North Thurston Public Schools Recently Eliminated and Made Changes to Some Fees for Extracurricular Activities

*Photo Courtesy North Thurston Public Schools

North Thurston Public Schools Board of Directors recently approved a new fee schedule for 2020-21 which helps encourage more student participation in sports and activities, including elimination of Olympia Junior Program fees and athletic fees for students who qualify for Free/Reduced through the meal program.

The following changes for the 2020-21 Fee Schedule include:

  • Elimination of Olympia Junior Program Fees of $5 per student per performance. This will be covered through the district’s Title IV grant instead.
  • Elimination of the Middle School Science fee of $10 per student. This will be covered through building budgets.
  • Field Trip costs will be determined as needed
  • Eliminated Athletic Fees for students who qualify for Free/Reduced through the National School Lunch Program
  • Reduced other elective class fees to half prices for students who qualify for Free/Reduced through the National School Lunch Program

Examples of the fee changes for Free/Reduced students include:

  • Reduction of high school band/orchestra/choir fees from $24 to $12
  • Reduction of Middle School art fees from $10 to $5
  • Reduction of College in the High School classes from $90 to $25


Congratulations to Nisqually Middle School Math Teacher, David Buitenveld, for being named, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year!

*Photo Courtesy Capital Region, ESD 113

Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 has named David Buitenveld as their 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year. Buitenveld teaches mathematics at Nisqually Middle School in North Thurston Public Schools.

Buitenveld has an unbridled optimism about public schools. He sees educators as partners with the families and students they serve. Although the current coronavirus pandemic has challenged every part of his job as an educator, it has forced him to think deeply about his teaching practice. “I am interacting with students in new ways,” said Buitenveld. “We are co-creating new possibilities for learning in a post-pandemic educational world.”


North Thurston Public Schools Family & Youth Resource Center Remains Open

The North Thurston Public Schools Family & Youth Resource Center will continue to support families by providing food, hygiene and paper products through its drive-through center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “In addition, we’ll be providing school supplies on some special dates near the end of August,” says Deanna East, McKinney Vento Homeless Student Navigator for NTPS. “With the ongoing pandemic, we’ve seen so many families need support who haven’t needed it before and we’re so pleased to be able to provide this ongoing resource.”

The Center will remain open to the public and families will be able to drive through Tuesdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The resource center is located at 200 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506 at the Rajinder S. Manhas Activity Center adjacent to North Thurston High School.

For information about donations, supplies needed and dates of school supplies distribution, visit

Wishing you a Safe and Healthy School Year in the Midst of Challenges and We are Here to Support You!

Welcome Back!

Summer is winding down. The beginning of the school year will look very different than previous years. Whether instruction takes place completely remotely, in-person, or a combination of the two, we are here to support the students and families of the North Thurston Public School District. We realize the ongoing pandemic creates additional challenges related to child care, accessing school supplies and tools for remote learning as well as other concerns, and we remain committed to helping our most vulnerable students and families in the district.

We are proud to play a role in creating an environment where every child has an opportunity to succeed. The district’s Family & Youth Resource Center will once again be open to the public and families will be able to drive through Tuesdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The resource center is located at 200 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506 at the Rajinder S. Manhas Activity Center adjacent to North Thurston High School.

Thank you to all who make our work possible. We know this school year presents challenges, but we remain hopeful and optimistic and we are here to support students and families during the school year. For as long as the COVID-19 crisis goes on, we will continue to work with the North Thurston Public School District to help ALL our students, including our most vulnerable children, get through it.

Wishing you a Safe and Healthy Year,

Mike Jones
Executive Director, North Thurston Education Foundation
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North Thurston Education Foundation Announces Establishment of Bill Williams Scholarship

The North Thurston Education Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Bill Williams Memorial Scholarship.

Throughout and following his career as a Senior Assistant Attorney General with the State of Washington, Bill supported education. He served on the North Thurston Public School Board for 25 years. The Foundation was one of many educational organizations Bill served. He was passionate about NTEF and held several positions on the Executive Board. Bill’s contributions were vital to the Foundation’s success.

The Bill Williams Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $2,000, will be awarded annually to an eligible graduating senior who intends to attend a community college or four-year institution that is located outside the State of Washington.

To donate to the Bill Williams Memorial Scholarship or another named scholarship visit and indicate the scholarship name in your donation.

In Memoriam – Billie Williams

Billie Williams encouraged the formation of the NTEF when it was just an idea. She financially supported the organization throughout her life and lived the mission of the Foundation. First hired by Charles Callahan she taught at North Thurston and moved to Timberline in 1970 where she taught until her retirement.  Billie continued to teach at Evergreen State College. Serving as guide for many teachers and students, Billie loved to travel and those who followed her across France were treated with an unforgettable experience. She is remembered by her students and fellow teachers as an outstanding educator, kind, wise and full of energy. She will be missed by her family, friends and the members of the Foundation.

Picture below: From the 1974 Annual when she was teacher of the year, an award she won multiple times. Patt Hawthorne, who was Honor Society Advisor and oversaw student selection of Teacher of the Year, once remarked that if they strictly followed their own criteria for selecting the Teacher of the Year, Billie would win it every year.


In Memoriam – Ian Edlund

Ian served on the Board while also serving as orchestra teacher at North Thurston High School and leading the Olympia Symphony Orchestra. He retired from the district after 30 years as a teacher and served as the conductor of the symphony for 27 years. Along with owning a business and composing over 70 orchestral pieces, Ian still found time to serve on the NTEF Board. He and his wife, Marj, continued to support the Foundation’s mission throughout his life.

In Memoriam – Paul Stebbins

Paul served on our Board for a short time, however, his movement to an Ambassador for NTEF became a driving force for our organization. As a resident of Panorama, Paul became an advocate on behalf of NTEF. He educated the residents of Panorama on the importance of investing in the future of the children in North Thurston Public Schools. He organized the residents and they attended our annual Fundraising Luncheon. Paul was always a willing helper in anything that came his way. He will be truly missed, not only by our board, but the residents of Panorama and the students they helped.

In Memoriam – Bill Williams

The North Thurston Education Foundation is saddended by the passing of Bill Williams, Paul Stubbins, Ian Edlund and Billie Williams. We are so thankful for their generosity and involvement with NTEF over the years and wish their families peace and comfort.

Bill Williams was a long time, dedicated member and generous supporter of the North Thurston Education Foundation. Throughout his nine years on the board, Bill was integral in expanding the mission and outreach of the foundation. He graciously served NTEF in many capacities—as Treasurer, on the Executive Committee, with the Investment Committee, co-chairing the Scholarship Committee and drafting our scholarship agreements.

Bill worked tirelessly behind the scenes in our community to strengthen the mission and organization of our foundation, to educate others about our important work, as a trusted liaison with potential donors, and as a strong advocate for students in our community—especially students in need. At board meetings and in our community, he was the voice of reason with a keen vision of how most effectively to support the students in the North Thurston Public Schools.

His invaluable skills, wise counsel, kind heart, and genuine concern for others will truly be missed, not only by the North Thurston Education Foundation, but also by everyone touched by our important work.  Bill Williams compassionately and selflessly embodied our motto, “It’s for the kids.”

NTEF Also Contributed $14,638.35 to Pay Uncollected School Lunch Debt

The North Thurston Education Foundation paid off school lunch debt for hundreds of North Thurston Public School District (NTPS) families.

A 2018 change in state law requires schools to provide meals to students even if their account is in the red. The law is design to stop what’s called “lunch shaming.”

NTEF donated $14,638.35 to NTPS to help clear the balance accrued in uncollected debt for students who qualify for free or reduced meals. The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and offers free and reduced priced meals to qualifying students, but many students don’t apply in time to avoid a balance or the program doesn’t cover the full cost of the meal and therefore leaves a balance.

With the help and support of donors’ generous support and contributions, the North Thurston Education Foundation was able to pay the balance of this debt in full. “We are so pleased to be able to assist students in NTPS schools in this way, and to continue in our mission to remove barriers and enhance learning for our students,” said Mike Jones, Executive Director of NTEF.