Enrollment in Section 125 Plan is from December 18-31, 2017

unnamedEmployees who want to enroll in the Section 125 Plan may do so from December 18-31. The Section 125 Plan allows employees to deduct the cost of eligible benefits from gross earnings before taxes.

Employees may schedule a short, one-on-one appointment to review all available benefits. Sign up for your enrollment appointment and learn more about available benefits at the American Fidelity benefits website.

 

Auditions for OSD Players musical “Hello Dolly” set for Tuesday, December 12

Two gold dramatic masks in foreground with sheet of note music behind it

Auditions for this year’s OSD Players musical Hello Dolly are set for Tuesday, December 12. This annual performance supports the Olympia School District Education Foundation grants program, providing thousands of dollars to teachers and other staff to pay for supplies or projects that aren’t covered by school district funds.

To audition for this year’s production, please review the attachments and complete the audition form. One attachment describes the Hello Dolly audition process, including rehearsal and show dates, another is a listing of Hello Dolly lead characters, and the third is an audition form to download, print, fill out and bring with you to the auditions.

  • Please note – Auditions will be done a little differently this year. Only people who want to be considered for a lead role need to audition. All participants are asked to fill out the audition form, regardless of their anticipated role in the musical.

All OSD employees and their families are welcome to audition for a part in the production, directed by Kathy Dorgan and Colleen Powers.

Auditions are from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12 at Washington Middle School, 3100 Cain Road S.E., Olympia.

Performances of Hello Dolly are scheduled at 7 p.m. on February 22, 23 and 24, and at 2 p.m. on February 24 and 25 at Olympia High School.

Audition Form
Copy of Hello Dolly Auditions
Hello Dolly Lead Characters

Interpretation and translation resources available on staff Intranet

Hello in different languages on labels hanging from stringA new page dedicated to district interpretation and translation services is now posted to the staff Intranet. Resources found on the page include instructions for requesting verbal and written translations, Language Link instructions, and a link to our Spanish Message Line. In addition, we have begun putting together a page of “Translated Documents.” We will be adding to this list as additional translated documents become available.

To access the new page, employees may use this link to be prompted to “Sign in with Google” to view the resources.

For more information about interpretation services, contact Student Support at Ext. 7530 or paxtonr@osd.wednet.edu. For more information about document translations, please contact Communications & Community Relations at Ext. 6103 or communications@osd.wednet.edu.

United Way giving campaign ends today, November 30

Live United bannerOlympia School District’s annual United Way giving campaign, which started on November 1, ends tonight, November 30.

New this year is the ability to donate online; therefore, the district has not sent paper pledge forms to schools.  Please note there is an option on the online pledge form to check whether you would like your donation to be “ongoing” and continue past this school year. If you only intend to donate for this school year, make sure you “uncheck” the box.

In commemoration of the 25th year of Day of Caring in Thurston County, the United Way is running a special “25 for 12” campaign. Anyone who donates $25 or more a month for 12 months will receive a “Live United” T-shirt with the Olympia School District logo.

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, including the Thurston County Food Bank, Community Youth Services, TOGETHER, Pizza Klatch, CEILO, the Reading Buddy Program, Behavioral Health Resources and the Olympia School District Education Foundation.

Additional details about the United Way of Thurston County can be found on their
website and in this video. This year’s campaign timeline is concurrent with other local school district campaigns.

If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Kim
Doherty in the Communications and Community Relations Department at kdoherty@osd.wednet.edu or (360) 596-6108.

View the online pledge form

Middle and high school teachers invited to apply for $250 mini-grants

The Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is accepting applications for its $250 middle and high school teacher mini-grants for the 2017-18 school year.

The deadline to apply for the mini-grants is January 12, 2018. The grants are designed “to provide an opportunity for  teachers to acquire materials or provide experiences for their students above and beyond what is paid for with district funds. The materials or experiences should supplement and enhance building or district goals.”

View and download a copy of this year’s application. The form is also available at http://www.thurstoncountysra.org.

Thurston County School Retirees’ Association is a chapter of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association.

Safety Tip of the Week: How important is a good night’s rest?

Male dressed in work attire sleeping on his open computer laptop

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about the health benefits of getting a good night’s rest.

How important is a good night’s rest?

When we think of all the things we find important in our daily lives that takes up the most amount of time in our days, things that come to mind might be family, activities or work, but one thing that should take up about one-third of our time is getting the right amount of sleep to reap the benefits of greater health. Getting less than six to seven hours of sleep each night results in a greater risk of developing disease.

Sleep requirements change with our age, but getting enough sleep is critical to how we function throughout the day. Some people are chronically sleep deprived.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation include:

  • Sleepiness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Difficulty concentrating and impaired performance.
  • Memory loss.
  • Disorientation, hallucinations and paranoia.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the following ages are recommended to get the appropriate amount of sleep for optimum health:

Chart showing numbers of hours per day is the recommended amount of sleep for different ages, ranging from infant to adult.

Benefits of getting enough sleep:

  • Fights off depression.
  • Increases memory.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Increases health (Stronger immunity).

Getting enough sleep is as important as having a good diet and getting enough exercise in the day.

Take these steps each day to improve your sleep:

  • Have a set bedtime and wake up time.
  • Reduce caffeine intake before bed.
  • Take time to relax prior to bed — turn off the TV and put away the phone.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Have a comfortable pillow and mattress.

During this hectic time of the year, it is easy to stay up late trying to get things done. Remember, losing sleep can catch up to you and increase those holiday blues.

School board approves technology and safety levy proposal

Two students work on portable computers similar to those that would be purchased as part of proposed technology and safety levy measureThe Olympia School Board has unanimously agreed to place a technology and safety replacement levy proposal before voters in February to help pay for increased student access to technology, as well as safety projects districtwide.

The board passed a resolution in October to include the technology and safety levy renewal on the February 13, 2018 Special Election ballot.

“This levy proposal reflects a continuation of our efforts to make technology accessible to all students and prepare them for success now and into the future as they move on to college and careers and become global digital citizens,” said Board Vice President Frank Wilson. “This is about equity and increasing access, while also moving us forward in the area of safety.”

The proposed levy is not a new tax. The measure on the February 2018 ballot would replace a four-year technology and safety levy approved by voters in 2014. The levy would raise an estimated $35.4 million over four years (2019-2022).

The total proposed tax rate for school levies in 2019-2022 would remain the same as or be lower than the total tax rate for 2017 school levies.

Among other things, the replacement levy would fund new and continued technology and safety initiatives including:

  • Expanding the number of computers to a one-to-one model (one computer for every student) in grades 3-12, and one computer for every two students in kindergarten through grade 2. “The initiative supports a ‘blended learning’ classroom environment, where there is a balance between the time that students work on computers and the time they receive direct instruction from teachers,” said Marc Elliott, chief information officer with the school district’s Technology department.
  • Purchasing enough computers for middle and high schools so each student can be assigned a portable device to take home daily.
  • Continuing to update student and staff computers and other devices, including developing a cycle for replacing devices as needed.
  • Expanding internet access at home. Money is budgeted to provide internet support through means such as mobile Wi-Fi “hotspots,” which are essentially compact, portable wireless access points providing internet access to mobile devices like a laptop for students from low-income families. Typical Wi-Fi hotspot venues include cafes, libraries, airports and hotels; however, the mobile technology is also possible to support students at home.
  • Expanding assistive technology devices for students with special needs, including voice-recognition software and speech to text/text to speech, and providing associated staff training. Some technology tools, for example, allow students to activate single/multiple spoken word strings via touch screen to communicate. Others would allow students with learning disabilities access to academic curricula in an adapted fashion, maximizing participation in education settings and activities, said Ken Turcotte, executive director of student support.
  • Installing up-to-date classroom display systems, document cameras, and video conferencing systems.
  • Upgrading infrastructure, such as wireless, switches, and network security.
  • Developing more digital online curriculum, thus reducing the number of books a student carries to and from school.
  • Providing support and training for teachers and other staff as they integrate new technology into classrooms.
  • Purchasing technological components of curriculum to support related subjects such as computer coding, robotics and digital citizenship. Plans are to expand computer coding, traditionally offered in grades 7-12, to grades 4-6. Digital citizenship lessons teach students about how to use technology in a safe, responsible, and healthy way.
  • Installing a new paging and intercom system in schools throughout the district. This would ensure that students and staff are notified of an emergency more quickly and effectively.
  • Updating from analog to digital radios on school buses to improve connectivity, including in far-reaching areas of the district with little to no reception. “Digital radios are critical to our ability to have constant contact with every bus, regardless of where the bus is inside the district or outside of the district,” said Jennifer Priddy, assistant superintendent of finance and operations.
  • Adding an identification card system on school buses that records when students get on and off a bus; and marks each transaction by Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • Updating classroom audio (microphone systems) in elementary schools.

The board voted on the replacement levy after reviewing a proposal from the district’s Technology Levy Advisory Committee and more than 1,000 survey responses from students, educators, parents and other community members who answered questions about technology and safety needs.

Elementary students board school bus at the end of the dayThe committee, made up of district staff, parents, students and community members, met in September and October to examine technology and safety needs and costs before submitting its proposal for consideration.

The voter-approved 2014 technology and safety levy pays for more than half of the technology expenses in the Olympia School District (52%) and more than a third of safety-related costs (36%).

Despite news reports at the end of the 2017 Legislative session that the state will fully fund basic education beginning in 2019, analysis of the new funding indicates that about one third of the district’s technology and safety expenses will be state funded under the new system, Priddy said.

The estimated levy rate depends on the final dollar amount of assessed value of property within the school district. Based on information to date from the county assessor’s office, the projected levy rate for the proposed measure is $.87 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2019 and 2020, $.85 cents per $1,000 in 2021, and $.89 cents per $1,000 in 2022.

With the technology and safety levy of $.87 per $1,000 of assessed value projected in 2019, the owner of a $250,000 home would pay about $18 a month, or $217 a year.

The proposed technology and safety levy tax and newly-enacted state schools’ tax, combined with the voter-approved Olympia School District school construction bonds and maintenance and operations levy, would keep tax rates constant. The total projected tax rate over the four years would be between $5.25 and $5.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — one cent less or equal to the $5.26 tax rate in 2017.

A new state education property tax enacted by the Legislature in 2017 to begin in 2018 will bump up the total district tax in 2018 for one year, and then the total tax will drop in 2019. This increase and then decrease is unrelated to this proposed technology and safety replacement levy, which would not start collection until 2019.

Olympia voters approved technology levies in 1994, 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2014. State law requires a simple majority (50 percent plus one) for passage of a school levy.