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November 2, 2016


Superintendent's Message

Happy November! I am certainly happy to close the book on October! The amount of rainfall certainly triggered memories of those beautiful September days when school first opened. This last, record-setting month was difficult for students and staff who were cooped up inside even during recess time when, during a normal October, we would all be enjoying late fall's fresh air and sunshine before winter's transition. On the other hand, I must admit that it has been great weather for reading and buckling down into the routine of school. I am feeling accustomed and comfortable with a schedule!

With November already here, I am reminded this time of year can be challenging for many families. Aside from......yes......more rain and gray skies, it is also a time of need for many families. As a result, many of us will be participating in food drives at our schools and work sites in support of families throughout our community. In addition, the United Way has begun its annual fund drive throughout Thurston County to support families in need, whether it be food or shelter. Finally, our Olympia School District Education Foundation also plays a significant role in supporting our families. In September, the Principal's Emergency Checkbook Fund Breakfast set a record for donations with more than $54,000 raised. All of these donations will be divided between our schools and administered by principals to assist families and students. Food, clothing, heating bills, rent and even car repairs can play a significant role in the success and well-being of our students. If you know of a student in need, please contact your building principal so they can provide that assistance. Keeping our students feeling welcome and cared for is incredibly important for all of us. It builds faith, trust and the sense of community.

Enjoy the final flight of maple leaves as they float on the wind, but don't forget to clean those drains and gutters because this rainy weather is who we are. And, if you are looking for a good read to make sense of all this wet stuff, check out northwest author, Timothy Egan's book, "The Good Rain.” You will even feel good about the dripping sky.​​​​​​​



Dick Cvitanich


Visual Arts Pilot Program expands in second year

Amazing student art is on display around our district as a result of the K-5 Visual Arts Pilot Program that began last year.  During the 2016-17 school year, there are 30 participating elementary classrooms, expanded from just five classrooms last year.

This is a docent-led program where students learn about master artists and practice different art techniques along with help from classroom teachers and Evergreen State College students.

Visual Arts Pilot lessons come from the award-winning Deep Space Sparkle curriculum. This is a creative and fun program that is focused on teaching the basic principles of visual art design to K-5 students.

“Having art in the classroom is so important, and allows the children to express themselves, and gives them a wonderful feeling of confidence, ” said Kirstin Holstrom, OSD Visual Arts Director and Centennial Elementary teacher.

More docents are needed for this valuable program! The district offers convenient and flexible schedules for docents, who are trained by Holstrom. If interested in volunteering, please contact Holstrom at kholstrom@osd.wednet.edu.

The artwork displayed here are watercolor paintings in the style of Georgia O’Keefe, created by Ms. Yusko’s first-grade class at Garfield Elementary.


Olympia School Board named a ‘Board of Distinction’

The Olympia School Board has been named a “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).

“Each of these boards demonstrates the excellent work done by Washington’s 295 school boards and 1,477 school board members,” said WSSDA President Chris Nation. “This program gives us a chance to acknowledge that commitment to their students and communities.”

The Olympia School Board will be recognized on November 17 during the annual WSSDA conference in Spokane. WSSDA will also announce the 2016 Board of the Year winner(s) during the recognition ceremony.

Olympia School Board members include President Mark Campeau, Vice President Eileen Thomson, and directors Justin Montermini, Joellen Wilhelm and Frank Wilson.  In addition to the five elected board members, Olympia High School student Rachel Hodes serves as this year’s student representative to the board.

Superintendent Dick Cvitanich, who will join board members at the awards ceremony in Spokane, said, “I have worked as a superintendent for almost 11 years, and I have never worked with a board more closely connected to their schools. They know teachers by name and their programs, challenges and successes. Their work is both professional and personal. I am thrilled with this recognition they have received at the state level."

Cvitanich continued, “I am proud of the recognition our board received because it is so well deserved. They never lose sight of trying to do what is best for our students and families. Even during challenging budget years, their focus remained on preserving classroom instruction. They are hard working, honest, respectful and know how to laugh. I can't think of a better combination.”

Board President Campeau said, "I would like to thank WSSDA for honoring the Olympia School District Board of Directors as a Board of Distinction. I would also like to thank Superintendent Dick Cvitanich for his leadership and all district staff for their commitment to our students and community."

The annual Board of Distinction program honors school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. The standards, developed and adopted by WSSDA in 2009, promote research-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement, and help close the opportunity gap.

Award applicants submitted essays and supportive evidence to demonstrate how they are putting the standards into practice. This year, applicants addressed the following:

Applicants also discussed specific decisions their boards had made and evidence on how they were working to help close the opportunity gap.

An independent review panel reviewed all applications submitted.


Capital High School and Boeing partner-up

At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year Capital High School began a partnership with The Boeing Company, offering students access to the CorePLUS Manufacturing Program. CorePLUS is a hands-on, manufacturing-based curriculum that was developed by Boeing and its partners. It is based on the “core” entry-level skills that just about every industrial business needs in applied math, material science, tool and equipment use along with shop safety and other mandatory work habits. The “PLUS” refers to more 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. The CorePLUS program has been in place statewide for just three years. In order for a school to offer this curriculum, students need to have access to all the tools and materials, which would be used at the Boeing plant. To help make that happen, CHS received an Aerospace grant from Boeing for $25,000. The Olympia School District Career & Technical Education program helped cover the remaining expenses to get this program off the ground.

William Murray, who oversees the CHS wood and metal technology program, also coordinates the CorePLUS program. Boeing visits CHS throughout the school year to test the equipment and layout of the shop. Murray also goes through multiple Boeing trainings to make sure he is up-to-date on the entire CorePLUS curriculum. Students also take an annual site visit to the Boeing manufacturing plant for tours of the floor and facility.

The CorePLUS program is a 3-4 year track consisting of metals, boat manufacturing, bike manufacturing and precision machining. Once students have completed the curriculum and received their certificate, they can test for Boeing employment at graduation. Since Boeing is the driving force and sponsor of the curriculum, most of the Boeing aerospace supplier network recognizes the certificate. In addition to the certificate, students graduate from the program with physical samples of their work that they can show potential recruiters.


Una celebracion de familias set for November 3

​​​​​​​Haga clic aquí para ver en español.

Una celebración de familias will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, November 3 in the Knox Administrative Center Boardroom.

The event is geared toward Spanish-speaking families to learn about Skyward Family Access and other local services and resources available in the Olympia community. Pizza and refreshments will be available to all attendees.

Community organizations attending Include:

Pizza and refreshments will be available to all attendees. We hope to see you there!


Olympia High student named 2016 Woman of Achievement​​​​​​​

The YWCA recently honored Olympia High School senior Gyanna  Lâm as a 2016 Woman of Achievement. Since 1994, the YWCA has honored women who are inspiring and make changes in our community. This year’s criteria for the awards were: women who further the YWCA mission to eliminate racism and sexism and who promote economic advancement, health and safety for
women and girls, and racial justice and civic leadership.

Lâm and five other South Sound nominees were honored during a celebration at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts on October 28. 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.

Lâm is the oldest daughter of a Vietnamese refugee father and an immigrant mother. She has always been interested in biology, math and technology and plans to one day become a biotechnologist. She is an Olympia High School senior and a full-time Running Start student at South Puget Sound Community College. We are proud of you Gyanna!​​​​​​​


School board sets 2016-17 goals

The Olympia School Board recently adopted the following set of goals for the 2016-17 school year:

1.  By November 2016, create an Olympia School District Equity Committee whose charter is to develop a work plan, by June 2017, to:

2.  In a concerted effort to close the achievement/opportunity gap, conduct a review by May 2017, in which:

3.  By November 2016, identify a consultant to conduct a K-12 boundary review by March 2017, for the purpose of balancing numbers in facilities and access to choice and optional programs. Explore options to balance enrollment and increase equity of access to all high schools to facilitate planning for future enrollment, capital investment and increasing high school graduation rates to 100 percent.

4.  By March 2017, participate in a detailed budget review to:

5.  By Spring 2017, in collaboration with the Communications Department, improve communication with the Olympia School District community by providing information on:

6.  By June 2017, conduct an early learning needs assessment to facilitate long-term planning for the district’s 0-5-year-olds to support their success in school and life. By December 2016, hire a consultant to conduct the assessment.


Remember to vote in the November 8 General Election

Ballots for the November 8, 2016 General Election have been sent to registered voters and must be mailed or dropped off in postage-free ballot drop boxes by Election Day to be counted.

The Olympia School District does not have any measures or candidates on this election ballot; however, the district regularly reminds voters of upcoming elections.

The Thurston County Auditor’s Office mailed local ballots to registered voters on October 19. Ballots must be postmarked, or deposited in postage-free ballot drop boxes located throughout the community, by November 8 to be counted. All Washington state elections are vote-by-mail.

Ballot drop boxes are open 24 hours daily and will continue to accept ballots until 8 p.m. on Election Day. For a list of drop box locations in the Olympia School District, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office elections division website.

Replacement ballots are also available at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, located at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Building 1, Room 118 in Olympia.

For more information, or to learn about items that will be included on the ballot, read the Thurston County Voter’s Pamphlet.