Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch charter school gets name change

STEM School Highlands Ranch took effect mid-summer


STEM School and Academy will have a new look when students return from summer break on Aug. 9.

The K-12 school on Ridgeline Boulevard in Highlands Ranch has changed its name to STEM School Highlands Ranch and its tagline to “Never Stop Innovating.” Once nonexistent, its logo is now a yellow and blue circle with sunbeam rays inside.

The charter school of roughly 1,800 kids needed a name change to clear brand confusion, director Penny Eucker said. Many students and parents didn't know what “academy” meant — which refers to the school's enrichment program of clubs and after-school offerings — and the school was often confused with other STEM programs in the region, Eucker said. STEM is a curriculum based on science, technology, engineering and math.

“All organizations need a little lift as far as image,” Eucker said. “It was the right time — we are in a different phase of our development.”

When its doors opened in 2011, the school had about 400 students in grades six through nine. Today, the campus serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade and has a waitlist.

The yearlong rebranding process wasn't easy, said Mark Alpert, chair of the school's board of directors. The school received pushback from parents and students.

“Any change in name and in appearance is uncomfortable,” Alpert said. “We aren't changing the essence of the school, we are just trying to clean up our image.”

Down the road, the school's administrators hope to see the project-based learning model of STEM School Highlands Ranch — called the flagship school — replicated locally and nationally to “create a new generation of public school students who are engaged and in charge of their learning,” Eucker said.


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