Retirement benefit solicitation emails are common this time of year

Black and grey digital device with icon for mail zoomed inRecently you may have received an email from one or more outside vendors stating that as an Olympia School District employee you are eligible to meet with a representative regarding retirement benefit questions. These types of solicitation emails are commonly sent to organizations at the end of the school year and offer advising services about state, federal and individual retirement benefit questions.

Emails such as these are not from the Olympia School District, even though the subject heading may reference Olympia School District employees.

The Olympia School District does not endorse one retirement planner/firm over another. In addition, the district has not, and will not share information with a firm. Your email address is likely listed on our website, and we believe that the firms search our website for the purpose of solicitations. The district has not submitted a list of employees and email addresses as part of a public disclosure request.

Please contact Tonya Palmer, payroll supervisor, if you have questions or additional concerns at

Department of Retirement Systems reduces customer service hours in July

Laptop and alarm clock on a white tableThe Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) will have reduced customer service availability in July due to mandatory furloughs of team members and high seasonal volumes of retirement processing.

  • DRS will be closed on the following dates: July 2, 10, 17 and 24, 2020.
  • DRS will be available for customer service questions via phone calls (1-800-547-6657) and emails on the following Mondays: June 29 and July 6, 13 and 20, 2020.
  • Due to COVID-19, DRS remains closed to in-person customer visits and onsite services.
  • Online services are still available. As always, customers can apply for retirement online.
  • While most DRS team members are now working remotely, we continue to process retirement applications and benefit payments per the usual schedule.
  • DRS has suspended in-person retirement planning workshops scheduled around the state and replaced them with live online webinars covering the same topics.
  • DRS is conducting all job interviews and skills assessments online.
  • DRS continues to monitor and promote health and safety for its team members, who are regularly updated on COVID-19 developments and best practices for slowing the spread of germs.

SEBB offers opportunity in July to change some benefits effective August 1, 2020

Stethoscope with heart-shaped center designSEBB understands that the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed your health care needs. In light of this, from July 1 through July 31, 2020, SEBB employees will have a limited open enrollment opportunity to change some of their SEBB benefits effective August 1, 2020.  These changes can be made through your SEBB account.

The changes that employees can make are the following:

  • Enroll in Medical if they are currently enrolled ONLY in dental and vision
  • Add eligible dependents to their medical coverage
  • Increase or decrease their Medical FSA or DCAP annual elections
  • Enroll in a Medical FSA or DCAP for the rest of the 2020 calendar year (if eligible for these benefits)

If you would like more information about this one-time opportunity, please visit the SEBB Limited Open Enrollment website.

If you have any questions, please send them to

Take the Fall School Reopening – Staff Feedback Survey

Line of sharp colored pencils with reflectionWe are seeking input from all OSD employees to assist in Fall 2020 school reopening plans. As our planning advances, the district will continue to follow guidance from the governor, health departments and education officials.

Please take a few moments to complete the Fall School Reopening  – Staff Feedback Survey.

Survey results will be shared with district leadership and fall reopening planning committees to help inform work going forward. This survey closes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Thank you for your feedback during this planning process. A separate family survey will be emailed to all OSD guardians early next week.

Take the staff feedback survey

View the latest update to the COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan

close-up-of-face-masks-4197562The latest version of the COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan 2.2 is posted on the staff intranet on the Safety & Risk Management page. As you may recall, we emailed employees a copy of earlier versions of the plan last month. Since then, the plan has been updated to reflect the latest guidance from local and/or state health, education and government officials.

Please reference the staff intranet for the latest version of the plan. 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.”

View the COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan 2.2

Everyday Heroes – hint, it’s graduation time!

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 Heroes
Capital High School Staff

I would like to nominate the entire staff at Capital High School for the outstanding job they did putting on the 2020 Graduation and Parade. The year ended abruptly for our students and the seniors missed numerous graduation traditions. The staff did an amazing job giving them an incredible send-off and started what could be a new tradition for CHS! As a parent, I couldn’t have been happier and as a CHS staff member, I couldn’t be prouder!

Go Cougs!

Submitted by Kathy Cognasso, Athletic Secretary, Capital High 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.

So you want to learn more…

Person typing on a laptop computerAs you head into summer, you may have an interest in continuing to explore and learn about digital platforms and distance learning. Below you will find opportunities for summer self-directed PD courses for 2020-21 PD pay and clock hours. Below that you will find Padlets with curated articles, videos, social media groups and websites that will help you to learn more about each tool. Feel free to comment on or add to the resources on each Padlet. Each column on the Padlet may be scrolled independently. Click the + at the bottom of the columns to add additional resources and ideas for your colleagues.

Register on pdEnroller for self-paced courses for clock hours and 2020-21 compensation:

Learn more about instructional tech tools and approaches:

Learn about plans for reopening school this fall on new district webpages

Students stack red plastic cups in tower with help from teacherOlympia has formed two planning teams to address reopening school in fall 2020. One of the groups is addressing academic needs, and the other is looking at how we could safely operate school inside our physical buildings. As always, we will continue to follow guidance from the governor, health departments and education officials.

To learn about the committee work, including a list of committee members,  meeting agendas/minutes, documents shared, and links to research and reports, visit the new Fall 2020 School Reopening Plans webpage.