The Education Community

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Thurston County has a variety of educational opportunities available to the students and adults of the community. These include both private and public primary, secondary and higher education institutions. A number of them offer programs outside regular school hours, providing greater accessibility to working adults and students so that they may meet their educational goals. There are eight school districts providing primary and secondary to most of Thurston County’s students. School districts in Thurston County provide a wide variety of services and opportunities for students, including the Head Start program for preschoolers, advanced placement courses for high school students and numerous community-based learning experiences for all ages.

In total, 69 schools are located in Thurston County – three colleges, 14 high schools, 10 middle schools and 42 elementary schools. While most of these schools are comprehensive and offer a full range of academic and activity programs, non-traditional schools are also available.

Private schools in Thurston County serve 2,073 students; most are enrolled in elementary and middle schools.


North Thurston Public Schools
(360) 412-4400
305 College St. NE, Lacey,

North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) is committed to excellence in education and putting student learning at the center of all they do.

Founded in 1953, NTPS is the largest and fastest-growing district in Thurston County, with more than 1,600 staff members supporting nearly 14,000 students in 21 schools. This diverse school system has award-winning staff with a high percentage of National Board-certified teachers, Fulbright Scholar and Middle School Principal of the Year. Education for the whole child is central to the mission of North Thurston Public Schools. This student-centered focus on behavior and academics includes instruction in core areas, as well as visual and performing arts, peer tutoring, strategic interventions and enrichments, career and technical education and advanced placement and honors classes. Additionally, the district offers programs in gifted, special and alternative education, plus a performing arts middle school (Aspire).

Olympia School District
(360) 596-6117
1113 Legion Way SE, Olympia,

For more than 150 years, the Olympia School District has provided students with a supportive, caring and rigorous learning environment. In its 19 schools, it emphasizes a collaborative approach with the 9,000 students, their families and community, an approach that has led to high student achievement.

The Olympia School District teaching staff is one of the most experienced in the state and nearly 70 percent of the teachers have a master’s degree or higher. The modern facilities allow students to use up-to-date technologies at each of the schools. About 85 percent of high school students participate in school-sponsored, co-curricular activities including athletics, music, drama and academic clubs.

The district’s nationally recognized child nutrition program provides organic and locally grown foods to students.

Tumwater School District
(360) 709-7000
621 Linwood Ave. SW, Tumwater,

Tumwater schools achieve positive results by focusing on student success every day. District staff members collaborate in professional learning communities, as well as with students, parents and the broader community, to help children achieve their potential. In the fall of 2010, and for the third year in a row, Tumwater received the Spirit of Leadership award based on district performance on the state assessment when compared with 44 other local districts. “We continue to improve achievement levels by frequently assessing student progress, collaborating and by monitoring instructional effectiveness,” said Director of Student Learning Suzanne Hall.

With over 6,000 students and 790 staff members, Tumwater is considered a mid-sized school district. Six K-6 elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, one alternative high school and a vocational skills center serve the community. The district encompasses 117 square miles of urban, suburban and rural areas.

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Other Local Schools

Griffin School District
(360) 866-2515
6530 33rd Ave. NW, Olympia,

New Market Skills Center
(360) 570-4500
7299 New Market St., Tumwater

Rainier School District
(360) 446-2207
307 Alaska St., P.O. Box 98, Rainier,

Tenino School District
(360) 264-3400
301 Old Hwy. 99, P.O. Box 4024, Tenino,

2015 School District Student Enrollment

Yelm School District
(360) 458-1900
P.O. Box 476, Yelm,

Private Schools

Community Christian Academy
(360) 493-2223
4706 Park Center Ave. NE, Lacey,

Cornerstone Christian School
(360) 923-0071
6701 Fairview Rd. SW, Olympia,

Eagle View Christian School
(360) 458-3090
13036 Morris Rd. SE, Yelm,

Faith Lutheran School
(360) 491-1733
7075 Pacific Ave., Lacey,

Holy Family School
(360) 491-7060
2606 Carpenter Rd. SE, Lacey,

Northwest Christian High School
(360) 491-2966
4710 Park Center Ave. NE, Lacey,

Nova School
(360) 491-7097
2020 22nd Ave. SE, Olympia,

Olympia Christian School
(360) 352-1831
1215 Ethel St. NW, Olympia,

Olympia Community School
(360) 866-8047
1601 North St. SE, Olympia,

Olympia Waldorf School
(360) 493-0906
8126 Normandy St. SE, Olympia,

Paramount Christian Academy
(360) 878-8915
3816 College St. SE, Lacey,

Pope John Paul II High School (360) 438-7600
5608 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey,

St. Michael Parish School
(360) 754-5131
1204 11th Ave. SE, Olympia,

Sunrise Beach School (360) 791-8348
1601 North St. SE, Olympia,

The Phoenix Rising School
(360) 446-1500
13411 Cedar Grove Ln., Rainier,

Colleges & Universities

Brandman University
(360) 493-6392
1445 Galaxy Dr. NE, Ste. 201, Lacey,

The Evergreen State College
(360) 867-6000
2700 Evergreen Pkwy. NW, Olympia,

Since its inception in 1971, Evergreen has established a national reputation for leadership in developing innovative interdisciplinary, collaborative and team-taught academic programs.

The college offers a vibrant undergraduate program, three graduate programs, and public service centers that constitute a unique academic setting. The Evergreen State College is accredited by theNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Evergreen has been a leader in environmental education from the beginning. In recent years, the college has stepped up its commitment to sustainability to reach beyond the classroom and even the campus.

Evergreen values a student-centered learning environment, a link between theory and practice, and a multicultural community of diverse faculty, students and staff working together. Current enrollment is approximately 4,300.

Saint Martin’s University
(360) 491-4700
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey,

Saint Martin’s University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Established in 1895 by monks of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the university’s identity is rooted in its Catholic, Benedictine tradition. Saint Martin’s is a member of the Independent Colleges of Washington.

Guided by the principles of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Saint Martin’s University endeavors to unite academic rigor and excellence with moral thought and social responsibility – higher education that seeks to serve and promote the common good – higher education that seeks to transform lives by grappling with issues of faith, reason, service and community. Faculty, staff and students form a community of individuals who are learning to live a meaningful life. Current enrollment is approximately 1,700.

South Puget Sound Community College
(360) 754-7711
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia,

The South Puget Sound Community College learning environment is a collaboration between faculty, staff and students. The community enrichment that results from this collaborative process starts at the top. The administration is driven by the college’s mission to engage the community in learning, which is an important part of the college’s history.

The college is here to guide you, whether you want to learn a new skill, land a new job earn a new degree or pursue an opportunity that didn’t seem possible before. Passionate staff and small class size translates into a learning environment focused on helping you achieve your goals. Current enrollment is approximately 6,060.