September 2020

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OSD Spotlight on Success Header


September 2020


Superintendent’s Message


Hello Olympia School District families,


Patrick Murphy headshot

As we reflect on the three weeks since this school year started, there is much to celebrate. I have seen firsthand students rolling down car windows to wave and say hello to their principals, teachers, librarians and others who lined up in front of schools to pass out textbooks, library books and learning tools during drive-thru school distribution days. I have also seen photos shared by families on our district social media, some of which are featured in this newsletter, of students with big smiles in front of their computers or standing with siblings on the first day of school. Finally, I am so happy to share that we just completed our first week of in-person learning at 10 of our schools that welcomed small groups of students enrolled in two of our special education programs. For the first time in six months, students were served on our campuses. More than 100 students boarded school buses or were driven by parents to school, entered our classrooms, and were taught in person.


As we shared in a recent communication to families, our next step is to expand the number of students we serve in person. Thurston County health officials issued updated guidance last week that expedites our ability to expand the number of students who can return to on-campus learning while prioritizing high-need students, which includes our youngest learners. You may recall that our fall reopening plan calls for us to transition from distance learning to a hybrid learning model once health officials determined it was safe to do so. That time is now upon us, and we are excited to move forward with this opportunity. In the hybrid model, students are in school two days a week and learn remotely the other three days. Families may also choose to keep students in a full-time distance learning model, as we recognize for some that may be a preferred option. The details of both plans are included in the district’s fall reopening plan, which is posted on the district website.


The process of bringing students back on our campuses will be done thoughtfully and carefully with great attention given to the safety of students, families and employees.


Part of our immediate work to expand our in-person learning includes:


  • Surveying families again to find out which students will return for in-person instruction and which families prefer to keep their students in full-time distance learning. Related questions will be asked of district staff. We want the most up-to-date information to help us make informed staffing and program decisions for a shift to hybrid learning.
  • A continuation of meeting with our employee association partners to review agreements on transitioning to a hybrid model.
  • Completing all tasks necessary to safely return students to classrooms.


We will communicate regularly with you as we move forward with the next step of our reopening plan. We know that families need time to plan for the transition to in-person learning, and we will determine and communicate a reasonable timeline as soon as possible.


Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to provide the best education in the safest way possible.



Patrick Murphy Signature
Patrick Murphy



OSD First Day of School 2020


First Day of School 2020: Distance Learning Edition

We would like to say a sincere ‘Thank You’ to all of our amazing families who took the time to post photos from their kiddos first day of school using our #OSDFirstDay2020.


This Facebook photo album includes students from all across our district and gives us a glimpse into what the first day of "Distance Learning" looked like for our families. We can't wait to welcome you back into our buildings, but until that becomes a reality, this sure helps!


View our Facebook Photo Album



Learning Model Status


Learning Model Status

The Olympia School District started the 2020-21 school year with a 100% distance learning model, with plans for a leveled approach to in-person learning.


On September 21, 2020, the district moved to Level 2 when it began in-person learning in 10 schools for small groups of no more than five students served by the district's Developmental Learning Classroom (DLC) and Life Skills programs.


As public health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the Olympia School District dial will be a regular part of our guidance as we may have to move back and forth from level to level throughout the year. This information will be updated as new data and guidelines become available.


Visit our Learning Model Status Webpage



Technology Family Resources


New Technology Family Resource Center webpage

A new Technology Family Resource Center webpage has been added to the district website to help families find information about technology tools in one location.


Visit the new webpage to learn how to get Technology Helpdesk support, schedule a time to pick up a student Chromebook, access the student portal, learn about Schoology (learning management system) Parent Access, sign in to Skyward Family Access, use Remind, connect to the OSD Zoom account, and more.


Be sure to check back frequently for new updates to the page.


Visit our Technology Family Resources Webpage



Intercity Transit Walk n Roll


Intercity Transit Youth Walk Challenge

Stay active, practice pedestrian safety skills and win prizes by taking the Youth Walk Challenge this October with Intercity Transit.


This year Intercity Transit is celebrating Walk to School Month a bit differently. Join them for this fun event and encourage youth to get outside and stay active during distance learning. Youth from across Thurston County can participate by walking 10 days during the month of October. Both Individual and group participation is encouraged, meaning that individual youth, families, child care facilities and in-person and distance learning classrooms can participate in this event.


To participate:

  1. Download and review the Youth Walk Challenge Flyer & Youth Walk Challenge Card
  2. Record the minutes you walk each day.
  3. Email a photo of yourself walking or a picture of your completed challenge to [email protected].
  4. 'Intercity Transit will mail all participants a small prize and enter you in a prize drawing for a $50 gift card!

Child care facilities and in-person classrooms can choose to participate in the challenge as a group, tracking your progress together. For these groups, Walk N Roll can provide prizes directly to your site or school. Please contact Intercity Transit at [email protected] for more information or any questions you may have!



OSDEF Breakfast


OSDEF surpasses Principal’s Emergency Fund fundraising goal

The Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) has exceeded its $110,000 fundraising goal for the annual Principal’s Emergency Fund breakfast.


As of September 28, just four days after the virtual breakfast fundraiser, OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson reported the Foundation had raised more than $119,000. The Principal’s Emergency Fund provides every OSD principal the resources to help meet basic needs of students and their families.


“The OSDEF Board of Trustees and I are grateful to see that the community support for the Principal’s Emergency Fund matches the need for this resource, which has never been more critical to our students and families,” said Katy Johannson, executive director of the Foundation. “Whether you sponsored the event, donated, encouraged someone to watch the livestream or just told someone how the PEF helps those with urgent basic needs, you were a part of this year’s success. Thank you.”


If you were unable to watch the virtual event broadcast live last week, the recording, which includes testimonials by several district principals and families served by the fund, is shared on the OSDEF website.


Thank you OSDEF and the community for supporting the success of OSD students!



Update Student Information


Update Student Information Online

Olympia School District is offering the opportunity for families to update their student's information online this year. Each year, schools send home packets of paper for families to complete and return. Starting on Monday, September 28, 2020, these annual forms may be completed in Skyward Family Access.


To update your student's information, log in to Skyward Family Access. If you do not have your Skyward login information, please follow these instructions. Once logged in to the Skyward Family Access account, please follow the instructions in this brief video to update your student's information.


The annual forms are also available in English, as well as Spanish and Vietnamese, on the district website Student Handbook webpage. Please contact your school to request information in other languages.



OSD School Board Meeting


School board changes meeting dates starting Oct. 8

The Olympia School Board voted on September 14 to move regular board meetings to the second and fourth Thursday of each month beginning on October 8, 2020.


Regular board meeting start times will remain at 6:30 p.m. online via Zoom until further notice. Information on how to join the meeting, including the Zoom link, is posted on the district website at least 24 hours before the meeting. All meetings are recorded with live captioning. Video recordings are posted on the district website several days after each meeting.


The public is encouraged to attend school board meetings, and time is set aside for public comment near the start of each regularly-scheduled meeting. Meeting agendas outlining the topics scheduled to be addressed are available in advance on the district website.


Information about how to sign up for public comment or to email/mail the board a public comment is posted on the Communicating with the Board webpage.


The new board meeting dates for the 2020-21 school year are included on the OSD one-page school calendar on the district website, the 2020-21 School Year Calendar webpage, and the Board Meeting Schedule webpage. They are also included on the OSD Google Calendar.



Remember 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 3, 2020 General Election.


While there are no Olympia School District measures or candidates on the November election ballot, our district regularly shares election information with the community, including how to register to vote. Election ballots are scheduled to be mailed on October 8.


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


  • October 26, 2020: Deadline to register to vote or update your current voter registration by any means other than in person.
  • November 3, 2020: Register to vote or update your voter registration in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day November 3. In-person voter registration is done between now and October 13 at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Bldg. 1, Room 118 in Olympia. Beginning on October 14, you may register to vote in person at the Thurston County Elections Division’s remote drive-thru location on the South Puget Sound Community College Mottman campus, 2011 Mottman Rd S.W., Olympia. For Voting Center hours of operation, please visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division website.


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:


  • October 8: OSD Board Meeting online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m.
  • October 9: No School - Non-Student Day
  • October 22: OSD Board Meeting 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:

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.