Congratulations to Employee Recognition Award winners honored at board meeting

Congratulations to each of the 2021 Olympia School District Employee Recognition Award winners honored at the May 27 school board meeting.

The annual awards program is designed to recognize employees from throughout the district in several categories. All employees districtwide were invited to send in nominations, and a screening committee reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

Superintendent Murphy presents award plaque to Melissa Wood.
The Champion of Differences: Melissa Wood, English Language Specialist and Department Chair (Jefferson, Marshall, Reeves and Washington middle schools).
Superintendent Murphy presents plaque to Paul Rae
The Coach: Paul Rae, Teacher, Coach and Department Head, Olympia High School
Superintendent Murphy presents plaque to RES LEAP and Academy Team members
The Dream Team: Roosevelt Elementary School LEAP and Academy Team (team members joined the board recognition in-person or on Zoom). The team includes Jessica Pickert, Debbie Haddon, Jesse Garner, Sonja Moniodis, Emily Dixon, Heidi Brown-Ordillas, Mark Prince, Haley Buono, Landry Gajkowski, and Dave Marsh
Jane Lane holds up award plaque for The Unsung Hero
The Unsung Hero: Jane Lane, Paraeducator, L.P. Brown Elementary School
Mimi Arnett holds up plaque for The Innovator
The Innovator: Mimi Arnett, English Language Specialist (Garfield, Madison, McKenny elementary schools)

Kudos to this week’s 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
Maggie Dunlap, Paraeducator, Capital High School and Min Hwa Arnold, Paraeducator, Olympia High School

I want to nominate 2 amazing staff persons for their constant support of students using assistive technology this school year. They have dedicated extra time to learn about technology as it relates to their student’s learning needs, finding ways to navigate around and through obstacles to combine classwork and skills building in thoughtful, meaningful ways within their sessions.

It has been a pleasure to work with Maggie Dunlap (Capital High School) and Min Hwa Arnold (Olympia High School) these past months.

Thank you, Maggie and Min Hwa, for doing what you do so well.
Submitted by Suzanne Anthony, Assistive Technology Program Specialist, OSD

Everyday Hero
Carolyn Miles, Substitute Teacher, OSD

I would like to nominate Teacher Sub, Carolyn Miles, for being so flexible and filling in the last minute, with a smile and great attitude as well. Carolyn was scheduled at Hansen but they were sweet enough to send her to us two days in a row for a last-minute absence.  Thank you so much.
Submitted by Jodi Cox, Lead Secretary, Madison Elementary School

Everyday Hero
Chelsey Scheidemann, Math Teacher, Washington Middle School

Chelsey’s dedication to creating a generation of math people who love math has absolutely created a young mathematician in my home. I’d like to share a story about my daughter’s “Aha moment” as a result of Chelsey’s teaching. The other day, my 11 year old excitedly taught us all about solving for anonymous numbers. She enthusiastically explained that she used to think algebra was hard and now she thinks it is FUN! And this was because of her cool math teacher. Thank you, Chelsey. You helped my child discover how amazing math is. Chelsey’s success is built on a strong scaffolding of quality math instruction by McKenny Elementary teachers Teresa Bond and Dorothy Espedal-Johnson.
Submitted by Jane Partridge, Preschool Teacher, McKenny Elementary School

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 screencast on creating accessible content in Microsoft Word

The Communications and Community Relations department has put together a new screencast covering how to create accessible content in Microsoft Word. This ten minute video demonstrates the correct use of headings, alternative text, tables, lists and columns. It also covers how to scan your document for accessibility issues and export a final PDF.

Quick-start guides covering these tools, as well as how to create accessible content in other software suites, are available on the Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have questions or tips regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

June online workshops set to explain new state-mandated payroll tax

person working on a laptop

In case you missed information shared with all employees last month regarding workshops offered in May, please see below regarding the new state mandated payroll tax with new June information webinars that begin this week.

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, June 8  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, June 9  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, June 10 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, June 15 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, June 16 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, June 17 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