Countdown to Kindergarten event is this Saturday, February 10

Countdown to Kindergarten flier with photos and informationDo you know of neighbors or friends who have a child who will enter kindergarten this fall in OSD? Invite them to the Countdown to Kindergarten event starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday, February 10, at Capital High School.

The event begins at 10 a.m. in the high school theater with a welcome by Superintendent Patrick Murphy. Families will then have until 11:30 a.m. to visit school booths set up in the Commons and learn about a variety of topics related to kindergarten and school in general. Here are a few things you can learn about:

  • Registering for kindergarten
  • Using Skyward Family Access (Student Information System)
  • Riding the bus
  • Alternative kindergarten program options
  • Before and after school childcare
  • Community partner services

Capital High School is located at 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

Nominations due by February 15 for district Teacher of the Year

The Olympia School District is accepting nominations through Thursday, February 15, for one or more staff members to be honored as OSD Teacher of the Year.

The program recognizes the work of teachers who have made a positive difference in their profession. Any Washington public school teacher who has a current certificate and works directly with students for at least 50 percent of his/her time is eligible to be nominated.

Please complete the online nomination form and submit by 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2018. A committee will review the applications and select the individual(s) to be recognized based on who best exemplifies the following Teacher of the Year criteria (please include examples of the following in your nomination):

  • The teacher has the respect and admiration of their colleagues;
  • The teacher is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence;
  • The teacher collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success;
  • The teacher deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large;
  • The teacher demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning;
  • The teacher expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.

The individual(s) chosen will be eligible to be considered for the regional Teacher of the Year selection process. The winner at that level advances to the state Teacher of the Year selection process.

View the online nomination form

Who are this week’s Everyday Heroes?

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

We invite all employees districtwide to let us know about a colleague in any school or department who has done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Here are this week’s honorees!

Everyday Hero Bryan Keister
Algebra and Geometry Teacher, Capital High School
“Thank you, Bryan, for your strident love of mathematics and mathematical rigor. You make a strong team stronger by focusing on the leading edge of possibility and challenge. You are an everyday hero when you ask the world of your students, and then help them deliver through their own strength.”
Submitted by: Louis Avden

Everyday Hero Candi Koch
Behavior Technician, McLane Elementary School
“I am writing about Candi Koch, behavior tech at McLane Elementary. She is amazing! Candi goes above and beyond what her job duties are. She always has a smile on her face. The students adore her! She really is a hero at McLane!!!”
Submitted by: Amy Long

Nominate a new Everyday Hero

The process is simple:

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write Everyday Heroes in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

All submissions will be posted in this blog and archived each week.

We can’t wait to hear about all of our Everyday Heroes, because we know that every day our bus drivers, child nutrition staff, custodial employees, teachers, paraeducators, school and district office staff, and others are doing amazing work on behalf of students.

Flags lowered to half-staff Feb. 9-13 in memory of former Gov. John Spellman

Flag at half staff in front of Knox Administrative CenterGov. Jay Inslee directs that Washington state and United States flags at all state agency facilities, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff from February 9 through February 13 in memory of former Gov. John Spellman.

The former governor passed away on January 15 at the age of 91 from pneumonia. Memorial services will be held on February 12 at noon at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, 804 Ninth Ave., Seattle; followed at 2:30 p.m. by a Celebration of Life for former Gov. John and Lois Spellman at the Bell Harbor Conference Center, 2211 Alaskan Way, Seattle.

Flags will remain at half-staff from Friday, February 7 through close of business on Tuesday, February 13.

We want all staff to be aware of the reason for flag lowerings, as often families or community members will ask for this information when they enter our schools. This information is also posted as an announcement on the district website.

Employee Assistance Program provides support to employees and dependents

Personal issues, planning for life events or simply managing daily life can affect an employee’s work, health and family. “GuidanceResources” provides support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues. The program is company-sponsored, confidential and provided at no cost to employees and their dependents.

Services provided include: confidential counseling; financial information and resources; legal support and resources; work-life solutions; free online will preparation; and help for new parents.

Learn more by viewing the GuidanceResources information flier on the OSD staff intranet on the district website. Once logged into the intranet, go to “Departments,” then “Human Resources.”  Scroll to the bottom of the page to the heading “Helpful Links.” The flier is called “Free Confidential Guidance Resources.”

“Hello Dolly” opens February 22 starring OSD staff and students

Holly Dolly PRINT PosterTickets are on sale for Hello Dolly, this year’s annual musical presented by the OSD Players — a group of staff and students from throughout the school district.

This year’s production will run Thursday, Feb. 22- Sunday, Feb. 25 at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center. The performance is a fundraiser for the Olympia School District Education Foundation, which uses the funds to make grants to the school district, schools and educators.

There will be five shows, all at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center (1302 North St. SE, Olympia). Performance dates and times are as follows:

  • Thursday, Feb. 22; 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 23; 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 24; 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 24; 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 25; 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $10 for Thursday’s performance; $12 for all other performances. Reserved seating for all performances is $15. Tickets available at the door or in advance at http://www.osdef.org/osd-players-annual-osdef-play/.

Hands On Children’s Museum invites educators to explore museum

Educator Night Out flier including location at Children's Museum, time and detailsThe Hands On Children’s Museum is hosting a free Educator Night Out event on Thursday, February 15.

Educators are encouraged to explore the museum, enjoy refreshments, and get information about field trip opportunities, its mobile education program, and art and science workshops. PTA leaders are also welcome.

The free event for educators 21 and older is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. To register, call 360-956-0818 Ext. 103, or email reservations@hocm.org.

February 16 is deadline for early retirement and/or resignation incentive

The Olympia School District and the Olympia Education Association offer employees (OEA membership only) 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 2017-18 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 16, 2018.

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 29 to receive the early incentive payment.

If you submit your letter of resignation or retirement after February 16, 2018, you will not be eligible for the two incentive days.

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

Sincerely,

Scott Niemann
Executive Director of Human Resources

Safety Tip of the Week: Paper cutter safety

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

Paper cutter sitting on tabletop with no guard

Save your fingers!

Paper cutter safety is imperative to prevent dangerous lacerations or the accidental amputation of fingers and limbs. Technology has made it possible to design cutters with safety features to protect from accidental injuries. Replacement of older guillotine-style paper cutters with more modern equipment is important.

Please be sure all paper cutters in your department have a guard like the one seen here:

Paper cutting with guard on tabletop

Paper Trimmer – How to use

  • Trimmer should be on a stable, flat surface.
  • Safety latch should be on when trimmer is not in use.
  • When cutting, keep hands and fingers behind the guard rail and clear of the cutting blade at all times.
  • Maximum of 15 sheets of paper.
  • When finished, always place the cutting handle in the down position and secure the safety latch.

WARNINGS:

  • For adult use only.
  • Do not remove the guard rail .
  • Do not carry the trimmer by the cutting handle or blade.
  • Keep loose fitting clothing away from cutting blade.

New IRS Withholding Table for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated the income-tax withholding tables for 2018 to reflect changes made by the new tax law. OSD payroll systems have been updated to reflect the new rates for employers to use during the 2018 tax year.  You will see this change on your February paycheck, and you can view the new tax table here https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf.

Employees do not need to do anything at this time.  If you are wanting to complete a new W4 form, the IRS has not released a new 2018 W4 form.  You can still complete a 2017 W4 form if you would like to make any changes to your withholdings.

Questions about this new IRS withholding table may be emailed to the Payroll Office at Help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.