Do you know a student in kindergarten or 1st grade who:
Thinks up unusual ways to solve difficult problems?
Generates and comprehends complex and abstract ideas?
Exhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectives?
Thinks logically and wants things to make sense?
Prefers the company of intellectual peers?
Is an expert who abstracts beyond the field?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, please consider referring the student for identification for Highly Capable Services.
Referral Process & Timeline
Referrals may come from community members, teachers, other staff, parents/guardians and students. The referral window for students in kindergarten and first grade to be considered for Highly Capable Services is open now and will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021.
To learn more about OSD’s highly capable services, go to Olympia School District’s Highly Capable Services webpage, where you will find information regarding identification and services, as well as links to the referral form.
Physical copies of the referral form are available and can be picked up at the front desk of the Knox Administrative Center located at 111 Bethel St. N.E. in Olympia.
On October 11, some people celebrate Columbus Day, while others celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. It is extremely important to understand that Columbus Day, like Thanksgiving, when traditionally recognized in the mainstream United States does not fully represent contentment, good times or thankfulness for all Americans.
In fact, oftentimes the oppression and adversities experienced by Indigenous during both the “discovery” of America, and the arrival of Pilgrims have been left out of American history or ignored. Because of this, many cities in the United States are moving toward celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day and replacing Columbus Day. Olympia is one of the many cities that celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day (Resource: Related Olympian Article).
It is very healthy to inquire and push back on traditions and systems that might need re-examining, as we continue to grow as a system. Just because we have engaged in practices a certain way for years, does not mean it is the most appropriate way. To help us in this journey, we have the Olympia School District (OSD) Race & Decision-Making Tool that can support reflection as we seek to provide inclusive decision-making structures and opportunities. Within our committees, teams and schools, we each serve as leaders — each educator within OSD is invited to consider where the OSD Race & Decision-Making Tool might fit within your leadership toolkit.
Related Resources for Use with Students
Educating students on different cultures and holidays, including religious holidays, in alignment with the WSLSs for a given subject area is perfectly fine and encouraged. Below are some resources “for use with adults” that can support considerations as each of us is careful not to offend, show bias or proselytize. In addition to delving into one of the resources below, we encourage educators to ask questions, seek to understand and model life-long learning with colleagues and students.
The Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) is a collaborative effort of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Service’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, and Liquor and Cannabis Board.
The Healthy Youth Survey provides important survey results about the health of adolescents in Washington. County prevention coordinators, community mobilization coalitions, community public health and safety networks, and others use this information to guide policy and programs that serve youth.
Who: 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students whose schools opted to do the Panorama Survey across Washington will take the Healthy Youth Survey. When: October 11 – 29, 2021 Other Details: Students will complete the survey online in their schools on one of the days between October 11 and October 29.
For more information in multiple languages, including frequently asked questions, click on one of the PDFs below that contains information posted on the Healthy Youth Survey website:
Language Link is a phone interpretation service available to all OSD Staff Members to use when communicating with families who communicate in a target language other than English and/or are multilingual.
Accessing Language Link
Calling Language Link allows for an interpreter to join in your conversation to bridge your communication with families who speak a target language other than English.
Information about how to access this service by phone, including unique codes to enter for each school and/or support building, are posted on the staff intranet. Be sure to log in to Google to access the Telephone Interpretation Service webpage on the staff intranet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we use Language Link to support an in-person conversation with a family or community member?
Is there someone on campus who knows about Language Link?
In September, the Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team will partner with Family Liaisons (elementary schools) and Counselors (secondary schools) on training. At that point, educators in these roles can serve as on-site supports.
Who to Contact
If educators have questions specific to Language Line, please contact:
Olympia School District recently launched a new Instructional Coaching Model to provide K-12 teachers with ongoing, job embedded professional development in support of student success. This updated approach to Instructional Coaching is grounded in our Board’s Recovery Plan. OSD’s instructional coaching team includes six full-time elementary coaches, four secondary coaches, and four K-12 coaches who support specific programs. The team is connected to Teaching and Learning. The vision is that eventually every school will have an instructional coach so that every teacher will have access to a coach.
What do Instructional Coaches do?
Coaches partner with educators to engage, equip and empower teachers to incorporate research-based instructional practices into their teaching. They serve as co-learners, reflective partners and consulting partners while honoring teacher-directed interests and goal setting. Coaches collaborate with teachers in 1:1, small group and large group settings in support of classroom management, content, instruction, and assessment for learning and equity.
Who are the Instructional Coaches?
Elementary Instructional Coaches include:
Carolyn Balderston (LP Brown)
Angela Leonard (Garfield)
Ashley Patrick (Hansen)
Chelsey Schneidemann (McLane)
Jennifer Cronquist (Roosevelt)
Melissa Hayes (Madison)
Secondary Instructional Coaches include:
Casey Church (Math)
Malia Lee (Humanities)
Katie Savinski (Humanities)
Paula Perryman (Career & Technical Education)
K-12 Instructional Coaches include:
Carmen Kardokus (Science)
Rachel Diane Brock (Intervention & Extension)
Kris Norelius (Social Emotional Learning)
Susan Williams (Professional Growth & New Teacher Induction)
This is the first in a series of blog posts, submitted by the Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team, about the T&L Team restructure that is taking place.
The best way to get support from someone related to any of the services, programs or content areas under the umbrella of the T&L Team — as listed in this blog post — is to email: Knox-K12TeachLearn@osd.wednet.edu.
Future updates will contain information about updated website structures and communications as part of a multi-tiered system of support for internal communications from the T&L Team.
This restructure is grounded in expectations from House Bill 1368 -– COVID -– Federal Funding (2021) Sec 12, which created a new section of Chapter 43.70 RCW, setting forth certain requirements for the appropriation of federal funds, including that school districts submit an Academic and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan to OSPI by June 1, 2021, to address student needs resulting from school building closures and extended time in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to these expectations, the district Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) learned from stakeholders across our schools and community during the 2020-21 school year to inform the development of a multiyear vision for a Recovery Plan passed by our OSD Board at the end of May 2021.
Dr. Hannah Gbenro, who started on July 1 with Olympia School District (OSD), has been charged with partnering to lead significant Recovery Plan efforts. Along these lines, as our Chief Academic Officer (CAO), Dr. Gbenro has re-structured the T&L Team, is consistently learning from stakeholders to establish updated systems of support, and is committed to the multiyear vision for recovery (Recovery Plan) in the interest of student success.
The T&L Team is working to update website content to provide clarity and supports aligned with the information in this blog post. In the meantime, the team wants to ensure some key pieces are communicated.
Based on lessons learned in spring — through site visits, reading previous surveys, listening to focus groups, learning from committee meetings — the T&L Team will take a
Departmentalized approach. This means all services, programs, and content areas that traditionally fall under “Teaching and Learning” will take an integrated approach. The formal title to this strategy is the “human-centered design” approach, where the end-users (students, educators, families) are prioritized at the center of all action-planning and decision-making.
Data-informed and results-driven approach. This means looking at data from across our system, holding up against research and external expectations, and prioritizing the rights of stakeholders within these considerations.
T&L Team Members recently engaged in visioning efforts to identify a Mission & Vision that would best support partnership for the success of the multiyear journey toward realizing our OSD Recovery Plan. While the T&L Team is working on updated website information where this information will be accessible over time, below is the Mission & Vision for moving forward:
Vision: To partner with stakeholders in the interest of furthering our Student Outcomes through the lens of equity.
Mission: With equity at the forefront, our T&L Team mission is to equip, empower, and collaborate with stakeholders for increased individual and collective potential for the benefit of the Whole Child, Whole Educator, & Whole Community.
The services, programs, and content areas that now fall under the Teaching & Learning Team include:
Curriculum & Instruction across all content & programs spanning K – 12 (Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Social Emotional Learning, Health Education, Music Education, Physical Education, Sexual Health Education, STEM, World Languages, Visual Arts)
Title/LAP Intervention Services
English Learner Services & Migrant Education Services;
Implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Assessment, Data, & Research
Career & Technical Education (CTE) Programming
College & Career Readiness (CCR) Services
Indian Education & Tribal Relations
Student Mentoring Programming
Highly Capable Services
Instructional Coaching Services
Family & Community Partnerships
School Improvement Planning (SIP) and District Improvement Planning (DIP) Processes
Stay tuned for future blog updates about the T&L Team restructuring, in support of the Recovery Plan and partnering with stakeholders to further our Whole Child focused Student Outcomes.
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:
Key Dates – April 2021 issue of OnCall, published by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA). This annual calendar lists a combination of special months and weeks, as well as holidays and some interfaith celebrations. View 2021-22 Key Dates for School Calendars
Applications are being accepted for the Thurston County School Retirees’ Association Elementary, Middle School and High School Mini-Grant for 2021-22. Grants are provided for school employees to acquire materials or provide experiences for their students above and beyond what is paid for by district funds.
This year, members are eligible for awards of up to $500 and non-members are eligible for up to $250. Applications can be found and submitted online at www.wssra-units.org/thurstoncounty.
Applications must be received by October 13, 2021.
Olympia School District has launched a new e-Library for employees to use at no cost. This professional development library, purchased with grant money, includes full texts from publishers that can be downloaded onto an employee’s computer and/or Google Drive. At the outset, the library of nearly 600 titles contains information mostly relevant to teaching staff and school administrators. Plans are to expand the library collection to offer materials suitable for all certificated, classified and administrative staff.
Q: How will I access the books? When can I access books? A: The Gale e-Library involves a Single Sign On through OSD Google accounts.
Q: Can I listen to the books? Can I download the books? A: Yes and yes. Employees can listen to the books online. You can download PDF versions of each chapter onto your computer and/or into your Google Drive. Educators can also link PDF chapters from Schoology.
Q: Can I print part of the book? A: Yes, you can download the PDF version of any chapter (which looks just like the printed version in the book itself) and choose to physically print it off. This can be a particularly useful strategy when engaging a group of educators in a close read of a portion of a text or a diagram from a book.
Q: Can multiple people access the same book at the same time? A: Yes, there is no limit to how many people can access a book at a given time nor to how many times a book can be accessed.
Q: Are people tracking which titles I access? A: No. Just like the public library does not allow reports to be analyzed by the individual user, the Gale e-Library vendor does not provide OSD individual user data about what content is accessed by whom.
Q: What titles/books will I have access to? Will new titles be added from year-to-year? A: Initially, the district has access to 581 titles. As funds allow and quality publications are released, Teaching & Learning will continue to expand this professional growth library to support all OSD educators (certificated, classified and administrative).
Q: What are some top titles I might be interested in checking out? A: View a sampling of highlights you might be interested in on the staff intranet Teaching & Learning department Gale e-Library webpage. Remember to log in to the staff intranet using your OSD Google account (On the top of the Home page of the district website, click “Login.” Click the red rectangle titled “Sign in with Google.” Click the “Intranet” heading near the top of the OSD Home page, “Departments,” and “Teaching & Learning.” The Gale e-Library is among the department subpages located on the far left side of the page.