Help determine OSDEF’s priorities for next three years via short survey

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

The Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) is seeking feedback from OSD employees via a short survey that will help determine OSDEF’s priorities for the next three years. OSDEF exists to support educators and your students, so your input is critical! Take the survey here.

This particular survey is for OSD employees only. A variety of other stakeholders, including students and families, will also be consulted throughout the process.

Questions about the survey or OSDEF’s strategic planning process? Contact OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at

Learn more about PayActiv

Payactiv flyer with an image of a cell phone offering employees to get an extra $20 for signing up with Payactiv and making a first transfer of earned wages to a card or bank account by April 14, 2021. Heading says, "Give it a try, we know you'll love it."

In last week’s blog, we shared with employees about PayActiv, a new option to get your pay when you need it prior to payday at the end of the month.

The vendor has since sent us information sharing that employees are eligible to get an extra $20 when they sign up with Payactiv and make their first transfer of Earned Wages to a card or bank account by April 14, 2021. PayActiv is also working with KOFE that can assist with Financial Planning.

Learn more about PayActiv by visiting the benefits webpage on the staff intranet. Be sure to log in to your Google account to access the staff intranet.

Congrats to our newest Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

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 are our newest honorees:

Everyday Heroes
Reeves Middle School Principal Aaron Davis, Assistant Principal Karen Zarate and Administrative Professional Brandi Sorem

We would like to nominate our Reeves Middle School Administrators, Aaron Davis and Karen Zarate, and their assistant, Brandi Sorem, as Everyday Heroes for their exceptional leadership and unwavering support of ALL staff during the last 12 months of COVID unknowns. During this time we are fortunate to have this team on our side. 

Our Reeves administration has really centered the conversation around the whole person’s needs — for staff, students, and families. This includes bringing members of our Reeves community supplies, food vouchers, scheduling individual family check-ins with advisory groups multiple times this year, and allowing staff adequate accommodations to meet their own personal and family needs for safety during this time. All of this while juggling schedule changes, parent emails and phone conversations, staff questions, and their own home lives. 

At Reeves, it is said, “If better is possible, good is not enough.” Our administrators don’t just speak the words, they act on them.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you and are so incredibly fortunate to be working with everyday heroes like you. 
Submitted by Stefanie Ramsay-Werts, Reeves Middle School Arts and ELA Teacher, on behalf of the Reeves Middle School staff

Everyday Hero
Phyllis Price, Nurse, Garfield Elementary School

Phyllis has worked super hard the last year and stayed in person pretty much the whole year. She filled in at Hansen and helped organize over there when they had kids start to return before Garfield did. Phyllis, like many other district nurses have volunteered for the vaccine clinics and also the clinics that are not through the district. She has been approached and contacted by many of the staff and even other staff members not even at Garfield to help them with getting vaccinated even on the weekends. 

At Garfield, Phyllis is here working extremely hard to keep the students and staff safe. She is always thinking about what works best and what needs to be improved. I know I can speak for most of the staff here, that we are so very thankful for her here. 
Submitted by Tiffany Kulseth, Health Room Assistant, Garfield Elementary

Everyday Heroes
OSD Communications and Communications Department

Our Communications team deserves special recognition for the work they do each and every day, mostly at the eleventh hour, to provide updated accessible documentation and videos to our staff and community. It seems just as we are finalizing information around our response to the pandemic the information changes. We are always met with a “how can I help?” attitude and a true customer service approach to our needs. The Comm team helps us craft or record the message and ensure we make it accessible to those who need those supports. They do this work quickly, expertly and without expectation of acknowledgement. We feel very fortunate to have them in our corner.
Submitted by Executive Director of Operations Frank Wilson

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: Creating true lists and lists without bullets

Empty to-do list

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to create true lists in a digital document. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Underlying each digital document is a programmatic structure that is critical for users of assistive technologies. If elements such as lists are only created visually, without using the appropriate tools, this programmatic structure becomes inaccurate, creating confusion for many users.

The programmatic accompaniment is particularly important when it comes to lists, as the list would otherwise appear as a collection of very short paragraphs. There are two list types available to content authors: unordered and ordered lists. An unordered, or bulleted list, is the most common, and can be used in a wide variety of applications such as shopping or to-do lists. An ordered list uses numbers rather than bullet points and is frequently used to describe the steps in a process.

Both list types can be created easily within Microsoft Office, Google Docs or other software suites. Simply select either the bulleted or numbered list option from the main ribbon:

Microsoft Word screenshot. The home ribbon is active and the bulleted and numbered list options are highlighted.

By selecting these options, content authors ensure their documents have the correct programmatic accompaniment and can be understood by everyone in the community.

Lists without bullets

Sometimes, a list structure is required, but the visual bullets aren’t desired. Thankfully, both Microsoft Word and Google Docs allow for a bulleted list to be created without visual bullets:

Microsoft Word:

  1. Create your bulleted list using the steps described above.
  2. Highlight the bulleted list and select the down arrow beside the bulleted list option. Select Define New Bullet.
  3. The Customize Bulleted List menu will open. Under Bullet Character, select the blank space. This will replace the bullets within your list with blank spaces, creating a programmatic list without the accompanying visual elements.

Google Docs:

  1. Create a bulleted list using the steps described above.
  2. Highlight the list and then go to Format > Bullets & numbering > List options > More Bullet. This will open the Insert Special Characters menu.
  3. Click where Symbol is listed and change it to Format & Whitespace.
  4. Select the top leftmost blank square. This will replace the bullets within your list with blank spaces, creating a programmatic list without the accompanying visual elements.

If you have questions or tips regarding this or other accessibility concerns, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Update on latest vaccine survey and district-sponsored clinics

This is a quick update on district sponsored vaccine clinics, and on community clinics. Thank you to all who submitted their answers to the March 22 vaccine survey. Based on your answers we have canceled the March 26 vaccine clinic, which would have been a 1st dose clinic with the Moderna vaccine. The vast majority of respondents have obtained at least their first dose of the vaccine; several who have not obtained a first dose are waiting for the Pfizer or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.

The district’s vaccine provider will continue to seek a set of the Pfizer or Johnson vaccine, but of course, do not wait for a district clinic as providers have no choice in the manufacturer doses they receive. We will continue to provide links to upcoming clinics in this weekly employee blog, and based on March 22 survey results will “direct-market” to employees who are seeking a specific vaccine. (Our March 22 survey will remain open, so please feel free to submit answers in the next few days. Click to complete the survey)

The 2nd dose clinic associated with the March 7 1st dose clinic, is scheduled for Monday April 5, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Olympia High School (Commons entrance). If you received your first dose on March 7, you should have received an email with a link to schedule your appointment at this clinic. We are aware that several individuals who received a vaccine on March 7 will not be available on April 5.

  • If you received your 1st dose on March 7, and cannot be at the April 5 2nd dose clinic, please check with your health care provider for any options for a 2nd dose, or look for opportunities at your local pharmacy. Keep the vaccine card with you, as the pharmacist may want to see this card to administer the 2nd dose. You received the Moderna vaccine, so you must receive a 2nd dose of Moderna also.

The 2nd dose clinic associated with the March 19 1st dose clinic, is tentatively scheduled for Friday April 16, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. You will receive an email to sign up for your 2nd dose appointment once we confirm the date and time, and get closer to April 16.

If you or an adult family member would like to volunteer at our upcoming April 5 and/or April 16 clinics, please email In the event that extra doses are available, volunteers can sometimes be vaccinated at the end of the clinic (volunteers would always be prioritized by age, from oldest to youngest). This would be complex, because the volunteer would be receiving a 1st dose with no corresponding upcoming 2nd dose clinic, but we never want a dose to go to waste.

Other Vaccine Clinics:

  • Appointments may still be available for a Friday March 26 clinic that runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at South Puget Sound Community College. This is a 1st dose Moderna clinic for eligible residents in Thurston County. Please read the eligibility statements and identification requirements, on the website before scheduling an appointment. Click here to schedule an appointment for Friday’s clinic at SPSCC.
  • Appointments may still be available for the drive-through clinic on Sunday, March 28 at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. This is a 1st dose Moderna clinic for eligible residents in Thurston County.  Please read the eligibility statements, and identification requirements, on the website before scheduling an appointment. Click here to schedule an appointment for Sunday’s clinic at the Thurston County Fairgrounds.
  • You can also search for upcoming clinics through PrepMod at:

Flags lowered to half-staff until March 29

Gov. Jay Inslee hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff immediately, in honor of the victims “who tragically lost their lives on March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado.”

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Saturday, March 27, 2021 or first thing Monday morning, March 29, 2021.

Flags lowered to half-staff through Monday, March 22

Gov. Jay Inslee hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff immediately “in remembrance of the victims who lost their lives in the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 16, 2021 in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.”

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Monday, March 22, 2021.

Note: We publish all flag lowering notices on our district website as soon as they are issued, and we also include in the staff blog so that staff members are aware of why flags are at half-staff and can share information with families or students who may ask questions.

Register for OSD Social Media Workshop and Teacher Webpage/Web Editor training

Line up of computers in use on a work table

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

OSD Social Media Workshop
Wednesday, March 31 from 5-6 p.m.
Sign up in PDEnroller

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

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 and accessible content
  • The “How-To’s” of video production and posting
  • How to properly add and edit closed captions to your video 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 are 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

Teacher Webpage and Web Editor Training
Thursday, April 1 from 5-6:30 p.m
Sign up in PDEnroller

This training is for Olympia School District teachers and web editors interested in creating, editing and curating content for a teacher website or department webpage.

Details with the necessary Zoom information are 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

Families may request free meal boxes for spring break by March 29

Two OSD lunch staff pose in the kitchen food prep and serving area

Please remind OSD families they may request a free seven-day supply of breakfast and lunch for each of their students during spring break by completing a form at a current school or OSD community meal distribution site, or by emailing the Child Nutrition Services department. Forms are due by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 29.

Seven-day meal boxes will be distributed between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, April 5. Families from schools throughout the district may choose one of the following four school locations to pick up the free meal boxes: Hansen, Centennial, Garfield or Roosevelt elementary schools.

All students and youth up to age 18 are eligible to order the free meal boxes.

To reserve a seven-day box of meals for the week of April 5, please obtain a request form from any of the current school and community meal distribution sites, open weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meal box request form is also located on the OSD website. Return the form to any meal site by Monday, March 29. An interactive map showing the locations and driving directions to the current meal distribution sites is posted on the district website.

Families may also email the district’s Child Nutrition Services department at Be sure to include in your email:

  • How many students/youth in your family need a seven-day box of meals.
  • Where you will pick up the seven-day supply of meals (Hansen, Centennial, Garfield or Roosevelt elementary school).
  • Please email this information, and a phone number where we can contact you, by 4 p.m. on March 29, 2021.

Download the spring break meal box request form here.

Oly Bear preschool registration March 22-April 2 for OSD employees

Oly Bear Preschool registration is from March 22-April 2, 2021 for OSD employees and their families.

Details about the preschool, including ages served, tuition and more is on the OlyBear webpage on the Olympia High School website. For more information, contact Preschool Director Shelly Wilson at or (360) 596-7021.

To register, download, fill out and return the Oly Bear registration form to Oly Bear preschool located at Olympia High School.