Remember to vote by February 8

Scrabble letters spell out VOTE and rest on a scrabble letter stand.

The Olympia School District has one measure on the February 8, 2022 Special Election ballot: a proposed four-year Technology and Safety Replacement Levy.

The levy would raise an estimated $52.4 million over four years (2023-2026) to help pay for increased student access to technology, as well as safety projects districtwide.

The proposed levy is not a new tax. The measure would replace an expiring four-year technology and safety levy approved by voters in 2018 and adds safety and technology resources.

To learn more specifics about the levy, visit a Technology and Safety Replacement Levy Election information page on the Olympia School District website. The page includes a link to an informational video about the proposed levy.

The Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division mailed ballots to registered voters on January 21. To be counted, ballots must be postmarked or dropped in postage-free ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Election Day, February 8.

Ballot drop boxes are open 24 hours a day and close promptly at 8 p.m. on Election Day. For a list of ballot drop box locations, visit the Thurston County Elections Division website.

The following are voter registration deadlines for the upcoming General Election:

  • January 31, 2022: Last day to register to vote or update your current voter registration by any means other than in person.
  • February 8, 2022: Register to vote or update your current voter registration in person and drive-thru only until 8 p.m. on Election Day February 8, 2022. In-person/drive-thru voter registration is done at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2400 Evergreen Park Dr. S.W., Olympia.

For additional voter registration information, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division webpage. You may also call (360) 786-5408 or email For more information about ballot items, read the February 8, 2022 Thurston County Voters’ Pamphlet.

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action Jan. 31-Feb. 4

Black Lives Matter at School Week wording with black silhouette head and torso

The Olympia School Board has unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action January 31 through February 4, 2022.

Board President Maria Flores read the two-page proclamation before the vote at the January 27, 2022 board meeting. Copies of the proclamation will be posted in school and support building entries throughout the week of Jan. 31-Feb. 4.

The Black Lives Matter at School campaign first began in Seattle in 2016 and has since spread across the nation.

Legislature and governor delay Washington Cares Long-Term Care program

Person in a wheelchair sits outside in a courtyard. Photo is taken from behind the individual.

The information below is a follow-up, including new information, to a message shared with OSD employees in the Here’s the Scoop post on January 13, 2022.

The Washington Cares Fund law (also referred to as the Long-Term Care benefit law) was enacted by the 2019 Legislature. The purpose of the law is to set up a system for employees to save and buy into long-term care services. Seven out of 10 people will need long-term care in their elder years, and without a funding source this can cause significant hardship on the individual and their family.

By law, beginning January 1, 2022 employers must collect the premiums that fund the system from the paychecks of any employee who was not recognized as being exempt by the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD).

On December 17, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders released a statement committing to make changes to the Washington Cares Fund law in the 2022 Legislative Session. Many state of Washington employees and employers provided feedback on the legislation regarding the small benefit of the program, and the inequity for employees nearing retirement and for employees who work in Washington now, but will likely never benefit from the program.

On January 27, 2022 Gov. Inslee signed legislation to delay the Long-Term Care payroll tax. Substitute House Bill 1732 will delay implementation of the legislation by 18 months.

Unfortunately, payroll for the month of January was processed on January 25, 2022 and therefore the district was required to collect the long-term care payroll tax. It was not possible to delay processing payroll and also ensure that all payments can be processed by the treasurer and banks in time to be deposited to employees by January 31.

The district will refund 100 percent of payroll tax collected with your February payroll. Please email if you have further questions that we can help with.

In remembrance: Notes in memory of Marc Coyner being collected at Washington MS

The late WMS Media Arts Teacher Marc Coyner points to an interactive white board in class.

Earlier this month, Washington Middle School Media Arts teacher Marc Coyner and his wife passed away as a result of a car accident while they were out of the country.

The school is collecting cards/notes of remembrance from staff and/or students. The school will collect the cards and notes through Friday, February 18, 2022 and then forward them to the Coyner family.

If you wish to send a card or note, please send to Washington Middle School in the district courier.

Our hearts go out to the Coyners’ family and friends, including everyone at Washington Middle School.

Feb. 2 community webinar focuses on legislative priorities and 2022-23 budget planning

The community is invited to a one-hour Zoom webinar on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 to learn about OSD Legislative Priorities and 2022-23 Budget Planning.

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

Superintendent Patrick Murphy will be joined in the webinar by Jennifer Priddy, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Capital Planning.

After a brief introduction, Superintendent Murphy and Assistant Superintendent Priddy 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:

The monthly community webinars, which started in October 2021, are recorded and posted on the district website. Listen to past webinar recordings

February 2, 2022 Zoom details:
Please follow this link to join the webinar:

Or One tap mobile:
US: +12532158782,,81617149259# or +16699006833,,81617149259#

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: 816 1714 9259

International numbers available

Apply by March 26 for Ellison Education Grants

Man typing on laptop computer while sitting at desk in front of a window

Applications are being accepted for “Ellison Education Grants.” Grants are intended for K-12 public school teachers in Washington state. The Ellison Foundation has awarded 66 grants and $288,000 to Washington State teachers over the past five years.

The Ellison Foundation will award grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 in the spring of 2022 (for use during the 2022-23 school year). 

Applications must be submitted by March 26, 2022.

To learn more about the “Ellison Education Grants,” please visit the Ellison Education Grants webpage.

SecURLy Classroom Updates

Sample SecURLy module provided by company as a test module. Screen shows examples of how the platform looks.
(The above image is part of training materials provided by SecURLy and do not feature any OSD students or staff)

SecURLy is our district web filtering and automated health/safety system for our student Chromebooks. SecURLy Classroom helps classroom teachers monitor student engagement during the school day, guide students’ browsing, and communicate through chat and announcements.

SecURLy Classroom has just released a new user interface, called Nucleus. You can choose to use the original view or switch to the new view. All of the features you use will still be there, it will just look a little different. In addition, there are some exciting new features in Nucleus. Those new features include:

  • Preventing side-by-side windows (force maximize)
  • Close a tab and add the site to a blocklist
  • Add site to multiple blocklists at once
  • Choose end time instead of class length
  • Auto apply site lock at start of class
  • Bring a selected tab to the front
  • Ability to schedule class sessions to start automatically

To switch to the new view in SecURLy Classroom, click “Switch to Nucleus UI” in the upper right corner on the SecURLy CLassroom page.

For more information on these changes read What’s New in Classroom 8.1, complete the SecURLy Classroom module in the OSD Tech Tools self-paced PD, or contact the instructional technology TOSAs (Jamie Sproul, Sharyn Merrigan, or Bob O’Donnell).

Making Connections: Strategic Plan, Whole Child, Instructional Coaching and Equity

Multiple hands of different ethnicities join in the center and are clasped

The following is shared by the Teaching & Learning team:

When we say “Whole Child,” what do we mean?
A Whole Child approach means every student has the right to be safe, healthy, supported, engaged and challenged as defined by the ASCD Whole Child Tenets. At the Federal level, a Whole Child approach became the expectation when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) went into effect in 2016 and evolved State and District data reporting expectations beyond traditional academics as part of a “well-rounded education.”

At the State level, OSPI uses a multi-metric approach with ESSA and also grounds the Healthy Schools Washington Program in the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASCD, supporting communities with taking a Whole Child approach to scale.

What does it look like when Instructional Coaching integrates a Whole Child approach?
One might venture to say Coaching supports the “Whole Teacher” or “Whole Educator.”

The foundation of Instructional Coaching involves collaboration with teacher colleagues in direct service of students. Many of the Whole Child Tenets speak directly to the work Instructional Coaches (ICs) do in Olympia.

Some IC services include: daily partnership to continue implementing our Danielson Instructional Framework, mentoring new teachers through the BEST (Beginning Educator Support Team) Services Instructional Coaching, traditional coaching cycle; co-planning, co-teaching; professional development offerings; debriefing discussions; single classroom observations; and general thought partnership.

Student success is at the forefront of partnership and collaboration. And, with the restructure of the Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team in support of students, educators and families through the lens of Recovery, each Instructional Coach is charged with integration of a Whole Child and Whole Educator approach within daily work.

Whole Child + Instructional Coaching = Equity Work
Elena Aguilar is often referred to as a “Coach of Coaches” because of her expertise in Instructional Coaching and the opportunity for everyone – including ICs – to continue growing. In Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice (2020), Aguilar stated “Remember: It’s not your fault that things are the way they are, but it is your responsibility to do something about them.”

During his keynote at the launch of the school year, Superintendent Patrick Murphy charged all of us to be leaders for equity in support of student success as we partner in efforts for Student Outcome #4 of our Strategic Plan/District Improvement Plan (DIP)

The application of the Whole Child approach, the launch of Instructional Coaching, and the priorities outlined by the OSD Strategic Plan are aligned with one goal in mind: Providing OSD students with the most holistically supportive education possible.

Supervision of Instructional Coaching Services
Supervision of Instructional Coaching Services falls under Cherlyn Pijanowski, senior director of Teaching & Learning (T&L) who reports to Chief Academic Officer (CAO) Hannah Gbenro. Some T&L ICs are site-based, while others serve multiple sites, as noted in this September blog post.

Related Resources

  1. Register for the Danielson Instructional Framework Office Hours.
  2. Background information on our Strategic Plan/District Improvement Plan (DIP)

Mark your calendar for Feb. 23; voicemail upgrade will require employees to re-record voicemail

Office phone on a table in an office area

On Tuesday, February 22, the Technology department will be completing a necessary upgrade to OSD voicemail services. Unfortunately, it is not possible to migrate saved voicemail messages or recorded greetings from the old server to the new. This means that everyone will need to re-record their voicemail greetings when we return to school on February 23, 2022. Instructions will be sent out to all staff on how to create the new recordings.

Please make sure any of your unheard messages are cleared by the end of day on February 18

Note: This upgrade does not affect the pre-recorded phone trees many schools currently have in place.

Thank you for your patience.

Email sent to all employees Jan. 27 re: protocols to address and report COVID-19

Collection of blue hospital type face masks strewn on a tabletop

The following is a copy of an email sent to all OSD employees on January 27, 2022

Hello Olympia School District employees,

With the increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, we want to provide some reminders about the protocols to address and report positive cases, share information from the health services team, and answer some frequently asked questions.

1. Executive Director of Student Support Ken Turcotte has redistributed some job responsibilities and supervision among his health services team so they can respond in the most efficient manner to the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases. Additionally, contracted staff will be assisting with calling identified close contacts.

2. Importantly, we presume that classroom teachers and all staff are following mitigation measures such as proper physical distancing for adults and students, and face-covering requirements.

  • When a principal notifies a teacher, or a teacher notifies a principal of a positive COVID-19 case, the teacher should communicate to the principal if there has been any deviation from classroom COVID-19 mitigation measures in the past two days that could result in a student or staff member being identified as a close contact. The teacher should provide the names of those students/staff members to the principal.
  • If there has been a deviation from mitigation measures, the teacher should also tell the principal if there were any changes to the classroom seating chart. It is important that our contract tracers know where students sat or were grouped when they were potentially exposed.
  • The principal emails the names of the potential close contacts and any changes to the seating chart to the school nurse.
  • Employees who work in support roles outside of the classroom/school should communicate confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 with their supervisor, who will communicate directly with the school district’s health services team.

3. What is the difference between the COVID-19 positive cases reported daily to all employees and the OSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard?

  • The COVID 19 daily employee notification email is a list of positive cases, including both staff and students, who were confirmed as positive for COVID-19 AND were on-site during their infectious period. The daily email does not represent positive cases where the individual(s) were not on-site during their infectious period.
  • The OSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard, which is updated every Friday, is a cumulative account of all confirmed positive cases in our system.

4. What is the threshold for a classroom to shift from in-person to remote learning?

  • This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and depends on a multitude of factors, including the number of positive cases reported, whether the positive cases are epidemiologically linked, whether the individuals shared a household, and whether the individuals had significant contact outside of school. We consult and carefully review data with county health officials, who will ultimately determine whether a classroom should shift to remote learning.

Finally, as was shared in a recent communication to staff and families, the district is aligning its contact tracing with the most recent DOH guidanceThat guidance prioritizes contact tracing for indoor spaces where masking is limited or not consistent, for transportation services, and for high-risk extracurricular activities. This new guidance reflects that classrooms that follow mitigation protocols are not where health officials are seeing the spread of COVID-19.