October is Disability History Month and International Walk to School Month

proclamationSuperintendent Dick Cvitanich read a proclamation at the September 26 Olympia School Board meeting designating October 2016 as International Walk to School Month.

Read the proclamation and visit the school district website to learn about related events planned for October.

October is also Disability History Month, as set forth in school district policy 2336 “Required Observances,” and is recognized by many school districts throughout the state and nation. Stay tuned to this weekly blog for posts throughout October containing information about disabilities, teaching strategies and accessibility.

Eat more fruits and vegetables with on-the-go snack tips

wellness_newsletter-october-2016_page_2Be sure to see this month’s copy of “Wellness Is A Way of Life!” The newsletter is provided as a wellness resource for all employees by the Child Nutrition department.

This issue includes articles about how you can get more fruits and vegetables in your diet by making them an on-the-go snacking  habit!

Read the full Wellness newsletter. Previous issues from the 2015-16 school year are available on the Olympia School District website Child Nutrition Web page.

Safety Tip of the Week

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about stretching to reduce stress in the workplace.

Stretching to Reduce Stress

Work out your stiffness and stress with these tips for stretching in your workspace:

  1. Neck and Shoulders

Hunching over your desk can strain the cervical spine and stiffen your shoulders. Try reaching your arms behind you, interlocking your fingers and lifting your arms. You should feel this stretch in your chest and shoulders.

  1. Back (Cat Pose)

If work space allows – This is a yoga pose which aligns your spine and helps to improve extension and flexion in your back. Start on all fours (if you can find an empty space) and switch between arching your back like a cat and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.

  1. Legs

If you don’t sit properly you could be reducing the ability for blood to circulate properly, especially in your legs. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach down towards your toes. Or while standing stretch while reaching towards your toes.

  1. Overhead Stretch

This is a natural stretch that we all do when we’re feeling a bit stiff and tired. Simply raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers and push away from yourself. Bending at the waist and reaching slowly to the right and hold for a few seconds and then to the left and hold for a few seconds. Repeat if needed.

  1. Wrist Stretch

This one’s for those of you who spend all day typing! Simply stand up and place your wrists on the desk so they face away from you, and gently apply pressure until you feel the stretching. Hold for a few seconds, and then follow with some wrist circles.

Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion in your joints. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. You can view stretches here  for additional ideas and help with stretching.

Open Enrollment ends in two days!

A reminder that Open Enrollment ends this Friday, 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.

See the latest Spotlight on Success district newsletter

unnamed-4Be sure to see the latest issue of the district newsletter, “Spotlight on Success.” The second issue of this year’s newsletter (formerly called Community Connections), was emailed to all staff and district families on September 14. It has been reformatted this year to be easily accessible on mobile devices.

Plans are to email the newsletter twice a month to all district families and employees, as well as community members who sign up to receive the e-newsletter. The new name was selected with input from staff, students and community members.

Please send ideas for articles, photos and videos featuring our students and staff to communications@osd.wednet.edu. If you have family or friends in the community who would like to receive the newsletter, please have them email their name and email address to communications@osd.wednet.edu. We will add them to our “Friends of the OSD” email list.

View Spotlight on Success newsletter

Nominations sought for Classified School Employee of the Year

The Olympia School District is accepting nominations for one or more staff members to be honored as Classified School Employee of the Year. The program recognizes the work of classified staff members who have made a positive difference in their profession. All school and support building employees who are categorized as “Classified” staff are eligible for nomination. Nominees should be employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.

Please complete this online nomination form and submit by 4 p.m on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. A committee will review the applications and select the individual(s) to be recognized. The individual(s) chosen will be eligible to compete for the regional Classified School Employee of the Year selection process. The winner at that level advances to the state Classified School Employee of the Year selection process.

Retirement gathering for Judy Cole

Judy Cole, administrative assistant specialist for Transportation, will retire on Friday, September 30 after 28 years with the Olympia School District.

Employees are welcome to stop by the Transportation department between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on September 30 to wish Judy well and enjoy cake, cookies and coffee. The department is located at 3000 RW Johnson Road S.E.

Thank you, Judy, for your many years of service!

Safety Tip of the Week

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about fire extinguisher safety in the workplace.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling it until the fire department arrives.

Classes of fires: 

There are three basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled with standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out.

Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper and many plastics.

Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and grease.

Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances.

Many fire extinguishers are “multipurpose” A-B-C models, labeled for use on all three classes of fire. Fire extinguishers in the Olympia School District schools and most support buildings are multipurpose (A-B-C models). There are a few Class-specific fire extinguishers in the Transportation maintenance area, as well as in the Technology server room. 

Warning: It is dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a grease or electrical fire.

Remember the “Pass” word

Stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step “PASS” procedure. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once. Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site.

PULL the pin out: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.

AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.

SQUEEZE the lever below the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.

SWEEP from side to side:  Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.

School board sets 2016-17 goals

In his Friday message last week, Superintendent Dick Cvitanich shared with all staff the Olympia School Board’s goals for the 2016-17 school year. We are sharing these board goals again below. It is easy to return to the blog at any time to revisit this article or any other board posts, which are archived on the Home page.

Board Goals: 2016-17

1. By November 2016, create an Olympia School District Equity Committee whose charter is to develop a work plan by June 2017 to:

  • Create a district vision for equity.
  • Build districtwide understanding of equity.
  • Develop organizational leadership and measurable growth indicators.

2. In a concerted effort to close the achievement/opportunity gap, conduct a review by May 2017, in which:

  • Each school identifies the needs of their students who consistently do not meet standard.
  • Resources currently targeted to close the achievement/opportunity gap are examined for alignment and effectiveness.

3. By November 2016, identify a consultant to conduct a K-12 boundary review by March 2017, for the purpose of balancing numbers in facilities and access to choice and optional programs. Explore options to balance enrollment and increase equity of access to all high schools to facilitate planning for future enrollment, capital investment and increasing high school graduation rates to 100%.

4. By March 2017, complete a detailed budget review to:

  • Re-examine those budgets which the school board impacts.
  • Ensure budgets are aligned with and targeted to identified needs.
  • Ensure funding is utilized as effectively as possible.

5. By Spring 2017, in collaboration with the Communications Department, improve communication with the Olympia School District community by providing information on:

  • Current Board Directors in order to better acquaint the community with them on a personal level.
  • Roles, responsibilities and terms of a school board director in order to convey that the positions are accessible to the community.
  • Anticipated openings on the school board.

6. By June 2017, conduct an early learning needs assessment to facilitate long-term planning for the district’s 0- 5-year-olds to support their success in school and life. By December 2016, hire a consultant to conduct the assessment.