August 2022

Spotlight on Success header


Superintendent’s Message


Hello Olympia School District families,


Patrick Murphy headshot

I can’t remember a summer with such wonderful and consistent weather. Hopefully you have all had an opportunity to be outside and enjoy it. Now, the “Back to School” advertisements are filling the airwaves, and that can only mean one thing. The 2022-23 school year is right around the corner.


This school year promises to be another important step in our recovery from the events of the past few years. And, as we have said time and again, our goal is not to “get back to normal” but rather to come out better, stronger and more responsive to the needs of all students and families. As we continue our transformational work in the Olympia School District, there are some important items to note:


  • This morning, August 25, 2022, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services released its latest flowchart for symptomatic students and staff. Please note the updates highlighted in red on the flowchart. The Washington State Department of Health has also issued new guidance this month on COVID mitigation. Many of the measures in place at the end of last school year will remain in effect this fall.
  • The district is continuing two key initiatives: the exploration of a balanced calendar, and the creation and adoption of an equity policy. If you are interested in serving on a Balanced Calendar Exploratory Committee, please let your school principal know and stay tuned for more information in September on upcoming community engagement opportunities related to the equity policy.
  • While we are making inroads, we still, like most school districts, are grappling with bus driver shortages. If you are interested in serving in this critically important role, you can find more information here.
  • Mark your calendars for the annual Olympia School District Education Foundation’s “Education Foundation Breakfast” on the morning of October 7 (a non-student day) in the beautiful, new, voter-supported Capital High School Performing Arts Center. Information about the breakfast, which supports our Principal's Emergency Fund, and all the other wonderful work of the Foundation, can be found on its website.


I hope you get an opportunity to savor the waning days of summer with family and friends before school starts. On September 7, we will welcome students in grades one through 12 into our schools, followed on September 12 by preschoolers and kindergartners – the graduating Class of 2035! I look forward to seeing all of you at open houses and other back-to-school events, as well as continuing to partner with you in the coming year. See you at school!



Patrick Murphy Signature
Patrick Murphy



OSD Elementary Summer School 2022


OSD Elementary Summer School 2022

Over the course of the summer more than 120 kindergarten through fifth grade students participated in the Olympia School District elementary summer school program which took place at both Garfield and Roosevelt elementary schools.


In addition to sharpening their math and reading skills, students participated in ‘Camp Invention’ lessons from the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Through the activities in “Rescue Squad,” students designed and built zip lines, created glowing flowers using simple circuitry, raced their garbage collecting machines, and developed advertising campaigns to promote conservation and reduce pollution.


Summer school music teacher Stacey Burns collaborated with Javoen Byrd of the Hawk Foundation to learn about the music of West Africa, specifically Yoruba music from Nigeria. From drumming heartbeat rhythms, learning how to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” in Yoruba, and how to say “good morning!” (“E kaaro o” – which sounds like “ay car oh!”), scholars played on traditional djembe drums, hand drums and tubanos in every music class as they sang, learned and played.


Elementary summer school Principal Sharyn Merrigan had this to say as school wrapped up; “Our students came to summer school excited to learn new skills and make new friends. Our summer school staff were outstanding in their ability and commitment to develop strong, positive relationships with and among students and to pack a whole lot of learning into a relatively short time period. We had a lot of fun while doing really important work together as learners."


After speaking to students throughout the summer, there was a wide range of “favorites” from school. We did our best to catch them all. Here is a sampling of what we heard from students, in their own words; viewing the final project they designed, making the rescue pod, designing their squad pod, sending the squad pods down the zip lines (and counting how long it took), working with brand new art supplies, banging the drums and making music, read alouds, working with a team, games, recess on the new playground, new toys, making new friends, seeing friends from school, the Rooster Dance (Garfield K-1) and of course snack!


There were numerous other highlights from this summer, including; physical education games, visits from Timberland Regional Library staff, a dental health presentation for grades K-2, as well as a family barbecue and drumming performance during the last week of school.


Thanks to all the students, staff and families who made this year’s summer school experience so amazing. We appreciate you!



School Meal Pricing 2022-23


School Meal Pricing 2022-23

As the first day of school approaches, we want to make sure families are aware of the cost of school meals should you decide to have your student purchase meals during the 2022-23 school year.


A Federal USDA waiver that permitted school districts to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students during the pandemic expires this month. Therefore, for the 2022-23 school year, the Olympia School District will resume charging for school meals at all schools except for:


  • LP Brown, Garfield and Hansen elementary schools, and Jefferson Middle School, which qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. Breakfast and lunch will be served at no cost to all students at these four schools. While families at these schools are not required to fill out a free and reduced-price application, they are asked to fill out a “Consent to Share Program Eligibility form” and a “Family Income Survey form.” These forms will be mailed directly to families this month and are also posted on the district website:
  • Families with approved applications on file for Free & Reduced-Price Meals.
    • Free & Reduced-Price Meal Applications (English, Spanish, Vietnamese) and Consent to Share Program Eligibility forms are available to download on the district website (download, fill out, and return to child’s school). Applications are also available for families to fill out online and submit directly via Skyward Family Access.
    • Students with an approved free/reduced meal application on file from the 2021-22 school year in OSD will continue to be covered under that application through October 19, 2022. To continue receiving free/reduced-price meals beyond October 19, 2022, families need to submit a new application.


For all other students, school meal prices are noted below and posted on the district website. For students with a balance in their school lunch account in 2020, when the district first began serving free meals due to the pandemic, that balance has been preserved and is available for use in the 2022-23 school year.


School menus are updated monthly on the district website. Families are able to prepay for meals via Skyward Family Access (click the “Food Service” tab on the left side of the page). More payment information is located on the Child Nutrition Services webpage.


2022-23 OSD Meal Prices


Grades K-5

Breakfast: $2.00

Lunch: $3.00


Grades 6-12

Breakfast: $2.00

Lunch: $3.25



Breakfast: $3.00

Lunch $4.75


Milk ala carte: $.60



Avanti High School Remodel


Avanti High School Remodel

If you’ve driven past Avanti High School on Legion Way recently you know something is up. There’s a new portable classroom, the lower parking lot is fenced off and full of excavation equipment, not to mention there’s (seemingly) no way to get into the building to talk to Ms. Beck or Mr. Velasquez! Our hope is that this article helps answer any questions that might have popped up, and if not, we will point you in the right direction to get those questions answered.


Let’s start with the basics. Avanti High School is open this year, however, while the main building is under construction students and staff will be taking up temporary residence in the Annex building behind the school. The lower parking lot which is normally available will not be available this year as construction on the main building continues. There will be a few visitor (non student) parking spaces available in the upper lot between AHS and Madison Elementary School. Student and visitor overflow parking will be available on the opposite side of Legion Way SE, in the lower parking lot of the First United Methodist Church of Olympia.


Directions to the ‘New’ Office

To access the front entrance of the Annex building you will need to head North on Legion Way SE and pull into the parking lot between Avanti High School and Madison Elementary School. The AHS front office is located in the Annex building in the back right-hand corner of the parking lot. Follow the sidewalk between the main building and the Annex to the door on the left hand side marked ‘Avanti Office’. That will get you into the new space!


The Annex space has been renovated and converted into classroom and administrative office space that will be in use, along with the portable, for the 2022-23 school year. The majority of the work which will take place over the next 12 months will be in the main building in preparation for the 2023-24 school year. Here are a few of the items that are included in the AHS renovation:


  • Warehouse renovation into classroom and administrative space. This will become art space once the remodel is complete and students/staff move back to the main building.
  • The first and second floors of the main building are being completely renovated and turned into classroom space.
  • Renovation of the kitchen and administrative offices.
  • The library is moving to the second floor and undergoing a massive expansion which includes a glass entryway.
  • The theatre is undergoing both electric and stage lighting upgrades.
  • A Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit is being installed. This helps circulate and provide fresh, clean air to the second floor classrooms.
  • Abatement of the entire building.


As construction progresses throughout the upcoming school year we will be posting photo albums of all the changes on the Olympia School District Facebook Page, so be sure to like and follow for all the updates!


This remodel is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer of 2023. Should you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out to AHS Office Manager Brenda Beck or Principal Michael Velasquez at (360) 596-7900.



Welcome School Leaders


Welcome School Leaders

As we begin the new school year, we want to welcome new or newly assigned principals, assistant principals and dean of students at schools throughout the district. Visit our district website for a list of these announcements. Welcome school leaders!


Featured Photo (above): Superintendent Patrick Murphy shares opening remarks during the 2022 Administrative Retreat.



Back to School Resources for Families


Back to School Resources for Families

The first day of school for students during the 2022-23 school year is Wednesday, September 7, 2022. There will be no early release on September 7. Kindergarten and Preschool begin on Monday, September 12, 2022.


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


Check out our ‘Back to School’ resources page to find details regarding school supply lists, bus routes, new student registration and more.



Thurgood Marshall MS to get solar panels in new partnership


Thurgood Marshall MS to get solar panels in new partnership

The Olympia School District is partnering with Olympia Community Solar to build a new Community Solar installation on the Thurgood Marshall Middle School roof.


The Thurgood Marshall Community Solar Project is planned to begin construction in summer 2023 and will offset the power usage of the school with renewable energy.


The project will include 306 solar panels across the school roof. Puget Sound Solar will design and install the 150 kw system that will be capable of producing 149 thousand kilowatt-hours a year. This will reduce the school’s energy bill, contribute to sustainable infrastructure in Olympia, and create student learning opportunities about renewable energy.


Thurgood Marshall will become the fifth OSD school to have solar panels. There are currently solar panels at Olympia High School, Olympia Regional Learning Academy, Roosevelt Elementary and Washington Middle School.


"We are proud to partner with Olympia Community Solar on the Thurgood Marshall Middle School solar project,” said Olympia School District Superintendent Patrick Murphy. "This project will create learning opportunities about renewable energy for students and aligns with OSD Student Outcome #6. One of the indicators in Outcome 6 states that our students will ‘Advocate for and contribute to local, regional or global improvement by utilizing natural resources in an efficient, sustainable way.’"


Olympia Community Solar President Mason Rolph added, “Our team is honored to partner with the Olympia School District on our third community solar project. Thurgood Marshall Community Solar provides an accessible opportunity for our community to participate in the clean energy economy, contribute to climate action and support local education.”


Ownership of the project is publicly available. Community members provide the upfront project capital by purchasing or donating solar units to the project’s energy production. Over time participants recover their contribution through the sale of electricity. More details about participation in the project are available on the Olympia Community Solar website.



Upcoming Events

  • August 25: Farewell to Director Justin McKaughan - Knox 111 at 6 p.m.
  • August 25: OSD Board Meeting in-person and online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m.
  • August 25: OSD Executive Session - 8:30-9 p.m.
  • September 1: Work Session: OSD Board In-Person and Online via Zoom: 6-8 p.m.
  • September 5: Labor Day
  • September 7: First Day of School (Grades 1-12) - No Early Release
  • September 8: OSD Board Meeting in-person and online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m.
  • September 12: First Day of Preschool & Kindergarten
  • September 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.