Family Newsletter 8/27/2017

Family Newsletter 8/27/2017


Dear Olympus Families,
We cannot express how excited we are to be back at school and working with your students. It has been such a wonderful first week. From watching our Junior class step up into the role of leaders at the school and take on the serious challenge of AP Courses, to our newly elected student government discussing initiatives they want to improve the school, and our newest students making friends and connections, we are just so proud of the community that is forming already.


Ever since Summit Olympus opened our doors three years ago, we have been steadfast in working towards our mission: To prepare our diverse student population for success in college and to be thoughtful, contributing members of society. In service of this mission, our faculty has clarified this vision to three bullet points we want to see in every community member, every moment of the day. This year, the vision for every member of the Summit Community (students, teachers, leaders, and parents) is that we all:

  • Care for Others,
  • Strive for Excellence,
  • Love Learning

Every members of Olympus will be relentless in building, reinforcing, and celebrating this vision with students and families. We are eager for you to come tour our school soon and see this in vision action.


Eclipse Viewing: Nessa McGuire and Mr. Leon (AP English Language Teacher) view the solar eclipse during New Student Orientation. Nine returning students joined Olympus on Monday to give a warm welcome to the incoming Phoenixes, participate in a student panel, and view the eclipse after a quick lesson from Mr. Evans (Chemistry Teacher). It was a pretty phenomenal way to start out the school year.

Group Work in Math: Ms. Hansen is wasting no time in her Math 9 and Math 10 classes. On the first day of school, she set the tone for what it means to be a math student at Summit – one who is inquisitive, takes on challenges, has a growth mindset, and can collaborate in groups. Students in math – and, in all classes at Olympus – are learning Group Roles and Group Norms so they can best participate in class with colleagues. The energy and joy was contagious in the room as students began working on math challenges together.

Faculty Team Building: Teachers have been preparing for your students for weeks! Teachers aligned on values and our mission to prepare every single student for success in college and to live great lives. Below, you can see Ms. Crain, Mr. Horowitz, Ms. Hansen, and Mr. Leon discussing the importance of sharing best practices and remaining resilient in the face of challenges.


As an Olympus parent, you can always get information about upcoming events on our Events Calendar or by adding this Olympus Community Events Google Calendar to a calendar you check regularly. And, because it is the beginning of the year, we’d like to call out some important upcoming events for your to make note of!

  • Thursday, 9/7 | New Family Orientation | 6pm-7:30
    • If you are a new parent to Summit Olympus and want to learn the ropes, we are here to help! Come to learn about what to expect during the flow of the year, how you can access your student’s Summit Learning Plan and support their progress at home, and how you can be involved and support the school as a parent. You will also have an opportunity to connect with your student’s mentor and provide feedback on how we can best support your child (Note: returning families are welcome if you’d like a refresher, though it’s not required).


  • Thursday 9/14 – 9/15 | Annual Student Camping Trip
    • That’s right! It’s time for our annual camping trip again. Students will be leaving Summit Olympus by bus at 8:15 on Thursday morning and we’ll be returning by 3pm on Friday. The camping trip is a time to build community within mentor groups and as a school. We can’t wait.


  • Thursday, 9/21 | Back to School Night 6pm-7:30
    • Back to school night will feature an overview of the school year, and chance for you to meet and hear from each of your students teachers. You’ll get an overview of the courses they are taking and what your students will be studying and hear first hand how you can best support your student with their classes. This is an great opportunity to make a person connection with the teachers who spend their days with your students. We strongly encourage every single family to make it to this event!


  • Friday, 9/22 | Personalized Learning Plan Meeting Day | No School
    • There is no school for students on September 22. Rather, it is a time for each family to connect with their student and their student’s mentor to set goals for the year. The Personalized Learning Plan meeting is a cornerstone of the Summit Olympus experience, and important for all students and families to take a part in. Your student’s mentor will be reaching out to you soon to set a time for this meeting.


  • Friday, 9/29 | Student Expeditions Starting
    • Over the next few weeks, students will have an opportunity to explore their Expedition course options and select their preferences. We’ll be sending out a finalized course catalog in the next week or two, and students will have an opportunity during school to meet Expedition teachers. We’ll be in communication with you over the course of the next few weeks as your student placements solidify.



This week 11th grade mentor groups are beginning their year-long college readiness curriculum! For their first unit, students will be exploring different universities, and hosting an Olympus College Fair for 9th and 10th graders. Through this initial course of study, students will learn about programs at various colleges, and begin to explore offerings at numerous universities. Students will also start to prep for the SAT and ACT through an online platform that has shown strong results across the country! We’re incredibly excited to launch this course and know that all Phoenixes will benefit greatly. Stay tuned for more updates from mentor time.
For the next month, 9th and 10th grade mentor groups will be working on a few different themes: mindsets and habits of successful students, note-taking and study strategies, and community building within their mentor groups. They will also begin 1:1 check-ins with their mentors and start to align on their goals for the year!


Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all students will receive extra academic support during the last block of the day. On Friday, every student got to choose the class where they most want additional help. We know from previous years that starting strong on content assessments is one of the biggest predictors of student success. For the first month of school, Academic Support Classes will focus primarily on content assessment prep. Please ask your student about what Academic Support Class they’re in, and be sure to check their Summit Learning Platform (SLP, formerly known as the PLP) regularly. If you need any assistance logging into the SLP, do not hesitate to contact your student’s mentor.



We will still be accepting new 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students for the next two weeks. If your know of any students or families who would be interested in learning more, please spread the word! Please encourage them to apply on our website or have them reach out to the school – 253-444-9781 – to set up a tour and information session. Thanks for spreading the word that Summit Olympus is a free, public school option in Tacoma!



We are thrilled for a great year of growth, student achievement, and community. Please reach out should you have questions, comments, or thoughts about the year, or additional ways you believe we can support your student on their path to adulthood.
The Olympus School Leadership Team
Greg Ponikvar, Alex Horowitz, and Jessica Miranda