United Way Annual Giving Campaign ends today, Tuesday, November 30

Today, November 30, is the final day to submit pledges for the Olympia School District’s annual United Way giving campaign. This year all pledges should be submitted online.

United Way is a national organization that provides a multitude of services to thousands of people right here in the Olympia community, including many of the students and families served by the school district.

Donations through the United Way support a variety of organizations. In past years, United Way has supported organizations such as the Thurston Food Bank, Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB), Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County and the Olympia School District Education Foundation. United Way also supports the Reading Buddy Program on an annual basis.

Additional details about the United Way of Thurston County can be found on its website.

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Mike Leonard at MLeonard@unitedway-thurston.org.

All online pledge forms need to be completed no later than end of day today, Tuesday, November 30.

View the online pledge form.

United Way graphic showing student reading a book and the OSD and United Way logos. Information includes all details in the text, including dates of campaign and contact info.

Learn about the Technology and Safety Replacement Levy proposal: Dec. 1 Webinar

Teachers helps middle school student on a computer project

The community is invited to a one-hour Zoom webinar on Wednesday, December 1 to learn about the Technology and Safety Replacement Levy proposal that will appear on the February 8, 2022 Special Election ballot.

The webinar will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom (see Zoom details below).

Superintendent Patrick Murphy will be joined by Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Capital Planning Jennifer Priddy, and Chief Information, Technology Marc Elliott.

The panelists will share about the replacement levy, including proposed projects and funding. Information is also available on the Olympia School District website.

After a brief introduction, panelists will address questions posed by participants during the Zoom webinar and/or emailed in advance. If you are unable to attend, feel free to email questions in advance to: communications@osd.wednet.edu. Upon completion, the webinar, along with previous monthly webinars, will be recorded and posted on the district website.

December 1, 2021 Zoom details:

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Or One tap mobile:
US: +12532158782,,86258492903# or +16699006833,,86258492903#

Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592

Webinar ID: 862 5849 2903

International numbers available: https://osd111.zoom.us/u/kc21T19IJC

Employee Assistance Program provides support to employees and dependents

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance

Personal issues, planning for life events or simply managing daily life can affect an employee’s work, health and family.

First Choice Health provides 24/7 support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues. Services include support for anxiety and depression, couples/relationship/parenting, crisis support, alcohol/drug problems, grief and loss, domestic violence, and more.

Learn more by viewing the Employee Assistance Program flyer

OSD Community Resources Webpage

Additionally, community agencies are available to assist youth and families.

A compilation of resources and information, including a list of local and national crisis hotlines, support groups, counseling resources and more are posted on the district website.

Remember to take the Panorama staff survey by 8 p.m. tonight, November 30

graphic for fall Panorama survey with details in the story

All employees are encouraged to take the Panorama fall survey by 8 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, November 30. Direct links to the staff survey are posted at the top of the OSD staff portal. There is one link for instructional staff and another for non-instructional staff.

Responses to the survey are confidential. The district is partnering with a third-party vendor to support us in administering these surveys.

Thank you, in advance, for participating!

Student Spotlight, Everyday Hero and School Program nominations

man's face visible behind a video camera

Do you know of an Olympia School District student or staff member who is going above and beyond in their role?  Now is your chance to nominate those folks and help them receive the recognition they deserve. At the link below you will find nomination forms for our Student Spotlight and Everyday Heroes.

Do you have a program at your school which you would like to feature in a district newsletter?  Fill out the School Program Nomination form and tell us about the program, its participants and what makes it unique.  We publish our ‘Spotlight on Success’ newsletter monthly, as well as almost daily on social media, so we’re always looking for reasons to brag about all our wonderful schools!

Selected Student Spotlight, Everyday Heroes and School Program nominations may be recognized on social media, in district publications and on district web pages. Details for completing nominations are at the link included below.

Recognize OSD Students and Staff Nomination Form

Just 4 days left for SEBB Open Enrollment! Make any changes by Monday, November 22, 2021

Image of sand running out inside glass tube

The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program’s annual open enrollment began October 25, 2021 and ends Monday, November 22, 2021.

Open enrollment is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. Changes are effective January 1, 2022.

  • What changes can you make? The SEBB Program’s annual open enrollment is your opportunity to:
    • Change medical and dental plans.
    • Add or remove dependents.
    • Reattest to the spouse or state-registered domestic partner premium surcharge (SRDP) (if you received a letter asking you to reattest.)
    • Enroll in the Medical FSA, Limited Purpose FSA (new for 2022), or DCAP through Navia Benefit Solutions.
    • Consider your long-term disability insurance coverage (changes are coming for 2022).
    • Waive your medical coverage if you are enrolled in other employer-based group medical, a TRICARE plan, or Medicare.
    • Enroll in medical coverage if you previously waived.
  • Learn more about the changes you can make on our open enrollment webpage and in the October Intercom
  • How do I make changes? Log in to SEBB My Account.

Resources for open enrollment

SEBB is offering multiple ways to learn about benefits from the comfort of your home.

  • Virtual benefits fairs – During open enrollment, you can learn more about your health plans and other insurance options by visiting the virtual benefits fair.
  • ALEX – Help you understand your SEBB benefits and guide you through choosing your medical, dental, and vision plans. ALEX will suggest plans for you to consider, based on your responses to questions. Access ALEX at wa.gov/alex and within SEBB My Account.
  • Webinars – Attend a webinar provided by our carriers and vendors. See the schedule.
  • Facebook Live – Join us on HCA’s Facebook on Monday, November 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Web content – Visit the SEBB Open enrollment
  • Intercom newsletter – The newsletter includes information about the changes to benefits, what changes you can make during annual open enrollment and how to make them, monthly premiums, and more. Read the October IntercomNote: Since the newsletter was released, there have been clarifications about Kaiser Permanente of Washington’s (KPWA) and KPWA Option’s networks that could affect your coverage.  Read the announcement on HCA’s website to learn more.
  • Need help? – Contact your benefits office.

Change to long-term disability insurance benefit

The employee-paid long-term disability (LTD) benefit will change starting January 1, 2022. You will automatically be enrolled in employee-paid LTD, if not already enrolled.

Note: Your long-term disability benefit is different from the state’s new long-term care benefit, which is called The WA Cares FundLong-term disability replaces a portion of your income due to accident, illness, or pregnancy. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time. Long-term care pays for the cost of care when you need assistance with activities of daily living and is not currently part of your SEBB Program benefits.

The LTD benefit will offer a minimum 90-day benefit waiting period with two coverage level options. You will be automatically enrolled in the coverage level that covers 60 percent of the first $16,667 of your monthly predisability earnings. This has a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000.

You have the option to reduce your employee-paid LTD to a lower-cost 50-percent coverage level, with a maximum monthly benefit of $8,333. You also have the option to decline the coverage. If you reduce or decline the employee-paid benefit and later decide to enroll in or increase your coverage, you will need to provide evidence of insurability and be approved by Standard Insurance Company. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time by logging into SEBB My Account. However, if you don’t reduce or decline your LTD benefit election by December 31 [or your payroll cutoff date], you will be enrolled in the 60-percent plan, and the premium will be deducted from your paycheck for January 2022 coverage.

If you have questions about your benefits or account, please contact your benefits office at sebb@osd.wednet.edu.

Supplemental Benefits: NW Benefit Advisors Open Enrollment ends Nov. 22, 2021

NW Benefit Advisors provides voluntary benefits that are exclusive to the district. These benefits are not part of SEBB.

OSD employees can access the NW Benefit Advisors website regarding open enrollment for supplemental benefits along with SEBB information. Open enrollment ends on November 22.

  • View all the voluntary benefit brochures and videos
    • Benefits offered: Aflac, Trustmark, Legalease, Identity Protection, Pet Insurance and more!
  • See the schedules for Zoom sessions to learn about your benefits.
  • Schedule a personal appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss the voluntary benefits exclusive to your district.
  • Access all the links for SEBB plans and webinars.

Access the NW Benefit Advisors website

School board approves Technology and Safety Replacement Levy election February 8, 2022

Elementary teacher presents lesson on interactive board with image projected while student raises hand to answer a question.

The Olympia School Board has unanimously agreed to place a Technology and Safety Replacement Levy proposal before voters on the February 8, 2022 Special Election ballot.

The proposed replacement levy is not a new tax. It would replace an expiring four-year technology and safety levy approved by voters in February 2018. The levy would raise an estimated $52.4 million over four years (2023-2026).

“This replacement levy proposal reflects a continuation of our strategic planning efforts to make technology accessible to all students and prepare them for success now and into the future,” said School Board President Scott Clifthorne. “It also proposes investments to enhance safety and security at every school site.”

View more information about the replacement levy on the Technology and Safety Replacement Levy Election 2022 webpage. The page includes links to frequently asked questions, proposed levy projects, the levy resolution approved by the school board on November 4, 2021, survey results, levy planning committee members, and details about cost/tax rate.

Congratulations to our new 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
Cory Greene, Jeff Smith, Terry Holland, Darin Pfaff, Tim Ketter, Devin Guy, Todd Thornton, Luis Zapien, OSD Support Services

OSD Support Services saves the day again!

On Thursday, October 28, Washington Middle School had a large tree crash to the ground, blocking our entrance, thirty minutes before our students were released. The response from our Support Services department was amazing. After a panicked call to Frank Wilson, the following SS crew were on-site with chainsaws in hand: Cory Greene, Jeff Smith, Terry Holland, Darin Pfaff, Tim Ketter, Devin Guy, Todd Thornton, Luis Zapien. They were able to completely clear the area in time for our buses and parents to pick up students. They all truly saved the day!
Submitted by Paul Anders, Principal, Washington Middle School

Everyday Hero
Barbara Parker, Office Administrator, Hansen Elementary

Thank you, Barbara, for making new staff feel welcome at Hansen! As a new OSD employee I have lots of questions and Barbara always supports me with grace and patience. Barbara taught me how to navigate Skyward, order supplies and find my way around the school. In addition to being a rockstar at her job, Barbara has been a supportive and kind colleague throughout the challenges of this year; from new students to buses to supplies to connecting me with other staff… I know I can always count on her to steer me in the right direction.

Thank you.
Submitted by Hattie Osborne, teacher, Hansen Elementary

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) 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.