August 2021

Spotlight on Success Header


August 2021


Superintendent’s Message


Hello Olympia School District families,


Patrick Murphy headshot

After experiencing the warmest days in recorded history in Olympia the last couple of months, it is particularly reassuring this year to feel the slight hints of chill in the late August breezes reminding us that fall is not far away. Autumn also brings all of the promise, hopes and dreams that accompany every first day of school.


Because of the trauma we have all experienced the last year-and-a-half due to the pandemic, and the enduring stresses that the latest variant is placing upon us, it is perhaps inevitable that our excitement is understandably tempered.


Our collective response to the adversity we have faced and continue to face has been admirable and inspiring. Students, families and staff members have all wrestled with uncertainty and fear and persevered. We have more obstacles to overcome, but we have learned much that we will apply to this school year that will help us “get back to better.”


For the first time in nearly 18 months, our health officials have given us revised guidance that allows us, beginning September 8, to offer full-time, every day, in-person learning for those families that seek it. That is a huge step. School closures, as we have all learned, had their own health impacts on our youth, both physically and mentally, and being able to be back in person, safely, on a regular schedule is most welcomed news. We know families have circumstances unique to them. For those who prefer to remain in a full-time remote learning program, we offer the new Virtual Academy of Olympia based out of the Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA).


We have taken the additional resources that came from federal and state emergency relief funds and created an Academic and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan that gives our students and families access to new social-emotional supports like increased social workers and family liaisons. We have a new partnership with TOGETHER! that has a history in Thurston County of helping families and schools advance the health and well-being of young people. We have increased staffing in our schools and are implementing instructional coaches to help our staff identify student needs and apply the highest leveraged practices to address delays in learning.


We continue to partner with our local health officials to make sure we are implementing and updating our safety and mitigation strategies in our response to COVID. The details of those efforts are found in our Pandemic Safety Response Plan. We know that by masking, physically distancing, staying home when sick and practicing good hand-washing hygiene, we dramatically decrease the likelihood of spread. We know that vaccinated individuals have much greater protection against severe illness from COVID and we have hosted vaccination clinics and continue to encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated. By order of the governor, all staff are required to be fully vaccinated, or provide a valid religious or medical exemption, by October 18, 2021. We will continue to push out information to our community about vaccination opportunities.


Yes, we all were hoping that COVID would be further in the rearview mirror at this point, but the delta variant has prevented that. But we, too, have adapted and are smarter in our efforts to combat the virus and its effects as we approach the first day of school. I am grateful that we have new staff and resources to better support our students and families. I am thankful to all of our staff for their unflinching commitment to our students. And I thank all of our parents and community for your determination, patience and support as we launch the 2021-22 school year.


We look forward to welcoming students on the first day of school and partnering with you in the year ahead.



Patrick Murphy Signature
Patrick Murphy



OSD Safety Videos


COVID-19 Health and Safety Updates

View the latest COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols, including a list of frequently asked questions and links to the most current local and state COVID-19 resources, on the In-Person and Remote Learning Updates page on the OSD website.


This page also includes links to two new videos, each just over a minute in length, focusing on COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols in our schools.




Amanda Moll


Capital’s Moll sisters are national pole vaulting stars

Amanda Moll, a nationally ranked pole vaulter and Capital High School student, was named Gatorade Athlete of the Year in girls track and field for Washington state over the summer. Moll currently holds the national record in pole-vaulting for her age group, with a jump of 14-7. Amanda’s twin sister Hana is also a champion pole-vaulter.


The Gatorade Athlete of the Year is one of a long list of awards and recognitions received by the Moll girls for their pole-vaulting prowess. Both girls hold state and national records, among many smaller awards that Amanda said were too numerous to name all of.


“Amanda and Hana are both amazing athletes, not just in track and field,” said Capital High School Athletic Director Steve Taylor. “They come from a really awesome family and they are both great students and obviously they are a great asset to Capital High School. As things get back to normal with sports around here, hopefully we will get to benefit even more from their leadership skills.”


Amanda and Hana did gymnastics before learning to pole vault. “My mom introduced us to pole vault because when she was in high school she really wanted to do pole vault but it wasn’t available to girls at that time. So we signed up and we just fell in love,” Amanda said.


The Moll sisters train together and enjoy some healthy competition at times. “We definitely push each other to go higher and I always have someone to train with me so that’s fun,” Amanda said.


Training goes all year with the exception of August. Winter is an easier training season and spring is when things ramp up. The girls train about 12 hours a week. Future goals include competing in college and possibly at the professional level.



OSD Construction Projects 

OSD construction projects continue throughout summer

Construction continued this summer at locations throughout the district including Capital High School, Olympia High School, Avanti High School, McLane Elementary, Hansen Elementary, Reeves Middle School and the Knox Administration Building.


Solar power project at Olympia High School

OSD is partnering with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to build a new solar installation located on the roof of Olympia High School. The project is part of PSE’s brand-new renewable energy program called Community Solar that will generate 100% local solar energy at multiple sites located throughout PSE’s service area. The OHS site is one of the first two sites selected for the program and is expected to be fully operational in fall 2021.


Olympia High School students will benefit from the solar installation through educational partnership opportunities with PSE.


OHS will become the fourth OSD facility to have solar panels. There are currently solar panels at Roosevelt Elementary School, Washington Middle School and Olympia Regional Learning Academy.


To learn more about the OHS Community Solar project, visit the PSE website.


Final projects for 2016 construction bond

The projects below are among the final tasks to be completed with funding from the 2016 voter-approved construction bond.


  • At Capital High School, finishing touches are being completed on the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) and a security vestibule at the front entrance. The new PAC is two stories and will seat 500 people. The former PAC at Capital was remodeled into a lecture hall with seats on one side and a black box stage area on the other side. Both the PAC and the security vestibule are scheduled for completion in September 2021.
  • At the Knox 111 Administrative Center, reroofing is currently in progress and scheduled for completion in October 2021.
  • At Avanti High School, planning and design continues for a major remodel of the main building and the annex, which was formerly warehouse space. The project will go out to bid in November 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in February 2023. Projects include refurbishing classrooms, modernizing technology and energy systems, upgrading fire safety, and ADA accessibility modifications. Designers aim to find creative ways to retain some of the historic features of the building, which was originally built in the early 1920s.
  • At McLane Elementary School, improvements are being made to the lower playing field including a new baseball backstop, infield and a walking path. Projects are scheduled to be completed in October 2021.
  • At Hansen Elementary School, HVAC units are being replaced and should be installed before the summer ends.
  • At Reeves Middle School, asphalt in the parking lot and bus loop has been resurfaced and repaired.


To view construction photos we've taken at various school buildings this summer, check out our 'OSD Summer Construction Photos' photo album on Facebook!



Suturing at Capital High School 

Future healthcare workers get a head start at Capital High School

Some of the students in Rebekah Mattes’s sports medicine class at Capital High School want to be doctors. Some want to be physical therapists. Some dream of becoming professional athletes -- or professional athletic trainers. One thing they all share in common is a passion for learning about medicine and the human body.


Students at Capital have the opportunity to participate in one of four sports medicine classes: Introduction to Sports Medicine, Advanced Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine Practicum, and IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science. The school also offers a Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club for future health professionals. The classes are part of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.


Sports medicine students learn about muscular and skeletal systems, injuries to the body, how these injuries occur and how they can be treated. Students also learn about general medicine conditions such as heat illness and frostbite, as well as emergency conditions like asthma, anaphylaxis, stroke and heart attacks. They practice skills such as taping, splinting, suturing, crutch fitting and sling fitting. Other topics include injury evaluation, healthcare careers, CPR/First Aid and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification through American Red Cross, nutrition, and fitness and conditioning.


For the IB class the similarities include learning muscular and skeletal anatomy, but from there it goes in a different direction. Students focus on more body systems like cardiovascular, respiratory and energy systems. They learn the basic anatomy and functions, then how it ties in to exercise. IB students also cover fitness testing, sports psychology, experimental design, biomechanics, nutrition and skill in sport.


Ella Meyer, an 11th grader who took advanced sports medicine last spring, said she signed up for the class because she wants to one day be a pediatrician. She has also found the information useful as a volleyball player, using her taping skills to help teammates.


“It’s interesting to learn about the medical side of sports,” Meyer said. “The class is easy for me because I really like the stuff that we’re learning now. I think the hardest part has been the memorization of all the terms.”


Mattes said students in her classes often find the skills they learn immediately useful. “I have a lot of students who are athletes. If I can teach them anything about how to take care of their bodies and optimize their performance, I see that as a win. I think just being educated on the human body, how it works is so big for kids when they make those connections in their daily life. I had a student tell me that they went in to see a doctor for an injury and they were so excited because they could actually understand what the doctor was telling them because they took my class. Also, the obvious ones to know -- CPR/First Aid and how to use an AED. Those situations are scary, but we talk through a lot of scenarios and practice so they are as prepared as possible for an emergency.”


Senior Luke Poier said he feels confident that he could respond to a medical emergency after taking Mattes’s class. Like all sports medicine students, Poier received his CPR/First Aid and AED certification through the American Red Cross as part of the class. He hopes to one day work as a physical therapist.


Whether students choose to pursue medical careers or not, they are certain to benefit from taking sports medicine, Mattes said. “I think these students are so lucky! I'm very passionate about what I teach, and I just hope I can instill that in my students too. For those going into medicine, I want to build that foundation and help them be prepared for the next steps in their education. For those not going into medicine, it is so important to know how your body works so you can take better care of it.”


Students enrolled in sports medicine receive high school CTE or elective credits. They are also eligible to receive college credit from Pierce College.



Back to School Information


Back to School Information

The first day of school for students during the 2021-22 school year is Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Kindergarten and Preschool begins on Monday, September 13, 2021.


The first day of school can be both exciting and stressful. We have put together a few resources that will make it easier for our students and parents to get the school year off to a great start!


Below you will find links to resources like school supplies, bus routes, new student registration and more.


2021-22 School Year Calendar

The one-page 2021-22 school year calendar is available to download and print from the district website.


New Student Enrollment

Enrollment assistance will be available at school offices after they re-open following summer break. For more information about enrollment, please visit our Student Enrollment page.


Administrative Office Hours

The Knox 111 Administrative Office is open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The administrative office is located at 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, 98506.


Middle and high school offices reopened earlier this month. Please check individual school websites for their operating hours and additional information.


School Hours

View the school hours page for special programs and regular operation hours. The Olympia School District offers full-day kindergarten. All kindergarten classes follow the same schedule as their respective schools.


School Supply Lists

The 2021-22 elementary and middle school supply lists can be found here. If your school link is not included here, please check your school webpage for updates.


The Olympia School District Education Foundation makes possible the "Principal's Emergency Fund" at each of our schools. Please contact the school directly if you need assistance accessing school supplies for your child.



Washington State Immunization Law requires all students attending public schools (preschool - 12th grade) to provide proof of immunization, a medical exemption signed by a physician, or an exemption signed by a parent or legal guardian before entering school. For more information about required immunizations please visit the Department of Health website.


Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps will host several back-to-school immunization clinics in September.


Virtual Academy of Olympia

Are you interested in enrolling your student in the new Virtual Academy of Olympia (VAO)? Have you reached out to your child’s school, teacher, the district office, or even tuned in to watch a school board meeting via Zoom to try and learn more? Visit the VAO webpage for more details and enrollment information.


Child Nutrition Services

The Olympia School District will continue to offer free meals to all children through the 2021-22 school year as part of an extension of a federal program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Schools throughout the country can provide children with continued access to free meals through June 30, 2022, regardless of families’ ability to pay. The continuation of the program, which was first implemented at the beginning of the pandemic, is part of the federal government’s plan to reopen schools safely.


Families are still encouraged to complete an application for free or reduced lunches, as eligibility for free or reduced lunches could possibly lead to future benefits.


Please visit our Child Nutrition Services page for menus, payment information, nutritional guidance and more.



The Olympia School District Transportation Webpage can be used to look up bus stop and route information, find emergency schedule information, and other information related to transportation.



Nadine Owen


Nadine Owen named Regional Classified School Employee of the Year

Nadine Owen, the Restorative Room supervisor at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, was recently named 2022 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year by the Capital Regional Educational Service District (ESD 113). Owen was recognized by ESD 113 after being named OSD Classified School Employee of the Year for 2021.


“The selection committee chose Owen for this award because she is fully invested in her students and helps them discover the skills they need to become positive contributing citizens in our community,” ESD 113 said in a press release.


“This recognition means so much to me,” Owen said. “Not only does it give validation to the work I’ve been so passionate about over the course of the last 23 years, but also that fellow educators are seeing the critical importance of trauma-informed and restorative practices. My hope is that this recognition will bring even more awareness to the importance of meeting the needs of our most vulnerable population. Ultimately, allowing all children to have their social and emotional needs met within our school communities.”


Owen designed the Restorative Room to be a calming space where students who are upset or frustrated can reset before returning back to their classrooms ready to learn. Her program has reduced student suspensions and increased students' instructional time.


Her trademarks, according to colleagues, are empathy and kindness, which help her relate to students she works with in the school’s Restorative Room.


"I am thrilled to see Nadine's work honored at this level and especially happy that the ESD is honoring someone who has successfully impacted students' social-emotional health,” said Thurgood Marshall Principal Condee Wood. “It is more important than ever to focus on the whole child -- to teach to the heart, as well as to the head. Nadine is stellar at doing both, and we are so lucky to have her supporting this work at Thurgood Marshall."


The Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year serves as one of nine candidates chosen by their respective ESDs who will be considered for Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will select and announce the state winner this fall.



Register to Vote


Register to vote for November General Election

Thurston County residents may register to vote online, by mail or in person for the November 2, 2021 General Election.


There are two Olympia School Board positions on the ballot:


  • Mark Boyer and Darcy Huffman are vying for the District 3 seat that will be vacated by Director Leslie Huff.
  • Scott Clifthorne and Don Mitchell are running for the District 5 position, currently held by Scott Clifthorne.


Election ballots are scheduled to be mailed on October 7, 2021.


The following are voter registration deadlines for the upcoming General Election:


  • October 25, 2021: Last day to register to vote or update your current voter registration by any means other than in person.
  • November 2, 2021: Register to vote or update your current voter registration in person and drive-thru only until 8 p.m. on Election Day November 2. In-person/drive-thru voter registration is done at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2400 Evergreen Park Dr. S.W., Olympia.


To register to vote you must be:


  • A citizen of the United States.
  • Residing at your current address for a minimum of 30 days before Election Day.
  • A legal resident of Washington state.
  • At least 18 years old by Election Day. (Note: Citizens may pre-register to vote at age 16 and will be automatically eligible to vote and sent a ballot during the first election after their 18th birthday).


For additional voter registration information, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division webpage. You may also call (360) 786-5408 or email [email protected].



Upcoming Events


  • September 6: Labor Day (No School)

  • September 8: First Day of School (Grades 1-12)

  • September 9: OSD Board Meeting in-person and online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m.

  • September 13: First Day of Pre-K and Kindergarten

  • September 15: 50 Minute Early Release

  • September 22: 50 Minute Early Release

  • September 23: 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:

Title IX Officers

  • Autumn Lara, Executive Director of Elementary Education: [email protected], (360) 596-8534
  • Michael Hart, Executive Director of Secondary Education: [email protected], (360) 596-8545


Ken Turcotte, Section 504 and ADA Coordinator (Students)


Starla Hoff, ADA Coordinator (Staff)


Scott Niemann, Affirmative Action Officer and Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator


Pat Cusack, Director of College and Career Readiness


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