OSD to hold hearings on school closures February 26 and 29

Westside school principals showcase their school’s highlights


The Olympia School District (OSD) Board will hold public hearings on Monday, February 26 and Thursday, February 29 regarding proposed school consolidations for community members to appeal and make their concerns known.

The first day will be for Madison Elementary School, and the second will be for McKenny Elementary School.

The board will provide ASL, Spanish, and Vietnamese interpreters and childcare workers. Snacks and drinks are also being planned.

On Thursday, March 7, the board has scheduled a study session for individuals to discuss solutions other than closures with the board.

“I want everyone to consider and think of the study session that we’re setting out for March 7. It is designed to be explicitly dialogic,” OSD District 5 Director Scott Clifthorne said.

School Improvement Plans

The board discussed the School Facility Efficiency Review Committee schedule and School Improvement Plan (SIP) updates in two successive work sessions.

Committee members attended the session on February 12, while school principals attended the session on February 13.

Principals from the district’s westside schools convened with the board to discuss their SIPs for building a sense of belonging among students.

Multi-tiered interventions at LP Brown

“For the last year and a half, our staff have focused on professional development …on inclusionary practices. Beginning this school year, the staff and I started developing new frameworks in the general education classroom to support these initiatives,” LP Brown Elementary Principal Sean Shaughnessy shared.

Shaughnessy talked about the school’s inclusionary practices, highlighting that all students receive multi-tiered interventions in the general education classroom for the first time and will continue building on them.

Building belonging at Hansen

Marianna Smith, Principal at Hansen Elementary, described its successful collaboration with teaching and learning to build a sense of belonging.

“We are most excited about our collaboration and our work at Hansen that's focusing on building a sense of belonging for students and staff... We're working on building relationships and making a sense of community within our school,” Smith said.

Culturally responsive at Jefferson

Jefferson Middle School Principal Jane Allaire said her school focused on culturally responsive education and shared its targets.

“We have three goals that we're going to be working on over the next three years. The first one is integrity, and then rigor, and then communication,” said Allaire. “Our goal is universally design lessons from 25% of the time to 50% of the time by promoting sharing best practices that foster creativity and risk-taking and effort.”

Restorative room at Marshall

Michele Weber-Hindrup, Assistant Principal at Thurgood Marshal Middle School, shared about the “restorative room” there, which students have visited over 700 times.

“Sometimes students need a five-minute break from class to do a quick check-in and check-out. Other times we'll do full restorative circles. Sometimes it's an opportunity for students and their teacher to work through a conflict that may have occurred in class. This is a space of love and respect, while holding students accountable for their actions,” said Weber-Hindrup.

Walking with Capital High students

Outgoing Capital High School Principal Lillian Hunter talked about how they are now looking at data more carefully and started walking talks with students.

“At the end of the week, we create our attendance list and we have a formula that we have developed where we look at the attendance marks,” said Hunter. “We have started to leverage our restorative justice center and the personnel there to be proactive and start doing walking talks with the kids.”

Belonging is the focus at Madison

Domenico Spatola-Knoll, Madison Elementary Principal, shared how their school created a sense of belonging for students, especially those coming from minorities.

“For one thing, just a casual stroll around our campus will fill your senses of the joyful and communal atmosphere of our school. We see increases in growth, mindset, positive feelings, self-efficacy, and supportive relationships for multi-ethnic students, we see increases in the double digits and several mentioned categories with the highest growth in emotional regulation,” said Spatola-Knoll.

Reading training is a focus at McLane

McLane Elementary Principal Dannie Clark showcased their school staff's training on children’s reading development.

UFLI [University of Florida Literacy Institute training] was used by some teachers, and both my intervention teachers and the excitement in their voices and the story that the data showed it was evident that it was supported by the science of reading, and it was a best practice,” said Clark.

“Classified staff and certificated staff had ample opportunities to receive training, and that training was by intervention teachers who had years of experience teaching this,” Clark continued.

Conversations at Garfield

Garfield Elementary Principal Brendon Chertok shared their morning meetings where teachers educate students as they share conversations.

“In those while they can be loosely structured, open opportunities for kids to share some personal things that are going on in their life, teachers also use this as an explicit time to offer some instruction about academic demonstrating and practicing skills of empathy and developing their voice in that group setting,” said Chertok.


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  • OlyKid88

    This process has got to end.

    The stress and uncertainty this process has put on families throughout the district is a result of a lack of leadership and a school board that isn't functional. This is a hard decision that must be made by the superintendent who gets a paycheck to gather the necessary data and make these unpopular decisions. It is $3.5mm dollars out of budget of $180mm. 1500 employees. Come on.

    This was also a self inflicted problem created by the district spending one time Covid money on recurring expenses.

    The expectation that parents or community members are going to solve this problem in numerous meetings isn't supported by evidence. The outcome of any chosen option is a meeting where, for good reason, the parents show up en masse and demand their school not be considered. Ok. Repeat with another school.

    Someone needs to make a decision, otherwise we just create anxiety, uncertainty and division in the community.

    Saturday, February 17 Report this

  • Cobbnaustic

    2.50 per assessed 1000.00 for the next 3 years and I have to hear this.

    Saturday, February 17 Report this

  • Cobbnaustic

    2.50 per assessed 1000.00 for the next 3 years and I have to hear this.

    Saturday, February 17 Report this