Education Support Professionals Week is March 13-17

Two education support professionals post and smile for the camera at McLane Elementary School

The Olympia School District is joining the state in recognizing Education Support Professionals Week March 13-17, 2023.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation during the February 23 Olympia School Board meeting recognizing March 13-17, 2023 as Education Support Professionals Week. He also recognized members of the district’s employee bargaining units who joined the meeting on Zoom.

More than 700 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 from March 13-17, also states that by supporting the learning environment, “education support professionals are crucial partners with teachers, parents, administrators and school boards.”

Please remember to thank an education support professional working in our schools.

Read the full Olympia School Board proclamation.

ESD 113 offers educators of color online focus groups

Capital Region ESD 113, through the College Spark Leaders Grant Program and the Beginning Educator Support Program (BEST) Consortium, has made it a priority to learn about opportunities and challenges for educators of color. ESD 113 offers the following educators of color online focus groups:

Friday, March 10;  3 – 4:30 pm; Zoom link
Saturday, March 11; 10 – 11:30 am; Zoom link
Monday, March 13; 11 – 12:30 pm; Zoom link

Reminder: Ellison Education Grant applications due by April 1

Tin cans filled with pencils, pens and paintbrushes

Applications are being accepted through April 1, 2023 for “Ellison Education Grants.”

Ellison Education Grants were created to empower and support Washington State’s most effective, innovative and inspirational K- 12 public school teachers. Their goal is to support lifelong achievement and success of Washington State students. This is done by providing support to educators who design academic enrichment curriculum for students and or professional learning experiences for their current practice. The Ellison Foundation supports a classroom teacher’s expertise in understanding their own professional learning needs and the needs of their students. 

The Ellison Foundation wishes to award at least 12 grants in the Spring of 2023 for the 2023-24 school year. Grant amounts range between $1,000 and $10,000.

To learn more about the “Ellison Education Grants,” please visit the Ellison Education Grants webpage.

Knox 111 Administrative Center front doors to be locked during business hours effective March 6

Front entry to Knox 111

Effective on Monday, March 6, 2023, all doors leading into the Knox 111 Administrative Center will be locked during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The locked doors are consistent with security practices in Olympia School District schools, where entry doors are locked during the school day.

Staff may enter during regular business hours using their access card on the reader posted on the wall just outside the entry doors on the north side of the building’s front doors, as well as next to the Technology Department entry. If you forget your access card please ring the doorbell at the main front door entry, or knock on the Technology Department door.

Community members who have an appointment with or are seeking information from administrative office staff will be directed to ring a doorbell located on the north side of the building’s front doors (off 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia). The front desk receptionist will answer the doorbell.

Members of the public who need to meet with the Technology Department on the building’s lower level should knock on the door located near the parking lot next to the Knox building off Tullis Street. The door is at the top of an accessibility ramp with blue railings.

OSD student-developed equity surveys available; update on equity policy focus groups

The Olympia School District’s Equity Policy Steering Committee (EPSC) is pleased to announce the launch of the OSD Student Developed Equity Surveys for OSD secondary students, educators and families.

In partnership with OSD Board Members, the Superintendent’s Office, the Teaching and Learning Department and supporting team members from across the district, student board representatives met over the last few months to develop and refine the survey questions. Survey questions are directed at topics and issues directly affecting students daily lives; some questions may be difficult to answer.

The survey data collected is anonymous and all questions are optional. Honest opinions and thorough participation in these surveys and the data collected will be used to help Olympia students and the EPSC inform the development of our district’s Equity Policy this spring to serve ALL interested parties districtwide.

Participate in the OSD Equity Policy Surveys by March 31, 2023:

Submit questions to the OSD Equity Team. For more information on this process, or should you have any additional questions, please email

In-Person Equity Policy Focus Groups Update:

March 4, 2023: Open-Registration Focus Group

  • Location: Garfield Elementary School
  • Room: Library
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Registration

March 18, 2023: Open-Registration Focus Group

  • Location: Lincoln Elementary School
  • Room: Library
  • Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Registration

Virtual Equity Policy Focus Groups Update:

Students, Parents/Families, and Community Members can now sign up for virtual equity policy focus groups to share your thoughts with the District to help inform the development of the District’s equity policy.

To be added as a participant to an upcoming virtual focus group, select an available date and time here or select the link below. The virtual focus groups are scheduled as follows:

  • Dates: 3/2, 3/8
  • Start Time: 6 pm – 7:30 p.m.
  • Format: Zoom
  • Maximum # of Participants per Focus Group: 20
  • Registration: Google Form

After you sign up, the Zoom meeting invitation will be sent to the email address you provided. Please try to join the meeting a few minutes early to ensure the Zoom application is up-to-date and so we can honor each other’s time.

Don’t miss the February Spotlight on Success district newsletter

Basketball players and fans in the crowds are all smiles on the court at Olympia High School during the annual Pack the Gym game.

Be sure to click the link below for our most recent edition of the monthly Spotlight on Success district newsletter.

This issue is filled with articles, photos and videos about students and staff throughout the school district, including McLane Elementary School’s Jalissa Jones being named OSD Teacher of the Year, the Olympia Unified Pack the Gym event at Olympia HS, local Artist Nikki McClure’s virtual visit to McLane ES, and the launch of a Transitional Kindergarten program at Madison Elementary.

View Spotlight on Success

Flags lowered to half-mast February 22 in memory of correctional officer

American flag waves in the wind against a blue sky with white clouds

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Washington State Department of Corrections Correctional Officer Jay Miller, 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 Wednesday, February 22, 2023. Officer Miller died in the line of duty on Saturday, February 11, 2023.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

A memorial service will take place on February 22 at The Church for All Nations in Tacoma at 1 pm.

Countdown to Kindergarten is Saturday, March 4

Student writes with a colored pencil on a worksheet at a desk in a classroom setting.

DATE: Saturday, March 4, 2023
TIME: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Doors will open at 9:40 a.m)
LOCATION: Capital High School (2707 Conger Avenue, Olympia)

We would like to welcome the students and families from the Class of 2036 to join us at our annual Olympia School District ‘Countdown to Kindergarten’ event. This exciting and informative event is open to all parents/guardians who have children entering kindergarten for the 2023-2024 school year.

Parents/guardians and incoming kindergartners are encouraged to attend. Also, please feel free to invite your friends and neighbors. Families will have an opportunity to learn all about transitioning to kindergarten in our district. There will be a brief presentation followed by a period of time to meet and greet school staff, enjoy activities, climb on board a school bus and much morel

If you would like to enroll your student during the event, district staff will be on site to assist you.

For more information (or to RSVP) simply complete this Google Form. You are also free to call (360) 596-6113 should you have any additional questions. We hope to see you all on March 4!

Organization partners with city to provide African American educational programming

Poster labeled Black History Month includes image of Dr. Martin Luther King along with details about three upcoming events outlined in the

The Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture is partnering with the City of Olympia to provide countywide African American educational programming.

The Foundation shared several upcoming free events that may be of interest to educators and students.

Javoen Byrd, executive director of The Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture, shared the following about the three upcoming events, which are also described in the accompanying photo:

  • The first day will be a virtual lecture by Dr. Sylviane Diouf, February 16 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Dr. Diouf is author of Slavery’s Exiles, a book on African American freedom fighters of the South who fought against slavery and created communities that resisted the enslavement. She is a professor at Brown University.
  • The second event will be a lecture at The Washington Center by Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. She will be discussing mental health equity in the Black community. This keynote is on February 17 from 6 – 8:30 p.m.
  • The last day will be a community celebration at The Olympia Center from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with live performances.

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action February 6-10

Image of Knox Administrative Center screened in the background with lettering in the foreground stating Black LIves Matter at School Week of Action February 6-10, 2023

The Olympia School Board has proclaimed February 6-10 as Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

Board President Darcy Huffman read the two-page proclamation at the January 26, 2023 board meeting.

The school board proclamation states in part that “our students have the right to be educated within a village committed to nurturing their courage and skills to confront personal, systemic and societal bias, while recognizing the many types of privilege that exist within our society.”

The proclamation goes on to state that “students have the right to engage in reflection and honest conversations in school communities on issues of social justice, equity, the intersectionality of oppression and the legacy of institutionalized racism and oppression that has plagued the United States since its founding.”

The Black Lives Matter at School campaign first began in Seattle in 2016 and has since spread across the nation.