Ballet Northwest invites first through fifth graders to free dance performance

Ballet Northwest invites students in first through fifth grade an opportunity to attend a free 2017 Dance Outreach Performance on Thursday, May 11 at 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. at the Washington Center for Performing Arts in Olympia.

The program features a short introduction to the art of ballet and a selection of dances performed by the cast of Ballet Northwest’s spring production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Sleeping Beauty,” with full sets and costumes.

Ballet Northwest will pay the cost of busing students to and from the WCPA as part of the Dance Outreach performance on May 11. The organization offers this educational opportunity as part of its mission to promote the art of dance in the community. This program is made possible with the support of The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound and the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

Seating is limited at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you would like your students to attend the 2017 Dance Outreach Performance, please contact Bob Hodges, principal on special assignment, at

Safety Tip of the Week

Good Health Habits Can Help Stop the Germs

Preventing the Flu:

Getting vaccinated is the single best way to prevent the seasonal flu, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands will help reduce the spread of germs which can help prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. In addition, there are antiviral drugs that can be used to help treat and prevent the flu.

The Center for Disease Control advises people on how to prevent the flu during flu season. The following tips are from the CDC:

1. Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.


Early retirement/resignation incentive

The Olympia School District and the Olympia Education Association offers employees an early retirement and/or resignation incentive. Since we are always anxious to post and find the best qualified candidates for openings, we are hoping to hear from you early if you are planning to retire or resign at the end of this 2016-17 school year.

The district is offering two paid days (fill out a time slip in June) at the end of the school year for any OEA member who provides a letter of retirement or resignation to the Human Resources Department on or before February 15, 2017.

If you have already provided the Human Resources department  a letter of resignation or retirement, you have done what you need to do in order to receive the two incentive days. Remember: in June you must submit a time slip for the two incentive days. On the time slip, write “Early Notice Incentive” and record 6 hours for each day — a total of 12 hours. This incentive time is intended to be paid time so you can “tie up loose ends, pack and check out of your building.” Time slips must be turned in by June 30 of this year to receive the early incentive payment.

If you submit your letter of resignation or retirement after February 15, 2017, you will not be eligible for the two incentive days.

As always, thank you for your dedication to the Olympia School District.


Scott Niemann
Executive Director of Human Resources

January 18 is deadline to apply for $250 teacher mini-grants


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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. 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

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

January Wellness newsletter

Wellness is a Way of LIfe! newsletter

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Don’t miss this month’s issue of the “Wellness is a Way of Life!” newsletter. The newsletter is provided by the Child Nutrition department as a wellness resource for all employees.

The January newsletter includes articles about the benefits of exercise and eating well.

Read the full Wellness newsletter. Previous issues from this year are available on the Olympia  School district website Child Nutrition Web page.

WGU Washington partners with ESD 113 to offer benefits to school district partners

WGU Washington, a nonprofit online university, is working in cooperation with Educational Service District (ESD) 113 and other area school districts and ESDs to offer certain benefits to school district employees.

Among other things, WGU offers school district employees a 5 percent discount on tuition for up to four terms, as well as eligibility to apply for the WGU Washington K-12 Partners Scholarship, valued up to $2,000.

WGU Washington offers regionally accredited degree programs in business, information technology, teacher education, and health professions (including nursing).

For more information, visit the WGU Washington website.

Mileage rates for 2017 and travel expense reimbursements

Based on the publication for 2017, mileage rates for 2017 will change to $0.535 per mile.

If you will be submitting expense reimbursements in Skyward for mileage in 2016 the old rate will apply, and the drop-down menu will default to that rate based on the date(s) you enter for the request.

If you will be submitting expense reimbursements in Skyward for mileage in 2017 the new rate will apply, and the drop-down menu will default to that rate based on the date(s) you enter for the request.

Because your request will default based on specific dates, you cannot submit one request for both years.  Each year will require a separate submission.

Safety Tip of the Week

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, starts off the new year with safety tips related to the “Safety First” message.



Every New Year can begin with the phrase “out with the old and in with the new,” but for safety, it’s always in! “Safety First” is a tried and true message that’s worth keeping year in and year out.

This New Year’s resolutions should include a promise to yourself, your coworkers and your family that you will work safe at work and at home each day. Make sure to try to keep your promise and take it one day at a time. Soon the year will be gone and you will be able to celebrate another safe year.

Repeat your promise daily, and pass on your message to coworkers and family to create a safety-focused year. The great thing about working safe is you, your students, your coworkers and your family reap the benefits immediately. By not having an injury, you are able enjoy each day without pain and potential suffering.

Safety tips to make this year a success:

  1. Watch for and correct tripping hazards on the floor, such as cords or unsecured carpet edges.
  2. Make sure exits and fire extinguishers are not obstructed.
  3. Make sure bookcases are not overloaded.
  4. Make sure counter areas and work areas are free of clutter.
  5. Check to see if the desk, tables and chairs are in good repair.
  6. Do not allow unapproved materials to hang from the wall or ceiling tiles.
  7. Ensure heater vents and registers are not covered or obstructed.
  8. Make sure closets are tidy and there are no items stored that could fall and hit a person in the head.
  9. Practice safe lifting procedures at all times.
  10. Be sure all chemicals and cleaning supplies are properly stored.
  11. Never stand on a chair or table to reach overhead. Rather, get a ladder or step stool for the job.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!