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October 26 2016 FEA Europe Report

                                                                                               

 

Alex's Update

10/26/2016

 

1.  e-QIP

2.  Area Directors' Travels

3.  VERA/VSIP, Excessing, and Transfers

4.  Championship Time

5.  Update

6.  Poodwaddle Clock

7.  Area JCC

8. The Advocate

9.  Mileage Rates                                               

10. Inclement Weather

11. Mark Your Calendar

12. Daylight Savings Time Ends

13. DoDDS Reunion

14. American Foreign Services

15. OPM Open Season

16. American Education week

17. FEA Board of Directors Meeting

18. Europe East 1 Report

19. Treats, Not Tricks

20. Honors Jazz Seminar

21. Sad News

                                                                

1. e-QIP -- The Electronic Questionnaires for Investigation Processing system has come back throughout Europe. Better known to us as ‘Background Checks', this is required by OPM (in our case) as a condition of employment for those who work closely with children. At this point there have only been a relatively small number of schools that have been affected by this, but my understanding is that requests are being sent out alphabetically by schools and that over 1500 employees will eventually be notified. While there is some confusion at this point as to exactly what will be asked of each employee, there is no confusion that unless some other word of authority comes down from above that they must be done. FEA Washington is staying on top of this and will continue to get further clarity as we move forward. The good news that I am hearing is that what has at least initially been required for teachers has been proven to be relatively easy and not very time consuming to complete. Again, FEA will continue to monitor this and if you have any further questions or difficulties please let us know.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- The next few weeks will find me close to home in anticipation of a very busy November, with trips scheduled to the Hohenfels complex and to Washington DC. For the immediate future I will be here in my office at Vilseck HS.

3. VERA/VSIP, Excessing, and Transfers - As of the October JCC in Sembach, there are no announcements yet on any of this. However, in going back through my archives, I can see where some of this in just the past few years has been announced by November 15, which is just around the corner. It is anticipated that talks over the transfer program will be held in Washington over the next few weeks. Even though there is nothing concrete to report as of this Update, just like I did in my last one I want you to  anticipate these events being announced, perhaps even with short suspense dates. When things begin to happen, they tend to happen quickly. As always, the best way to keep current on these issues is by visiting www.feaonline.org for the latest news.

4. Championship Time -- DoDDS-E Fall sports seasons are now rapidly coming to a close. That means it is now Championship Time. Below is a list of where and when these events will be held. (Swimming teams continue on in to the winter season.)

Cross Country -- European Championships Oct. 29 Baumholder
Football - Nov. 5 Kaiserslautern
Golf - European Championships Oct. 5-6 Wiesbaden (completed)
Tennis European Championships Oct. 27-29 Wiesbaden
Volleyball European Championships Nov. 4-5 Ramstein/KMC
Winter Sports season begins Nov. 14.

5. Update- We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with www.feaonline.org for your best source for breaking news. My next Update will be on or about November 9. Please also be reminded again that if you do go to FEA online you can sign up to have the President's Report emailed directly to you.

6. Poodwaddle Clock - You've never seen a clock like this! It shows a variety of statistics, and they are updated in real time. The statistics are spread across a wide range of different categories of human activity, In one way or another there are statistics that are relevant to almost any subject area that is taught in the school. You can select the category and sub category in the list on the left (or you can just let it cycle through them), and you can select the time range for the sample in the links just above the statistics. Across the top there are another set of links. The "Life" link will give you a statistical estimate of how long you have to live based on your current age and a number of other relevant factors. According to this, I only have 13 years left! L   http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf    (This was originally shared with me by Bob Mungas of Ansbach HS, who has since retired.)

7. Area JCC -- Attached find the minutes of the October Area JCC held in Sembach. The next JCC will be a combined November/December meeting scheduled for December 7.

8..The Advocate -- A copy of the October 2016 HCR Newsletter, ‘The Advocate', can be found here: https://goo.gl/gtDr00 . Thanks to Alina Rozanski, FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator for this newsletter.

9. Mileage Rates -- The current mileage rates as set by the U.S. General Services Administration are as follows:
Automobile: If use of privately-owned automobile is authorized or if no Government owned automobile is available - $.54
If Government owned automobile is available $.19
Motorcycle $.51

10. Inclement Weather - With cold weather on its way, FRS's should work with your principals to insure that the lines of communication are clear in case of school delays or closures. Please remember that the military commander makes the decision on weather related delays and closures. Attached is Article 22, Section 4 of the Negotiated Agreement which deals with school closures.

11. Mark Your Calendar-

October 30 -- Daylight Savings Time ends (Europe)
October 31 -- Halloween
November 3/4 -- First Quarter Ends/Teacher Workday
November 6 -- Daylight Savings Time ends (United States)
November 11 -- Veteran's Day (Federal Holiday)
November 24 -- Thanksgiving

12. Daylight Saving Time Ends -- Daylight Saving Time officially ends on October 30 in most of Europe and one week later (November 6) in the States. Check the website here for more interesting and useful information on this topic.  http://www.timeanddate.com/ . Remember: Fall back, spring ahead! On a good note, you will get an extra hour sleep on Sunday morning!

13 DoDDS Reunion--The annual DoDDS reunion will be held July 26-July 30, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Renaissance hotel. For registration information go to: http://www.mydoddsreunion.com/index.html .Register early as prices go up as the event gets closer.

14. American Foreign Services -- The American Foreign Services Protective Association will be traveling through Europe in the coming month to give presentations on your health insurance benefits as a Federal Employee. While this is a very good company please be aware that there are other quality insurers that also may be visiting during the year. FEA will alert you when we get their plans. Please watch your school announcements for exact locations, dates, and times. Also, please see the attachment for the AFSPA schedule as it currently stands.

15. Office of Personnel Management Open Season -Each year, Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year, Open Season runs from November 9, 2016 through December 14, 2016.This is an opportunity to change insurance plans and to elect other Federal benefits, such as the flexible savings accounts. While it is still a while away it doesn't hurt to start thinking about this now since the Open Season coincides with one of the busiest times of the year. For further information go to: https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/open-season . (You will see this again in future Updates. I don't want anyone to miss these dates if they are contemplating a change.)

16. 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." This year it is celebrated the week of November 13-19. You can find much more useful information about this week at the following link: www.nea.org/grants/19823.htm

17. FEA Board of Directors Meeting - Lisa and I will be attending the FEA BOD meeting the week of November 13 - 19. (There will be no Update that week.) This twice a year meeting (second one late June) 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.

18. Europe East 1 Report -- Attached you will find an interesting article/update on affairs in the Europe East 1 Division. It was written by the Division Representative Susan Kelly. It is quite insightful and very clever, so I decided to share it further. Most of the issues Susan raises are not restricted to just her division.

19. Treats, Not Tricks -- (This is a repeat item that I have sent out before at this time of year. I suppose that technically it is not FEA business, but I got so many favorable comments back from teachers that used them with their students I decided to send it again. ) The following web page has some of the most classic Halloween cartoons ever made, one of which is over 84 years old. This is just for fun but when I found this page I knew that I just had to share it. A few of them have been removed for copyright problems, but the rest are worth it. Also, I previewed all the clips and they would be usable in any classroom if you are celebrating the holiday and ‘treating' the students, perhaps with the exception of the Dr. Seuss clip with younger children.     http://flavorwire.com/339579/10-classic-halloween-cartoons-you-can-watch-right-now

20. Honors Jazz Seminar -- We just received confirmation over the weekend that the Honors Jazz Fest has been approved for this year. Further announcements will be forthcoming, but for now this is great news. Thanks to all who were instrumental in making this happen.

21. Sad News -- I hate to end any Update with sad news, but this just came in to me this morning from Randy Ricks, FEA Pacific Area Director. It concerns a dear friend of FEA, Brenda Travis. 

"Many of you may not have known Brenda but she was an outstanding Association leader out here in the Pacific for many years. It was sad to hear of her tragic passing. Michael Bauernfeind has written a tribute that I would like you to share with the membership."

Alex Veto

FEA Europe Area Director 

     aveto@live.com