October 31, 2012 FEA Europe Update

1. Happy Halloween!
2. Retirement Information
3. AdvancEd Memorandum
4. Teachers Helping Teachers
5. Area JCC Minutes
6. End of 1st Quarter Conferences
7. From our Members: A Halloween Story
8. Mark Your Calendars

1. October 31 Halloween: Also known as All Hallows' Eve--the evening before All Saints Day or All Hallows Day--this event has roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain(SOW-an). In Gaelic culture, it is a celebration of the end of the harvest season and a time to remember loved ones who have died. Today, in the United States and some Western countries, it is customary to wear costumes and take part in revelry.

2. Retirement Information: I have attached several articles from the website. Included are 2012 Open Season Plan Brochures information, 2013 TSP contribution limits and other TSP information, an article on long-term care costs, information on changes Congress is making for new FERS employees, and an article entitled "Study Finds Middle Class Americans Teeter on Edge of Retirement Cliff".

3. AdvancEd Memorandum: A memorandum from the Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director of Education is attached. This memo outlines the use of the Student Performance Worksheet, the use of Early Learning School Standards, and the administration of parent and student surveys.

4. Teachers Helping Teachers: FEA would like to recognize and thank teachers who help teachers. In many of our schools, teachers are taking the time to help their colleagues by sharing their expertise in navigating the EBIS website. These teachers see a need and give of their time and energy to help those who need it the most. This is truly collegiality at its best and we commend all of those who help. THANK YOU!

5. JCC Minutes: Attached are the minutes from the October Area JCC Meeting. We apologize for the delay in getting these out to you. Please note new information regarding first semester vacancies, EVT travel, and closure/realignment information.

6. End of 1st Quarter Conferences: As the end of the first quarter of SY 2012-2013 draws to a close, I am attaching tips for conducting parent conferences from the NEA website. This includes strategies for building effective parent partnerships. Remember this Friday is a teacher workday for most schools in DoDDS-E.

7. From our Members: I received the following information from one of our members. In view of today being a day for "horror" stories, I thought it appropriate to include it in this update. It is truly a fantastic tale that beggars belief.

My building principal and XXXXX(name removed) have been helping me in my attempt to resolve a grievance and avoid an upcoming arbitration hearing. Bill Freeman appreciates all of our efforts to take this particular case off his plate.
My Orthopedic Surgeon's letter to have my Medical Travel Orders amended, per chapter 6 of the JTR, has led to a reexamination of my original case. I'm now hearing from DoDDS-E that 5 failed medical procedures, including a botched surgery at the XXXXX, do not constitute sufficient grounds to have returned Stateside, and that I could be placed into "debt status" for accepting the orders I was issued back in 2008, instead of being reimbursed for the attendant my doctor required. Apparently teachers should just shut-up, or take their money and run!
When all of this (my first shoulder dislocation) started, I found out I had no health insurance. My LES always said FEHB, but no one had ever bothered to enroll me in a plan. So basically, DoDDS was taking my money, but not giving me any coverage. I had to file a separate grievance just to get the health insurance I should have been receiving months earlier.
The XXXX doctor at the clinic in XXXX wasn't very amused when AI ran out of case, and ended up taking Outdoor Recreation's skis, boots, and poles as collateral, until some of the XXXX Ski Club members got to his office later to get the equipment out of hock. More importantly, not having insurance for a month afterwards delayed the proper treatment and rehabilitation of my shoulder. I wish the story ended there, butů
My next dislocation occurred at work. When I returned from the hospital, I immediately went to the office and asked for Workers Compensation paperwork. The response I received was as follows: "I don't think you qualify." Again, proper treatment was delayed while I was being questioned by the administration about whose idea it was to include me in the 8th grade Faculty/Student Volleyball game.
The second dislocation (remember this occurred at work) required surgery. When I ran out of sick days, administration docked my paycheck (LWOP, I guess). The head Workers Compensation woman at XXXX responses to this were, "Oh my," and, "They should have done Continuation of Pay."

Now, I leave it with you: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

8. Mark your Calendars: Education events for November 2012. (Courtesy of

American Indian Heritage Month: November was officially recognized as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed it into Public Law.

November 4 End of Daylight Saving Time in the United States: On Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 2 a.m., daylight saving time ends in the United States.

November 6 Election Day: Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the election of public officials. It is held on the Tuesday following first Monday in November.

November 9 Fall of the Berlin Wall: On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall - the 28-mile barrier dividing Germany's capital - came down. It had been built in 1961 to prevent East Berliners from fleeing to the West. As Communism in the Soviet Republic and Eastern Europe began to crumble, pressure mounted to open the Berlin border. In October 1990, West Germany and East Germany were united, and East Berlin ceased to exist.

November 11 Veterans Day: Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans. It is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In 1938, the United States Congress made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - to be celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Congress amended this act in 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since then. See more at

November 11-17 American Education Week: NEA's American Education Week (AEW) spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great.

November 12-17 Bullying Awareness Week: Some groups observe the middle week of November as Bullying Awareness Week. Get ready with ideas from NEA's Campaign Against Bullying and International Reading Association's ReadWriteThink resources.

November 11-17Geography Awareness Week: National Geography Awareness Week is an annual celebration hosted by National Geographic Education to promote geographic literacy. Here are some ideas for celebrating the week: NEA's selection of Geography Awareness Week lessons and activities and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum web site for quizzes and other resources.

November 17-December 29 Velvet Revolution (Czechoslovakia): The Velvet Revolution was a nonviolent revolution in Czechoslovakia during 1989 that saw the overthrow of the Communist government. On November 17, riot police suppressed a peaceful student demonstration in Prague, which sparked a series of demonstrations. By November 20, an estimated half-million peaceful protesters assembled in Prague. In December, the president appointed the first largely non-Communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. In June 1990, Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections since 1946.

November 19 Gettysburg Address Anniversary: Abraham Lincoln was the second speaker on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Lincoln was preceded on the podium by the famed orator Edward Everett, who spoke to the crowd for two hours. Lincoln followed with his now immortal Gettysburg Address. See the Library of Congress website.

November 22 Thanksgiving Day: The first recorded observance of Thanksgiving in America was a religious occasion that did not include the feast now associated with the holiday. On December 4, 1619, a small group of English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Virginia. In accordance with their charter, the group observed this day by giving thanks to God. A typical Thanksgiving meal in the United States includes turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and rolls. (From the University of Kansas Medical Center Diversity Calendar.)

November 23 National Day of Listening: On the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asks all Americans to take an hour to record an interview with a loved one, using recording equipment that is readily available in most homes, such as computers, phones, and tape recorders (as well as StoryCorps' free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide). For help with questions, see Great Questions. The independent nonprofit StoryCorps created The National Day of Listening in 2008.

November 14-December 14 Muharram (Islamic New Year): The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram, and is counted from the year of the Hegira (anno Hegirae), the year in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina (A.D. July 16, 622).

* Remember---if you have something you would like to share, please pass it along to either Alex or me and if possible, we will include it in our updates.

Here's wishing you a GREAT week!


Lisa Garmon Ali
FEA Europe Area Director
PSC 41 Box 5569
APO AE 09464
Tel: 44-1638527662 (outside UK)
01638527662 (local)
226-7662 (DSN)