Now accepting OSD Classified School Employee of the Year nominations

CSEY winner from 2018

Todd Thornton, one of three Classified School Employees of the Year honored in 2018

The Olympia School District is accepting nominations for one or more staff members to be honored as OSD Classified School Employee of the Year.

The program recognizes the work of classified staff members who have made a positive difference in their profession. All school and support building employees who are categorized as “Classified” staff are eligible for nomination. Nominees should be employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.

Please include in your written nomination specifics of how well the staff member meets the following state Classified School Employee of the Year criteria:

  • The educator (classified employee) has the respect and admiration of their community.
  • The educator (classified employee) collaborates with colleagues, students and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
  • The educator (classified employee) is a leader who makes connections between their daily work and student success.

Please complete this online nomination form and submit by 4 p.m on Friday, October 11, 2019. A committee will review the applications and select the individual(s) to be recognized.

The individual(s) chosen will be eligible to compete for the regional Classified School Employee of the Year selection process. The winner at that level advances to the state Classified School Employee of the Year selection process.

Submit your nomination

Help our communications team promote your school

Zoom camera lensThe OSD Communications and Community Relations Department is always looking for opportunities to highlight our schools on district social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) and in our Spotlight on Success newsletter. The thing is, we need your help to clue us in on all of the exciting things happening in your buildings!

Is there an upcoming event, activity, performance or class lesson in your school that is visual and deserves highlighting? Let us know! A member of our communications team will come out and take photos/video and let the Olympia community see all the amazing work you and your students are doing on a daily basis!

To let us know about a possible opportunity simply email our Communications and Community Relations Department at We will be in touch in short order to coordinate a visit!

Website Accessibility Tip of the Week: Using True Headings

Open book with many pagesThis week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about using
true headings. 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.

Headings are used to break up large chunks of text and inform the reader of a document’s structure. Headings are created visually by enlarging, bolding or underlining text. While these alterations enable a sighted reader to skim a document, they do not provide the programmatic accompaniment necessary for a screen reader user to scan through a document.

Fortunately, adding true headings to a document is a straightforward process. To add
headings in Word or Google Docs, simply highlight the intended text and select the appropriate heading style from the top ribbon. Guides for each software suite are available on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

Heading styles typically range from Heading 1 (H1) to Heading 6 (H6), with heading
levels 1-3 being the most common. Rather than using headings in consecutive order, authors should nest headings, creating a built-in table of contents. The document title would be a Heading 1, chapter titles would be Heading 2 and subsections would be Heading 3. The resulting document structure would be:

  • Heading 1 (document title)
    • Heading 2 (chapter titles)
      • Heading 3 (subchapter titles)
    • Heading 2
      • Heading 3
      • Heading 3
        • Heading 4

A screen reader user can access a Headings menu that allows them to navigate through
the document structure, enabling them to skim a document and find just the pertinent

Beyond increasing accessibility, the use of true headings grants the author greater
control over their document structure. Heading styles can be customized en-masse, and an interactive Tables of Contents can also be added to a document using the heading structure as a basis. For more information on these techniques, see the blog post The Increased Efficiency of True Headings.

For more information on true headings, and other elements of semantic structure,
consider attending the Accessibility – Semantic Structure workshop on October, 21, 2019. In the meantime, if you have questions about headings or other accessibility issues, please reach out to Robert Hardy at Ext. 6105.

Benefit fairs continue in advance of SEBB open enrollment

desk-doctor-health-48604.jpgWe are quickly approaching the SEBB benefits open enrollment window. Benefits begin January 1, 2020, but enrollment is within a 45-day enrollment window, October 1 through November 15, 2019 (at 5 p.m.). Note: If you enroll online yourself you have until November 15 at 5 p.m.; if you turn in paper forms to our Payroll Office you have until November 8 at 5 p.m. to turn in all forms and dependent verifications. Leading up to this window, we are holding mini-benefits fairs at each school, and the state Health Care Authority is holding a regionwide benefits fair.

Mini-benefit fairs: These are held at each school site. Any district employee can attend any fair. At these fairs Amy McGuire will share information on enrolling in SEBB, dependent verification, waving coverage and the cost of not waiving benefits if this is your intent. Many fairs have already taken place, but there are a few still upcoming. You are welcome to attend multiple fairs. These include:

  • 9-30: Pioneer at 3:30 p.m.
  • 10-1: Garfield at 3:30 p.m.
  • 10-2: Washington at 3:15 p.m.
  • 10-3: Hansen at 3:15 p.m.
  • 10-7: Marshall at 3 p.m.

Health Care Authority benefits fair:  October 2, 4-8 p.m. at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd. S.W., Student Union Building (SUB). The Health Care Authority benefit fair will include more about health plans and supplemental insurance options.

You can also visit our district website staff intranet Payroll webpage. Be sure to login into Google first as a staff member to view items on the intranet. Information is arrayed by topic with links that take you to the appropriate page on the Health Care Authority webpage.

Payroll information: September is a complex payroll month!

With the close of every school year, the Payroll Office must run an accrual process (extra payroll in September) to charge hours worked prior to August 31, back to the previous school year (2018-19 SY). Collective bargaining agreements govern the hourly salary of these hours; some hours are paid at the 2018-19 SY rate and some are paid at the 2019-20 SY rate. The timing of payment does not govern the hourly rate. 

If your time slips for the previous school year reached the Payroll Office by September 5, 2019, you can view the extra paycheck in Employee Access section of Skyward. This is not your regular paycheck for September 2019; you can view your regular paycheck on September 30, 2019. 

As long-term employees know, the regular September paycheck will not include any extra hours that were time-slipped in September — even if the time slip was received by September 5. Your October paycheck will include August, September and October time slips that are received by October 10. 

Applications due Oct. 25 for elementary teacher mini-grants

Elementary School Mini Grant Information FlyerThe Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its elementary teacher mini-grant program for the 2019-20 school year.

The deadline to apply for the elementary mini-grants is October 25, 2019. The grants are designed to provide an opportunity for elementary school teachers to enhance the education of their students.

For additional information, contact Jo Edwards at Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is a chapter of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association.

OSD staff interested in applying for grants should make sure their principal is aware of the request and that the request supports and does not supplant curriculum. If there are online elements to the grant request, please also be mindful of accessibility and confidentiality requirements.

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

Annual Principal’s Emergency Fund breakfast is September 26

PHoto of guests at the 2018 OSDEF Principal's Emergency Fund breakfast

2018 Principal’s Emergency Fund breakfast

It’s that time of year again! The annual Principal’s Emergency Fund (PEF) breakfast starts at 7 a.m. on Thursday, September 26 at the Hotel RL Olympia.  The annual early morning fundraiser is open to OSD employees.

The breakfast raises money for the PEF, which provides every OSD principal the resources to help meet urgent basic needs of low-income students and their families.

Employees who plan to attend the early morning breakfast should RSVP to

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Resources available on district website

Stack of booksThis week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about accessibility resources. 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.

The Olympia School District is committed to providing accessible content for our students and our community. To aid in this effort, the Communications department has created and gathered a wealth of resources on the creation of accessible documents for posting to the web.

These resources may be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, and they cover the most popular tools used within the district, including:

Please take advantage of these resources when producing documents intended for the web. If you use a unique software suite, or if you have accessibility questions in general, please reach out to Robert Hardy (x6105), for assistance.

Olympia Tumwater Foundation offers early learning grants; deadline October 25

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation, in its efforts to increase and enhance educational programs in Thurston County, is dedicated to providing educators with funds to implement and administer learning opportunities that go beyond the basic available funding of their programs. Grants are offered to school districts, early childhood education programs, and K-3 curriculums located in Thurston County. Acceptable programs will assist children anywhere from birth through third grade. Individual grants vary in size from around $300 to $3,000. Funds must be used specifically for this grant request. Applications for teacher/staff training are excluded.

Grant applications are due to the Olympia Tumwater Foundation by October 25, 2019. Awards will be announced in mid-November.

More information and applications are available on the Olympia Tumwater Association website under the Scholarships and Grants tab. Questions may be directed to John Freedman at the Foundation office at (360) 943-2550.

OSD staff interested in applying for grants should make sure their principal is aware of the request and that the request supports and does not supplant curriculum. If there are online elements to the grant request, please also be mindful of accessibility and confidentiality requirements.

View application

Free parenting workshops offered again this year at ORLA

Adult hands cupped in the shape of a heart around baby feetThe Olympia School District is pleased again this year to offer free child development workshops with Candyce Lund Bollinger. All workshops will be held at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), 2400 15th Ave. S.E., Olympia. All workshops this year will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Elementary Parenting Workshops (K-5)

  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Managing your Parental Response
  • Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – Positive Discipline
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020 – Safety Without Fear
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Anger
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – Resiliency

Middle & High School Parenting Workshops (6-12)

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 – Managing Your Parental Response
  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – Developmentally Appropriate Expectations/Ages 11-19
  • Wednesday, January 8, 2020 – Positive Constructive Communication with Teens
  • Wednesday, February 5, 2020 – Effective Communication
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – Teen Relationships/LGBTQAI
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – Resiliency

Workshops are free and no registration is required. Please note that child care will not be provided.