Check the school district calendar for upcoming concerts, athletic events and other school functions

Don’t forget to check the school district calendar of events, located on the Home page of the school district website, for a listing of remaining school holiday concerts this week. There are music performances tomorrow night (Thursday, December 15), for example, at both Capital and Olympia high schools starting at 7:30 p.m. Let’s fill the seats in support of our talented musicians and their teachers!

The district calendar also includes a listing of all events and activities listed on individual school calendars around the district. These include athletic events, drama performances, art shows, book fairs and more. When an item on the calendar is clicked, a window pops up with details such as time and location.

Click to see the district calendar of events

 

Flags lowered to half-staff this Friday in honor of fallen Tacoma police officer

Flag at half-staff in front of Knox Administrative CenterFlags at all Olympia School District schools and support facilities will fly at half-staff this Friday, December 9.

Gov. Jay Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, 45, and has directed that Washington state and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff in his memory on December 9. Officer Gutierrez was killed in the line of duty on November 30.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 9,  at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. It is open to the public. The time has yet to be announced.

Flags will remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset this Friday.

Public Records Tip of the Month

Below is the first Public Records Tip of the Month, submitted by Diana Crawford, the school district’s Public Disclosure Officer. This month’s blog post focuses on public records on personal electronic devices and in personal email accounts.

The Washington State Supreme Court has recently ruled in Nissen v. Pierce County, 183 Wn.2d 863 (2015) that any records, including emails and text messages located on personal cell phones, personal computers and other personal devices or in private email accounts are “public records” if the employee created or received the records while acting in an official “Agency” capacity.

This ruling should be considered as an OSD employee, (teacher, para, support staff, coach or administrator) conducts OSD-related business on personal devices and in personal email accounts.

Examples where public records may be found on personal devices or email:

  • Personal cell phones:  Texts, PDF readers & Photos
  • Personal email accounts:  In Box, Sub folders, spam/junk folder, sent folder, deleted/trash folders
  • Personal computer:  desktop, subfolder, download folder
  • Other types of accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
  • Other types of devices:  iPad or tablet, digital cameras

Using district Gmail on a home computer, or using a Gmail app downloaded onto a personal cell phone set up with an district employees’ Gmail could help to make it convenient to send and receive district email in a way that doesn’t compromise personal privacy and is archived and searchable by the district.

Safety Tip of the Week

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about dressing in cold weather and how to recognize hypothermia.

C.O.L.D.

Before you or your students step out into the cold, remember this simple acronym COLD — cover, overexertion, layers, dry:

  • Cover. Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. Cover your hands with mittens instead of gloves. Mittens are more effective than gloves because mittens keep your fingers in closer contact.
  • Overexertion. Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause you to lose body heat more quickly.
  • Layers. Wear loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material is best for wind protection. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat better than cotton.
  • Dry. Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible. Be especially careful to keep your hands and feet dry, as it’s easy for snow to get into mittens and boots.

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature. The normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C).

When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally.

Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather and there is plenty of that in our weather forecast for the next week. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and that the primary treatments for hypothermia are to warm the body back to a normal temperature.

Shivering will be the first noticeable sign because it’s your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature and an attempt to warm itself up.

Mild hypothermia

Signs and symptoms of mild hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Faster breathing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Slight confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate

Moderate to severe hypothermia

As your body temperature drops, signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:

  • Shivering, although as hypothermia worsens, shivering stops
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Confusion and poor decision-making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Lack of concern about one’s condition
  • Progressive loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing

Someone with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of their condition because the symptoms can begin gradually. It also can cause confused thinking and therefore hypothermia can prevent self-awareness. This confusion can also lead to hazardous behavior.

When to see a doctor

Call the school nurse to assess and if needed call 911 if you see someone with signs of hypothermia.

If possible administer first aid and take the person inside, move them carefully and slowly. Jarring movements can trigger dangerous irregular heartbeats. Carefully remove wet clothing, and cover them in layers of blankets while you wait for emergency help to arrive.

Procedures for weather-related school delays and closures

Please retain this information, provided by the district’s Human Resources department, for future weather-related delays and closures. Hopefully this will be a useful reference document to make weather-related decisions clearer for everyone.
Late start
Contractual language and past practice allows for modified schedules due to emergency conditions in which employees may, with the approval of their supervisor, 1) take a salary deduction for the time missed, 2) work regularly scheduled time if safety permits, 3) use vacation leave, 4) arrange with a supervisor to complete their work at an alternate location, or 5) arrange with a supervisor to make up the time missed in regular-time status. Safety permitting, employees should report to work per their regular schedules. Teachers should be at the work site at least 30 minutes prior to students arriving.
Early Release
Contractual language and past practice allows for early release provisions due to emergency conditions in which employees may, with the approval of their supervisor, leave early and 1) take a salary deduction for the time missed, 2) work regularly scheduled time if safety permits, 3) use vacation leave, 4) arrange with a supervisor to complete their work at an alternate location, or 5) arrange with a supervisor to make up the time missed in regular-time status.
Closure
Because contracted staff who work a typical school schedule will make up their time when student days have been rescheduled, there is no need for them to take leave at this time. For year-round and other employees who provide non-student related services, contractual language and past practice allows for closure due to emergency conditions in which employees may, with the approval of their supervisor, 1) take a salary deduction for the time missed, 2) work regularly scheduled time if safety permits, 3) use vacation leave, 4) arrange with a supervisor to complete their work at an alternate location, or 5) arrange with a supervisor to make up the time missed in regular-time status.
Thank you for your dedication to the Olympia School District. We appreciate your efforts and hope that you remain safe during inclement weather conditions.

Time to enroll in Section 125 Plan

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It’s time to enroll in the Section 125 Plan. The Section 125 Plan allows employees to deduct the cost of eligible benefits from gross earnings before taxes.

Ways to Enroll

You can choose from one of the following ways to enroll:

Online-Only/ Self Enroll:

With this self-guided option, enroll anytime December 1  through December 31 with our online enrollment platform, AFenroll®. See attached flier for login details.

To enroll with AFenroll®, please visit: www.afenroll.com/enroll.

 One-on-One:

Meet one-on-one and in person with an American Fidelity account manager to review your benefit options and make your selections (Thursday, December 15 and Friday, December 16 at the Olympia School District Office from 11 am to 4 pm & Olympia School District Transportation Department from 8 am to 10 am. 

To reserve an appointment, please visit: 

https://benefits.americanfidelity.com/olympia-school-district

 At Home/GoToMeeting:

Using GoToMeeting technology and from the comfort of your home, an American Fidelity account manager will guide you online through the enrollment process and answer questions along the way (Wednesday, December 21 & Thursday, December 22 from 9 am to 4 pm.

Sign up for a time slot in advance.  Please visit https://benefits.americanfidelity.com/olympia-school-district. Click “Schedule an Appointment” then select the “At Home/GoToMeeting” site option.  When signing up, please be sure to include a phone number and email that will be accessible during the at-home meeting. Upon sign up, you will receive a confirmation with directions and login details.

Contact American Fidelity at 866-576-0201 with any questions you may have.

Information about the Section 125 Plan may be viewed on the school district’s Benefits page, which is linked from the Staff Resources page on the district website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the American Fidelity link.

Additionally, click on the adjoining image to learn more about enrollment and login information.

Middle and high school teachers invited to apply for $250 mini-grants

Mini-grant information

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The Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its $250 middle and high school teacher mini-grants for the 2016-17 school year.

The deadline to apply for the mini-grants is January 18, 2017. The grants are designed “to provide an opportunity for teachers to acquire materials or provide experiences for their students above and beyond what is paid for with district funds. The materials or experiences should supplement and enhance building or district goals.”

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

Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is a chapter of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association.