Secondary News and Updates (10/28/22)

Secondary-School News

Update from the Building Directors

Update from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful fall break. I had a nice trip with my husband, and I came back refreshed and ready to get back to our sweet students. This week has flown by, and, trust me, the next three weeks will pass just as quickly.

Here are a few updates and reminders from the Middle School:

  • Reminder: Next Friday is a PD day for teachers; no school for students
    • Next Friday, November 4th, is teacher professional development day. Please be sure that your student stays home and enjoys a three-day weekend.
  • MS students may wear costumes on Monday
    • On Monday, we are excited to welcome students to school who wish to dress up in a costume. Below are the guidelines.
    • Costume Guidelines:
      • Please ensure that your child adheres to the following costume guidelines
      • Costumes that would otherwise violate the Student Dress Code Policy will only be allowed if approved by an administrator prior to wearing to school.
      • For safety reasons, masks or makeup should not cover the student’s face in a manner that makes the student unrecognizable.
      • Students must be able to sit, walk, breathe, see, and hear.
      • Toy or facsimile guns or weapons (knives, swords…) are not allowed.
      • Costumes that are overly graphic, promote violence or otherwise might logically be assumed to be offensive to others are not acceptable.
      • Costumes should not include items with sound effects, lights or other components which would disrupt the classroom learning environment.
  • ID Badge Reminder
    • Thank you to all families for reminding our students of the importance of wearing their IDs to school. If your child lost their ID, they should scan the QR Codes on one of the posters around the school to put their name on the Secondary ID Replacement Request Form to have a new one printed. The first print is free; after that, they are $5 each. We also have lanyards at the secondary office for any student who does not have one yet! Thank you for helping your student remember to wear his/her ID!
  • Prospective Spartan Night is Next Thursday from 5-7 p.m.
    • Next Thursday, November 4th from 5-7  p.m., please join us for our Prospective Spartan Night. This night is for incoming 6th and 9th graders. It is also for any student who is considering moving to STEM. Our departments will display exciting PBLs, our musical kids and theater kids will perform; our enrichment clubs will be there to offer information, and we will have a group of students on a Q and A panel. We will also have a dessert food truck joining us with a portion of the proceeds benefiting STEM. Please join us!
  • Another shout-out to our PTO
    • Thank you to our PTO for all the time and effort they have put into our first Grant Cycle. They have spent hours upon hours reviewing teacher grant requests, analyzing, discussing, and deciding upon the issuance of these grants to deserving teachers and students.


  • Monday, Oct. 31 – Students may dress up in Costumes
  • Thursday, Nov. 3 – Prospective Spartan Showcase Night – 5-7 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 4 – No school for students
  • November 21-25 – Thanksgiving Break

Please consider joining one of our Coffees with Admin that occur each month. It is a nice time to ask questions, express concerns, or have a nice chat with the admin team and other parents. The dates can be found on the calendar.

Have a wonderful weekend!

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

Update from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Dear STEM Spartan Students and Parents,

This is an exciting time to be a STEM Spartan! This weekend, our cross country team will be the first STEM athletic team to compete at state! The race will be held at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center. This is an amazing accomplishment, and we are very proud of them!

As the fall sports season wraps up, it is time to start focusing on our winter teams. This winter we are offering boys and girls basketball. Registration is currently open for both teams. We have historically had boys’ basketball over the years, so we already have a coach in place, and have uniforms and a place reserved to practice and play. We would like to have a girls’ team as well, but need to have enough girls register early enough so I can find a coach and a facility if needed. With that in mind, registration for girls’ basketball is open through Friday, Nov. 4. At that point we will make a decision on whether or not we will have enough girls to field a team. So, if any high school girls out there want to play basketball, please register sometime this week!

On Thursday, Nov. 3 we will host the Spartan Showcase Night. You have probably read about it in previous newsletters, but I want to stress the importance of this night. The Showcase provides our students with an opportunity to demonstrate to the public some of the lessons that they have learned by showing off projects or other demonstrations of knowledge. We have also invited 5th-grade and 8th-grade families from across the district to come and see as well so they know what it is like to be a STEM Spartan. I am truly excited about this event and am proud of the work that our students and staff have put in to make it a memorable night. So, if you are available Thursday night, please feel free to come and see what is going on here at STEM!

As the snowstorm earlier this week showed us, winter is here. With that in mind, I want to send a reminder out to all of our students and families to please be careful as we navigate these icy roads. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. Please continue to make smart decisions, put away cell phones and other distractions and drive carefully.

That is all I have for now. Happy Halloween! I hope you all have a great weekend!


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.

Student Forum/Information Session

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 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, Nov. 1, 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.

KOSON/STEM Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5:30-7 p.m – Mechatronics Lab (P-TECH/KOSON Building

The monthly STEM Board of Director’s Meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 1 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

Prospective Spartan Showcase Night

Thursday, Nov. 3, from 5-7 p.m – Secondary Building

Our Prospective Spartan Showcase Night is the community’s opportunity to see what our STEM Secondary School is all about. Our teachers and students will be on hand to showcase all of the different opportunities and offerings that are available to students in our Secondary School (grades 6-12).

This event is open to any student/family who is interested in finding out more about our sixth through 12th grades. We’ll also be showcasing our Career Discovery program, which provides High School students with career-path development and opportunities.

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.  Contact Max Schwartz (max.schwartz@ with any questions.

Little Women Poster

News and Updates

Halloween Costume Guidelines for Secondary Students

In the past, costumes have been somewhat discouraged in our Middle and High School. This year, however, your STEM faculty and staff voted to LET KIDS WEAR COSTUMES!

On Monday, Oct. 31, you may dress up in your favorite costume! Please note that there are guidelines for costumes, so please read them very carefully.

Costume Guidelines

  • Costumes that would otherwise violate the Student Dress Code Policy will only be allowed if approved by an administrator prior to wearing to school.
  • For safety reasons, masks or makeup should not cover the student’s face in a manner that makes the student unrecognizable.
  • Students must be able to sit, walk, breath, see, and hear.
  • Toy or facsimile guns or weapons (knives, swords…) are not allowed.
  • Costumes that are overly graphic, promote violence or otherwise might logically be assumed to be offensive to others are not acceptable.
  • Costumes should not include items with sound effects, lights or other components which would disrupt the classroom learning environment.

Please adhere to the guidelines so that it can be an enjoyable day for all staff and students.

Thank you,

Mrs. Ridder and Mr. Alsup

Parking and Loitering in the surrounding Business Park

The Building Manager for the Office Building where the Center for Strength is located has informed the Center, as well as STEM, that several students have been caught inside of the empty offices that are being renovated. They are asking us to inform families to please speak to their students about this behavior and to refrain from “hanging out” inside the building. Students should only be inside the building if they are visiting the Center. If this behavior continues, the Building Manager has indicated that it will ask the Center to vacate its offices and the building.

Additionally, the Building Manager has indicated that students and parents are parking in their lot in the morning, throughout the day and in the afternoon, which is in violation of their business park rules. If you or your student is doing this, please stop. They have indicated that they have been very understanding neighbors but they feel as if their requests to the community to stop this behavior have not been heeded. They do not want to resort to towing and ticketing cars because they do not want to put that expense on the student or parent, but if the behavior does not cease, they will be forced to move forward with ticketing and towing.

Please help be good neighbors and stop parking in their parking lot. This also goes for the Hotel Parking Lot.

Free Chromebooks for Free-Reduced Lunch Students

We are happy to share that we will be offering students who are part of the Free and Reduced Lunch program the opportunity to get a Free Chromebook if the following parameters are met:

  • Chromebook is signed out by a parent
  • The student must remain enrolled at STEM for three years. (if the student leaves STEM during those three years, they will need to return the laptop)

Laptops can be kept over the summer. For more information, please email ashley.westfall@ to confirm your Free and Reduced Lunch Program status. Not sure if you qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch? DCSD recommends that you apply regardless so that they can assist you further. Click the button below to access the application.

Community Service Hours Reminder

If you have not turned in your community service hours please turn them in to Mrs. Fletcher in the counseling office. Seniors need 20 hours for graduation requirements and STEM Scholar needs 100 hours. The deadline is approaching quickly!

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.

Parent and Student Learning Mastery Gradebook Video Tutorial

Fundraiser to Support STEM Spartan Lacrosse

The HRHS/ STEM Boys Lacrosse team is raising money to help support equipment & uniform needs, event fees, coaches salaries, and more. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for our players and we appreciate your support!

These beautiful evergreen wreaths/swags will be delivered locally (in the Denver Metro area) by the Lacrosse Team the week after the Thanksgiving holiday when you order from the “Local Delivery” section.

If you live outside the Denver Metro Area, please order from the “Direct Delivery” section. These items will ship directly to you within 2 weeks after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

At this gift giving time of the year, don’t forget that live evergreen wreaths make a lovely gift for anyone – family members, friends, clients and more. Please feel free to share our website with others as well.

Happy shopping!

Click the link below to place your order! The order deadline is Saturday, Nov. 5.

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.


Many families looking for the next school for their student find STEM School Highlands Ranch through the website Niche is offering a chance to win $1,000 to complete a short survey about why you love STEM to be included on our school profile. Click the button below to take the survey and enter for your chance to win. The survey is open to students, parents and recent alumni. The deadline is October 31, 2022.

$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

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

The Early Childhood Mental Health Support Line is a no-cost, confidential resource for anyone who cares for children under six. The support line helps families and caregivers to better understand and support the wellbeing of young children in their care. The consultant on the line can discuss needs, brainstorm appropriate support resources, and connect you to consultation in your community.

Literary Resource of the Week

One Book. One District

The DCSD District Library Media Center is hosting the ONE BOOK event as a CELEBRATION of LITERACY & COMMUNITY, encouraging everyone to read & be inspired by the beautiful picture book If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall.

ChildFind Early Development Screenings

Thursday, November 10 | 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Early Childhood Center North, 9350 Teddy Lane, Lone Tree

Join the staff from Douglas County ChildFind for a free, quick developmental screening. For children ages 3-5 years old residing in Douglas County.

Parent University - Teenagers and Substance Use with Author Laura Stack

Hosted by Sky Ridge Medical Center and Douglas County School District

Wednesday, November 30 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Join this very special Parent University Webinar hosted by Laura Stack, Author of “Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story: The Dangerous Truth about today’s Marijuana” as we discuss Teenagers and Substance Use (Marijuana, Fentanyl, Vaping, etc.) and Mental Health (effects on teenage brain development). This is a free event. Please register to receive information on joining the webinar.

Comments are closed.