the Olympia School District logo, a line drawing of the capitol dome with the Letters O, S, and D at the base


School District

1113 Legion Way SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Office: (360) 596-6100

Awards and Accomplishments 

The Olympia School District is proud of our students and staff who achieve amazing successes every day. In an effort to recognize and celebrate those achievements both inside and outside the classroom,we have compiled a list of accomplishments including academic and extracurricular accomplishments that involve members of the Olympia School District community.

This list is by no means comprehensive, so please let us know if there are additional accomplishments we have missed so we can add them! With your help, we will capture all of the amazing accomplishments in our district and celebrate student achievement, continuous improvement and 100 percent commitment to quality and excellence in all things!

September 2016

Garfield Elementary receives a performance award of $6800 from OSPI for exceeding student growth performance as a Title I school.  Criteria includes meeting participation and scoring thresholds on OSPI's Report Card.

McKenny Elementary receives a new outdoor learning patio thanks to a Lowe's Corporation grant.  Third grade teacher Nancy Hooper wrote the winning proposal for the outdoor study area at the end of the 2016 school year.

Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) Annual Breakfast raises more than $60,000 for the Principal's Emergency Checkbook Fund.

A team of ten Olympia High and one Capital High cross country team members win the Portland Coast to Coast Relay.  The relay is the longest and largest high school relay in the world at 130 miles in length. 

Avanti High joins the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) network of small schools.  Avanti embraces the CES "Common Principles" and shares an educational vision that promotes students' "intellectual, emotional and social habits and skills to become powerful and informed citizens who contribute actively toward a democratic and equitable society.

Three Olympia High students qualify as Semi-Finalist National Merit Scholars;  Warren Gu, Spencer Johnson and McKenzie Murray.  

Jefferson Middle School math teacher Jana Dean is one of six teachers selected as a state-level finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Timberland Regional Library (TRL) and the Olympia School District forms partnership via the library’s MyTRL Program. The MyTRL program provides elementary, middle and high school students access to the public library’s large and updated collection of research resources, eBooks, digital magazines, downloadable music, videos, and kids and teen homework help.

Capital High math teacher Carol McKay named Capital Region 2017 Teacher of the Year by Educational Service District (ESD) 113. McKay is one of nine candidates chosen by their respective regional ESDs and tribal schools as the 2017 Regional Teacher of the Year. 

October 2016

Avanti High joins an elite group of less than 100 schools statewide that have been named a School of Distinction for being in the top five percent of highest improving schools.  This is the fourth time in five years the school has received a School of Distinction Award from the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE).

Hundreds of high school students and families attend the annual Career & College Fair on October 18. Admissions officers from more than 70 colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools answered questions about degrees and programs offered and explained application requirements . In addition, workshops were held on diverse topics such as scholarship tips and tricks, financial aid, ROTC opportunities, college test prep (SAT/ACT) and alternative pathways. 

District hosts first ever Faith Leader Luncheon on October 11.  District and faith leaders enjoyed lunch and conversation on influential local topics of interest.

Olympia High string quartet plays along with the band in "In My Life - A Musical Tribute to the Beatles" at the Washington Center of Performing Arts.

District offers a series of free parenting classes facilitated by Candyce Bollinger and held at ORLA.  Classes run from October to March. Four elementary parent workshops include; Child Development Overview, Safety without Fear, Positive Discipline and Managing Technology.  Five middle/high school parent workshops include:  Teen Development, Communication & Conflict Resolution, Social Media, Anxiety, Depression & Stress and Teen Relationships/LGBTQ Topics.

The YWCA honors Olympia High senior Gyanna Lâm as a 2016 Woman of Achievement. Lâm was chosen for her extensive volunteer work with the Olympia Free Clinic, the LOTT’s WET Science Center, the Timberland Regional Library teen tech tutor program, and the YWCA Girls Without Limits Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Camp.

November 2016

The Olympia School Board is named "Board of Distinction" in Washington State.  Olympia is one of 24 school boards from among 295 school districts statewide selected to receive the recognition this year from the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA). 

District hosts first ever retiree luncheon on November 1. Superintendent Dick Cvitanich welcomed the retired Olympia School District teachers and administrators to gather together, enjoy lunch and hear about some of the exciting initiatives taking place around the district. The group also explored ways retirees can continue to be partners in education.

District hosts Una celebracion de familias on November 3.  The event is geared towards Spanish speaking families to learn about Skyward family access as well as many other local services and resources available in the Olympia community.  A few of the organizations on hand include: South Sound Reading Foundation, Centro Integral Educativo de Olympia (CIELO), Thurston County Public Health, Choice Network, Hands on Children’s Museum, YMCA of Olympia.

OSD names two employees as this year's Classified School Employees of the Year.  Honorees are  Barb Ensminger, a paraeducator at Roosevelt Elementary School, and Deborah Harbord-Ayers, a paraeducator at Olympia High School.  

South Sound Partners for Philanthropy awards Capital High students Spencer and Ben Rex as “Next Generation Philanthropists.” The brothers scour garage sales for unique items they sell for a profit on the Internet.  Ten percent of their profit then goes to local charities. Among those benefiting are Seattle Children’s Hospital, Wounded Warriors, Community Youth Services and Pear Blossom Place.  

Olympia High's Jenna Killman is named The Olympian's All-Area Girls soccer player of the year. 

The Olympia Math Group from Olympia High School takes first place at regional math tournament on November 19. The competition involved 37 students from five schools around the region. Winners qualified for the state tournament in April.

Visual Arts Pilot Program expands during second year.  There are 30 participating elementary classrooms, expanded from just five classrooms last year.  This is a creative and fun program that is focused on teaching the basic principles of visual art design to K-5 students.

Capital High receives $25,000 grant from The Boeing Company to offer the CorePLUS Manufacturing Program at the school. Students in the program will learn specialized skills specific to metal fabrication, precision machining or aircraft repair. Capital is one of a few schools throughout the state that has had an opportunity to partner with Boeing to offer this curriculum. 

December 2016 

Olympia High Girls Volleyball has the highest GPA (3.88) in 4A volleyball in the state of Washington. 

Congressman Denny Heck visits Olympia and Capital high schools to award three nominations to the U.S. Service Academies. Students nominated are: Capital High senior Lauren Frasier (U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY), Olympia High senior Rachel Ballew (U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD), Olympia High senior Ryan Underland (U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO).

Olympia High fields first ever full girls wrestling team. This is the first season that the Bears had enough girls turn out to compete as a full team. Class 4A South Puget Sound League, which Olympia joined this year, has officially scheduled meets for the girls. 

Olympia High offers first ever Glass Studio class.  Students are learning to design, develop and produce glass art. Students practice skills during the yearlong class in stained glass, fusing, slumping, casting, etching, flame-work and glass blowing.

January 2017

Marshall Middle School celebrates MLK Day with "Day of Service in order to help students put the concepts and words from the Civil Rights Movement into action with a school-wide "Day of Service."

The day began with an all school assembly in the morning that highlighted children's contributions to the civil rights movements and other service efforts both locally and globally. Afterward students broke up into 23 different service-learning groups. Each group consisted of anywhere from seven to 28 students, with each group providing a different service in the community. All students were engaged in their service project for approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours before returning to school for a reflection activity and another school wide assembly to celebrate student efforts and accomplishments.

OSD Employees rally to support the United Way of Thurston County with donations of more than $13,000 during the annual campaign.

Capital and Olympia HS students excel at FBLA Conference. Students competed in various event categories, including: objective tests, performance events, production events, interviews, role-plays, speeches and presentations. In the 17 different events which students competed in, there were 66 Olympia School District students who qualified for the state competition, taking place this upcoming April in Spokane. Capital High School is sending 16 students to state, while Olympia High School will be sending 51.

OSD teams dominate FIRST Tech Challenge and qualify for State. After competing in the South Sound Inter-District Championship of the FIRST Tech Challenge(FTC), six of the seven OSD teams qualified for the State competition.   Participating teams designed their robots, presented their engineering journals and made presentations to the judges. After presentations district teams unveiled their robots and the competition was underway!

Avanti math teacher Todd Thedell receives Evergreen State College 2016 Teacher Excellence Award.Each year The Evergreen 
State College asks incoming students to nominate a teacher they felt made the biggest difference in their education.  His former student, Sequoia Demetro, nominated Thedell for the award. Thedell is a math, physics, music and computer science teacher at Avanti High School. Avanti Principal Michael Velasquez said that Thedell is one of the “finest teachers” he has encountered in his career.  He described Thedell as a “master teacher who is in tune with students’ needs and interests,” and that “he is beloved to students and families and is well respected by his peers.”

Lincoln Elementary student selected as finalist in art contest Piper Hendrix was one of five finalists for the Washington State Ferries Cover Contest. There were over 150 artistic renderings submitted from K-5 students throughout Washington State. The wining artwork will be featured on the 2017 Washington State Ferries 'Winter Sailing Schedule'.

While Piper did not take home the grand prize, it is quite an accomplishment to be selected as a finalist. 

February 2017 

Three athletes from OHS are signed National Letters of Intent on February 2 to continue their athletic careers in college.  Skyler Davis: football, George Fox, Jenna Killman:soccer, New Mexico, Amir Matheney: football, Eastern Washington.

Learn All About Kindergarten Day is held February 11 at Capital HS. Among other things, families learned about kindergarten program options, riding the bus, how to register for kindergarten and how to use the district’s Family Access student information system to stay updated on everything from grades to lunch accounts. The school district’s Transportation department also had school busses on site for parents to learn about bus safety and rules, and to see the inside of the bus.

Third Annual OSD Technology Fair is held February 11 at Capital HS. School booths showcased a variety of ways that students and teachers use digital tools to support the learning process. Visitors were invited to watch student technology challenge presentations in the afternoon. Each school had an opportunity to enter a student team in a technology challenge to be revealed the morning of the Tech Fair. Teams worked collaboratively on the challenge and presented to the audience in the afternoon.

Capital High School girls bowling qualifies for the Class 3A State Bowling Tournament for the first time ever.  During the tournament the team earns a 6th place trophy.

Capital HS senior T.J. Mickelson earns MVP in 3A South Sound all-league boys basketball.  Brian Vandiver, Capital HS boys basketball coach is named 3A South Sound Coach of the Year.

Capital High junior Margaret Doyle is named the 2017 Lakefair Queen. In addition to Doyle, the judges also selected her court: Elizabeth Hirotaka, Black Hills High School; Ava Brackenbury, Olympia High School; Jayla Simmons, North Thurston High School; and Malinda Lyon, Avanti High School.

Capital High math teacher and a 2017 Regional Teacher of the Year is featured in “From Seed to Apple,” a a collection of inspirational stories and lessons learned from Washington’s Teacher’s of the Year.  McKay’s story focuses on her experience mentoring one of her students who enrolled and graduated from the Washington Youth Academy.

Washington Middle School Bulldog Concert Choir is selected to perform at the National Association for Music Educators Northwest Conference.  The Bulldog Choir joined other choirs, bands and orchestras from six different states.  They were one of only two middle school choirs to perform at this prestigious conference at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Bellevue.

Construction of mini buildings is underway.  Construction is underway on the first two of five elementary school classroom “mini-buildings” approved by voters in the February 2016 school bond election.Work began this month on the 10-classroom, two-story mini-buildings at Hansen and Pioneer elementary schools. The Centennial and Roosevelt elementary school mini-building projects are scheduled to begin construction in April, followed by McLane Elementary in May. The Hansen and Pioneer elementary school mini-buildings are scheduled to be completed in September. The other three mini-buildings are planned for completion in December. Classes will continue during mini-building construction at all five sites.




View the 2015-16 Accomplishments list here.

Please submit accomplishments to Kim Doherty, Communications Assistant, at Photos are welcomed and encouraged!