Department of Retirement Systems notice of public records request

Below is a copy of a communication emailed to all OSD employees on Friday, February 14

We want to make all OSD employees aware that The Seattle Times has submitted a public records request to the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) requesting information related to state employee personal information. DRS notified us of this records request and asked that we share the information with our employees.

The Seattle Times has requested information related to employee personal information for all members of the state’s retirement systems, including active and inactive members from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. DRS has notified us it will release the data to The Seattle Times on March 9, 2020. If you would like to seek injunctive relief, please see the instructions at the end of the DRS notice below.

If you are the subject of this public records request, no action is required of you. For more information, or if you have questions about the request, please contact DRS at 844-704-6780 or drs.pdrnotice@drs.wa.gov. You may also visit the DRS website.

DRS Notice of Public Records Request

“The Department of Retirement Systems has received a public records request that seeks information about all members of the state’s retirement systems, including all retirees and inactive members, for the period July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019.

The requesting organization is The Seattle Times. DRS has requested and received a Declaration of Non-Commercial Purpose pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(8). A copy of this Declaration is available here.

DRS has reviewed the request and determined that the following information items are subject to disclosure under the state’s Public Records Act:

  • Full Name
  • City, State/Province, Country and ZIP/Postal Code
  • Date of Birth
  • Retirement System/Plan
  • Date of Entry
  • Service Credit
  • Annual Salary
  • Average Final Compensation
  • Date of Retirement or Withdrawal
  • Monthly Retirement Benefit
  • Retirement Type
  • Employee Transmittal Code and Description
  • Employer Name, City, State and ZIP Code

The Department intends to provide the information items listed above to the requesting organization on March 9, 2020.

If you are the subject of this public records request, no action is required of you. If you want additional information or have questions about the request, please contact DRS at 844-704-6780 or drs.pdrnotice@drs.wa.gov.

A Note about Injunctive Relief

Individuals who are the subject of a records request often ask if they can seek a court order to prevent the release of their records.

Under state law, an agency could be enjoined from releasing records if a court finds that the release “would clearly not be in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably damage any person, or would substantially and irreparably damage vital governmental functions.”

To enjoin DRS from releasing records in the current request, the department would need to be served with an injunction prior to the scheduled release date listed above.

State agencies cannot provide advice on whether to seek an injunction or whether such an attempt would be successful.”

‘Screenagers Next Chapter’ film screening set on February 19

Screenagers Next Chapter Poster; information is contained in articleAs part of the district’s commitment to providing awareness and education around digital citizenship and digital health and well-being, staff are invited to join students, families and the community in a showing of the next installment of “Screenagers.”

“Screenagers Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience” is a film that examines the science behind teens’ emotional challenges, the interplay of social media, and most importantly, what can be done in schools and homes to help students build crucial skills to navigate stress, anxiety and depression in our digital age. This film follows physician and filmmaker, Delaney Ruston, as she discovers solutions for improved adolescent well-being in the digital age.

The free screening will be followed by a discussion led by district Chief Information Officer Marc Elliott.

Join us in the Capital High School Auditorium, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. on Wednesday, February 19 from 6-7:30 p.m.

Help our Communications team promote your school!

Zoom camera lens

The Olympia School District Communications Department is always looking for opportunities to highlight our schools on district social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) and in our Spotlight on Success newsletter. The thing is, we need your help to clue us in on all of the exciting things happening in your buildings!

Is there an upcoming event, activity, performance or class lesson in your school that is visual and deserves highlighting? Let us know! A member of our communications team will come out and take photos/video and let the Olympia community see all the amazing work you and your students are doing!

To let us know about a possible opportunity in your building simply email our Communications Department at communications@osd.wednet.edu or fill out this Google form.

Thanks, we will be in touch in short order to coordinate a visit!

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Marking images as decorative

Olympia School District Staff Directory

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about when to label an image as a “decorative image.” Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

When choosing an alternative text for an image, one option is to label the image as decorative. By marking an image as decorative, authors can indicate the image adds no additional information to the content.

The majority of decorative images are simply aesthetic flourishes such as decorative page breaks or content borders. While visually appealing, these images can create meaningless clutter for a screen reader user. By marking these elements as decorative, authors enable screen reader users to skip over them and focus solely on the content.

Beyond design elements, other images may also be considered decorative, so long as they do not add additional information to the page. For instance, consider the district’s staff directory. It includes profile pictures alongside a name. The likely alternative text for such an image would be the individual’s name, but that information is already included in the accompanying text. By marking the image as decorative, a screen reader user is saved the experience of hearing each name twice, and no meaningful information is lost.

While choosing the correct alternative text for an image is a decidedly subjective task, it can be helpful to keep in mind the content and function of the image. Why is the image included? Would the message be the same without the image? If so, consider marking it as decorative.

To mark an image as decorative in HTML, set the alternative text tag to two quote marks with nothing between them. This alt=”” is universally understood by screen reader users. Software suites, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Acrobat Pro, also allow the author to mark images as decorative.

For more information on crafting alternative text and other accessibility concerns, see the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

Congratulations to educators who recently earned Common Sense Education certification

Common sense educator 2018-20 logoCongratulations to the latest cohort of OSD teachers who earned Common Sense Educator certification during Fall 2019. They committed themselves to learning about and integrating elements of digital citizenship in their classrooms.  The certification process includes readings and webinars, developing curriculum and other resources, and applying approaches in the classroom or family engagement events. The lessons and resources align closely with OSD Student Outcomes 3 and 4.

The next cohort will launch on February 27.  The course is self-paced through online assignments and discussions in Schoology. For more information and to enroll, go to pdEnroller event #101553

“Becoming a Common Sense Educator has made me a more effective and prepared teacher. Instead of throwing random tech advice as needed, I am able to be intentional with my lessons. I like to think of myself as a tech competent teacher. I was born in the 90s and have lived the changes from dial up, floppy disks, cds, usbs, social media, google and the cloud. However, I never realized my lack of expertise in teaching about technology use and developing digital citizens. As a result of becoming a common sense educator, my students are better informed and prepared for digital use.” – Cassandra Fowler, Garfield Elementary School

“It was a great opportunity to reflect on my own digital habits as well as discuss with students what they are both comfortable with (a lot!) and what they aren’t. It allows us to connect over a topic that frequently drives us apart generationally.” – David Johnston, Capital High School

“This fall our school went to a 1:1 student-to-Chromebook ratio. Students were both excited at the prospect of having a Chromebook to call their own and nervous about the responsibility of taking care of it. I appreciated the CSM lessons on maintaining a healthy media balance. Students appreciate that they have a point person, me, to go to with media issues. Parents know me as the person who answers their concerns. CSM lessons have been crucial in our transition & have helped me lead the way.” – Mary Mathis, Washington Middle School

“I believe that being more mindful of my understanding of technology education in my classroom opens a better connection with my students. By allowing myself to gain additional information… the resources provided via Common Sense Education, I am able to open my eyes to the evolution of what a classroom needs. Engagement is at an all time high. Our students want to be almost “entertained” as they learn. It is my job to find tools, tricks and to gain further insight regarding technology.” – Nicole Winkley, Avanti High School

Spring Professional Development catalog outlines staff training opportunities

Numerous computers in what appears to be a computer lab or professional development classLearn about professional development opportunities happening within the Olympia School District in March, April and May in the newly released Professional Development Catalog Spring 2020.

Note: Employees must be signed in to OSD Intranet to view the catalog. To do so, go to the district website Home page. At the top of Home page, click the “Login” icon, then the red and white “Sign in with Google” icon. In the white menu bar of headings listed near the top of the page, click “Intranet.” Go to “Departments,” then “K-12 Teaching & Learning,” and you will find the spring professional development catalog link on the landing page.

Catalog offerings may be searched by department or within a monthly calendar listing. Each event description provides a link for registration.