Community criticizes Olympia School District Board anew

Community members showed up to air their criticisms of the Olympia School District Board’s actions concerning minimizing bias education during a briefing on the strategic plan, 'lack of critical thinking' and school closure issue


Former OSD Director Talauna Reed and other community members showed up to air their criticism of the board’s actions concerning minimizing biases 

 Last Thursday, March 28, the Olympia School District Board (OSD) received a briefing on its monitoring report for outcome four of its strategic plan.  

Outcome 4 results

OSD’s strategic plan includes six student outcomes, and the latest meeting discussed the fourth, “students will have the skills, knowledge, and courage to identify and confront personal, systemic, and societal bias.”

Director of Multilingual Services and Categorical Programs Heather Randolph discussed the district’s goals and actions in teaching students how to deal with these biases.

Randolph shared some of the action items started in 2023 that are going through next year, 2024-25:

  • develop and implement a board policy on equity
  • provide all students access to digital citizenship and media literacy curriculum
  • continue required accessibility training for all OSD employees
  • discipline data by demographics and programs
  • provide resources to implement restorative justice.

“We're taking a second to demonstrate how the adults in the system are shifting things to create a more inclusive environment where students learn through modeling and practice how to identify and confront personal systemic and societal bias,” said William Harris, director of assessment accountability.

“I want to remind folks that we are looking at this data that we're going to see differences in outcomes, but differences in outcomes do not mean deficits,” added Harris.

The socio-emotional learning data in grades 3-5 showed 56% overall positive student responses in self-efficacy. In grades 6-12, there is a 42% overall positive response for the sense of belonging and 35% for cultural awareness and action.

The directors also discussed the demographics per race, language access plan, language access interpretation and translation requests, and assistive technology.

Community calls out school board for its decision-making processes

Former OSD Board Director Talauna Reed expressed discontent over the OSD’s monitoring report shared earlier in the meeting.

“It took courage for those directors to come up here and give that presentation because what they were sharing has been heard for years and years without any correction,” said Reed. “You are incapable of providing students with the skills, knowledge and courage to identify and fight personal, systemic, and societal bias.”

OSD President Hilary Seidel first apologized for placing Reed in the later part of the public comment, which was intended for the people speaking about items not related to the agenda.

“What decisions and policies have you put in place to protect these students and make sure that they get the education they deserve?”  Reed asked.

Other commenters also cited the SROs, which they say is “continued apathy and lack of critical thinking,” and school closures are “poor decision making.”

“Over time, this board and other executives have contributed to a divisive district and a lot of conflict. Basic safeguards like reevaluating district boundaries and admissions criteria have not happened in nearly 15 years,” said Erica, a commenter.

Rachel, another commenter, criticized how student outcomes are more discussed thoroughly than school closures, which were done with little community collaboration.

Student outcomes over school closures

“How is it that you spend more time on student outcomes than you do on the actual closures of schools? There was real community collaboration when you created these outcomes. There is no actual collaboration when it comes to school closure,” said Rachel.

Early last month, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Egeler ruled that the start of the 90-day school closure public comment was “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law,” which halted the process.

The court ruling can be viewed here.


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  • Dogmom

    I read the article regarding the OSD board meeting. I see 5 things the OSD board seem to want to prioritize but no where did I see actual teaching of the subjects they will actually need in life. Shouldn't the main purpose of public education be to provide the reading, spelling, math, science etc.skills that they will need. None of those were mentioned. Maybe that's why Washington schools are ranking so low in these subjects. They care more about teaching young kids things they shouldn't even be concerned with yet. Priorities are way out of touch for the betterment of our children.

    Another subject I found out that is not being taught anymore is writing cursive. Who in their glorious wisdom thought it was a good idea to stop teaching children how to write and read in cursive. People say they don't need it anymore because they have computers. What a stupid thing to say. What happens when they need to sign important documents or read a document in cursive and they can't even read it. What if we lost our power grids and they couldn't use their phones or computers. They would be absolutely lost and would not even be able to function because they aren't being taught to think problems through.

    Tuesday, April 2 Report this