Should Parents “Fix” Unhappiness?

Narrow bumpy empty road lined by trees and covered in fall leaves

Guiding your child to handle the ups and downs of life: An OSD School Counselor Presentation

  • April 27, 2021, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Zoom Link

“I just want my child to be happy!” Could it be that we have come to believe happy feelings need to be our baseline and anything short of that is a problem? Consider the possibility of another way of thinking: “I just want my child to get comfortable being uncomfortable”. Learning to navigate the bumpy roads of life requires us to tolerate discomfort.

Join school counselors Denise Hammer and Kris Norelius for presentation three of our FREE parenting series this spring: Should Parents “Fix” Unhappiness? In this session we will challenge ourselves to look at how recognizing and understanding the uncomfortable emotions within ourselves can help our children tolerate their uncomfortable feelings as we guide them with tools to cope with life’s challenges, large and small. This process can be key to raising resilient, confident children!

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating alternatives for complex images

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to provide alternative text for complex images. Please reach out to Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Some images are difficult to describe succinctly. Images such as graphs or flow charts don’t lend themselves to simple interpretation, and can be concerning when approached from an accessibility standpoint.

In actuality, these complex images can be simple to make accessible. Rather than provide an alternative text tag, the author can include additional content alongside their complex image. This additional content not only enhances accessibility, but also improves the user experience overall.


When it comes to graphs or charts, the easiest and most accessible route is to provide a data table alongside the image. Take for example this graph showing the high and low temperatures across a week:

Olympia high and low temps week of 2/13/19 - table included below

While the chart does well to show trends, the true numerical values are locked within the image itself. Including a corresponding data table is particularly helpful in conveying exact figures and ensures the data is accessible to all. 

























Doing this also enables users to copy and paste the data. A live example of this practice can be seen on the district’s 2018 Annual Report.

Flow Charts

Another complex image type is a flow chart. Take for example this flow chart from the Capital High School Course Catalog:

CHS course catalog flow chart example - list version included below

Similar to the graph above, a flow chart can be challenging to describe in paragraph form. What can be included to enhance accessibility? In this case, the answer would be to include the flow chart in list form alongside the graphic. This flow chart could be displayed as:

  • Algebra 1 (required)
    • Geometry (required)
      • 4-year college path options (Meets 3rd math credit)
        • Algebra 2 (C or better in Geometry)
          • IB Discrete (B or better in Alg2)
            • Pre Calculus (B or better in Discrete)
          • Pre Calculus (B or better in Alg2)
            • IB Calculus SL (B or better in Pre Calc)
              • IB Calculus HL (B or better in Calc)
      • Non 4-year college options (Meets 3rd math credit)
        • Financial Algebra (Alg & Geom)
        • Precision / Bicycle Manufacturing (Alg & Geom)
        • Robotics Math (Alg & Geom)

Similar to the chart and table example, this simplified layout also allows for content to be copied and pasted later on.

By providing alternatives in these ways, we can work not only to enhance the accessibility of our content, but also the general usability.

As always, if you have any questions regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy.

Interested in serving on the Olympia School Board?

Board members, wearing face coverings, pictured during a recent in-person board meeting in the Knox 111 Board Room.

Learn about the role of a school board director and get information about the two Olympia School Board seats up for election in the November 2021 General Election during a community meeting on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

People interested in vying for a seat on the school board, as well as those who want to learn more about the role, are encouraged to attend the online meeting from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Zoom (Zoom information is included at the end of this article).

Superintendent Patrick Murphy will share opening remarks, followed by guest speaker Tricia Lubach, director of leadership development with the Washington State School Directors’ Association. Lubach will explain about the role and responsibilities of a school board member. Her presentation will be followed by remarks by Olympia School Board Director Hilary Seidel.

There will be two Olympia School Board director seats on the November 2, 2021 General Election ballot:

  • Director District #3, currently held by Leslie Huff; 4-year term.
  • Director District #5, currently held by Scott Clifthorne; 4-year term.

People interested in vying for a seat on the board may mail, drop off in person or submit their application online to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division. The Elections Division will begin accepting candidate filings by mail on May 3, 2021, and they must arrive at the elections office no later than May 17. Candidates may also fill out and submit an application online during candidate filing week May 17-21, 2021.

For more information about filing for an open seat on the school board, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division website.  Candidates must be at least 18 years old, reside in the district for which they are filing and be a registered voter at the time of filing. There are some judicial exceptions; for more information, contact Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division at (360) 786-5408.

A Primary Election will be held on August 3, 2021, followed by the General Election on November 2, 2021.

Maps of the district’s five director districts, including an interactive map in which community members can type in their address to find their director district, are available on the Thurston Regional Planning Council website.

Zoom Information for April 20 Meeting
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Meeting ID: 816 8236 0766
Passcode: 402578

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Flags lowered to half-staff April 10

Flags at half-staff outside Avanti HS building

Gov. Jay Inslee directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, April 10, 2021 in memory of Bainbridge Island Police Officer Kurt Enget, 49.

Officer Enget died in the line of duty on April 10, 2020.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on April 10 or first thing Monday morning, April 12.

A memorial service will be held at Gateway Fellowship in the city of Poulsbo on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

New version of Return to Work Safety Plan posted on website

Grouping of surgical blue masks

Read the latest version (Version 5.0) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The most current version of the plan is posted on the staff Intranet and on the district website. Be sure to bookmark the link above for easy access. For those who prefer to visit the webpages where it is posted, the plan is shared in the following locations:

The latest update to the plan is:

  • Pages 13-14: These two pages have been updated to include the newest flowcharts from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services regarding information for employees and students who have been vaccinated. No other information has changed from the previous version of our Safety Plan.

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

Flags lowered to half-staff April 7

Pursuant to a message from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Gov. Jay Inslee directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support buildings, remain at half-staff today, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in honor and remembrance of Congressman Alcee Hastings, of Florida.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset today.

April 14 is deadline to submit referrals for high capable services

Do you know a student who:

  • Thinks up unusual ways to solve difficult problems?
  • Generates and comprehends complex and abstract ideas?
  • Exhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectives?
  • Thinks logically and wants things to make sense?
  • Prefers the company of intellectual peers?
  • Is an expert who abstracts beyond the field?

If you answered “yes” to the questions above, please consider referring that student for identification for highly capable services. Referrals may come from the community, teachers and/or parents/guardians. The referral window is open now for student identification for highly capable services and will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Interested K-12 families are welcome to visit our Olympia School District’s Highly Capable Program webpage for complete information regarding identification and services as well as access to the referral forms. Hard copies of referral forms can be found at your student’s school building as well as the Knox Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia. Curious what the steps for identification, and timeline, look like for this process? Details can be found here.

If you have questions, please contact the Highly Capable Program at:

ESD 113 hosts free drive-through COVID-19 testing site

Adult driver and child, both wearing masks, sit in front seat of car to portray a drive-through COVID-19 testing site.

Staff and students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus may be tested for free at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site, which opened in early March.

The testing site is open from 8 a.m. until 12 noon weekdays at the Capital Region Education Service District 113 (ESD 113), 6005 Tyee Dr. S.W. in Tumwater.

Note: At this time, the free testing is open only to school and ESD staff and enrolled students. It is not available to family members, or the general community.

Pre-register online

Participants are encouraged to pre-register online before arriving at the testing site. Parents/guardians who pre-register their student online will also be asked to fill out a permission slip that allows test results to be shared with their student’s school district. This form is available at Capital Region ESD 113’s website and at the testing site.

  • To pre-register visit the ESD 113 website and use your school specific registration link.
  • COVID-19 tests will be processed by the Curative lab. The lab will contact participants by email or text with test results in approximately 3 days.
  • Please do not report to work or in-person learning/activities if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting your results.

Who can be tested?

  • The test is available to students and staff — both those learning remotely and those learning in person on school campuses.
  • The test used at the site is most effective in people who are being tested for COVID-19 within 14 days of the onset of symptoms. View COVID-19 symptoms on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • The test is recommended for ages 4 and up. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must accompany you to the test.
  • The test is available regardless of citizenship/immigration status.
  • Participants do not need to have health insurance to be tested, and no one will receive a bill for their test. If you have health insurance and provide that information, the lab will bill your insurance for the cost of testing.
  • People who do not meet the above criteria but want to be tested for COVID-19 should contact their health care provider or one of the testing locations on the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) website.

What to expect at the testing site

  • Do not eat, drink, chew gum, use mouthwash or smoke once you have arrived at the site. Doing these activities within 20 minutes of your test could affect your results.
  • You must wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when visiting the site.
  • This is a self-swab testing site. The entire process takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.
  • This is an oral saliva test; participants should not experience any discomfort. Participants are given instructions on how to properly swab their mouths to administer the test under observation while in their vehicles.
  • Go to the ESD 113 website to review FAQs and watch a video on the testing process.
  • The site is a drive-through location only.

What happens if a student or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms after their arrival at school?

  • Students will proceed to the Isolation Room. School staff will call a parent. The school health professional will offer the COVID-19 test for the student once the parent arrives and provides written permission.
  • Staff will notify their supervisor and leave campus (follow the flowchart protocols).

The free diagnostic testing is made possible as part of “Learn to Return” — a state-funded program in collaboration between the Gates Foundation, Washington State Department of Health, state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Curative, and the non-profit Health Commons Project. The program is designed to keep students and staff as safe and healthy as possible regardless of whether they are in remote or in-person learning.

April 26 is deadline for 2020-21 OSDEF grant requests

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

Fourth quarter OSDEF Teaching & Learning Grant Requests are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 26. They will be considered for approval by the OSDEF Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 11. All applicants will be notified of their grant’s status by no later than Friday, May 14.

Grants are available in amounts of up to $1,500 in the following categories: Closing the Opportunity Gap, Creativity and the Arts, Cultivating Engaged Citizens, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Meet a Need, and Mental Health Initiative.

Criteria, instructions and applications can all be found here. If you received a grant last year, you must submit a Post-Grant Report prior to being considered for grant funding this year.

2021-2022 Grant Requests will be accepted beginning in early August. More details will be announced before the end of the current school year.

Questions? Please reach out to OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at info@osdef.og.