EdCamp Oly set 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 21

Quasar Surprise, CTE and science teacher at Avanti High School, asked us to share the following:

What:  a discussion-based “unconference” in the EdCamp format. No keynote speakers, no PowerPoints, no homework. Learn more about EdCamps.

Who:  Secondary and Middle School paras and teachers in the Olympia area.  Others (administrators, TOSAs, etc.) welcome to attend but most participants will likely be teachers.

Where:  Register on PDEnroller — we will be using Zoom.

Why:  We know that educators are craving open dialogue in order to reflect on distance-learning from the past spring and start thinking about the fall (before we get overwhelmed!).  This EdCamp is for teachers by teachers with no agenda or set topics (we do have 2 anchor discussions planned: A Student Panel and Grading).  Bring an idea for a discussion room or just come with an open mind!

Check out our Landing Page for more details.

Spread the word and we hope to see you there!

Virtual Town Halls set on reopening of schools this fall

Virtual-Town-HallsBeginning next week, our district will hold virtual Town Halls to hear feedback from students, staff, families and the community on initial committee recommendations for how learning might look this fall.

The ideas that will be presented are the result of extensive work by two planning teams — one focused on academics, and another on operations. Collectively, the two planning committees were made up of nearly 170 staff, family, student and community members.

As always, our priority in reopening our schools is the health and safety of our students, staff and families. Schools that meet in person will be required to follow the Department of Health’s health and safety guidelines, including requirements around physical distancing (6 feet), face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Given that we do not have space in our classrooms to accommodate all students in our schools while adhering to the state’s health and safety physical distancing guidelines, the following are committee recommendations for reopening schools that will be discussed at the Town Halls listed at the end of this news article:

  1. Implement a hybrid learning model. In this model, students would:
    • Attend school in person two days a week on alternating days (e.g. Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday). Students districtwide would be divided into two groups, with half attending school in person on any one day. The hybrid schedule will allow for fewer students in the building at a time, making it possible to maintain 6-foot physical distancing and meet other state health and safety requirements.
    • Learn remotely on the three days of the week they are not in school. With half of the students attending in person two days and the other half attending in person two other days, that leaves one day where all students would do remote learning. The committee was split on whether that day should be on Wednesday or on Friday. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
  2. Offer families the option to enroll their students in a full-time OSD online distance learning model (not attending school in person).
  3. Have all schools districtwide use one learning platform — “Schoology.” The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recommends that school districts have one learning platform, and we also heard this request from many parents who filled out our recent district surveys. Schoology is a Learning Management System (LMS) currently used extensively in our middle and high schools. This is how teachers communicate assignments and other work with students.
  4. Professional Development for staff. Using a Racial Equity/Culturally responsiveness lens, staff will be trained on 1) Best Practices for online learning and hybrid models, 2) In-person video conferencing, 3) Front-loading activities/resources/projects, 4) Social-Emotional Supports/Trauma-Informed Practices, and 5) Balancing Social-Emotional Learning and Academics to better ensure uniform expectations for students and families across classrooms and schools.
  5. Offer training and supports for families. Families would receive help, for example, with understanding the Schoology learning platform used by their children’s teachers; in-person safe return to school protocols; at-home learning supports such as time management, organization and motivation; and social-emotional support.

There are still many details to be worked out for each of the ideas listed above, including reviewing all of the options with our bargaining partners. We also have small workgroups delving more deeply into the fall reopening plan, including examining how we might meet OSPI’s request to prioritize services for “students furthest from educational justice and those who require (more) in-person services to fulfill their basic education needs…including students with disabilities, English learners, students experiencing homelessness, students experiencing poverty, students of color and other student groups.” This could include an extended schedule for some of our youngest learners. Once the plan is developed, it requires school board approval before it is sent to OSPI.

Your input is crucial to this planning process. There are two town halls that will focus on the elementary level, one during the day and one at night; two town halls that will focus on the middle and high school levels, one during the day and one at night; and one town hall for any students interested in providing feedback. It is not necessary to attend more than one Town Hall per level, as the same information will be repeated. Some Olympia School Board members will be joining the Superintendent at these Town Halls, and there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions.

For those unable to attend the virtual meetings, we welcome you to email your questions or comments about the committee recommendations to: reopeningschools@osd.wednet.edu

You are also welcome to learn more about the planning work to date on the Fall 2020 School Reopening Plans webpage on the district website. There are agendas and meeting summaries from the academic and operational fall contingency planning committees, as well as links to OSD survey results, OSPI school reopening guidance and research articles.

Town Halls: Reopening OSD Schools Fall 2020

Wednesday, July 15; 6 p.m.
Elementary Focus
Zoom link to join the webinar

Thursday, July 16; 6 p.m.
Middle and High Focus
Zoom link to join the webinar

Tuesday, July 21; 1 p.m.
Elementary Focus
Zoom link to join the webinar

Wednesday, July 22; 1 p.m.
Student Feedback Session
Zoom link to join the webinar

Thursday, July 23; 1 p.m.
Middle and High Focus
Zoom link to join the webinar

Submit travel expense reimbursements by August 31

The following is a message from the district Business Office:

Historical OSD procedures, and updates adopted in 2016, require that Travel Expense Reimbursement submittals be submitted within 60 days post-travel. Our district must meet these guidelines to ensure 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. As our budgets become tighter due to constrained resources, the ability to manage budgets and cash flow becomes more important.

In alignment with our travel procedures; we will require travel expense reimbursement be submitted within 60 days post-travel.  This will require prompt submissions of expense reimbursement (in Skyward) for travel expenditures incurred.

In addition to the 60 days post-travel provision, the law requires expenditures for travel be posted in the same fiscal year they are incurred. Therefore, expenditures for the month of June through August 2020 must be submitted in Skyward by August 31, 2020 to be posted to the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Accessibility Workshops offered on July 8 and July 15

Workshop sign

The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible documents and video content.

Creating Accessible Content

This one-hour course is focused on creating accessible documents within Microsoft Word, Google Documents, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides and other platforms. The course will cover the use of heading styles, exporting to PDF, writing effective alternative text and how to correctly format tables.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 2-3 pm
    • Wednesday, July 15: 2-3 pm

Enhancing the Accuracy of 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.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 1-2 pm
      • Meeting link
      • Meeting ID: 977 9167 0567
      • Password: Not required
    • Wednesday, July 15: 1-2 pm

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