Secondary News and Updates (12/22/22)

Secondary-School News

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.

STEMShares Clothing Drive

January 10-31 – Homeroom Teacher (Elementary)/6th-Period Teacher (Middle School)

STEM Shares is hosting one event every month to give back to our community after May 7th. For the month of January, STEM Shares is hosting a Clothing Drive. We will be collecting clothes from January 10-31. Donations should be in wearable condition and students can donate their clothes to either their homeroom teacher (ES Students) or 6th-period teacher (MS Students). All donations will be given to local homeless shelters.

The class with the most donations will win a pizza party! Please email any questions to studentadvisory@s.

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!

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

Little Mermaid Jr Auditions

Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Wednesday, Jan. 18,  from 3-5:30 p.m. – Theater Room

STEM Theater Department and STEM Thespians are presenting Little Mermaid Jr. this year. Auditions will be Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 3-5:30 in the Theater Room. Hopefully, this gives everyone time to check out the roles to the right, get familiar, not memorized, with the audition scripts (sides), and work on your one-minute musical audition. We may have a short choreography portion to the audition as well.

For the acting audition: We will use the sides listed below under each character.

For the singing audition: Please prepare a one-minute song. We highly encourage you to choose a song from the show for the character(s) you audition for. You may also bring in ANY other song you like that you feel shows us how you shine!!! 🙂

Performance dates: May 4, 5, 6.

Rehearsals: Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. starting February 13.

We will also have optional (encouraged) meetings Tuesday afternoons, from 3-3:45 p.m. between casting and rehearsals, to work on music and character and you will be expected to show up to your first rehearsals having worked on your songs and being familiar with your script.

Fees: $200 for main characters, $150 for the ensemble.

Please respond to the form via the button below the role(s) you are interested in, and please browse for LOTS of information on characters, audition sides (scripts), and music. After filling out the form, you will get a link to all of this info so you can browse these resources and prepare over break.

Character Breakdown: View
Sides: View
Score: View

Prince Eric
Character Breakdown: View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides: View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

King Triton
Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  N/A

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:  N/A
Score:  View

Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   View
Score:  View

Chef Louis
Character Breakdown:  View
Sides:   N/A
Score:  View

The show also has LOTS of ensemble opportunities. 

Math Honor Society Math Competition - Rubin vs. Moore

Wednesday, Jan. 18,  from 3-4:30 p.m. – Room 233

The Math Honor Society will host a Math competition on Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 3-4:30 p.m. in Room 233.

This competition features three events, a speed competition, a difficulty competition, and a Special Moore vs. Rubin event. The difficulty and speed event will feature both Middle and High school breakdowns. There will also be a $25 prize for each High School event.

This event is for Middle and High School students to participate. Parents can attend to watch.

Contact Andrew Hathaway (andrew.hathaway@s. with any questions.

MHS Math Competition

Science National Honor Society Craft Fair

Friday, Jan. 27,  from 3:30-5 p.m. – Elementary School Gym

Join the S.N.H.S. (Science National Honors Society) for a Craft Fair on Friday, Jan. 27, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Elementary School Gym. It is a Winter-Themed event that encourages students to show their creativity in various arts and crafts. This includes snowflake origami, decorated pine cones, food crafts, and much more! If you want to donate, click the button below to sign-up for donations.

SNHS Craft Fair

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

Update about Secondary Science

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families,

We’re so excited to share the following news with you regarding Secondary Science.

With Mr. Rubin’s departure, we posted the position internally and are excited to share that current STEM Middle School Science teacher Geoffrey Pietrovito has accepted the position to be our next High School Physics Teacher.

Mr. Pietrovito brings tremendous experience to the role, and he is excited to take on this new journey with our students. He started at STEM as a middle school science teacher in August of 2021. Before STEM, he taught a total of seven years in both Colorado and Virginia, ranging across a variety of physics and chemistry courses. Before joining the education field, he also worked as a Microsoft representative on college campuses and as a hologram/laser technician. He is passionate about making science interactive and intuitive through personalized experiences.

He received a degree in Applied Physics, and a master’s in Teaching from Christopher Newport University in Virginia. However, educational interests also extend into philosophy (especially philosophy of science), cuboid puzzles (such as Rubik’s cubes), and random math topics or riddles.

We are excited to announce that Kathryn Wallin-Miller will join us in January as the new eighth-grade science teacher. She brings a wealth of experience and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California. She also completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Bita Moghaddam of the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health Science University.

She began as a teaching assistant in 2015 for the Neuroscience medical curriculum Keck School of Medicine of USC. She has also spent time as a guest lecturer at Oregon State University while she was serving as a Science Communication Fellow (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and an Adjunct Faculty member in the Psychology Department from 2018-2020 at the University of Portland.

She moved to Colorado in 2021 to serve as an Adjunct Faculty member at Regis University and at the University of Denver and most recently, was the AP Biology instructor at KIPP Colorado Northeast Denver.

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Ms. Wallin-Miller to our STEM Family in January and congratulating Mr. Pietrovito on his new role at STEM.

Please reach out to either maura.ridder@ or ryan.alsup@ with any questions.

In partnership,

Maura Ridder, Middle School Director
Ryan Alsup, High School Director

Update about AP BC Calculus and Geometry

Dear STEM Students and Families,

I am writing to let all of you know that we will make a teacher change that will impact the AP BC Calculus class and the Geometry Class.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 10, Mr. Brian Moore will take over teaching the AP BC Calculus class. Mr. Moore is currently teaching our AP AB Calculus class and is excited for this change. Also on January 10, Mr. Christian Larsen will take over teaching Geomtry.

You might be wondering why we are making this change. The School Directors regularly evaluate and meet with our department teams in order to assess and evaluate how they are doing and if any changes need to be made that are in the best interest of our students.

After meeting with our math department, it was determined that Mr. Moore was a better fit to take on the instruction of the content in AP BC Calculus and that since Mr. Larsen was already teaching other Geometry courses it would make sense for him to teach all.

We truly believe that making this change will be a great benefit to the students and their learning for the Spring Semester.

I know that changing teachers at the end of a semester is not always ideal. However, we know that Mr. Moore will do an excellent job teaching the course and preparing all of you for the AP exam and that Mr. Larsen will make the transition as seamless as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime.


Mr. Ryan Alsup, High School Director

Student Fees Reminder

Reminder!! If you haven’t yet, please log into your MySchoolBucks account to pay your student’s fees. We currently have approximately $30,000 in outstanding student fees, and we anticipate that is due to the technical issues at the start of the school year with Express Check-In. If you have questions about your student’s fees or want to get on a payment plan, please email ashley.westfall@

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@

Learn about the NEW Career Discovery Program at STEM

SBL Video by Student Ben Grossman

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

2023 Oratorical Contest Flier

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

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.

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.

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

Winter Break - Mental Health Resources

Dear DCSD Staff and Families,

We wish our students, staff and families a happy holiday season and hope everyone is able to spend the Winter Break connecting with loved ones, relaxing, or enjoying some of the fun winter activities Colorado has to offer.

While the holidays are often a joyous time with friends and family, we know that they can also be stressful, not just for adults, but for children too. For some, traditions such as gift giving, family gathering, and travel create added pressure and stress. In addition, the holidays can trigger memories of the loss of loved ones and other traumatic events.

Some students may feel nervous about finishing up the school semester – including working through projects and exams. Family dynamics and changes in routine can be difficult to navigate during the holiday season. Many do better with predictability and being prepared in advance for activities when there is a change in the normal daily routine.

Connection and awareness are so important and this Winter Break may be a great opportunity for increased opportunities to connect with family and friends. Similar to the rest of the year, being mindful of media and social media content that children and youth are exposed to is important to help them manage a healthy balance.

If you are concerned that your child or another loved one may be experiencing changes in their mood or have suicidal behaviors or thoughts, please remember:

Douglas County has an anonymous reporting syhttps://stem available at all times. Anyone with a concern for someone’s well-being or safety can use Safe2Tell (1-877-542-7233) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Below is a list of community centers in our metro area:

As always, your partnership in keeping our children safe is very appreciated. On behalf of DCSD teachers and staff, we wish you a safe and joyous Winter Break.

Student Support Services Team, Douglas County School District

Comments are closed.