Secondary News and Updates (12/16/22)

Secondary-School News

Director Updates

A Message from Mrs. Ridder, Middle School Director

Dear Middle School Families,

As another Fall semester comes to a close, I want you to know how incredibly grateful I am for the support and dedication of all our STEM families and staff members. December 22nd is our last day of school before our winter break, and I am confident next week will pass by quickly! During the break, I hope that you take time to spend quality time with family, and find some relaxing time as well.

I look forward to seeing you back in January, with classes resuming on Tuesday, Jan. 10. I wish all of our STEM families a very happy holiday season and an even happier New Year. See you in 2023!

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

December Spirit Calendar!

A few more days for our students to join our staff in dressing up!

Toy Drive

NJHS is still collecting toys for their toy drive. Please consider sending in a new, unwrapped toy with your student. The bin is in the secondary lobby.


  • December 23 – January 9th – Winter Break
  • January 10th – First day of the spring semester

Have a wonderful Holiday Break, everyone!

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director

A Message from Mr. Alsup, High School Director

Hello Spartan Families,

I cannot believe the first semester is almost over, how time flies! This is a great time to be a Spartan. I have truly enjoyed watching our students and staff participate in the festive spirit week activities. It is fun to see how many ugly sweaters people actually have! I would also like to thank all of you who supported your students at the concert last night! I was very impressed with the talent of our students! I would also like to give a shout-out to Mr. Gomez for completing his master’s degree!

Looking ahead, I would like to wish our students the best of luck as they complete their finals next week. Please make sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a good breakfast, and come in ready excel. Daisy, our STEM therapy dog, will be available in Mrs. Myrick’s office if needed.

Last week, I sent out a High School Athletics update. In that update, there were two surveys I was hoping families would complete. One of them was about student interest in adding additional spring sports, and the other was for parents interested in serving on our new STEM High School Athletics Booster club. Unfortunately, at this point, I do not have a lot of responses, and before I determine that we are not going to add any additional spring sports, I have extended the deadline for that survey. I have also extended the deadline for the STEM Booster Club survey as well. You can find the links to these surveys in my athletics update in this newsletter, or you can access them below.

Please click here for the Spring Sports interest survey.

Please click here for the STEM High School Athletics Booster information.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Ryan Alsup, High School Director

Proud to be a Spartan!

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.

NHS Holiday Toy Drive

November 28-December 19

This year our National Honor Society chapter is organizing a toy drive! We will collect toy donations from Elementary, Middle, and High Schools from November 28th to December 19th. After all the donations have been collected, they will be donated to the Toys for Tots foundation. We hope everyone is willing to send in their donations!

Please drop off new toys at either the Elementary or the Secondary School Lobby.

Contact: Lasya Gudur: at lasya.gudur@s. or Mischa Dvoretsky: at mischa.dvoretsky@s. with any questions.

NEHS Book Drive

November 28-December 19

The National English Honors Society is hosting a book drive for the rest of the semester. You can donate your used or new books to the secondary or elementary office starting November 28-December 19. All books will be donated to BookGive! If you have any questions feel free to contact brinda.malik@s., sophia.marks@s., or lasya.gudur@s.

High School Finals Week Schedule

For the first time, our High School will be testing out a Finals Schedule from December 15-December 21. Over the last few years, we’ve received a lot of feedback from our students that a more consistent schedule for finals would help reduce stress and allow for greater success. Teachers are doing their best to accommodate this schedule and how it aligns with their syllabus and instruction. students should confirm with their teacher when their finals are as there might be a few classes that could not adjust to this schedule at this time. Questions about the finals schedule should be directed to Ryan.Alsup@

Finals Schedule Winter 2022

Thursday, Dec. 15 Monday, Dec. 19 Tuesday, Dec. 20 Wednesday, Dec. 21
7:50-9:30 Period 3 PERIOD 2 FINAL PERIOD 3 FINAL Period 2
9:35-11:10 PERIOD 5 FINAL Period 4 Period 5 PERIOD 4 FINAL
A Lunch- 11:15-11:45
B lunch 12:00-12:30
C Lunch 12:45-1:15
1:20-2:55 PERIOD 9 FINAL Period 8 Period 9 PERIOD 8 FINAL

STEM has also partnered with the Center for Strength to provide therapy dogs at the center during Lunch Hours for students to visit with to reduce stress. STEM’s therapy dog, Daisy, will also be on hand for any students who cannot make it to the Center during lunch. She will be in the High School Commons outside of the lunch hours on Thursday and Tuesday.

NEHS Writing Center Dates for Middle and High School Students

Tuesdays from 3-3:30 p.m., in Room 103 and on Google Meets (Starting on December 13)

We are excited to announce that STEM’s Writing Center will be open to all Middle and High School students starting on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Students looking for additional help on their English assignments can join us either in person (Room 103) or over Google Meets after school on Tuesdays from 3-3:30 p.m. Students can sign up for a 15-minute slot during which we can help them with any essay, assignment, or project.

We can’t wait to see you all!

12/20, 1/10,1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3,7, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16

Parent Coffee with Administration

Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 8-9 am. – ES Cafeteria

Join us on Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 8-9 a.m., in the Elementary School Cafeteria for our monthly Parent Coffee with Administration event. This is our community’s opportunity to meet the team, ask questions and meet with parents. We hope you can join us.

STEM PTO Cookie Exchange - A Merry & Bright Gathering

Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 5-7 p.m. – Prost Brewing

Join STEM PTO on Wednesday, Dec 21, from 5-7 p.m. at Prost Brewing for a STEM cookie exchange. Bake or buy three dozen of your favorite cookies. Stay for a snack or a drink. Let’s chat and be merry. Bring a container if you want to take cookies home. We’ll pack boxes for the teachers and deliver them to the school on Thursday, Dec. 22, for the Staff Professional Day.

STEM's Got Talent Auditions

Wednesday, Jan. 25 & Thursday, Jan 26, from 3-6 p.m. – Room 149

Our 11th annual STEM’s Got Talent Show will occur on March 2, 2023. We are looking for 20 incredible acts. The night will also feature the STEM Staff Annual Lip Sync Performance!

Auditions will take place on January 25 and 26. It is open to all students K-12. To audition for the show, you need to do three things:

  1. Sign up for a time slot here
  2. Prepare your act.
  3. Complete this audition form for the day of your audition.
STEM's Got Talent Audition

News and Updates

Secondary Schedule Change Information for Second Semester

The second semester of this school year is rapidly approaching, and our School Counseling Team is already busy trying to finalize your schedules. Students. please be sure to log in to Infinite Campus and look over your second-semester schedule carefully.

If you notice an error or have a request for a schedule change, your request needs to be submitted using the links below NO LATER THAN the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 16. For students taking CE courses, please refer to the CE registration email that went out in November for CE registration deadlines.

Schedule Change Requests will be reviewed in the order in which they are received, and not all requests will be granted. For High School students, only requests for missing courses and/or requirements to graduate will be accommodated.

Please remember that schedule changes take time, so your patience is appreciated. Students, please plan to follow your current schedule until you see the change in Infinite Campus OR hear from your counselor.

Learn about the NEW Career Discovery Program at STEM

SBL Video by Student Ben Grossman

Intent to Return/Not Return Form

It’s that time of year! We’re starting to prepare for the 2023-24 School Year (can you believe it?!?) and we need our CURRENT STEM Families to complete the Intent to Return/Not Return process.

This information will help our Leadership Team plan for the new school year as it pertains to budgeting, facility use, staffing and more. This process also helps us to know how many new students we will have openings for in the upcoming school year so that we can invite students off our waitlist in December.

Please complete a separate form for each of your CURRENTLY ATTENDING STEM students so that we know your student is either returning or not returning to STEM. Completing the form does not require your student to attend STEM for next year should you change your enrollment plans. The form allows you to update your submission should you change your mind over the next few months.

Current Families with Siblings Wanting to Attend STEM

Does your current STEM student have a sibling who is interested in attending STEM for the 2023-24 school year? Did you know that they have priority on our waitlist? Please add them to our waitlist now. STEM’s open enrollment is open and we will begin notifying families of accepted spots for the 2023-24 school year beginning December 1, 2022.

DCSD Open Enrollment Window Information

The Douglas County School District’s Open Enrollment Window is now open, however current STEM families who wish to stay at STEM for next year DO NOT complete that process. Your student(s) will be automatically enrolled. The DCSD Open Enrollment Process (via their website) is if your student is interested in attending their neighborhood school, or another school that uses the DCSD Open Enrollment Process.

The First Round of the Open Enrollment Window for DCSD will close on December 1 at 4 p.m. The Second Round of the Open Enrollment Window will open on January 23 at 8 a.m. and close on August 1, 2023, at 4 p.m.

(Note: Parents of any students who wish to go back to their neighborhood middle school for their 7th-grade year must file an intent to return form, by January 10, 2023; applicable also for parents of 6th-grade students whose attendance area is within the Cimarron Middle School, Rocky Heights Middle School and Sagewood Middle School boundaries.)

After Care Program for Secondary Students

Did you know that STEM has an affordable and safe option for your middle or high school student(s) when they need to remain on campus after school or after their club/activity? With the freezing winter temperatures upon us and Colorado’s often unpredictable weather, After Care is peace of mind that your student(s) is warm, able to access water and bathroom, and with a trusted adult in case of an emergency that can be utilized as needed. Drop-ins are welcome!

The After Care program is operated by STEM Enrichment in the Middle School Cafe and is available from 3-6 p.m. every day, school is in session throughout the school year. The cost is only $8/day.*

SmartCare allows parents to know that their student(s) are safe, as well as make easy payments online. Contact hiroko.ichijo@ to get your student registered with After Care today.

*Students that receive FRL benefits can attend After Care at no cost to the parent. FRL contact ashley.westfall@

2023 Oratorical Contest Flier

STEM After Prom Committee Volunteers Needed

Hello STEM parents/guardians,

It’s that time of year to start planning our annual After Prom, and we need volunteers. We need help with all aspects, from planning to executing the night of. We have detailed notes from the previous year, and we already have a co-chair who worked on AP last year. So, no experience is needed, just many who want to help make this night safe and fun for our Juniors and Seniors. Family members are welcome to help as well, so grab mom/dad/aunt/uncle/brother/sister to lend a hand.

We can’t continue this STEM tradition without the generous support from our STEM community. Freshman and Sophomore parents/guardians, soon your student will be upperclassmen and getting ready for their prom, so it’s never too early to participate in this amazing event.

Sign up below if you are interested and want to find out more. The first meeting will be scheduled after Fall Break, so keep an eye out for that email.

Have a great Thanksgiving break!

STEM After Prom Committee

Way to Go December Challenge

The weather outside is frightful!

So why not keep your car off the dangerous, icy roads? During December, telework or commute by transit, carpool, foot or bike. By skipping a solo car trip during your morning commute, you’re doing a favor for the environment and your mental health!

This month, commuters who track at least eight eco-friendly trips by modes like foot, bike, transit or carpool (anything but driving alone) will be automatically entered by Way to Go into a drawing for prizes from Boulder-based BOCO Gear! At the end of December, 10 clean commuting champions will win socks and winter hats to help them stay warm through the Denver region’s frigid winter.

Joining the December Challenge is simple:

1. Log in to

2. Track your eco-friendly commutes throughout the month — whether you’re teleworking or traveling by bike, bus, train, foot, scooter, carpool or vanpool.

3. That’s it, you’re automatically entered to win.

WaytoGo-December Challenge

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.

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.

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.

Center for Strength News and Events

DCSD News and Resources

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