Farewell gathering for Superintendent Cvitanich tomorrow, June 1

All employees and community members are invited to drop by the Knox Administrative Center board room anytime between 4 and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, to bid farewell to Superintendent Dick Cvitanich. After five years in Olympia, he will retire at the end of June.

This farewell is a casual drop-in format with no program, so feel free to stop by anytime to wish him well. Light refreshments will be served.

Thank you, and hope to see you on June 1 at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia.

Graduation dates and guest information

Photo of Avanti HS 2016 graduation capGraduation season is upon us! The following are a list of this year’s graduation dates, times and locations, as well as information about which ceremonies are open to all district employees to attend. Congratulations to the many staff around the district who have worked over the years with students in the Class of 2017!

Thursday, June 8
Avanti High School, 6 p.m., Knox Administrative Center: The auditorium has limited space, so if district staff are interested in attending, they need to contact the Avanti HS office at 360-596-7900 to inquire about tickets.

Friday, June 9
Transition Program, 7 p.m., Knox Administrative Center: This graduation is open to all district staff (no ticket needed for staff members with their OSD ID badge). Teachers and other staff who have worked with Transition Program students throughout their time in the district are encouraged to attend. Reception to follow, in the board room.

Tuesday, June 13
Capital High School, 7 p.m. St. Martin’s University Marcus Pavilion: This graduation is open to all OSD staff (no ticket needed for staff members with their OSD ID badge). Only OSD Staff with their badge will be able to sit in a special section next to the Capital High School staff.

Wednesday, June 14
Olympia High School, 7 p.m., St. Martin’s University Marcus Pavilion: District employees interested in attending this graduation are welcome, on a space available basis, and need to R.S.V.P. to Wendy Rae at wrae@osd.wednet.edu if interested in attending. Employees who attend need to wear their OSD ID badge and tell the usher they are to sit in the faculty/staff section.

Thursday, June 15
Olympia Regional Learning Academy, 6 p.m., Indian Summer Country Club: Due to limited space at this venue, the ORLA graduation is not open to all district employees.

District Social Media: How to increase followers and engagement

Copy of OSD Social Media (1).png

This is the next in a series of tips and information related to school social media accounts. This week, Communications Assistant Kim Doherty shares about how to increase followers and engagement. In previous posts, which can be accessed from the Blog Archives on the Home page, Doherty explains about the importance of archiving school/district social media accounts and creating great content for the sites.

Successful social media accounts have engaged followers with increasing numbers over time. The more your followers comment, like, share and click on your posts, the more your page will show up on their social media feeds, thereby increasing engagement and following.

Here are a few tips on growing your audience and increasing engagement as you manage a professional social media page in the Olympia School District.

Tips for growing your audience:

  • Post regularly. Try for a minimum of a few times per week.
  • Promote, promote, promote! Include social media links/icons in printed or emailed materials like newsletters, fliers and in-school signage. Encourage parents to promote social media accounts to family members and others who might be interested to learn more about their child’s school.
  • Respond to comments/messaging on your page in a timely manner.
  • Include your social media links/icons in your email signature.
  • Actively find and follow others. Don’t just count on people following you; go out and find others in your niche whom you can follow and engage with.
  • Cross promote. If you have more than one social media account, Tweet about your Facebook page, post your Instagram photos on your Facebook page, etc.
  • Re-share other people’s content that is educational and/or relative to your purpose.
  • Use hashtags. Consider creating unique hashtags for your school/page. Also use simple, trending hashtags – search for popular hashtags on Hashtagify.me.
  • Be visual – photos get the highest engagement. Always check for proper permissions when featuring photos of students.
  • Use humor and be relatable. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun.
  • Use emojis.
  • Ask questions. Facebook posts with questions generate double the comments.
  • When you mention other schools/groups/community organizations in your posts, be sure to @tag them in your posts. Also @tag them if the content is relative or might be of value to those groups.
  • Monitor your analytics to see how well your posts are performing and which tactics are most effective.

Remember to post consistently and frequently to engage your followers and grow your audience!

Scholastic reading summit for educators

Scholastic is hosting a reading summit for educators on July 20 at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. The one-day professional learning conference is designed to inspire educators with a fresh view of independent reading strategies for their school communities.

Keynote speakers are children’s author and illustrator Dav Pilkey, and Annie Ward, co-author of “From Striving to Thriving: Why Kids Who Read Excel.”

Cost is $169 per person and includes a choice of two professional learning breakout workshops, six hours of professional education credit opportunity, lunch, parking, and a tote bag with workshop guidebook, four books and a research compendium.

The summit is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 900 Bellevue Way N.E. in Bellevue.

To register, visit the Scholastic website

Safety Tip of the Week: Summer Safety

Photo of sunglasses and sunscreen on sand at beach

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about summer safety.

Summer is just around the corner!

Summer is just around the corner, and we will soon have to cope with weather-related hazards such as heat and direct sun exposure. We all should be aware of the potential hazards that are a part of working and playing in an outdoor environment in the summer.


The combination of heat and humidity is a serious health threat during the summer months and a reason for many clinic visits. It’s especially important to make sure we are all aware of the risks of heat-related illness. Remind workers to:

  • Drink plenty of water before getting thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, such as cotton.
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade.
  • Eat smaller meals before heavy activity.
  • Avoid caffeine or large amounts of sugar.
  • Check medications to ensure heat won’t create adverse side effects.
  • Understand and remember that clothing, if too heavy, can increase heat stress.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts and skin cancer. No matter what the media tells you, there are no safe UV rays or safe suntans. We need to be especially careful in the sun if we burn easily or spend a lot of time outdoors:

  • Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing you can’t see through.
  • Use sunscreen. A sun protector factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays.
  • Wear a hat. A wide brim hat, not a baseball cap, works best because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp.
  • Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should be able to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Join us to honor colleagues today at the Annual Ice Cream Social

Ice Cream Social Poster 2017

Click image to enlarge

Don’t forget to join us this afternoon, Thursday, May 25, for this year’s Ice Cream Social at Capital High School.

Ice cream will be served at 4 p.m. with an awards ceremony to follow in the high school Commons, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W., Olympia.

All staff are welcome to help honor district retirees and celebrate the following Advocates of the Year and the Teacher of the Year selected by the Olympia Education Association:

Teacher of the Year (OEA)
William Sebring (Reeves)

Advocates of the Year 2016-17
Teresa Bond (Avanti)
Max DeJarnett (ORLA)
Mike and Betty Erdahl (Boston Harbor)
Fabianna Eussen (Roosevelt)
Jill Lieake and Molly Gavigan (Lincoln)
Albin Gersich (Reeves)
Wendy Harris (McLane)
Dr. Karen Johnson (Olympia)
Beth Kalb (Marshall)
Tammy Langford (LP Brown)
Beth Marchand (Pioneer)
Therese Murphy (Washington)
Tanya Murray (Hansen)
Aimee Pecan (Madison)
Jennifer Philbrook (McKenny)
Sherri Smith (Jefferson)
Steve Taylor (Capital)
Joyce Turner (Garfield)
Lynne Woodford (Centennial)

2016-17 Retirees
JoAnn Ayre
DeAnne Barre
John Brown
Linda Carbonneau
Judy Cole
Michael Dempster
Anna Garrett
Curtis Haefer
Sarah Howe
Laura Johnson
Kathleen Kinnaird
Deborah Koss-Warner
Malinda Lamm
Sarah McLaughlin
Jane Nibler-Keogh
Peggy Nord
Valerie Nunn
Frank O’Connor
Joe Plahuta
Marilyn Plahuta
Connie Popple
Nancy Rascon
Siu Le La Riviere
Susan Rowell
Barbara Saben
William Sebring
Eldon Shave
Susan Straka
Kathleen Watts
Colleen Wells
Heidi Wilson
Debbie Wickham
Pamela Yusko

Flags at half-staff through May 30 in memory of former Gov. Mike Lowry

FlagFlags have been lowered to half-staff through May 30 at all Olympia School District schools and support facilities in memory of former Gov. Mike Lowry, who passed away on May 1.

Gov. Inslee has directed that Washington state and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff and remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on May 30. Memorial services for the former governor will be held at 10:30 a.m. on May 30 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Renton.

Congratulations 2017 OSD Employee Recognition Award winners!

Photo of audience and speakers at annual Employee Recognition Awards ceremonyCongratulations to each of the 2017 Olympia School District Employee Recognition Award winners honored at the May 22 Olympia School Board meeting.

This annual awards program is designed to recognize employees from throughout the district in several categories. All employees districtwide were invited to send in nominations, and a committee reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

Master of Ceremonies Scott Niemann, executive director of Human Resources, called forward each of the winners, as well as the person who nominated the individual to share about the award recipient. Each award winner then received an etched wooden plaque and stand made by students in Brian Morris’s Tech Arts Enterprises class in the Washington Middle School CTE program.

This year’s OSD Employee Recognition Award winners are:

The Instructor – Excels in Teaching
Any staff member who continually demonstrates outstanding efforts in helping students both achieve and exceed the Common Core State Standards.
Colleen Wells, Marshall Middle School 8th-Grade Language Arts Teacher

The Innovator – Changes Making a Difference
Any staff member who demonstrates innovative strategies that significantly improve the district mission.
William Murray, Capital High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher

The Champion of Differences – Celebrates Diversity
Any staff member who, by his or her actions, celebrates the values and differences of individual groups.
Luke Duerre, Olympia High School Teacher, Special Education

The Unsung Hero – Goes the Extra Mile
Any staff member who continually gets results with little or no fanfare.
Bill Sebring, Reeves Middle School 8th-Grade Math Teacher
Monica West, McLane Elementary School Principal
Food Services and Custodial Staff, Heather Long, Cheryl Cregar and Jamie Kuykendall, Hansen Elementary School

The Coach – Supports Others
Any staff member who plays a unique role in enabling others to excel.
Lisa Peterson, Centennial Elementary School 3rd-Grade Teacher

The Dream Team – Above and Beyond
Any group of staff members working together to help students succeed in or out of the classroom.
Life Skills Program Paraeducators: Athena Graham, Vicki Johnson, Linda Mewhirter, Debbie Musser, Daniel Pasquariello, Tom Ritchie, Dee Sigmond and Danita Weisenburg, Jefferson Middle School

Photos of the winners will be shared this week on the district’s social media. We appreciate everyone who sent in nominations for this annual awards program!

OSPI opioid abuse awareness campaign

Graphic of prescription pills with red circle and line through Opioid Abuse


The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), along with other state agencies and partners, launched an opioid abuse awareness campaign last month and has been sharing valuable information on its website. The six-week education campaign is designed to prevent opioid misuse and abuse.

This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and create open lines of communication with communities, parents and students about prescription drugs. Opioid abuse is a state and national epidemic, and there has continued to be one death per day or more of opioid-related deaths each year since before 2015 — more than the number of deaths from car crashes, and it is preventable.

In 1736 Benjamin Franklin stated “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This axiom accurately reflects this campaign’s goals. Let’s help by learning how to start communicating this serious problem.

The following are some resources shared by OSPI on this important topic:

  • Learn about what medications contain opioids, understand the definition of medicine abuse and what can be done about it, learn how to prevent and reverse overdose, and understand how to find a “take back site” to turn in old or unused medications. Start Talking Now is a project of the Washington Healthy Youth Coalition. Visit the Start Talking Now website.
  • Learn more about  prescription drug abuse prevention at Athena through the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.

Have you marked your calendar for the Annual Ice Cream Social?

The Olympia School District Annual Ice Cream Social is next Thursday, May 25.  The social takes place in the Capital High School Commons beginning at 4 p.m.

During the event, our school board will honor dedicated staff members who are retiring this year.  The Olympia Education Association will also recognize our Advocates of the Year and honor one of our faculty members with the Teacher of the Year Award.

Staff and families are welcome to attend. We hope to see you all there!

Ice Cream Social Poster 2017