Reasonable assurance letters to be sent to specific classified employees by June 19

Human Resources will be issuing reasonable assurance letters to classified employees that meet the following criteria:

  • Your work calendar has less than 260 work days per year
  • You have a continuing position for the 2020-2021 school year

Letters will be issued via Skyward no later than Friday, June 19, 2020. Classified employees will need to check their OSD email for notification on when their letter is available for review and signature. Once available, employees need to log in to Employee Access on Skyward. There will be a pop-up with a link to the letter and instructions for each step.

If you plan to resign or retire prior to the 2020-21 school year, please complete the Notice of Separation form and send it to the Human Resources department. Please note: the employee is still responsible for notifying the administrator.

For questions, please contact:

Laura Emmil
Classified Contracts Coordinator (Elementary, Transportation & Knox Paras)

Aja Dale
Classified Contracts Coordinator (Secondary Paras)

Stephanie Brownell
Contracts Specialist (Transportation, Maintenance, Grounds & Food Service)

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Guides available on the district website

Cluster of wooden Scrabble-like tiles that spell out LEARN

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about accessibility resources available on the district website. 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 for assistance.

OSDEF Teaching and Learning Grant requests open August 3

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneathThe Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) will be moving Teaching & Learning Grants to a quarterly cycle from a monthly cycle beginning this fall. This will allow the Foundation more time to thoughtfully review grant requests.

Important Teaching & Learning Grants dates for 2020-21:

  • Grant Request Cycle Opens: Monday, Aug. 3, 2020
  • Q1 Grant Request Due Date: Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 (by 5 p.m.)
  • Q1 Grant Request Notification Date: By no later than Friday, Oct. 16, 2020
  • Q2 Grant Request Due Date: Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 (by 5 p.m.)
  • Q2 Grant Request Notification Date: By no later than Friday, Dec. 11, 2020
  • Q3 Grant Request Due Date: Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 (by 5 p.m.)
  • Q3 Grant Request Notification Date: By no later than March 12, 2021
  • Q4 Grant Request Due Date: Monday, April 26, 2021 (by 5 p.m.)
  • Q4 Grant Request Notification Date: By no later than May 14, 2021

Any other changes to the process will be noted on the OSDEF website by Aug. 3.

If you received a grant in 2019-20 and wish to apply for a grant in 2020-21, your request cannot be considered until you have submitted a Post-Grant Report for your 2019-20 project.

Questions? Contact OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson

Fall 2020 planning is underway

color-draw-colored-pencils-mirroring-37539Planning is underway to address the question on many people’s minds: What will fall 2020 look like in our schools?

The Olympia School Board will hold a work session on Monday, June 15, 2020 to discuss work underway. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Zoom, and the community is welcome to attend the online session. The Zoom link and other details about how to connect to this meeting will be shared on the district website closer to the meeting.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy shared some of the ongoing planning efforts in the May issue of the district’s Spotlight on Success newsletter. In that message, the superintendent noted that while we can’t say definitively how the structure will look, as there are still too many unknowns, we can say that it almost assuredly won’t be business as usual. 

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has put together a task force to talk about how schools might operate this fall. That group, which includes several OSD employees, has looked at a continuum of possibilities, including a continuation of the distance learning model, an on-campus learning model with physical distancing protocols in place that warrant altered schedules, or perhaps a combination of the two. Time will tell as state leaders and health officials continue to track COVID-19 cases locally and statewide, and determine the pace at which sites can reopen. 

In the meantime, Olympia has formed two planning teams to begin mapping out needs for various scenarios this fall. One of the groups is addressing academic needs, and the other is looking at how we could safely operate school inside our physical buildings, even if only for a limited number of staff and/or students. These same groups are also planning ways to safely gather and distribute materials going into the summer. Some students and parents are helping educators with this planning work, and we will share ways the entire community can be engaged as we move forward. As always, we will continue to follow guidance from the governor, health departments and education officials.

Creating Accessible Content workshop offered June 10

Numerous computers in what appears to be a computer lab or professional development class

Interested in sharing online content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible content in Word, Docs, PowerPoint, Slides, SchoolMessenger and Schoology.

Attendees will learn the role of accessibility within document creation and how to incorporate it into an efficient workflow.

The next workshop is Wednesday, June 10 from 2-3 p.m

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


Congratulations to our newest Everyday Heroes; let us know who we should feature next!

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 Heroes
OSD Teachers, Principals and Child Nutrition Services Employees

I’d like to nominate ALL our OSD teachers, principals and Child Nutrition Services for Everyday HERO! These past few months have been a whirlwind of learning how to teach our students online. I want to say you have all done amazing. I am proud of all the hard work and dedication you have all put in to support our students. I’m shouting whoop whoop to you all!
Submitted by Amy Long, Paraducator, McLane 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.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Installing and Using Grackle

Grackle Docs logo

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to install and use Grackle. 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.

Grackle is a powerful add-on for Google Docs that acts as both an accessibility checker and a PDF exporter. Available to all Olympia School District employees, Grackle is, in many ways, the shortcut to creating accessible PDFs.

Installing Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Get add-ons
  3. Click the magnifying glass and search for Grackle.
  4. Select the + button

Running Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Grackle Docs > Launch. Grackle will launch on the right side of your document.
  3. Select Sign In with Google and grant Grackle permissions to access your account.

When Grackle is launched, it will scan your document for accessibility issues. A complete list of Grackle errors and solutions can be found in the Google Docs Quick Start guide on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page. When you have corrected an error, select Re-Check to verify the issue has been resolved.

Exporting to PDF

Once all accessibility issues have been addressed, an accessible PDF can be exported from Grackle. Simply select Export to PDF to begin the process. Users may choose to be notified via email once the corresponding PDF has been created. Grackle will also store a copy of the accessible PDF within your Google Drive.

PDFs created using Grackle are accessible and are ready to be posted to the district’s web platforms.

Thank you for your work in creating accessible documents. 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.