Board seeks input on proposed student dress code policy and procedure

DSC_0033The Olympia School Board is seeking input from OSD students, families, employees and community members about a proposed districtwide student dress code policy and procedure.

While individual schools have rules around student dress code, currently there is no districtwide policy or procedure.

Written comments about the proposed policy and procedure may be submitted through Friday, January 4 on a brief online feedback form. The form includes a complete version of both the policy and procedure.

The school board held a first reading of the newly proposed student dress code policy and procedure on November 19, 2018. Board members plan to review input received between now and January 4 before they hold a second reading of the policy and procedure at the January 22, 2019 board meeting. That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at LP Brown Elementary School, 2000 26th Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

Any policy that comes before the school board requires a minimum of two readings (reviews) by the board before it can be considered for approval. Board action may follow the second reading on Tuesday, January 22.

In addition to the online feedback form, comments about any policies before the school board may be emailed to boardpolicyreview@osd.wednet.edu. Links to the proposed student dress code Policy 3224 and procedure 3224P are included on the district website Board Policy Review webpage.

School board to vote on student outcomes at December 10 meeting

Teacher sitting in a small group circle with students shares lesson informationAfter more than six months of extensive community input, the school board is ready to consider approving a set of student outcomes that will drive the more specific goals of the district’s new Strategic Plan.

The board is scheduled to vote at its next meeting on December 10 on six proposed student outcomes, also referred to as targets or key focus areas for Olympia School District students. The board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E. in Olympia.

The following is the latest version of the proposed student outcomes. The board edited the wording twice during October based on comments received at nearly 50 focus groups and via an online survey:

Our students will:

Outcome 1: Be compassionate and kind.

Outcome 2: Have the academic and life skills to pursue their individual career, civic and educational goals.

Outcome 3: Advocate for the social, physical and mental wellness of themselves and others and be hopeful about the future.

Outcome 4: Have the skills, knowledge and courage to identify and confront personal, systemic and societal bias.

Outcome 5: Discover their passions, be curious and love learning.

Outcome 6: Be critical thinkers who contribute to and collaborate with our local, global and natural world.

The process that led to the development of the proposed student outcomes began last May when the district invited more than 130 people representing a cross-section of the community — students, staff, family members and community members to a two-day Educational Summit at the Hotel RL in Olympia.

In addition to 40 middle and high school students, who made up the largest represented group in the room, there were teachers, principals, custodians, bus drivers and other support staff; parents, grandparents and other family members; and community members representing businesses, organizations, service clubs and more. Responses to a pre-Summit online survey also helped to inform the two-day event.

The district followed up the Educational Summit by inviting community members at large to share thoughts about the student outcomes via an online feedback form. Additionally, Superintendent Patrick Murphy, other district leaders and at least one of the school board members shared the outcomes and sought feedback in person at 49 focus groups. The focus groups included meeting with staff and parent groups at each of the district’s 19 schools, as well as with a variety of community organizations and service clubs.

Using the student outcomes as the target, plans are to have specific metrics and an action plan developed by the end of this school year. The metrics and action plan will help inform school and district improvement plans. Community input will continue to be sought as part of the yearlong process.

Olympia School District’s last 5-year Strategic Plan expired in June 2018.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Accessibility as Universal Design

Model of building under construction to correlate with article about universal design and how it applies to accessibility

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about accessibility as universal design.

Accessible design has the potential to positively impact everyone, regardless of whether or not we perceive ourselves as having a disability that directly impacts computer use. This is because accessible design doesn’t exist within a vacuum, but rather, is an implementation of universal design principals. By making our content more accessible for some, we inherently make it more accessible for all.

In the physical world, this is perhaps best demonstrated in the application of curb cuts. In the 60s and 70s students at Berkley with mobility issues strove for greater independence and advocated to get curb cuts installed across the city. As their adoption became more widespread, however, others began to reap the benefits of a more accessible environment. Bike riders, and people pushing a stroller or shopping cart, appreciated the more universal design. Now it would be almost inconceivable to build a sidewalk devoid of ramps. By improving conditions for one segment of the population, the students at Berkley improved them for everyone.

While the physical world may be predefined, we have a unique opportunity in the digital realm. The virtual world is one we are actively building, and by taking universal design principals into account, we not only enhance the independence of those with disabilities, but we also improve the experience for everyone else. Closed captions can be quite handy when viewing a video in a noisy, or quiet, environment. Similarly, alt tags can fill in the gaps left by images that fail to load on a slow internet connection.

In this, more accurate framework, the population that benefits from accessible design expands drastically. It expands universally. This can be helpful to keep in mind as we progress along the continuum of accessibility. Be selfish in your design decisions. In doing so, you’ll help everyone else.

The Website Accessibility Resources page has guides covering the steps involved in incorporating universal design into your digital presence. If you would like to learn more, please also consider attending a hands-on training at Knox.

 

Friday, November 30 is final day of OSD United Way giving campaign

United Way Live United words with United Way logoOlympia School District’s annual United Way giving campaign continues through tomorrow, Friday, November 30. This year all pledges should be submitted online.

United Way is a national organization that provides a multitude of services to thousands of people right here in the Olympia community, including many of the students and families served by the school district.

Donations through the United Way support a variety of organizations. In past years, United Way has supported organizations such as the Thurston County Food Bank, Community Youth Services, TOGETHER, Pizza Klatch, CEILO, Behavioral Health Resources and the Olympia School District Education Foundation. United Way also supports the Reading Buddy Program on an annual basis.

Additional details about the United Way of Thurston County can be found on their website and in this video. This year’s campaign timeline is concurrent with other local school district campaigns.

If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Arielle Allard in the Communications and Community Relations Department at aallard@osd.wednet.edu or (360) 596-6108.

All online pledge forms need to be completed no later than November 30.

View the online pledge form

Who is this week’s new Everyday Hero?

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesEveryday 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
Sue Shivnen, Helpdesk Technician, Technology

Sue, I want to thank you so much for all that you do, by working on the Helpdesk. It makes it so much easier to do my job assisting teachers and students in the schools I work in. You are always eager and happy to help staff either on the phone or in person.

Submitted by Monique Farland, IT Field Technician, Technology Department

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 teachers, bus drivers, child nutrition staff, custodial employees, paraeducators, school and district office staff, and others are doing amazing work on behalf of students.

Staff and families invited to view ‘Screenagers’ at no cost

A group of about a dozen teenagers sit on the steps in front of a school looking down at mobile phones. The headline above them says "Screenagers"As part of the district’s commitment to providing awareness and education around digital citizenship and digital health and well-being, OSD families and staff are invited to watch ‘Screenagers’, a film about the impact of the digital age on children and strategies to find balance within it. This film follows a Seattle doctor and her teenage daughter as they navigate their way into and through the digital age.

The film is appropriate for students in grades 6-12 and is approximately 50 minutes long. There will be an opportunity for a short discussion after the film ends.

Viewing Schedule:

  • Tuesday, December 4: 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Capital HS Performing Arts Center
  • Tuesday, December 11:  6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Knox Administrative Center Board Room

All of the screenings are open to OSD staff and families at no cost.

Read about our newest Everyday Hero!

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesEveryday 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
Matthew Murdock, Electrician, Support Service Center

A few weeks ago, a few first- and second-grade teachers had their students ceramic Halloween pumpkins explode in our school kiln. I mean, every one of them blew up! So, the children made more pumpkins and this time put a hole in them to let the gasses escape. Talk about perseverance!

Unfortunately, after the catastrophe, the kiln wouldn’t work right. It wouldn’t keep its temperature and would shut off early. So, I asked Brendon (Chertok) to put in a work order and within two days, electrician Matthew Murdock contacted me.

Not only did he tear apart the kiln electrical box and explain the components to me, he researched our particular kiln and found some answers since the electrical components were in working order and not the cause of the problem. He even came back to the school and took some pictures and sent them to me of how to set the kiln and how not to set the kiln. I love visuals!

Besides being a very nice man, he went far and above what he had to do to help our children produce ceramic Thanksgiving pumpkins…just in time for Thanksgiving!

It just goes to show that every single employee in our district touches children’s lives in some way.

Matthew, in my book, is amazing!

Submitted by Jason Finney, Teacher, Garfield ES

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 teachers, bus drivers, child nutrition staff, custodial employees, paraeducators, school and district office staff, and others are doing amazing work on behalf of students.