2020-21 Annual Report

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2020-21 Annual Report


A Message From Superintendent Patrick Murphy

Dear Olympia residents,

Patrick Murphy OSD SuperintendentWe are pleased to share our school district’s Annual Report featuring highlights of the 2020-21 school year from throughout the Olympia School District. As I reflect on this year, there is much to celebrate, even in the face of a pandemic. We began the year in September 2020 by welcoming back to in-person learning small groups of students enrolled in two of the district’s special education programs. As the year progressed, we transitioned a few grade levels at a time to a hybrid of in-person and remote learning — all the while following health guidance to return students and employees to school safely. By the end of the year, we completed the shift to hybrid learning and set our sights on fall 2021, with a goal to return students to full-time in-person learning five days a week and launch a Virtual Academy of Olympia.

As I mentioned in one of my superintendent newsletter messages during the 2020-21 school year, the immense obstacles, barriers and trials presented to us by the COVID-19 virus forced our reliable, predictable school system to shift in ways we might never have thought possible. I also noted that while challenges continue, “I think history will reflect that our families, students and staff have responded to this test with remarkable success, fortitude and devotion.” In this Annual Report, you will find examples of this. We highlight notable student, staff and district achievements, as well as how we are using financial resources provided by the state and community to improve services for students. You will also find a summary of construction updates of remaining projects approved by voters in the 2016 school bond, district demographic data, links to School Performance Reports and School Improvement Plans, and Smarter Balanced Assessment scores. Due to pandemic-related school closures, note that the 2019-20 assessment data is not available, and data for 2020-21 is limited. This is not unique to Olympia, but a reality statewide of school closures during the pandemic.

While this report is a snapshot of the many accomplishments districtwide, many more are featured on our school district website and social media platforms. I encourage you to visit the district website at osd.wednet.edu, or see the latest OSD Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube posts.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support as we serve the children and families of our community. It is a pleasure to partner with you in this important effort.

Patrick Murphy's signature

Patrick Murphy




Good News From Around the District  


Our Schools and Staff


As always, there are many more achievements in our district than we can summarize in this report, ranging from small acts of kindness to schoolwide accomplishments. We have included a few of these highlights from the 2020-21 year. 


Our teachers are regularly recognized as among the nation's best. In 2020, Capital High School math teacher Carol McKay was recognized nationally with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). McKay is the only math teacher to receive the honor in Washington state, and one of only two PAEMST winners statewide. Nationwide, there were 107 winners honored that year.


Classified school employees of the yearThe success of our schools would not be possible without the hard work of our classified employees. Every year, our district honors classified employees nominated by staff, students and the community. In 2020, two Classified Employees of the Year were named - Thurgood Marshall Middle School Paraeducator Nadine Owen and Olympia School District Child Nutrition Services Supervisor Paul Flock. Owen has been a paraeducator for 22 years, five of them at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. Flock has been the supervisor in Child Nutrition Services for 31 years. Both were selected for this honor following a nomination process that included many outstanding submissions from throughout the district.


Racial and social justice is an important issue to students and staff throughout the Olympia School District. In 2020, Avanti High School began teaching a new Civil Rights class focusing on racial and social justice movements. The class is taught by a team of three AHS teachers who initially began coordinating the new offering during a summer professional development course on confronting racism in the community through classroom education. The teachers were so moved by the course, they applied for a grant to continue their study and bring their knowledge into the classroom.


OHS student artworkAlso in 2020, Olympia High School was recognized with the College Board’s 2020 AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for increasing gender diversity in computer science. The award is given annually to schools across the country for their work toward equal gender representation, as demonstrated by the reported gender of students taking AP Computer Science exams and their scores.


Staff at OSD schools work to foster kindness and compassion within students. One such project in 2021 was the Month of Compassion at Pioneer Elementary. In February, students at Pioneer created nearly 500 handmade valentines and delivered them to Providence St. Peters Hospital ahead of Valentine's Day. Students in kindergarten through 5th grade crafted the valentines with colorful paper, markers and kind messages. The valentines were delivered all around the hospital to nursing stations and various departments. 


Pioneer principal Joel Lang delivering valentinesAt McLane Elementary, staff found a clever way to keep students engaged during remote learning. The Community Connections program began as a series of unique after-school clubs and service projects meant to engage students socially. With the help of teachers, parents and community volunteers, McLane offers art and Lego clubs, ukulele club, book clubs, Minecraft club, coding club, outdoor PE opportunities, McLane trail activities, gardening and work parties. Most of these clubs were virtual during remote learning. Plans to expand offerings to include more in-person events are in the works.


Every year, OSD calls for nominations and recognizes one or more Teachers of the Year. For the year 2020-21, McLane Elementary third grade teacher Emily Hamilton was honored. In a letter nominating Hamilton as Teacher of the Year, McLane Elementary Principal Anthony Brock praised her for her work leading staff professional development on racial equity. “Every single day, she is leading by example displaying the skills, knowledge, and courage to identify and confront personal, systemic, and societal bias,” he wrote.


Our Students: 

We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of our Olympia School District students. Here are a few highlights of their accomplishments from the 2020-21 school year:


yard signs with messages about safe drivingIn 2021, OSD student artwork was on display throughout the region as part of a traffic safety yard sign project with InterCity Transit. The artwork was printed on traffic safety yard signs that were distributed to interested community members to make Olympia a safer place to walk and roll. The goal of the project is to encourage drivers to slow down to improve safety, especially in neighborhoods where students walk or ride bikes to school. The sign project is a partnership between Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program, Target Zero Thurston Task Force, Safe Kids Thurston County, and the Olympia Police Department, and funded by a State Farm grant.


There are always plenty of stories to share about the successes of our Olympia School District alumni. In 2020, Natalie Stagnone, a 2018 OHS graduate, continued work as one of two executive directors and co-founders of Thurston County Inclusion, an organization that aims to bring free summer camps to children with disabilities throughout Thurston County.


While many sports and competitions have been postponed this year, Capital High School Speech and Capital high school debate students and their trophyDebate students are not only persisting, but excelling, in the current environment by competing in events using video conferencing.

The team took top prize in the speaking event category at the recent Tahoma Golden Bear Classic Speech and Debate Tournament. Tenth grader Charles Norris earned a first-place prize in the event and ninth grader Kaloyan Menser earned second place. Public speaking in an online platform such as Zoom provides unique challenges, the students said. Over time, they learned effective techniques for speaking via video conference.


There was a lot to celebrate in the art world at Olympia High School. Eight OHS students earned awards at two contests -- the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Art Show and the Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 High School Art Contest. In total eight students were recognized at the district contest and moved up to state, where three won awards when judged against submissions from across Washington state. This is the third consecutive year that OHS has had at least one winner at the OSPI Art Show.


The Capital High School Cougarettes dance team had a great 2020-21 season. With both a national and a state championship under their belts, the 2020-21 season was one of the best in team history.


Training to become state and national champions during a worldwide pandemic brought a host of unique challenges. The dancers trained for 12 months leading up to this year’s competitions. Many practices took place via Zoom. Dancers also trained individually using prescribed workouts and videos. Occasionally, team members met in small groups. They rarely got the opportunity to practice together as a team.


District continues to boast high graduation rates

The Olympia School District’s on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2021 was 92.1 percent. The five-year graduation rate for students in the class of 2020 was 94.5 percent.  


Board Continues Focus on Student Outcomes

Every year in December, the Olympia School Board elects officers for the coming year during its annual reorganization.


At its December 10, 2020 meeting, the board elected Scott Clifthorne as this year’s board president and Maria Flores as vice president.

Board members are also appointed annually to serve as liaisons with various community groups and state agencies. Directors will continue with their same appointed positions from this past year:

  • Leslie Huff, board representative to the Olympia School District Education Foundation.
  • Hilary Seidel, board representative to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
  • Justin McKaughan, board representative to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
  • Maria Flores, legislative representative to the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). Flores will serve the second year of a two-year term as Legislative Representative.


The OSD Board of Directors approved a list of student outcomes at the December 10, 2018 school board meeting. They read:


Our students will:


  • Outcome 1: Be compassionate and kind.

  • Boy looks at screen while a nurse points to image on screen at health care career fair

    Outcome 2: Have the academic and life skills to pursue their individual career, civic and educational goals.

  • Outcome 3: Advocate for the social, physical and mental wellness of themselves and others and be hopeful about the future.

  • Outcome 4: Have the skills, knowledge and courage to identify and confront personal, systemic and societal bias.

  • Outcome 5: Discover their passions, be curious and love learning.

  • Outcome 6: Be critical thinkers who contribute to and collaborate with our local, global and natural world. 


Progress continues on 2016 voter-approved school bond projects 

The 2020-21 school year was a busy year as construction activity concluded at many schools and the Knox 111 Administrative Center. These facility and safety improvements were approved by voters in the 2016 school bond. Below is a brief summary of some of the major projects.


Capital High School

Seating inside the new PACThe new two-story Performing Arts Center (PAC) was one of the largest construction projects and it is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021. The new PAC is a 26,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with energy efficient systems and modern technological upgrades. It was funded as part of the 2016 construction bond. There are seats for 517 audience members as well as multiple flexible spaces that can be used for teaching, production and storage. The lobby is filled with natural light and was designed as a transparent space, allowing for art work to be displayed and seen from outside the building. The existing PAC was converted to a lecture hall. Work was also done on the siding of Capital’s main building and portions of the school were reroofed. Other improvements included replacing single-pane windows with double panes, removing non-functioning in-wall heaters, and adding a new air distribution system. A new security vestibule at the front of the school is scheduled for completion in August 2021.



Olympia High SchoolInner entrance and hallway to Olympia High School

Several construction projects were completed at Olympia High School. The Main Office received a new reception window and secured vestibule. Carpeting was also replaced in existing classrooms, offices, and the Performing Arts Center. Work on the addition of a 2,000-square-foot music room and four additional science classrooms and science prep rooms was completed and a new turf field was installed. 


District Office: Knox 111 Administrative Center

The Knox 111 building 

Work including new roofing was completed on the new district administration center. The move makes way for the eventual expansion of Avanti High School, which is also part of the 2016 school bond improvement projects.


Avanti High School

Avanti High School is currently in the design phase for a major remodel of the main building and the annex, which was formerly a warehouse space. The project will go out to bid in Nov. 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in February of 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.



    Our Students


    Two elementary girls eat cupcakes and cookies and smile at camera


    • 9,829


    Special Programs

    • Free and Reduced-Price Meals - 30.2%
    • Special Education - 15.0%
    • Transitional Bilingual - 2.1%
    • Section 504 - 4.5%
    • Migrant - 0.3%


    Other Information

    • Regular Attendance Rate - 91.9%*
    • Homeless Student Population - 1.3%
    • Adjusted 4-year Graduation Rate (Class of 2019) - 92.8%
    • Adjusted 5-year Graduation Rate (Class of 2018) - 94.5%



    *As of 2018, OSPI now reports Regular Attendance Rate instead of previously reported Unexcused Absence Rate. For more information, please visit OSPI Report Card and enter "Olympia School District." 

    High school students pose with their teacher outdoors while holding trophy

    About our Teachers

    • Number of Classroom Teachers - 601
    • Average Years of Teacher Experience - 14.4
    • Teachers With at Least a Master's Degree - 64.6%
    • Teachers with Emergency Certificate - 8.0%
    • Teachers with Conditional Certificate - 2.2%

    Most recent data provided by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in October 2020.




    • Hispanic/Latino of any race(s) - 12.9%
    • American Indian/Alaskan Native - 0.5%
    • Asian - 7.5%
    • Black/African American - 2.9%
    • Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander - 0.5%
    • White - 63.9%
    • Two or More Races - 11.8%


    Diversity chart 

    Most recent data provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction(OSPI) in October 2019.



    Academic Performance & Testing

    Due to pandemic-related school closures, 2019-20 assessment data is not available and data for 2020-21 is limited. Learn more on the State Testing FAQ page.


    For more information about test scores, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website. Simply type in "Olympia School District" under "I want to see data for a school or school district" and select "Go." 


    2020-21 Smarter Balanced Assessment Results

    Grade Level





    3rd Grade
    --- --- --- ---
    4th Grade 57.6% 45.9% 47.7% 38.6%
    5th Grade 56.7% 46.5% 43.7% 35.6%
    6th Grade
    62.6% 47.4% 38.3% 27.3%
    7th Grade 60.3% 46.3% 41.2% 28.5%
    8th Grade 68.1% 49.6% 49.6% 33.4%
    11th Grade 80.8% 51.2% 45.3% 24.4%

    Grade Level 

    WCAS Science 


    6th Grade
    74.3% 56.8%
    8th Grade --- ---
    11th Grade --- ---


    School Performance Reports



    School Improvement Plans



    Financial Report


    2020-21 District Operating Budget





     Building Administration
    $8,138,680   5.74%
     Maintenance & Operations    $7,927,952  5.60%
     District Support
     $8,389,655  5.92%
     $3,480,019  2.46%
     Utilities & Insurance  $4,098,644  2.89%
     Food Service
     $2,723,756  1.92%
     Other  $56,723  0.04%
     Total Expenditures  $142,286,695  100.00%




     $26,151,733  18.16%
     Federal    $9,194,223  6.38%
     Other Sources                          
     $1,270,827  0.88%
     Total Revenue  $143,013,161  99.0%


    financial report graph 



    One boy reads while another elementary student leans over his shoulder

    Invitation to the Community

    There are many ways in which you can get involved in our schools. We invite you to contact your local school to ask how you can help or participate. When you access this website you will find a multitude of opportunities to assist in shaping our district's future.


    Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you. We hope to see you in one of our buildings soon!

    Volunteer at the OSD!


    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:


    Michael Hart, Title IX Officer 

    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.