December 1 2010 FEA Europe Report1. Pay Freeze Proposed
2. School Improvement
3. Area Directors' Travels
5. Watch Your LES
6. TSP Information
7. FEA Journal
8. "Tips for Transfers"
9. Nominations Due
10. DoDDS Reunion
12. Mark Your Calendars
1. Pay Freeze Proposed - FEA is aware of the recent proposal by President Obama to freeze federal workers' pay for the next two years. This proposal would have to be adopted by the Congress before it goes into effect. FEA is looking into the implications and impact on our members and will do all we can to protect the salaries of our members. We will keep members informed as information is available. For further information, see Michael Priser's President's Report posted today on the FEA Website.
2. School Improvement -- As I travel to schools across my districts, I am once again hearing concerns about AdvancEd and the School Improvement Process. We need to rethink this process to insure that it is truly about improving schools and not about data for data's sake, or about the report, the charts, or the QAR visit itself. Furthermore, we have to move past the usual thinking of "School Improvement Has to Equal More Work for Teachers." In looking at school improvement, the focus should be on working smarter, not harder, and on supporting teachers in that effort, not on simply asking them to do more and then to document it. If we are spending all our time "showing what we are doing," then we are not really spending the time doing what we are here for -- teaching children.
3. Area Directors' Travels -- I will be in Heidelberg Monday December 6 at Mark Twain ES and Heidelberg HS. Alex will be visiting the Schweinfurt schools on December 6 and the Bamberg schools on December 7. Please excuse any delay in responding to your e-mails while we travel.
4. Bullying -- Most of us have heard of the tragic teen suicides recently in the news in the United States. One aspect of many of these tragedies was bullying, including the newest form of bullying, Cyberbullying. The NEA Health Information Network has partnered with www.bnetsavvy.org to get information out to young teens on how to stay safe on the internet and how to deal with Cyberbullying. This is also a good resource for parents…please share this as appropriate. Another resource for information about anti-bullying lessons, etc. is www.teachingtolerance.org.
5. Watch Your LES - It is ALWAYS a good idea to watch your LES closely. Using the Pay Organizers which FEA sent out can be a help. This is particularly important if you have received a Debt Letter from DFAS. In my recent school visits, I spoke with a number of teachers who have received Debt letters stating that collections would begin on Dec. 4th. If you see that they have proceeded to collect the debt without providing you your rights under the Debt Collection Act, you should file a Debt Collection Grievance (and elevation) using the attached forms. After you have filed these documents with your principal, please send copies to Bill Freeman. (Bill's mailing address is in your calendar.)
6. TSP Information - Employees should also keep in mind any TSP elections (new or changes) made on or after December 5, 2010 through December 18, 2010 become effective December 19, 2010. These contributions will be deducted from the pay check received on January 7, 2011, which will be credited toward the 2011 tax year.
Elections can be made through EBIS. You may access EBIS at https://hq-w3.dodea.edu/. Elections made through EBIS are transmitted electronically to payroll alleviating the need for an election form to be completed.
7. FEA Journal -- The latest issue of the FEA Journal should have arrived in members' mailboxes by now. It contains LOTS of important information, including further information about current pay problems and debt letters. As we tell our students, "knowledge is power" so stay informed.
8. "Tips for Transfers" -- Questions are starting to come in about Transfers. The best source for information about transfers is our FEA "Tips for Transfers" which is compiled and updated each year by our very own "Transfer Guru" Connie Shanaghan. Last year's version is still available on our website (www.feaonline.org) , and we will let you know when the updated version for this year is posted, including any changes to the Transfer Program. You will need your membership number to access this portion of the website. You can find your membership number on the recent edition of the FEA Journal if you have misplaced your membership card. If you still can't find the number, e-mail Connie at CShanaghan@nea.org and she will send it to you.
Connie also asked me to remind everyone again that 1) you should check the SCD on your LES and if it isn't correct, get it corrected NOW and 2) if you have completed course work to add additional certifications to your DoDDS certificate, get the paperwork in NOW!
9. Nominations Due -- Please remember that the nomination form for delegates to the FEA Annual Meeting and the NEA Representative Assembly have to be mailed by December 4, 2010. For further information about this exciting opportunity, please contact your Area Director.
10. DoDDS Reunion - July 21-July 25, 2011 in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. For registration information: www.doddsworldreunion.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . Prices go up TODAY. (Thanks to Debra Degalis, Pacific Area Director, for this reminder.)
11. Thanksgiving - Things were so busy when I sent out my last Update, I did not think far ahead enough to mention Thanksgiving. However, over the holiday, I was able to catch my breath, and to think clearly about all that I am thankful for. I am very thankful for our members for all you do every day, and for our Association leaders, at every level, who work tirelessly for our members. As Michael Priser often says, "It is easy to advocate for such great teachers." I hope you had time to relax and recharge for the busy weeks before Winter Break.
12. Mark Your Calendars --
December 1 -- World AIDS Day
December 3 -- Area JCC
December 4 -- Deadline to mail nominations for delegates to the FEA Annual Meeting and NEA RA
December 13 -- FEHB Open Season ends (See FEHB attachment for information)
December 17 -- Deadline to mail nominations for FEA Area Directors (See the FEA Journal)
March 2 -- Read Across America (http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm)
April 30 -- FEA Europe Association Day - Wiesbaden
I have said it before, but I always mean it…thanks for all you do,
FEA Europe Area Director
0611-44756131 or DSN 335-5373/69