April 2023

Spotlight on Success header


Superintendent’s Message


Hello Olympia School District families,


Patrick Murphy headshot

One of my favorite things to do, and has been ever since I can remember as a child, is to go walk outside on especially stormy, windy, rainy days. I find it even more invigorating when near the ocean. For me, the immense power of nature makes me feel more humble and less self-important. The experience is often amplified by taking a similar walk the next morning once the storm has passed. Sometimes, there are downed trees and debris and the landscape has shifted. It’s almost as if a natural cleansing has taken place and peacefulness has been restored. Samuel Rutherford, a famous Scottish leader put it this way, “After every storm, there comes clear open skies.”


Like many school districts across our state right now, we in Olympia are going through our own fiscal “storm”. I’ve shared in previous messages some of the origins that have contributed to our present predicament which we are trying to steadfastly navigate our way through. Much like the weather, this experience has been humbling and provided much perspective. It is during times of challenge and difficulty that we learn much about ourselves, what we prioritize, and what we care most deeply about. What has been abundantly clear throughout this budgetary season is that our greater community of students, staff, and families highly value our schools and the people within them. Voices have been powerful and passionate discussing staff and programs that have been so beneficial to students and families. As one of our school board members said, when you are trying to decide on which fiscal reductions to make and the choices are between good and good, the solution will inevitably be perceived as bad. This is one of the greatest challenges of organizational leadership.


For those of you who have not yet heard, as we woke up the morning after the most recent legislative storm, there was some good news. We adopted a reduction plan based on a median estimate of how much funding our district would eventually receive from the state. The actual amount ended up on the high side of our projections. Subsequently, we have taken that increased funding and immediately deployed larger teacher staffing allocations to schools for next year, particularly at the secondary level so that our projected class size increase of 5% will now be less than 1%. We are making similar adjustments at the elementary level and across our district to restore not only certificated staff but also paraeducators and other classified staff who were part of our initial reduced education plan. We expect this infusion of new dollars to significantly reduce the number of non-renewal notices for staff. If we end up seeing our normal number of resignations or retirements, our hope is we can eliminate them altogether.


There does seem to be a missing addendum to Rutherford’s quote. If there was another line, it might say something like, “And rest assured, another storm will come.” People know this, so they learn from the storm and prepare for the next one. People might add storm windows, cities could strengthen their levees and dams, and families may update their emergency preparedness plans.


Here in Olympia we’ve learned from our fiscal storms of the last few years, and we have to be better prepared for the next one. There are certain things about our current structure that don’t serve us well when the inevitable budgetary winds pick up; specifically having a large number of smaller schools. At a recent meeting, I was informed that the North Thurston Public School District has 23 schools for over 15,000 students. In Olympia we have 19 schools for around 9,600. They average 652 kids pers school and we average 505. If we ran schools at a similar ratio, we would have a total of 15 school buildings in our district.That makes a difference every budgetary season. We are consistently looking for ways to get all the essential staff and programs in each of our schools when many of them do not generate the enrollment to fiscally justify that staff. This reality has been exacerbated by our declining enrollment since 2019-20.


At the direction of the school board, we have used resources from our Capital Budget (building, facilitates, planning, etc) to bring in outside experts to complete a new long-term enrollment forecast this spring. This will be broken out by regions and neighborhoods in our district, along with building capacities, bus routes, programs, etc. This information will be essential to inform a district wide committee that will convene next fall to look for the most efficient ways to run our schools so that they are fully resourced with the staff and programs our students need and deserve. We will be sharing more information about how to participate in that process in the weeks and months ahead, so please stay tuned.


Almost assuredly, this will be another “stormy” exercise. It will, and already has, brought out both passion and concerns. This confirms what we already knew, that our communities greatly value their schools, and that is a darn good thing. This necessary work will buffer us better from the fiscal winds of the future and allow us to weather the storms of tomorrow.



Patrick Murphy Signature
Patrick Murphy



Snow make-up day: May 26, 2023 (School In Session)


Snow make-up day: May 26, 2023 (School In Session)

The Snow make-up day listed on the district wall calendar for May 26, 2023, will be a regular school day for students.


This date was earmarked as a school day should there be a weather-related school cancellation prior to that date. Schools were closed on Thursday, February 23, 2023, due to inclement weather. We look forward to seeing all our students on Friday, May 26!




Teacher Appreciation Week: May 8-12


Teacher Appreciation Week: May 8-12

Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated throughout the Olympia School District Monday, May 8 through Friday, May 12.


Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation at the April 27 school board meeting designating the week as Teacher Appreciation Week.


The proclamation states in part that teachers serve in partnership with parents to ensure the appropriate education for all children; provide opportunities for students to develop basic skills for success in life and work, connect with the world around them, and experience the realization of high expectations and the fulfillment of steps toward achievable goals; and inspire students to think strategically and to integrate experience and knowledge to form reasoned judgments.


If you have a moment, take a second to thank a teacher today!



2023-24 School year calendar now available


2023-24 School year calendar now available

The Olympia School District Board of Directors has approved the school year calendar for the 2023-24 school year.


This calendar includes only districtwide holidays and events. School-specific events are not included, so be sure to check school websites/calendars for specific school-related events and activities.


2024 graduation dates will be published as soon as the dates are confirmed.




We Got Next: JMS staff vs. students in hoops showdown


We Got Next: JMS staff vs. students in hoops showdown

The Jefferson Middle School gymnasium was absolutely packed for their annual tradition, the staff vs. students basketball challenge. JMS students filing into the gym were dressed for the occasion as the ‘Fun Friday’ theme was Tourist Day and students were wearing their finest Hawaiian shirts, flowered lei’s, fanny packs, sunglasses and large brimmed hats. The excitement and anticipation for the upcoming spring break was palpable and students brought their “outdoor voices” inside to cheer on their classmates as they squared off against their teachers in a highly anticipated showdown.


Throughout the month of March each Friday was a ‘Fun Friday’ at JMS and this particular Friday was no exception. The gymnasium speakers were bumping music as students and staff found their preferred bleacher seating. Prior to tipoff there was a brief assembly where winter sports teams, clubs and activities were recognized and celebrated for the culmination of their seasons. The Jag chess club proudly displayed their trophy from the Southwest Washington Middle School Chess Championship as their names and scores were read aloud. This was followed by recognizing the cast and crew of the recent JMS production, “The Boy Who Lived.” At that point it was getting difficult to hear as the clapping, cheering (and excited screaming) reverberated through the gym as the cast stepped forward for a final bow.


Now for the moment that all in attendance had so patiently waited for. It was time to hoop.


Jefferson staff and students took to the hardwood for a quick warm up, practicing their layups and dialing in their three-point strokes. As a side note, there seemed to be one team in particular that was taking the pre-game stretching routine much more seriously than the other! Spectators were hyped up for the game, they stomped and clapped and the bleachers rattled as the excitement grew. The staff squad was dressed to impress with JMS paraeducator Kaden Prosser sporting the official Globetrotter red, white and blue. Meanwhile, Front Office Assistant Jennifer Kickner was giving off Space Jam vibes in her white tutu, jersey and matching headband. JMS Principal Jane Allaire and Executive Director of Secondary Education, Elia Alailima-Daley were doing their part to spread the aloha spirit in their matching pink tutus.


The JMS staffers were pulling out all the stops, playing tenacious defense as the students did their best to use their youthful enthusiasm and endless energy to make up for their decided size disadvantage. The staff rotated players frequently throughout the five minute halves to keep fresh legs on the court, you could tell they were feeling the pressure. The crowd was on their feet the entire time, cheering and stomping as students purposely shared the ball with everyone on the court, countering each staff basket with their own. It was a tight game throughout, but the students rallied at the end and got that “W” as the final scoreboard read 16-13 in favor of the students. “It was an amazing experience joining the JMS students and staff at their assembly. The game was filled with fun, action and a little bit of gamesmanship. I was thankful to be a part of it!” said Alailima-Daley.


Once the basketball game wrapped up there was still a little excitement left for students in attendance. Four JMS teachers (nominated by students) volunteered to take a whipped cream pie to the face. It was the perfect cherry on top to the last ‘Fun Friday’ of the month. Is there any better way to head into Spring Break? This has got to be near the top!


Congrats to the JMS students on the big “W”, we have no doubt staffers have already started game planning for your matchup next year!




I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! 

Save the date and come celebrate Olympia School District retirees and School Advocates of the Year at our annual Ice Cream Social on Friday, May 26. This year the social will be hosted by Capital High School (2707 Conger Ave. NW) and takes place from 4–5:30 p.m.


During the event the Olympia School Board will honor dedicated staff members who are retiring this year. An ‘Advocate of the Year’ from each of our schools will also be recognized and the Olympia Education Association will recognize its ‘Teacher of the Year’.


Join us as we celebrate these amazing individuals while enjoying ice cream with all your favorite toppings. OSD staff and families are encouraged to attend and support our retirees and advocates. We hope to see you all at CHS at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 26!




STAR Night brings LP Brown community together


STAR Night brings LP Brown community together

The stars were shining bright at the first ever ‘STAR Night’ at LP Brown Elementary School. The entire purpose of the evening was to bring families in the LP Brown community together for the love of literacy. LPBES Dean of Students, Callie Jones, spearheaded coordinating this event, while staff helped make it a reality. “School is a place where every family and student can find a sense of belonging, and nights like STAR Night show how school can be the hub of a community for families," said Jones.


Families who took part in the evening events left with full stomachs, new favorite books and wondering what new stories they might find during their next trip to the library! LP Brown Elementary School Principal Sean Shaughnessy had this to say about the evening, “STAR Night was such a huge success for our community. We had over 450 students and family members participate, some came dressed as their favorite storybook characters, and we all came together to celebrate our love of reading!”


Jones' goal was to remove any potential barriers that could keep families from participating in STAR Night. Invitations were sent out, phone calls were made, all encouraging families to attend. LPBES partnered with Intercity Transit to help remove any potential transportation barriers. To streamline this process Jones and Intercity Transit created a step-by-step trip planner that provided detailed information on times and locations for each bus stop. Staff even greeted families on the bus ride to school, helping to ease any nerves or concern about riding the bus.


Families dressed as their favorite storybook characters arrived at the school in droves. There were even whispered reports of Dr. Seuss and Madeline sightings amongst the line of eagerly awaiting visitors. Many guests headed straight to the lunchroom where homemade spaghetti, garlic bread and salad were being served. Elementary Instructional Coach Carolyn Balderston (who may or may not have been dressed as Madeline) was blown away by the family participation, “Students, teachers and family members came in costume including The Pigeon from the Mo Willems books, Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus and Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy kid. We even had an entire family dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland!”


Once dinner wrapped up, families spent time visiting the various stations set up around the building. Students even had an opportunity to create their own bookmarks. Timberland Regional Library joined in to walk students through the process of getting their own library cards, along with information about various resources available at their local branch. South Sound Reading Foundation made an extremely generous contribution, providing a book for every child who walked through the door to take home with them.


As families wandered the halls, story time was being held in the library with special guest readers. It was a full house for Principal Shaughnessy’s reading of Knight Owl by Christopher Denise. Jones' reading of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems even had a special guest appearance by the very same infamous Pigeon. Laughter filled the library as the Pigeon (who may or may not have been fourth grade teacher Amelia Ferrell) did their best to convince the students to let them drive the bus. Retired LPBES librarian Laura Zylstra even made an appearance to read Berry Song by Michaela Goade to students.


The smiles on the faces of students parading through the gymnasium at the conclusion of the night told you everything. “We are incredibly thankful for our community partnerships with South Sound Reading Foundation, the Timberland Regional Library, OSD Food Services and Intercity Transit. It truly does take a village to raise a child. We are so thankful for this LP Brown community!”, said Jones and Shaughnessy.


“This was our first literacy night since schools were closed for the pandemic, and our first ever STAR Night with character dress-up. It was a stellar night of reveling in literacy and community!”, said LP Brown Teacher-Librarian Brandi Applegate.


STAR Night was out of this world. The laughter, smiles and hugs as families departed was a reflection of the success of the evening and we have to believe there were fantastic bedtime stories that night thanks to the South Sound Reading Foundation. We are already looking forward to covering this heartwarming event next year, shine on Eagles!



Olympia School District ‘Night at the Rainiers’ is BACK!


Olympia School District ‘Night at the Rainiers’ is BACK!

Save the date and join us for OSD ‘Night at the Rainiers’ on Wednesday, May 31 at Cheney Stadium as the Tacoma Rainiers take on the Sacramento River Cats. First pitch will be at 6:05 p.m.



This is always a great night of food, fun and baseball at the historic Cheney Stadium. Arrive early to see the Washington Middle School choir perform the National Anthem and see Superintendent Patrick Murphy throw out the first pitch!


  • Group Express Ticket ($15) This includes a reserved seat and a ballpark meal (hotdog, bag of goldfish, bottle of water).
  • Group Double Play Ticket ($20) This includes a reserved seat, a ballpark meal (hotdog, bag of goldfish, bottle of water) and a limited edition Tacoma Rainiers hat.


If you would like to sit with other family/friends, please purchase all tickets in one transaction to guarantee your seats together. If you purchase tickets separately there is no guarantee that you will be seated with family/friends.


For ADA Accessible seats, please contact [email protected].



‘No Hate Tour’ brings remarkable aerial display (with a message) to CHS


‘No Hate Tour’ brings remarkable aerial display (with a message) to CHS

Capital High School’s gymnasium could almost have been mistaken for an X Games arena earlier this month. In the center of the gym was a large table top ramp, an eight foot tall quarter pipe ramp rested close to the wall and uptempo beats reverberated through the gym as BMX riders Zach Newman, Logan Place and Wesley Hark dropped in and dazzled students as they arrived in the gym. Dane Beardsley performed some incredible balancing tricks. Master of Ceremonies Dan Sieg rocked the gym with introductions and engaging dialogue throughout which included discussing bullying issues. Sieg had two “asks” for the students. First, was to enjoy the show, second, was to make all the noise! “The team appreciates loud people and positive energy, the louder the crowd the higher the jumps!”, said Sieg.


The ‘No Hate High School Tour’ is composed of professional BMX riders performing gravity-defying stunts while delivering a message of hope and courage. The No Hate Tour, now in its 23 year, is an incredibly impactful educational program that uses the energy and excitement of action sports to deliver critical bullying prevention tools, techniques and information to students in a relatable, peer-to-peer manner. The program features top BMX stars performing high-energy action sports while speaking to students about their own experiences. Specifically, they focus on bullying, overcoming obstacles, being an ally, inclusion, kindness, surrounding yourself with positive influences, problem-solving and mental health awareness.


“As we evolve in education we have to find different ways to connect with our students. This assembly allows us to take something that is exciting and interesting for students while talking about a serious message at the same time. Students are all together screaming with excitement while hearing the importance of being nice and respectful to each other. The message is powerful and students don't even realize that as a school they are providing positive energy together for the members of the No Hate Tour”, said Capital High School Assistant Principal Ja’Wanne Brown.


The No Hate Tour was co-hosted by members of the United States Marine Corps who have partnered with the tour for the past 16 years, aligning values and principals of honor, courage and commitment. During the event student volunteers participated in a pull-up challenge. Several students wowed the audience with their pull-up prowess.


The assembly was an incredible experience full of crazy 360 cancans, tailwhips, seat grabs, barspins, supermans and turndowns just to name a few. Nothing was more remarkable than when CHS Physical Education Teacher Terry Rose joined one of the Marines in lawn chairs on the top of the tabletop ramp. They were given instructions to each hold their outside arm in the air like uprights of a goal post. “This gives our rider Newman something to aim for other than their foreheads”, joked Sieg. As the excitement for this stunt crescendoed, Newman accelerated into the quarter pipe launching off the wall and back down the ramp. He then performed a daredevil flip over the heads and between the uprights of our fearless volunteers, successfully avoiding any foreheads.


The entire morning was loud, exciting and left a distinct impression on all who attended. To learn more about the No Hate Tour, and their message, check out their website. A special thanks to the United States Marine Corps, and the No Hate Tour, for sharing such an important message with our students and community.



2023-2024 Free Sports Physicals


2023-2024 Free Sports Physicals 

Free sports physicals will be offered on Saturday, June 3, for Olympia School District middle and high school students planning on participating in athletic programs during the 2023-2024 school year.


These sports physicals are open to all OSD students who will be enrolled in grades 7-12 for the 2023-2024 school year. Here are all the details:


Free Sports Physicals
June 3, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Capital High School gymnasium
2707 Conger Ave N.W. in Olympia
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.


Please bring completed and signed copies of the Athletic Physical Examination Form and the Athletic Physical History Form with you on June 3. Students can also pick up printed medical examination and history forms at the Capital or Olympia High School athletic offices. Translated and accessible versions of these two forms (in Spanish and Vietnamese) will be available shortly.


The event is in partnership with Olympia Orthopedic Associates and local health care providers.


Note: The free sports physical examinations do not replace the recommended “well-child” checks conducted by family health care providers.



2023 High School Graduation Details


2023 High School Graduation Details

Below you will find graduation date, time and location information for the Transition Academy, Avanti HS, Capital HS, Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA) and Olympia HS.


The Olympia School District will be live streaming all of these graduations on the OSD Facebook page. Follow our page to receive notifications anytime we start streaming live content so you can watch your favorite graduate walk across the stage and receive their diploma!


  • Transition Academy: June 9 @ 6 p.m. (Capital HS Performing Arts Center)
  • Avanti HS: June 10 from 12-3 p.m. (Avanti HS)
  • Capital HS: June 13 @ 7 p.m. (St. Martin's University)
  • Olympia Regional Learning Academy: June 15 @ 6 p.m. (Indian Summer C.C.)
  • Olympia HS: June 20 @ 7 p.m. (St. Martin's University)



Upcoming Events



  • May 3: 50-Minute Early Release

  • May 4: OSD Board Work Session (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6:00 p.m.

  • May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week

  • May 10: 50-Minute Early Release

  • May 11: OSD Board Meeting (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6:30 p.m.

  • May 17: 50-Minute Early Release

  • May 24: 50-Minute Early Release

  • May 25: OSD Board Meeting (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6:30 p.m.

  • May 26: School In Session: Snow Make-up Day

  • May 26: Ice Cream Social at Capital High School (4-5:30 p.m.)

  • May 29: No School (Memorial Day)

  • May 31: 50-Minute Early Release

  • May 31: OSD Night at the Rainiers at Cheney Stadium (6:05 p.m.)



  • June 1: OSD Board Work Session (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6 p.m.
  • June 7: 50-Minute Early Release
  • June 8: OSD Board Meeting (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6:30 p.m.
  • June 9: Half Day - Elementary School
  • June 9: Transition Academy Graduation at Capital High School PAC (6 p.m.)
  • June 10: Avanti High School Graduation at Avanti HS (12-3 p.m.)
  • June 13: Capital High School Graduation at St. Martin’s University (7 p.m.)
  • June 14: 50-Minute Early Release
  • June 15: ORLA Graduation at Indian Summer C.C. (6 p.m.)
  • June 19: No School (Juneteenth)
  • June 20: Olympia High School Graduation at St. Martin’s University (7 p.m.)
  • June 21: 50-Minute Early Release
  • June 22: Half day - Last Day of School
  • June 22: OSD Board Meeting (in-person and online via Zoom) at 6:30 p.m.



OSD Notice of Nondiscrimination

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 Olympia School District offers many Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs/courses in the following areas:  Skilled and Technical Sciences/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); Agriculture/Natural Resources; Business Marketing; Family and Consumer Sciences; and Health Sciences. For more information about CTE course offerings and admissions criteria, contact Pat Cusack, Director of College and Career Readiness, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506, (360) 596-6102. Lack of English language proficiency will not be a barrier to admission and participation in CTE programs.


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:


Elia Alailima, Title IX Officer

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506

(360) 596-8545

[email protected]


Autumn Lara, Executive Director of Elementary Education

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506

(360) 596-8534

[email protected]


Ken Turcotte, Section 504 and ADA Coordinator (Students)

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506

(360) 596-7530

[email protected]


Starla Hoff, ADA Coordinator (Staff)

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506

(360) 596-6185

[email protected]


Scott Niemann, Affirmative Action Officer and Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506

(360) 596-6185

[email protected]


Paula Perryman, Director of College and Career Readiness

Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506


[email protected]


All six individuals may also be contacted at 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA, 98506.