Technology and Safety Replacement Levy passing by nearly 70%

Thank You Voters graphic with blurred background of students working on keyboard mixer

Nearly 70% of voters have approved the Olympia School District’s four-year Technology and Safety Replacement Levy in the February 8, 2022 Special Election, according to the latest unofficial election results released the day after the election.

Election returns released by the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division on Wednesday, February 9 show the measure received 11,516 yes votes (69.84%) compared to 4,972 no votes (30.16%). A levy requires 50 percent-plus one yes vote for approval.

Olympia School District Superintendent Patrick Murphy thanked voters for their support. “We are grateful and appreciative that a majority of voters support a continuation of our strategic planning efforts to make technology accessible to all students, and to enhance safety and security in our schools.”

The district will continue to monitor Special Election returns in the coming days as more ballots are counted. The Auditor’s Office announced its next round of election results will be released at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 10.

Among other things, the $52.4 million replacement levy will fund new and continued technology and safety initiatives including:

  • Touchscreen mobile computer devices for each student.
  • Continuation of Internet access at home for students/families in need.
  • Assistive technology devices for students with special needs, and associated staff training.
  • Up-to-date classroom interactive display systems, including an interactive projector or flat panel screen.
  • Safety vestibules in 13 school entries where they do not currently exist.
  • Improved safe routes to school, including school zone crossings and notifications, and safer walking and biking routes.
  • Safety notifications at the main entry/exit doors for all schools.
  • Emergency power initiatives, including solar panels and back-up power generation to support critical operations.

Student art celebrating Black History Month and Black American Artists on display at district office

Wall quilt made up of paper painted art squares

A colorful wall quilt of painted paper art squares created by LP Brown Elementary students in celebration of Black History Month and Black American Artists is on display at the Knox 111 Administrative Center.

The quilt, made by LP Brown students in kindergarten through grade 5 under the direction of art teacher Divina Clark, is part of a larger display of student artwork from various schools and grade levels featured on a wall across from the Knox Board Room.

The “Celebrating Black American Artists through the Art of Quilts” quilt is made up of 21 art squares that students created using tempera paint and paint sticks.

Learning objectives, which are posted on the wall next to the quilt, are described as the following:

Students learned the practice of Understanding Art Worlds (Artist Habits of Mind) – learning about Black American artists, Alma Woodsey Thomas (painter and retired art teacher) and quilters from African slaves during the Civil War era through a children storybook, “Show Way” written by renowned author, Jacqueline Woodson. Students learned about the art of quilt making and quilt patterns. Students learned about patterns by creating an art piece through the concept of using the elements of art such as line, shape and color; and, by using tempera paints and/or tempera paint sticks. 

Hats off to our newest OSD Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout-out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here are our newest honorees:

Everyday Heroes
Jaime Sproul and Marjorie Jenne, Knox 111 Administrative Building

Both of these ladies have been instrumental in helping the Assistive Technology team get trainings up and running and problem-solving any issues that occurred. They have been patient and kind as we navigated this new endeavor as a team. Thank you for all you do ladies!
Submitted by the Assistive Technology Team: Meghan Hanson, Jennalyn Burke and Suzie Anthony, Knox 111 Administrative Building

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing. 

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.

Countdown to Kindergarten 2022

Teacher at the front of the classroom motioning to an interactive whiteboard and a student in the front row raising her hand

An informational event for parents and guardians who will have children in kindergarten during the 2022-23 school year.

Countdown to Kindergarten 2022

Parents and guardians of incoming kindergartners are encouraged to attend this event to learn about transitioning to kindergarten in the Olympia School District. This virtual event will begin promptly at 10 a.m. with a welcome from Superintendent Patrick Murphy and presentation by Executive Director of Elementary Education Autumn Lara. Topics of conversation will include:

  • Registering for kindergarten
  • Using Skyward Family Access (Student Information System)
  • Riding the bus
  • Alternative kindergarten program options
  • Before- and after-school childcare
  • Community partner services
  • Health and safety protocols

This virtual event is primarily for adults, but children are welcome to attend.

OSD staff feedback critical to Foundation’s new strategic plan

The Olympia School District Education Foundation recently adopted a new three-year strategic plan. Feedback provided last spring by OSD staff and students through several focus groups and by families through a survey was critical to the final document, which is comprised of five overarching priorities:

  • Increase community awareness of the Foundation.
  • Develop a Board of Trustees and leadership that is representative of our community.
  • Ensure the Foundation’s long-term fiscal viability.
  • Enhance and continue to evaluate the Foundation’s current programs.
  • Expand the Foundation’s programs.

More details are available via an executive summary, which can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Questions or comments can be directed to OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org or (360) 596-6110.

National School Counseling Week Feb. 7-11

National School Counseling Week Logo with wording of this year's theme "School Counseling: Better Together and dates February 7-11, 2022

National School Counseling Week is February 7-11. This annual recognition highlights the impact school counselors have on student success and well-being.

National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. The 2022 theme is “School Counseling: Better Together.”

Thank you to the entire team of OSD counselors!

Flags lowered to half-staff February 8

Flags at half-mast outside of Avanti High School

Gov. Jay Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Vancouver Police Officer Donald Sahota, 52, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Officer Sahota died in the line of duty on Saturday, January 29, 2022.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Tuesday, February 8.

A memorial service will take place on February 8, 2022 at the Ilani Event Center in Ridgefield at 1 p.m.

Third round of Foundation’s Teaching & Learning Grants due February 11

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) Grant Requests for Application Period 3 are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 11, 2022.

Requests, which are easy to complete, can be made in any amount up to $2,000 this year (except Browsers Books grants, which are eligible for up to $500). Grant request forms, guidelines and examples of grants awarded by the Foundation last year are all available at www.osdef.org/grants.

Any OSD employee who works directly with OSD students may apply. Please select only one category. Grant requests must be submitted electronically via info@osdef.org. Funding is available until it runs out.

Questions? Contact Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org or (360) 596-6110.