October 18, 2017

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Water Fountain in Olympia, WA

October 18, 2017


Hello Olympia Families and Community,

While it has only been a few months since my arrival, each and every day I become more and Superintendent Patrick Murphy headshotmore impressed by the Olympia School District and am grateful to serve the students, families and staff of this community. I have visited each of our district’s schools this first month and have seen caring teachers engaging students in meaningful and relevant lessons to prepare them for the next stage of their learning and for life. Each school has its own unique identity; its own flavor if you will. But the common factor is a compassionate community that cares deeply for kids and strives to get better each day.


Similarly impressive to me is the amount of community support from parent groups, philanthropic organizations and other educational partners in the area. Whether it’s the local universities and colleges, school districts, Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, Big Brothers and Sisters, Tribes, Chambers of Commerce, Morningside, and countless others; it is truly a team effort in Olympia and in Thurston County for all of our children. I am humbled and grateful to be a new member of the team. 


With the beginning of the school year, we have also had an opportunity to better understand the impact of the last state legislative session and its new funding formula for school districts. You may be hearing contradictory reports about whether the outcome is good or bad for school districts. That is not surprising that you would get inconsistent testimonials, because it seems quite apparent that some school districts benefitted, and some did not. Unfortunately, Olympia appears to be in the latter category. At this time, our district is looking at a significant shortfall in revenue heading into the next school year unless there is some fix from the Legislature.  We are not alone in this regard, as you may have heard that districts like Seattle and Tacoma are in the same boat.


While the complexities of the new funding formula are difficult to sift through, Olympia seems to be particularly and negatively impacted for a few reasons. First, in the past, our voters generously approved a higher local maintenance and operations (M&O) levy (28%) to augment district services, programs and salaries that were not being funded by the state. The new legislative funding formula assumes voters statewide had approved M&O levies at the 24% level making it appear, erroneously, as if the new finance system drives more money to the Olympia School District. Second, the state inserted something called “regionalization” funds into the new budget to account for a higher cost of living in some school districts that may have necessitated more local dollars to pay for its employees out of the M&O levy. Perplexingly, Olympia did not receive any of this funding, while a neighboring school district and many others statewide did. Third, the state-mandated increased compensation for teachers, which was overdue, simultaneously ended a funding formula practice that provided increased funding for districts with more senior and experienced staff who fall at the higher end of the salary schedule. In Olympia, we hire strong dedicated teachers who have a tendency to stay here. As such, we have one of the most experienced and committed staffs in the region and the state. This new budget penalizes districts like ours. Finally, the state has mandated a reduction in class size at primary grades (K-3) but has not fully funded the cost of hiring teachers at those grades for the reasons described above. The new so-called “ample” funding system is not ample; the Olympia School District would have been better able to meet student needs and hire excellent staff under the old funding system.


While this does not paint a pretty budgetary picture, we have been and will continue to do all we can to inform and educate our state leaders on the unexpected impact of their most recent effort to fully fund public education in Washington state. As those discussions continue, our staff are dedicated to making sure every day is successful for our nearly 10,000 students that we feel so fortunate to serve.



Patrick C. Murphy, Ed. D.


Olympia School District


Students Walk N Roll to school

On October 4, students from Garfield, Pioneer and Hansen elementary schools participated in the first ofPioneer Walk n' Rollthis year’s monthly Walk-N-Roll events. Pioneer Principal Joel Lang took it one step further and rode his unicycle!


In 1968, 48 percent of children ages 5-14 walked or bicycled to school and in 2009, according to National Safe Routes to School Data, it was only 13 percent.


Sponsored by Intercity Transit, Walk N Roll encourages students, families and the community to drive less and walk, bike and take public transit when possible. The benefits are twofold. Physical activity reduces rates of asthma, diabetes and obesity and less traffic means a cleaner environment for us all. The next Walk N Roll date this year is November 1.



District offers flu shot clinics

The Olympia School District is committed to helping keep students, staff, parents/guardians and community members healthy throughout the flu season. The district has partnered again this year withOSD Immunizations the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association (SVNA) to provide flu shot clinics.

The clinics are open to all OSD staff, students, families (children must be four years of age or older) and community members. Please note that students under 18 will need a Patient Consent Form signed by a parent/legal guardian.

Students under 18 without insurance coverage will be offered the shot at no cost. Adults without coverage must pay $30.00 by cash or check.

Clinic dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 24, Olympia High School, 2:45-6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25, Capital High School, 2:45-6:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Jeff Carpenter, director of health, fitness, athletics at 360-596-8544 or jcarpent@osd.wednet.edu.



Washington’s First Lady visits district

The Olympia School District welcomed Washington State First Lady Trudi Inslee on October 4 for Taste Washington Day, which is celebrated each year statewide.Trudy Inslee visit GRuB

Mrs. Inslee started the morning by visiting Teacher Jason “Blue” Peetz and students in the Olympia High School Freedom Farmers program.

She listened to students describe the benefits of the program and toured the district-owned Muirhead Farm, an 18-acre property off Yelm Highway on Siskiyou Street. She then traveled 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.Trudy Inslee visits Olympia High School

OSD Child Nutrition Services Supervisor Paul Flock and his staff also invited Mrs. Inslee into the high school’s kitchen to learn more about how the district embraces the farm to table concept. They invited Mrs. Inslee and other guests to a tasty lunch featuring carrots, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions and more grown by our very own students.

The First Lady was accompanied by numerous guests including representatives from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Olympia School District, including Superintendent Patrick Murphy and several high school student leaders.

Thank you, Mrs. Inslee, for spending Taste Washington Day in the Olympia School District!


District hosts 7th Annual Career & College & Fair

The 2017 Olympia School District College & Career Fair is right around the corner! This is a district wide fair that is free and open to all interested students and families in Thurston County. The Fair will take place on October 24, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Olympia High School.OSD College & Career Fair

Students are encouraged to bring along questions regarding their pathway options as well as a list of representatives they would like to meet.


A list of visiting college and career representatives is available on the Olympia High School Career & Counseling Center Web page.


For families that are unable to attend on October 24, North Thurston Public Schools welcomes all Thurston County students to their Career & College Fair on October 23 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Timberline High School.



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

When the show “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown” comes to the Washington Center on November 8, four Olympia High students will play alongside the professional musicians onstage.Olympia High School String Quarter


The show pits Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction against Beatles tribute band Abbey Road in an all-out musical showdown for rock dominance. A string quartet with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO), the four will perform seven songs with the show’s rock band.


Olympia high senior Caddie Derby and juniors Seth Harper and Miriam Silverman along with North Thurston High junior Cooper Knutson will join the bands for the songs "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye," "Hey Jude," "As Tears Go By," and "Ruby Tuesday."


According to a press release by the show’s booking agency, the talented ensemble was selected by the show’s producers for their ability to hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. What an honor!


The musical showdown plays at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts on November 8 at 7:30 p.m.



OSD launches new district and school websites

In an effort to make content more accessible and easier to navigate for our students, staff and community we recently overhauled the district and all our school sites!New Olympia School District website


As you peruse content you will notice our site structure has changed and that navigation items are not the same as our old sites. We listened to your input from the community surveys and re-aligned content so that it is located in more intuitive locations. This should ease navigation of the sites while also making all content accessible and responsive so it can be easily viewed on mobile devices or tablets.


Our school sites all have school specific announcements on the homepage as well as calendars, updated on a daily basis, which you can view or subscribe to so you have notifications about school related events pushed directly to your phone. There is also a “Quick Links” toolbar that gives you direct access to items/pages that are visited most frequently.


We hope you like the new site and thank you for your patience as we address any glitches or inconsistencies that have popped-up during this roll-out!




Lincoln Harvest Festival

The Annual Lincoln Harvest Festival took place on Friday, September 29. Lincoln students celebrated the

Lincoln Elementary Harvest Festival

 results of all their hard work in the Lincoln garden and shared the bounty of their harvest.  Students recognized the shift of the seasons, the abundance of harvest and the importance of nature and earth.


Lunch was provided with contributions from each class using produce grown in the Lincoln garden. Assisted by numerous volunteers and staff, Lincoln students participated in fun activities including operating a cider press, creating nature-inspired crafts, shucking and eating fresh corn, jumping in a haystack and much more!


Let’s not forget the homemade pumpkin pies available for all students, staff, volunteers and visitors to enjoy. The pies were made from pumpkins grown in the Lincoln garden and were put together by Lincoln students with a little help from some amazing volunteers!



Register to vote for November 7 election

The Olympia School District has three school board seats on the November 7, 2017 General Election

Reminder to Vote


The following candidates will appear on the ballot for one of the three board seats:


  • Director District 3: Katie Bridges and Leslie Huff
  • Director District 4: Ann Heitkemper and Hilary Seidel
  • Director District 5: Mark Campeau and Scott Clifthorne


If interested in voting this November, note the following in-person voter registration deadline (the deadlines have passed to register online or by mail):

October 30

Monday, October 30 is the last day to register in person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Elections Division. In-person voter registration is done at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Bldg. 1 Rm. 118, Olympia, WA 98502. The Elections Division is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except on the first Friday of the month when the office opens at 9 a.m.

To register to vote in Thurston County, applicants must be:


  • At least 18 years old by Election Day.
  • A United States citizen and legal Washington state resident.
  • Not under the authority of the Department of Corrections.
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order.





Upcoming Events



18 - 50-minute early release Wednesday
23 – Board Meeting Marshall MS 6:30 p.m.
24 – Career & College Fair @ Olympia High School
24 –Child Development Workshop - Developmentally Appropriate Expectations
24-27 - K-8 Conference Week & Early Release


1 – 50-minute early release Wednesday
5 – Daylight Savings – Turn clocks back one hour
6 –Child Development Workshop - Positive Discipline
6 – Board Meeting, Knox 6:30 p.m.
7 – General Election Day
8 – 50-minute early release Wednesday
10 – No School/Veteran’s Day


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: Jeff Carpenter, Title IX Officer, (360) 596-8544; Ken Turcotte, Section 504 and ADA Coordinator, (360) 596-7542; Steve Rood, Director of Career and Technical Education, (360) 596-6109; and Scott Niemann, Affirmative Action Officer and Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator, (360) 596-6193. All four individuals may also be contacted at 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia, WA, 98501.