Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Community,
As we settle into the routines and rituals that occur at the beginning of the school year, I am continually reflecting on our Mission of “Never Stop Innovating” and how we are committed to the focus on the importance of our Vision and Core Values.
For those who may not know, STEM School Highlands Ranch has a Strategic Plan that was designed to guide the school’s overall focus. It is made up of Five Pillars:
- Staff Care
- Parent Trust/Engagement
- Distributed Leadership
- Community Alignment
Work on the Strategic Plan is led by the Building Leaders and key members of STEM’s Leadership Team. My role in the Strategic Plan is serving as the facilitator to make sure that the team is staying focused and accomplishing the work that is outlined.
Part of the role of the Interim CEO of KOSON Schools is to also lead the efforts toward Replication. Years ago, the STEM Board of Directors and previous STEM Leadership had the vision to replicate what we are doing here in Highlands Ranch and bring it to students everywhere. Our current Board of Directors is mission-focused to continue to push in this direction and I am happy to pick up where we’ve left off over the past few years to continue to fulfill their vision.
KOSON Schools is the organizational team that is leading the replication efforts. This team comprises myself, our CFO Star Ake, our COO Robert Hoornstra and our Communications Director Nicole Bostel.
Last spring, we submitted applications for replication with Denver Public Schools and within Douglas County School District. Although the outcome was not what we had hoped, we learned valuable lessons and are continuing on the path to provide our learning model and opportunities to other communities.
Completing a replication is not an easy task, so we have taken the feedback received and are in the process of enhancing our applications and strategically determining prime locations for potential sites where we are seeing not only an interest in STEM and our instructional model, but also an increase in students.
We’ve been asked several times over the last few years as to why we are replicating and the answer is simple. In order for our students and staff to thrive, innovation needs to be at the core. Innovation comes from exploration, imagination and experimentation. The more we grow our community, the more opportunities are made available to our students and staff to continue to push our unlimited human potential to new heights.
I want to reassure our community at our flagship campus that these efforts toward replication will not pull away focus from what is needed for our students and staff. We will not deplete any resources in order to start any new campus.
The KOSON Schools team is committed to ensuring that the operational and financial well-being of our flagship school stays at the highest level. Replication efforts will only enhance what we currently can accomplish at STEM School Highlands Ranch through the creation of new leadership opportunities for staff, additional learning opportunities for students and the diversity that collaboration with new communities will bring.
A major accomplishment related to our replication efforts includes the official Board of Directors’ approval of the KOSON Schools-related name change for the organization. KOSON Schools will be the entity in which any schools within our organization fall under. Each school within the organization will have its unique name. For example, our flagship campus is organized under KOSON Schools and doing business as STEM School Highlands Ranch. Any new schools will fall under this organizational structure.
During these next few months, our replication efforts and focus will go toward submitting a Colorado Department of Education replication grant, focused efforts on specific areas for replication in Douglas County School District, and building our network of potential partners, families and community members that can give voice and support toward the goal of replicating our amazing flagship campus.
I have heard from many families and students stories of success that remind me of our vision. We need these stories to be heard by others as they reinforce our focus and goals. We have an amazing community and will continue to pursue these opportunities to bring our model to every child and family wanting and deserving of an exceptional educational experience. If you would like to become involved and support our efforts, please contact me at any time ([email protected]). We will continue to “Never Stop Innovating,” take risks, and ensure alignment with our goals and vision.
Have a great weekend!
Dr. Karen Johnson, Interim CEO KOSON Schools