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March 15, 2017


Best-selling author visits Centennial Elementary

Centennial Elementary students welcomed New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada to a special assembly on March 3. Yamada’s book, “What Do You Do With an Idea?” was the inspiration for a school song and video produced under the direction of integrated arts and music teacher Jana Gedde.

On seeing the video, Yamada was so impressed that he asked to visit the school in person and meet with students featured in the video. The reading assembly seemed like the perfect time to invite him!

During the assembly, children and staff gathered in gold crowns to celebrate surpassing their reading goals by logging more than 300,000 minutes of reading during the month of February. They also played and sang along to the video based on Yamada’s book.

In the book, an egg with a gold crown that has lifelike qualities represents a child’s idea. For the video, students were encouraged to think of ideas and dreams that would help them make the world a better place.

As the assembly came to a close, Principal Shannon Ritter announced that Yamada donated 600 signed copies of the book for students and staff at Centennial. What a tremendous and generous gift!



Olympia School District Board of Directors video

Get to know our amazing OSD Board of Directors! Thank you for all you do for our students, staff, buildings and community. We appreciate you!



Capital High student art depicts social issues

"With Our Own Two Hands" is a striking exhibition of first-semester final projects by Capital High drawing and painting students. Their works are on display in the library and art hall at the school.

Visual Arts teacher Cecily Schmidt presented students with the New York Times Year in Pictures 2016 to provide inspiration for the exhibition. Students were asked to respond to a world problem through art.

The human hands shown in the pictures serve several functions. First, it was a continuation of their earlier lessons in drawing hands realistically from observation.

Second, it was a way of making a connection to global issues. The class discussed the ways that human hands have caused pain and conflict in the world and, conversely, that we have the power in our hands to help, heal and make the world a more positive place.

“They came up with some very visually striking and powerful work,” Schmidt said. Social issues reflected in the eclectic and colorful works include civil rights, endangered species, global warming and deforestation, obesity and beauty standards, terrorism, gun violence, LGBTQ issues and more.

Artwork from the project will be displayed during the Olympia Spring Arts Walk in April at the Lott Clean Water Alliance, 500 Adams St. N.E.



District 2017 Annual Report is available

The district's Annual Report to the community has been mailed to every household in our district to provide timely and relevant information to our community. The report recaps the school year's highlights, including graduation rates, academic performance, enrollment and demographic information, budget details and more.

The 2017 Annual Report can be found here.

In addition to the 2017 Annual Report, School Improvement Plans and School Performance Reports may be accessed on the Schools tab of our Web page or accessed here.




Washington Middle School has a long history in Olympia

Did you know that the first “Washington School” originally opened in 1891 and has changed its name and location several times throughout its history?

The first “Washington School” was located on Eastside Street. At that time, the building housed not only first through eighth grades, but also a high school and the superintendent of the district’s office.

In 1924 the second “Washington School” was constructed at 1113 Legion Way S.E., which now serves as the as the Knox Administrative Center and Avanti High School.

The current Washington Middle School was originally constructed in 1969 as Washington Junior High and extensively renovated in 2005-06.

Teacher-Librarian Mary Mathis has put together an impressive display case in the school library that tells the story of the past and present of Washington Middle School.

Photographs and stories in the school’s display case date to the 1890s and were taken from the book “A Diary of the Olympia School District 1852-1976” by Esther Knox. Artifacts on display include a school beanie from the 1940s, a letter sweater, school planners, flyers, a copy of the Constitution for Washington Junior High, pictures, newspaper articles and more.

Mathis said many students are curious and interested in the contents of the case. She said most of them look at the photos and try to identify “younger looking teachers” that they may recognize.

Eighth grader Caitlyn Hume’s uncle donated several of the artifacts, including his school planner and a jamboree program. Caitlyn said he attended Washington Junior High and even worked during its construction, earning 25 cents for each beam he carried. Caitlyn said she enjoyed looking at the old publications from the school because they were “typed on a typewriter.” Eighth grader and library assistant Amelia Grimstad thought it was interesting that there used to be a school football team and that students wore letter jackets. Mathis explained that during that time, many students did not continue past eighth grade, so junior high was more like high school is today.

Check back at the Washington Middle School library often, as Mathis has many more artifacts to display, and she will rotate them regularly!




Join us for OSD Night at the Tacoma Rainiers

Tickets are available for the annual Olympia School District Night at the Tacoma Rainiers on Saturday, April 15.

The Rainiers will take on the Albuquerque Isotopes beginning at 5:05 p.m. at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

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 schools.

Last year we sold more than 200 tickets. Let’s see if we can surpass that this year! Be sure to arrive on time to watch Superintendent Dick Cvitanich throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Then stick around after the game for “Kids Run the Bases.”




Seeking input on website redesign

The Olympia School District is in the process of redesigning our website. Our goal is to refresh our Web presence through improved and updated design and content structure so visitors can find information quickly and easily. We will also be improving accessibility and usability.

Please share your opinions about the redesign in the survey below, including what information you seek when visiting our sites and potential areas for growth. The survey takes just a few minutes to complete.

Thank you for your valuable time and feedback! Find the survey here.

The deadline for survey submissions is this Friday, March 17, 2017.




School board names three superintendent finalists

The Olympia School Board has selected three finalists to be considered to serve as the district’s superintendent.

Directors voted during a special board meeting on March 14 to select the following finalists for the position of superintendent:

Trevor Greene, Executive Director of Human Resources, Highline Public Schools. Greene has been executive director of human resources for Highline Public Schools since 2015. Before that, he worked as an instructional leadership executive director in Highline, a principal professional development specialist (one-year fellowship) at the Association of Washington School Principals in Olympia, an executive director of personnel and human resources in Toppenish School District, a middle school and high school principal in Toppenish, and a middle school principal and high school assistant principal in the Highland School District. Greene’s teaching career includes working at both the middle and high school levels in Yakima.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish/English from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in education and administrative certification from Central Washington University, and a superintendent’s credential from Washington State University.

Patrick Murphy, Assistant Superintendent, Edmonds School District. Murphy has been assistant superintendent in the Edmonds School District since 2012. Prior to arriving in Edmonds, he served from 2008-2012 as the executive director of secondary education in the Issaquah School District. He has served as a middle school principal in Issaquah, a middle and high school assistant principal in Issaquah, and a junior high assistant principal in Bremerton. Murphy taught junior high school social studies in the South Kitsap School District and serves as an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership at Seattle University and Western Washington University.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in teaching from Whitworth University and a doctorate in education from Washington State University. Murphy earned his principal certification from University of Washington and superintendent certification from Washington State University.

Chris Woods, Executive Director of Student Learning, Tumwater School District. Woods joined the Tumwater School District as Executive Director of Student Learning in 2015. Prior to working in Tumwater, Woods served as the principal at Capital High School, principal at Pioneer Elementary School and assistant principal at Reeves Middle School — all in the Olympia School District. Prior to serving as an administrator, Woods taught first and third grade, as well as middle school social studies and English Language Arts in the Olympia School District. He also served two years as athletic/activities director at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

Woods has a bachelor’s degree in K-8 elementary education and K-12 special education from Central Washington University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and principal certification from City University, and superintendent certification from Seattle Pacific University.

The board unanimously agreed on all three finalists, who will be invited for daylong district visits on March 20-22. The visits will include a tour of the school district and meetings with students, employees, union leaders, community members and the school board.

“I want to say how pleased we are with the outstanding pool of applicants for this top leadership post,” said Board President Eileen Thomson. “We are proud that so many talented individuals are interested in joining the district team and furthering our efforts to provide the best education possible for our nearly 10,000 students.”

The community is invited to meet with the finalists between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20; Tuesday, March 21; and Wednesday, March 22. The meetings will be held at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), 2400 15th Ave. S.E. in Olympia. Finalists are scheduled as follows:

The individual selected as Olympia’s next superintendent will replace Dick Cvitanich, who is retiring effective June 30, 2017.