Hats off to our newest Everyday Hero; let us know who we should feature next!

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
Karen Pena, Head Custodian at Lincoln Options

As a staff, we at Lincoln Options nominate Karen Pena for the Everyday Hero Award. Karen consistently goes above and beyond her duties as a custodian. She not only keeps Lincoln clean, safe and beautiful, but she decorates the cafeteria making it welcoming to students, staff and families. Additionally, Karen actively participates is school festival and events, developing strong connections with both the adult and student community at Lincoln. Karen manages “surplus” in a very proactive way, moving unneeded furniture quickly out of the building and making special effort to search for the furniture that is needed. She helps everywhere and everyone with a warm smile and big heart! Karen is friendly and willing to take on any task. We are grateful to have her at Lincoln.
Submitted by Lincoln Options Staff

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.

Information about paraeducator certificate training

The Olympia Paraeducator Association (OPA) and District have built a plan for the state-required paraeducator training for the 2019-20 school year.

It is important to note that this requirement applies to any classified staff members who assist with instruction in the classroom setting including all paraeducators. This year, employees in these positions are required to complete 14 hours of the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) program. This program will involve four in-person Saturdays and evening options for members. The first training session will be in January 2020.

The following are the FCS modules to be completed this year and when the courses will be offered:

PdEnroller Sessions Standards

Training Location
Capital Region ESD 113
6005 Tyee Dr SW Tumwater WA 98512

  • WEA Evening Trainings – TBD
  • FCS01, Introduction to Cultural Identity and Diversity (4 hours)
  • FCS02, Methods of Educational and Instructional Support (4 hours)
  • FCS04, Using and Collecting Data (1 hour)
  • FCS10, Positive and Safe Learning Environment (3 hours)
  • FCS11, Communication Basics (2 hours)

Please Note: You MUST register via the links above. You will not be able to access the classes by searching in pdEnroller.  Each session is capped at 200 people; therefore, please register as soon as possible.


Upon completion of the 14 hours of training you will be issued a stipend of $335.

WEA is planning to offer additional options for completing the 14 hours of training, and we will keep you updated as the year progresses. Please prioritize these training dates and times, as make-up opportunities will be difficult to schedule at times that are convenient for all employees due to the wide variety of schedules.

If you have specific questions, please talk with your immediate supervisor or reach out to me via the contact information below.


Joshua Boe
OPA President

Scott Niemann
Executive Director of Human Resources

The following are links with pertinent information regarding new paraeducator training requirements:

Overview of the Paraeducator Certificate Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

OSD Players announces auditions December 9 and 10 for ‘Music Man’

The 25th Annual OSD Players production this year is the family favorite Music Man. Auditions are December 9 and 10 from 6:30-9 pm at Reeves Middle School. Rehearsals start January 6 at Reeves Middle School.

With:  Thurston County Boys and Girls Club (this year’s sponsor) to support students from Olympia, Tumwater, North Thurston and more!

When:  Play dates are February 27 through March 1 at Olympia High School.

Who:  Olympia School District employees, their families and OSD player alumni.

WHAT ELSE:?  OSD Players are asking for help putting together this production.  Attached is a Google Form to fill out and let them know if you are able to help. Want to help but not be on stage?  Opportunities are available to help with props, costumes, set building, scenic painting, the play program and more. 

Learn more and sign up to help

Secondary teachers invited to apply for $250 mini-grants by January 13, 2020

Thurston County Secondary Mini Grant applicationThe Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its annual $250 middle and high school teacher mini-grants.

The deadline to apply for the mini-grants is January 13, 2020. The grants are designed “to provide an opportunity for school employees to acquire materials or provide experiences for their students above and beyond what is paid for by district funds. The materials or experiences should supplement and enhance building or district goals.”

Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is a chapter of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association.

As a reminder, 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.

Download the application
Learn more about the mini-grant program

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating a Table of Contents in your Documents

Stack of binders

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about using true headings to create a table of contents. 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.

True headings are an essential aspect of accessible document design, allowing screen reader users to skim a document. Beyond enhancing accessibility, true headings also enable authors to insert an interactive, accurate and professional table of contents within their documents, creating a better user experience for every reader.

To insert a table of contents, authors must first use heading styles within their document. More information on using true headings can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, but basically, you’ll want to highlight section titles and select the appropriate heading type from the top menu.

In Microsoft Word, heading styles may be located within the Home ribbon.

Microsoft Word screenshot. The Home ribbon is selected and the Heading styles menu is shown.

In Google Docs, heading styles may be located in the top menu bar.

Google Docs screenshot. The Heading menu is highlighted in the top menu.

Headings should not be used consecutively, but rather, should be nested within one another. For instance, a document title would be marked as a Heading 1, chapter titles would be marked as Heading 2 and subchapters would be marked as Heading 3.

Once headings have been used, inserting a table of contents is straightforward, both in Microsoft Word and in Google Docs.

Microsoft Word

  1. Place the cursor where you would like the table of contents to appear.
  2. Select the ‘References’ ribbon.
  3. Select ‘Table of Contents’ and pick a style of table of contents.

Customizing the table of contents

Tables of contents within Microsoft Word can be heavily customized, allowing for certain heading levels to be excluded, or specific styling to be applied. To add a customized table of contents, select ‘Custom Table of Contents’ from the Table of Contents menu (step 3 above).

Updating page numbers

If the document continues to be edited after inserting a table of contents, the page numbers within the table of contents may need to be updated. To do so, simply right-click the table of contents, select ‘Update Field’ and then select ‘Update page numbers only.’

Google Docs

  1. Place the cursor where you would like the table of contents to appear.
  2. Select ‘Insert’ from the top menu.
  3. Select ‘Table of Contents,’ and then pick from the available styles.

Customizing the table of contents

Unlike in Word, there are limited pre-built customizations available, but the table of contents can be edited like other text.

Updating page numbers

Like in Word, page numbers within the table of contents may need to be updated if the document is heavily edited. To update the page numbers, right-click the table of contents and select ‘Update table of contents.’

This added benefit of true headings is yet another example of how accessible design is truly universal design. By improving design for a portion of our audience, we inevitably improve it for everyone.

As always, if you have questions about true headings, or accessibility in general, please feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy (x6105), the district’s website accessibility specialist.


OSDEF Automatic Payroll Deduction Campaign runs through November 30

OSDEF Automatic payroll deduction campaign informationSince its inception in 1998, the Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) has been a proud partner of the Olympia School District, awarding nearly $2 million to projects and programs that support the OSDEF’s mission to remove barriers and enhance educational success for all OSD students. In September, the OSDEF held its annual Principal’s Emergency Fund (PEF) Breakfast. In October, the OSDEF turned its attention to wreath sales that help fund outdoor education at Cispus for OSD fifth graders and to its annual Automatic Payroll Deduction Campaign, which goes through November 30.

During the campaign, the OSDEF is asking OSD employees to consider automatically deducting $1 from their paycheck per month. Contributions will go where the need is greatest, whether that be Teaching & Learning Grants, Middle School Math Tutoring, the Performing Arts Initiative, the new Mental Health Initiative, or the aforementioned PEF or Cispus programs.

Employees who wish to sign up for the monthly OSDEF automatic payroll deduction may do so by downloading the attached form and returning a signed copy to the OSD Payroll Office. Forms may be sent through inter-district mail or dropped off in person at the Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia. Hard copies of the forms are also available in each school building and on the OSDEF website.

Flags lowered to half-staff today, November 20

Flags lowered to half-staffGov. Jay Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Michael Knapp, Interim Police Chief for Lynden, Washington, 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, November 20, 2019.

Knapp, 79, passed away on November 6, 2019, from injuries sustained when he was struck by a truck. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on November 20 at Christ the King Church in Bellingham.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on November 20.

Friday, November 15 is final day to enroll in SEBB

Stethoscope with heart-shaped center designFollowing is an important message from Payroll regarding SEBB enrollment:

Employees have one more day to complete enrollment in SEBB for benefits that will begin on January 1, 2020. You must still enroll if you are wanting to waive benefits or you will be automatically enrolled into a benefit plan and have a tobacco surcharge.

If you want to verify your coverage, please log into SEBB My Account and select “Coverage Elections.”

If you are enrolling your dependents, please log into SEBB My Account and review them under “Manage Dependents” to confirm they are “Verified.” If they are not verified, please contact payroll at (360) 596-6190.

Congratulations OSD Classified School Employee of the Year

Linda Kim-Zaccagnini, Brendon Chertok and Patrick Murphy pose for CSEY employee of the yearCongratulations to Linda Kim-Zaccagnini, administrative assistant at Garfield Elementary School, for being named this year’s Olympia School District Classified School Employee of the Year.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy delivered the news during an impromptu Garfield Elementary staff meeting. Cheers and applause filled the room as Murphy announced Kim-Zaccagnini as this year’s award winner.

The annual award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration. This is the third year in a row that a Garfield employee has been recognized with the district honor. Denise Pigue received the award in 2018, preceded by Michell Orwig in 2017.

Kim-Zaccagnini began working in the district as a paraeducator in 1997 after serving many years as a parent volunteer. She is in her thirteenth year as the school’s administrative assistant.

“For many years Linda has been the point person for Garfield Elementary,” said Principal Brendon Chertok. “Her thoughtful approach toward students, families and staff has contributed to an environment that is inclusive and compassionate. Particularly with families who do not speak English, Linda’s ability to speak several languages has eased the transition for many of our families. Linda has also created and organized after-school opportunities for Garfield students. In cooperation with community volunteers, staff and parents, these classes include arts/crafts, sports and a homework club among many others.”

The long-time employee will be honored at a special recognition ceremony during the December 16, 2019 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E. in Olympia.

Kim-Zaccagnini was selected for the honor from among a pool of nominations submitted by staff, families and community members. The district opened nominations for Classified School Employee of the Year in September. A screening committee made up of OSD employees and community members reviewed the submissions and recommended the award winner to the superintendent.

The nomination letter praised Kim-Zaccagnini for her “innate ability to relate with kids and support them in a thoughtful and kind manner,” which has contributed to a warm and inviting environment at the school. It went on to say that she has a particular ability to “create comfort to families for whom English is not their primary language,” and added that Garfield is strong as a community because of her work.

Classified School Employee of the Year is an annual statewide awards program through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It begins with local nominations from school districts throughout Washington. Those individuals have a chance of then being named a regional Classified School Employee of the Year, which allows them to advance to the state competition.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction recognizes the regional finalists and announces the state Classified School Employee of the Year at the annual spring award ceremony at the Old Capitol Building in Olympia.

The state award winner and regional finalists are invited to several annual recognition events including the Governor’s Reception for Exceptional Educators.

Note deadlines for Travel Expense Reimbursement submissions

calculator-electronics-laptop-163119The following is a message from the Business Department about Travel Expense Reimbursement submission.

Per OSD Travel Expense Reimbursement procedures, submittals must be turned in within 60 days post travel.  This ensures that budget managers know how much budget capacity they have remaining because payments of past activity are being taken out of accounts within a predictable time period.  Below is a chart of cut off for submission dates:

Travel within the month of: October 2019
Deadline to Submit a Request: December 31, 2019

Travel within the month of: November 2019
Deadline to Submit a Request: January 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: December 2019
Deadline to Submit a Request: February 29, 2020

Travel within the month of: January 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: March 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: February 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: April 30, 2020

Travel within the month of: March 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: May 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: April 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: June 30, 2020

Travel within the month of: May 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: July 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: June 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: August 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: July 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: August 31, 2020

Travel within the month of: August 2020
Deadline to Submit a Request: August 31, 2020