District launches message line for Spanish-speaking families

The district has launched a new telephone message line for Spanish-speaking families who have questions about the Olympia School District. This message line is designed to help families get answers to questions ranging from how to register for school or volunteer, to how to locate bus routes or daily lunch menus.

An Olympia School District teacher who is fluent in Spanish monitors the messages and responds to families with answers to their questions. The message line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week year-round at (360) 596-7569.

El distrito ha lanzado una línea de mensajes en español para las familias que hablan español

El distrito ha iniciado una nueva línea de mensajes telefónicos para familias que hablan español que tienen preguntas sobre el Distrito Escolar de Olympia. Esta línea de mensajes está diseñada para ayudar a las familias a obtener respuestas a preguntas desde cómo inscribirse en la escuela, cómo ser voluntario, cómo localizar rutas de autobús o menús de almuerzo diario.

Una maestra del Distrito Escolar de Olympia que habla español con fluidez monitorea los mensajes y respondera a las familias con respuestas a sus preguntas. La línea de mensajes está abierta las 24 horas del día, los siete días de la semana durante todo el año al (360) 596-7569.

Candidate filing week ends May 19; three school board seats on the ballot

Graphic of American flagCandidate filing week continues through Friday, May 19 across Washington state.

There will be three Olympia School District Board of Directors seats on the November 7, 2017 General Election ballot:

  • Director District #3, currently held by Eileen Thomson; 4-year term.
  • Director District #4, currently held by Justin Montermini. He was re-elected to the seat in November 2015; however, he has since moved outside of director district #4 but lives within the school district. The person elected to this seat will serve the remaining two years of the term.
  • Director District #5, currently held by Mark Campeau; 4-year term.

People interested in vying for a seat on the board may mail, drop off in person, or submit their application online by this Friday, May 19, to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division. Online filing closes at 4 p.m., and in person filing closes at 4:30 p.m.

For more information about filing for an open seat on the school board, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division website.

Candidates must be at least 18 years old, reside in the district for which they are filing and be a registered voter at the time of filing. There are some judicial exceptions; for more information, contact Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division at (360) 786-5408.

A primary election will be held on August 1, 2017, followed by a general election on November 7.

Maps of the school district’s five director districts are available on the school district website.

See interactive director map

Announcing Schoology for OSD

The following is a message from the OSD Instructional Technology Department

Graphic Announcing Schoology for OSD Available Spring 2017Earlier this year, a group of OSD teachers piloted Schoology, a learning management system (LMS). Since September these teachers have engaged in planning, delivering and assessing instruction in Schoology. They enthusiastically recommended adoption of Schoology.

As a result, the Olympia School District has entered into a three-year contract with the Schoology LMS for all OSD staff and students in grades 3-12. Funds for the purchase came from the Technology Levy, which included a line item for the adoption of an LMS.

We think it comes at a perfect time as we have increasing numbers of devices for students and a need for secure, organized systems for content and curriculum. It is anticipated that many staff will prefer to transfer much of their Web content to Schoology this spring as it is specifically designed to house course materials for students. Schoology may also be used to share information with specific employee groups, house professional development courses and provide another tool for communication.

If you would like to know more about Schoology, please see this linked announcement. As always, if you have more questions, we welcome your call or email.

2017-18 calendar and bell times posted on district website

2017-2018 Calendar

Click image to enlarge

The 2017-18 Olympia School District calendar has been approved by the Olympia School Board and is posted online.

Please note the 50-minute early release every Wednesday, except on the first day of school, for all grades. This time is set aside for teachers to collaborate on learning and receive professional development. There are also some half days scheduled during school conferences, and these half days are also noted on the calendar.

The calendar was created after extensive input from employees and parents, including more than 3,000 responses to an online survey on this topic.

Bell times are also posted on the district website. The 2017-18 bell schedules include start and end times for each school on regular school days, as well as the dismissal times for early release Wednesdays and half days.

The bell schedules represent an effort to standardize the start/end times of our elementary schools and provide consistent weekly staff collaboration and professional development.

Safety Tip of the Week: What is Type 2 Driver Licensing?

Close-up photograph of hands on a steering wheel driving

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about Type 2 Driver Licensing.

What is Type 2 Driver Licensing?

Did you know that in an effort to ensure the safety of students and staff and to meet a reasonable standard of care, our Transportation Department has developed a Type 2 Driver Licensing protocol? Employees who may need to drive a district vehicle, either to transport students or for some other work-related activity, are invited to complete a short training course through the district Transportation Department. The 1.5 hour class consists of an explanation of district requirements and a presentation on defensive driving. While not a mandatory class, this is provided to those interested in learning more about Type 2 Driver Licensing.

The last class of the school year is on Wednesday, June 7 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Transportation Department, 3000 R.W. Johnson Road in Tumwater. If interested in taking this course, register by emailing the school district’s driver trainer at jrafferty@osd.wednet.edu.

Type 2 Requirements

Drivers must meet and continue to meet the requirements of this district as follows:

  • Valid Washington state driver’s license.
  • Successfully complete Type 2 Authorization Course through Transportation or Safe Schools as required by the Transportation Department.
  • Proof of personal vehicle insurance.

Why is this important? Student and staff safety is our top priority! If you were unaware of the safety requirements surrounding transporting students in a district vehicle and are interested in learning more, please contact the district Transportation Department at (360) 596-7700 or see information on the district website Staff Resources page.

The countdown begins! The Annual Ice Cream Social is May 25

Ice Cream Social Poster 2017The Olympia School District Annual Ice Cream Social is 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!

Farewell gathering for Superintendent Cvitanich on June 1 from 4-5:30 pm

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.

Don’t miss school spring plant sales this weekend

It’s a sure sign of spring when schools begin to advertise their annual plant sales.

The annual Madison plant and bake sale at the Madison Avanti Giving Garden is Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Madison Elementary School, 1225 Legion Way S.E.

The Capital High School Horticulture Spring Plant Sale 2017 is on Friday, May 12 from 3-6 p.m. and on Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the greenhouse behind Capital High School, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W.

Flags lowered to half-staff on Monday, May 15

Photo of flag lowered to half-staff at Knox Administrative CenterFlags will be lowered to half-staff at all Olympia School District schools and support facilities on Monday, May 15 in recognition of annual Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Gov. Inslee  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 the same day.

Safety Tip of the Week: Computer Vision Syndrome

Photo of woman rubbing eyes while working at computer

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information from the American Optometric Association about Computer Vision Syndrome.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.

The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. The e American Optometric Association is working to educate both employers and employees about how to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace. To help alleviate digital eye strain, follow the 20-20- 20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain are:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms may be caused by:

  • Glare on a digital screen
  • Improper viewing distances
  • Poor seating posture
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • A combination of these factors

Many of the visual symptoms experienced by users are only temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of the digital device. However, some individuals may experience continued reduced visual abilities, such as blurred distance vision, even after stopping work at a computer. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and perhaps worsen with future digital screen use.

Prevention or reduction of the vision problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain involves taking steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen, establishing proper working distances and posture for screen viewing, and assuring that even minor vision problems are properly corrected.

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain?

Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain Symptoms.

Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer or handheld device are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.

Viewing distances and angles used for this type of work are also often different from those commonly used for other reading or writing tasks. As a result, the eye focusing and eye movement requirements for digital screen viewing can place additional demands on the visual system.

In addition, the presence of even minor vision problems can often significantly affect comfort and performance at a computer or while using other digital screen devices. Uncorrected or under-corrected vision problems can be major contributing factors to computer-related eyestrain.

In most cases, symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform them. At greatest risk for developing Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain are those persons who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer or use a digital screen device every day.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.

To learn more about Computer Vision Syndrome, including proper body positioning when using a computer, visit the American Optometric Association website.