Flags lowered to half-staff Wednesday, April 24

Gov. Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier, 29, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, and remain at half-staff until close of business the same day.

Deputy DeRosier was killed in the line of duty on April 13, 2019.

Last day of school moved to Friday, June 21

Message that reads "New Last Day of School June 21, 2019"The state has approved the school district’s request to waive one of the school days missed in February when schools were closed due to snow. Assuming there are no more missed days this school year, the new last day of school is Friday, June 21, 2019.

The waiver does not change any of the district’s high school graduation dates – all will proceed as scheduled this June.

School year calendars posted on the district website have been updated to reflect the new last day of school for the 2018-19 school year. June 21 is a half day of school for students.

Remember to update the Olympia School District wall calendar and other personal calendars to reflect the change.

Also please note: Wednesday, June 19, will be a standard districtwide early release day.

View the updated 2018-19 one-page printable calendar

Public School Volunteer Week is April 15-19

Desselle March 25 2019 board meeting cropped tightPublic School Volunteer Week is being celebrated throughout the Olympia School District Monday, April 15 through Friday, April 19.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation during the March 25 Olympia School Board meeting recognizing April 15-19 as Public School Volunteer Week. The local recognition coincides with both the state and national Public School Volunteer Week.

Murphy also presented OSD Volunteer Coordinator Steve Desselle with a copy of the proclamation on behalf of all volunteers throughout the district and thanked him for his work. More than 4,200 parents, students and community members give their time as volunteers in our schools.

The proclamation states in part that volunteers “are an integral part of student learning, play an important role in the education of students and provide a valuable partnership link with our community.” It also states that volunteers “inspire success in students while nurturing and challenging them to extend beyond their reach.”

Thank you, volunteers, for all you do for our schools!

Who are our two newest Everyday Heroes?

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 are our newest honorees:

Everyday Hero
Doug Bogden, Helpdesk Technician, Technology Department

A shout out to Doug who replaced my hard drive, organized my folders, added my printers and made my computer run a lot faster. It makes my job so much easier!
Submitted by Pam Tebeau, Transition Program Coordinator, Student Support

Everyday Hero
Darlene Fuller, Executive Assistant, Elementary Education

Recently I was reminded of what an extraordinary asset, and person, that Darlene (Dar) Fuller is to the Olympia School District family. The event that brought this to mind was the District’s annual ‘Countdown to Kindergarten’ event, in which Dar is deeply involved. She is the first person setting up and the last person out of the building, all the while answering questions to new families and pointing folks in the right direction. Dar does this with a smile, and her unmistakable laugh, that just can’t help but put a smile on your face.

This is who Dar is…someone who cares deeply for our students and our families and always has their best interest in mind. Taking care of kids will always be the priority for Dar, and that’s as it should be. For as long as I’ve worked here I have always known that if something ever came up that I didn’t have an answer for, I could always go to Dar. Usually, she knows the answer off the top of her head because of her depth of institutional knowledge. If not, then she knows who to contact so you get your answer.

I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate Dar and the work that she does every day. We are a better district because of her. Thank you for all you do Dar!
Submitted by Conor Schober, Community Relations Coordinator, Communications and Community Relations

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.

Tickets available for OSD Night at the Tacoma Rainiers on May 9

Logo for Tacoma RainiersDon’t forget to get your tickets for our annual OSD Night at the Tacoma Rainiers on Thursday, May 9. Come watch the Tacoma Rainiers take on the Reno Aces.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Superintendent Patrick Murphy will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at 6:45 p.m. followed by a performance of the national anthem by the Washington Middle School Choir. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.

To purchase tickets, please visit www.wertacoma.com/OSDNight and enter promo code OSD19. Group Express tickets are $14 per person and include a reserved seat, hot dog, chips and bottled water. The Double Play tickets are $19 per person and include a reserved seat, hot dog, chips, bottled water and a limited edition Rainiers hat.

All students, families, staff and the Olympia School District community are invited to join us for this fun-filled event.

Hope to see you there!

School board requests plan for possible budget reductions

5-member elected OSD Board of Directors during a discussion at a recent school board meetingThe Olympia School Board unanimously agreed on April 8 to authorize the superintendent to prepare a “Reduced Educational Plan” that outlines possible budget reductions for the 2019-20 school year to address a projected $8.5 million deficit.

Specifically, the board instructed Superintendent Patrick Murphy to prepare a 2019-20 school year operations budget under which “expenditures are no greater than revenues and the (unrestricted) fund balance is at least the minimum allowable by board policy.” Additionally, the board asked Murphy to prepare a budget that reduces staff for 2019-20, “including certificated supervisory and nonsupervisory positions and such classified positions as may be necessary, to achieve the district’s financial objectives.”

Superintendent Murphy noted that there is a strong likelihood that the current projected deficit will be reduced significantly, but staff won’t know for sure until the legislative session is complete. The session is scheduled to end on April 28, 2019.

Jennifer Priddy, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, shared the projected impact of the deficit based on current budget proposals being considered by the House and the Senate. Either budget, if enacted, would cut the deficit by more than half to approximately $3.6 million. She said both budgets include changes to the local levy law that is still a contentious issue in the Legislature, so it is difficult to know at this time if either will be enacted.

The board’s decision was preceded by several budget-related reports at previous meetings. Priddy also shared the results of a budget priorities survey, which was open to students, staff and the community. Priddy shared results of both forced-choice questions, as well as narrative responses to prompts including “Describe what you value about our school system” and “Describe what efficiencies you would like the superintendent to consider.” The survey results are posted on the district website.

Assistant Superintendent Priddy also shared a report about the development of the 2019-20 school year budget, including background about the district’s projected $8.5 million deficit — equivalent to about 6 percent of the district’s operating budget. This deficit is the result of state funding changes the Legislature enacted because of the state Supreme Court’s “McCleary” ruling in 2017. View a copy of Priddy’s report on the district website.

Superintendent Murphy outlined the effects of the so-called “McCleary fix” legislation on the Olympia School District in a March 15, 2019 letter to the community. The letter is posted on the district website. The state Legislature is in session and is currently considering some proposed legislation that could reduce the total deficit.

He and Priddy also outlined the impact of the so-called McCleary fix in a recent Olympia School District Facebook Live video. View the video on the district website.

The school board also heard a report during the April 8 meeting about staffing reduction considerations for the 2019-20 school year, including projected staff attrition. View a copy of that report, prepared by Executive Director of Human Resources Scott Niemann, on the district website.


Tips for opening a school-related social media account

Graphic titled Olympia School District So

As many of you are probably aware, there are a multitude of social media accounts out there representing schools, programs, teams and clubs across our district. This is wonderful! We encourage any school or district affiliated group out there, that isn’t represented on social media, to create a page/account for your school. Students, families and our community are always looking for new avenues to receive content!

Interested in looking into this? Here are the necessary steps to follow:

  1. Talk to your building administrator (principal) to verify that this is something they are interested in pursuing. This is vital. Make sure you do not skip this step.
  2. Decide which platform would work best for you. The district currently has official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts. We recommend selecting from one of these, as we will be able to cross promote, share and engage on any of the posts which you push out.
  3. IMPORTANT: Create the account using a district email address. Never create a school/district related social media account using a personal email address.
  4. Name your account something specific to your school/program/team/club, as this will be extremely important when people are searching for your page/account. You want to make it as easy as possible to find your page, so avoid convoluted names or references. Here are a few examples of good name options: Jefferson MS, Capital Cougars, Boston Harbor Elementary School, Olympia HS Softball, Washington MS Robotics Team 3333, etc.
  5. Once you have successfully created your account email the Communications and Community Relations Department at communications@osd.wednet.edu with the name of the account owner/manager and the email address tied to the account (must be district email address). Once you have done this you will receive an auto-generated email from ArchiveSocial, asking you to connect your account for archiving. This is important as it will provide all historical information from your account. It’s quite simple, once you get the email just click on the “Connect Account” button and you will be done.
  6. IMPORTANT: Please remember that any student content published to social media needs to be vetted. Any photos or student names that you share must be checked in Skyward. Students must be marked “Yes” for “District/School Use”. Only then are they cleared to use on social media.
  7. Now you’re ready to start sharing content! Please remember to tag the Olympia School District on posts that you consider pertinent and we will do our best to like, retweet and share on our social media platforms to get more eyes on your content!

Our Communications and Community Relations Department has account setup materials available for anyone interested in opening a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube account. Please just send them an email at communications@osd.wednet.edu if you are interested and they will get the necessary materials to you. They can also answer any specific questions you may have regarding; opening an account, social media best practices or anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks, hope to hear from you all soon!

Middle school students asked to submit entries in City of Olympia art contest

City of Olympia Water Resources Department is searching for artwork from Olympia School District middle schools as part of an annual art contest to develop a calendar that promotes stormwater pollution prevention and water conservation practices.

Please share with middle school students that 12 drawings will be selected for the calendar. Winning artists will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, a pizza party and recognition at an Olympia City Council meeting. Deadline for entries is Friday, May 10.

Learn more and download the submission form on the City of Olympia website.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating true lists

Empty to-do list

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to create true lists in a digital document. 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.

Underlying each digital document is a programmatic structure that is critical for screen reader users. If elements such as lists are only created visually, without using the appropriate tools, this programmatic structure becomes inaccurate, creating confusion for a screen reader user.

The programmatic accompaniment is particularly important when it comes to lists, as the list would otherwise appear as a collection of very short paragraphs. There are two list types available to content authors: unordered and ordered lists. An unordered, or bulleted list, is the most common, and can be used in a wide variety of applications such as shopping or to-do lists. An ordered list uses numbers rather than bullet points and is frequently used to describe the steps in a process.

Both list types can be created easily within Microsoft Office, Google Docs or other software suites. Simply select either the bulleted or numbered list option from the main ribbon:


By selecting these options, content authors ensure their documents have the correct programmatic accompaniment and can be understood by everyone in the community.

For tips on providing the correct programmatic accompaniment for headings, see the blog post The Increased Efficiency of True Headings, or attend the Headings workshop at Knox on April 24, 2019. If you have any accessibility questions or tips in the meantime, please reach out to Robert Hardy at extension 6105.

Deadline extended to April 19 for annual 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 last year’s (2017-18) “The Unsung Hero” Employee Recognition Award, with Principal Curtis Cleveringa.

The deadline for the annual OSD Employee Recognition Awards nominations has been extended to 4 p.m. this Friday, April 19.

Do you know someone who champions differences? Goes the extra mile? Enables others to excel? Consider nominating them for one of the five categories listed in the electronic form. You may nominate up to three individuals (one per form), for all available awards.

We will be honoring the winners of the Employee Recognition Awards at the May 6 Olympia School Board meeting.  This annual tradition has become a great way to honor the hard work of those around you.If you have questions, please call the Communications and Community Relations Department at (360) 596-6103.