Last call to influence OSDEF’s strategic priorities!

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 eager to receive feedback from OSD employees via a short survey that will help determine its priorities for the next three years. Take the survey, which closes Friday, May 14, 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 can be directed to OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at

OSD Travel Procedure updated

Country road surrounded by grass

Per audit compliance, all miles traveled must be based on actual miles between departure and destination and documentation must be attached to verify these miles. We have updated our Travel Procedure to clarify when attached documentation is necessary. Charts are provided on the Forms webpage, located on the staff intranet, under the Travel Procedures & Documents section. Any mileage provided in these charts has already been documented for audit purposes, so no attached map is necessary; however, if mileage is not listed on the chart, a map must be attached. This is true for both local and distance travel. Below is the Required Documentation of Mileage, Parking and Toll Expense section of the Travel Procedure with the update highlighted (the last sentence of this article).

Required Documentation of Mileage, Parking and Toll Expense

All requests for reimbursement of mileage, parking and toll charges must be documented on the Travel Expense Reimbursement in Skyward. Employees should obtain itemized receipts for these expenses and submit the receipts with the Travel Expense Reimbursement. If it is not possible to obtain a receipt, then a written explanation should be included on the expense statement.

Reimbursement for mileage will be based on most direct route using actual miles between departure and destination. Miles traveled must be detailed either by utilizing mileage on the district webpage mileage chart; or in cases when the mileage is not listed on the chart, by attaching a map which includes mileage distance from location to location (Mapquest, Google Map).

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 3-7

OEA President Jodi Boe joins Superintendent Patrick Murphy and the board to display a copy of the Teacher Appreciation Week proclamation at the April 22 Olympia School Board meeting.

Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated throughout the Olympia School District Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 7.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy read a proclamation at the April 22 school board meeting designating the week as Teacher Appreciation Week.

The proclamation states in part that teachers serve in partnership with parents to ensure the appropriate education for all children; provide opportunities for students to develop basic skills for success in life and work, connect with the world around them, and experience the realization of high expectations and the fulfillment of steps toward achievable goals; and inspire students to think strategically and to integrate experience and knowledge to form reasoned judgments.

Read the full proclamation

Please take Panorama staff survey by May 21

Laptop computer, coffee cup, pencils, books and plant are on a desk with the computer screen open and ready to be used.

Last fall, employees participated in a survey based on their experience working in their school or department within the Olympia School District. Like the data gathered in fall, the survey linked below will be used to determine the level of progress made and will inform planning going forward as we work towards meeting the district’s Student Outcomes, developed as part of the strategic planning process.

Please take a few moments to complete this staff survey. Survey responses will be anonymous. Use the link below then select your primary work location from the dropdown menu and the survey will begin.

Do your best to answer the questions within the survey in whatever context you work. Your time and feedback are greatly appreciated and will be used to inform planning for the 2021-22 school year at the school and district levels. 

The deadline to complete this family feedback survey is 8 p.m. on Friday, May 21

If you have questions about accessing the survey, please email

Talking points when asked about COVID-19 vaccinations

A medical professional wearing white and blue medical glovers prepares to administer a shot into a woman's arm.

Below are some talking points about the COVID-19 vaccine that employees may find helpful if asked for information by students and/or families, especially about student vaccinations.

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available to people age 16 and older. Since this announcement was made nationally, we have reached out to families via email to make them aware of Pfizer vaccination opportunities in Thurston County. There is also an article in the April issue of the district’s Spotlight on Success newsletter about upcoming student vaccination clinics that OSD is hosting, and a direct email was sent today (May 3, 2021) to families of students age 16 and up. If students approach you for information, you are welcome to share that the vaccine is now available for people 16 and older.
  • You may also remind students that minors (16 and 17 years old) must receive parent or guardian consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This can be done when registering for an appointment or at the time of vaccination. Parents or guardians do not have to be present at the time of vaccination if they signed the consent form online during registration.
  • Information on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.
  • The best source for locating vaccine availability is the Washington State Department of Health Vaccine Locator. For the COVID-19 Information Hotline, dial 1-800-525-0127. Language assistance is available.

New state-mandated payroll tax with inflexible opt-out deadlines; note workshops this week

Open notebook with words "My Plan" at the top and person preparing to write with a pen

On April 21, 2021, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1323, creating a new long-term care trust program. Beginning in January 2022, all employees will be paying an additional payroll tax — 0.58% of all wages. The tax proceeds will be used to fund a public insurance program for long-term services and support. While January 2022 seems a distant time, there are high-stakes earlier deadlines regarding this legislation.

Employees will need to understand the value of the long-term trust, understand the options to use the trust account, and understand the relative cost after paying into the system.

Employees will also need to understand that if they invest in an individual long-term care account or trust, then the legislation offers a one-time window for employees to opt out of the state mandatory payroll tax. The individual long-term care policy must be in place by November 1, 2021. Rules regarding the process to opt out are not yet finalized, so we cannot predict when the opt-out must be in place.

Olympia School District is partnering with NW Benefit Advisors to assist us with the communications and education regarding the new law.

This is one of those times where the stakes are high. All employees of the school district will be subject to the payroll tax, we all need to understand the State’s plan, and the payroll tax and employee options. Excluding the precious weeks of summer, the fall deadlines are right around the corner.

NW Benefit Advisors will conduct workshops to explain the new payroll tax, what options employees have, and important deadlines:

  • Tuesday, May 4  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, May 5  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, May 6 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

NW Benefit Advisors will also conduct workshops to give employees an overview of long-term care insurance, the costs of private insurance, and the deadlines to opt out of the payroll tax:

  • Tuesday, May 11 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, May 12 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, May 13 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

 CLICK Here to access NW Benefit Advisors website with information on:

  1. Attend a workshop.
  2. Find information on House Bill 1323 and Long-Term Care Insurance
  3. Schedule an appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss your personalized plan.

The website will ask for your email address; this is used to verify that you are an employee of the Olympia School District. It is safe to use your district email address.

If you are having troubles accessing the website please email

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker

Person appears to be ready to mark a checklist of items. Next to person doing this is a laptop computer.

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office.

The Accessibility Checker within Microsoft Office is a powerful tool that can be used as a final step in document creation. The steps involved in running the Accessibility Checker differ depending on your operating system, but are quite straightforward. Please note these steps are the same for both Word & PowerPoint.

  • Mac– Go to the Review ribbon and select “Check Accessibility.
  • Windows– Go to the File menu and under Info, select “Check for Issues” and then “Check Accessibility.”

The Accessibility Checker will open on the right side of the screen and will contain a list of issues located within the document. The quick-start guides located on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page cover each of these errors and how to resolve them.

When working with older Word documents, users may receive the error “Cannot check the current file type for accessibility issues.” To resolve this error, go to File & Save As. In the Save As window, select the File Type option and select “Word Document (.docx).” The Accessibility Checker should now be able to run without errors.

Accessible content from Microsoft Word documents can either be copied and pasted directly onto a SchoolMessenger or Schoology page, or exported as an accessible PDF.

As always, if you have any accessibility tips or questions, please feel free to reach out to the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist, Robert Hardy.