office with a label for what it is for.

Upcoming Events

STEM PTO's STEMGives Campaign starts October 4

October 4 through December 7

STEMGives! is your opportunity to support your school, teachers, students and staff! Your donations help the STEM PTO to provide money directly to the school for teacher and school grants/requests and fund the STEM PTO’s activities, fundraisers and events. The campaign will run from October 4 through December 7 and all donations can be made online or via check.


  • The PTO will be accepting online donations through Colorado Gives at the link below. Colorado Gives is an online donation site that accepts credit cards, debit cards and bank account transfers. Donations can be made one time or recurring/monthly. $200/family or $20/month will make a great impact!
  • Donors can also pay by check. Checks should be made out to STEM PTO (write STEM Gives! in the memo) and delivered to the STEM Middle School office. Checks can also be mailed to the STEM Middle School Office at:

STEM School Highlands Ranch
℅ STEM PTO Treasurer
8773 S Ridgeline Blvd
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Magic: The Gathering Club Starts Next Week!

Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 3-4 pm.

Are you interested in playing Magic: The Gathering with fellow STEM Spartans? A new club will meet Tuesdays starting Tuesday, Oct. 5. New and experienced players are welcome to join in. Every player will be given an Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Draft Boost every week to build and improve their decks. Click the button below to sign-up.

STEM Board of Director's Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 5:30-7 p.m. – High School Commons

The monthly STEM Board of Directo’s Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 5 in the High School Commons. Currently, there is no streaming option available. The STEM Board of Directors values community input at each of its Board Meetings via Public Comment. Members of our STEM community (staff, students, parents and community members) are invited to speak during the Public Comment portion of the agenda. This is the time to voice opinions and provide feedback about specific agenda item(s) prior to any Board action. Speakers must complete the Public Comment Form and submit it electronically no later than 12 p.m. the day of each Board meeting.

PSAT 8/9 Coming Up for 7th and 8th Graders

Thursday, Oct. 7, from 7:40-11 a.m.

On October 7, 2021 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. Students in grades K-6 and 9-12 will follow their typical schedules.

Science Olympiad Informational Meeting

Thursday, Oct. 7, from 3-4 p.m. – Room 122

Calling all students in grades 6-9 who are interested in science! Join us after school on Thursday, Oct. 7 from 3-4 p.m. in Room 122 to learn more about this year’s team. Check out the video to the right to learn more about the Science Olympiad.

School Picture Retakes

Families can access their photos by visiting the link below or going to, selecting the School Portrait Proofs link, and when prompted enter their private password in the following format: Student ID#

Friday, Oct. 8 – Photo Retake Day

  • Elementary students will go in small groups with their homeroom teacher.
    • Parents MUST sign-up their Elementary Student for retakes (so that we know which student will need to go down with an EA to have their picture taken)
  • Secondary students will go during their study hall.
    • If a student does NOT have a study hall, they can get their photo during their lunch break.

For virtual students, appointments will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. from September 14 – October 21. Click the link to the below to schedule your appointment.

PSAT/MNSQT testing for Juniors and SAT testing for Seniors set for October 13

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Juniors will be taking the PSAT/MNSQT test on Wednesday, Oct. 13, along with seniors who signed up for the SAT. Click the button below for more information.

Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thursday, Oct. 14, from 3:30-7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 15, from 12-3:30 p.m.

Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 3:30-7 p.m., and will be held again on Friday, Oct. 15 from 12-3:30 p.m. While conferences are open for anyone to attend, teachers will be communicating directly with parents of students who may be struggling, to set up a time during these two windows so that teachers can share with parents areas for their students to improve. Teachers will have 10-minutes sessions with each parent(s) and student (if the student attends).

Colorado Free Application Days

Tuesday, Oct. 19 through Thursday, Oct. 21

In 2021, Colorado’s Free Application Day has expanded to become “Free Application Day$.” The fourth annual state-wide initiative has grown from one day to three days. Applicants who submit their admission applications to Colorado’s colleges and universities during this three-day period can do so for free. Just follow the application instructions listed at the link below.

And remember, while the application must be submitted during this three-day period to be eligible for the fee waiver, applicants can begin working on their admission applications now. Just save your online work and submit the admission application October 19 – 21.

Advent Health University Fall Open House

Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 5-7 p.m. 

Learn about AHU degree programs, meet their dedicated faculty and staff, and have your questions answered. Join them for the Virtual Open House and receive a voucher to waive your application fee*.

*Undergraduate programs only.”

Contact Cece Carrico, Marketing and Lead Strategist, AHU Denver at with any questions.

News and Updates

8th/9th Grade Boston Trip Registration and Meeting Video

If you couldn’t make it to the informational meeting that was held this week, click the button below to watch the video. Any more questions should be directed to Mrs. Heather Dillon ( or our WorldStrides representative, Kaitlyn Maulick (, for assistance.

Interested in registering for the trip?

Be sure to do so no later than Tuesday, Oct. 13. Click the button below to access the registration form. Use the Trip ID 199209. You can sign up by phone with customer service at 1-800-468-5899. It is only a $99 deposit to sign up.

Additional details to know about our trip:

  • FLAG financial assistance may also be available to help offset your trip price. Learn more about FLAG by calling 800-468-5899.
    Fundraising is also available. Learn more at
  • Payment plans, including Extended Payment Options (pay through December of 2022!), are available to help lower your monthly payments. Call customer service to inquire about our extended payment options.
  • The health and safety of our travelers have always been and always will be our top priority. This is especially true now more than ever. Our dedication to health and safety has allowed us to successfully depart about 55,000 students on travel programs this past summer. Learn about the health and safety measures that will be in place for your trip at to ensure you have the best trip ever.

October College and Career Newsletter

College and Career Planning Resources Graphic

STEM Scholar Community Service Requirements

In order to earn the STEM Scholar recognition, students are required to log 100 hours of community service. For the graduating Class of 2022, we are modifying that requirement to 75 hours, due to the covid restrictions in place during the 2020-21 school year.

Water Fountains now Water Bottle Filling Stations

In an effort to minimize the spread of germs the ES & MS water fountains will be water bottle filling stations only. Please remind your students to bring a water bottle (labeled with their name).

Secondary Student-Discipline Update from STEM Directors

While not our most trying year, this year has not come without its share of challenges. In order to provide the best possible learning environment for our students, the Secondary Building Directors have developed additional guidelines for student behavior, effective immediately. This plan will give every student the opportunity to manage his or her own behavior and will be in effect at all times. Students will always be given an opportunity to tell “their side of the story.” All student behavior will continue to be tracked in our tracking forms and we will start to document it in Infinite Campus.

The STEM Staff will continue to applaud appropriate behavior with positive reinforcement; however, if a student chooses to misbehave, the Discipline Plan will be utilized.

After Prom Parent Committee 2022 Needs You!

After Prom Logo

Help us create a memorable After Prom.  The After Prom PTO/Parent Committee is seeking volunteers to assist with planning, coordinating, and help at the actual event in April. A few years ago, we started the tradition with parents of juniors planning the event and we would like to continue that custom, but we welcome any and all help. We want to create a themed evening of fun, food, and activities in a safe environment for our amazing juniors and seniors. If interested, please contact

Order yearbooks while prices are low!

Attention Middle School and High School students!

Don’t forget to purchase your yearbooks. Go to to buy your yearbook for $45. Buy it while you can because come October 31 the price goes up to $55. Additionally, if you would like your photo in the yearbook, you can share your photos with us. You can share them using the Yearbook Snap app using the code STEM22. It’s available on the App Store and Google Play Store, download it today and share those photos. If you have any questions about the yearbook or how to use Yearbook Snap, please email one of the yearbook editors-in-chief at and or stop by room 110 after school.

Seeking DECA / FBLA Parent Volunteer

Mrs. Doe is seeking parent volunteers to support DECA and FBLA. Consider your time as an Advisory role to the Business Department (Mrs. Doe). Industry support keeps relevancy and career-centered skills as the focus of our mission. The two student-led business organizations are run together. We meet Tuesdays after school, first and third Tuesdays of each month, at STEM, Room 130, 3 p.m. Volunteers can come to each meeting, once a month, or on specially arranged visits. Any level of support would be appreciated. Volunteers must check-in at the Secondary Front Office and be badged through our Raptor system so please bring a valid ID with you.

Your support allows you to make a real difference in the preparation of emerging leaders and entrepreneurs. Whether it’s through judging competitive events and discovering the detail and depth members put into their projects or sitting down with graduating members to answer their questions on college and careers, you’ll begin to see how DECA and FBLA members are ready to make an impact in our world.

We’re also seeking snack donations. Please being snacks, and drinks to the Secondary office. Label them for DECA/FBLA. Your donation will help make our meetings feel like a welcome place to work on projects.

Please contact Mrs. Doe ( if you are interested.

Business and Industry Mentors Needed

We are asking our STEM community to help us find businesses and industries willing to be mentors for the STEM Career Discovery Mentorship and Internships. On our “Building Ships” page of the STEM website, you can find a link to a survey we use to match student interests to subject matter experts. Our community partners help us find the best fit for students seeking mentorships and internships.

Our industry, business, and educational partners at STEM School Highlands Ranch are essential to student success. They help us understand real-world problems and solutions. As subject matter experts and community partners they empower student learning, support teachers, and help us prepare students for the future.

Click the button below for more information. For more information, contact Gregg Cannady (


Spart Mart is open! The store will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 2:50 p.m. for Secondary and 2:25 p.m. for Elementary students (Not all Elementary students will be able to access the store so we strongly encourage using our online store). We have new merchandise for STEM spirit week and we have new food products such as Hi-Chew and Takis. Click the link below to order online and we will deliver it to the student during school hours, or leave it in the respective Front Offices for parent pick-up. Thank you for your support!

Mentorships and Internships for High School Students

Attention STEM High School students. We are so happy to announce mentorship and internship opportunities. Your first step is to fill out the Career Discovery Application. Click the button below to access the form.

Did you know?

Reminder on Early Dismissals

Students will need to be signed out by a parent at the respective office (Elementary or Secondary). The steps below outline the steps to follow in order to cause the least amount of disruption to the classroom:

  • Secondary:
    1. Pick your student up during the passing period. (Secondary)
    2. Send a signed note in with your Secondary student to receive an Early Dismissal Pass from the front office (students will be able to show this to their teacher before class begins, and leave at the appropriate time).
  • Elementary:
    1. Call ahead to the Front Office so that they are aware that you are coming.
    2. Elementary students will be released upon the arrival of their parents.

NO unscheduled early pickups are allowed after 1:15 p.m. This is to minimize disruption to the last period of the day. Additionally, for Elementary, please avoid picking up your student after 2 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Elementary Driveline. For Secondary, please avoid picking up your student after 2:30 p.m. so that you are not impeding the Secondary Driveline.

Resources and News from DCSD

Mental Health Resource of the Week

The Role of Play in the Post-Pandemic Healing

How can you help your child disconnect from the world and reconnect with the real one? This article from Psychology Today shows how you can help reawaken your child’s sense of playfulness.

Literacy Resource of the Week

Find Your Book – Read Across America

If you don’t know what book you and/or your child should read, check out this helpful tool from Read Across America! Search by reading level, theme and genre to find your child’s next literary adventure.

Total Wellness Resources of the Week

Healthy Meal Planning

Get the kids involved in the meal planning! Ask them to choose and help cook healthy meals. Or challenge them to choose, shop and cook an entire healthy meal for a certain dollar amount – with the offer that they can keep any money not spent for themselves. They’ll learn meal planning, budgeting and cooking – all great life lessons!

DCSD Parent University

How Parents Can Support Psychological and Physical Safety in Schools (In-Partnership with Sky Ridge Medical Center)

Wednesday, Oct. 27 | 5-5:45 p.m. – Online

Join DCSD Director of Mental Health, Dr. Stephanie Crawford-Goetz, and DCSD Director of Safety and Security, Jonny Grusing, for an overview of district safety procedures. They will discuss the ways safety drills like the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) are done with psychological safety in mind. They will also cover methods and procedures for suicide safety and threat assessment in schools. Finally, you will walk away knowing how parents are vital in contributing to a culture of safety, security and well-being.

Learn how to answer these questions in a special 30-minute webinar with Dr. Katrina Iverson, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Director at Sky Ridge Medical Center. She will guide you on how vaping impacts a young person’s health, how it affects the broader community, and what you can do to make a difference today. Plus, learn how vaping can affect COVID-19 infections and other respiratory issues. The presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

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