Secondary News and Updates (11/05/21)

Secondary-School News

Upcoming Events

STEM PTO's STEMGives Campaign Underway

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

Thanksgiving Food Drive for Doull Elementary and STEM Families

Monday, Nov. 1 – Monday, Nov. 15

STEM will once again be collecting Thanksgiving food items to put together baskets for Doull Elementary in the Denver Public School District. Please help us by donating non-perishable food items to help benefit the families of students who attend Doull Elementary. We hope to also help some of our most needy families as STEM as well with any additional baskets that are made.

Please drop off food items to the collection boxes in the lobby by the Elementary or Secondary Front Offices. Examples of donation items include:

  • Canned food (peas, carrots, etc.)
  • Boxed food (potatoes, stuffing, etc.)
  • Toiletries (shampoo, soap, etc.)

Gift cards can also be donated to go into each basket for the perishable items. Please make sure that the gift cards and either in $5 or $10 increments.

Thanksgiving FOOD Drive

Middle/High School BEST Robotics Game Day

Saturday, Nov. 6, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m – Englewood High School

Join our Middle and High School BEST Robotics Teams on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Englewood High School for the Game Day event.

COVID Testing

Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the morning

STEM will be offering COVID Testing for students and staff again on Tuesday, November 9th in the morning. SECONDARY FAMILIES: Secondary students whose parents have consented to testing will need to sign-up to be scheduled for a testing time on Tuesday. Please sign up your Secondary student for COVID testing at the link below. The sign-up will close at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 8.

Only students that are signed up will be tested. You will receive an email late on Monday, Nov. 8 to let you know your student’s scheduled time for testing.

STEM PTO Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 6:30-8 p.m – High School Commons

The monthly STEM PTO Meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the High School Commons. STEM PTO is comprised of parents from the STEM community who work together to help foster a strong sense of community, provide enhancement activities for students, faculty, staff and families, while also helping to increase educational, social and emotional experiences for the members of their families.

STEM PTO is organized for the purpose of enhancing the quality of each students’ education, the school as a whole, and the entire community through the development of resources and participation of parents, school staff, and the community. Meetings are open for anyone to attend. Please park in the High School Parking lot and enter through the High School doors.

TSA Open House "Cocoa and Cookies"

Thursday, Nov. 11, from 5-7 p.m – Middle and High School Commons

TSA students will talk to other TSA students and families about their projects and events. Park in the Secondary Parking Lot and enter through the Secondary Entrance. The event is open to Middle and High School TSA Students and Families. Will be in the Engineering Labs, the Middle School and High School Commons. There will be a restaurant night to follow. Contact: mike.shall@ or sara.phelps@

CHSAA Gymnasium and New Building Remodel Project Groundbreaking

Friday, Nov. 12, starting at 3 p.m. – outside of the Middle School Cafeteria

On Friday, Nov. 12 we will be holding a groundbreaking event for our new CHSAA Gymnasium and Building Remodel project. This event is being hosted in conjunction with STEM PTO. The event will begin at 3 p.m. with guest speakers and some celebrations. Following the official groundbreaking, guests will be invited into the Middle School Cafeteria to enjoy some light snacks, drinks and to learn more about the project. All are invited to attend this groundbreaking event to celebrate the final piece to STEM’s Campus Master Plan.

Click the button below to let us know that you’re planning on attending so that we can plan accordingly for snacks, drinks and giveaway items.

Scholastic Book Fair

Monday, Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 19

Mark your calendars! The STEM Scholastic Book Fair will take place from Monday. Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 19. The Book Fair is a great way to get educational materials and gifts for your students and friends. More details will be shared soon.

We’re looking for volunteers to help with set-up, running the store during school hours and break down. Click the button below to sign-up. Please email chelsea.bench@ with any questions.

Volleyball Ice Cream Social/Banquet

Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 5-7 p.m. in the High School Commons

Volleyball will be honoring our athletes with a small ceremony presenting gifts, letters and pins. As well as eating ice cream! Contact coach Megan Lipe (megan.lipe@ with any questions.

Concurrent Enrollment Information Session

Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30-6:30 p.m – Middle School Cafeteria

Parents and students in High School are invited to attend a Concurrent Enrollment Information Session on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Cafeteria. This session is to provide information about concurrent enrollment as HS students are considering their coursework for 2022-2023.

For questions about this event, contact amelia.reinkensmeyer@

Parent Coffee with Administration

Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 8-9 a.m – Elementary School Cafeteria

On Wednesday, Nov. 17 we will be holding a Coffee with Administration event from 8-9 a.m. at our Elementary School Cafeteria. We are asking our families to sign up in advance so that we can plan for coffee and light pastries.

Girls' Persist @ STEM Information Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 3-3:45 p.m – Room 145

Please join us on Wednesday, Nov. 17 to learn more about a new program coming in January! Girls’ Persist is an evidence-based STEM leadership program designed to put problems into practice while fostering an environment for girls to thrive. The program consists of hands-on learning applications and leadership methods viable for shaping self-efficacy and increasing capacity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The program utilizes the learn-it, lead-it, and perform-it framework to assist adolescent girls with self-confidence, critical thinking skills, and decision-making while influencing overall STEM persistence.

STEM SAC Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Room 101/Zoom

The monthly STEM School Accountability Committee (SAC) meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Room 101. The meeting will also be available to watch via Zoom as a trial. 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. Please park in the Secondary School parking lot and enter through the Secondary School Entrance.

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.

STEM Spartan Communications Club Information Meeting

Thursday, Nov. 18, from 3-3:45 p.m. in the Middle School Commons

The Spartan Communications Club is looking for interested students who want to help shape student communication at STEM. Members of the club will help the communications team in gathering, organizing and creating content to go in the Weekly Student Newsletter, on our STEM Social media Accounts, in-house TVs and more. Students will liaise with other student clubs at STEM to gather information about their events and activities and learn techniques and strategies in the areas of communications, marketing and advertising. This club is run through Enrichment and the advisors are Nicole Bostel (nicole.bostel@ and Jeff Maher (jeff.maher@ Click the button below to register.

Secondary Social Studies Veterans' Day Celebration


Friday, Nov. 19, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in our Social Studies Classes

The Secondary Social Studies Dept is excited to bring back the Veterans Day Celebration. STEM will be hosting Veterans from all branches of the military. Each with their own exciting experiences and stories to tell. We will celebrate our veterans on Friday, Nov. 19 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you’re a Veteran and would like to sign-up to speak to our students, click the button below to complete our sign-up form.

We’d like to offer them breakfast and lunch while they are with us. Please consider signing up to donate items. Click the button below to sign-up to donate an item.

Contact: Jason Gillett jason.gillett@, Katie Hoffman katie.hoffman@

News and Updates

Do you intend to return to STEM?

For enrollment planning purposes, please let us know, either way if your child plans to return to STEM School Highlands Ranch next year. Please complete the Intent to Return Form for each of your currently attending STEM students. If you are currently enrolled at STEM please let us know that your child is returning. You do not need to “open enroll” to remain at STEM. If your child is currently attending STEM, they will be automatically enrolled for next year. Please also complete the form if your student is planning to seek enrollment at another school so that we can have an accurate count of returning students.

Do you Have a Sibling Who Wants to Attend STEM Next Year?

Does your current STEM student have a sibling who is interested in attending STEM for the 2022-23 school year? Did you know that they have priority on our waitlist? Please add them to our waitlist now! STEM’s open enrollment is now open and we will begin notifying families of accepted spots for the 2022-23 school year beginning Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Now Accepting Waitlist Names for the 2022-23 School Year!

STEM is now accepting names for the waitlist for 2022-23 and beyond. Please spread the word to your family and friends. They can add their child to the waitlist. We will begin notifying families of accepted spots beginning on December 1, 2020. Please note that STEM does not follow the Douglas County Open Enrollment process.

Intent to Attend Your Neighborhood School

If you wish to attend your neighborhood school, you must return this form to that school no later than January 5. This will allow your child to attend that school in the fall of next year (2021-22).

Questions? Please call the Secondary office at 303-683-7836 or check the website for more enrollment information.

CoGAT Testing Coming Up for Sixth Graders

DCSD is committed to implementing equitable practices to increase access to advanced/gifted learning opportunities. Based on state and national recommendations and requirements, we implement Universal Screening for students in 2nd grade (February) and 5th the student’s final year of elementary school (November).

6th Grade Universal Screen

As part of this process, ALL students in 6th grade not identified for gifted programming will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) the week of November 8th. This assessment indicates the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student in comparison to grade and age mates. These general reasoning abilities, which start developing at birth and continue through early adulthood, are influenced by experiences gained both in and out of school.

If your child missed their regular universal CogAT screening last year, they will be assessed during this window. This would pertain to students currently in 3rd and possibly 6th or 7th grade (depending on the last grade in elementary).

If your child is already identified for gifted programming, they will not participate in this universal screen testing. Your Gifted Education Facilitator will contact you directly with information about this process.

Gifted Identification Referral Testing

  • If your child is in grades 3, 4, and you believe he/she needs evaluation for Gifted Identification and Services, you may refer your child for testing by initiating the Gifted Identification Process.
  • NOTE: Requesting this assessment automatically initiates the process to evaluate for Gifted Identification.
  • Please request CogAT testing for your child by completing the Referral for Gifted Identification via the button below.
  • Upon receipt of this form, the Gifted Education Facilitator, Jon Jennings, will connect with you to discuss the next steps in the gifted identification process.

Online Butter Braid Fundraiser

Help support STEM PTO in raising funds for the STEM After Prom 2022 event by purchasing from our online Butter Braid fundraiser. Items available include:

  • Butter Braids
  • Gluten Free products
  • Coda Coffee.

The online store is open now through December 6. Products will be delivered to STEM on the afternoon of December 13. More information will be shared soon. Contact Susan Montgomery at https://stemafterprom@

Winter Sports Start Soon!

Girls’ and boys’ basketball season is just around the corner. The first practice will be on Monday, Nov. 15. The cost of participation is $350, and all student-athletes will need to submit an updated physical when completing registration. The registration window will open on Friday, Oct. 22, and we will take registrations until the beginning of the season. It is important that we get enough students to field a team, so please help us get the word out!

Additionally, we’re looking for a Girls’ Basketball Coach. If you or someone you know may be interested, please email our Athletic Director Ryan Alsup at ryan.alsup@ for more information.

FALL 2021 Parent Survey

As we continue to focus on further improving our school, we look to the STEM families for feedback. We are asking for feedback related to the teaching staff, curriculum, school culture, and parent engagement. This survey is a shortened version of the end of the year Parent Survey and only contains 11 questions.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the Fall 2021 STEM Parent Survey (please complete one per student) regarding the 2021-22 school year so far.

We greatly value your feedback. As an organization, we are committed to ongoing improvement in all facets of our school to better serve our students. This survey will be open through Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

Thank you,

School Accountability Committee (SAC) & STEM School Administration

Lost and Found

Please have your student check the lost & found for missing items as we will be donating items over the Thanksgiving Break.

Computer Science Update

We are excited to announce that we have hired a new computer science teacher that will be joining the STEM family in January to begin the second semester. In the meantime, Ms. Rajput, will continue to support students in the computer science courses for the remainder of the semester. She is working closely with the department to plan and facilitate learning for all students. Thank you for your patience during this time.

Dr. Karen Johnson, Director of Curriculum and Accountability

The NACLO 2022 Linguistics Competition registration is now open

Attention High School students! The NACLO 2022 Linguistics Competition registration is now open!

Students compete in linguistics problem solving, computational thinking, and natural language processing challenges. Winners move on to the International Linguistics Olympiad, which this year will be held on the United Kingdom Isle of Man. Last year 54 teams representing 34 countries competed in Latvia. Sponsors include Carnegie Mellon, National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, and the Linguistic Society of America.

STEM School Highlands Ranch is currently the only high school competition site in Colorado. No prior experience is necessary and there is no fee to participate.

  • The competition date is January 27, 2022.

Click the button below to register and choose STEM School Highlands Ranch as the competition site from the drop-down. Please go to for further details or drop in on a session of the STEM Linguistics Club on Tuesday for further details.

Future impact on Parking at the STEM Campus

Following the groundbreaking of the new CHSAA Gym/Building Remodel Project, the High School Staff Parking Lot will be fenced off to allow the construction company to stage all their equipment. No staff parking or vehicle access will be allowed in this parking lot. We are sharing this information because we know that several parents are using this lot as a pick-up and drop-off area, which is not permitted via our Transportation Management Plan. We are asking all families to please use the approved avenues for pick-up that are outlined in our TMP.

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 elizabeth.noethlich@s. and cadence.coan@s. or stop by room 110 after school.

Update on AP Testing

Students taking AP courses are required to take the associated exam for each course. The fees for any exams will be listed in your My School Bucks account. We found that they are not posted correctly at this time and we are working to rectify this situation. Late fees will not be assessed at this time. Please be sure to log in to your student’s College Board account to ensure they are registered for each of the exams they are planning to take. If your student is interested in taking the exam only and is not currently enrolled in the course, please contact karen.johnson@ for assistance.

Nominate a High School Student for CBS Denver Future Leaders Scholarship

Nominations are now open for the CBS Denver Future Leaders Scholarship. If you know a High School student who is thriving in the STEM core subjects please consider nominating them for this $1,000 scholarship.

Click the button below to access the nomination form and to find out more. One student will be selected each month to receive this special recognition award that will include a $1,000 award along with a student profile on CBS4. The nomination window will run through April 22, 2022.

School Picture Retakes and Orders

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

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 right to schedule your appointment.

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. Please click the button below to see the latest Volunteer Opportunities at STEM.

  • Elementary Veterans’ Day Celebration
  • Secondary Social Studies Veterans’ Day Celebration
  • DECA District 4 Conference Volunteer Judges Needed
  • Elementary Library Organizer
  • Elementary and Secondary Driveline
  • Lunchroom Volunteers
  • Spartan Afternoon Program
  • TSA Volunteers

Volunteer of the Month

Suzanne Savolainen is our volunteer of the Month for October, logging 141.5 hours dedicated to BEST Robotics. Thank you so much for all your time given to our Robotics Team Suzanne, we appreciate you!

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.

Resources and News from DCSD

Mental Health Resource of the Week

Seize the Awkward: Having Conversations About Mental Health

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? Learn some conversation techniques from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that can help you help those in need.

Literacy Resource of the Week

17 Ways to Keep Your Middle Schooler Interested in Reading

Even though reading may get put on the back burner as kids get older, you can still help your middle school student keep the pages turning with a few simple tactics.

Total Wellness Resources of the Week

Rethink Your Drink!

The American Heart Association recommends that children and teens consume no more than 24 grams of added sugars per day. Many juices and drinks aimed at children exceed this amount in a single serving. Swap out the juices, sports drinks and sodas for WATER. A Gatorade has the same added sugar as 4-5 cookies (over 34 grams)! You can quickly jazz up your child’s water with a splash of fruit or a squeeze of lemon.

Community Event

Elementary Literacy: The Importance of Reading Aloud With Your Child
In Partnership With Sky Ridge Medical Center
Wednesday, November 17 | 5:30-6:15 p.m.
Free Online Webinar

Join Kathy Tirrill, DCSD Literacy Interventions Coordinator, to discover simple ways you can help your child engage with language. You will learn why reading aloud is important, what kind of questions to ask your child, and how to choose the right books to expand their independent reading. Moreover, you will find ways to strengthen your parent-child relationship through quality time spent reading together.


Apply to Join the DCSD Equity Advisory Council

The Equity Advisory Council will commence on December 8, 2021. If you are interested in serving on this council, please complete the Equity Advisory Council Membership Application. For membership and other details, see the Equity Advisory Council Bylaws and Addendum 1: Inaugural Year Processes and Procedures. Applications are due by the close of business on Wednesday, November 17.

Meetings will occur on the second Wednesday of each month, and the first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Members will be selected and notified no later than November 30, 2021. Additional information is available on the DCSD website’s Educational Equity page.

The Equity Advisory Council serves to support and advise the Superintendent (or Superintendent’s designee) and the School Board on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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