December 15, 2016 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update


1. Reflection
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. NEA Representative Assembly Election
4. Spring 2017 Election
5. Update
6. SY 2017-2018 Calendar
7. Area JCC
8. Holiday Travels
9. Tips for Transfers
10. Transfer Deadline
11. Mark Your Calendar
12. Winter Solstice
13. No Comment
14. OPM Open Season

1. Reflection -- As we get closer and closer to our two week well deserved break it got me to thinking about many of my own experiences at this time of the year. This will be my 30th Year of celebrating Christmas at a DoDDS school and my 36th in total while teaching. I must tell you that in many ways I still feel like a young child, or at least like a first year teacher, when this time of year rolls around. There is a palpable feeling of relief and joy that one can feel in every school that I visit. When I hear plans that many are making for the next two weeks, they range from total relaxation, visiting family, or often trips to exotic locations. For me, I still love my trips to the Christmas Markets. I've been to literally hundreds over the years, but each time I visit it feels like the first time. (My biggest heartbreak was when I discovered the ingredients of gluhwein, meaning that I had to give up the occasional steaming cup on a cold winter evening.)I also am very aware that there is always a Grinch lurking somewhere, whether it comes in the form of excessing, lack of subs, or just day to day problems that arise. But be of good cheer -- I've lived through this 36 times and always came out moving forward on the other side. Finally, look after yourselves and your colleagues. If you know of any of them who for whatever reason will be spending the Holidays alone, keep them in your thoughts. Print often is not a strong enough medium to convey feelings but I will try by saying thank you to all who receive this Update for all you have done for our system. You are appreciated no matter what contributions you made along the way. I hope that all of you will have the best break you have ever had and that you celebrate these holidays in the way that fits you best. For me, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!!

P.S. Way back in August, when many of us questioned me as to why we were starting back on a Tuesday, I explained that it had to do with starting back after the break on January 3 instead of the 2nd I said then that you might hate it in August, but you'll love it in January!! So, that said, I wish you the happiest January 2 that we have ever had!!

2. Area Directors' Travels -- Last week I traveled to Sembach for the Area JCC, and then had the great opportunity of visiting all 4 of the Ramstein schools: the ES, IS, MS, and HS. I thank everyone that I got to meet for your warm welcome and generous hospitality. (I also had one evening when I was able to visit the Kaiserslautern Christmas Market!) For the coming two weeks the plan for Priscilla and me is basically the same as every year -- to recharge our batteries, and at least for me, to take long naps on the sofa and to indulge in copious amounts of turkey and fixings! I will be back in 2017 with my next Update. Please always remember that for the most breaking news to check on a regular basis.

3. NEA Representative Assembly Election -- The most recent edition of the Unity has now arrived at schools with important information about running as a delegate to the 2017 National Education Association Representative Assembly. If your school did not receive one then you can find it here. Please note the deadlines for nominations to be received, this year being January 15.This year the RA will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, over the weekend of the 4th of July. Start thinking now about running for one of these delegate positions. NEA's RA Info page Please note that the information comes from last year's RA, but it is the same for 2017.

4. Spring 2017 Election -- FEA has announced the following candidates for Europe Area Director. For more information please go to
Lisa Ali, Feltwell Elementary School
Susan Kelly, Kaiserslautern Middle School
Todd Laverents, Hohenfels Middle/High School
Terry McClain, Garmisch Elementary/Middle School
Alex Veto, Vilseck High School

5. Update- 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 will be in early January. Please also be reminded again that if you do go to FEA online you can sign up to have the President's Report emailed directly to you.

6. SY 2017-2018 Calendar -- There have been many questions raised recently concerning the school calendar for next school year. DoDEA has proposed starting earlier in August of 2017, while the FEA Board of Directors is taking the position that such a change at this stage of this school year is too late and that any changes be instituted for SY 2018-2019. Further news should be coming out on this issue imminently.

7. Area JCC -- The last Area JCC was held on 7 in Sembach. Attached are the minutes. The next JCC is tentatively scheduled for January 11 at 1000.

8. Holiday Travels - For those of you traveling during the upcoming Winter Break, here are some travel tips. Make sure you have copies of all your passports and other important documents stored separately from the originals when you travel. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information in your wallet or purse in the event of an accident, etc. You may want to include local contact information as well as stateside contacts. It is also a good idea to let a colleague know your travel plans and contact numbers in case of emergency.

9. Tips for Transfers - Read FEA Transfer Guru Connie Shanaghan's Tips for Transfers, to help maximize your chances of getting the transfer you want. Member login is required using your FEA membership ID number (see your FEA membership card or the mailing address panel on publications from FEA or NEA for your membership ID number.)

10.Transfer Deadline - Because of the number of problems with the online transfer application, FEA has asked DoDEA to amend the transfer program timelines to allow more time for teachers to submit applications (the current deadline is Monday, December 19). As of Monday (December 12) afternoon, DoDEA has not made any decision about whether it will agree to extend that application deadline.

In addition, some teachers are awaiting determinations as to their transfer program eligibility and/or transfer group. If you are one of these teachers, you should go ahead and submit your transfer application as the deadline (December 19) is fast approaching. The transfer program database will again open in January (dates to be announced) to allow teachers to amend their transfer applications (NEW applications, however, cannot be added at that time). Teachers may amend locations and category preferences, transfer groups, joint transfer requests, etc. Teachers who wish to withdraw their applications can do so up until the start of the transfer round (currently scheduled for January 18). Remember, you can access the transfer program here: DoDEA Human Resources.

11. Mark Your Calendar-
December 19 -- Current Transfer Application Suspense
December 19 -- January 3 -- Winter Recess
December 21 -- First Full Day of Winter
December 25 -- Hanukkah
December 25 -- Christmas Day
December 26 -- January 1 Kwaanzaa

12. Winter Solstice -- This year winter officially begins at 5:44 A.M EST, on December 21. From that point on the days start getting longer so summer is on its way! (Yeh, right!) At the website that follows there is a wealth of classroom activities for the winter season. NEA Winter Themed Resources

13. No Comment - Click here.

14. Office of Personnel Management Open Season -- Open Season is now closed. If you made any changes, please check your LES in mid-January to make sure that they are reflected there.

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director