9 Schools of Distinction named in Thurston County for 2013

OlympianNovember 10, 2013 

Thurston County’s 2013 Schools of Distinction:

 • Olympia School District: Avanti High School, Madison Elementary School and Jefferson Middle School.

Avanti has about 135 students, and won the award in 2011. Madison has about 225 students and won the award in 2012.

This is the first year Jefferson Middle School, which has about 360 students, has been named a School of Distinction.

“These schools have proven to be high performers over time, regardless of circumstances,” district spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said. “They work hard to meet students where they are, and it’s paying off. We’re very proud of that.”

 • Tumwater School District: East Olympia Elementary and George Washington Bush Middle School.

This is the third year East Olympia, which has about 500 students, has won the award, and the first year for Bush, which is about the same size.

 • North Thurston School District: Olympic View Elementary School.

This is the third year the almost 700-student school has won the award.

“The working relationships among staff at Olympic View are relentlessly supportive and positive,” principal Bob Richards said. “This trusting team approach helps teachers examine each student’s individual behavioral and academic needs on a regular basis together. Our teachers continually collaborate to modify research-proven teaching strategies until student growth is clearly demonstrated.”

 • Griffin School District: Griffin Middle School. This is the first year the school has won the award. Griffin School is K-8, and it has 239 students in grades 6-8.

 • Rochester: Rochester High School. This is the first year the nearly 600-student school has won the award.

 • Yelm: Fort Stevens Elementary School. This is the first year the nearly 530-student school has won the award.

“Staff completely bought into the idea of ‘Whatever it takes’ mentality to help kids improve,” principal Scot Embrey said.

The school also implemented a progress monitoring system that tracks students on a weekly basis in reading and math.

“And every week, we are meeting in small groups and having very intentional conversations about what that data says to us, and what it tell us in terms of changing our practice on a weekly standpoint,” Embrey said.

Compiled by Lisa Pemberton, staff writer

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