Stapleton Middle School
School Year Overview - MS
2012-2013 School Year Overview
Welcome to the DSST: Stapleton middle school. We are very glad to have you in our community. As a new family, you may be wondering what to expect as we progress through the year. Below provides an overview of upcoming events and processes that you should be aware of. You will receive a school calendar at registration with more specific dates. However, we hope it is helpful for you to have a description of the events that will take place during the year.
You may click on the below links to jump to the following topics that are covered in this overview:
- School Uniforms and Dress Code
- New Student Uniform Pick-up
- Summer School
- After School Interventions
- Before School Drop-off and After School Pick-up
- Traffic Guidelines
- Fall Registration
- DSST: Stapleton’s Annual Jubilee
- STP Group
- Parent Portal
- Student Portal
- First Day of School
- Weekly Core Values Paychecks and Progress Reports
- Student Photo Day
- Back to School Night
- Field Day
- Spirit Week
- Awards Ceremonies
- 8th Grade Continuation
- Paycheck Reward Field Trips
- Student Family Conferences
- Vision and Hearing Screening
- School Assessments
- End of Year Close-Out Processes
- Middle School Socials
- Advisory Activities
- After School Clubs
- Athletics Program
- New Student Enrollment
School Uniforms and Dress Code
DSST: Stapleton middle school is a uniform school in which requires students to use school uniforms for their tops and observe specific dress code rules for their bottom wear and shoes. Please refer to the Dress Code Guidelines that you received during orientation for details (also available in each year’s School Handbook). Please note: this year’s pants and skirt colors are limited to solid black or solid khaki colors.
All new incoming students are required to purchase one uniform starter pack to be ready for summer school. At specific times in the year, we place additional orders which allow families to purchase additional items as needed. Please be careful to observe uniform order deadlines to be sure your student has the required items and is comfortable in the correct size uniform. The amount of extra stock we have on hand varies with the time of year and popularity of the uniform size. We may not always have your student’s size “in stock”, so please plan for the bulk orders.
You will need to pick up your student’s uniform starter packet prior to summer school. Uniforms should be available for pick-up during front office business hours from May 29 through June 8 except for May 31. We will not be able to serve new students May 31 due to our end of year Awards Ceremonies. If we already have your size in stock, you may receive a call notifying you that you may come in to pick it up sooner. (We were able to fill about a third of our orders from stock.) You will need to have paid the $60 cost of the uniform packet in order to receive it. If you miss the uniform pick up window, you will not have opportunity to receive the packet until June 22. Please remember that your student is required to be in uniform the first day of summer school.
Summer School is June 25 through July 13 from 7:45am until 11:30am. There is no school on July 4th. Students are required to be in uniform beginning on their first day. They also need to bring the summer school supplies listed in your orientation packet. During summer school, and throughout the school year, students who are not seated in the classroom at 7:45am are considered tardy. Students who receive 2 or more unexcused morning tardies in a week, or any unexcused tardies during the remainder of the school day, are assigned a refocus. Please plan enough time when dropping off your student to allow them to enter the building, put their items in their locker and be seated by 7:45am.
After School Interventions
Students who are assigned an after school intervention such as College Prep, Refocus, or Mandatory Tutoring will need to stay the additional 50 minutes after school to serve their interventions. Students can only be excused from these interventions for medical appointments or truly urgent needs. Students are not considered excused from these interventions to attend after school sports or clubs. DSST athletes may not practice or participate in their sport until their intervention is served. Unserved interventions are moved to the next intervention day.
Please refer to your CP/Refocus/Mandatory tutoring handout for more details about these interventions.
Before School Drop Off and After School Pick Up
The school building opens 15 minutes prior to the start of school. No supervision is guaranteed prior to that time.
Students need to be picked up immediately after school. If a student is required to stay to serve an intervention, or has a signed permission slip to participate in an afternoon club or sport, the student will need to be picked up immediately following the end of the intervention or activity. DSST: Stapleton does not have an after school care program. Students who are left on the grounds before the school opens or after the end of building hours are unsupervised. Please consider the safety of your student and be sure to have appropriate arrangements made for their pick up. Please also help to respect our surrounding neighborhoods by not leaving your students unsupervised in the neighborhoods waiting to be picked up.
Remember, when young students are left unsupervised on school grounds or in the neighborhood for extended periods, it highly increases the chance they may make poor decisions or experience negative peer pressure.
Please be very careful, drive slowly, and observe the two distinct traffic lanes when dropping off/picking up students, or when visiting our campus. We all are responsible for keeping our students safe and respecting others as we drive through the school lanes and parking lots.
Do not stop and/or allow students to enter/exit the car from the left lane. The left lane is reserved for through traffic, and it is very dangerous to allow your student to cross through the right lane to enter or exit your vehicle. Be sure to pull over to the right lane to drop off/pick up your student. Please also be courteous of the other traffic, pull forward as necessary, and avoid blocking the through traffic lane.
DSST is part of Denver Public Schools, and as such, holds its registration after July 1st, and follows DPS requirements regarding some specific forms and proof of current residence. You will receive more information about these forms in your pre-registration packet during summer school. This year registration for DSST: Stapleton middle school will be August 2nd and August 3rd from 8:00am until 5:30pm. (If it is at all possible to set up 6th grade registration during the last week of summer school, we will try to do so. However, we will not know if this is possible until after the DPS systems rollover in July, so please plan to attend August 2nd or 3rd until we have more information to provide you.)
Families who miss the registration window will need to attend registration makeup day on August 21. Please be prepared for extended wait times and longer lines if you miss the registration window and need to come on make-up day. There will not be opportunities to register “by appointment”, and students for whom we have not received all required paperwork by close of business day on Registration make-up day will not be able to attend the first day of school. We will not be accepting payments or registration paperwork on the first day of school, as we will be focusing on making sure that students who have completed registration are set up for a strong first day.
DSST: Stapleton’s Annual Jubilee
Our campus hosts an annual Jubilee celebration. This is a fun event with carnival like activities, food, and opportunities to meet teachers and other DSST families. This year’s Jubilee is August 18 from 1-4pm on our Stapleton campus. We highly encourage you to attend and help us start the year with fun and community building.
Science and Tech Parents (STP) Volunteer Group
Our parent volunteer group is called “STP”. This group of dedicated volunteers helps to support the majority of our fun student events and clubs either by direct volunteer work or in-kind donations. Our STP group hosts our annual Jubilee, for example. All DSST parents/guardians are automatically members of our STP group. There is no fee to participate. For more information about our STP group, please visit the STP web page on our web site.
Parent Portal is the DPS information system that allows parents to log-in and view the academic, attendance, and enrollment information for all of their students who attend DPS schools. You may also see notices posted from your student’s school providing additional information about upcoming events.
DPS requires that parents/legal guardians sign an agreement and show their identification as the first step in receiving Parent Portal log-in information. Only legal guardians of the students can receive a Parent Portal log in. Parents who share legal custody of their student, and who are living in separate households, each receive their own separate log in based on their individual personal information. Parents/legal guardians can only see the students living in their own households for whom they have rights to legal custody or guardianship.
You will receive more information about Parent Portal during registration and can complete the Parent Portal paperwork at that time. You may also visit our Technology Information page on our webiste for more information.
Student Portal is the DPS information system that allows students to log-in and view their own academic and attendance information. Students who do not yet have their Student Portal log-in information will receive more information about it and their log-in after school begins.
First Day of School
The first day of school for all DSST students is August 23. Beginning with the first day of school in the fall, the school start time will be 8:00am. The time was changed to better accommodate families who have students in both the high school and the middle school.
Students will need to be in uniform the first day of school and bring all of the required school supplies with them. (You will receive that supply list in your pre-registration packet during summer school.) Copy paper and shared supplies can be dropped at the general drop off in the middle school commons. Students should bring their own individual supplies with them to advisory.
Teachers and staff will be on hand to help guide students to their advisory and get started with their first day. Students will receive a welcome packet with two copies of their first trimester schedule – one copy for them and one for their parent/guardian.
Each student is assigned to an advisory led by a teacher Advisor. Your student’s advisor will be your main contact for communication about your student’s progress and needs. You are always welcome to contact other staff and teachers directly, as needed, about your student’s specific academic performance. However, we highly encourage you to build a strong relationship with your student’s assigned advisor, and to feel comfortable checking in regularly with him or her. We also encourage your student to build a connection with his or her advisor, and to begin exercising skills of self advocacy, which we hope to see grow over your student’s experience in our middle school. Students also are able to get to know the other students in their advisory through various advisory activities and competitions. Students are typically assigned one advisory at the beginning of the year and remain with that advisory for that school year.
Weekly Core Values Paychecks and Progress Reports
Students receive weekly progress reports that show their weekly academic grades. They also receive weekly Core Values Paychecks. These “paychecks” show how well the student has been living the core values and participating as a positive and constructive community member. These weekly communications are very important in helping parents/guardians stay informed about their student’s successes or needs for additional support. A high value on a paycheck means the student is doing well. A low value would indicate there have been behavior issues.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact their student’s advisors for clarification about their student’s weekly progress and/or to arrange any meetings to help form a plan of additional support if needed. Students are required to have their parents/guardians view and sign their weekly progress report and paychecks.
Student Photo Day
Student Photo Day is typically within the first few days of school. You will receive more information about student photo day during registration.
Back to School Night
In late September our middle school hosts separate Back to School Nights for our 6th, 7th and 8th grade cohorts. During Back to School Night, families have an opportunity to hear more details about our current curriculum, testing and our student laptop program.
Students do not receive their laptops until after they have become acclimated the first few weeks at school. Both parents and students receive information, and both are required to sign a laptop care agreement prior to the student receiving his or her laptop.
Back to School Night also allows parents/guardians a chance to meet their student’s teachers and receive a course syllabus for each class. Parents who would like to become involved by supporting their student’s advisor in organizing advisory events are encouraged to connect with their student’s advisor and sign up on the advisory volunteer sign-up.
DSST students typically participate in one “official” field day per year. It may be scheduled at the beginning or the end of the year. We rely heavily on the support of volunteers to help us manage the field day events. Please look for more information about field day as we get closer to the beginning of the year.
DSST typically celebrates Spirit Week in October with shared spirit “themes” for each day across all 6th through 12th grades. Some prior themes have been “Pajama Day”, “Retro Day”, “Dress Like a Teacher Day”, etc. The last day of the week is typically “Red and Black” day in honor of our school colors.
Student achievements are honored in end of trimester Awards Ceremonies. In the first two trimesters, students are honored for their overall achievement in that trimester. During the last trimester Awards Ceremony, students are honored for their overall year-long achievements. Our Awards Ceremonies are typically broken down by grade, and parents are highly encouraged to come and help celebrate their student’s hard work.
8th Grade Continuation
The 8th graders end of year award ceremony is replaced by their 8th Grade Continuation. Students begin preparing for continuation during the last trimester of school by choosing their Continuation theme and helping to plan their after-Continuation social. Families begin receiving more specific information about Continuation during trimester 3 and the month of May.
8th grade students are required to follow the high school graduation dress code for continuation, and they are expected to demonstrate a high level of core values throughout the Continuation to show appropriate respect for all students who have worked hard over the course of three years to achieve this important milestone. We ask families to help support and prepare their students to model a level of fun and celebration that is professional, and that honors the importance and dignity of the occasion.
Paycheck Reward Field Trips
At the end of each trimester, students who have maintained a high paycheck average throughout the entire trimester earn the opportunity to participate in a Paycheck Reward Field Trip. Students who earn this honor participate in a day of fun away from school, and the cost is covered by the school.
All students, regardless of skill level, have the opportunity to earn this privilege by demonstrating a high level of core values consistently throughout the trimester. Unfortunately, each College Prep (assigned to students with incomplete homework or other homework issues) or Refocus (assigned to students who have broken a core value by demonstrating a poor behavior choice) deducts dollars from students’ weekly Core Values Paychecks. On the other hand, students can earn core value dollars by demonstrating a high level of participation in class, helping other students, helping teachers, upholding a high level of core values, and being nominated for weekly core values awards.
We are highly dependent on volunteers to help us make these Paycheck Reward Fieldtrips successful and fun for our students. In particular, we typically need chaperones for these events. The field trip location changes each trimester. Past field trips have included: Fun City, Skate City, Snow Tubing (with additional indoor activities), and Picnic at the Park.
Student Family Conferences
Student/family conferences are held at the end of the first and second trimesters. All families are required to attend their student’s conference together with their student. These conferences are a great time to celebrate your student’s achievements, hear more specific details about your student’s performance, learn about your student’s various tests and assessments, and become more informed about any potential concerns. This is also a great time to share your feedback and work together with your student and his or her advisor to plan for the upcoming trimester.
As students bring home weekly progress reports and core values paychecks, information shared at conferences is not typically unexpected. The weekly communication helps to reduce any “surprises”. It also allows families and advisors the opportunity to communicate about any potential issues, and to begin formulating strategies for improved support and expectations prior to conference time.
If a student is at risk of not meeting promotion requirements to be eligible for promotion for the next grade, that information will also be shared in conferences. During conferences, a date will be set for a more detailed follow up conversation with families regarding the student’s promotion eligibility to outline specific plans of academic support in order to help the student achieve their highest potential.
Vision and Hearing Screening
DPS schedules vision and hearing screening for 7th and 9th grade students, students new to the district, and students participating in IEP or 504 plans each school year. When DPS notifies our assigned DPS nurse of our scheduled screening dates, she will send out communication to families whose students are eligible to be screened.
IA’s, PA’s, TCAP’s, MAP’s – welcome to the land of testing abbreviations and acronyms. DSST students participate in a variety of assessments throughout their academic career at DSST. Some tests are our own in-house assessments that measure our students’ progress during and at the end of each trimester. Other tests may be required to meet state requirements, such as the TCAP. We also participate in nationally standardized, and potentially, internationally standardized testing to measure students’ level of proficiency across a wider student population. You will receive more information about assessments as we move through the school year. You may also visit our assessment descriptions web page after the beginning of the year for more up to date information about specific assessments we will be administering during the school year.
End of Year Close-out Processes
At the end of the year, there are a series of processes that take place as we close out the year including:
- Payment of any outstanding student fees or student account balances
- Laptop collection and assessment of any laptop damage fees
- Locker cleanout and returning of locks
- Return of any school books or other school property
- Information about summer school and registration for the following school year
- Uniform orders for the upcoming school year
These processes all take place in the last couple of weeks of school. You will receive more information about them as the time approaches.
Middle School Socials
We typically host one major middle school student social per trimester. In the first two trimesters, all middle school grade students are combined. In the last trimester, the 8th grade students have the opportunity for their own social in recognition of their preparation for becoming young high school students. Our student advisory hosts these socials. We rely on support from volunteers for both chaperones and in-kind donations in the form of snacks and decorations. Past socials have included movie nights, activity nights, dancing and music.
Students’ advisors often plan additional fun activities for their students during the school year. Sometimes this is with all students in a grade level, such as “6th Grade Fun Day”. At other times, it may be an activity just for their own advisory. Your student will bring home information about these specific events as they occur during the school year.
After School Clubs
After the year begins, there will be a variety of clubs available for students to participate in. All clubs require a signed permission slip for participation. Some clubs are only for one trimester or for specific dates; other clubs run year-long. The cost of participation in clubs varies with the type of club. Some have no cost, others, such as the ski club, have a higher cost. There are sometimes a limited number of scholarships for club participation. All questions regarding a specific club should be directed toward the staff member hosting the club. All club information will be available on the specific club permission slips that become available just prior to the club start.
Students may begin participating in our competitive Athletics program in the 7th and 8th grades. (6th graders may participate in club level athletic opportunities after their first trimester.) When DSST students reach our high school, if their desired Athletic sport is not available at our campus, they may participate in a program to allow them to play that specific sport on another school team.
Our DSST Athletics program is very competitive and has really shown strong achievements in a variety of sports. Our student athletes are expected to be role models of our school’s core values, and they must maintain an appropriate academic performance level and core values behavior level to remain eligible to play.
Please see the Athletics webpage and calendar for more details about our Athletics program.
New Student Enrollment
The process for new student enrollment typically begins in October of the previous year. Therefore, if you have additional students you would like to enroll in DSST for the following school year, the time to start preparing is this October/November. This year was the first year that DSST participated in the DPS SchoolChoice process to enroll new students into the 2012-2013 DSST cohort. The process had both positives and problems during the first go-around. We will be working with DPS to help further improve the process and clarity of information for the following school year.
Prospective new students who have a sibling already currently enrolled in our DSST: Stapleton campus receive a preference for enrollment in our campus. Families must submit the new prospective student’s application prior to the application deadline (with all required application information) to maintain eligibility for this preference. The sibling preference does not extend to cousins or extended family members – only to siblings.
DSST offers a limited number of informational Open Houses for prospective new students. They are typically held in November, December and January. DSST Public Schools’ home office offers a limited number of school tours each year. Spots for those tours must be reserved in advance through the DSST home office as posted on their information page. Unfortunately, DSST: Stapleton cannot accommodate drop in tours or admissions visits due to student safety and the high demand for visiting our school.
Required Steps to Maintain Eligibility for Enrollment Post-lottery
Students who are accepted to DSST: Stapleton via the DPS SchoolChoice lottery must complete other required steps to maintain eligibility for enrollment in DSST in the fall . Some of these steps include: attending a required orientation and incoming student placement assessment, submitting all required paperwork by the required deadlines, attending summer school, performing other requirements as communicated.
- 2012-2013 Year Overview (PDF)