Applications due Oct. 19 for elementary teacher mini-grants

Thurston County School Retirees Association elementary school mini-grants explanation sheetThe Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its elementary teacher mini-grant program for the 2018-19 school year.

The deadline to apply for the elementary mini-grants is October 19, 2018. The grants are designed to provide an opportunity for elementary school teachers to enhance the education of their students.

Fill out the one page application, which is also available on the Thurston County School Retirees’ Association website.

For additional information, contact Jo Edwards at fastwalker1000@comcast.net.

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

Who is this week’s Everyday Hero?

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here is our newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Leslie Gowell, McKinney-Vento Liaison Designee Support Specialist

“Leslie Gowell is OSD’s McKinney-Vento coordinator. She is one of the hardest working people I’ve met. Her focus is getting each homeless child into school. Leslie makes numerous calls a day helping families who are in desperate need. Often these families show up at her door and whether on the phone or in person, Leslie treats each person with dignity and respect. She is a strong advocate in a system that is not easy to navigate. These families’ situations are often heartbreaking, but Leslie doesn’t let that discourage her. We are all truly fortunate to have Leslie.”
Submitted by Danni Connor, teacher in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • 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 on a weekly basis 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.

New web-based travel authorization form

black-black-and-white-desk-938964The following is shared by the district Business Department:

We have exciting news!  We have launched a new web-based travel authorization form to replace the fillable PDF form previously used to pre-authorize travel outside of Thurston County. We heard from many of you about the complexity of the PDF form and download steps. In response, our OSD technology programmers in cooperation with TreeNo have developed a web-based form that automates the travel authorization process. The new Web-based travel form is located on the OSD staff Intranet. Once logged in, select Forms, then Online Forms and select OSD District Forms Travel Request Form.

Here are the changes effective 9/1/2018:

  • New web-based form is available via a link on the OSD Intranet Forms page.
  • New form allows multiple attendees to submit on 1 form (up to 6 attendees).
  • New form autofills name, email and work location, as well as travel expenditure rates.
  • New form does not require download. Simply complete the form via the website and submit.
  • If funding is provided from an alternative funding source (which is not your building), make sure to select the alternative funding source on the website form for routing and approval.

Remember:  Travel for similar activities/meetings can be combined on 1 (ONE) authorization form by listing a date range! Travel authorization is required prior to travel outside of Thurston County only.

Effective November 1, 2018 the PDF form will no longer work. Please use the web-based form. However if you have already submitted a PDF version for travel authorization, we will still process these via the old method until November 1, 2018.

If you need assistance please contact Business Services by emailing help-business@osd.wednet.edu.  Be sure to include the best method and time to contact you so we can assist with you questions and concerns.

Learn how to create a teacher webpage on October 22

Caron Stehr webpage example showing classroom news for the week of Oct 1-5 and a photo of a student at the school's Harvest FestivalCertificated staff interested in creating a teacher webpage on their school’s website are invited to attend a two-hour class on October 22. During the class, teachers will learn how to use the tool to create content, post photos and more. Note: This is not a Schoology training.

The SchoolMessenger teacher website training is from 4 to 6 p.m. in Computer Lab 308 at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia. Please bring your district-issued laptop. Desktop computers and Chromebooks will also be available.

If you have not already watched the 1.5 hour Website Accessibility Webinar, you will need to do so prior to the training. The webinar is located in Safe Schools under the “Policy” section. Safe Schools can be accessed through the OSD Portal.

To sign up for the class, go to pdEnroller and search for event #83355 in the “Olympia” region. The event title is “SchoolMessenger Webpage Training for Teachers.” Teachers who take this two-hour training on how to create a teacher webpage and watch the 1.5 hour Website Accessibility webinar may use Technology Professional Development hours for 2018-19, General Staff Development hours for 2018-19, or Curriculum Rate at the 2018-19 school year rate. Time slips will be provided at the end of the training.

Please note, staff may only be paid once for the 1.5 hour Website Accessibility Webinar. Also, teachers who have already taken the 2-hour Teacher Page Training and want to take it again as a refresher may use Technology PD or Staff PD, but not Curriculum Rate, for reimbursement.

Staff and families will receive text opt-in message later this month

Cell phone is shown with someone pushing the on/off button to accompany article about text-in option for SchoolMessenger In several weeks, the district will offer text messaging communications to families and OSD staff. This will be via an opt-in text that will be generated by SchoolMessenger, the company that we contract with for the school district’s website, automated calling and email systems. The opt-in text will go to all OSD staff and OSD families that have cell phone contact information entered in any of the phone number fields in Skyward.

Here is how it works:

  • In mid-October, SchoolMessenger will pull information from Skyward and an opt-in text message will be generated to all available cell phone numbers entered for OSD families and staff.
  • This is an opt-in. Only individuals who reply Y or YES will be opted in to receive text messages. Anyone who does not reply will not receive text messages.
  • Once opted in, families and staff will be able to receive OSD text messages for general and emergency communications. While not currently being used, the service is also capable of sending text messages for attendance and food service communications. By opting in, those fields will be automatically checked and texts sent if offered in the future.
  • If after opting in families wish to change their text settings, they are able to do so by accessing their Skyward account. They can then add/remove text message communications at any time.
  • If after opting in staff wish to change their phone contact information in employee access, please contact the OSD Human Resources department at Ext. 6185.