Will STEM School Highlands Ranch be ready for 2021-22?

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Yes! We’ve been working throughout the summer to ensure that STEM will be ready to go for the 2021-22 School Year.

Why STEM attracts top talent

STEM is a great place to work with almost 100% of STEM teachers reporting academic freedom to make instructional choices for their students as reported in the TLCC survey of all public school teachers in Colorado. Plus, STEM attracts top students from many counties who seek more than their neighborhood schools can offer. This combination of teacher and student talent keeps STEM a national leader for student achievement.

Will STEM have the financial strength to fulfill its mission of Never Stop Innovating?

Yes, STEM has submitted a balanced budget to DCSD for 2021-22 that includes staff wage increases.

Will STEM have full student enrollment?

Yes, STEM will be fully enrolled for 2021-22. To accommodate the waitlist at some grades, two new classrooms have been added at the K-5 level with two new teachers hired.

What positions have been filled?

STEM has been able to hire top talent for several hard-to-fill positions. Below are the positions that we have filled either due to a staff member moving to another role, or the position being vacated.

  • College and Career Counselor
  • Secondary Dean (Grades: 6-12) – NEW
  • Two Middle School Counselors
  • High School Social Worker
  • Middle School Learning Support Specialist
  • Middle School Psychologist
  • Gifted and Talented Coordinator – NEW
  • PBL Specialist – NEW
  • Secondary Science
  • Secondary Engineering
  • Secondary Language Arts
  • Secondary Math
  • Kindergarten
  • First Grade
  • Second Grade
  • Fourth Grade

What positions remain unfilled?

We are currently in the interview process for our Middle School and High School Directors and hope to have the two candidates finalized by the end of next week.

Positions that we are actively interviewing and recruiting for include:

  • An additional teacher in Engineering, Computer Science, Secondary Math, Secondary Language Arts
  • Online Elementary Teacher – NEW
  • Online Secondary Teacher – NEW
  • High School Counselor
  • MTSS Candidate – NEW

As the Leadership Team and I finalize our restructure of our roles and responsibilities to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students and staff, we will be posting for the following positions in the coming days.

  • Director of Student Support
  • Compliance Coordinator – NEW
  • Fundraising/Grant Writer – NEW

I have full confidence that all positions will be filled as we enter the 2021-22 school year. As is typical for the start of any school year, we can experience some additional movement in positions and even an opening. However, I believe we have a great pool of applicants that we can reach out to in the event that happens.

Who can be a teacher?

About a third of STEM’s secondary faculty came from industry and begin the alternative licensure process. Please help us reach out to the community to find STEM recent retirees or professionals desiring a year of teaching. If the professional has the content, enjoys working with teens, and would like to join our faculty, STEM can assist with the CDE process. Our partner higher education institution, Colorado School of Mines, is known for its relevancy by hiring professors from industry. Our faculty from industry have different emphasis in the classroom that resonates with STEM students.

What changes are being made for 2021-22?

STEM has directed more resources toward supporting students and teachers. New positions include a dedicated MTSS, PBL, and G/T (ALP) specialist. MTSS is a federal requirement to triage support for students not making adequate progress. PBL (problem-based learning) is STEM’s defining instructional platform where students work to solve problems while mastering state standards and new technology. Teachers identified PBL as an area where they need more instructional support. G/T (ALP) is the person dedicated to serving our identified gifted students with an Accelerated Learning Plan (ALP) customized to the student’s unique profile. Schools typically have about 8-10% identified gifted. STEM has about 25% identified with many being twice-exceptional meaning they are both gifted with an identified learning challenge such as dyslexia. These new positions will accelerate STEM’s ability to deliver on its brand promise.

The special education department will continue to be fully funded and staffed serving STEM’s approximately 125 students on IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The department is supported by a dedicated and experienced case manager.

What about mental health?

Colorado pediatricians have declared a state of emergency for pediatric mental health. Hospitals are overwhelmed with demand for suicidal children post-pandemic. STEM is fully funded for mental health support and all students and staff have access to free counseling through AllHealth’s STEM Center for Strength.

Being fully funded and staffed does not eliminate the crisis. Experts from Children’s Hospital are not always successful in restoring mental health. STEM typically has about 12-15 extremely high-need students that challenge their families and STEM’s mental health team. Providing services to the highest need students while also providing access to the entire 1800 student body requires difficult decisions for a public school.

STEM’s mental health team and administrators are trained in the DCSD protocols for mental health assessments. STEM’s SRO, Officer Gabe Uribe, is part of the response team for any mental health crisis.

STEM has adopted K-12 support systems for mental health. The programs are part of the entire school. The mental health team leads in the selection and implementation of this school-wide support. AllHealth partners with the mental health team to deliver services.

What other concerns do you have for 2021-22?

Please let us know through the Communications email at communications@stemk12.org or via our Feedback Form. We will respond to your questions in future communications.

STEM will be ready to welcome our students and staff back for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Our goal is to get back to what we do best – maximizing our unlimited human potential.

Happy 4th of July!

P.J. Eucker PhD
Executive Director

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