Protocols

TEXTS

Do not use texts (SMS or iMessage) to conduct agency business. ESD 113 is legally required to keep records of our communications. Text messages may not automatically be archived and are difficult to retrieve for compliance with public records laws or audits.

EmailS

Response Time

Respond to emails within 24 hours on weekdays. Even if you need more time to research the answer to a question, let the sender know you received their message and when they can expect a full response.

Prompt responses help maintain and increase customer satisfaction. When clients see that their inquiries or concerns are addressed quickly, it builds trust and a positive image of the agency. Timely communication is a reflection of the agency’s professionalism. It shows that we value our clients and their time, contributing to a better public perception and potentially increasing the likelihood of repeat interactions.

Out-of-Office Auto Replies

If you can’t respond to emails within 24 hours because of meetings, travel, part-time schedule, or leave, use the auto-reply (out-of-office message) feature in Microsoft Outlook. Use one of the following examples. If you don’t know how to set up an auto-reply, contact the IT department for help.

  • Temporary Absence – “I’m sorry I missed you. I’m out of the office and will respond to my emails after I return on [day]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Name] at [email].”
  • Part-Time Employees on a Fixed Schedule – Please use your signature block (see an example of page 2 of this document) to indicate your hours rather than an auto-reply.
  • Programs With Extended Closures (like summer) – “Capital Region ESD 113’s [Program Name] is closed until [date]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Name] at [email].”

PhoneS

Greeting

When answering the phone, say, “Capital Region ESD 113, this is [Your Name], how can I help you?”

Response Time

Respond to voicemails within 24 hours on weekdays. Even if you need more time to research the answer to a question, let the customer know you received their message and when they can expect a full response.

Out-of-Office Auto Greetings

If you’re out of the office because of meetings, travel, part-time schedule, or leave, use the auto-greeting feature in Microsoft Outlook. Use one of the following examples. If you don’t know how to set up an auto-greeting, contact the IT department for help.

  • Temporary Absence – “You’ve reached [Your Name]. I’m out of the office and will return your call after I get back to work on [day]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number].”
  • Part-Time Employees on a Fixed Schedule – “You’ve reached [Your Name]. I work [days and hours] and will return your call on my next workday. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number].”
  • Programs With Extended Closures (like summer) – “You’ve reached [Your Name]. Capital Region ESD 113’s [Program Name] is closed until [date]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number].”

Automatic Phone Call Forwarding

Instead of leaving an out-of-office auto-greeting, you can forward your incoming telephone calls to a Capital Region ESD 113 co-worker who has agreed to take your calls while you’re gone. If you don’t know how to forward your incoming calls, contact the IT department for help.

ZOOM

  • Test your tech. Ensure your camera and audio are working properly before joining the meeting.
  • Behave as if you were there in person. Show up on time and dress professionally. Sit or stand attentively and avoid multitasking.
  • Keep your camera on for small group meetings. It’s difficult to interact with a screen full of blank boxes. But please turn your camera off, temporarily, if you are moving from one location to another.
  • Remove distractions. Find a quiet room and shut the door so you can focus on the meeting.
  • Use the “mute” button. When you’re not talking, make it a habit to keep yourself on mute to avoid background noise.
  • Pick your place. Just because you can Zoom from anywhere you have an internet connection does not mean you should. Choose a neutral location (not, for example, your doctor’s office or hospital room) and DO NOT Zoom and drive with your camera on.
  • Respect others’ time — and your own. Some colleagues have Zoom meetings booked back-to-back, all day and all week. Consider ending meetings a bit early to allow for a few minutes to respond to emails and stretch their legs. Take annual leave and sick leave to take care of yourself, when needed. You are not expected to be available 24/7.
  • Confirm next steps. Free-flowing conversation can be fun, but remember to land on next steps and action items. Be clear about decisions and who is doing what so your meeting feels like an efficient use of time.

Customer Service

We want all of our guests to feel welcome! Some best practices for greeting visitors:

  • Be prompt. Greet guests immediately when they enter the building.
  • Offer a warm greeting.
  • Inquire about how you can help them.
  • Direct them to where they need to go.
  • Provide your name and an offer to help while they are here.

Templates

Use templates to maintain a consistent ESD brand identity. ESD 113 requires digital documents to be ADA-accessible. These templates meet accessibility requirements, but once you add content, your document may no longer be accessible. If you need help making your document accessible once it's complete, please submit a work request.

Contact the communications team if you need a template that is not provided.

Signature Block

Having a consistent signature block is part of maintaining a professional image. It shows attention to detail and helps convey a sense of formality and decorum in communications. It also reinforces our brand identity and clearly identifies the sender, making it easier for recipients to know who is contacting them.

The easiest way to update your signature block is to copy and paste one of these templates. If you have questions, contact your supervisor. If you don’t know how to set your signature block within Outlook, contact the IT department for help.

Graphics

Zoom Backgrounds

We have ESD-branded virtual backgrounds available for you to use during your Zoom meetings:

Logos

The Communications Team is responsible for external marketing using graphic layouts. We have logos available to download in a variety of styles. When using a logo, please keep the following in mind:

  • Do not create one-pagers or other graphics to market your program to an external audience. If you need a layout, contact the Communications Team.
  • The logo must always remain proportional — do not stretch the logo to fit available space.
  • Allow enough white space around the logo to ensure legibility and identity.
  • Place the logo on a background that lets it be completely readable and identifiable.

Colors

  • Red: #8a221b
  • Teal: #006b68
  • Green: #687834
  • Navy: #003f70

Maps

Download maps of the state of Washington and the districts in ESD 113.

Images

Free images (After you search, you must click Settings > Advanced search; scroll down to "usage rights" and choose "free to use or share.") If an image is not labeled “free to use and share,” do not use it.

Editorial Style

Consistency in style and messaging creates trust. Reference our agencywide guide, Style A–Z, for our shared practices on grammar and style.

  • Proper reference to ESD 113 is "Capital Region ESD 113." Once the official reference has been made in a written document, it can be called “ESD 113,” not “CRESD.”
  • Phone number format: 360-299-4000
  • Oxford comma: a comma before “and” at the end of a list.
  • One space after a period.

Tools

Readability

Everyone benefits from clear and concise writing. Use the hemingwayapp to check your writing — aim for 8th-grade level.

Communications Planning

What does it mean to “communicate well,” and how do you know when you’re doing it? Are you trying to meet a goal? The key to success is in the planning. Take time to think strategically about what you want to accomplish and why.

Request a meeting with Kristen Jaudon.

Info Requests

Route all public records requests and media inquiries through Kristen Jaudon. If folks are looking for the Public Records Request Form, it's posted on the ESD 113 website.

Social

Capital Region ESD 113 has the following social media accounts maintained by the communications team: