Board recognizes Teachers of the Year and National Board Certified Teachers

The Olympia School Board recognized this year’s Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, the new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), as well as those who have renewed their NBCT certification during the March 11 school board meeting.

Teachers of the Year

Three OSD Teachers of the Year pose after being honored by school board

The board recognized:

Olympia School District Elementary Teacher of the Year: Devin Alexander, reading intervention specialist at LP Brown Elementary School. Alexander has worked at LP Brown Elementary since 2006.

Olympia School District Secondary Teachers of the Year: Lorraine Manning and Marion Sheridan, Special Education Life Skills teachers at Olympia High School. Manning joined the district in 1996 and has worked at both Olympia and Capital high schools. Sheridan started in 1998 and has worked at Olympia High School ever since.

National Board Certified Teachers

School board poses for photo with new and renewed National Board Certified TeachersThe NBCT recognition began with two OSD educators providing an overview of the process to become certified and to renew certification. Erica Kinsel, an Olympia High School teacher, a Regional NBCT facilitator and a facilitator of the Olympia NBCT cohort teamed with Cindy Johnson, a Pioneer Elementary School teacher who is currently going through the NBCT renewal process.

The school board recognized:

  • New NBCTs: Emily Hamilton of McLane Elementary School, Amy Hill of Pioneer Elementary School (on leave this year) and Marisa Castello of Olympia High School.
  • Renewals: Tania Albert, Kelly Boyer and Kristen Soderberg of Olympia High School; Charleen Hayes and Trisha Douay of LP Brown Elementary School; Melissa Johnston-Cota of Capital High School; and Candyce Burroughs and Jodi Boe of Washington Middle School.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!

Instructions for interpreter requests and interpreter phone service

Hand holds up a world globe to represent different languages spoken in OSD and need for translation servicesWith conferences coming up, the Student Support department has documents that remind people how to request an interpreter and how to use the interpreting phone service (Language Link). It is recommended to submit your requests in a timely manner.

Please contact Becky Paxton, administrative assistant in Student Support, with any questions. She can be reached at Ext. 7546 or at paxtonr@osd.wednet.edu.

Written translation requests should be directed to the Communications department at Ext. 6103.

Kudos to our newest 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
Stacy Sharp, ASB Secretary, Capital High School

During a dance competition last month at Capital High School, a gentleman who accompanied the mother of one of the dancers from a school in King County collapsed due to a major medical emergency. As medics treated the individual, ASB Secretary Stacy Sharp comforted the dancer’s mother. Stacy drove the woman to the hospital behind the ambulance, stayed with her for hours until her family arrived, and has since kept in touch with the family. Stacy went above and beyond in providing assistance and compassion to this family. Thank you, Stacy!
Submitted by Curtis Cleveringa, Principal, Capital High School

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.

Budget message from the superintendent and links to related budget information

PatrickBelow is a copy of a budget message from Superintendent Patrick Murphy emailed this morning to all OSD staff and families. The link at the end of the message is to a budget page on our district website, which includes more information on the budget. The information includes links to Frequently Asked Questions, a recent Op-Ed in The Olympian written by area superintendents, the Olympia School Board’s “Legislative and Funding Priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session” resolution, and more.

A reminder to staff that state law prohibits the use of public funds for lobbying except under narrow circumstances defined by law. Staff are reminded to not do anything that could be construed as lobbying on district time or otherwise expend district funds for lobbying.

______________________

Hello Olympia School District Families,

As we enter the second half of the state legislative session, I am deeply disappointed to report that we have not seen lawmakers propose and support the kind of clear-cut financial resolutions to adequately address our projected $8.5 million budget deficit for the 2019-20 school year.

We are at a point where we would be remiss in our duties if we did not begin more formal planning for spending reductions in the event there is no legislative fix, or an inadequate one, by the end of the session. Schools need to prepare their staffing and programs now for the coming year.

We will look across our entire system to identify potential spending reductions while trying to minimize impacts to the classroom. We will again be asking for your help via an online budget survey to help us set budget reduction priorities. We will also use our recently adopted Student Outcomes, developed as part of ongoing Strategic Planning work, to help in this process.

For those of you unfamiliar with the history leading up to our projected deficit, we have been clear since the adoption of House Bill 2242 in 2017 that the so-called “McCleary fix” legislation did not help the Olympia School District. Instead, it resulted in a disproportionate allocation of revenue to districts across the state, thus creating winners and losers. Unfortunately, our district is in the latter category.

We have shared in previous messages to our community how the Olympia School District failed to receive state regionalization dollars. This is particularly perplexing as every other district on the I-5 corridor that touches Puget Sound received this money. Lawmakers have been unable to explain why we were left out of receiving regionalization given that Olympia housing prices exceed housing prices in several districts that received regionalization funds.

Equally concerning, the state eliminated a long-time funding mechanism that apportioned more funds to districts with more experienced and thus higher-paid staff (staff mix funding). The elimination penalizes districts like Olympia with more highly educated and/or highly experienced teachers. In 2018, the Legislature agreed to allocate $2.3 million to Olympia beginning in the 2019-20 school year to address this problem, which we were grateful to receive. However, even with this new funding, we still would have received millions of dollars more and been better off under the state’s old funding model. This was confirmed by a recent study of the Washington Association of School Administrators. The association calculated that the Olympia School District should receive $5.9 million in hold harmless funding because our district, like 83 other districts in the state, would have been better funded under the old funding rules.

Additionally, state funding for our students with special needs continues to be inadequate. We subsidize our special education programming between $4 and $5 million annually out of our local levy funds. There is proposed legislation to increase state funding; however, the legislation we have seen is sorely lacking in its ability to make up for this subsidy.

Without any regionalization and staff mix funding, we were especially hard struck by the new state-imposed restrictions on our local, voter-approved levy collection. The McCleary legislation imposed an arbitrary limit of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value for school levies. As a result, our local levy collection has been cut in half. We previously used that levy to pay for teachers, nurses, librarians, principals and other critical support staff. Other districts in north Puget Sound with higher property values are collecting all or nearly all of their previous levy amounts. And in many cases, those same districts are collecting significant regionalization dollars on top of that. The result is that some districts saw hefty increases in revenue while others saw minimal or fractional gains. Once again, Olympia is in the latter category.

We have heard some legislators — not from our legislative district — declare that budget deficits are a result of school districts irresponsibly bargaining pay increases. To be clear, our district’s significant deficit was projected long before any salary bargaining had occurred. We value our staff greatly, as they are the key to the quality of our educational programming. We are committed to attracting, recruiting, retaining, and supporting the finest educators in the state, and we have. It is frustrating that we are planning for reductions to support this commitment while other districts are implementing enhancements. Again, this is due to the disparate revenue disbursement to districts as a result of the McCleary fix.

While we have been sharing the message about our projected shortfall with you for nearly a year now, as stated, we had hoped that there would be a clear legislative fix by now. The governor’s proposed budget and at least one proposed Senate bill (SB 5313) were encouraging, but the Senate bill never made it out of committee. A new House bill (HB 2140) is now under consideration, and while we remain hopeful there will be relief before the end of this legislative session, time is getting short in our budget planning process for the 2019-20 school year.

We also want to make it clear that increasing the levy is not our preferred way to address the revenue inequities facing Olympia. We would rather legislators give us state regionalization or special education dollars; but, if those solutions do not become reality or do not close the gap, we believe our voter-approved levy should be an option for our community.

We will continue to advocate, educate and implore our local legislators to help push through sensible, sustainable funding for the students and families of the Olympia School District. Many of you have asked how you can contact your local legislators. A list of our local legislative contacts, and more information about the budget, are posted on the school district website.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools.

Sincerely,

Patrick Murphy, Superintendent

Professional Development Opportunity: Register for social emotional learning presentation March 26

Social Emotional Learning: Not just one more thing to add to the plate; it IS the plate.

SEL presentation invite for Tuesday March 26 featuring TOY Robert Hand and Ryan Healy. All registration information is in accompanying article.Director of Teaching and Learning Anne Gallagher shares the following information about a presentation March 26 at the Knox Administrative Center by 2019 Washington State Teacher of the Year Robert Hand (Mount Vernon) and 2019 Regional Teacher of the Year Ryan Healy (Yelm).

Education is pivoting away from an exclusive focus on test results in reading and math to a more balanced approach that acknowledges the whole child and helps students learn how to build skills, relationships and community. Social emotional learning is no longer just something else to add to the plate; it is the plate. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore with Teachers of the Year Robert Hand (Mount Vernon) and Ryan Healy (Yelm) how we can weave SEL throughout the day and into every classroom. You’ll leave energized and with practical tips and activities for your building and classroom!

When: Tuesday, March 26th from 4-5:30 p.m.
Where: Knox Administrative Center Board Room
Who Should Attend: Anyone in the Olympia School District who works with students!
RegistrationpdEnroller event #86815

Accessibility Tip of the Week: How to create descriptive link text

Chain links

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to create descriptive link text. 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 adding links to a page, be sure to use descriptive link text. Screen reader users may often navigate through a site using the tab key or a list of links. This practice presents these users with link text devoid of context. Without context, phrases such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ can be bewildering.

Instead, try to let the user know the destination by defining the link’s destination within the link text itself. Often, a good link text will be the title of the page you are referencing. For instance, rather than saying “To read more about kindergarten registration, click here,” a better link text could read “For more information, visit the kindergarten registration page.”

Another thing to avoid for digital content is placing the text of the URL directly on the page. A screen reader user encountering “https://www.google.com/” will not be able to skip through the link text, and will be forced to listen to “h, t, t, p, s, colon, backslash, backslash, w, w, w, dot, g…” This can be a time-consuming process, especially for longer URLs. Only include URL text if the document is intended for printing or displaying in a presentation.

As always, if you have any accessibility tips or questions, please feel free to reach out to the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist, Robert Hardy at extension 6105.

Thank you to all of our Educational Support Professionals

BargainingUnitReps2019Today is the last day of Education Support Professionals Week.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation during the February 25 Olympia School Board meeting recognizing March 11-15, 2019 as Education Support Professionals Week. He also presented copies of the proclamation to the following members of the district’s employee bargaining units:

  • Cindy Davidson and Denise Pigue, Olympia Paraeducator Association (OPA)
  • Mimi Peradatto, Olympia Educational Administrative Professional Association (OEAPA)
  • Mel Smith, Olympia Education Association – Activities and Athletics Association (OEA-AAA)
  • Julie Voorhees, Olympia Technical Professional Administrative Association (OTPAA)
  • Rick Englehart, Teamsters

More than 800 education support professionals work with and help children throughout our district. They are involved in nearly every aspect of education, including maintaining school buildings and school grounds; providing administrative support; preparing and serving meals; providing safe transportation; keeping school facilities clean; assisting in the classroom; providing a secure environment; providing information technology and media services; and offering other specialized services.

The resolution states in part that “education support professionals are instrumental in fulfilling the state’s responsibility to educate all students.” The one-page resolution, which will be posted in every school and support building from March 11-15, also states that by supporting the learning environment, “education support professionals are crucial partners with teachers, parents, administrators and school boards.”

Read the full Olympia School Board proclamation.