Spotlight on Success

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Elementary student backpacks hanging in cubbies   

September 28, 2018


Superintendent's Message


Hello Olympia School District Families,

Patrick Murphy HeadshotAs we complete the first month of the 2018-19 school year, hopefully we are all getting back into the routine of school. From your morning rituals, to preparing lunches, daily schedules, bus rides, car pools, sports practices and homework; there really is a rhythm to school that takes a while to establish, but once you find it, there is a comforting quality to it that is quite reassuring. As we settle in, I wanted to take a moment in this column to update you on a couple of important items.

First, our school board is diligently moving ahead with its community outreach efforts to gather feedback and input on the Draft Student Outcomes that will be the driver to our new Strategic Plan. From staff meetings, to PTA’s, to community organizations, directors are determined to hear from as many of you as possible to get your thoughts on the goals for our students that will drive our decision making for years to come. If you can’t make it to the input gathering session at your child’s school, you can always share your thoughts on our online feedback form.

Secondly, we will be coming out later this fall and winter to provide information on our budget projections for the 2019-20 school year. Some of you may recall that last year we had projected a significant deficit for this current school year that would have required significant cuts. Those cuts were averted due to a last minute infusion of funding at the end of the last legislative session. However, that was one-time funding and did not represent a long-term fix for the Olympia School District. Unfortunately, we are once again looking at a significant shortfall in 2019-20 and have no reason to suspect that a fix — short or long-term — will be forthcoming.

You may recall from last year’s communication that Olympia was not helped by the funding formulas that came out of the Legislature’s response to the “McCleary Decision.” While the Supreme Court has ruled the state is in compliance now due to a significant infusion of new dollars into the state education coffers and a restructuring of how taxes are collected and allocated, the fact is that that revenue has not been distributed equitably and has caused more inequality between school districts. We are not alone in facing significant shortfalls next year.

We will be providing our community with more information on this troubling fiscal situation in the months to come and provide feedback opportunities for how best to approach the projected budget deficit. We had some success last year in our advocacy efforts and hope we can be even more successful this session in urging the Legislature to find long-term solutions for Olympia School District students, staff and families. Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, enjoy the last burst of summer weather mixed with the beautiful autumn colors and falling leaves that surround our school campuses. As I visit school open houses, drop by classrooms, and attend campus activities and events, I am so proud of the hard work and learning taking place around the district.

Patrick Murphy Signature

Patrick C. Murphy, Ed. D.

Olympia School District



First day of school collage


Capital High School football team recognizes active and former military members

CHS football team takes the field with the American flag

This past Friday the Capital High School football team honored all active and former members of ourArmed Forces as part of Military Appreciation Night. All staff members who are, or have served, were invited to be part of the pregame ceremony by standing and being recognized. The ceremony took place before the National Anthem.

Over the summer the U.S Army 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), The Nightstalkers, gave the CHS football team an opportunity to come to Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) for a leadership seminar. This was a unique opportunity 

Member of the 160th holds CHS Football helmet

for the team to see how teamwork, hard work and leadership lead to successful outcomes.

Members of the 160th took the team on a tour of their facility and gave a presentation on leadership.Before the day wrapped up, members of the Nightstalkers invited the team to tour their highly modified Special Operations Helicopters they fly in support of high-risk combat missions. CHS team members then presented the Commander of the 160th with a signed Capital High School football helmet that is now displayed in their Ready Room.

This is the first time since the 160th was stationed at JBLM in 2006 that a high school has had the opportunity for this unique leadership training. Thank you for your service and your time and consideration given to our student athletes.

District hosts Career & College Fair October 9
Students and families are invited to attend the 2018 OSD Career & College Fair! This is a districtwide fair that is free and open to all interested students and families.

Location: Capital High School, 2707 Conger Ave NW, Olympia 98502
Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Time: 5-7 p.m.

Olympia School District College & Career FairMore than 80 colleges & universities, community and technical colleges, military, apprenticeship programs, scholarship, career and volunteer organizations will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about programs and opportunities available to students.

Students are encouraged to bring questions regarding their pathway options, as well as a list of representatives they would like to meet. A full list of visiting organizations is available at the Capital High School Career Center webpage.

For families unable to attend on October 9, North Thurston Public Schools welcomes all Thurston County students to visit their College & Career Fair on Monday, October 8 at North Thurston High School, 600 Sleater-Kinney Road NE, Olympia, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Classroom visitors bring Constitution to life at McLane Elementary

Students at McLane Elementary had some special visitors last week in connection with Constitution and Citizenship Day activities at the school.

Washington State Patrol Office Wynecoop reads to studentsOn Monday, September 17, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese, who is also an Olympia School District parent, visited Melisa Walker’s first-grade class to explain the judicial process and how he helps others in his role as a judge. He talked about working with police officers and attorneys when there is a court case and evidence.

The next day, McLane parent and Washington State Patrol Officer Ethan Wynecoop read the book “Officer Buckle and Gloria” to the class and answered questions. Walker said students were curious about the favorite part of his job and also asked about the tools he wears on his work uniform belt. Officer Wynecoop told them his favorite thing to do at work is to help people whose vehicles have broken down on dangerous freeways.

One of several civic observances required by law, Constitution and Citizenship Day is an opportunity for students to learn about the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Washington state. It is held annually to commemorate the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.



Text Messaging Opt-In

Text messaging opt-in graphicWithin the next month the Olympia School District will be offering text-messaging communications to OSD families. This will be via an opt-in text that will be auto- generated by School Messenger and will go to all families that have cell phone contact information entered into Skyward.

Over the course of the next few weeks the district will send multiple communications with details regarding the opt-in process. It’s a pretty straight-forward process.

Here's how it works:

  • On the selected date (around mid-October), School Messenger will pull phone number information from Skyward and an opt-in text message will be generated to all available cell phone numbers entered for families.
  • This is an opt-in. Only individuals who reply ‘YES’ will be opted in to receive text messages. Anyone who does not reply will not receive text messages.
  • If you are opted-in you will receive text messages for; General, Emergency, Attendance and Food Service communications.
  • If after the fact you wish to change these settings you can do this by accessing their Skyward Family Access account. Once in you can then add/remove text message communications as you see fit.
  • Individuals can also go into Skyward at any point before/after the opt-in and add/remove phone numbers for texting, and specify what types of communications they would like to receive.


We hope you and your family find this communication option useful!


Olympia High School recognized with National Banner Recognition by Special Olympics

Olympia HS Unified TeamOver the summer Olympia High School received notification from the Special Olympics that it had received National Banner status as a Unified Champions School. OHS was one of just 220 schools (elementary through college) in the country to receive this level of recognition.

Schools that receive this prestigious recognition have demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.  The National Banner Recognition is recognized by the State Department of Education and is modeled after the National Blue-Ribbon School program.

Here’s a brief video from Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver on Unified Champions Schools.

Olympia HS Unified TeamThe Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners. What a Unified Champion School “looks like” can vary greatly from school to school, based on the needs, goals, schedules and other factors unique to each school; but the basic building blocks remain the same.

This is a remarkable accomplishment. Congratulations to all the Oly Bears who had a part in making this possible through inclusion of your peers. Keep up the great work!



Now accepting OSD Classified School Employee of the Year Nominations

Olympia School District Classified School Employee of the YearThe Olympia School District is accepting nominations for one or more staff members to be honored as OSD Classified School Employee of the Year. The program recognizes the work of classified staff members who have made a positive difference in their profession. All school and support building employees who are categorized as "Classified" staff are eligible for nomination. Nominees should be employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.

Please include in your written nomination specifics of how well the staff member meets the following state Classified School Employee of the Year criteria:

  • The educator (classified employee) has the respect and admiration of their colleagues.
  • The educator (classified employee) collaborates with colleagues, students and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
  • The educator (classified employee) is a leader who makes connections between their daily work and student achievement.


Please complete this online nomination form and submit by 4 p.m on Thursday, October 4, 2018. A committee will review the applications and select the individual(s) to be recognized. The individual(s) chosen will be eligible to compete for the regional Classified School Employee of the Year selection process. The winner at that level advances to the state Classified School Employee of the Year selection process.

Submit your nomination

Follow us on district social media

We invite all Olympia School District families, friends and community members to follow our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

OSD Social Media graphicOn our Facebook page, you will find emergency district communications, photos, videos, event postings, and content highlighting students, faculty and accomplishments. On Twitter, we tweet emergency district communications, photos from schools, reminders for upcoming events, and retweet valuable content from organizations in the community.

The district Instagram account features photos and short video clips from schools, classrooms and events throughout our district. Our YouTube Channel is where we share videos of students and schools from throughout our District.

Here is a  collage of photos we shared on the first day of school. If you haven’t followed us yet, be sure to “like,” “follow” and “subscribe” to stay informed about district news, events and more.

October is Walk to School Month

The Olympia School Board has proclaimed October 2018 as Walk to School Month.

Walk-N-Roll at Pioneer Elementary SchoolSuperintendent Patrick Murphy read the proclamation during the September 24 school board meeting. It states in part that in October, “children, parents and community leaders from around the world will join together for Walk to School events to increase awareness about the health and environmental benefits of walking and biking to school.”

The proclamation also states that “parents, school employees and community leaders can make a lasting impression among our community’s youth by modeling fun, safe and healthy behavior by accompanying students on Walk to School events.”

When safe walking is available, students are encouraged to walk or ride bikes to school to improve their health, increase readiness to learn and learn about pedestrian safety.

Several schools have committed this year to participate in Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll to School Days. Hansen Elementary kicked off the first Walk N Roll event earlier this month. Students at Pioneer, Garfield, Centennial and McKenny will join Hansen on October 10 to walk to school on National Walk to School Day, followed by walks each month throughout the school year.

National Walk to School Day is a global event celebrated every October with more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day.

We also want to remind motorists to slow down and observe the speed limit when driving in and around our schools. Thank you!

Free Parenting Workshops

Candyce Lund BollingerThe Olympia School District is pleased to offer free parent education workshops with Candyce Lund Bollinger. Bollinger is a parent educator and private parenting counselor in Washington state and has been practicing for more than 35 years. She provides classes and consultations for schools, colleges, civic groups, and private organizations, and also has a private practice.  She is the mother of four children and has two grandchildren.

2018-19 Workshop Details and Dates

Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Olympia Regional Learning Academy, 2400 15th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 

Elementary Parent Workshops (K-5)

October 9 – Managing Your Parental Response
November 13 – Positive Discipline
February 12 – Safety Without Fear
May 14 - Anger

Middle & High School Parent Workshops (6-12)

September 25 – Managing Your Parental Response
October 23 – Developmentally Appropriate Expectations/Ages 11-19
January 8 – Positive Constructive Communication with Teens
March 26 – Effective Teen Discipline
May 28 – Teen Relationships/LGBTQAI

For a full description and details of workshops, please visit our Parenting Workshops webpage.


Register to vote for November General Election

Register to vote graphicThurston County residents may register to vote online, by mail or in-person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office for the November 6, 2018 General Election.

There are no Olympia School District candidates or measures on the November election ballot. 

Following are voter registration deadlines for the November 6, 2018 General Election:

  • October 8, 2018: Deadline to register online to vote or to update existing voter registration information if registered to vote anywhere in Washington. This is also the last day to register by mail. All submissions must be postmarked by this date.

  • October 29, 2018: Last day to register in person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Elections Division. The office is located at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Bldg. 1 Rm 118, Olympia, WA 98501.


For additional voter registration information, visit the Thurston County Auditor's Office Elections Division webpage.


Upcoming Events


October - Disability History Month
October 3 - 50-Minute Early Release
October 8 - Board Meeting at Knox @ 6:30 p.m.
October 9 - Career & College Fair at CHS from 5-7 p.m.
October 9 - Elementary Parenting Workshop at ORLA @ 6:30 p.m.
October 10 - 50-Minute Early Release
October 12 - No School: Teacher Inservice
October 17 - 50-Minute Early Release
October 22 - Board Meeting at McKenny @ 6:30 p.m.
October 23-26 - Half Days for K-8 Fall Conferences
October 24 - 50-Minute Early Release (High School)
October 31 - 50-Minute Early Release (High School)

*All grades at Lincoln Elementary begin September 5


The Olympia School District will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. The district will provide equal access to school facilities to the Boy Scouts of America and all other designated youth groups listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society. District programs will be free from sexual harassment. Auxiliary aids and services will be provided upon request to individuals with disabilities.

The following people have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies, reports of alleged sexual harassment, concerns about compliance, and/or grievance procedures: 

All four individuals may also be contacted at 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia, WA, 98501.