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

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.

Spring Panorama Survey: April 18 – May 6

Graphic that says Panorama Spring Survey for Students, Staff & Families with the dates open to take the survey

Staff, students and families are invited to take the Panorama Well-Being Screener Survey April 18 – May 6.

There is one survey link for classroom teachers and other instructional staff, and another survey link for all other district staff. The survey link for families is posted on the district website, and students will receive the link in the OSD Student Portal.

Background Information and Survey Results

The Panorama Survey data has been crucial in shaping our district priorities, School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and Strategic Plan.

Full information and Fall 2021 survey results can be accessed on our public-facing Teaching & Learning (T&L) Panorama Survey Webpage.

State Expectations for Well-Being Screener

We are in Year 2 of implementing our Panorama Well-Being Screener Survey. OSD got a head start on implementation by launching in 2020-21 to get a temperature check on what students, staff and families needed during remote learning. Then, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) began requiring every district to have a Well-Being Screener in 2021–22 as part of Recovery Plans, which our OSD Board of Directors had already committed to within our Academic and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan (2021).

Supports for Implementing our Panorama Well-Being Screener

Our goal is to ensure we capture the voices of students, staff and families impacted by the policies and systems we operate in. To have a strong conclusion in our data, below outlines our goal for Spring 2022, and the T&L internal webpage for Panorama includes resources to support schools with implementation.

Response Rates: Fall 2021 Actual Compared to Spring 2022 Goal*

  • Students: 74.1% (5,857 total) compared to 85-90%
  • Families: 19.6% (1,593 total) compared to 25-30%
  • Staff: 48.4% (669 total) compared to 70-80%

*This percentage is based on the national determination from Panorama for a valid and reliable data set.

Strong Response Rates are Important

Strong response rates help provide credible data for analysis and intervention in support of students, families and educators based on trends.

Implementing the Spring Panorama Survey

Below is a calendar of supports being provided in partnership with Teaching & Learning team members and schools for Panorama spring Implementation. A toolkit with additional ideas to support implementation is on the T&L internal webpage for Panorama.

April 18 – May 6: Panorama spring survey is live
April 20, 5:30-7 p.m.: Multilingual Panorama Night*
April 27, 5:30-7 p.m.: Multilingual Panorama Night*
May 10, Panorama Survey ready for review

*Multilingual Panorama Nights are events to support our families who are multilingual with completing the Panorama Survey and making meaning of the survey together. The events will have food and childcare.  

Who to Contact

The best way to access partnership and service through our Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team is by emailing:

The Panorama Implementation Team, consisting of site-based educators and Knox leaders, is facilitated by Director of Whole Child Success Char Franz, whose contact information is at the bottom of our public-facing T&L Website.

Related Resources

Schoology workshops for paraeducators

Cluster of wooden Scrabble-like tiles that spell out LEARN

The following was submitted by the Teaching & Learning Team and Human Resources Department


Olympia School District believes in supporting a Whole Child education as outlined in the vision of our six Student Outcomes within our District Improvement Plan. Similarly, we believe Whole Educator supports are important so that our classified, certificated and administrative educators are supported, engaged, healthy, safe and empowered to exercise learning courage.

Within the area of empowering paraeducators to exercise learning courage, we are working on increasing workshop offerings specific to the role of paraeducators. This is in support of the General Paraeducator Certificate.

Upcoming OSD workshop

  • Schoology for Paraeducators   
    • March 29, 4-5 p.m. via Zoom 
    • One hour synchronous Zoom workshop to learn how you, as a paraeducator, can use Schoology to support student learning. During this hour we will navigate through the Schoology platform, navigate within Schoology courses and explore resources in Schoology groups.
    • This course is facilitated by Sue Williams (Teaching & Learning Team) and Jamie Sproul (Technology Department)

Upcoming regional workshops

  • Framework for Equity in Computer Science Video Lunch and Learn
    • March 18, April 22, May 6, 12–1 p.m. via Zoom 
    • Join us to watch and reflect on four of the core components of the Framework for Equity in Computer Science from the Kapor Center. Participants will view a video panel discussion of each of the components. We will meet four Fridays beginning in March for our lunch discussion. We will meet weekly from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on these dates.
    • This course is facilitated by Shannon Thissen & Cherly Lydon (OSPI)

  • WIDA eWorkshop: The WIDA Standards Framework: A Collaborative Approach
    • Self-Paced
    • This eWorkshop is designed to strengthen instructional practices that focus on language for learning using the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition. There are six modules in this eWorkshop. Educators can use the six modules as shared professional development by going through the modules on the same weekly schedule and then meeting to discuss the topics of each module. There are discussion questions to support this approach. These modules provide self-paced learning and educators are free to engage at the pace that best fits their own needs and context.
    • This course is overseen by Virginia Morales (OSPI).

Congratulations to OSD Teacher of the Year Carolyn Gilman

Superintendent Patrick Murphy, OHS English Teacher Carolyn Gilman, and OHS Principal Matt Grant are joined by the OSD School Board in a posed photo after the OSD Teacher of the Year recognition at the Feb. 24 board meeting.

Congratulations to Olympia High School English teacher Carolyn Gilman, who has been named this year’s Olympia School District Teacher of the Year.

Gilman’s colleagues rose to their feet and erupted in applause and cheers when Superintendent Patrick Murphy made the surprise announcement during an Olympia High staff meeting. Watch video of the surprise announcement

Gilman started teaching in Olympia School District in the 2002-03 school year at Washington Middle School. She moved the following year to Olympia High School where she has been teaching ever since. She is a National Board Certified Teacher.

The school board presented Gilman with an etched plaque at the February 24 board meeting. Principal Matt Grant joined Gilman at the meeting and shared about her many contributions to Olympia High School. Her family, and several of her students, also attended the board recognition.

In his nomination letter, Grant wrote, “She has been a culture changer in our school who has helped many students find their voice and place in our school community.  I have been impressed with her engaging and creative instructional skills, her ability to find extensions outside the classroom, and her knack to inspire students to find their voice through speaking and writing.”

Congratulations Carolyn!

K-12 Ellison Education Grant applications due by March 26, 2022

Laptop computer open with a blank screen on a table with a coffee cup, pencils in a wooden holder, and books on the table.

Applications are being accepted for the “Ellison Education Grants.” Grants are intended for K-12 public school teachers in Washington State.  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 go to the following link:

Family Liaisons: Partnering and empowering families in Olympia

Screen shot of Zoom meeting featuring the faces of OSD family liaisons

The following article is shared by the Teaching & Learning team

In the Academic & Student Well-Being Recovery Plan, the school board and superintendent prioritized efforts to support student recovery through partnership with families (pages 6-8). At the elementary level, the restructure of the Teaching & Learning (T&L) team involved coordinated supports for rolling out T&L Family Liaison Services at our 11 elementary schools through recruitment, hiring, onboarding and support.

Family liaisons are grounding themselves through development of a Family Partnership Framework, while simultaneously partnering in service of students and families across Olympia.

Equity at the Center: Developing a Framework for Partnership

Our family liaisons aim to facilitate a full and equitable partnership among families, educators, community partners and other stakeholders in support of all students’ development in academic success, socioemotional well-being, and college and career readiness.

Family liaisons practice working with families, not for families. To ensure sustainability with this approach, family liaisons are establishing an OSD Family Partnership informed by the voices of families, students and other stakeholders to truly adhere to equitable practices.

Our framework, which is in development, is grounded in the 2021 OSPI Family Engagement Framework and guided by the intentional data collection of voices from families.

Examples of Aligned Efforts in Fall 2021

Holiday Support for 343 Families
Our family liaisons partnered with Together!, Honda of Olympia and local Rotary Clubs to acquire and distribute “Food and Turkey Baskets” for our families before Thanksgiving, and throughout December.

Pandemic Support and Relief
School staff shared with family liaisons that support is needed for students and families worried about coming back to in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, T&L family liaisons continue to collaborate with front office and nursing staff at their school to identify families and needs. Examples of supports: delivering food bags and homework packets, providing resources for other food delivery options, connecting families with community services, and problem-solving barriers that come along with being quarantined.

Family liaisons also support in elementary classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms, and on playgrounds, to build relationships with students as part of healthy family partnership efforts.

Basic Needs
As each family liaison has gradually found their place within their school, they all noticed a common theme of families seeking access to basic needs including physical/mental healthcare, food access, affordable housing, etc. T&L Family Liaison Services partners with the Student Support department to align efforts with Together! and support families in accessing McKinney-Vento supports.

Supervision of Family Liaison Services

Supervision of Family Liaison Services falls under Char Franz, director of whole child success, who reports to Chief Academic Officer (CAO) Hannah Gbenro. Family liaisons are directly supported by Marisha McDowell, family & community partnership coordinator, who reports to Director Franz. All family liaisons are site-based at each of the 11 elementary schools the T&L Team was assigned to partner with to initially establish this service model.

Student art celebrating Black History Month and Black American Artists on display at district office

Wall quilt made up of paper painted art squares

A colorful wall quilt of painted paper art squares created by LP Brown Elementary students in celebration of Black History Month and Black American Artists is on display at the Knox 111 Administrative Center.

The quilt, made by LP Brown students in kindergarten through grade 5 under the direction of art teacher Divina Clark, is part of a larger display of student artwork from various schools and grade levels featured on a wall across from the Knox Board Room.

The “Celebrating Black American Artists through the Art of Quilts” quilt is made up of 21 art squares that students created using tempera paint and paint sticks.

Learning objectives, which are posted on the wall next to the quilt, are described as the following:

Students learned the practice of Understanding Art Worlds (Artist Habits of Mind) – learning about Black American artists, Alma Woodsey Thomas (painter and retired art teacher) and quilters from African slaves during the Civil War era through a children storybook, “Show Way” written by renowned author, Jacqueline Woodson. Students learned about the art of quilt making and quilt patterns. Students learned about patterns by creating an art piece through the concept of using the elements of art such as line, shape and color; and, by using tempera paints and/or tempera paint sticks. 

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.

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)