Spotlight on Success Header - January 24, 2018


January 24, 2018



Robotics teams earn their way to the state championship

In mid-December, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) South Sound Inter-District Championship was held at Baker Middle School in Tacoma.  The Olympia School District fielded eight competitive teams out of 36 teams from around the South Sound.  Student engineers designed their best robots, presented their engineering journals and gave presentations to judges. As one would expect, the competition was strong and teams gave it their all.
2018 OSD Tech Fair
At the end of qualification matches, four Olympia School District teams fought their way into the  emifinals, with Capital High School's team 9876 (The Countdown) earning the third-place alliance captain's spot, out of 12 possible spots in the semifinals.  
After intense semifinal play, only one Olympia School District team reached the finals, team 8548 (Oly Cannoli) from Olympia High School. The alliance won it all and earned a berth at the FTC State competition.
Teams can also advance to the FTC state championship through judging and awards, and one more Olympia High School team did just that!  Olympia High School, 6424 (OlyCow) earned a place at the FTC Washington State Competition by winning the "Inspire Award."
While not moving on to the state championship, congratulations to team 9876 (the Countdown) from Capital High School for winning the "Judges Award."
The Washington State FTC Championship is Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 at the ShowWare center in Renton, WA.
Congratulations to teams 6424 (OlyCow) and 8548 (Oly Cannoli) for making it to the FTC Washington State Championship. Good Luck!
To see a video of this year's FTC competition, follow this link.


District and community gather to celebrate the new Pioneer mini-building

The waiting is over! Pioneer Elementary students and staff spent their first official day in the school's new classroom mini-building on January 17. At the end of the school day, board members, school staff, students, construction partners and community members gathered to celebrate the space, named the "Cub House" by Pioneer students. After an official ribbon cutting, the group was invited by Principal Joel Lang to explore the amenities in the building.
Work began last February on the 10-classroom, two-story mini-building as part of the school Grand opening for Pioneer ES Mini Buildingimprovements bond approved by voters in 2016. Mini-buildings are also being constructed at Hansen, Centennial, Roosevelt and McLane elementary schools.
Each of the detached, two-story mini buildings provide space needed to comply with state-mandated smaller class sizes, while also reducing reliance on portable classrooms. The buildings include eight classrooms, a music room, a commons/general classroom space for multiple uses, small learning areas between classrooms for small-group teaching and learning, a musical instrument storage area, and an administrative office and storage area. Buildings are equipped with an elevator and stairs, as well as restrooms on each floor.

There is already lots of learning taking place in the Cub House!


Schools celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with service and activities

Students from around the district participated in a variety of projects this month in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In their second annual "Day of Service," Marshall Middle School students traveled to a number of Marshall MS students participating in 'Day of Service'community locations to lend a helping hand. At the Olympia Senior Center, students and seniors spent a few hours together talking and sharing lunch. Students were asked to get a "living history" of the senior they were matched up with.
The pairs talked about everything from where the seniors grew up to what their favorite TV show or musician was when they were teenagers. Lots of laughter and sharing between generations brought greater understanding and respect.
At Mission Creek Park, students worked hard in the rain to beautify this shared community space.
Students also traveled to Harlequin Productions in downtown Olympia, where they removed trash, swept and cleaned inside and outside the facility. 
Students also visited a number of other community locations where they cleaned, sorted books, shared stories and more. A few of the 26 locations included the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, South Sound Reading Foundation and Artesian Place Assisted Living and more!
At Avanti High School, the Art Department offered students a thematic mini-unit investigating "Art & Avanti HS student painting portrait of MLKEquity in America." Through a series of short videos, students considered how contemporary artists wrestle with racial oppression and its continued impact on them and their communities.
One of the dominant themes that surfaced in each of their talks was the idea of visibility and invisibility for artists of color. They discussed how often museums/galleries will overlook racial diversity in their collections and on their walls. In the classroom, students considered how much of art and history is defined from a white, Eurocentric perspective.
Avanti High School art teacher Evan Horback and his students had the opportunity to not only discuss perceptions of inequity, racism and social justice, but also to share them through drawing and painting.

Students from a variety of art classes worked in shifts to create a gridded network painting of Dr. King that was presented at a January 10 assembly at the school. The art piece now hangs at the top of a second-floor stairwell in the Knox Administrative Center.
We are so proud of our school communities for their continued work building compassion and equity through projects like these.


Highly Capable Information Meeting January 31


Do you know a student who:


  • Thinks up unusual ways to solve difficult problems?
  • Generates and comprehends complex and abstract ideas?
  • Exhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectives?
  • Thinks logically and wants things to make sense?
  • Prefers the company of intellectual peers?
  • Is an expert who abstracts beyond the field?


If you answered "yes" to the questions above, please consider referring that student Elementary student focusing on artworkfor identification  for highly capable services.  Referrals may come from the community, teachers, and/or parents.  Referrals for screening will open beginning on Monday, January 29, 2018 and will be accepted until noon on Friday, February 9, 2018.

Interested parents/guardians of students in grades two through eight are invited to an informational meeting on highly capable services on Wednesday, January 31, from 6-7:00 p.m. in the Board Room in the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way SE. 

Please visit the Olympia School District's Highly Capable Program webpage for complete information and to access the referral form.  

If you have questions, please contact the Highly Capable Program Coordinator at:


Capital High teacher selected for International Baccalaureate role

Congratulations to Capital High School English teacher Amelia Young, who was selected to join a small group of other International Baccalaureate (IB) teachers from around the world to travel to The Hague, Netherlands this spring to revise IB literature and language courses.

The IB organization updates course curriculum every 10-12 years and selects "highly creative and Capital HS teacher Amelia Youngpassionate IB language and literature teachers" to participate. Young teaches a variety of English classes at Capital High School including IB Literature and Theory of Knowledge. She is also the school's APEX (credit retrieval) coordinator.
The IB program is a rigorous, college preparatory option intended to enhance the international perspective of students and prepare them for college. Established in 1967, the IB program has more than 4,500 schools in 75 countries, including 60 schools in the Pacific Northwest region.
Principal Curtis Cleveringa said Young "strives to grow professionally to meet the needs of our diverse population of students here at Capital. Not only is Amelia opening doors by traveling internationally for IB development, she is also dedicating countless hours to our APEX program to ensure all students have opportunities to retrieve credit and pass courses." 
This is Young's 21st year teaching at Capital High School. She is passionate about the IB program and likes the challenge that it brings to teachers and students. She said IB forces students to "think about things more broadly and globally, considering different perspectives." She is inspired by the enthusiasm students bring to classes.
Young recalls that she always wanted to become a teacher. She remembers crying on the last day of
Avanti student working on portrait of MLKthird grade because school was over. Young earned her Master of Education (Ed.M.) at Harvard University after graduating from the University of Puget Sound with her undergraduate degree. She felt called to teach high school, and English specifically, because it "lets you talk about ideas that impact everyone" and "there is always a relevant conversation."
Capital High School is so fortunate to have teachers like Amelia Young, who are dedicated to learning and growing alongside their students. We can't wait to hear all about her trip this spring!


Countdown to Kindergarten event set for February 10

The Olympia School District will hold its annual "Countdown to Kindergarten" informational event starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 10 at Capital High School.2018 OSD Countdown to Kindergarten

The event begins at 10 a.m. with a welcome by Superintendent Patrick Murphy. Families will then have until 11:30 a.m. to visit school booths set up in the high school gym and learn about a variety of topics related to kindergarten and school in general. 

A reminder that children should be 5 years old by August 31, 2018 to be eligible to start kindergarten in September 2018. The event is geared for adults of incoming kindergartners in the Olympia School District. Childcare is not provided. Additional details about the event can be found on the district website.


Remember to vote in the February 13 Special Election

The Olympia School District has one measure on the February 13, 2018 Special Election ballot: a proposed four-year technology and safety replacement levy.

The levy would raise an estimated $35.4 million over four years (2019-2022) to help pay for increased Remember to vote!student access to technology, as well as safety projects districtwide.

The proposed levy is not a new tax. The measure would replace an expiring four-year technology and safety levy approved by voters in 2014 and adds safety and technology resources.

To learn more specifics about the levy, visit a technology and safety replacement levy election information page on the Olympia School District website. An informational video about the proposed levy may also be viewed on the district website or any of the 19 school websites.

The Thurston County Auditor's Office Elections Division plans to mail ballots to registered voters today, January 24. To be counted, ballots must be postmarked or dropped in postage-free ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Election Day, February 13.

Ballot drop boxes are open 24 hours a day and close promptly at 8 p.m. on Election Day. For a list of ballot drop box locations, visit the Thurston County Elections Division website.

The last day to register to vote in this election if not currently registered in Washington state is Monday, February 5, 2018. This may only be done in person at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Bldg. 1 Room 118, Olympia.

The Elections Division office is regularly open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except on the first Friday of the month when the office opens at 9 a.m. On Election Day, the office has extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.



Upcoming OSD Events



Jan. 27 - School board retreat, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., AWSP
Jan. 31 - HiCap Program Info. Night, 6:00 p.m. Knox Administration Center
Jan. 31 - 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday
Feb. 1 - Early Release/Half Day for High School Grading
Feb 2 - Early Release/Half Day ES, MS & HS Grading
Feb. 5 - Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m. Knox Administration Center
Feb. 5 - Last day to register to vote (in person) in Thurston County
Feb. 7 - 50-Minute Early Release Wednesday
Feb. 10 - Countdown to Kindergarten, 10 a.m., Capital HS
Feb. 13 - Special Election - OSD Tech & Safety Replacement Levy
Feb. 13 - Middle & HS Parent Education Workshop: Effective Teen Discipline, 6:30 p.m., ORLA


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.