December 15 2010 FEA Europe Report

1. Debt Letters
2. TSP News
3. Area Directors' Travels
4. DoDEA Teacher of the Year
5. Holiday Markets
6. Weather Reports
7. Nomination Deadline
8. Benefits of Staying in School
9. Post Allowance, etc.
10. VERA and Transfers
11. Mark Your Calendars
12. Update

1. Debt Letters -- Let's get the bad news out of the way first. DFAS is still issuing debt letters at an astounding rate. If you find one of these in your stocking on December 25 please remember to follow all guidance that has been issued on how to proceed. If you are unsure contact your FRS.

2. TSP News - The maximum dollar amount you can contribute for 2011 remains unchanged at $16,500 and the TSP Catch-up also remains unchanged at $5,500.00. If you contribute the maximum allowable for TSP the amounts are:
General Schedule (GS) and Teachers on 26 pay: $635.00 for the basic TSP for $16,500 and an additional $212.00 for the Catch-Up contributions.
Teachers on 21 pay: $750.00 bi-weekly for the basic TSP at $16,500 and an additional $250.00 for the TSP Catch-Up contributions.

If you do not plan on contributing the maximum allowable amounts, but you would like to find out the bi-weekly amounts based on what you wish to contribute you can go to the TSP website:

3. Area Directors' Travels -- Neither Chuck or myself are traveling this week but will resume school visits in January. In the past few weeks I visited 11 schools and Chuck nearly that number. We want to thank everyone for the hospitality and warm welcome we received everywhere we went. Now if only the weather could have been a little warmer !

4. DoDEA Teacher of the Year - Last week DoDEA feted some its outstanding teachers. DoDEA Teacher of the Year, Angelica L. Jordan, from the Heidelberg District was honored as well as Bavaria Teachers of the Year, Alina Rozanski , Kaiserslautern Teacher of the Year Micheline Huntley, Isles Teacher of the Year Anita Hacker, and Med Teacher of the Year Cynthia Watkins. Alina is also FEA's European Area HCR Coordinator. A hearty congratulations to all of these outstanding educators. Below are sites reporting on DODEA Teachers of the Year.,

5. Holiday Markets -- For those not traveling to the States or elsewhere but staying in Europe over the coming break there is a useful guide to Holiday Markets in Holland , Belgium, and Germany attached.

6. Weather Reports -- Attached is the latest satellite image of Europe from the 21st Operational Weather Squadron in Sembach,Germany. It may prove helpful to those planning travels beginning this weekend. Also, if you go to you can find the 5 day forecast for your particular area.

7. Nomination Deadline -- For anyone interested in running for one of the 4 FEA Area Director positions please be aware that all nominations need to be post marked by December 17. More information is available at the FEA website.

8. Benefits of Staying in School -- The attached article is interesting reading and points out yet another good reason for keeping our students in school.

9. Post Allowance, etc. -- (With thanks to our friends in the Pacific)
POST ALLOWANCE -- Do locally hired educators receive a Post Allowance? For the purposes of the law it does not matter whether the educator is a tourist hire or an educator eligible for the Family Member Preference Program. Full time employees receive Post Allowance, even if they are not entitled personally to Living Quarters Allowance and a Transportation Agreement. The Department of State describes Post Allowance as follows:

Part-time, intermittent, and U.S. family member winter/summer hire employees are not eligible for post allowance. The post allowance is paid to eligible full-time employees even though they may not be eligible for LQA, post differential or other allowances. Post allowance is non taxable income.

PROBATIONARY vs. PROVISIONAL -- There is sometimes confusion over these two terms. They overlap but are different. Every DODDS educator must serve a two year trial period, when hired. This means that the teacher is probationary. If all goes well and performance is acceptable a probationary teacher can expect to pass the formal probation period after two full calendar years. Once probation is completed full due process rights regarding job tenure are conferred. The probationary status is the equivalent of "at will" employment.

For performance appraisal purposes the new probationary educator is evaluated at the provisional level. Non-probationary teachers are evaluated at the professional level. Observation and scrutiny are different for each level. In actuality there are three levels. The provisional teacher gets the most supervisor attention with formal observations that are announced and unannounced. The professional teacher participates in a Professional Growth Plan for two years with minimal observation and scrutiny. In the third year of the evaluation cycle for professional teachers, formal observations return. Then the three year cycle begins again.

TRIAL PERIOD -- Determining when you actually have completed your probation or trial period, as it is sometimes called, can be a bit complicated. Some qualified veterans are exempt from the 2 calendar year requirement. They need only serve a one calendar year probation. Below are modified excerpts from DODEA Regulation 1400.13. Congress changed the trial period from one to two years circa 1991.

4.4.2. Trial Period. Each educator, upon grant of a non-temporary appointment with DODDS, is required to serve a trial period of 2 calendar years beginning with the date of said appointment, except that: An educator transferred, reassigned or reemployed without a break in service of more than 30 days, while serving a trial period with DODDS may complete the trial period in the new position. An educator converted, or reappointed without a break in service of more than 30 days, to a non-temporary appointment shall have all such previous temporary part or full time service not interrupted by a break in service of more than 30 days credited toward completion of the trial period. An educator who has previously completed a trial period with DODDS, and who has not had a break in service with DODDS of more than 3 calendar years since completion of the trial period, will not be required to complete a new trial period.

10. VERA and Transfers -- As of today we have heard no further information on VERA or the transfer round. As soon as any news comes out we will immediately notify you. Transfer information will likely appear first at FEA Online.

11. Mark Your Calendars -
December 18 -- January 2 Winter Break
December 25 -- Christmas
January 1 -- New Years Day
January 17 -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day

12. Update - The next Update will come out on January 5, 2011.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season however you celebrate it. It is a pleasure to be associated with all of you. I hope that the break will be fun and refreshing . Chuck and I will see you in 2011.


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051