Principal’s Emergency Fund virtual breakfast fundraiser is Thursday, September 24

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

The annual Principal’s Emergency Fund (PEF) fundraiser breakfast is virtual this year and includes both live and prerecorded interviews from 8-8:30 a.m. Thursday, September 24.

The breakfast raises money for the PEF, which provides every OSD principal resources to help meet urgent basic needs of low-income students and their families.

The livestream of the Foundation’s first-ever online event is being emceed by King 5 News South Bureau Chief Drew Mikkelsen, and there is musical entertainment by the Olympia-based Nana’s Pant Suit band.

Participants will hear from:

  • Families whose lives have been improved because of the PEF;
  • Principals and counselors about why, in the face of COVID-19, this resource is more critical than ever; and
  • This year’s “Hecks’ Heroes”: Kevin Stormans of Stormans, Inc., and Olympia High School student Nidhi Krishna Kumar. The award is named in honor of PEF founders Paula and Denny Heck and recognizes people and organizations that go above and beyond to help students and families with urgent basic needs in the Olympia School District.

For more information and the link to the live broadcast on YouTube, visit the OSDEF website.

Nominate an Everyday Hero

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. We encourage staff 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.

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.

New webpage features Learning Model Status

Learning Model Status Infographic showing Levels 1-5 of Distance, Hybrid and In-person learning.

The Olympia School District started the 2020-21 school year with a 100% distance learning model with plans for a leveled approach to in-person learning.

On September 21, 2020, the district moved to Level 2 when it began in-person learning for small groups of no more than five students served by the district’s Developmental Learning Classroom (DLC) and Life Skills programs. More than 110 students in elementary, middle and high school are attending school in person at 10 OSD schools.

As public health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the Olympia School District dial will be a regular part of our guidance as we may have to move back and forth from level to level throughout the year. This information will be updated as new data and guidelines become available.

These levels will be determined by the impacts of a changing health situation (e.g. number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days in Thurston County), available resources, and direction from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Gov. Jay Inslee, and Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS).

Helpful resources in the decision-making process include:

Learn more specifics about the five learning levels on the district website

Read latest PHSS guidance from Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek (September 23, 2020)

Are you interested in sharing video content with the community?

Video camera filming stage event

Creating and sharing online video content can be an excellent way to engage with students and their families. Olympia School District staff are encouraged to use YouTube to host, caption and share video content. Here are the necessary steps to start this process:

1.   Create A YouTube Account

The first step to creating videos is to create a YouTube account, which is often referred to as a channel. Staff are required to use their district Google credentials to create an account. Once the account is created, it must be registered with ArchiveSocial for archival purposes. Our Communications and Community Relations Department has put together a quick screencast demonstrating the account creation and archival process.

2.   Record your video

Once you have created and registered your account, you are ready to record video. The Olympia School District provides a helpful Google Chrome extension called Screencastify which is available to all OSD staff. Screencastify simplifies the recording and uploading of videos to YouTube. Our Technology Department has compiled this helpful guide on installing and using Screencastify.

When recording your video, it is important to have clear audio. The clearer the audio, the easier the captioning process will be. Audio quality can be improved by using a dedicated microphone or headset and by reducing background noise.

3.   Upload and caption your video

Screencastify users can upload their video to YouTube using the tool itself. YouTube offers three tiers of video privacy – private, unlisted and public. Generally, unlisted is the preferred option as the video won’t appear in YouTube search results, but can be linked to directly. More information on the different privacy options is available in the blog.

Once the video is uploaded, YouTube will attempt to generate automatic captions. This process can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the length of the video being uploaded. While these automatic captions are phenomenal in that they remove the need to type out speech verbatim, they are lacking in terms of punctuation, grammar and accuracy. Before distributing the video, the captions likely need to be edited.

Steps on enhancing the accuracy of automatically generated captions can be found on the District’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

4.   Share your video

Once the captioning process is complete, you are ready to share your video. To get the shareable URL navigate to your video on YouTube and click on the ‘Share’ button directly under your video content and click ‘Copy’. Unlisted videos may use this copied, shareable link to direct users to the video via email or on a webpage.

When sharing your video content on other platforms, it is crucial to also include the captions from YouTube. Linking directly to the YouTube video negates this need, but if a video is uploaded to another platform, the captions should be uploaded too. Captions can be downloaded from within the YouTube caption editing tool.

That’s all there is to it!

While the process of creating, uploading and captioning a video can seem daunting, the tools available to OSD staff enable an efficient workflow. If you have questions about creating video content, please reach out to the Communications and Community Relations Department. If you have questions or comments regarding captioning or other elements of accessibility, please reach out directly to Robert Hardy, the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist. We are here to help!

New resources added to district website

Magnifying glass with words "Frequently Asked Questions" in the center of the glass

Earlier this month we announced some new webpages on our OSD website designed to help students and families get answers to questions about technology, as well as locate resources in the community for assistance with groceries/meals, Internet/phone, counseling, talking with children about COVID-19, and more.

Both the Technology Family Resource Center and the Community Resources for Youth and Families pages have had numerous updates since they were launched. Be sure to visit them to help answers commons questions from students and families. Also, if you have suggestions for information that you think families would find helpful on these or other pages on our website, please email us at

Register to vote for November 3 General Election

American flag waving on a staff

Thurston County residents may register to vote online, by mail or in person for the November 3, 2020 General Election.

While there are no Olympia School District measures or candidates on the November election ballot, our district regularly shares election information with the community, including how to register to vote. Election ballots are scheduled to be mailed on October 8.

Following are voter registration deadlines for the upcoming General Election:

  • October 26, 2020: Deadline to register to vote or update your current voter registration by any means other than in person.
  • November 3, 2020: Register to vote or update your voter registration in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day November 3. In-person voter registration is done between now and October 13 at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. S.W., Bldg. 1, Room 118 in Olympia. Beginning on October 14, you may register to vote in person at the Thurston County Elections Division’s remote drive-thru location on the South Puget Sound Community College Mottman campus, 2011 Mottman Rd S.W., Olympia. For Voting Center hours of operation, please visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division website.

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. You may also call (360) 786-5408 or email

More dates added for teacher webpage training and social media workshop

Line up of computers in use on a work table

Registration is open for staff interested in participating in the OSD Teacher Webpage Training and/or OSD Social Media Workshop. Staff may use Tech PD for these virtual training opportunities.

OSD Teacher Webpage Training

This virtual training is for OSD teachers interested in creating, editing and curating content for a teacher website on their school webpage.

We have one new Zoom Teacher Webpage training scheduled on Wednesday, September 23 from 5-7 p.m. Details with the necessary Zoom information is in PDEnroller. Please sign up for this training in PDEnroller prior to its start so everything is properly set up for each user. Should you need additional information, contact Conor Schober at

OSD Social Media Workshop

Is your school officially represented on social media? If not, let’s fix that!

A Social Media Workshop is scheduled online for Thursday, September 24 from 5-6 p.m.

In the ever-changing world of social media, it can be daunting when considering what social media platforms to choose to best reach your families. Don’t be dismayed, it’s really quite simple and unquestionably worth your time and effort.

Give us an hour of your time and come sit down as we delve into the following “Social Media Tips” when managing a school or district-related social media account:

  • Why do we need to promote our school? We’re doing fine!
  • Getting approval from your Administrator
  • How to select the social media platform to best reach your audience
  • Setting up your accounts (using district email)
  • Checking student permissions (when publishing students names/photos)
  • How to best promote your new social media account
  • Frequency of posting: Creating a social media calendar
  • Creating engagement: Like, Follow and Share
  • How to produce consistent, easily digestible content
  • Finding your “voice” and “tone”

Our hope is that by the time this workshop wraps up you will feel much more comfortable opening up a social media account that represents your school community. This includes accounts for a school, athletic team, club, program or classroom. You will be amazed at the number of families you reach that were not previously reached through your school website (or teacher page), robocalls, newsletters, email and flyers.

With a consistent posting schedule, your engagement will soar. You will have a brand new way to communicate with students, families and our community which prioritizes content pushed out through social media. There are so many great stories to tell throughout our district, don’t be afraid of using this unique outlet to bring yours to the forefront!

Details with the necessary Zoom information is in PDEnroller. Please sign up for this training in PDEnroller prior to its start so everything is properly set up for each user. Should you need additional information, contact Conor Schober at

Newest version of Return to Work Safety Plan is posted on website

Read the latest version (Version 3.1) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The plan is posted on the staff Intranet, so be sure to sign into Google to access the file, which is located under Departments, Safety & Risk Management. A copy of the plan is also posted on the district Internet site on the Support Services Department webpage.

Please remember to follow all safety and health protocols outlined in the plan.

School board changes meeting dates starting October 8

OSD Log of Capitol building with heading Board Meeting overlays a photo the Knox 111 Administrative Center building. The building street address is also on the graphic: 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506.

The Olympia School Board voted on September 14 to move regular board meetings to the second and fourth Thursday of each month beginning on October 8, 2020.

Regular board meeting start times will remain at 6:30 p.m. online via Zoom until further notice. Information on how to join the meeting, including the Zoom link, is posted on the district website at least 24 hours before the meeting. All meetings are recorded with live captioning. Video recordings are posted on the district website several days after each meeting.

The public is encouraged to attend school board meetings, and time is set aside for public comment near the start of each regularly-scheduled meeting. Meeting agendas outlining the topics scheduled to be addressed are available in advance on the district website.

Information about how to sign up for public comment or to email/mail the board a public comment is posted on the Communicating with the Board webpage.

The new board meeting dates for the 2020-21 school year are included on the OSD one-page school calendar on the district website, the 2020-21 School Year Calendar webpage, and the Board Meeting Schedule webpage. They are also included on the OSD Google Calendar.