“Mary Poppins” opens February 1 starring OSD staff and students

Mary Poppins OSD Players poster giving show times and datesTickets are on sale for Mary Poppins, this year’s annual musical presented by the OSD Players — a group of staff and students from throughout the school district.

This year’s production will run Friday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, February 3 at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center.

The performance is a fundraiser for the Olympia School District Education Foundation, which uses the funds to provide grants to the school district, schools and educators.

There will be four shows, all at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center (1302 North St. SE, Olympia). Performance dates and times are as follows:

  • Friday, Feb. 1; 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 2; 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 2; 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 3; 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $12. Reserved seating for all performances is $15. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online on the OSDEF website  or at SeatYourself.

For more information or to request seating for those with special needs, please contact the OSDEF office at (360) 596-6110.

Read about our newest Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesEveryday 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 are our newest honorees:

Everyday Hero
Chris Johnston, Security Guard, Capital High School

Chris Johnston does security at Capital High School. I like the way he treats all the kids with dignity, respect and good humor. He seems to have a nice relationship with these kids even when he has to stop by their classroom and inform them they’ll have to spend lunch in suspension. The way we treat the kids often models to them the way they are expected to treat others throughout their lives. They seem to know he is concerned and always looking out for their best interests. Way to go Chris!
Submitted by Mike Pelly, Capital HS Paraeducator

Everyday Heroes
Justin Lanting, Business Manager, and Tricia Kelley, Accounting Supervisor, Business Office

I would like to thank them for ALL of their prompt responses, accurate communications and quality training. The breadth of their knowledge is truly impressive. They have helped me with everything from account code correction to Skyward reports, and the list really does go on. They are helpful, professional, timely and genuinely want all departments to succeed. They share their knowledge and have outstanding follow up.
Submitted by Christa Hilinski, Executive Assistant, K-12 Teaching and Learning

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 Teachers: February 15 is deadline for early retirement and/or resignation incentive

The Olympia School District and the Olympia Education Association offer employees (OEA membership only) 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 2018-19 school year.

The district is offering two paid days (fill out a time slip 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 15, 2019.

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 time slip for the two incentive days. On the time slip, 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.” Time slips 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 15, 2019, you will not be eligible for the two incentive days.

As always, thank you for your dedication to the Olympia School District.

Olympia Garden Club seeks applicants for educator grant worth up to $500

Three pots of sprouting hyacinth bulbs

The Olympia Garden Club is offering a grant of up to $500 to elementary, middle or high school teachers interested in enhancing their horticultural or environmental science curriculum. Grants will be awarded after applications are reviewed.

Who should apply?

  • Elementary or middle school teachers
  • High school horticulture teachers (ecology, dendrology, floriculture, landscape design/management, environmental science or related subject)

The grant must be used to enhance your horticultural or environmental science curriculum.

Application deadline is Friday, March 29, 2019.

Download and fill out grant application

Accessibility Tip of the Week: An introduction to Alternative Text

question mark against a black background

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about Alternative Text. 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.

For all non-text content posted to the web, a text alternative must be provided. This applies to images, video, or audio content. When a screen reader encounters these elements, it is unable to programmatically interpret the image or file, and thus fails to convey its content and function. By providing a text alternative, authors can ensure everyone can enjoy their content.

The different non-text elements and their corresponding alternative text types are:

  • Images – Alternative text is a piece of text that accompanies the image, conveying the image’s content and function. This text may appear alongside the image, or it may be included in the image’s alternative text tag. Guides for including alternative tags in different software suites are featured on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.
  • Video – Captions are the textual alternative to spoken content within a video file. They may be created by using YouTube’s captioning service. While these automatically generated captions contain many errors, editing them is significantly faster than creating captions from scratch.
  • Audio – Transcripts should accompany audio files posted to the web. These may also be created by saving the audio as a video and using YouTube’s captioning service.

DRS shares 2019 Retirement Planning Seminar Schedule

Open notebook with words "My Plan" at the top and person preparing to write with a penThe 2019 Retirement Planning Seminar Schedule is available from the Department of Retirement Systems. If you are a member of the Washington State Retirement Systems (LEOFF, PERS, PSERS, SERS, TRS, WSPRS) and within five years of retirement, we encourage you to review the seminar information overview, and register online at your convenience. Other options for registering are:

If you do not find a seminar near your location or on a date that is convenient for you, you may be interested in viewing our seminar videos online.

The Education page provides useful information to help you with your retirement planning regardless of how close or far away it is. You can also sign up for online account access. This access will allow you to review your service credit, contributions, beneficiary information and much more. You can also create a benefit estimate that is based on the data in your account, and when you’re ready, retire online.

Please note:  Due to space limitations, registration for DRS seminars is limited to members of the Washington State Retirement Systems. We are not able to accommodate reservation requests for members of other retirement systems.

A reminder to be cautious of phishing scams

Person holds cell phone to emphasize need to avoid fraudulent callers participating in phishing scamsWe have received several reports of employees being contacted at their schools by phishing scams. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details and money, often for malicious reasons, by someone disguising as a trustworthy entity. Common phishing scams include people impersonating as representatives of the Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement or the courts.

One of the most recent scams in Thurston county involves people calling you personally or on your school phone to accuse you of missing jury duty. These callers inevitably demand money to resolve “outstanding debts” or “legal issues” and often demand payment on reloadable gift cards, other prepaid credit cards, or wire transfers. Sometimes, they direct the person who answers the phone to a nearby store or bank to get and send money. A reminder that these are fraudulent calls. Hang up on these fraudulent callers.

Phishing scams can come in all forms, including phone calls, emails, letters and more. If you are ever unsure about the credibility of a call or other communication, you may always contact local law enforcement. You can also block future calls from a particular number on your mobile devices.

For calls of people impersonating the IRS, you may also report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website. The website includes a list of scam alerts at the top of the Home page and a link to report fraudulent calls.