Staff invited to take 2018-19 budget priorities survey

Image of a sign with the words SURVEY and a check box next to the wordsAs preparation for the upcoming school year, the Superintendent and Board of Directors seek input from parents, students, staff and the community on the Olympia School District 2018-19 school year budget.

This survey has three parts:

  1. A series of forced choice questions (by forcing respondents to choose between two valuable investments, a natural ranking emerges)
  2. An open-ended narrative section; what does each respondent value about our school district and what efficiencies do you suggest?
  3. A tool to capture how you would spend an extra 1% in resources.

You may participate in all parts, or only one or two.

Take the survey now!

Read the latest issue of OSD Spotlight on Success newsletter

Spotlight on Success logo, which features the OSD logo and the words Spotlight on Success with a spotlight image replacing the O in SpotlightSee the latest issue of the district’s Spotlight on Success newsletter. In this issue, a Jefferson Middle School student and teacher work together to open doors to possibility, the district announces this year’s Teachers of the Year, a Jeanette’s Joy ‘The Richard & Jeanette Levesque Memorial Music Fund’ is established, a Capital High teacher is named DECA Adviser of the Year, and much more!

Open the latest Spotlight on Success newsletter

Spring field trips available at GRuB Farm

Flier advertising field trips at the GRuB Farm this spring and summer.

Click to enlarge

The GRuB Farm is currently scheduling field trips for the spring season.

Field trips at the GRuB farm connect students to their local food system and provide hands-on learning experiences on the land. Staff create field trips in alignment with Washington State standards and class curriculum. Several field trip options are available (see attached information flier).

Contact to schedule a visit.

Safety Tip of the Week: Understanding seasonal allergies

Field of yellow flowers in bloom against a blue sky with white clouds

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about seasonal allergies.

Are you sneezing and coughing? Are your nose and eyes itchy and running? During certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. Tree, grass and weed pollen are common triggers of seasonal allergies.

In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until early summer. Tree pollination begins earliest in the year followed by grass pollination later in the spring and summer. Ragweed blooms in the late summer and fall. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early, and a rainy spring can promote plant growth and lead to an increase in mold and allergy symptoms.

The most common culprit for allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November.

Other plants that trigger allergies include:

  • Alder, Ash, Cedar and Cottonwood (Trees).
  • Bermuda, Rye and Timothy (Grass).
  • English Plantain, Lamb’s Quarters, and Redroot Pigweed (Weeds).

The following environmental factors also influence how bad your symptoms might be when the pollen counts are at their highest:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
  • Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
  • Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
  • On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded.
  • When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.

Avoiding allergy triggers can help with managing allergy symptoms. Call your doctor if you cannot avoid your allergy triggers and you need help managing them. Your doctor can refer you to an allergy specialist who will help identify your allergy triggers and create a suitable treatment plan for you.

Check the pollen count here.

Apply by March 30 for Individual Professional Growth Grant opportunities

Active members of the Olympia Education Association (OEA) bargaining unit are invited to apply by March 30 for Individual Professional Growth Grants (IPGGs) for courses that will be completed between June 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018.

There is $60,000 in IPGG money available.  If total grant allocations exceed $60,000, no individual grant reimbursement shall exceed $2,000 in any year for any individual. However, if total grant allocations are less than $60,000, an individual may receive more than $2,000. Thus, each applicant should apply for all monies spent on professional development during the grant window.

The grant application, as well as a checklist and rubric containing additional details about the application process, are posted on the staff Intranet. Once logged into the Intranet, click Departments, then K-12 Teaching and Learning. At the top of the K-12 Teaching and Learning page, click the IPGG tab.

Submit grant applications by March 30 to the IPGG Committee in the K-12 Teaching & Learning department. If you have questions about the application process, please call Christa Hilinski at 360-596-8545 or Linda Heade at 360-596-8557.

Education Support Professionals Week is March 12-16

Students board a school busThe Olympia School District is joining the state this week in recognizing Education Support Professionals Week.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation during the February 26 meeting recognizing March 12-16 as Education Support Professionals Week.

More than 800 education support professionals work with and help children throughout our district. They are involved in nearly every aspect of education, including maintaining school buildings and school grounds; providing administrative support; preparing and serving meals; providing safe transportation; keeping school facilities clean; assisting in the classroom; providing a secure environment; providing information technology and media services; and offering other specialized services.

The resolution states in part that “education support professionals are instrumental in fulfilling the state’s responsibility to educate all students.” The one-page resolution, which is posted in every school and support building this week, also states that by supporting the learning environment, “education support professionals are crucial partners with teachers, parents, administrators and school boards.”

Thank you to all of our education support professionals. We appreciate you!

Read the full Olympia School Board proclamation

Apply by April 20 for Innovation in Education Grants

Innovation chart showing idea bubble, flow charts, and person holding up signSafeway and Albertsons are proud to announce another round of the Innovation in Education Grants for 2018. Educators can enter by submitting ideas for creative projects in literacy, math, reading, science, health, art, engineering and social studies. Innovation is encouraged, as well as unique ideas and unorthodox approaches.

The contest is open to classroom teachers and specialists working with students in grades K-12. The teacher can apply on her or his own, or if available, a school district foundation can apply on behalf of the teacher.  To apply go to and click “Get Funded.”

The Safeway and Albertsons Foundation focuses its giving on the communities it serves and the causes that matter most to its customers and employees. The Foundation is proud to help support innovative teachers and creative learning for the children in their communities.

Applications are due April 20, 2018 and winners will be announced during the week of May 7-11, 2018.  Questions may be directed to Christine Ellis at

Teacher Web page SchoolMessenger training date changed to March 29

DSC_0007The SchoolMessenger website training originally scheduled for March 22 has been changed to Thursday, March 29 from 4-6 p.m. in Room 201B in the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia.

Certificated staff interested in creating a teacher Web page on the SchoolMessenger website are invited to attend this two-hour class, where you will learn how to use the tool to create content, post photos and more.

To sign up for the class, please email the Communications & Community Relations department at

Safety Tip of the Week: What is ‘Safe and Well’ for disaster recovery?

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about the “Safe and Well” website.

Two women hugging

“Safe and Well” is a website designed to help make communication with loved ones easier during a disaster emergency. At this website, provided and sponsored by the American Red Cross, people can register and list themselves as “Safe and Well.” This resource helps people who may be concerned about a loved one during a disaster search for them. Once the person in the affected zone is registered, others can look them up and see if they are listed. In emergencies, telephone communications may not be available for many hours.

After a disaster, letting your family and friends know you are safe and well can bring them peace of mind. Learn more about this service.

I found that reading through the “help” section of the Safe and Well site was very helpful as a tutorial on what to do, how to register and how it can be used as a resource. There is also a page of frequently asked questions on the site to help explain what Safe and Well can and can’t do.

This resource is provided as a communication tool for people in an affected disaster area to get messages to loved one outside the area. Here is a list of the types of messages a person may be able to post for someone searching for them:

  • I am safe and well.
  • Family and I are safe and well.
  • Currently at a shelter.
  • Currently at home.
  • Currently at a friend/family member/neighbor’s house.
  • Currently at a hotel.
  • Will make phone calls when able.
  • Will make emails when able.
  • Will mail letter or post card when able.

It is important that the information that is requested be filled out in full and as accurately as possible since this is a search for a specific person. There are privacy regulations which limit the information about the listed person which can be publicly displayed on the website. Your loved ones will need to know your current address, phone number or email to search for you. In the event of an emergency, it is important that these types of resources are utilized.

Congratulations Teachers of the Year Lisa Estcourt and Blue Peetz

Madison Elementary reading specialist Lisa Escourt has surprised look on her face at OSD Teacher of the Year announcement

Congratulations to this year’s Olympia School District Teachers of the Year!

Superintendent Patrick Murphy and School Board President Frank Wilson surprised this year’s honorees last week in front of their colleagues and students.

Lisa Estcourt, reading intervention specialist at Madison Elementary, is this year’s OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year. Blue Peetz, an instructor at the Freedom Farm, is this year’s OSD Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to these two outstanding educators, who will be honored at the Monday, March 26 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School, 3100 Cain Rd. S.E., Olympia.

Blue Peetz, this year's secondary Teacher of the Year for OSD, shakes hands with Superintendent Patrick Murphy while Frank Wilson and Matt Grant look on.