Congrats to our newest Everyday Hero!

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout-out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here is our newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Jamie Sproul, Technology TOSA, Technology Department

I believe that Jamie Sproul is an Everyday Hero because she has helped me so many times this year with technology questions and problems. She responds quickly and has walked me through each technology problem I have asked for help with. My questions seem to have a common theme — the interface of my document camera with my computer, compounded with Zoom and Screencastify! Jamie has shown me how to do what I want to do, and has taught me with step-by-step instructions. There have been days when everything seems to crash at once and Jamie has responded quickly and got me up and running in time for my next class! Jamie handles my requests with grace and a smile on her face. She ensures that I feel comfortable with whatever problem we’ve been working on before she finishes. At times there have been challenges we couldn’t figure out in the moment, and Jamie researches an answer and gets back to me the same day.  Jamie, you have a great “Customer Service” attitude and have given me confidence with the many new technology issues I have had this year. Thank You!
Submitted by Carol McKay, Teacher, Capital High School

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.

Certificated staff: Early retirement/resignation incentive

The Olympia School District and the Olympia Education Association offers employees an early retirement and/or resignation incentive. Since we are always anxious to post and find the best qualified candidates for openings, we are hoping to hear from you early if you are planning to retire or resign at the end of this 2020-21 school year.

The district is offering two paid days (fill out a timesheet in June) at the end of the school year for any OEA member who provides a letter of retirement or resignation to the Human Resources Department on or before February 19, 2021.

If you have already provided the Human Resources department a letter of resignation or retirement, you have done what you need to do in order to receive the two incentive days. Remember: in June you must submit a timesheet for the two incentive days. On the timesheet, write “Early Notice Incentive” and record 6 hours for each day — a total of 12 hours. This incentive time is intended to be paid time so you can “tie up loose ends, pack and check out of your building.” The timesheet must be turned in by June 30 of this year to receive the early incentive payment.

If you submit your letter of resignation or retirement after February 19, 2021, you will not be eligible for the two incentive days.

OSDEF Automatic Payroll Deduction campaign continues

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

The Olympia School District Education Foundation continues to encourage OSD employees to make a monthly contribution through Automatic Payroll Deduction. Since 1998, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in assistance to OSD students and educators through such programs as the Principal’s Emergency Fund, Teaching & Learning Grants and the Mental Health Initiative.

Donations in any amount can have a significant impact. For example, if every OSD employee donated just $1 per month, the Foundation could award one additional $1,500 grant every month. A single employee’s donation of $15 per month could help provide Internet access to a student in need for a year.

Registration is now paperless and only takes a couple of minutes. Visit https://www.osdef.org/donate, scroll down to the OSD logo, then click the “Payroll Deduction” button. Enter the amount you wish to donate, then select “I would like to make my donation ongoing” if you prefer that option. Once you’ve added your building, first and last name, work email and phone number, you are all set.

Employees already making a monthly donation through OSD Payroll never need to re-enroll.

Deductions for forms submitted by the 15th of any month will begin on the 1st of the following month.

As always, donations will be directed where they are needed most. 

Questions? Contact OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org.

Editing captions in Microsoft Word or Google Docs

Clapperboard

The YouTube captioning workflow is wonderful in that in negates the need to manually transcribe the audio from our videos, but automatically generated captions still require editing for accuracy. While this editing can be done directly within YouTube, as described in our captioning guide, users may prefer to edit their text within Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Such a workflow enables users to utilize the more powerful text editing tools, such as spellcheck or find and replace, available within Word or Google Docs.  

To edit your captions in Word or Google Docs:

  1. Navigate to YouTube Studio and go to the Subtitles menu on the left.
  2. Select the video you wish to work on.
  3. On the Video Subtitles screen, select Duplicate and Edit. The transcript of the video will be displayed within the captioning tool.
  4. Select all of the text (Ctrl+A or Cmd+A) and copy it (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C).
  5. Open your preferred text editor and paste the text (Ctrl+V or Cmd+V).
  6. Edit the captions within the text editor and then select all and copy it.
  7. Return to the captioning tool, delete the previous text and paste in your revised text.
  8. Select Assign Timings and then Publish.

The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering an additional Zoom workshop on the YouTube captioning workflow on February 1. If you have captioning questions or tips in the meantime, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

January is School Board Recognition Month

Child's hands stacking colored blocks

Every January school districts across the state and nation honor their board of directors during School Board Recognition Month.

The Olympia School District will recognize its school board near the start of the meeting on Thursday, January 14. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The link to the online meeting will be posted on the district website.

During the program, Superintendent Patrick Murphy will read a proclamation by Gov. Jay Inslee designating January as School Board Recognition Month in Washington State. This marks the 26th year of the annual observance initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995.

The proclamation reads in part that school directors “are directly accountable to the citizens in their districts and regions, serving as a vital link between members of the community and their schools.”

The one-page proclamation also states that directors “play a crucial role in promoting student learning and achievement by creating a vision, establishing policies and budgets, and setting clear standards of accountability for all involved.” 

Read Gov. Inslee’s full proclamation

Creating Captions for Video Content; workshops set Jan. 11 and Feb. 1

YouTube app on iPhone

Creating and sharing online video content can be an excellent way to engage with students and their families. Captioning such content ensures a broader swath of our community is able to enjoy it and be involved.

While manually captioning a video can be time consuming, the district encourages staff to use YouTube to vastly simplify and streamline the process. Videos uploaded to YouTube are automatically transcribed, negating the need to type out each word. Using this workflow, staff will upload their video, wait for YouTube to process the video and then revise the captions for accuracy. A guide on the steps involved is available on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, and the Communications and Community Relations Department has also put together a screencast demonstrating the tool.

The Communications department is also offering workshops demonstrating the tool. Attendees will learn how to leverage YouTube’s speech recognition software to efficiently create captions. Additional tips include increasing the accuracy of the automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

If you are interested in producing video content, but are unsure where to start, this blog post has you covered. If you have additional accessibility questions or tips, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

New version of Return to Work Safety Plan posted on website

Read the latest version (Version 4.6) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The most current version of the plan is posted on both the staff Intranet and on the district website. Be sure to bookmark the link above for easy access. For those who prefer to visit the webpages where it is posted, the plan is shared in the following locations:

The latest change to the plan is on pages 13-16. Pages have been updated to reflect the most current COVID-19 flowcharts from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

Please remember to follow all safety and health protocols outlined in the plan.

Adobe discontinues support of Flash Player; content will stop running Jan. 12

The following is information provided by the Technology Department

Adobe has stopped supporting the Flash Player product, and on January 12 will block Flash content from running. This means that, if you are using a website which still relies on Flash, it will at some point soon stop functioning. It is recommended that you look for alternative resources to flash products. 

Learn more about this from Adobe


New trainings offered for Electronic Timesheet System implementation

Person typing on a laptop computer

The following is information shared by the Payroll and Business Services departments:

December represented our first month using the new electronic timesheet system. The system had many successes, but a few glitches. Thank you for your participation, we know you have the option to submit time via a paper timeslip, and we appreciate your patience as we work to solve these glitches and create a 100% success rate. 

One issue that we are finding is that the approval process can take longer than we expected, usually when approvers do not know the correct budget code. This has always been the case, but we were not able to track a paper timeslip as it transferred from person to person, and we never knew when it had started its journey. Now we see the time-item move in the electronic system, and sometimes movement is not a linear or a quick path.

Therefore, it would be helpful if employees submitted their time-items as the month progresses.  We are used to “batching” our items, as we fill up the five or so rows of the paper timeslip. Now batching is not a factor; in the new system you can submit one item at a time. If time items are input by the employee soon after the time is worked, there is more opportunity for the correct budget code to be inserted in the approval chain within the payroll month. To be clear, we are not changing cut-offs, just encouraging you to refrain from batching entry of your time-items, if possible.

Below are a series of links to new trainings on the timesheet system. The trainings are designed by employee group so that the type of time-worked and the instructions for submitting time, are specific to employees.  These are live trainings, and you are able to ask questions during the zoom training.

All of these trainings are appropriate to participate in within your contract day (or to attribute to staff development hours, depending on your employee group).

OTPAA – Olympia Technical Professional Administrative Association1/12/21
10 AM
Register
TOPA – The Olympia Principal Association1/13/21
2 PM
Register
OEA – Olympia Education Association1/19/21
10 AM
Register
TEAMSTER – Food Service1/19/21
3 PM
Register
TEAMSTER – Technology Support & Service Technicians1/20/21
10 AM
Register
NRNS – Non Represented Non Supervisor1/21/21
3 PM
Register
Administrators – Certificated1/26/21
10 AM
Register
OEA – Olympia Education Association1/26/21
3 PM
Register
OPA – Olympia Paraeducator Association1/27/21
10 AM
Register
Approvers and Supervisors – Electronic Payroll Workflow System (EPWS) & Treeno Cabinets1/27/21
3 PM
Register

Thank you again for helping us implement paperless (contactless) time-payment systems!

Winter break schedule

Decorative graphic of blue background with snowflakes that says Olympia School District Winter Break December 12-January 1

All Olympia School District schools will be closed for Winter Break from Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1. Schools will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021.

During Winter Break, staff working in the Knox 111 Administrative Center and other support buildings may be reached via email or phone December 21 and 22, and again from December 28-30. All support buildings will resume service on Monday, January 4.