STEM Updates

November 2020

Our monthly STEM newsletter is designed to communicate upcoming events, important information, ask for help, and share good news. We hope parents will be able to find answers to many of their questions in the information provided. We have updated our website to include past newsletters on the landing page for you to refer to if needed. Please reach out to us by phone or email if you have any questions, we are here to help!

COVID Communication Update

In an effort to be as transparent as possible, STEM has implemented a COVID dashboard on our website ( to keep STEM families informed about positive COVID cases on campus. The dashboard will be updated daily to notify our families rather than individual emails being sent out. Students who have had direct exposure will continue to be notified by email to follow our exposure protocol. Please check the dashboard and your emails daily for updated information.

UTPB STEM Academy will be using the updated definition of exposure provided by the CDC: Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to patient being tested) until the time the patient is isolated.

Upcoming Events


04 SNACK ATTACK during all lunches

06 Seniors UTPB Application Workshop

09 Third 6-weeks Cycle Begins

11 SNACK ATTACK during all lunches

18 SNACK ATTACK during all lunches

19 Fall Picture Re-takes

23-27 Thanksgiving Break


01 FAFSA Presentation with UTPB Admissions

18 Student Holiday/Teacher Records Day

21 Start of Winter Break

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Please click on each picture to view the entire flyer.

Donation from Atmos Energy

STEM students will soon have brand new laptops thanks to Atmos Energy. The laptops will be powerful enough to support software to teach students digital applications of animation, engineering, 3-D modeling, and other 21st century skills.

Engineering Visit

STEM seniors met with the UTPB College of Engineering to explore chemical, petroleum, mechanical and electrical engineering. We even got to tour the labs and pizza!

Thank you, Dr. Nnanna and entire engineering team. Falcons up!

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Earthquake Research

On Friday morning at UTPB's STEM Academy, the students of the 6th grade class presented their research on earthquakes after experiencing the recent quakes that took place in the Permian Basin. Students were tasked with researching earthquakes and what's causing them here in west Texas.


This month's Core Value is GRATITUDE which we will implement all month during our social emotional lessons. This year we are definitely thankful for our WONDERFUL STEM FAMILIES. We are so blessed to have an amazing PTO and a community that stands behind our school and our students. With your help, our Student Council raised funds for a future prom or senior trip and elementary earned a pizza party for all Red Ribbon Door Competition Participants.

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STEM Family,

The 2020 year has brought upon us many challenges as not only a nation but as a STEM community. During this time, I am thankful to be part of such a strong STEM family. Many of our students need basic necessities such as shoes, socks, underwear, food, glasses, school supplies, hygiene materials, etc. Many people do not realize that we as a school provide families in need with these supports with no additional funding. This is why we need your help. Please donate to the UTPB STEM Academy counseling fund, your money will supply students with these basic needs. Also, know that your money will go to families who have come across hard times with Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas presents, and coats for the winter season. I appreciate all your generosity. Please reach out to our PTO at and let them know you would like to donate to the Counseling Fund.

Thank you,

Jaimie Miller, M.Ed


PTO Information

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Secondary Updates

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Well we have finished about of the third of the school year…WOW! This year in our secondary grade levels, our team is pushing hard to get all our kids on track in math. Our goal is that every student in grades 6th – 11th is on grade level for math. We measure this progress based on their beginning of year assessment, their semester exams, spring assessment, and finally their state assessment.

As a parent of a 6th – 11th grade student you can help our student meet this goal. Students not currently on grade level from our beginning of year assessment results have given us a starting point. You will be receiving an individual email if your student is currently behind grade level. It will describe the interventions your student will be receiving. Some interventions include: in class small group, Friday small groups, and/or mandatory tutoring.

Parents we hope you will join STEM Academy in meeting this very ambitious goal for your student’s performance. Our team believes its achievable but only with your dedicated assistance. Please let me know if you have any questions. We look forward to working together.

In Service to others,

Mr. Cody Griffin

Principal STEM Academy Middle/High School




Admissions Workshop

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Beginning of the Year Assessment Information

Students in 4th grade up through EOC grades, took a benchmark assessment to gather information on their current academic needs. This test covered content from the previous year (for example, a 6th grade took a benchmark that covered 5th grade content from last year). This data allows our teachers and staff to see gaps in learning and adjust this year's curriculum to meet the needs of the students. As the parent, you have access to their results and other helpful information provided by TEA. Open the document for a step-by-step guide to "How to Access" you child's benchmark information.

Attached is the information for parents to access their child's BOY/benchmark information.

It is two pages:

  • Page 2 is the step by step instructions for accessing.
  • Page 1 explains the test and the process.

Elementary Updates

Dear Elementary Parents,

Dear STEM Parents,

October was an incredibly productive month with wonderful PBLs occurring in Elementary. Below are descriptions of the fabulous PBLs that occurred this month.

  • Kinder
    • Each week kinder was read a different October story that focused on different comprehension strategies and phonics. Each Friday, students performed a science experiment that was related to the story. For example, students discovered that troll saliva (vinegar) and crushed dragon teeth (baking soda) made a "witch's brew" sizzle! Additionally, students made diagrams of a pumpkin life cycle and performed a sink or float experiment with a whole pumpkin and gutted pumpkin. Students dressed up as a favorite character in a story book and brought to school book boxes. They will present to their classmates this week.
  • First Grade
    • First grade read a favorite book, created a book report in which they shared the title, author, illustrator, main character, what their favorite part of the book was, and the reason they liked the main character. This event culminated in a presentation to their classmates and the creation of the main character using pumpkins!
  • Second Grade
    • Second grade is "Finding Our Way to Neverland". Peter Pan uses Tinker Bells fairy dust and a little imagination to fly, but students are fresh out of fairy dust. Thus, students must use engineering skills to create a device to get ping pong balls to "fly" through the air. Students use their mapping skills to find a buried treasure and time measurement skills to outwit the Tick Tock Croc. Teachers are delighting students and piquing their curiosity by reading the novel "Peter Pan" by J.M. Barrie to the students daily. An extra treat was wearing pajamas on Fridays to represent the Darling family who went to Neverland in their pjs!
  • Third Grade
    • Third grade had a Harry Potter themed PBL in which students had to persuade, inform, and entertain readers about wizard activities by writing three articles. Students created creature cards featuring three adaptations for each creature as well as explaining the game of quidditch. Although the quidditch match had to be rescheduled, once the game is played students will graph the quidditch scores.
  • Fourth Grade
    • Fourth grade is doing a PBL called "Native People, Native Lands" this fall! The students have been broken into groups and are studying in depth one of the tribes native to Texas. Students are focusing on Earth Science, landforms, their chosen tribe, the region in which the tribe lived, and a prominent landform in the region. One of their tasks was to map out where their tribe lived and their landform's location. This information was then transferred onto a big map of Texas out on the blacktop! Students are writing plays from the perspective of their tribe and making ebooks that show the details about their tribe, region, and landform. So far, it's been a lot of fun!
  • Fifth Grade
    • Students studied how they as biologist archive their journey as they explore and adapt to specific United States biomes. Animated movies showcasing students' discoveries were created and then shared in fifth grades first annual STEM Biodiversity Symposium. The culminating event, the STEMMY Awards, were held on Monday, November 2 to present the best "Pixar Survival" movie!

We apologize for having to postpone our Kinder - 3rd Grade PBL Trunk or Treat drive through event. This has been rescheduled for Friday, November 6. Decorate your car in PBL fashion and come join us! Remember to follow us on social media to see the great pictures of the events.

Best Regards,

Monica Elizondo, M.Ed.

Elementary Principal

The University of Texas Permian Basin STEM Academy

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

-William Butler Yeats

Office 432.552.2580

Fax 432.552.2581



Ms. Villarreal's Reading Nook (click below)

Technology Update!

All STEM Academy students have been issued a school issued device that must be used while on campus. Personal devices are not allowed on campus and will be held in the front office requiring a parent to pick up the device. The only exception to this is for high school students enrolled in UTPB dual credit courses.


This year the STEM Academy is providing insurance on all school issued devices. This insurance is different from previous years and requires a service ticket to be submitted for all claims. Service tickets need to be submitted online at:

Insurance coverage includes, but not limited to:

· Minor screen cracks (payment will be required for major screen cracks)

· Minor external damage (missing keys, mouse, microphone, etc.)

· Connectivity issues while on campus

Once a ticket has been submitted and verified, the student can be issued a loaner device while the school issued device is being repaired. The student/parent will be responsible for ensuring the loaner device is returned in the same condition it was issued, as loaner devices are NOT covered by insurance.

Broken Device Payment Information:

If your student has a broken device (beyond insurance repair), payment will be required to be made to the school before a replacement device is issued. Payments for devices can be made online at:

Kinder-3rd Grade Device Update:

Kinder through 3rd grade went through an iPad rotation and reconfiguration. The 2nd grade iPad rotation and reconfiguration is in the process of being completed within the next couple of weeks. The changes in reconfigurations include the removal of the “” Apple ID which have been replaced with a school managed student Apple ID. Each student has their own personal school managed Apple ID which give them their own cloud space and the ability for teachers to manage their devices while they are physically in their classrooms. Here are some reminders regarding the updated iPads:

  • It is mandatory that the school managed student Apple IDs remain on the devices. Please refrain from trying to change log out to add a personal Apple ID. This may lock out the student from the device.
  • The iPad cases are school property and are not be allowed to swapped out for a personal case and are not allowed to have any stickers, paint pens, etc. added to them.

Online Safety

There are many potential dangers to our children when it comes to online safety. We have been made aware of some of those safety issues here on our STEM campus with the use of the school issued devices. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to provide you with information on the safety precautions we have taken here at school concerning internet safety as well as provide you (parents) with resources to protect your children at home. Please help us keep our students safe by talking to your children about the importance of internet safety at school and at home.

Programs Used to Monitor Students

  • Securly- Used to block inappropriate sites and a notification system that alerts the school of all searches. This allows STEM to quickly identify safety issues and take immediate action.
  • Meraki- Used to put restrictions on devices, tracking, remote-wipe of a device, and manage all apps.
  • LanSchool- Teachers are able to disable Chromebooks, monitor and restrict searches to approved sites.

Parent Resources

Before You Text

Internet Safety

Common Sense Media

A Parent's Guide to Social Media

Student Code of Conduct

Acceptable Use of UT Permian Basin STEM Academy Technology Resources

To prepare students for an increasingly technological society, the UT Permian Basin STEM Academy has made an investment in the use of UT Permian Basin STEM Academy-owned technology resources for instructional purposes; specific resources may be issued individually to students. Use of these technological resources, which include the UT Permian Basin STEM Academy network systems and use of UT Permian Basin STEM Academy equipment, is restricted to approved purposes only. Students and parents will be asked to sign an Electronic User Agreement (see Attachment) regarding use of these UT Permian Basin STEM Academy resources. Violations of the user agreement may result in withdrawal of privileges and other disciplinary action.

Unacceptable and Inappropriate Use of Technology Resources

Students are prohibited from possessing, sending, forwarding, posting, accessing, or displaying electronic messages that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, damaging to another’s reputation, or illegal. This prohibition also applies to conduct off school property, whether the equipment used to send such messages is UT Permian Basin STEM Academy-owned or personally owned, if it results in a substantial disruption to the educational environment.

Any person taking, disseminating, transferring, possessing, or sharing obscene, sexually oriented, lewd, or otherwise illegal images or other content, commonly referred to as “sexting,” will be disciplined according to the Student Code of Conduct, may be required to complete an educational program related to the dangers of this type of behavior, and, in certain circumstances, may be reported to law enforcement. Because engaging in this type of behavior can lead to bullying or harassment, as well as possibly impede future endeavors of a student, we encourage you to review with your child, a state-developed program that addresses the consequences of engaging in inappropriate behavior using technology. In addition, any student who engages in conduct that results in a breach of the UT Permian Basin STEM Academy’s computer security, such as illegal tormenting, will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, and, in some cases, the consequence may rise to the level of expulsion.

The UT Permian Basin STEM Academy believes that every student has the right to be free from all forms of discrimination and harassment while attending school and school-related activities. The UT Permian Basin STEM Academy regards sexual harassment of students as a serious incident and will consider the full range of disciplinary options, up to and including expulsion, according to the nature of the offense. All students are expected to treat one another courteously, with respect for the other person’s feelings; to avoid any behaviors known to be offensive; and to stop these behaviors when asked or told to stop. All students are prohibited from engaging in offensive verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward another student or adult. This prohibition applies whether the conduct is by word, gesture, or any other intimidating sexual conduct, including requests for sexual favors that the other student regards as offensive or provocative. Students and/or parents are encouraged to discuss their questions or concerns about the expectations in this area with the teacher, campus administration, or The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s Title IX compliance officer. Information on investigations and reporting can be found in the UT Permian Basin STEM Academy Board Policy Module 400.

Examples of Non-Covered Claims:

STEM Academy Approved Calendar for 2020-2021

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STEM Office Hours

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