Nominate an OSD Teacher of the Year by February 12

OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2019 Devin Alexander joined by the superintendent Patrick Murphy, LP Brown Principal Charlene Hayes, and Board Member Joellen Wilhelm

2019 OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year Devin Alexander, reading specialist at LP Brown Elementary, is joined by (from left) Superintendent Patrick Murphy, LP Brown Principal Charlene Hayes, and former Board Member Joellen Wilhelm.

The Olympia School District is accepting nominations through Wednesday, February 12, for one or more staff members to be honored as OSD Teacher of the Year.

The program recognizes the work of teachers who have made a positive difference in their profession. Any Washington public school teacher who has a current certificate, works directly with students for at least 50 percent of their time, has not already been recognized as a Regional or State Teacher of the Year, and plans to continue teaching through the 2021-22 school year, is eligible to be nominated.

Please complete the online nomination form and submit by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. A committee will review the applications and select the individual(s) to be recognized based on who best exemplifies the following Teacher of the Year criteria (please include examples of the following in your nomination):

  • The teacher has the respect of their community;
  • The teacher is knowledgeable in their field and guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence;
  • The teacher collaborates with colleagues, students and families to create a school culture of respect and success;
  • The teacher deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large;
  • The teacher demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning;
  • The teacher expresses themselves in an engaging and effective way.

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

Complete the OSD Teacher of the Year online nomination form

2019 Secondary Teachers of the Year Lorraine Manning and Marion Sheridan

2019 Secondary Teachers of the Year Lorraine Manning and Marion Sheridan, special education life skills teachers at Olympia High School in 2019.

Remember to vote by February 11

Vote graphic showing hands dropping colored pieces of paper into a box openingBallots for the February 11, 2020 Special Election have been sent to registered voters and must be mailed or dropped off in postage-free ballot drop boxes by Election Day to be counted.

Ballot drop boxes are open 24 hours a day during elections and will continue to accept ballots until 8 p.m. on Election Day. For a list of drop box locations in the Olympia School District, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division website.

There is one Olympia School District measure on this Special Election ballot: Replacement of an expiring four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy. For more information about the proposed four-year Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy, visit the Levy2020 webpage on the district website.

  • You may register to vote online, by mail, via a voter registration drive or by any other means through February 3, 2020.
  • You may register to vote or update your voter registration address in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day on February 11. In-person voter registration is done at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Bldg. 1, Rm. 118 in Olympia. Replacement ballots are also available at the Auditor’s Office.

To register to vote you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • Residing at your current address for a minimum of 30 days before Election Day.
  • A legal resident of Washington state.
  • At least 18 years old by Election Day.

Note: Citizens may pre-register to vote at age 16 and will be automatically eligible to vote and sent a ballot during the first election after their 18th birthday.

For additional voter registration information, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division webpage. For more information about ballot items, read the Thurston County Voters’ Pamphlet.

Announcing two new Everyday Heroes: Who are they?

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
Chelsea Peterson, ELL Teacher, Olympia HS

Chelsea transitioned from teaching English to managing the ELL program (at OHS). She rapidly made a number of positive changes, especially in terms of communication. She put on a staff development to give us tools in the classroom that we could use to facilitate the learning of ELL students (and everyone else!). I have recommended students to her that I suspected were struggling due to language issues, but Chelsea did not just test them, she worked with them after school! I admire and appreciate the substantial work she has put into the ELL program to transform it into something that meaningfully supports the ELL student.
Submitted by Sarah Violette, English Teacher, Olympia HS

Everyday Hero
Jessica Wyman, Behavior Technician, LP Brown ES

Jessica is always going above and beyond. She is in constant movement throughout the school. I swear she’s never still. Whether it has to do with her job or not, she is always helping out fellow staff if someone needs something. When it comes to her job, despite often dealing with kids who are not making the best choices, she is always upbeat. She treats the kids with respect, but also has high expectations. It’s great watching and listening to her work with kids and helping them to solve the problem at hand. It’s been fun working with her for the second year in a row. I love her!
Submitted by Megan Green, Attendance Secretary, LP Brown ES

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department ( 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.

Register for upcoming accessibility workshops

Workshop sign

New accessibility workshops for Olympia School District staff have been posted on pdEnroller. Learn how to incorporate accessibility into your document workflow and efficiently create accessible content to post online. Staff are also welcome to bring their existing documents and brainstorm on how to create accessible versions for the web.

New and upcoming workshops include:

Beyond workshops, the Olympia School District’s Accessibility Specialist, Robert Hardy (6105), wants to help you! Please reach out with any accessibility questions, or to schedule a time to meet one-on-one.

Thinking about retirement? Register for March 5 seminar

Retirement Seminar FlyerThinking about retirement? Consider attending a pre-retirement planning seminar on Thursday, March 5 at the New Market Skills Center in Tumwater.

If you are within two-five years of retirement, consider attending this seminar to learn about your retirement plans (Plan 2 or Plan 3), medical/dental options, sick leave buyout (VEBA), Social Security Options, Medicare and how to utilize a retirement planner.

The Thurston County School Retirees’ Association, assisted by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, is hosting the seminar from 4-6:30 p.m. at the New Market Skills Center, 7299 New Market St. S.W. in Tumwater. Registration fee is $10 payable at the door (spouse is free).

Register on or before March 2 by emailing or calling him at (360) 236-9305.

Take a minute and sign up for OSD text messaging notifications

Person holds finger on the on switch for cell phone as if to check messages

Are you interested in receiving text message alerts from the Olympia School District, but aren’t sure how to get signed up? No problem, we’ve got you covered!

As an Olympia School District employee, you can sign yourself up in three easy steps:

  1. Check your Skyward Employee Access and make sure the phone number which you would like to receive text messages is included in one of the three available phone fields.
  2. If the number is not included in one of the phone fields, simply contact the OSD Human Resources Department (x6185), as they can add the number to your Skyward profile. If it is already there then skip to step three.
  3. Using the mobile device you would like to receive text notifications on, text “y” or “yes” to our Olympia School District shortcode, which is “67587”.

Once you’ve completed these three steps you should receive an immediate response with confirmation that you have signed up to receive text message notifications from the Olympia School District. You can always opt-out of receiving these notifications by responding “n” or “no” to the “67587” number.

While the “67587” OSD shortcode will always be the number in which you receive text message notifications, each text message you receive from the district will begin with “OlympiaSD:” so there is no confusion as to who is communicating.

Please Note: Text message communications are reserved for emergency and time-sensitive communications from our schools and district. We do not use text messaging notification for general communications with staff.

Should you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact the Olympia School District Communications Department at (360) 596-6103 or

Learn about the 2020 Census

2020 Census FAQ; information is in adjoining articleIn mid-March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. The census only happens once every 10 years, so it is likely to generate interest in our local community and beyond. Below are some basic facts about the census. In the coming weeks, we will post more information on our district website, including links to handouts in other languages.

What Is the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The law requires the U.S. Census Bureau to keep information confidential.

Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire. Once the invitation arrives, responses may be sent online, by phone or by mail.

Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. Here’s a look at some of the key dates along the way:


  • January 21: The U.S. Census Bureau starts counting the population in remote Alaska. The count officially begins in the rural Alaskan village of Toksook Bay.
  • March 12 – 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail.
  • March 30 – April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.
  • April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
  • April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
  • May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
  • December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.


  • March 31: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

How the 2020 Census Affects Children
The 2020 Census count impacts the federal funds that communities receive each year for programs and services that are critical for schools, students and younger children, such as:

  • Special education, Head Start, after-school programs and classroom technology.
  • Food assistance, including free and reduced-price school lunches.
  • Maternal and child health programs.

Counting Everyone
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation and more.

Note deadlines for Travel Expense Reimbursement submissions

laptop computer with hand-held calculator and pencilThe 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: 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

DRS retirement planning information including online seminars

Open notebook with words "My Plan" at the top and person preparing to write with a penWe have two recent announcements to share from the Department of Retirement Systems:

  1. The Department of Retirement Systems has posted an article on the DRS website that is of particular interest to teachers and school employees who are nearing retirement. It provides information about the various implications to consider when weighing a July vs. September retirement date, including a new consideration related to the launch of SEBB and health insurance costs. Here is a link to the article: Plan 2/3 teachers and school employees ask: What’s the best retirement month for me?
  2. The 2020 Retirement Planning Seminar schedule is available from the Department of Retirement Systems. If you are a member of a DRS-administered system (LEOFF, PERS, PSERS, SERS, TRS, WSPRS) and within five years of retirement, these workshops are for you. See the seminar overview and register online at your convenience. Other options for registering are to email DRS at or call 360-664-7300 or 888-711-6676.

    If you don’t find a seminar that is convenient for you, you may be interested in viewing a DRS seminar video online. Also, the education section of the DRS website will help with your retirement planning regardless of how close or far away it is.

    If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for your DRS online account. When logged in, you can review your service credit, contributions, beneficiary information and much more. You can also create a benefit estimate that is based on the data in your account and, when you’re ready, retire online.

    Please note: Due to space limitations, registration for DRS seminars is limited to members of DRS-administered retirement systems. DRS is not able to accommodate reservation requests for members of other retirement systems.

Staff invited to three elementary school dedication ceremonies this month

Roosevelt Elementary School frontCome celebrate the opening of the newly remodeled Centennial, McLane and Roosevelt elementary schools at dedication ceremonies planned this month.

Staff, students, families and the community are invited to hear about the projects, walk through the schools, and participate in ribbon-cutting ceremonies. The dedications have been set on the following dates:

Roosevelt Elementary: 4 p.m., Wednesday, January 22
Centennial Elementary: 4 p.m., Thursday, January 23
McLane Elementary: 4 p.m., Tuesday, January 28

Olympia School District Superintendent Patrick Murphy, school board members, architects, contractors, and other district staff will be on hand for the celebrations.

The three elementary school remodels are among school improvement projects approved by voters as part of the 2016 school bond.