Reminders about use of sick leave, vacation and leave without pay

Below is a message from Scott Niemann, executive director of Human Resources, regarding the use of sick leave, vacation, and leave without pay. This guidance is intended for our employee groups to clarify our bargaining agreements (CBAs) and district interpretation of current language.

Some district employees believed that they may use vacation benefits when they exhausted their sick leave benefits. This is not correct. Employees’ attendance is required, and regular attendance is an essential function of your job.

  • An employee may use accrued sick leave for:
    • his/her own personal health condition.
    • to care for a child with a health condition that requires treatment or supervision, or
    • to care for a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law or grandparent with a serious or emergency health condition.
  • An employee may use vacation when it is approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. Employees should check their CBA for the number of days in advance that approval must be made. If this is not stated in the CBA, employees should check with their supervisor for guidance.
  • An employee may not use vacation when he/she has exhausted their accrued sick leave unless the employee has been approved for FMLA, is on an approved extended medical leave or has pre-approved vacation time.
  • If an employee exhausts his or her sick leave, the employee will not be granted leave without pay. In general, leave without pay is not an acceptable practice in this district.

Thank you for your daily commitment to students and the community.

January is School Board Recognition Month


School Board Recognition Month proclamation

Every January school districts across the state and nation honor their board of directors during School Board Recognition Month.

The Olympia School District will recognize its school board with a special program near the start of the meeting on Monday, January 23. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Capital High School, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

During the program, Superintendent Dick Cvitanich will read a proclamation by Gov. Jay Inslee designating January as School Board Recognition Month in Washington state. This marks the 22nd year of the annual observance initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995.

The proclamation reads in part that school directors “play a crucial role in promoting student learning and achievement by creating a vision, establishing policies and budgets, and setting clear standards of accountability for all involved.” It also states that school directors “are directly accountable to the citizens in their districts and regions, serving as a vital link between members of the community and their schools.”

Voicemail upgrade complete; reminder to reset personal greeting and passcode

Below is an email sent by the Technology department to all employees on December 27 announcing the school district’s voicemail system upgrade is complete. The email also included directions for how employees can reset their voicemail and passcode.

To all OSD Staff,

We have completed the upgrade to our new voicemail system. All voicemail boxes have had the greeting reset to the factory default, and the voicemail password has been set to the phone extension number. Please dial into your voicemail at your earliest convenience to record your name and greeting, as well as select a new passcode. The new system can be accessed from anywhere by dialing 360-596-3334, or by pressing the voicemail button on your district phone.

Due to some technical difficulties, we were unable to migrate old voicemails from the old system to the new one. The old system is currently active and reachable at 360-596-3333 so that any remaining messages can be retrieved.

If you have any questions or need assistance with accessing your voicemail, please contact the Helpdesk at x6172.


Dave Baird
Technology Department

District voicemail experiencing technical difficulty

Olympia School District voicemail service is currently experiencing some technical difficulty. The district is working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. In the meantime, callers may experience a busy signal, a disconnection, or an automated message that says the call cannot be completed as dialed. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

As a reminder, district offices are closed Thursday, December 22 through Monday, December 26 for winter break. If you are unable to reach the district by phone and wish to email a question or concern, please email the district Communications department at Email will be checked periodically during the days that administrative offices are closed. Thank you.

Hot off the press: The latest issue of Spotlight on Success district newsletter


See the latest issue of the district’s Spotlight on Success newsletter, which features students, staff and other district news. This issue includes a message from Superintendent Dick Cvitanich, as well as articles and photos about a new Glass Studio class at Olympia High, two Pioneer Elementary students preparing to compete at a national weightlifting competition, Learn All About Kindergarten and the 3rd Annual OSD Technology Fair on February 11, the Olympia School Board’s election of officers this week, and more!

Open the latest Spotlight on Success newsletter

Technology Fair and Learn All About Kindergarten events set for February 11

Mark your calendars for two annual events that will be held on Saturday, February 11 at Capital High School.

3rd Annual OSD Technology Fair 

Parent and daughter try out technology at booth set up at Technology Fair

2015 OSD Technology Fair participants

The free event, which is open to all students, families and the community, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the high school Commons, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

School booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will showcase a variety of ways that students and teachers use digital tools to support the learning process.

Fair visitors are also invited to watch student technology challenge presentations from 1-3 p.m. Each school has an opportunity to enter a student team in a technology challenge to be revealed the morning of the Technology Fair. Teams will work collaboratively on the challenge from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and present to the audience in the afternoon.

Elementary school students will present their technology challenge from 1-2 p.m. Middle and high school students will present how they responded to their challenge from 2-3 p.m.

Learn All About Kindergarten 

Pioneer Elementary staff greet guests at booth set up at Learn All About Kindergarten event

Learn All About Kindergarte

The Olympia School District will hold its annual “Learn All About Kindergarten” informational event starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 11 at Capital High School.

If you know of neighbors or friends who have a child entering kindergarten in the Olympia School District in fall 2017, please share this information with them and encourage them to attend this free event. Capital High School is located at 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

The event begins at 10 a.m. with a welcome by Superintendent Dick Cvitanich. Families will then have until 11:30 a.m. to visit school booths set up in the high school gym and learn about a variety of topics related to kindergarten and school in general.

Among other things, families may learn about kindergarten program options, riding the bus, how to register for kindergarten and how to use the district’s Family Access student information system to stay updated on everything from grades to lunch accounts. The school district’s Transportation department will also have a school bus on site for parents to learn about bus safety and rules, and to see the inside of the bus.

A reminder that children should be 5 years old by August 31, 2017 to be eligible to start kindergarten in September 2017.

The event is geared for adults of incoming kindergartners in the Olympia School District. Childcare is not provided.

School board elects new officers in annual reorganization

dsc_0018Every year in December, the Olympia School Board elects officers for the coming year during its annual reorganization.

By unanimous vote, the board elected Eileen Thomson president and Frank Wilson vice president at the December 12 regular board meeting. Both Thomson and Wilson will assume their new roles at the January 9 school board meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E. in Olympia.

The board also appointed the following:

  • Joellen Wilhelm as board representative to the Olympia School District Education Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Justin Montermini as board representative to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
  • Frank Wilson as board representative to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

District voicemail upgrade set for December 21

Below is a message from the Technology Department regarding a planned voicemail upgrade on December 21.

To all district staff:

We are completing another major upgrade to our voicemail system. We plan on switching to the new server next Wednesday, December 21. Due to unforeseen technical issues, this change is forcing us to reset all voicemail greetings and passwords in the new system.

When we switch over to the new system around mid-day on December 21, all recorded greetings will reset to their defaults and all voicemail passwords will be reset to their own extension number. You will then need to dial into the new system to reset your greeting and password at your convenience.

The number to dial for our voicemail system (596-3334) will not change.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Helpdesk at x6172.

Thank you,

Dave Baird
Technology Department

Safety Tip of the Week

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares safety tips related to winter fitness.

Winter Fitness

Cold temperatures can discourage even the most motivated person, and without motivation it’s easy to pack away your workout gear for the winter. You don’t have to let cold weather mark the end of your fitness routine. Try these exercising tips during cold weather.

Stay safe during cold weather exercise

Exercise is safe for almost everyone even in cold weather; however, some conditions such as asthma, heart problems or Raynaud’s disease, can be a problem. You should check with your doctor first for special precautions you may need depending on your health condition or current medications.

Check the weather and the wind chill

Check the forecast before going outside. Temperature, wind and moisture, along with how long you will be outside, are key factors in planning a safe cold-weather workout.

Wind and cold together make up the wind chill, a common element in winter weather forecasts. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even with warm clothing.

Wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body. Any exposed skin is vulnerable to frostbite.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

We talked about hypothermia in last weeks article but what about frostbite? Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing and is most common on exposed skin, Can show up on your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also happen to your hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

Get out of the cold immediately if you suspect you may have frostbite. Slowly warm the affected area — but don’t rub it since that can damage your skin. Seek emergency care if the numbness or stinging doesn’t go away.

the the wind chill is extreme, consider an indoor exercise instead.

Dress in layers

Dress in layers that you can remove as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed to warm up if you start feeling cold.

You may need to experiment to find the right combination of clothing for you based on the intensity of your exercise.

Don’t forget safety gear and sunscreen

If it’s dark outside, wear reflective clothing while working out. And if you ride a bike, you will need both headlights and taillights for safety.

Wear a helmet while skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer and even easier if you are exercising in the snow. Wearing a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and a lip balm with sunscreen is important. Also, don’t forget to protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

Drink plenty of fluids

Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drinking water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout will help you to stay hydrated.

You can become dehydrated in the cold as well as the heat, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather.

Remember, know when to head home to warm up. And always be sure to let someone know your exercise route and your expected return time in case something does go wrong.