District asks state for one waiver day due to February snow

Photo of state Capitol building with snow covered treesThe Olympia School District has submitted a request to the state asking to waive one of the school days that were missed in February when all schools were closed due to snow.

The school board unanimously agreed at its March 25 meeting to direct staff to submit the one-day waiver request. If approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the last day of school will be Friday, June 21. The waiver will not change any of the district’s high school graduation dates – all will proceed as scheduled.

The state has indicated it will respond to the district’s one-day waiver request within one week. If approved, families will be notified in a variety of communications, including direct email, website and social media platforms. Additionally, school year calendars posted on the district website will be updated accordingly.

Take the budget priorities survey by April 5

As preparation for the upcoming school year, the Superintendent and Board of Directors seek community, staff, parent and student input on the Olympia School District budget development. Due to recent changes in the state school funding system, the district is projected to face a deficit in the 2019-20 school year. We are hopeful that the state Legislature will address some or all of the causes, and the district may not face a deficit. Regardless, we seek community, staff and student input on instructional and operational priorities and values.

The deadline to complete the survey is 4 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2019.

Nominations due April 15 for Employee Recognition Awards

CHS employee Jill Johnson poses with Principal Curtis Cleveringa. Johnson holds a wooden plaque engraved with her "The Unsung Hero" award.

Capital High School employee Jill Johnson, winner of the 2017-18 “The Unsung Hero” Employee Recognition Award, with Principal Curtis Cleveringa.

It is that time of year again! We are ready to recognize our employees who make the Olympia School District a special place.

Please consider nominating any of your colleagues for an Olympia School District Employee Recognition Award. We are asking that nominations be submitted by Monday, April 15 so that we can officially honor the winners at the May 6, 2019 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox Administrative Center, 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia. This annual tradition has become a great way to honor the hard work of those around you!

Fill out and submit the online nomination form, which is sent to the Communications and Community Relations Department. If you have questions, please call the Communications and Community Relations Department at (360) 596-6103.

Nominations must be received by the Communications and Community Relations Department on or before 4 p.m. on Monday, April 15.

Thank you!

Congratulations to teachers who earned Common Sense Educator Certification

Common sense educator 2018-20 logoThirty-six teachers completed the first OSD cohort to earn Common Sense Educator certification by learning about and integrating elements of digital citizenship in their classrooms. The certification process includes readings and webinars, developing curriculum and other resources, and applying approaches in the classroom or family engagement events, followed by a written reflection on the process.

The objectives of the certification program include:

  1. Learn approaches to help students think critically and use technology responsibly
  2. Develop resources and teach lessons about digital citizenship
  3. Reflect on professional growth in the area of digital citizenship and media literacy

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a digital world and to supporting families and educators as they harness the power of media and technology to be a positive force in all kids’ lives. Common Sense Media provides a digital citizenship and media literacy curriculum that is widely used in schools, including the OSD library media programs and classrooms.

Congratulations 2018-19 Fall Cohort Common Sense Educators

Centennial Elementary School
Melissa Hayes
Heather Slater

Hansen Elementary School
Patty Arbuckle
Hana Spray
Luci Stafford

LP Brown Elementary School
Brooke Guthrie
Elizabeth Farrar
Laura Cummings

McKenny Elementary School
Valorie Paulsen
Mike Sjoboen
James Bremner
Greta Rieger
Nancy Hooper
Megan Anderson

Roosevelt Elementary School
Heather Randolph

Jefferson Middle School
Ann Marie Ratliff
Sarah Howe
Kristine Smith

Reeves Middle School
Jana Dean
Ross Phimister
Katie Quimby

Avanti High School
Nicole Winkley

Capital High School
Liz Shine
Aaron Street
Caroline Street
Allison McFadden

Olympia High School
Melissa Longnecker
Eric Jacobs
Carolyn Gilman
Christina Heikkila
Dawn Williams
Tania Albert
Jennifer Fabritius
Brenda Blancas
Ricky Gant

Olympia Regional Learning Academy
Anne Hankins


Accessibility Tip of the Week: Don’t rely on color alone to convey meaning

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to use color to enhance design — not drive it. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

When designing content for the web, be sure not to rely on color alone to convey meaning. Use color to enhance design, but not drive it. Color blind or screen reader users may not be able to easily perceive differences in color, which can create confusion.

Take for example the graph below showing this week’s high temperatures in Seattle and Olympia.

High temps for Seattle and Olympia are shown, with Seattle represented by a blue line and Olympia represented by a orange line

While this may appear to clearly convey the data, looking at this graph with the colors removed quickly reveals problems. What line represents each city?

The same high and low temps line graph is shown, but with colors removed. Both Seattle and Olympia are represented by black lines, creating confusion.

By adding texture to the lines in the graph, line labeling can be clear, regardless of the colors being used.

Color Alone3 (1)

To make these graphs even more accessible, the author could also include the accompanying data table, as was discussed in the Providing Alternative Text for Complex Images blog post.

When working with text alone, additional differentiation could be added through bolding, underlining or the inclusion of accompanying symbols. These tools enable color to accentuate a message, rather than convey it. Always consider what information would be lost if the document was converted to gray scale.

If you have any accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy (6105), the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist.


DRS announces updated webinar schedule

Pen points at calendar to show importance of keeping a date, in this case deadline for Open Enrollment is Sept. 28The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team has recently updated the webinar schedule with the following webinars:
For the date, time and the link to join the webinar, please select the webinar you would like to attend. It is recommended that you join the webinar 10-15 minutes in advance to test connection and sound. Please review How to Join a DRS Webinar for tips on accessing the webinar, audio and sending questions. Please be aware the audio comes through your computer so you’ll need speakers or a headset. The webinars are not recorded. If you encounter technical problems when joining a webinar, please call (360) 664-7930 for assistance.
If you are a member of one of the following plan 1 systems, you can watch an online video about your plan:
Thank you!

Flags lowered to half-staff March 28

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, and directs that Washington state and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support facilities, be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Deputy Thompson was killed in the line of duty on March 19, 2019.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Thursday, March 28.