Secondary News and Updates (12/08/23)

Secondary-School News

Directors' Updates

A message from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

As we approach the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to update you on some exciting things happening and share some vital information for the weeks ahead. First, I want to thank our dedicated staff and supportive families. Your partnership is essential to the success of our students, and I am incredibly proud of the positive and collaborative learning environment we have created together.

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

  • Creative Expression: Our Theater Production Club offers a unique and powerful platform for students to express creatively.
    • The Theatre Production Club recently presented a spectacular production of Clue. The hard work and dedication of our students and directors, Mr. Roberts and Ms. Hafner were evident in every performance.
    • Our students then headed to ThesCon in downtown Denver for a three-day convention filled with performances.
  • Academic Excellence: Our students continue to achieve great things in the classroom.
    • Students consistently demonstrate a strong understanding of and application of their knowledge to solve problems and think critically.
    • They are actively engaged in class discussions and participate in collaborative learning activities.
  • Showing a positive attitude towards learning:
    • Students are curious and enthusiastic about learning new things.
    • They are open to feedback and willing to work hard to improve their performance.
  • Engagement in extracurricular activities:
    • Students participate in academic clubs and competitions, such as TSA, Best Robotics, basketball, and much more.

Promoting a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment:

We are committed to providing all students with a safe and inclusive learning environment. We value diversity and respect all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other personal characteristic. Unfortunately, we have recently received reported instances of:

  • Racist comments: Some students have made insensitive and hurtful remarks based on race or ethnicity. This behavior is unacceptable and goes against our core values.
  • Accessing pornography on phones: Students have been accessing inappropriate content on their phones during school hours. This behavior is not only a violation of school policy but can also be harmful and lead to addiction and other issues.
  • Cheating: We have seen an increase in cheating incidents in class and on homework assignments. Cheating undermines the learning process and creates an unfair advantage for some students.

Addressing These Concerns:

We are taking these matters seriously and are taking the following steps to address them:

  • Increased vigilance: We are increasing our supervision of students during school hours, particularly in areas where inappropriate behavior has been observed.
  • Educational workshops for parents: We are organizing workshops for parents to address the issues of racism, cyber safety, and academic integrity. Please look for information on our January workshop.
  • Education for students: We are educating our students through assemblies and Access, as well as coordinating restorative conversations with students involved.
  • Parental involvement: We are asking parents and guardians to be more aware of their children’s online activities and to monitor their use of technology at home. We also encourage parents to talk to their children about respecting others and treating everyone fairly.

Your Support is Essential

We believe that creating a safe and inclusive learning environment requires a collaborative effort between school and home. We ask for your support in the following ways:

  • Talk to your children: Discuss the importance of respecting others, regardless of their background. Talk about the dangers of cyberbullying and accessing inappropriate content online. Explain the consequences of cheating and encourage them to value their learning and integrity.
  • Monitor your child’s phone: Set clear expectations about phone usage during school hours and monitor their online activities at home.
  • Report any concerns: If you see or hear about any incidents of racism, cyberbullying, cheating, or other inappropriate behavior, please report them to us immediately.

Working together can create a school environment where all students feel safe, respected, and valued. We appreciate your cooperation and support in this critical effort.

Important dates and events

  • Secondary Music Concert – December 13th at 7 pm – Secondary Gym
  • Winter Break – December 22nd through January 8th

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

A message from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Dear STEM Students and Families,

Wow, can you believe it is already December? The time sure flies by! These next two weeks are always a lot of fun at school. While it is a festive time of year, we must remain focused and finish the semester strong. So, if your student has any outstanding work to make up, please ensure they follow the teachers’ deadlines so the work can count.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from a few families that they struggle to check grades on Mastery Connect. A written tutorial was included in last week’s Parent Newsletter, and in this week’s newsletter, Mrs. Gasser has provided two tutorial videos. She is also holding a webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 12-1 p.m. via Google Meets. However, if you still need help to interpret the grades, please feel free to reach out to the teachers. Please keep in mind they get a lot of emails this time of year, so it may take a little longer for them to get back to you.

As I drove in this morning, I noticed the highway signs warning of potential snow. With that in mind, I want to remind everyone of our snow policy quickly. If Douglas County School District cancels school, then we are canceled as well. If Douglas County School District runs on a delayed schedule, we move to a virtual day. We recognize that we have students coming from great distances, and the weather may be too dangerous for you or your student to drive to school. As a parent, if there is inclement weather, you always have the right to keep your child home. We ask that you call the attendance line, and we will take care of it from there.

I want to give a shout-out to Mr. Roberts and Ms. Hafner for doing such a fantastic job with Clue! The cast and crew did a great job, and the play was amazing. It was a lot of fun to watch such a complex and entertaining show!

Thanks, everyone! Go Spartans!


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.

Eighth-Grade Boston Trip Information Meeting for 2024 Eighth Graders

Monday, Dec. 11, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. – Google Meet

Families of students who will be in eighth grade for the 2024-25 school year are invited to attend the Boston Trip Information Meeting via Google Meets on Monday, Dec. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. Click the button below to join the Google Meet. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information about the Fall 2024 trip to Boston.

2023 STEM Winter Concert (Instagram Post)

Master Connect Parent Information Session

Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 12-1 p.m. – Google Meet

This Parent Information Session is to answer questions about Mastery Connect and how families can get a better understanding of how to see their student’s grades and track their progress. If you’d like to join, click the button below to join the Google Meet. If you have a specific question that you’d like answered about Mastery Connect and grading, please submit it to our form via the button below.

STEM PTO Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m. – Zoom

Join the STEM PTO for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m. via Zoom.  STEM PTO is comprised of parents from the STEM community who work together to help foster a strong sense of community and 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 to enhance the quality of each student’s education, the school as a whole, and the entire community through the development of resources and the participation of parents, school staff, and the community. Meetings are open for anyone to attend.

STEAM Day (Instagram Post)
STEM PTO Cookie Exchange (Instagram Post)

News and Updates

Important Information for Families on how to view Grades in Mastery Connect

As the semester comes to a close, we wanted to provide families with important information on how they can begin getting familiar with Mastery Connect to check their student’s grades. Please click the button below to read the tutorial. You can also view the videos below that give a step-by-step tutorial by school-level.

Middle School Mastery Connect Information Video

High School Mastery Connect Information Video

Sixth Grade Needs Mentors for PBL Unit

Sixth grade is seeking adult mentors to listen to students’ ideas and provide simple feedback virtually (on Google Meets) or in person on December 13 and 14.

Sixth-grade students are investigating the problem of plate tectonics.

  • How can they be unsafe for communities?
  • How can they keep the people safe in these geologically hazardous areas?

Click the buttons below for more information and to sign-up. Those who sign up will receive an email from Mrs. Hart early next week with the Google Meets Link, and instructions on what to do for in-person options.

SAT Essay Opt-In/Opt-Out Information

Attention 11th-Grade Families. In January, a Google Form will be available regarding the SATs on April 16, 2024. Your student will pick whether they want to take the SAT with the Essay or without. Please complete it by the deadline. If your student does not complete the opt-in/opt-out form, they will be ordered to take the SAT without the essay.

Access Update for December

We are almost at the end of the first semester of the school year. As we strive to wrap up a successful first half of the year, ACCESS periods will focus primarily on providing students ample time to prepare for finals. We will also welcome a guest speaker to lead a Safe2Tell assembly on December 13 and will spend some time discussing self-care and mental health resources to support families as we head into the holiday break.

Metropolitan State University - Spring Virtual Network Classes

Metro State University is offering four online courses through its virtual network program for the second semester. The virtual network program is available to high school students looking to take an online course, which is comprised of other high school students throughout the Denver metro area. While there may be a textbook cost, no additional student fees exist. Please review the attached flyer and contact Nicole Ryan for scheduling.

Cablenet Aerospace Internship - January 2024

Are you looking for an internship 2nd semester? Cablenet Aerospace, Inc is a contract manufacturer, supplying the Aerospace, Aircraft, Military, Medical, and OEM industries with quality products and services for over 27 years. They are looking for Electronics/ Electro Mechanical and Cable Assembly Technician interns starting in January for their location in the DTC area. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Ms. Ryan at nicole.ryan@

Second Semester Concurrent Enrollment Registration is Open!

Register now for your CE courses! If you are planning on taking a CE course during second semester, the deadline to register is December 8th. The deadline allows time for review and approval with our partner colleges/ universities. Please ensure you have reviewed your selection with your high school counselor, Ms. Birchfield or Ms. Grebe. As part of the process, you will need to complete the STEM Concurrent Enrollment agreement. If you have questions regarding the registration process, please reach out to Nicole Ryan at nicole.ryan@

Lockheed Martin Summer 2024 Internship

The Lockheed Martin Space High School Internship program is designed to give students the opportunity to work with aerospace scientists and engineers. High School Intern candidates must be at least 16 years old and spend 9-10 weeks from June to August working and learning 30- 40 hours a week on actual Lockheed Martin Space projects while receiving an hourly wage. These projects allow students to work on solving and deploying processes, procedures, and sy that support Lockheed Martin’s mission statement in seven different states across the nation. Additionally, interns are exposed to different technical and non-technical career fields at Lockheed Martin Space in order to fortify or develop an interest in the aerospace industry. High School interns are embedded into all summer programming activities such as networking, career development, and executive engagements. Deadline is January 5, 2024. See the website for more information and to attend a virtual information session.

Reminder! Please check your MySchookBucks Account

Our Business Office would like to request that all parents please verify their contact information in MySchoolBucks and update it if needed. Beginning November 20th, families with an outstanding balance will begin to receive late fees. Please reach out to ashley.westfall@ with any questions.

Help us spread the word! is an online platform that helps connect families with their future schools in their neighborhoods. It is one of the top search platforms that families use when looking for a new school. If you love STEM and what we have to offer your student(s), please consider leaving us a review. Click the button below to visit our school’s profile, where you can leave a review. Thank you in advance!

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. Since it is after October 31, yearbooks are now $60.

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 sy 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 sy 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.

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