October 8, 2014 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update


1. Thanks!
2. Area Director's Travel
3. OPM Open Season
4. Red Ribbon Week
5. Article 51
6. Update
7. National Day on Writing
8. Daylight Savings Time
9. Hispanic Heritage Month
10. Mark Your Calendars
11. Is Your SCD Correct?
12. IP's and PIP's
13. Pay Problem Package
14. Area JCC
15. American Foreign Services

1. Thanks! - This past week I had the opportunity to visit several schools. I began my travel by attending the JCC in Wiesbaden, and then spent one day each at Vogelweh and Landstuhl schools. I wish to thank all of those that I met at both for their hospitality, kindness, and at times some tough questions. Also, on Thursday afternoon I was joined at Vogelweh by Susan Kelly, the Kaiserslautern 1 Division Representative. Her presence helped enhance the visit.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- After a very hectic last few weeks things will now slow down a little. At this exact moment, I have no school visits scheduled. In November there will be another JCC in Wiesbaden and both Lisa and I will be traveling to the BoD meeting in Washington.

3. 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 10, 2014 through December 8, 2014.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, click here. (You may remember that this was in my last Update. And it will be again! Don't want anyone to miss these dates if they are contemplating a change.)

4. Red Ribbon Week - Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the US Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. "I'm only one person", he told her, "but I want to make a difference." In honor of Camarena's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory, the red ribbon. The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families. The National Family Partnership (NFP) and its network of individuals and organizations continue to deliver his message of hope to millions of people every year, through the National Red Ribbon Campaign. Red Ribbon Week is scheduled for October 23 through October 31. See here for more information.

5. Article 51 - As we near the end of the first quarter, we often receive questions about grades and grading policies. Article 51 is cited below, and 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

6. Update- All of the trainings and meetings recently have disrupted to some extant the publishing of these Updates, but as things settle down I hope to get back in to a normal routine. We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with for your best source for breaking news. My next Update is scheduled for October 22.

7. National Day on Writing - Monday, 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 this page.

8 Daylight Saving Time Ends -- Unfortunately, one does not have to look too far to see the signs that summer is now over and that winter is not too far off. The ground is becoming increasingly covered with leaves and I can start to see my breath in the evenings. With this being the case it is also time to prepare to change our clocks. Daylight Saving Time officially ends on October 26 in most of Europe and one week later (November 2) in the states. Check the website here for more interesting and useful information on this topic. click here.

9. Hispanic Heritage Month -- September 15 was the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and it will continue until October 15. Much information has already been shared by others in regards to this special month, and here is a little bit more. Hispanic Heritage Month site.

10. Mark Your Calendars --
September 15 -- October 15 -- Hispanic Heritage Month
October 13 -- Columbus Day (No school)
October 30 -- First Quarter Ends
October 31 -- Halloween
October 31 -- Teacher Workday

11. Is Your SCD Correct? -- With the positive news reported last week by Chuck McCarter about the strong possibility of a transfer program this year, I am already getting questions about such a program as well as retirements. Remember that no rules for a transfer program have yet been established. However, please don't wait until you wish to transfer or retire or for some other important event. Check now to see if your Service Computation Date is correct and if it is not, start the process to correct it. Contact your District HR Team for assistance.

12 Intervention Plans and Performance Improvement Plans - If approached by management about a PIP, please contact your Area Director so that we can help you through the process.

13. Pay Problem Package -- As we all still unhappily know, DFAS continues to send out debt collection letters. Bill Freeman, our General Counsel handling pay problems has updated his very useful pay problem package. Bill highly recommends that you please discard and discontinue using all previous versions.

14. Area JCC -- The next Area JCC is very tentatively scheduled to be held in Wiesbaden on Friday, November 14. Also tentatively scheduled is the December JCC on the 17th. This will be the last JCC with Dr. Bresell.

15. American Foreign Services -- The American Foreign Services Protective Association will be traveling through Europe in the coming months to give presentations on the various insurance packages that they offer. While this is a very good company please be aware that there are other quality insurers that also will be visiting during the year. FEA will alert you when we get their plans. Attached is the schedule of visits for the AFSPA. Please note that these visits are now in full swing, beginning yesterday in England.

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director