December 12 2014 FEA Europe Update

Lisa's FEA Europe Update

12 December 2014

Retirement Articles
TSP Returns
TSP Contribution Correction
Educational Leave
ARR/ELWOP Program Announcement
Professional Development Opportunity
Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs
A Little Humor

Retirement Articles: A selection of retirement articles is available at the links below. For more information, log into

How to Avoid the Biggest Mistakes when Making Beneficiary Designations

OPM Issues Rule on Adding Self-Plus-One Option to FEHB

Are You in Danger of Making Errors in Retirement Account Withdrawals?

Recent Surge in the Stock Market and Size of TSP Accounts Has Renewed Interest in Early Retirement

TSP Returns: Updated as of 02 December 2014. click here.

TSP Contribution Correction: Don't forget that there is an additional pay period in 2015, 27 for full-year and 23 for 10-month pay. The first pay period is only 3 days, but it still entitles FERS people to free TSP matching funds. According to DoDEA HQ, the last day for TSP allocations is now December 12th if you want your contributions to be valid for the first pay period of 2015.

This means that those on 22 pay periods will have 23 pay periods in 2015, so you want to make sure that if you are FERS, you get the total amount of TSP matching funds. 23 pay periods contribution: $783.00 per pay period

TSP planning tool (Thank you to Terese Sarno for providing this information.)

Educational Travel-We understand that many of you are facing issues with lack of orders for educational travel during the upcoming holiday season. FEA is working on this with DoDEA HQ at the moment and will keep us apprised of any developments.

ARR/ELWOP Announcement: By now you should have received the ARR/ELWOP announcement for next school year. Be sure to read the information carefully, and note the suspense date of January 15, 2015, if you wish to apply for either of these programs.

Professional Development Webinar: Podcasting in the Classroom
3:15-4:15 (CET), January 13, 2015
What? This webinar answers the how's and why's of student-created, art-focused podcasts created in collaboration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Learn how podcasts engage students' research, interpretive, writing, communication, and media literacy skills. Become inspired by analyzing podcasts created by DoDDS and DDESS students.
When? This seminar is being held Tuesday, January 13, 2015, from 3:15 -- 4:15PM, (CET) Central European Time. Who? Educators of ALL subjects are invited!
How? You can attend from your computer, tablet, or smartphone! We have 50 spaces available. Pool your knowledge by inviting another Teacher, ET, or your Principal to participate with you.
Act NOW!
Register no later than Thursday, January 8, 2015. Send an email and any questions to Peg Koetsch and Elizabeth Deines. We'll send connection instructions to registered participants on January 9.
If Missed… This webinar will be archived and available on Schoology!
(Thank you to Terese Sarno for sharing.)

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program: The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow (GTF) program is a professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between National Geographic Education and Lindblad Expeditions. The program is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor (pronounced GROHV-nur), Chairman Emeritus National Geographic Society and Education Foundation Board. This opportunity is designed to give current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor's legacy of excellence in geographic education. Through the program, exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geographic education and are given the opportunity to be actively engaged in finding new ways to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms or informal learning environments through a field-based experience.

2015 Program Highlights: Selected educators will travel aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer or National Geographic Endeavour on expeditions ranging from the Arctic, Holland and Belgium, Iceland, the Galapagos, Peru, Chile, Antarctica and more. While aboard, Fellows will share the importance of geographic literacy with fellow travelers, develop activities to bring back to their classrooms, and have an adventure of a lifetime. Prior to the expedition, all 2015 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. (April 16-19, 2015) with all expenses covered to participate in a pre-voyage workshop sponsored by National Geographic, and Lindblad Expeditions.

What is Geo-Literacy? In our modern, globally interconnected society, it is more important than ever that people understand the world around them. For that reason, National Geographic is committed to advancing geo-literacy in the U.S. and around the world.

Geo-literacy is the understanding of Earth systems and interconnections that we all need to make good decisions. Whether we are making decisions about where to live, what precautions to take for natural hazards, or how to set up a manufacturing supply chain, we are all called upon to make decisions that require geo-literacy throughout our lives.

On this page, you can find out more about geo-literacy, why it is important, and how you can participate in National Geographic's geo-literacy efforts.
(Thank you to Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA, for sharing.)

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs: Each year NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,200-$3,900, help cover expenses for these one-to-five week programs.
(Thank you to Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA, for sharing.)

A little humor to end the update:
What is the best way to open a jar with a stuck lid? Put it on the table and tell the kids to leave it alone.
(from the book Man Walks into a Bar, by Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins)

"We live and learn but not the wiser grow." --- John Pomfrett

Lisa Ali
FEA Europe North Area Director
Isles, Kaiserslautern II, Stuttgart, Cuba