Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6

Teacher educates class at whiteboard in classroom with student in the front row raising her hand

Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated throughout the Olympia School District Monday, May 2 through Friday, May 6.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy will read a proclamation at the April 28 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.

Nominations due May 6 for annual Employee Recognition Awards

A row of ceiling spotlights

Nominations are open for the Olympia School District Employee Recognition Awards for the 2021-22 School Year.

All nominations are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 6, 2022. Winners will be honored at the May 26 Olympia School Board meeting. Please fill out and submit the online nomination form. A screening committee will review the nominations.

Please consider nominating your colleagues for an Olympia School District Employee Recognition Award. There are five categories:

  • The Innovator “Changes Making a Difference” – Any staff member who demonstrates innovative strategies that significantly improve the district mission.
  • The Champion of Differences “Celebrates Diversity” – Any staff member who, by their actions, celebrates the values and differences of individual groups.
  • The Unsung Hero “Goes the Extra Mile” – Any staff member who continually gets results with little or no fanfare.
  • The Coach “Supports Others” – Any staff member who plays a unique role in enabling others to excel.
  • The Dream Team “Above and Beyond” – Any group of staff members working together to help students succeed in or out of the classroom.

Submit a nomination form

Join us as we celebrate retirees and school advocates at OSD Ice Cream Social May 23

Staff gather at annual OSD Ice Cream Social in 2019

The Annual Olympia School District Ice Cream Social is scheduled for Monday, May 23, 2022. This year the social will be taking place, in person, at the Olympia High School Commons from 4:30-6 p.m.

During the event, the Olympia School Board will honor dedicated staff members who are retiring this year. An advocate of the year from each of our schools will also be recognized, and the Olympia Education Association will recognize its Teacher of the Year.

Don’t forget to bring an appetite because ice cream (with all the fixings) will be served! OSD staff and families are encouraged to attend and support our retirees and advocates. We hope to see you all at OHS on May 23!

Congratulations to this week’s Everyday Hero

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 is our newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Theresa Jones, Grounds Crew, Capital High and Jefferson Middle schools

Theresa Is part of our Grounds staff and has been taking care of the grounds at Capital High School and Jefferson Middle School. Theresa does a stellar job keeping these sites looking beautiful for the staff and students to enjoy! She goes above and beyond tackling things like the famous “blackberry hill” by the baseball fields at Capital High School.

The Support Service Center office recently received a call from a community member who said, “the Capital High School campus has never looked so good.”

As one of our senior Teamster members here at the Olympia School District, she sets a great example for everyone and shows true dedication to our district with her hard work. She does this rain or shine and always with a smile.
Submitted by Paul Sierra, Maintenance and Grounds Supervisor, Support Service Center

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.

Scenic photo of the week

Close up of white flowering tree
Photo taken in Olympia by Phyllis Price, LPN, School Nurse,
Garfield Elementary School

OSD employees are encouraged to send us a photo of their artwork portraying nature (e.g., landscapes, sunrises or sunsets, an interesting cloud formation, a close-up of a flower) for consideration in this staff blog. Your image can be something you captured on canvas, in a photograph, on a textile, in a pencil, charcoal or pastel drawing, with wire — the possibilities are endless!


  • Nature/scenic images only (no people or pets please).
  • Attach a photo of your original art in jpeg or png format to an email and send to communications@osd.wednet.edu. The higher the resolution, the better.
  • Photos must be in-focus and cropped so the art is visible.
  • Include your name, title, work location, and if applicable, where the image was taken (you can name the city, for example, or provide even more specific details (e.g. sunset taken from Long Beach, WA). This information will be included with each image published.

Depending on the number of images submitted, we will print one or more in each issue of the staff blog.

Your voice is important: curriculum, assessment and more!

Laptop computer on table with two persons reviewing writing on paper while holding pencils as if to edit

This blog post was submitted by the Teaching & Learning Team

Opportunities to provide input that will influence updates to Policy 2020, related procedures and follow-up action plans include:

  1. Completing this survey by May 6
    1. Key audience: All OSD Educators/Staff, Families, Students, and Community Members
  2. Participating in a districtwide OSD Policy 2020 Focus Group
    1. Co-facilitated by Instructional Coaches Katie Savinski, Casey Church and Malia Lee with Dr. Cherlyn Pijanowski, senior director of Teaching & Learning, for the Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team
    1. Participants attend one session: Tuesday, April 26 @ 3:30-4:30 p.m. or Thursday, April 28 @ 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Knox Room 202 A/B
    1. Clock hours available through pdEnroller
    1. Key audience: OSD Educators/Staff

Background on Instructional Materials Policy Need for Update: Equity

Our district board of directors and superintendent’s office have been leading efforts around Equity Policy Development. While this long-term, sustainable work is taking place, our board has made it clear it will not wait to charge our district with moving forward as equity opportunities are unveiled.

Based on a data dive during the March 3, 2022 Board Work Study, our district was charged with updating Instructional Materials Policy 2020 and ensuring involvement of stakeholders in the process.

“Instructional Materials” Defined

Instructional Materials include course design and course code approvals, curriculum across all content areas and grade-levels spanning digital applications and physical curricular supports, and assessments to support learning and instruction.

Current Policy 2020

Our current Policy 2020 and procedures related to 2020 are on the OSD Board Policies and Procedures webpage. Policy 2020 was last updated in 2020 and serves as a foundation to charting a course for Teaching & Learning to partner with stakeholders for evaluating instructional materials (curriculum, assessment, course design & course offerings, etc.) and partnering on action plans moving forward in the interest of student success.

Purpose of Policy

The purpose of board-adopted policies is outlined on our Board Policy Review webpage. Policies are “essentially the governing documents by which the Olympia School District operates” and “are based on laws and regulations.” Procedures are developed by administrative staff to implement Board-adopted policies.

Leadership & Timeline

These Policy 2020 update efforts are being led by Dr. Hannah Gbenro, chief academic officer (CAO), in partnership with leaders across our T&L Team, school and community.

Learning from stakeholders is expected to conclude the evening of May 1 so that data can be analyzed to influence Policy 2020 updates, Procedure 2020 updates and/or action plans that will launch after policy recommendations are made to the board.

The first reading of the updated Policy 2020 is scheduled for May 14, 2022 at the board meeting.

A full, high-level timeline is included in the Policy 2020 Update, Project Charter (Action Plan).

Related Resources

Report highlights Foundation’s impact on OSD students

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

The Olympia Education Foundation’s annual report, Empowering Every Student,* is available on the Foundation’s website. Inside you can learn about both the impact the Foundation is having on OSD students, families and staff, and its current programs, including:  

  • Principal’s Emergency Fundwhich assists students who have urgent basic needs — to ensure they feel successful in school and life. 
  • Teaching & Learning Grants, which enhance student learning in all OSD schools.
  • Mental Health Initiative, which supports the mental health and social-emotional needs of students. 

Questions? Contact Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org or (360) 596-6110.

*The Foundation’s fiscal year runs Sept. 1 – Aug. 31. This report covers the period of Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021.

Fundamental Course of Study training for paraeducators hired before 2021-22 school year

Computers in a classroom setting with students typing

This is an update on the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) training for those paraeducators hired before the 2021-22 school year. This training is part of the Paraeducator Certificate Program. You are required to take the second 14 hours of training (out of 28) during your second year as a paraeducator.

The required 14 hours are now available asynchronously. You can register on pdEnroller using the links provided below.

FCS 03 – Technology Basics (2 hours)
FCS 05 – Roles & Responsibilities (3 hours)
FCS 06 – Equity (3 hours)
FCS 07 – Behavior Management, Including De-escalation (2 hours)
FCS 08 – Child & Adolescent Development (2 hours)
FCS 09 – Emergency Health & Safety (1 hour)
FCS 12 – Communication Challenges (1 hour)

All 14 hours are due no later than July 31, 2022. You must click the attendance link at the end of each course and submit your information for tracking purposes. Once completed, you should receive a clock hour form(s) from the ESD 113. A copy of your clock hour forms should be sent via email to April Pigue at apigue@osd.wednet.edu for tracking purposes. Please keep the original clock hour forms for your records.

Synchronous training (via Zoom) for units 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09 was offered earlier in the year with the ESD 113. If you missed some of the units, you can use the links provided to complete the remaining training. Please note that FCS03 and FCS12 were always asynchronous. If you have already completed all 14 hours, please disregard. 

If you still need to complete the first 14 hours of the FCS, you may view and register for the required courses on the OSD website by clicking here.

For Questions About:

pdEnroller/Registration Help: Dianna Avery at davery@esd113.org
Tracking/Remaining Units: April Pigue at apigue@osd.wednet.edu
General FCS Inquiries (Secondary Paras): Aja Dale at adale@osd.wednet.edu
General FCS Inquires (Elementary Paras): Laura Emmil at lemmil@osd.wednet.edu

Additional Resources:

OSD Paraeducator Certificate Program FAQ
PESB Paraeducator Board Certificate Overview
OSPI Paraeducator Certification

Save the date: Launch of 2022-23 professional growth

Photograph of tree trunk, branches and leaves taken from base of tree pointing upward to the sky

The following post is from the Teaching & Learning Team

Each year, our district provides opportunities to exercise learning courage as we launch into a new school year.

For the 2022-2023 school year, these professional growth opportunities will be planned by a Professional Growth Planning Committee that leverages multiple data points.

Opportunities to Participate

Your voice is important! Survey opportunities. By early next week, our annual certificated staff professional growth survey will be emailed directly to help inform planning forward. Please participate in this survey so we can learn from your perspective.

Professional Growth Planning Committee opportunity. If you’re interested in serving on a Planning Committee for Admin Retreat, Whole Child Institute, and/or the districtwide LID Days, please complete this RSVP form that closes on Monday, May 2.

Please Save the Date

Please save the date for the opportunities outlined below, which will provide opportunities for us to exercise learning courage individually and collectively.

Opportunities are listed in order of date. The planning committee will plan for all professional growth to take place in-person unless health authority guidance changes over the summer to cause a shift to virtual.

Administrative (Admin) Institute

  • August 10-11 (full days) and August 12 (half day)
  • Audience: District Leadership Team (all principals and district administrators)
  • Information learned through the anonymous survey will help the Planning Committee. Superintendent’s Cabinet is open to innovative recommendations from the Planning Committee about continued learning beyond Admin Retreat based on trends.

Whole Child Institute

  • August 17-18 (full days)
  • Audience: All OSD Certificated Educators
  • This is optional and will be designed by the Planning Committee, with a goal of communicating foundational logistics before going to summer vacation. Based on feedback from content and role-specific leadership teams so far, there’s a desire for customized pathways for learning, which will be informed by the upcoming certificated professional growth survey.

Districtwide LID Day

  • Aug. 31 (full day)
  • Audience: All OSD Employees
  • This is a districtwide kickoff with a focus on kicking off our updated Strategic Plan and our school year.

Building LID Day

  • Sept. 1 (full day) and Oct. 7 (full day)
  • Audience: All OSD Educators
  • This is a districtwide kickoff with learning onsite centered within development of and collaboration around the School Improvement Plan (SIP) in support of the student and educator success.

Mandatory Day

  • Sept. 6 (full day)
  • Audience: OEA Staff
  • More information to follow. Current language is at the top of p. 97 in the current OEA-OSD Contract.

More information will follow in May and June as the planning task forces begin to meet and respond to the data that’s being collected through the certificated staff professional growth survey being launched in this communication. This content will also be messaged directly with fellow educators beginning next week.