10 days left of Open Enrollment

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.

Nominate students, staff and programs for recognition

Do you know of an Olympia School District student or staff member who is going above and beyond in his or her role?  Would you like to promote a school program or event? The Communications and Community Relations Department wants to brag about students, staff and our schools! Our OSD Recognition Form is the place to submit nominations and information. Use the form to submit nominations for:

Student Spotlight – Nominate a student who has excelled or taken initiative in a specific area.

Featured Faculty – Nominate a staff member who has gone above and beyond in their role in our schools.

School Programs – Do you have a program at your school that you would like to feature? Tell us about the program, its participants and what makes it unique.

School Events – Do you have an upcoming event at your school that you would like to highlight or promote districtwide? Share it with us in the space provided on the form.

Selected nominees, programs and events may be recognized on social media sites, the district website, and in e-newsletters. Here is an example of a recent student recognized as a Student Spotlight on our district Facebook:

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Safety Tip of the Week

Extension Cord Safety

An extension cord can be a convenient, temporary way to use electrical equipment when you need it. But if used improperly, extension cords can cause ­an injury.

Using extension cords safely

Use extension cords only if needed and only for temporary use. Make sure the extension cords wattage rating is at least as high as the tool or appliance plugged into it. If furniture may be pushed against an extension cord where the cord joins the plug, use a special “angle extension cord.” Be aware that cords can cause tripping hazards. Don’t run them across walkways, doors or over areas where people walk or equipment is rolled. When using outdoor tools and appliances, use only extension cords labeled for outdoor use. Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs are exposed when the extension cord is in use. When disconnecting cords, pull the plug rather than the cord itself to protect the cord from damage and yourself from shock. Request a replacement of any cracked or worn extension cords.

Don’t be shocked – prevent electrocution

Use only three-wire (grounded) extension cords for appliances with three-prong plugs. Never remove the third (round or U-shaped) prong, which is a safety feature designed to reduce the risk of shock and electrocution. Electricity and water don’t mix: if using an extension cord in a kitchen, bathroom, outdoors or in a potentially damp location, plug it only into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.

Be fire safe

Never run an extension cord under a rug or carpet – heat buildup and friction could cause a fi­re. Exposed wires also can cause fires, check your extension cords frequently for signs of wear, and discard any that have breaks, tears or fraying. If a cord feels hot or there is a softening of the plastic, it could mean the cord is overloaded or that wires are failing. Discard the cord and replace it.

Keep extension cords in prime condition by storing cords properly. This will keep them from damaging or breaking – do not bend sharply or twist. Never place extension cords where it is likely to be damaged by moving furniture or foot traf­fic. Never run cords through doorways where they could get pinched by a closing door. Never use an extension cord while it is coiled or looped. Never cover any part of an extension cord with newspapers, clothing or other objects while the cord is in use. Don’t use staples or nails to attach extension cords to a surface.

Applications due October 14 for elementary teacher mini-grants

The Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its $200 elementary teacher mini-grant program for the 2016-17 school year.

The deadline to apply for the mini-grants is October 14, 2016. The grants are designed to provide an opportunity for elementary school teachers to enhance the education of their students.

View and download a copy of this year’s application. The form is also available at http://www.thurstoncountysra.org.

For additional information, contact Jo Edwards at fastwalker1000@comcast.net. Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is a chapter of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association.

Volunteer art docents needed

art-class-1Volunteers are needed to serve as art docents in an expanded elementary school visual arts program this year.

This is the second year of the visual arts program, which started last year in 10 elementary classrooms and is being expanded this year to 30 classrooms throughout the district’s 11 elementary schools.

Art docents are trained to deliver an art lesson once or twice a month while assisted by staff members. Each art lesson is between an hour and 75 minutes long, and lesson-specific materials are delivered to the school ahead of the scheduled presentation.

The district offers convenient and flexible schedules for docents, who are trained by Visual Arts Coordinator Kirstin Holstrom, a third-grade teacher at Centennial Elementary School. Please pass the word of the need for volunteers. Those interested may contact Holstrom at kholstrom@osd.wednet.edu.

Washington state Teacher of the Year to be announced September 19

carol-mckaySuperintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn will announce Washington state’s 2017 Teacher of the Year at an award ceremony in Seattle on Monday, September 19.

Eight finalists from across the state, including our own Capital High School math teacher Carol McKay, are being considered for the honor and will be recognized at the afternoon ceremony. McKay was named earlier this year as the Capital Region Educational Service District 113 Teacher of the Year.

Wishing you luck Carol. We are proud of you!

Open enrollment ends 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.

September is Attendance Awareness Month

6The state of Washington is joining a nationwide effort this month to call attention to the importance of regular school attendance.

September is Attendance Awareness Month in Washington, where one out of every six students was absent at least 18 days in the 2014-15 school year.

“School exists to train people to be successful in life,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of Public Instruction. “Employers want employees who show up every day, and they want employees who show up on time. Telling students that it’s OK to go to school sometimes but not others will only hurt them later in life.”

Dorn said that one of his chief priorities is to shine a light on chronic absenteeism. “For the past couple of years we’ve been able to look deeply into the data,” he said. “And that’s helping us see trends, which will help us solve the problem.”

Attendance Awareness Month began in 2013 by Attendance Works, a project of the national project of the Child and Family Policy Center.

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Essentials Series starts September 26

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Click image to open the document

The Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Essentials Series meets from 4-5 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the Knox Administrative Center.

Workshops are geared towards new and intermediate level GAFE users. Each session is offered as a stand-alone class, but the series is designed to provide deeper understanding of the integrated Google suite. Sessions are led by the instructional technology coaching team.

Sessions are eligible for compensation through Tech PD or Self-Directed SD. Clock hours will be offered under the blanket Tech PD course at the end of the school year. Sign up on MyOSD.

Attendees should bring a fully charged laptop loaded with Chrome browser.

The Knox Administrative Center is at 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia.

Everything you need to know about surplus equipment and materials

Did you know that the district has a board policy that explains how to legally dispose of surplus equipment and/or materials? Policy 6881, which is posted on the district website and is linked here, outlines that process. What is important for all employees to understand is that when an item needs to be surplused, even if it is something that another colleague would like to have, it must go through the proper process. In other words, it’s not OK to put equipment in the hall as surplus and then allow others to take for their own personal/home use. Surplus items must go through the proper process.

A portion of the policy reads:

“Prior to disposing of any surplus texts, other books, equipment, materials or relocatable facilities, the Superintendent shall serve written notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the school district and to any public school district or private school in Washington state annually requesting such notice. All schools on the list shall be notified in writing of the materials and equipment that is available. The material or equipment shall be sold to any interested public or private school at its depreciated cost or fair market value, whichever is greater. Students shall have priority in the purchase of texts. Disposition of such surplus property to parties other than public or private schools may take place thirty days after written notice is served.”