November 8 2011 FEA Europe Update

1. Veterans Day 11/11/11
2. TSP Contribution Limits 2012
3. BAS
4. FEHB Open Season
5. LES Codes
6. Professional Development
7. HCR Program
8. American Education Week
9. EEO Process
10. Maximize the Learning

1. Veterans Day: In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11th as Veterans Day and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. The date was changed over the years until finally, November 11th, was firmly established as Veterans Day. The following link provides a wealth of educational resources from the Veterans Administration.

2. 2012 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Contribution Limits: In October, the IRS announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for the Thrift Savings Plan. The elective contribution limit for employees who participate in 401 (K), 403 (B), most 457 plans, and the federal government's
Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $16,500 to $17,000. The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500. (Source: IRS)

3. BAS Implementation: A message from DoDEA has gone out regarding another round of training in administration of the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). According to the MOU, teachers will not be responsible for input of data into the record-keeping system. A copy of the MOU can be found at the, website. If you have any questions about the MOU or implementation of training, please contact your FRS, District Representative, or Area Director.

4. FEHB Open Season: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has now provided the specific 2012 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program plan information online. This information helps federal employees and annuitants with making choices in the upcoming 2011 FEHB Open Season, which will be held November 14, 2011 to December 12, 2011. The website is here

5. LES/Debt Codes: Attached are two documents to assist you with understanding the various codes on your LES. Once is a clickable LES, and the other is a debt code listing.

6. Professional Development Opportunity: I have found, to be a great site for completing professional development as well as credit for recertification. Check out the website for a full listing of courses. This is just one of the great courses offered: Fostering Cooperative Learning, Discussion, and Critical Thinking in Elementary Math, Grades 1-5. Expand your collection of strategies for sharpening critical thinking skills using classroom technology. Discover activities designed to support collaboration and problem solving within the curriculum while addressing National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.

**I recommend checking with the certification contact for your district to make sure any courses that you want to take will count towards your recertification. **

7. HCR Program: NEA Human and Civil Rights (HCR) works for social justice for NEA members and their students. Its programs and services focus on improving the learning of students and ensuring a safe school environment for all students. The HCR program provides trainers to bring leadership programs to the state affiliates. Alina Rozanski is the European Area HCR. Please contact Alina if you are interested in participating in training and conferences, or are interested in becoming more involved in the HCR program.

8. American Education Week: Don't forget---November 13-19, 2011, is American Education Week. This is the 90th year for this annual celebration of education. 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." (source:

9. EEO Process: Attached is information regarding the EEO Process. Mr. William Suddeth is the DoDEA EEO Program Manager.

10. Maximize the Learning: FEA wants DoDEA to maximize the learning in our schools. Be sure to check out the, website to learn more about this campaign and get materials to show your support.

Have 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)