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2017-18 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 academic and extracurricular accomplishments that involve members of the Olympia School District community. Two girls smiling

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 2017


Washington Middle School teacher Melissa Charette is named the 2017-18 Regional Teacher of the Year by the Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113. The National Board Certified teacher is one of nine candidates chosen by their respective regional ESDs and tribal schools as the Regional Teacher of the Year. This is the third time in five years that an Olympia School District teacher has been named ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year. A state selection committee will review and select one of the regional finalists as the 2018 Washington State Teacher of the Year.

Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) Annual Breakfast raises more than $70,000 for the Principal's Emergency Checkbook Fund. OSDEF Breakfast

Olympia High student Jasper McAvity qualifies as Semi-Finalist National Merit Scholar.

New turf field and track opens at Capital High, beautiful new green sod is placed at Roosevelt Elementary and a brand new play structure opens at McLane Elementary. The field/track, sod and playground, as well as ongoing mini-building construction is the result of the February 2016 school improvements bond approved by voters.

Four OSD middle school students are selected by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to attend the 2017 residential Tech Trek STEM camp held at Pacific Lutheran University. The attendees this year included Brooke Christensen and Ava Wolin of Washington Middle School, and Kayla Quesnel and Iris-Rappin-Benge of Reeves Middle School. The four attended the camp in July.


October 2017


Hundreds of high school students and families attend the annual Career & College Fair on October 24. Admissions officers from more than 70 colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools answer questions about degrees and programs offered and explain application requirements 

The Olympia Police Department presents an Internet Safety Workshop at Jefferson Middle School on October 5. The workshop is geared toward parents of elementary and middle school students to learn about curriculum being taught by the department to all 6-9th grade students in the district on "online harassment" and "sexting."

District proclaims October "Walk to School Month" and participates in Intercity Transit Walk-N-Roll events throughout the school year.

Washington State First Lady Trudi Inslee visits Olympia High School students at the Freedom Farmers program. She listened as students described the benefits of the program and toured the district-owned Muirhead Farm, an 18-acre property off Yelm Highway on Siskiyou Street. She then travelled to Olympia High School where she learned how products from the farm, as well as from other area farmers, make their way to lunch tables throughout our district schools.

Olympia High students perform in "Beatles vs. Stones - A Musical Showdown" at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. Beatles vs Stones students with instruments

District offers a series of free child development workshops facilitated by Candyce Bollinger and held at ORLA. Classes run from October to March. Three elementary parent workshops include: Positive Discipline, Safety without Fear and Anger. Five middle and high school parent workshops include: Managing your Parental Response, Developmentally Appropriate Expectations (11-19), Positive Constructive Communication with Teens, Effective Teen Discipline, Teen Relationships/LGBTQAI.

Olympia High sophomore and Olympia Area Rowing team member, Emily Jaudon, brings home a gold medal from the 2017 World Rowing Youth Challenge. The 2017 International Rowing Federation World Championship and Youth Challenge were held in Sarasota-Bradenten, Florida. More than 900 rowers competed in the world championships and 312 of the top youth rowers in the U.S. competed at the Youth Challenge.

Molly Foote, Capital HS senior, appears on Good Morning America to discuss the Halloween costumes she designed and wore to school every day in October.
Haunted School
District launches new district and school websites.
With input from the district and community, content is re-aligned to more intuitive locations and content is made more accessible and responsive on mobile devices and tablets. District and school sites include announcements, quick links, calendars and social media links to keep our school communities informed.

Avanti Haunted School event draws hundreds, resulting in more than $10,000 raised for the student trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the spring.

November 2017

Capital High School volleyball wins the Class 3A state title for the first time in school history. The team claimed the title after winning the first, third and fourth sets against Mercer Island. Capital High Volleyball

Marshall Middle School joins an elite group of only 20 middle/junior high schools statewide that have been named a 2017 School of Distinction for being among the top 5 percent of highest improving schools. The award recognizes the Olympia middle school for sustained improvement over five years in English language arts (ELA) and math.

OSD names this year's Classified School Employees of the Year. Honorees are Marilyn Dye, delivery driver with Child Nutrition Services, Michell Orwig, paraeducator at Garfield Elementary and Carolyn Poage, head custodian at Olympia High School.

For the first time in Thurston County District Court history, the court held its small claims court calendar at Olympia High School. District Court Judge Brett Buckley welcomed more than 50 high school students from Michael Schaefer's civics and government classes. Students joined plaintiffs and defendants in the school's Black Box Theatre, where they observed the proceedings.

Washington Middle School holds first ever STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) night. In open sessions, students and teachers are available to demonstrate how they use STEAM components in the classroom. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. STEAM Night

Capital High School Cougarettes Dance Team coach Jan Kiefer inducted to WSCCDA Hall of Fame. In Kiefer's 21 years of coaching at Capital, the team has made 20 state appearances including 15 top five finishes in the state. They have been district champions every year since 2010, winning top placement in multiple categories.  

Olympia High School boasts two Academic State Championship Teams.
The girls swimming (3.858 GPA) and volleyball (3.883 GPA) teams have the highest combined grade point average (GPA) from among all Class 4A schools in their respective sports during the fall athletics season.


December 2017


The three newest school board directors elected in November take their official oath of office at the December 11 Olympia School Board meeting. Directors Scott Clifthorne, Leslie Huff and Hilary Seidel recited the oath of office led by outgoing Board President Eileen Thomson. By unanimous vote, the board elects Frank Wilson president and Joellen Wilhelm vice president. T

Olympia High School choir teacher Dan Schwartz is named a 2018 Chinook Region Outstanding Music Educator by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA)! Schwartz

Dan Schwartzteaches Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Men's Ensemble, Women's Ensemble and Symphonic Choir. Honorees are selected based on the outstanding work they do each day to bring music to life for students. In a WMEA award letter, Schwartz is commended for his "dedication, pursuit of excellence and belief in the value of music education." He is also recognized for "making a difference every day that inspires others." Schwartz will be recognized at the WMEA State Conference in Yakima on February 16.

Capital High ninth and tenth grade students participate in "Boeing Manufacturing Day" at the Boeing Co. Renton facility. Boeing Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. The event included a factory tour, hands-on skills demonstrations and special guest speakers. Capital High is one of eight schools in Washington state that was honored with an invitation to the event because they are a Boeing Partner School. The partnership began in the 2015-16 school year and offers students access to the CorePLUS Manufacturing Program. CorePLUS is a hands-on, manufacturing-based curriculum based on the "core" entry-level skills that just about every industrial business needs. The "PLUS" refers to more specialized skills specific to metal fabrication, precision machining and aircraft repair.

Garfield students with artist and mural
A custom mural titled "A Moment in Time" is installed at Garfield Elementary.
The colorful mosaic was designed by Northwest artist Mauricio Robalino and was financed by t

he Washington ArtsCommission as part of the 2015 remodel of the school. The mural displays images of the natural world 

surrounding Garfield including a cherry tree, insects, a bald eagle, many salmon and Mount Rainier. Students enjoy being able to touch and feel the smooth glass and finding something new in the mural every day.

Olympia High students combat distracted driving through "It Can Wait" campaign.

It Can Wait It can be hard to put down the phone, even with stiffer regulations in place for distracted driving. The campaign began with seniors Linh Le and Averie Stock, joined by junior Paige Adderley to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. After a week-long campaign, the trio had collected 500 signatures from students pledging not to text and drive.

Capital High School Chamber Choir performs during pre-show and intermission at Pacific Northwest Ballet's "The Nutcracker" in Seattle's McCaw Hall.

January 2018


Marshall Middle School celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with second annual "Day 

of Service in order to help students put the concepts and words from the Civil Rights Movement into action. The day begins with an all school assembly then students separate into service-learning

groups, with each group providing a different service in the community. All students engage 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. A few of the local organizations beneMarshall Middle School visits Oly Community Centerfitting from student volunteerism include the Olympia Senior Center, Harlequin Productions, Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, South Sound Reading Foundation and many more.

OSD Employees rally to support the United Way of Thurston County with donations of more than $5,000 during the annual campaign.

Capital HS Cougar Cheer team makes it to WIAA state competition for the first time in program history. The team places second in state competition!

Robotics teams earn their way to state championship. After competing in the South Sound Inter-District Championship of the FIRST Tech Challenge(FTC), four of the eight OSD teams qualify for the State competition. Participating teams design robots, present their engineering journals and make presentations to the judges. Teams will compete at the Washington Sta

Pioneer Ribbon Cutting

te Championship on February 11 in Renton.

The district and the community gather to celebrate the grand opening of the new Pioneer mini-building. Work began last February on the 10-classroom, two-story mini-building as part of the school improvements bond approved by voters in 2016.

Fourth Annual OSD Technology Fair is held January 20 at Capital HS. School booths showcase a variety of ways that students and teachers use digital tools to support the learning process. Visitors are invited to watch student technology challenge presentations in the afternoon. Each school has an opportunity to enter a student team in a technology challenge to be revealed the morning of the Tech Fair. Teams work collaboratively on the challenge and present to the audience in the afternoon. Top teams are recognized.

February 2018

Countdown to Kindergarten is held February 10 at Capital HS.
Among other things, families learn 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 Transportation department has school busses on site for parents to learn about bus safety and rules, and to see the inside of the bus.  

Capital High School will be opening their doors to a new and innovative program known as Cops and Kids, Bridging the Gap. Each Friday during Club Time, students will have the opportunity to work out and connect with local police officers. Besides the obvious fitness and overall health benefits, the Cops and Kids program gives both students and the community a chance to see our police officers behind their badges, as individuals and advocates of safety and wellness. As the workout program progresses, students grow from being pupils, learning and practicing the routines, to leaders, coaching and encouraging their peers and the officers.

Voters approve technology and safety replacement levy. Olympia School District voters approve a four-year technology and safety replacement levy in a February 13 Special Election. The levy will raise an estimated $35.4 million over four years (2019-2022) to help pay for increased student access to technology, as well as safety projects districtwide.

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