Accessibility Tip of the Week: Additional benefits of captioning videos

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the additional benefits of captioning video content. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Note: Robert Hardy is offering a Zoom training this Wednesday, May 13, about captioning videos (see information at end of this post).

Providing accurate captions is a necessary step in making most video content accessible. Like other elements of accessible design though, the benefits of captioning videos extend beyond just accessibility.

Captions within YouTube are translatable into dozens of languages using YouTube’s automatic translation tool. While not imperfect, these automatic translations provide greater access to our content. To enable translations, users can turn on the captions, go to settings, select the captions menu and then select Auto-translate.

YouTube Captions menu - Auto-translate is selected

Captioned videos are also easier for users to find. Google regularly crawls online content for their search results. Traditionally, video content has been very challenging for search engines to parse. By providing captions, Google is able to more accurately index the content, ensuring it shows up in users’ search results.

Captioned videos are also easier to search within. Rather than watch an entire video, users can use the transcript function within YouTube to skim through a video. To open the transcript tool, open the three-dot menu and select Open Transcript. This is particularly helpful when watching step by step guides.

YouTube video menu - Open transcript is selected

Finally, captions themselves are beneficial to everyone. Say, for instance, that you are staying in your home for several weeks with your entire family. Captions enable you, and all of your family members, to watch videos muted. In fact, up to 85% of videos watched on platforms such as Facebook are watched without sound.

If you are interested in posting accessible video content and creating captions using YouTube, you can attend this Wednesday’s (May 13, 2020) Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions workshop:

  • Meeting link
  • Time: 1-2 pm
  • Meeting ID: 913 4627 2957
  • Password: 012344

Thank you for your work in captioning videos and ensuring they are accessible! If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.

Information regarding Notice of Separation from the district

Any employee who will be resigning or retiring from the district will be required to complete a Notice of Separation form. This form will notify the Human Resources and Payroll departments of your decision to leave and will guide them on how to process your benefits and/or retirement upon your exit from the district.

Please note: Employees will still be responsible for submitting a resignation/retirement notice to their supervisor.

The form is located on the staff intranet in the Human Resources section of the Forms page. To access the staff intranet from the Olympia School District website, you must be signed into Google. Go to the Home page of the district website and click Login, then click the large red rectangle “Sign in with Google.”

Fill out the form

Please contact the Human Resources Department with any questions at

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8

Banner from National PTA that says I celebrate My Teacher! Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-8, 2020. #ThankATeacherTeacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated throughout the Olympia School District Monday, May 4 through Friday, May 8.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation at the April 20 school board meeting designating the week as Teacher Appreciation Week.

The proclamation states in part that teachers serve in partnership with parents to ensure the appropriate education for all children; provide opportunities for students to develop basic skills for success in life and work, connect with the world around them, and experience the realization of high expectations and the fulfillment of steps toward achievable goals; and inspire students to think strategically and to integrate experience and knowledge to form reasoned judgments.

Nominations due May 13 for Employee Recognition Awards

Capital High School Special Education Team holding plaque engraved as The Dream. Team

Capital High School Special Education team, one of two winners of the 2018-19 “The DreamTeam” Employee Recognition Award. The District English Language Learner Program Team also won this award last year.

It is that time of year again! We are ready to recognize our employees who make the Olympia School District a special place.

Please consider nominating any of your colleagues for an Olympia School District Employee Recognition Award. We are asking that nominations be submitted by Wednesday, May 13 so that we can officially honor the winners at the Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held as an online Zoom meeting. This annual employee awards tradition has become a great way to honor the hard work of those around you!

Fill out and submit the online nomination form, which is sent to the Communications and Community Relations Department. If you have questions, please email the Communications and Community Relations Department at

Nominations must be received by the Communications and Community Relations Department on or before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13.

Thank you!

Fill out the online nomination form

New Workshop: Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions

Workshop sign

Interested in sharing video content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is now offering a Zoom workshop on ensuring the accuracy of YouTube’s automatically-generated captions.

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

Wednesday, May 6

Wednesday, May 13

If you plan to attend these trainings, please RSVP to Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Who is this week’s Everyday Hero?

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesNow more than ever, let’s hear about all of our Everyday Heroes around the district. 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
Julie Gibbs, Kindergarten Teacher, Madison Elementary School

I would like to nominate Julie Gibbs as an everyday hero. Julie is like the HEART of Madison. She helps bring the staff together. She celebrates our successes and consoles those who are having a hard time. She reaches out to staff members with compassion. If you notice something sweet and anonymous has happened at Madison, you will often find Julie secretly working in the background. Julie’s kindness and generosity make Madison a better place.
Submitted by Lisa Estcourt, Reading Intervention Teacher, Madison Elementary School

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.

CARES Act Guidance from Washington State Health Authority

The Washington State Health Care Authority School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) has asked us to share the following information about the CARES Act with employees:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27, 2020. This federal law expands how employees can use their Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) funds.

Here’s an overview of what changed:

  • The CARES Act removes the requirement that you must have a prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in order to use Medical FSA or HSA funds for these expenses. OTC drugs include cold medicines, anti-inflammatories and other products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date. Keep in mind that the IRS stockpiling rule is still in effect. If you buy more than three identical products in one transaction, you will not be reimbursed.
  • You can now buy menstrual care products using your Medical FSA funds. This includes pads, tampons, cups, and other similar products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date.
  • If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), including consumer-directed health plans (CDHP), the deductible and coinsurance are waived for COVID-19 testing and treatment for telehealth services. Contact your plan for more information about your benefits. This provision began on March 27, 2020 and expires December 31, 2021.

For more information about the CARES Act, visit the following webpages:

Navia Benefit Solutions posted CARES Act FAQs.
HealthEquity created a member hub about the CARES Act for employees.

Paraeducators: ESD Fundamental Course of Study training moves online

Close up of person typing on laptop computer with notebook in the foreground

The Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) training through the ESD has moved online. If you have previously registered for one of the sessions, you will be assigned to the corresponding dates and will receive an email from the ESD with additional information. Please see below for the new dates and times for each session:

Session 1: pdEnroller ID #99608 – Jan. 11 (already completed) & March 14

New online dates to replace March 14

  • Monday, May 11, 9-11 am
  • Tuesday, May 12, 9-11am
  • Wednesday, May 13, 11-2pm
    7 hours

 Session 2: pdEnroller ID #99607 – Feb. 29 (already completed) & April 18

New online dates to replace April 18

  • Monday, May 18, 9-11am
  • Tuesday, May 19, 12-3pm
  • Wednesday, May 20, 11- 1pm
    7 hours

If you are unable to attend your assigned dates, please contact Dianna Avery at the ESD at, or Aja Dale in Human Resources at to register for another date.

The summer session will also be moving online. When dates and times are confirmed, those who have already registered will receive additional information, and communication will be sent out for those who still need to register.
Thank you for your patience during this transition.