Meet our new OSD Everyday Hero

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesThank you to all who continue to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Remember to 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 latest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Todd Thornton, Custodian, Roosevelt Elementary
“Todd, you are a rock star custodian! You keep our building clean, neat, and in excellent repair. Every day you come to work with a positive attitude. Whenever we need something, our requests are met with a smile and a timely response. While you already have more than enough work to do, you frequently go above and beyond your expected duties, often anticipating our needs and taking care of things before we even ask! You look out for everyone in the building, including students and staff. Our building has never looked so good, and the credit for that goes to you and your custodial staff. Thank you for working so hard for our school and doing such a great job. You are an important part of what makes Roosevelt such a great place to be.”
Submitted by Jean Schuna

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department ( 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.

Roosevelt classroom mini-building ribbon cutting is Monday, April 30

Exterior of new Roosevelt Elementary two-story classroom mini-buildingThe newly constructed two-story Roosevelt Elementary classroom mini-building opened its doors to students on Friday, April 20 and will be the site of a dedication ceremony on Monday, April 30.

The community is welcome to join Roosevelt Elementary students and staff, Superintendent Patrick Murphy, school board members, district staff, and the architect and contractor in a ribbon-cutting ceremony starting at 4 p.m. on April 30.

Guests are welcome to walk through the new classroom building following the ribbon cutting.

Roosevelt Elementary is the third of five two-story classroom mini-buildings to open its doors. Construction continues on the McLane and Centennial elementary school mini-buildings, approved by voters as part of the 2016 school bond. Pioneer Elementary School’s mini-building opened in January, followed by Hansen Elementary’s two-story classroom addition in March.

Each of the mini-buildings has eight classrooms, a music room, a commons/general classroom space for multiple uses, small learning areas between classrooms for small-group teaching and learning, a musical instrument storage area, and an administrative office and storage area. Each building also has a covered walkway connecting it to the main school building at each site, an elevator, two sets of stairs, and restrooms on each floor.

Exterior finishes and colors are designed to coordinate with the main one-story school buildings on the same campus.

Safety Tip of the Week: Preventing back pain and injury at work

Woman sitting at computer desk with hands holding waistline as if having pain in back

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about preventing back pain and injury at work.

Heavy lifting, repetitive motion and sitting at a desk all day can cause back pain. Get the facts about back pain and how to prevent it.

Whether it’s dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back pain can make it hard to concentrate. Many different occupations can place demands on your back. Including routine office work can cause or worsen back pain. It’s important to understand what may cause back pain at work and what you can do to prevent it.

Common causes of back pain at work according to the Mayo Clinic.

  • Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
  • Repeating certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine, can injure your back.
  • An inactive job or a desk job can contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support.

Back pain and lifestyle factors

Of course, factors such as aging, obesity and poor physical condition also can contribute to back pain.

Start by making a healthy eating plan. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle and may lead to back pain.

Combine aerobic exercise, such as swimming or walking, with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back muscles and abdomen. Exercises that increase your balance and strength can also decrease your risk of falling and injuring your back. Consider tai chi, yoga and weight-bearing exercises that challenge your balance.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.

Preventing back pain

You can take steps to avoid and prevent back pain. For example the Mayo Clinic recommends the following:

  • Pay attention to posture.When standing, balance your weight evenly on your feet. Don’t slouch. To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Remove your wallet or cellphone from your back pocket when sitting to prevent putting extra pressure on your buttocks or lower back.
  • Lift properly.When lifting and carrying a heavy object, lift with your legs and tighten your core muscles. Hold the object close to your body. Maintain the natural curve of your back. Don’t twist when lifting. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, ask someone to help you.
  • Modify repetitive tasks.Use lifting devices, when available, to help you lift loads. Try to alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair are positioned properly. If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset. Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching. Limit the time you spend carrying heavy briefcases, purses and bags. Consider using a rolling suitcase.
  • Listen to your body.If you must sit for a prolonged period, change your position often. Periodically walk around and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension.

Back pain can make everyday tasks difficult. Taking some simple steps to take care of your back will make your days more enjoyable.

District offers flu shot clinics


Doctor holds sign stating Flu Shots HereThe Olympia School District is committed to helping keep students, staff, parents/guardians and community members healthy throughout the flu season. The district has partnered again this year with the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association (SVNA) to provide flu shot clinics.

The clinics are open to all OSD staff, students, families (children must be four years of age or older) and community members. Please note that students under 18 will need a Patient Consent Form signed by a parent/legal guardian.

Students under 18 without insurance coverage will be offered the shot at no cost. Adults without coverage must pay $30 by cash or check.

Clinic dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 24, Olympia High School, 2:45-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25, Capital High School, 2:45-6 p.m.

For more information, please contact Jeff Carpenter, director of health, fitness, athletics at 360-596-8544 or

Safety Tip of the Week: Register for the Great Washington ShakeOut on Oct. 19

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares some tips about heading back to school safely.

The Great Washington ShakeOut!

Participating in the Great Washington ShakeOut is a good way for the Olympia School District and the local community to get prepared for an earthquake emergency. Practicing together as a voluntary nationwide earthquake drill will help prepare the district in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Great Washington ShakeOut is scheduled on October 19, 2017. Schools or individuals may register for the ShakeOut any time prior to the event. In addition, if a school is unable to do the drill on October 19, it can choose a date that works for that building and may still register and log the drill for participation.

Between now and October 19:

Earthquake hazards vary from region to region, but most of Washington is prone to earthquakes, and the Olympia Region definitely is a hazard area. You may be anywhere when an earthquake strikes — at work, home, school or the store.

How we prepare now in advance of an earthquake will impact the response and recovery at the time of the event. The ShakeOut is organized to help get organizations and our district up-to-date by reviewing and updating our emergency preparedness plans and supplies.

EVERYONE in Washington state can participate in the Great Washington ShakeOut and is encouraged to do so!

The ShakeOut drill is scheduled for 10:19 a.m. on October 19. The main goal is to help Washingtonians prepare for a major earthquake, so don’t miss out on this annual opportunity. 

OSDEF is accepting grant applications; deadline is July 14 for fall grants

Official OSDEF logoThe Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) is accepting grant applications for the 2017-18 school year. Although applications may be submitted at any time of the year, if funds are needed for Fall 2017, an application must be sent to the OSDEF by July 14, 2017. Grants approved in August will be funded in September.

Grant requests will be evaluated based on commitment to the OSDEF mission: to provide programs and services to students and partners with teachers to enhance educational success and promote learning for all students of the Olympia School District.

Grant categories, guidelines and applications are available online on the OSDEF website. Questions may be directed to Bev Sperry in the OSDEF office. She can be reached by email at or at the office phone, (360) 596-6110. Bev is available during the summer months.