Spotlight on Success

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Superintendent’s Message


Hello Olympia School District families and community,


Patrick Murphy headshot

The 2023-24 school year, while certainly filled with its fair share of challenges, was a remarkably successful one for our students and staff. That is perhaps best illustrated by the exceptional achievements of the graduates in the Class of 2024. During the commencement ceremonies of the last couple weeks, we celebrated our graduates' years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. We honored the families, parents and loved ones who supported and guided them along the way.


Graduation is a preschool through 12th grade journey. Each step of the way our graduates were taught and nurtured by dedicated and talented staff. They’ve developed crucial skills that will serve them well in the future. This class is full of unique and powerful individuals who’ve shown creativity and resilience during their academic careers.


Whether it's further education, entering the workforce or exploring other paths, the Class of ‘24 is steeped in integrity, kindness and strength. Congratulations Class of 2024!


For those interested in continued learning opportunities, again, we will be extending the school year calendar and providing our Summer School (offered for elementary and secondary students).


Also, as a reminder, summer is a time for building maintenance around the district. You will see our grounds and facilities team working away the next couple of months. Our schools always look so shiny and welcoming come September which is thanks to the hard work of our dedicated operations team in the summer. A special thanks to the maintenance staff who keep our buildings well maintained and running smoothly.


I wish all of our students, families and staff a well deserved restful and joyous summer break with family and loved ones. In the meantime, we will work hard to be ready to welcome K-12 students back to school on September 4, and our preschoolers and new incoming kindergartners (the Class of 2037), on September 9.




Patrick Murphy Signature
Patrick Murphy



End-of-year Facebook photo albums from across the district


End-of-year Facebook photo albums from across the district

The last two months of the school year are always a whirlwind, and this year was no exception. We are so grateful to have been able to get out to so many schools for so many different events to capture photos and videos of all the end-of-year happenings and excitement.


Below you will find Facebook photo albums of many of the events we have covered over the past two months. We hope you enjoy some of the photos and videos we’ve captured when out and about visiting our buildings:


May ‘24 Photo Albums



June ‘24 Photo Albums




ORLA spreads message of peace at dedication ceremony


ORLA spreads message of peace at dedication ceremony 

A peace pole monument will proudly be displayed on the grounds of Olympia Regional Learning Academy later this summer. Monies were raised for this wonderful symbol of unity and hope at the school’s annual winter craft fair. Classes and individual students made gifts including bookmarks, key chains, snow globes and peace jewelry. Together the ORLA students, staff and families celebrated the unveiling of the peace pole early this month.


The Peace Pole movement began in Japan in the 1950s by Masahisa Goi, who envisioned a world united in peace and harmony. He started with the idea of spreading the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth '' through wooden poles inscribed with the phrase in various languages. The movement gained momentum globally, becoming a symbol of peace and a reminder of our shared aspiration for a peaceful world. Today peace poles can be found in schools, parks and communities around the world.


The dedication ceremony brought together staff, students and community members. Each class's designated ambassadors read aloud their written expression, promise and hope that emphasized peace. The ORLA peace pole shares a multicultural representation just as other poles across the world. “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is found written in Russian, English, Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, Lushootseed, Sign Language and Swahili. ORLA Teacher Heather Quantrell explained, “Montessori teachers looked at the languages that are spoken here on campus and chose a language from each continent. The Montessori curriculum involves learning about cultures from around the world and felt this was a way to represent cultures from each continent. We looked at the top languages that are spoken on each continent.”


On September 21 (International Peace Day) students march around the ORLA playground holding flags they create. When they come to a rest they are seated in the form of a peace symbol. The group then takes a moment of silence. Together they celebrate the power of global solidarity for building a peaceful and sustainable world. The day of celebration was created by the United Nations in 1981 as a day for all humanity to commit to peace. It is a day that people choose non-violence and a cease fire. On this day people from around the world practice a moment of science at 12 p.m. across the time zones, celebrations can vary around the world.


“We are so excited to add the Peace Pole as an extension to our peace celebration, as a gathering place to have conversations, and discussion about how we can be stewards of peace and how to be a peacekeeper on campus. The opportunities are endless, some foresee the pole being a place to bring students together during times of conflict,” Quantrell said...


The International Peace Day in September is the springboard to lessons taught year-round at ORLA. These lessons include how to create peace with oneself, with others, our community and the universe. Students learn in lessons that peace begins with "me" and loving who they are. Then stretching to creating peace with others and how to resolve conflicts with others, and how to stick up for injustices. Students learn how they can make a difference in their local community by being a peacekeeper and trying to be aware of how they can positively impact their community.


The ORLA Peace Pole is the third in Olympia, and when it is planted into the soil with it will be placed the symbolic words and promises shared by its students. We are proud of the message and heart the ORLA Orcas bring to the attention of our community.




Class of 2024 grad photos and live stream recordings


Class of 2024 grad photos and live stream recordings

Graduation season for the Class of 2024 has officially wrapped up and all of our senior classes have walked across their respective stages.


If you were unable to attend one of our five graduation ceremonies this year, or didn’t catch the livestream, you can find all of our graduation livestream recordings linked below. You will also find photo albums capturing the smiles of this momentous milestone from all of our high school graduations. Congratulations to the Class of 2024. We wish you the best on your next adventure!


Class of 2024 Graduations: Videos



Class of 2024 Graduations: Photo Albums




OSD Ice Cream Social honors retirees, school advocates and OEA award recipients


Ice Cream Social honors retirees, school advocates and OEA award recipients

The annual Ice Cream Social, held last month at Olympia High School, was a delightful event of ice cream and awards. The spring tradition honors current year retirees, as well as School Advocates of the Year and Olympia Education Association honorees. More than 150 employees, students, friends and families filled the Olympia High School commons to celebrate colleagues and volunteers.


Superintendent Patrick Murphy opened the event with a special welcome to attendees and a wave to those watching through the livestream. He gave special thanks to OEA President Jodi Boe, the Child Nutrition Services team for providing ice cream and toppings, and Washington Middle School teacher Brian Morris and students enrolled in the Tech Arts Enterprises Marketing and Manufacturing class for designing and hand-crafting custom wooden pens for the retirees.


Boe presented two retirees OEA awards accompanied by their colleagues who shared kind words and appreciation for their impact on the students and staff at their buildings. Tracy Cusack, a counselor at Washington Middle School, was presented the OEA Educator of the Year award. Jenny Morgan, a counselor at Capital High School, received the OEA Gary Brown Award.


Olympia School Board President Hilary Seidel, Vice President Scott Clifthorne, and Directors Maria Flores and Darcy Huffman recognized district retirees, thanking them for their years of service on behalf of the entire district. Lastly, each of the 19 schools presented their “Laurie Dolan School Advocate of the Year” award. Principals and staff members honored each volunteer with a speech about the many contributions they have made to benefit the students and assist staff.


We would like to thank all those who attended and wish our retirees the best in their many new adventures.




OHS senior honored in State Superintendent’s Art Show


OHS senior honored in State Superintendent’s Art Show

The Superintendent's High School Art Show is an annual event co-hosted by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington Art Education Association (WAEA). Since 1973 high school students from all nine of the state's educational service districts (ESDs) have participated in this artistic celebration each year. The finalists from these regional ESD shows are invited to participate in the Superintendent's High School Art Show. The art is reviewed at the state level with 26 pieces being selected and recognized at the virtual statewide event held on May 30, 2024.


Superintendent Chris Reykdal opened the show speaking of the inspiration and connection that art creates. He invited viewers to sit back and enjoy the show before explaining the process of competition that begins locally, then regionally before final pieces are chosen and celebrated at the state level. He thanked the families, and educators for the support they provide their artists, and then congratulated the students.


Olympia High School senior Chinmayee Kuntulu was new to the art department this year and gave credit to her teacher Josh Everson for igniting ideas. “When we are creating compositions he will inspire us to convey a story that we tell using every brush stroke or color. He encourages us to express ourselves through our work, because it is a reflection of us.”


The OSPI art show highlighted students who demonstrate exceptional creativity and skill across various mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography and more. The talent and dedication of the young artists showcased their unique perspectives and techniques. Kuntulu's artwork received the Washington State Board of Education Award. Her medium was pen and the intricate design was named “Memory Locket.” The WA SBE staff member Seema Bahl said, “Memory Locket stood out as truly amazing; it was extremely detailed with the delicate patterns that brought me into the picture and made me think of the intentions of the artist. When I read of the inspiration behind the piece I found it relatable and connected with it on a deeper level.”


Kuntulu shared, “The piece was inspired by a recent trip to India following my grandmother's passing. The mandala is a representation of the layers of my life, including the generations and generations behind it. Their life experiences bring me to make the decisions I make for myself, that can be positivity or negativity. I feel like everyone starts in the middle of the mandala and the goal is to reach the end and that happens by connecting yourself through your cultural identity and unification which you learn from those you surround yourself with whether it is your friends, family or society.”


Kuntulu’s pieces brought with it an internalization of the love it represented to those who had the privilege of viewing it. We would like to congratulate this amazing senior on her bright and amazing future that lies ahead and look forward to how she is able to create and share her talents and expressions in her journey after high school.




OSD Night at the Rainiers for the Win!


OSD Night at the Rainiers for the Win!

Olympia School District took over “T-Town” and Cheney stadium earlier this month for the annual Night at the Rainiers. Around 300 OSD guests were in attendance at the historic Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Garfield Elementary School Behavior Tech Denise Pigue threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the Washington Middle School choir, directed by Stacy Brown, performed a stunning rendition of the National Anthem. We were excited to have Olympia High School’s very own Pepper Bear and his pal Salty join us again.


The game was a back and forth between the Rainiers and visiting Reno Aces. Tacoma took their first lead of the game in the third inning, and It stayed 2-1 until the eighth, when the Aces took the lead. The battle of the bats and walks continued into extra innings. A hit batter and strikeout started the tenth inning, the Rainiers drew three consecutive walks to win by a score of 7-6. It was a W for the Tacoma Rainiers and definitely a W for our OSD families in attendance.


What a fun night of friends, food and baseball. Thanks to all who joined us and a BIG thanks to the Tacoma Rainiers, Washington Middle School choir, Pepper Bear and Salty for another memorable game!




Back-to-school information


Back-to-school information

When you begin prepping for the next school year, check out our back-to-school resource page for all the necessary information, including school hours, supply lists and more!




Upcoming Events: 2024 Summer Break




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 Paula Perryman, 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:


James Whitehead, 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.