Spotlight on Success

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Artwork by OSD student of downtown Olympia   

October 24, 2018


Superintendent's Message


Hello Olympia School District Families,

Patrick Murphy HeadshotThat extra chill in the wind and the colorful leaves littering the streets of Olympia are letting us know that the sunny warm weather we’ve so enjoyed is fading fast and winter is not too far away. As we break out the winter clothes and gear up for the cooler temps, I want to take one more opportunity to encourage you to give us your feedback and ideas around the draft student outcomes created by our school board.

You might recall in last month’s Spotlight on Success message that I mentioned the board’s community outreach efforts to gather feedback on the draft student outcomes that will be the driver of our new Strategic Plan. The school board, like a strong classroom teacher, knows the importance of establishing learning targets before making lesson plans. Learning targets guide teachers on what materials they will need and which instructional strategies to use. Likewise, the school board wants to firmly establish the outcomes we want for all of our students to help inform decisions on budgets, staffing and programs.

To date, we have met with more than 40 focus groups, including school employees, students, parent organizations, community groups and service clubs. We’ve had more than 300 responses to our online survey. The board is hoping to solidify the outcomes at a November board meeting, so if you have not had a chance, please take a moment to answer the brief questions on the feedback form before November 1. Thank you for your help with this important work.

Patrick Murphy Signature

Patrick C. Murphy, Ed. D.

Olympia School District


Happy Lincoln ES student participating in a sack race

Lincoln welcomes fall with annual Harvest Festival

Sunny skies and vibrant fall colors complimented a series of fun activities featured at the annual Lincoln Elementary Harvest Festival.

The event, held each year in October, is a time for students and guests to celebrate the abundance of the harvest, the shifting of seasons and the importance of nature and earth. Students participate in a variety of outdoor activities including sack races, face painting, bobbing for apples, art projects, pressing cider and more.

Preparation for the Harvest Festival begins during the spring when each classroom is assigned a garden plot and a specific crop to grow. Over the summer, family and community volunteers help maintain and tend the garden. In the weeks leading up to the event, 

Students at Lincoln ES making necklaces at Harvest Festival

students harvest crops and plan menu items for a harvest luncheon along with parents, staff and community members.

This year’s luncheon included fresh pesto and garlic bread, potato corn chowder, pumpkin pies and homemade dolmas made with grape leaves from the garden.

What a delicious and fun way to celebrate the season!

Marshall and McLane honored with School of Distinction award
Marshall MS students in class studyingMarshall Middle School and McLane Elementary School have each been recognized as a 2018 School of Distinction. The award is presented annually to the top 5 percent of schools statewide that have made sustained improvement over the past five years in English language arts and math.

The schools will be formally recognized at an upcoming Olympia School Board meeting, as well as at a regional Educational Service District awards ceremony. Each school will receive a banner and certificate to display at their buildings.

McLane ES student in classroom and happyThis is the first year that McLane Elementary has been named a School of Distinction and the second year in a row for Marshall Middle School. They are among 91 schools statewide, representing elementary, middle/junior high and high school, that received a 2018 School of Distinction honor. The award is sponsored by the Center for Educational Effectiveness in partnership with the Association of Educational Service Districts, The Association of Washington School Principals, Washington Association of School Administrators, Washington State School Directors’ Association and the Washington State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This is the twelfth year that CEE and their partners have recognized schools with a School of Distinction award.


Capital HS student accepted to Washington World Fellows program

CHS Sophomore Daniel NearyOver the summer Capital High School student Daniel Neary was accepted to the Washington World Fellows program. Neary was chosen from among 300 applicants from across Washington state for his clear academic drive, his enthusiasm for new learning and his demonstrated personal determination to succeed in whatever he pursued.

This fellowship is a study abroad and college readiness program that is the result of a partnership between the Office of Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Central Washington University (CWU), the Association of Washington Generals (AWG), and the Honorary Consulate of Spain. Neary was entrusted to be an ambassador for the state of Washington as he studied abroad. This was a six-week program, with the hope that the 15 students selected would come back and share their learning experience with their school and their community as they make their way through high school and beyond.

Capital HS student Daniel Neary in the mountainsThe Washington World Fellows program is an equity-focused academic fellowship open to tenth-grade student applicants in Washington state. The fellowship consisted of an immersive Spanish language study abroad program in León, Spain, with a full college-level academic schedule, as well as post-trip college-preparation support. Before departing for Spain, students attended a series of pre-departure orientation sessions in the spring in preparation for the study abroad program. Upon their return students were given access to leadership opportunities and college application assistance through their 11th- and 12th-grade years.

The overarching purpose of the program is to provide deserving students who may lack access to similar opportunities an academic and study abroad experience that will support their trajectory into college, enhance their high school academics and afford them a new sense of global awareness. In order to fulfill that goal, the program, including airfare, is administered at no cost to students. To find out more about this program visit;

What a remarkable accomplishment and unique opportunity. Congratulations, Daniel, on being selected into this prestigious program. This is an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your life!



ORLA welcomes new glass “Shelter” art

The Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA) is the proud owner of a new art piece titled “Shelter.” Made possible by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, “Shelter” is a collaborative effort between the selected artist, Diane Hansen, and the ORLA community.

ORLA "Shelter" artworkOlympia is a place near to the heart of Hansen, who grew up here and wanted her art to reflect the nature of the school. Her early inspiration came when she met with ORLA’s staff. Two of the teachers told her, “This place is full of activity. It’s like a beehive.” These words helped spark the idea that would become “Shelter.”

It was important to Hansen to involve ORLA students in the art process. She envisioned them as bees and their creative sketches as one of the many ways students enrich the community. Students from a variety of grades submitted pieces of art, which were later turned into black decals. The decals feature orcas, butterflies, horses, bees, dragonflies, intricate designs and more. During the creative process, a group of students were invited to tour the artist’s studio in Tacoma.

Close up look at the ORLA "Shelter" artworkHansen praised the student artwork, noting they “knocked it out of the park.” Honey-colored, hexagonal pieces of glass became the medium for their decals. The glass is a variety of amber, gold and cayenne hues, reflecting the different shades of honey throughout the seasons. Fitted together, more than 900 pieces of glass form a 12-foot-6-inch canopy of color for staff and students to walk under.

The artist also involved community members. She worked with Alex Granger, a local welder, to piece the structure together. Once the pieces were welded, Granger spray-painted the structure’s aluminum legs and canopy gold.

Volunteers played a vital role as well. Hansen included community volunteers she had worked with on previous art pieces. Many parents and staff from a steering committee also volunteered. One group of volunteers helped affix the black decals to the pieces of glass. The “Putty Crew” helped fit together the pieces of glass in a honeycomb design. This collaboration of a wide variety of skills made this project possible.

“Shelter” is a beautiful display of student art and meaningful design, tailored to the style of Olympia Regional Learning Academy. We are thankful to Hansen for involving ORLA in the creation of her spectacular art piece, “Shelter.”


Seven OSD students named National Merit Semifinalists

Olympia HS National Merit ScholarsSeven Olympia School District (OSD) high school seniors have been named semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The local students are among 16,000 high school seniors nationwide who qualified for the prestigious award. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level. About half will win a National Merit Scholarship. These OSD 

Capital HS National Merit Scholar

students can continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million.

Students qualified for the award by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Olympia School District National Merit Semifinalists:

  • Capital High School: Jimmy Pham
  • Olympia High School: Harry Boo, Gordon R. Elwood, Yufan R. Mou, Naisan Noorassa, Daniel P. Saelid, Addison Sterner



Roosevelt Elementary joins in October Walk N Roll

Roosevelt Elementary students participated for the first time this year in a Walk N Roll program sponsored by Intercity Transit. Olympia now has six elementary schools participating in this walk to Roosevelt ES Principal Sean Shaughnessy participates in Walk n' Rollschool event. Jefferson Middle School also joined our October Walk N Roll, celebrating International Walk to School Day.

On October 10, Roosevelt students gathered with Roosevelt staff at three locations to walk together to school. Principal Sean Shaughnessy led the way, followed by students and staff. As students arrived, Intercity Transit employees and Roosevelt staff welcomed them and handed out buttons. Participating students were also handed stickers by two Olympia Police Officers, Sgt. Bryan Wyllie and School Resource Officer Doug Curtright, who made the walk with them. Walk n' Roll participants with OPD

Walk N Roll is a monthly event sponsored by Intercity Transit, which encourages families in our community to walk, bike and take public transit whenever possible. The physical activity improves health and is a good alternative to driving. In addition, decreasing the number of vehicles on the road means a cleaner environment. This fun event also promotes community as students are encouraged to walk together to school.

Roosevelt looks forward to the next Walk N Roll event on November 14.


Capital High School recognizes retiring band director Dan Lundberg

Capital HS Band Director Dan Lundberg in actionOn October 18, Capital High School put together a very special evening for long-standing Band Director Dan Lundberg. After 41 years of service to the Olympia School District, including 35 years teaching at Capital HS, Lundberg will be retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

All Capital High School band alumni were invited to meet-up prior to the CHS football game versus Central Kitsap HS, and to bring along their instruments. During the pregame, band alumni joined the CHS band as they took the field at Ingersoll Stadium.

It was a pretty remarkable sight, with a multitude of familiar faces returning to say thank you to “Mr. Lundberg” as they took the field for the last home football game of the regular season. Band alumni were then invited to join the band in the stands to perform with the CHS band.

Dan Lundberg and familyThe fun continued at halftime with Lundberg being recognized with a special presentation and concluding with a grant finale halftime performance. All of this took place on senior night, so all CHS seniors (football players, cheerleaders, dance team members and band members) were also recognized during a pregame ceremony.

Thank you, Mr. Lundberg, for all you have done for the Olympia School District, Capital High School, and the many students whose lives you have impacted in your 41 years of service. You will be missed!

Photo Credit: Tim Rogers


District hosts annual Career & College Fair

Students and families from across the Olympia School District recently attended the 2018 OSD Career & College Fair, hosted by Capital High School.

Olympia School District College and Career FairMore than 80 colleges & universities, community and technical colleges, military, apprenticeship programs, scholarship, career and volunteer organizations were on hand to answer questions and provide information about programs and opportunities available. Students were encouraged to bring questions regarding their pathway options, as well as a list of representatives they were interested in meeting.

As always, this event was extremely well attended, with students (and parents) from across the district roaming the packed hallways of CHS. This event would not be possible without the tireless time and effort put in by the amazing Career Center staff members at our schools. Specifically, Career Center Counselors Amanda Beers (Capital HS) and Jen Boelts (Olympia HS). Thank you for all you do to make this amazing event happen each and every year!

Olympia HS students perform in “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown”

When the show “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown” comes to the Washington Center on October 26, four Olympia High students will play alongside the professional musicians

Students recreating famous Beatles photoThe show pits Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction against Beatles tribute band Abbey Road in a musical showdown for rock dominance.

The quartet, made up of Olympia high seniors Olivia Cai, Miriam Silverman, Seth Harper and Bennett Olsen will join the bands for seven songs including "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye," "Hey Jude," "As Tears Go By," and "Ruby Tuesday."

Olympia HS students posing with their instrumentsThe producers of Beatles vs. Stones approached Orchestra Director Joseph Dyvig, looking for a string quartet that could hold its own with a rock band in front of an audience. What an honor to be selected for this amazing experience!

The musical showdown plays at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Friday,
October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (360) 753-8586 or at the theater box office. The show is appropriate for all ages.


Remember to vote in the November 6 General Election

Remember to Vote graphic

Ballots for the November 6, 2018 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 17. Ballots must be postmarked, or deposited in postage-free ballot drop boxes located throughout the community, by November 6 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. Voters may also contact the Auditor’s Office at (360) 786-5408 or

For more information, or to learn about items that will be included on the ballot, read the

Thurston County Voters Pamphlet.


Upcoming Events



  • October 23-26 – Half Days (K-8 Fall Conferences)
  • October 24 – 50-Minute Early Release (HS)
  • October 31 – 50-Minute Early Release


  • November 5 – Board Meeting: Knox @ 6:30 p.m.
  • November 7 – 50-Minute Early Release
  • November 12 – No School (Veteran’s Day)
  • November 13 – Parenting Workshop: Positive Discipline (Elementary)
  • November 14 – 50-Minute Early Release
  • November 19 – Board Meeting: Avanti HS @ 6:30 p.m.
  • November 21-23 – No School (Thanksgiving Break)



The Olympia School District will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. The district will provide equal access to school facilities to the Boy Scouts of America and all other designated youth groups listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society. District programs will be free from sexual harassment. Auxiliary aids and services will be provided upon request to individuals with disabilities.

The following people have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies, reports of alleged sexual harassment, concerns about compliance, and/or grievance procedures: 

All four individuals may also be contacted at 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia, WA, 98501.