Resources for interfaith celebrations, holidays and observances

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance
The Olympia School District is an increasingly diverse community, and we have students with different home languages and family traditions.

As part of the district’s work related to the board-approved Student Outcomes, specifically Outcome 1, Indicator 1, we annually provide employees with resources of various interfaith celebrations, as well as holidays and observances. Student Outcome 1 states “Our Students Will: Be Compassionate and Kind.” Indicator 1 states our students will “Be aware of and appreciate one’s similarities and differences with others.” The OSD District Improvement Plan also identifies staff will be provided “a list of religious/cultural observances throughout the year with notations of when to be mindful of fasting periods or other events.”

Schools are not being asked to celebrate or recognize religious events. Rather, these resources are designed to make staff aware of interfaith calendar events and observances so you can be mindful and understanding throughout the year. Please keep the dates included in the resources below in mind as you schedule school events to avoid conflicts.

One of the newest and most comprehensive resources shared with us is a “Diversity Calendar” published by Cultures Connecting.

The 2021-22 calendar includes notations of observances with fasting periods and/or days that work or school should be suspended, and provides direct links to information about each observance. In the opening page of the calendar, the Mission Statement reads: “The purpose of this calendar is to address and support the diversity of students, staff, and families in K-12 education settings and beyond. We recognize that by increasing our understanding of diverse cultures, group experiences, traditions, values and beliefs, we can enhance our relationships with one another and hence, create culturally responsive environments where everyone feels valued and respected.” Download the PDF for easy reference throughout the school year.

Other resources include:

Remember you can always return to the staff blog at any future date to access these resources. We will continue to update this list as we become aware of new resources.

Register to vote for the November General Election

American flag waving in the wind

Thurston County residents may register to vote online, by mail or in person for the November 2, 2021 General Election.

There are two Olympia School Board positions on the ballot:

  • Mark Boyer and Darcy Huffman are vying for the District 3 seat that will be vacated by Director Leslie Huff.
  • Scott Clifthorne and Don Mitchell are running for the District 5 position, currently held by Scott Clifthorne.

Election ballots are scheduled to be mailed on October 7, 2021.

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

  • October 25, 2021: Last day to register to vote or update your current voter registration by any means other than in person.
  • November 2, 2021: Register to vote or update your current voter registration in person and drive-thru only until 8 p.m. on Election Day November 2. In-person/drive-thru voter registration is done at the Thurston County Elections Division, 2400 Evergreen Park Dr. S.W., Olympia.

To register to vote you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • Residing at your current address for a minimum of 30 days before Election Day.
  • A legal resident of Washington state.
  • At least 18 years old by Election Day. (Note: Citizens may pre-register to vote at age 16 and will be automatically eligible to vote and sent a ballot during the first election after their 18th birthday).

For additional voter registration information, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office Elections Division webpage. You may also call (360) 786-5408 or email elections@co.thurston.wa.us.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Updates

Two elementary students seated in a classroom read books at a table.

View the latest COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols, including a list of frequently asked questions and links to the most current local and state COVID-19 resources, on the In-Person and Remote Learning Updates page on the OSD website.

This page also includes links to two new videos, each just over a minute in length, focusing on COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols in our schools.

COVID-19 staff vaccination information and vaccine locations in Thurston County

The following is a copy of a message emailed to all OSD staff on August 18, 2021 explaining Gov. Jay Inslee’s directive requiring all K-12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment.

If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine locally, visit the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services website for a list of dates, times and locations.

Message emailed to OSD employees on August 18, 2021:

Hello Olympia School District employees,

Today Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment.

Gov. Inslee also expanded a statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, indoors in public settings. This mandate takes effect Monday, August 23, 2021.

The Governor’s directive means that all Olympia School District employees, contractors, volunteers and others working in school facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021.

Some of the key elements of today’s proclamation are:

  • Olympia School District and our Board of Directors do not have local control over this matter. We are legally required to follow the Governor’s directive.
  • Employees may request an exemption if they cannot meet the requirement due to a medical or religious reason. A religious exemption will not require medical consultation or proof of an organized religious affiliation. It will be an attestation and signature from the employee related to a religious belief, practice or observance, according to information shared today by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). We will provide more information about this process as soon as we have more details.
  • There is not an option to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 instead of receiving a vaccination or exemption.
  • Employees who are vaccinated will need to provide proof of vaccination. Attestation is not an allowable substitute for vaccination. We will provide more information about this soon.
  • The information employees provide regarding vaccination will be a confidential record.
  • Vaccination is a condition of employment in the proclamation. If you do not provide proof of full vaccination or obtain a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021, you will be separated from employment via non-disciplinary dismissal due to no longer meeting the qualifications of your position.
  • This proclamation does not include vaccine requirements for students. It also does not replace the current requirement for all students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings in schools and on school buses.

Our district’s goal of safely providing full-time in-person learning for students in the 2021-22 school year remains the same. This announcement will not delay our return to school buildings this fall, and unvaccinated employees should continue to come to work while in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.

For more information on today’s announcement, visit the OSPI website for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Disregard latest email from unauthorized vendor titled ‘TRS Retirement Reviews’

From time to time, outside unauthorized vendors send emails to OSD employees offering services or requesting appointments be scheduled. The latest email, sent this morning to some employees, is titled “TRS Retirement Reviews.” The sender is PAC APPOINTMENT, and the emails asks staff in “Olympia County Schools” to request a retirement review.

Please disregard this request as it is not from an authorized OSD vendor. Our Technology department has since blocked this vendor from sending to district emails.

Registration underway for social media, teacher webpage and web editor trainings

Person typing on a laptop computer

Registration is open for staff interested in participating in the OSD Social Media Workshop and/or the Teacher Webpage and Web Editor Training.

OSD Social Media Workshop

Is your school officially represented on social media? If not, let’s fix that!

In the ever-changing world of social media, it can be daunting when considering what social media platforms to choose to best reach your families. Don’t be dismayed, it’s really quite simple and unquestionably worth your time and effort.

Give us an hour of your time and come sit down as we delve into the following “Social Media Tips” when managing a school or district-related social media account:

  • Why do we need to promote our school? We’re doing fine!
  • Getting approval from your administrator
  • How to select the social media platform to best reach your audience
  • Setting up your accounts (using district email)
  • Checking student permissions (when publishing students names/photos)
  • How to best promote your new social media account
  • Frequency of posting: Creating a social media calendar
  • Creating engagement: Like, Follow and Share
  • How to produce consistent, easily digestible and accessible content
  • The “How-To’s” of video production and posting
  • How to properly add and edit closed captions to your video content
  • Finding your “voice” and “tone”

Our hope is that by the time this workshop wraps up you will feel much more comfortable opening up a social media account that represents your school community. This includes accounts for a school, athletic team, club, program or classroom. You will be amazed at the number of families you reach that were not previously reached through your school website (or teacher page), robocalls, newsletters, email and flyers.

With a consistent posting schedule, your engagement will soar. You will have a brand new way to communicate with students, families and our community which prioritizes content pushed out through social media. There are so many great stories to tell throughout our district, don’t be afraid of using this unique outlet to bring yours to the forefront!

Details with the necessary Zoom information are available in PDEnroller (linked above). Please sign up for this training in PDEnroller prior to its start so everything is properly set up for each user. Should you need additional information, contact Conor Schober at cschober@osd.wednet.edu.


Teacher Webpage and Web Editor Training

This training is for Olympia School District teachers and web editors interested in creating, editing and curating content for a teacher website or department webpage.

Details with the necessary Zoom information are in PDEnroller (linked above). Please sign up for this training in PDEnroller prior to its start so everything is properly set up for each user. Each of these virtual training opportunities is approved for Clock Hours and is eligible for TechPD. Should you need additional information, contact Conor Schober at cschober@osd.wednet.edu

Celebration of Life for Gordon Chamberlain July 10 at OHS

Portrait photo of the late Gordon Chamberlain

A Celebration of Life in memory of longtime OSD educator Gordon Chamberlain will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 in the Olympia High School Commons/PAC. His family asked us to share this information with OSD staff.

Chamberlain passed away on May 2, 2020. He was well known in the community, both as an OSD educator for nearly 20 years and as a keyboard player in the Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band.

He retired in June 2019 after working as a dean and teacher at Olympia High School. He also worked in various other leadership roles in the Olympia School District, including assistant principal/dean at Capital High School and Reeves Middle School.

Don’t miss Class of 2021 Livestreams

Photo of ORLA 2021 Graduates with Principal Celeste Waltermeyer and Asst Principal Kristy Grinnell outdoors  with graduates dressed in caps and gowns
Congratulations Class of 2021!

Dates and times have been finalized for all of the 2021 Olympia School District high school graduations (see below). Due to the nature of our non-traditional, social distancing graduation ceremonies, things continue to look a little different this year. That said, we are thrilled to be able to livestream all five of our graduations on the OSD Facebook page so that families, friends and community members can partake in the festivities.

Included below are graduation specifics for each school’s ceremony. Please remember, to view any of our graduation livestreams you simply visit the OSD Facebook page at the times indicated below. We will start the livestream roughly 15 minutes before each graduation ceremony kicks off.

Be sure to Like/Follow our page to receive automatic notifications when we ‘Go Live’. We hope you are able to tune in and enjoy the celebrations!