Welcome back!

Welcome back to a new school year. Each week, the Communications and Community Relations department sends notification to all employees of new postings in this employee blog. In addition to current postings, staff can preview all previous posts in the blog archives, dated by month and year and accessible from the Home page.

Be sure to view and share with families information on the Back to School page on our district website. Families can find links to resources such as school supplies, bus routes, new student registration and more.

We look forward to seeing you as we are out and about in schools this year and encourage you to share story and photo ideas with us by contacting the Communications and Community Relations department at (360) 596-6103!

Register to vote for November General Election

American flag clip artThe Olympia School District has three school board seats on the November 7, 2017 General Election ballot.

The following candidates are vying for one of the three board seats:

  • Director District 3: Katie Bridges and Leslie Huff
  • Director District 4: Ann Heitkemper and Hilary Seidel
  • Director District 5: Mark Campeau and Scott Clifthorne

If interested in voting this November, note the following voter registration deadlines:

  • October 9: Deadline to register online to vote or to update existing voter registration information if registered to vote anywhere in Washington.
  • October 10: The last day to register by mail. All submissions must be postmarked by this date.
  • October 30: Last day to register in person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Elections Division.

Read more about how to register to vote

Safety Tip of the Week: Heading back to school safely

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares some tips about heading back to school safely.

Heading back to school safely

Summer vacation is drawing to a close, and soon the bells will be ringing to bring in the new school year.

Keeping children safe is the Olympia School District’s top priority, especially for younger students and those heading to school for the first time. Parents and/or teachers can take the following steps:

  • Teach students not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.
  • Make sure the student knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1.

School bus safety 

The school district has a list of bus rules and regulations posted on the district website to assist parents and staff in making sure students are safe. OSD bus rules and regulations may be viewed on the Transportation page on the district website.

What drivers know

Drivers are aware that students are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones. Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Drivers must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Get to school safely

If students ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

Don’t drive distracted. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls while driving (it’s the law!), and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

Some students ride their bike to school. Bike riders should always wear a helmet and ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic is moving.


How to create and maintain an OSD social media account

Copy of OSD Social Media (1)This is the next in a series of tips and information related to school social media accounts. This week, Communications Assistant Kim Doherty shares how to create and maintain an OSD social media account.

Do you currently maintain or wish to open a social media account on behalf of the Olympia School District? Social media is a great way to celebrate student successes, share resources, and connect with parents and the community.

The Communications Department maintains policies, procedures and best practice guidelines for social media in the district. In addition, all district social media accounts must be archived. We contract with a third-party vendor, ArchiveSocial, to archive all district social media accounts.

Successful school social media accounts are active, engaging and visual. School social media accounts must be opened using your district issued email. Always remember to check for proper permissions before posting a student’s image or other protected personally identifiable information.

Below is the process to be followed for all district employees wishing to create a professional social media account/page, which represents the district, their school, school group, team, club or individuals within the schools or programs.

Social Media Account Creation and Archiving Process

  • Employee notifies building administrator or department head.
  • Employee contacts Communications and Community Relations Department for further instructions.
  • Communications Department shares relevant Policy 4007, Procedure 4007P, and Social Media Best Practices with employee.
  • Employee creates social media account(s) using their district email address.
  • Employee emails communications@osd.wednet.edu with the account types (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube), name of the account, link to the account and email address associated with that account.
  • Communications Department sends a connection request via ArchiveSocial to add the account to the archive portal.
  • Employee receives email from ArchiveSocial and follows a few quick steps to connect the account. If you wish to open a social media account, already maintain an account/page and are not signed up for archiving, or the account is managed through a personal email, please contact Communications and Community Relations at (360) 596-6103 or communications@osd.wednet.edu.

Benefit Open Enrollment is underway

Benefit Open Enrollment has begun!  Please be sure to sign on to the online benefit resource portal UPoint on the school district website. On the district Home page, scroll to the bottom and click the Staff Resources tab. Select Benefits, then select WEA/UPoint benefit portal. The Washington Education Association (WEA) is offering Aetna and UnitedHealthcare medical plans, and there will be one Kaiser Permanente medical plan. Open Enrollment information is posted on our Web page!

What you need to know now:

  • The benefit Open Enrollment period for 2017-18 began August 21 and continues through September 29, 2017. 
  • Premera is no longer a carrier for WEA Plans. Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente are the contracted providers.

 What you should do now:

Sign into UPoint to confirm your username and password and make sure you have access and to make your 17-18 benefit choices. Visit http://resources.hewitt.com/wea

If you need assistance with your username and password, please call 1-855-668-5039 and speak with an Aon Hewitt Representative.

Help is available during open enrollment:

During the Open Enrollment period, the Payroll department will host open labs with staff onsite to assist you with researching and signing up for your benefits. You do not need to preregister for these sessions. Open Labs will take place at the Knox Administrative Center:

  • September 6 & 20: 4-6 p.m. Room 308
  • September 13: 4-6 p.m. Room 303
  • September 28 & 29: 3-6 p.m. Room 308

Retirement plan webinars set this week

This is a reminder of a retirement plan webinars scheduled this week. The webinars will cover the following topics:

Plan 2 Essentials (PERS, SERS & TRS)
Plan 2 Essentials (LEOFF, PSERS & WSPRS)
Plan 3 Essentials (PERS, SERS, TRS)
Distributions from Plan 3 (PERS, SERS & TRS)
Plan Choice
Social Security (requires registration)

Please click on this link for the webinar schedule and don’t forget to check back periodically as the schedule is updated every 3-4 months.