Open Enrollment continues through September 30

A reminder that Open Enrollment continues through September 30, 2016. This enrollment period is for benefits effective November 1, 2016.

For helpful documents, links and bargaining group specific benefit information, please visit the OSD Benefits page.

During open enrollment, the Payroll department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Employees may schedule a one-on-one appointment with Amy McGuire, Payroll/Benefits Technician at (360) 596-6190.  The Payroll office also has a sign-up sheet for walk-ins, who are assisted by Amy McGuire in the order that they arrive.

Safety Tip of the Week

Proper Lifting Techniques

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about proper lifting techniques.

As educators prepare classrooms and are looking forward to the start of the new school year, we need to remember to put our Safety First! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one million workers experience back injuries each year. Low back pain is one of the most common reasons that people miss work, second only to the common cold. A BLS survey shows that 75 percent of back injuries occurred while performing lifting tasks, which underscores the importance of reducing back injuries caused by lifting. Here are some proper lifting techniques:

  1. Get as close to the object as possible.
  2. Use a wide stance with one foot forward and to the side of the object for good balance.
  3. Keep your back straight and use your legs and hips to lower yourself down to the object.
  4. Slide the object as close to you as possible.
  5. Put the hand (same side of your body as the forward foot) on the side of the object furthest from you.
  6. Use this basic lifting technique for small objects when you can straddle the load and use a wide stance.
  7. Put the other hand on the side of the object closest to you. Your hands should be on opposite corners.
  8. Grasp the object firmly with both hands.
  9. Prepare for the lift, tighten your core muscles, look forward and upward, keep a straight and strong back.
  10. Lift slowly and follow your head and shoulders. Hold the load close to your body. Lift by extending your legs with your back straight, and breathe out as you lift.

Payroll reminder: 2015-16 time slips due by September 2

Reminder: If you worked in the 2015/16 school year and have not submitted your time slips, these must be submitted/received in the Payroll department by September 2.

This will allow the Payroll department enough processing time to charge these work hours to the 2015/16 school year before the year is closed. If you have any questions, please contact the Payroll department at payroll@osd.wednet.edu or (360) 596-6190.

Follow us on social media!

Don’t miss out seeing your colleagues and the many amazing students across the district who are featured on the school district’s social media pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To follow us and like/comment on posts, click on the social media icons on the first page of the blog, (symbols) located just under the featured photo at the top right side of the page.

In addition to photos and articles we produce in district Communications, we also regularly link to media coverage of our staff and students, including articles in ThurstonTalk.com and The Olympian.

Finally, don’t forget to bookmark the link to the district’s YouTube account to see the many videos completed this year. Here is the latest video on the Marshall Middle School Citizen Science Institute (CSI). Enjoy!

Teacher Materials Exchange is next week!

Teacher Materials ExchangeaDon’t forget! Next week is the Second Annual Teacher Materials Exchange.

Employees throughout the district, including those who retired in June, have donated classroom supplies to help give first- through fifth-year teachers a great start to the new school year. Thanks to everyone who donated!

All of the items will be in the gym space next to Avanti HS and behind the Knox Administrative Center at 1113 Legion Way S.E. Olympia School District teachers may “shop” for treasures between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the following dates:

Tuesday, August 23: First-year teachers
Wednesday, August 24: Second- and third-year teachers
Thursday, August 25: Fourth- and fifth-year teachers

Safety Tip of the Week

This week’s safety tip is contributed by Marc Elliott, chief information officer in the school district’s Technology department. Great advice!

Defining “Phishing,” “Email Spoofing” and Business Information to Never Send Through Email

As we are all aware, there are sophisticated criminals across the globe that prey on the “human element” of businesses employees to glean Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to steal identities, money and/or credit. These acts are very difficult to investigate, as the criminals use many methods to conceal their true identities and physical locations. It is very typical to see these scams performed through “Phishing and Email Spoofing” actions.

Phishing (Mirriam-Webster definition): a scam by which an email user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.

Email Spoofing: A  process in which a scammer changes the header information in an email to make it appear to have originated from somewhere or someone other than the true sender.

A common tactic for cyber criminals is to “phish” an entire organization or even a select few members. They “phish” the organization using a “spoofed” email which makes it look like it came from a reputable source such as a bank, security agency and other employees in supervisory positions, including those in school districts. They will often try to get you to click a link where you will be taken to a page, asking for personal information. They will also ask you reply to the email and to attach files containing financial and/or personal information about you and/or your workplace.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing/email spoofing scam, there some items to remember when responding to email.

  • Never send social security, credit card and/or bank account information through email.
    If someone requests that information through email, discuss the request with them personally (face to face or phone) and determine a more secure process for delivering that information.
  • Never click a link in an email unless you are positive of the sender’s identity and intentions.
    Clicking a link in a phishing email (spoofed or not) will often take you to a Web page that looks official (easy to fake) and asks for account numbers, passwords and other PII. Email links can also establish a discrete download of malware to your computer, such as ransomware, adware, viruses, trojan horses etc.
  • Exercise caution when sending PII, and be positive of the sender’s identity and intentions.
    When responding to email requests of other types of PII (legal name, mailing address, birthdate, phone numbers etc.) make sure you know who is making the request of you, that they have a reason for requesting it and that they are who they say they are.
  • Be suspicious of poorly or generically addressed emails.
    Often times scammers will phish huge groups of people all at once (cast a huge net!) and will address the email generically. Upon seeing a poorly addressed email, immediately be suspicious. If you determine it is not authentic, delete it.

Unfortunately, in this era of the Internet, criminals will continuously attempt to scam people and businesses out of information, ultimately for monetary gain. Help protect yourself and the district by following the technology safety tips above when opening, reading and responding to email.

Remember… if you question the authenticity of an email, contact the sender directly or contact the Technology Help Desk at x6172 and we will help!

Special education endorsement opportunity

16FQ SPED Flyer 8.8.16[1]Seattle University and the Puget Sound Educational Service District have partnered to offer Washington teachers the opportunity to earn their Special Education Endorsement through the Online Special Education Endorsement Academy.

The 24-credit academy meets two evenings a week in syncronous online sessions over the course of one year. This year’s endorsement academy offers teachers an additional opportunity: to begin work toward the College of Education’s master’s degree in Special Education.

For registration information or to apply, click the image of the adjacent flier, which includes links to related resources. Please note an upcoming information session on Wednesday, August 17 from 5-6 p.m.