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March 14, 2018

Superintendent's Message: Legislative Update

Hello Olympia School District families and community members,
Patrick Murphy - Superintendent
I am writing to share some good news. After months of uncertainty and a bleak district budget outlook for the 2018-19 school year, we learned last week that the Legislature adopted a state budget that virtually eliminates our projected deficit for the coming school year.

While the adopted state budget and legislation has complex impacts that we are still evaluating, most importantly, we know we will not proceed with any layoffs of our employees.

I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the people who helped advocate for our students and staff over the past six months. Our school board, Education Foundation, students, parents and staff have been active in telling our story, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support. Many of you contacted your local legislators; you made a difference.

We are meeting with staff at schools around the district and will continue to do so to both explain our budget process and apprise staff of the long-term fiscal outlook for the district.

While we are pleased with the new funding for this next school year, the financial outlook is not as promising for the 2019-20 school year and beyond. We will continue to work with lawmakers to advocate for adequate long-term funding for our school district and look forward to your partnership in this ongoing process.

Patrick Murphy Signature

Patrick Murphy


Jefferson student and teacher work together to open doors to possibility

Jefferson Middle School eighth grader Sophia Babb had the honor of opening the Washington State Senate session on March 1 by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in American Sign Language (ASL).

Not only did Babb recite the Pledge of Allegiance, she also served as a legislative page during theJefferson MS teacher and student week of February 26 to March 2. Olympia School District ASL Interpreter Kristina Estep was right beside her each day, facilitating her experience.

Estep began working with Babb at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year and since then she has “helped Sophia grow beyond all expectation,” said Jefferson Principal Michael Cimino.

Estep said when she arrived as Babb’s interpreter on the first day of school, she noticed she didn’t sign the Pledge of Allegiance but stood proudly with her hand on her heart. She asked her about it and Babb told her she didn’t know the pledge. Estep asked if she wanted to learn it and she said, ‘yes.’ “So within the first ten minutes of meeting her, we learned the Pledge of Allegiance,” said Estep.

Since working with Estep, “I have been able to learn a lot, build my confidence up and understand a Jefferson MS Teacher and Studentlot more,” said Babb. She explained that it is challenging working with interpreters and that some are easier to communicate with than others.

Estep is a Certified Educational Interpreter, having passed the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA). Certified interpreters are highly qualified with the skills and knowledge needed to work as an effective educational team member so that deaf or hard-of-hearing students can access the full content of the classroom.

Estep works closely with Jefferson teachers, receiving and practicing assignments ahead of time so she is able to sign the information and assist with classwork accurately. In addition to signing for Babb six periods each day, Estep must learn unfamiliar vocabulary and new concepts in math and science so she can provide additional help and tutoring.

Babb was inspired by her experience as a page and said she was thrilled to meet not only Gov. Jay Inslee, but also Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who is blind. This experience, coupled with academic success this school year, helped Babb build confidence as she looks forward to attending Capital High School next year.  She may join a sport and is considering volleyball and tennis. She also wants to learn to read, write and speak Japanese.

As for her final year of middle school, Estep said Babb has “excelled academically and is like a sponge.” She added that the student “feels like she has a voice and is understood.” Several of Estep’s family members are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and she said that experience has helped prepare her to become an effective ASL Interpreter.


District announces this year's Teachers of the Year
2018 OSD Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to this year’s Olympia School District Teachers of the Year!

Superintendent Patrick Murphy and School Board President Frank Wilson recently surprised this year’s honorees in front of their colleagues and students. The news of this year’s Teacher of the Year selections was greeted with applause, cheers and congratulatory hugs.

2018 OSD Teacher of the YearLisa Estcourt, reading intervention specialist at Madison Elementary, is this year’s OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year. Blue Peetz, an instructor at the Freedom Farm, is this year’s OSD Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to these two outstanding educators, who will be honored at the Monday, March 26 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School, 3100 Cain Rd. S.E., Olympia.


Join us at OSD Night at the Tacoma Rainiers May 31!

Tickets are available for the annual Olympia School District Night at the Tacoma Rainiers on Thursday, May 31.

The Rainiers will take on the Salt Lake Bees beginning at 7:05 p.m. The gates open at 5:30 p.m.Tacoma Rainiers logo

All students, families, teachers, staff and the Olympia School District community are invited to join us for this fun-filled district event. Invite your friends and neighbors to join us and show support for the Rainiers and our school community.

Last year we had more than 150 district attendees. Let’s surpass that this year with a great turnout! Be on time to watch Superintendent Patrick Murphy throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Tickets are available by visiting and entering the promo code OSD. Group Express tickets are $13.00 and include a reserved seat ticket and ballpark meal (hot dog, chips & bottled water). Double Play tickets are $19.00 and include Group Express items plus a limited edition Rainiers hat.

Hope to see you there!


Capital High teacher named DECA Adviser of the Year

Capital High School Business and Marketing teacher Brenda Grabski has been named the 2017 Washington State DECA Adviser of the Year!

Grabski has been at Capital High for two years, is the DECA Co-Adviser, and teaches IB Business Capital High School DECA studentsManagement, Intro and Advanced Marketing, and Student Store Management. DECA is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Grabski worked in the private sector in the air jet fuel industry. She moved here from the East Coast in 2001 and made a career change to become a teacher and spend more time with her family. She has been teaching marketing and DECA at the high school level for more than 15 years.

Leadership teacher and DECA Co-Adviser Angel Elam commends Grabski for the professionalism, hard work and encouragement she provides to DECA students every day.  Grabski “speaks highly of the value of DECA in the workforce which encourages students to want to learn more about it,” said Elam. She added that in the weeks leading up to DECA competitions, students can be found in her classroom practicing and role-playing as Grabski looks on and provides constructive feedback.

“It’s nice to see how well she works with the students and encourages them to be their best,” said Elam. “In this process, it’s great to see some of these students rise to the top and become leaders.”

DECA students and seniors Paris Crawford, Riley Morales and Grace Grimsted plan on studying business when they head off to college next year. They credit DECA, and Ms. Grabski, for preparing them for academic and career success.

“DECA has prepared every student for things in school and things out of school; how to dress, how to act professional, how to go to an interview, and how to meet with potential customers or buyers. I think we wouldn’t have learned a lot of these skills if we didn’t have Ms. Grabski,” said Crawford.

Morales credits DECA for helping her to overcome her fear of public speaking. In middle school, she would cry when she had to present in front of the class. Now she says she “really likes public speaking.” She added that Ms. Grabski has brought the DECA program to the next level and that she appreciates her dedication to DECA and all her students.

Grimsted said she didn’t know much about marketing and business and Ms. Grabski “has taught me a lot about that aspect and has been a super amazing teacher.”

“DECA has helped me get my confidence up, and helps me better communicate with businesses, customers and people,” said Junior Reagan Divina. Divina added that Ms. Grabski, deserves Adviser of the Year and “is a great person and I love her for that.”

In addition to teaching at Capital High, Grabski teaches college-level marketing teacher prep courses at South Seattle College. She is also the WAME (Washington Association of Marketing Educators) President Elect,  a DECA Board member, WACTE (Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) Board member, and a National Board Certified Teacher.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!


Jeanette’s Joy ‘The Richard & Jeanette Levesque Memorial Music Fund’

Jeanette and Richard Leveque met for the first time as staff members of the Olympia School District. Jeanette worked in the Accounting Department and Richard worked for the Support Service Center in Maintenance and Grounds.

Although Jeanette and Richard have passed on, their memory is alive and well.

Jeanette began playing the flute in grade school and continued through college. After graduating Jeanette and Richard Levequefrom college, she began her career with the OSD and started playing the flute with her church quartet. This was a ritual Jeanette continued for the rest of her life. Both Jeanette and Richard loved music, laughter and helping children, which is why it seems appropriate that this would be the focus of their legacy; Jeanette’s Joy, the Richard & Jeanette Levesque Memorial Music Fund.

Jeanette’s Joy, established by family members through the Olympia School District Education Foundation, will help support music departments across the Olympia School District. All schools will have access to funds to help purchase instruments or accompanying items. There will also be college scholarships available each year to two graduating senior band students that wish to continue their education. Band students wishing to apply for these scholarships may do so by completing an application. The application deadline is April 30 of each year. For additional scholarship information please contact family member Carol Carns at

Jeanette and Richard were also classic car lovers. They owned and were long-standing members of the Nash Metropolitan Car Club. This love of cars has helped kick-off an annual fundraiser, the Music & Memories Car Show, where all proceeds will go directly to the Levesque Memorial Music Fund. This event will feature antique and classic cars from over 40 clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

This year the event will take place on June 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ingersoll Stadium. The event is open to the public and free to attend. If you would like to enter a car for the show the cost is $15, which includes four tickets to four drawings. There will be a drawing every hour for prizes and gift cards. Trophies will be awarded to cars in multiple categories. There will also be a 50/50 cash raffle, musical performances, bake sale items and food/drinks available. For additional information regarding the Music & Memories Car Show, please contact Carol Carns at

We as a district are extremely grateful to both Jeanette and Richard and their family members for their continued support of our students, programs and the Olympia community. Thank you.


Boston Harbor immerses students, families in STEAM activities
STEAM Night at Boston Harbor Elementary

Earlier this month, Boston Harbor Elementary students experienced a full day and night of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities. The day began with an assembly by the Hands on Children's Museum focused on generating excitement about possibilities in science.

Next, students watched STEAM occupational presentations by parents. Guest presenters represented occupations including a food scientist, structural engineer, biologist, zine maker, motorcycle rehabilitation specialist and web accessibility specialist. Presenters explained the significance that science, engineering, technology, arts and math has had in their professions.

Following the presentations, the school invited families and students to roam through campus for STEAM Night at Boston Harbor Elementaryhands-on activities including marshmallow structures, marble runs, slime, and secret codes. Each of the evening activities related to a book students are reading in class.

This exciting and informative day was made possible in part by the Boston Harbor Elementary School PTA and parent volunteers. What an amazing opportunity for students to learn more about all things STEAM!


Updated 2017-18 School Year CalendarCalendar

The Olympia School District has extended the 2017-18 school year calendar in order to make up for the snow day on February 22.

The revised final day of school will be Wednesday, June 20, with all schools operating on a half-day schedule. The calendar may be revised again if there are any additional school closure days.

You can view the updated school calendar here.


OSD 2018-19 School Year Budget Priorities Survey

As preparation for the upcoming school year, the Superintendent and Board of Directors seek input from parents, students, staff and the community on the Olympia School District 2018-19 school year budget.

This survey has three parts:Survey

  1. A series of forced choice questions (by forcing respondents to choose between two valuable investments, a natural ranking emerges)
  2. An open-ended narrative section; what does each respondent value about our school district and what efficiencies do you suggest?
  3. A tool to capture how you would spend an extra 1% in resources.

You may participate in all parts, or only one or two. Take the survey here.



Upcoming OSD Events



March 14: 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday
March 19: Joint Board Meeting with Griffin SD (Capital HS @ 6:30 p.m.)
March 21: 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday
March 21:  WA State Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning - Teacher Workshop (Knox @ 3:30 p.m.)
March 26: Board Meeting (Washington MS @ 6:30 p.m.)
March 27-30: Elementary School Conferences (Half-Days for Elementary)
March 28: 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday (Middle School and High School)


April 2-6: Spring Break (No School)
April 11: 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday



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.