October 11 2011 FEA Europe Report

1. FEA Board of Directors Meeting
2. National Native American Heritage Month
3. Area Directors' Travels
4. American Education Week
5. SF-50's
6. National Day on Writing
7. Article 51
8. Retirement Planning
9. Housing Allowance Rates
10. Open Season
11. Mark Your Calendar
12. Update

1. FEA Board of Directors' Meeting -- Lisa and I will be attending the FEA BOD meeting the week of Oct 17-21. (There will be no Update that week.) This twice a year meeting is a chance for FEA leadership from all three of our regions to get together and discuss issues which impact our schools and our members. Lisa and I will be taking concerns that we have heard from our school visits, our recent EAC meeting, and items which members and local leaders have brought to our attention. This is also an opportunity for us to meet DoDEA leadership as well as members of the NEA governance and staff

2. National Native American Heritage Month - November was officially recognized as National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed it into Public Law. See these sites for more information:
Native American Heritage Month web site
American Indians/Alaska Natives: Education Issues
Native American Book List

3. Area Directors' Travels -- I will be in Wiesbaden on October 13 for the next Area JCC. Lisa will join us electronically. As stated above,from October 17 through October 21 we will both be in Washington, D.C. for the FEA Board of Directors meeting.

4. American Education Week - Distressed that 25 percent of the country's World War I draftees were illiterate and 9 percent were physically unfit, representatives of the NEA and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways to generate public support for education. The conventions of both organizations subsequently adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education. In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, called for designation of one week each year to spotlight education. In its resolution, the NEA called for: "An educational week ... observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs." You can find much more useful information about this week at the following link :

5. SF-50's -- At the beginning of the school year, you should have received a new SF-50, showing your return to duty status, etc. If you have not, please check with your school secretary. Once you receive this, double check to insure that all the information is correct and save this for your records.

6. National Day on Writing - Thursday, October 20, has been designated as the National Day on Writing by the National Council of Teachers of English. A number of writing resources that go along with the day (and can be used all year for that matter) can be found at

7. Article 51 - As we near the end of the first quarter, we often receive questions about grades and grade policies. Article 51, cited below, may be helpful!


Section 1. A unit employee may establish his/her own grading system. In such cases, the unit employee is responsible for translating the grading system to the Employer's. The unit employee's record of grades shall contain a key for translating his/her system to the established grading system in use.

Section 2. Students' grades may be requested for review and approval by the Employer before grade reports are distributed to students or parents. 

Section 3. In the event that any grade is challenged, the unit employee shall explain and justify the grade assigned.

Section 4. If the Employer takes action to change a student's grade without the consent of the affected unit employee or directs the unit employee to change a grade, a written statement from the Employer shall be provided to the unit employee, stating that the change in grade and/or the passing or failing of the student was done at the discretion of the Employer

8. Retirement Planning - For those planning their retirement, or those close to retirement, the following link may help answer some questions:

9. Housing Allowance Rates -- Attached you will find a link to the latest housing allowance rates. It also gives you the current and historical conversion rates for each currency.

10. Open Season -- The Federal Benefits Open Season runs from November 14 through December 12,2011. This is the time in which employees can enroll in the FSAFEDS Program for the 2011 Benefit Period. Current enrollees MUST re-enroll if they wish to participate in the 2011 Benefit Period. Enrollments DO NOT carry over year-to-year. Attached is the link to the web site with more information, including a plan comparison site.

11. Mark Your Calendars --
October 17 -- October 21 -- FEA BoD meeting (Washington, D.C.)
October 20 -- National Day on Writing
October 30 -- Daylight Savings Time ends (Europe)
October 31 - Halloween
November 6 -- Daylight Savings Time ends (U.S.)
November 11 -- Veterans Day
November 14 -- November 18 - American education Week
November 16 -- ESP Day

12. Update - Due to the BoD meeting next week the next Update will be published by Lisa on October 26.



Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051