April 26 is deadline for 2020-21 OSDEF grant requests

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

Fourth quarter OSDEF Teaching & Learning Grant Requests are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 26. They will be considered for approval by the OSDEF Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 11. All applicants will be notified of their grant’s status by no later than Friday, May 14.

Grants are available in amounts of up to $1,500 in the following categories: Closing the Opportunity Gap, Creativity and the Arts, Cultivating Engaged Citizens, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Meet a Need, and Mental Health Initiative.

Criteria, instructions and applications can all be found here. If you received a grant last year, you must submit a Post-Grant Report prior to being considered for grant funding this year.

2021-2022 Grant Requests will be accepted beginning in early August. More details will be announced before the end of the current school year.

Questions? Please reach out to OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at info@osdef.og.

Update on latest vaccine survey and district-sponsored clinics

This is a quick update on district sponsored vaccine clinics, and on community clinics. Thank you to all who submitted their answers to the March 22 vaccine survey. Based on your answers we have canceled the March 26 vaccine clinic, which would have been a 1st dose clinic with the Moderna vaccine. The vast majority of respondents have obtained at least their first dose of the vaccine; several who have not obtained a first dose are waiting for the Pfizer or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.

The district’s vaccine provider will continue to seek a set of the Pfizer or Johnson vaccine, but of course, do not wait for a district clinic as providers have no choice in the manufacturer doses they receive. We will continue to provide links to upcoming clinics in this weekly employee blog, and based on March 22 survey results will “direct-market” to employees who are seeking a specific vaccine. (Our March 22 survey will remain open, so please feel free to submit answers in the next few days. Click to complete the survey)

The 2nd dose clinic associated with the March 7 1st dose clinic, is scheduled for Monday April 5, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Olympia High School (Commons entrance). If you received your first dose on March 7, you should have received an email with a link to schedule your appointment at this clinic. We are aware that several individuals who received a vaccine on March 7 will not be available on April 5.

  • If you received your 1st dose on March 7, and cannot be at the April 5 2nd dose clinic, please check with your health care provider for any options for a 2nd dose, or look for opportunities at your local pharmacy. Keep the vaccine card with you, as the pharmacist may want to see this card to administer the 2nd dose. You received the Moderna vaccine, so you must receive a 2nd dose of Moderna also.

The 2nd dose clinic associated with the March 19 1st dose clinic, is tentatively scheduled for Friday April 16, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. You will receive an email to sign up for your 2nd dose appointment once we confirm the date and time, and get closer to April 16.

If you or an adult family member would like to volunteer at our upcoming April 5 and/or April 16 clinics, please email covidvaccine@osd.wednet.edu. In the event that extra doses are available, volunteers can sometimes be vaccinated at the end of the clinic (volunteers would always be prioritized by age, from oldest to youngest). This would be complex, because the volunteer would be receiving a 1st dose with no corresponding upcoming 2nd dose clinic, but we never want a dose to go to waste.

Other Vaccine Clinics:

  • Appointments may still be available for a Friday March 26 clinic that runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at South Puget Sound Community College. This is a 1st dose Moderna clinic for eligible residents in Thurston County. Please read the eligibility statements and identification requirements, on the website before scheduling an appointment. Click here to schedule an appointment for Friday’s clinic at SPSCC.
  • Appointments may still be available for the drive-through clinic on Sunday, March 28 at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. This is a 1st dose Moderna clinic for eligible residents in Thurston County.  Please read the eligibility statements, and identification requirements, on the website before scheduling an appointment. Click here to schedule an appointment for Sunday’s clinic at the Thurston County Fairgrounds.
  • You can also search for upcoming clinics through PrepMod at: https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/.

Meet this week’s three new Everyday Heroes — all making a difference!

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. 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 are our newest honorees:

Everyday Hero
Jennalynn Burke, Speech Language Pathologist, Capital High School, Thurgood Marshall Middle School, Knox Administrative Building

Jennalynn Burke, our new SLP who replaced the wonderful Paige Law, has stepped in to cover a giant caseload. She immediately made herself known to parents and students alike with phone calls after hours and in collaboration with teachers. In fact, I just got off the phone with her as she was hours out of contract and concerned about a certain kiddo and parent. She wants to find not only a way to influence students and families but a better way. She is very much a like a point guard, seeking angles, passing when communication is confirmed and shooting when it’s open.

She does this while working at multiple schools with a disparate population. The paperwork and logistical headache don’t register. She does what needs to be done and more. We are fortunate to have her on our team.
Submitted by Michael Kelly, teacher, Thurgood Marshall Middle School

Everyday Hero
Karla Harbin, Paraeducator, Olympia High School

Thank you, Karla, for providing so much support for the CTE teachers at OHS! Your flexibility, adaptability, and optimism are so greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking on so many different tasks everywhere from robotics to pottery to foods — there is nothing you can’t do! Your optimism and willingness to learn new things is inspiring and such a blessing to so many teachers and students. We are so lucky to be on your team at OHS. Thank you!
Submitted by: Katie Jahner, Josh Everson, Andrew Woodbridge and the rest of the CTE crew at Olympia High School

Everyday Hero
Audree Blodgett, school psychologist, Thurgood Marshall Middle School

Ms. Blodgett has never denied my call and I call off hours every week. She was the first person to show me the ropes, answer the difficult questions, and disagree with my approach. Her willingness to support, correct with kindness, and always show up to the table are remarkable. She keeps a cool head when my heart runs off, bringing me back to realistic options that make a real difference. She accepts differences among teammates and adjusts accordingly for the sake of the whole team, and, most importantly, the students. Thanks for keeping me in focus.
Submitted by Michael Kelly, teacher, Thurgood Marshall Middle School

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) 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.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.

New 2020-21 staff ID badges being delivered to employees at work locations

man's face visible behind a video camera

Now that we have begun returning students and staff to the classroom, the district has printed 2020-21 ID Badges for current employees who have a photo on file from the 2019-20 school year. The ID Badges will be delivered to each employee’s work location.

Human Resources will be printing badges for employees who do not have a photo on file. If you are a new employee who has not already heard from Human Resources or did not receive a badge at your building, please reach out to Danielle Enger, denger@osd.wednet.ed, who will assist you in getting an ID Badge made.

School Board proclaims Feb. 1-5 Black Lives Matter at School Week

Black Lives Matter at School Logo, including face with a mask, and the words "A Week of Action. A Year of Purpose. A Lifetime of Practice.

The Olympia School Board has proclaimed that the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action will be recognized in OSD schools February 1-5, 2021.

Board members took turns reading the proclamation during their January 14 meeting to support the national campaign, which first began in Seattle in 2016 and has since spread across the nation.

The school board proclamation states in part that “school systems have a responsibility to their students and the communities they serve to nurture young people who have the courage and skills to confront personal, systemic and societal bias and recognize the many types of privilege that exist in our society.”

The proclamation also “encourages educators, students and families to incorporate the 13 pillars of the Black Lives Matter movement into their discussions about race and privilege all year long by teaching a Black Lives Matter at School lesson, showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in our attire, attending an event in support of racial equity, singing songs that acknowledge our history of oppression and the struggle for justice, reading a book that challenges our world view, making art that celebrates the diversity of our community, listening to the experiences of people who are different from us and talking with our children about how each of us can work to build a more just and equitable society.”

View the full proclamation

New version of Return to Work Safety Plan posted on website

Read the latest version (Version 4.6) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The most current version of the plan is posted on both the staff Intranet and on the district website. Be sure to bookmark the link above for easy access. For those who prefer to visit the webpages where it is posted, the plan is shared in the following locations:

The latest change to the plan is on pages 13-16. Pages have been updated to reflect the most current COVID-19 flowcharts from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

Please remember to follow all safety and health protocols outlined in the plan.

Congratulations to this week’s Everyday Hero; submit yours before winter break

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Recognition of outstanding OSD colleagues continues with a new Everyday Hero this week. Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. 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 newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Jeff Munsen, Bus Driver, Transportation Department

I want to highlight a very special moment that happened for  some of our in-person English Learner students on their bus ride to a school. Students were glowing that their bus driver, Jeff Munsen, asked each student their name upon climbing the steps of the bus.

Here is what students were exclaiming about and proud of when sharing this with their families and teachers: “He told us he wanted to say our name right because it was important to do that. He kept practicing until he got it right. Then he remembered!”  Seems like a simple concept, right? But in the lives of many of our English Learners, their self-identity and value shifts a bit when some people struggle to say their name accurately — if they even try. Because of this, sometimes they give the child a nickname, or just say, “Oh, that’s too hard!”, and then say the name how it might sound in English. Since names are our most basic building blocks of our identity, Jeff Munsen made the effort to acknowledge and show value in students’ names. He took the time to learn the name, and respectfully welcome each student aboard by addressing each student by their given name.

Thank you,  Jeff Munsen. It seems so simple of a moment for some, but this simple act of respect and cultural responsiveness  made an impact on the social-emotional levels of these students that day, and most likely, for a very long time.
Submitted by Heather Randolph, EL Coordinator

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) 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.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.

Don’t forget to complete staff survey by 8 p.m. tonight, Dec. 4

graphs and paper

If you haven’t done so already, we want to remind and encourage all employees districtwide to complete a survey to share their thoughts about the effectiveness of the current remote learning model. We also ask that you answer questions that relate to general topics such as school/work climate, and cultural awareness and action. Survey responses will be anonymous. Data gathered will be used to inform planning going forward during the Pandemic response and gather baseline data to use as we strive to improve all workplaces in Olympia.

The deadline to complete this staff survey is 8 p.m. tonight, Friday, December 4.

  • Certificated staff onlyClick to take the survey
  • All other OSD employeesClick to take the survey (Note: For employees who work in support buildings, when you see questions that reference “school,” please answer as they relate to your support building site).

Grackle Slides now creates accessible PDFs

Grackle Docs logo

Grackle Slides now allows for users to export an accessible PDF version of their presentation from directly within Slides, rather than requiring the user to export to PowerPoint beforehand. With this functionality enabled, Grackle Slides is now as powerful as the Grackle Docs tool in that it acts as both an accessibility checker and PDF exporter. This greatly simplifies the process of creating accessible Slides presentations.

Users of Google Slides can install Grackle Slides by opening a Slides document, going to the Add-ons menu,  selecting “Get add-ons,” searching for Grackle Slides and selecting the “+” button. Grackle Slides will be registered through your OSD account.

A quick-start guide to using Google Slides and Grackle to create accessible content is available on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.  If you have any questions or tips regarding Grackle Slides, or accessibility in general, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.