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Every day students throughout our district amaze us with their creativity, ingenuity and problem solving skills. Olympia High School senior Surabhi Mundada's 'MyHealth & MyGlove' project is a prime example.
District staff joined several community organizations in welcoming Spanish-speaking families to a special evening event where they could learn about services and resources available in the school district and Olympia community.
Olympia School District Superintendent Dick Cvitanich opened the event by reading a welcoming message in Spanish while families enjoyed pizza and refreshments.
The district’s Student Information Systems staff helped families learn more about the Skyward Family Access student information system.
Attendees also were invited to select free books in Spanish and English provided by the South Sound Reading Foundation, participate in an art project facilitated by Olympia High School student volunteers, receive no-cost flu immunizations from Thurston County Public Health, and learn about affordable healthcare.
Centro Integral Educativo de Olympia (CIELO), located in Olympia, shared services it provides to Spanish-speaking and underserved communities of South Puget Sound. Services include educational, social and cultural activities aimed at empowering people, celebrating diverse cultures, welcoming expression, and working toward social justice.
In addition, the Hands on Children’s Museum and the YMCA of Olympia set up information tables and offered free passes to families in attendance. Timberland Regional Library also shared brochures and other handouts about its services.
Thank you to all of our community partners and attendees for making this such a successful event. Listen to part of Superintendent Cvitanich's welcome message in Spanish here!
Since its introduction at McKenny Elementary School last year, the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework, which has been implemented in all elementary schools districtwide, is having a positive impact on how teachers, students, staff and community members interact.
“When my teacher notices that I am following our schoolwide expectations, it makes me want to follow them all the time,” said one McKenny Elementary student.
PBIS focuses on increasing behavioral and academic success by improving school climate, preventing problem behavior, promoting positive social skills and delivering effective behavioral interventions.
The McKenny Elementary expectations, “Be Safe,” “Be Responsible,” “Be Respectful” and “Be Kind,” are featured on posters throughout the school as a visual reminder to students, staff, parents and visitors about the agreed-upon behavior expectations.
PBIS specialist Kendra Belson has provided staff training, and McKenny Elementary employees have created engaging lessons to address each of the behavior expectations throughout the school. The schoolwide expectations, PBIS lessons, and rationale for using PBIS are contained in a handbook, which is updated regularly and given to new teachers and substitutes.
“Life Skills Awards” are given to students who display examples of desired behaviors. The awards are collected and counted toward earning a schoolwide reward, such as Bingo with Principal Michael Havens. The reward allows students to experience a direct connection between positive behavior and positive results.
McKenny Elementary behavior specialist Kathy Chavez collects and tracks PBIS framework systems data, such as the Life Skills Awards. Chavez also provides behavioral interventions that help all students be successful.
“It is great working with the kids and monitoring their progress,” Chavez said. “This program is new to McKenny, and we are lucky that the district implemented it in all of the elementary schools.”
Keep up the good work McKenny!
The Olympia School District has named two employees as this year’s Classified School Employees of the Year. This year's honorees are Barb Ensminger, a paraeducator at Roosevelt Elementary School, and Deborah Harbord-Ayers, a paraeducator at Olympia High School.
The two educators were selected for the award from among nearly two dozen employee names submitted by colleagues and the community during a two-week nomination process in September and October.
Both Ensminger and Harbord-Ayers will be honored at the Olympia School Board meeting on Monday, January 9. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E. in Olympia.
Superintendent Dick Cvitanich and School Board President Mark Campeau surprised Ensminger with the award during a recent school staff meeting. She has worked in the Olympia School District for 16 years.
Cvitanich also recently surprised Harbord-Ayers with the honor before a class of cheering students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class. Harbord-Ayers started work in this district in 2007.
The award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.
The community is invited to a December 1 meeting to hear about improvements planned for the Capital High School track and field.
Olympia School District staff and the project architect will present a concept drawing of the track and field improvements funded by the February 2016 voter-approved school bond and then invite questions from the audience. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Capital High School auditorium, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W., Olympia.
The Capital High track and field improvements are scheduled for summer 2017. Plans are to have the project complete by the time school opens in September 2017, said Kurt Cross, director of capital planning and construction.
Proposed improvements include resurfacing the track, installing synthetic turf and low-level lighting on the main football/soccer field, and adding security fencing around the track and field, Cross said.
The “Lions Health Screening Unit,” a medically-equipped van that provides free sight and hearing assessments in schools and at community events, has returned to the Olympia School District this fall to screen elementary and middle school students.
Superintendent Dick Cvitanich visited with health screening volunteers earlier this month during the van’s first school visit at Madison Elementary School. Sight and hearing assessments will take place at Olympia School District elementary and middle schools through December 15. Cvitanich met with Olympia Lions Club members John Calhoun, and Pat and Mike Parker, to learn about the valuable services they provide our schools. The Parkers have spent 290 days each year for the past 17 years traveling with the screening unit to schools and community agencies throughout Washington and Northern Idaho to provide free health screenings at schools, fairs and other public events.
Screening results are shared with school nursing staff for follow-ups and referrals. In addition, the Lions Club provides funding for eyeglasses for those in need. Last year, Thurston County Lions Clubs provided more than $20,000 worth of eyeglasses for children and adults. Thank you Olympia Lions for making a difference in our schools and community!
Several Olympia and Capital high school students recently attended the 2016 Veterans Day ceremony at Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I). In addition to honoring L&I veterans and the local community, the ceremony commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The event was not only a great lesson in history, but also an opportunity for students to “examine the importance of education, determination and overcoming adversity,” said Jane Allaire, Capital High School graduation specialist. Allaire chaperoned students along with Olympia High School adviser Antonio McClinon.
According to Allaire, students found the history of the Tuskegee Airmen particularly inspiring. Tuskegee Airmen refers to all who were involved in the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft beginning in 1941. Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all personnel who kept their planes in the air, according to the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. website at tuskegeeairmen.org.
Students are looking forward to planning a trip to The Museum of Flight in Seattle to see the P-47 planes flown by Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.
McLane Elementary School recently rolled out its first “Wonders” unit as part of the new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. This unit revolved around several essential questions posed to students including, “What do you do with an idea?" and "How can technology lead to creative ideas?"
Microsoft employee Eric Flo, who is working on the “HoloLens” project (an augmented reality platform), shared the HoloLens with all fifth-grade classrooms. Flo also brought a patent for some of his other work and talked about mixed reality, holograms and Alex Kipman, inventor of the HoloLens and the Kinect for Xbox.
At the end of the presentation, two students, Ella and Eyob, wrote letters proposing an idea for consideration (an underwater app and time travel) and presented them to Flo. The Microsoft employee took the letters to the company and shared them with Alex Kipman. Mr. Kipman wrote a note to both Ella and Eyob, signed the students’ letters and posed for a photo with each letter. The students were extremely surprised when they were called down to Principal Monica West's office and presented with their framed note and photo!
Microsoft HoloLens is the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling users to engage with the user’s digital content and interact with holograms in the world around them. Mixed reality blends holograms and the 3D digital content into the user’s physical world. Virtual reality immerses the user in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the user’s real world. By understanding the environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are a part of the user’s world.