December 16 2009 FEA Europe Report1. Happy Holidays !
2. Holiday Travels
3. Check Those Dates
4. Staffing Documents
6. HCR Workshop
7. Upcoming Dates
8. "What's Wrong with this Picture?"
9. Housing Allowance Rates
10. Children of Deployed Parents
11. HR Contacts Update
12. Area JCC
1. Happy Holidays ! - Let me take this opportunity to wish each of you a happy, healthy holiday season. Whether you travel or just stay home, I hope you have a wonderful time. Thank you for all the hard work you have done in your schools this year. I look forward to working with you in the new year...2010!
2. 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.
3. Check Those Dates - Speaking of passports, have you checked the dates on all of your important ID's and documents? It is much easier to get those things renewed if you do it BEFORE they expire.
4. Staffing Documents - We expect the staffing documents to be in schools shortly, possibly this week. When they are received in the schools, the FRS should work with the principal to compare these to the current year's staffing documents in order to see the changes and impact of those changes. If there are problems or mistakes in these documents, principals will need to contact their District Superintendents Office to address those concerns. FRS's should also contact their District Reps. Please remember that these are working documents and there may be changes that are necessary. I know that this is a stressful time in schools where there is concern about excessing, but FEA will be working at all levels to insure that staffing and excessing procedures are followed correctly.
5. Communication - Please continue to let your District Reps and Area Directors know of new initiatives, new policies, etc. that are announced at your school. Under the new structure implemented by HQ, the Association has been bypassed a number of times this year, but thanks to our FRS's and members, we have found out about changes and have been able to pursue them. When such policies are announced at your school, ask for the documentation of where these were initiated, so that we can follow up at the appropriate level.
Also concerning communication, this is the time of year when questions about transfers, staffing, and related issues begin to come up. FEA will get out information as soon as possible on these important issues. For the most up to date information, go to www.feaonline.org and sign up to have Michael Priser's President's reports sent directly to you.
6. HCR Workshop - Over the weekend of December 5 & 6, FEA was able to present a workshop facilitated by Tamara Hamilton of the NEA. Over 30 members attended and were very enthusiastic about the information, the materials, and the presentation. Many thanks to Terese Sarno, Linda Callender, and the KAEA for their work on this workshop and to NEA for their support. FEA will continue to offer trainings as often as we can, in locations across Europe.
7. Upcoming Dates - Don't forget to mark your calendars for the following events.
Jan 8 - Deadline for VERA or Educational Leave Program applications
Jan 9 - FEA sponsored EEO Training, Lakenheath area. Exact times and locations to be announced. POC: Linda Callender
Feb 20 - FEA sponsored EEO Training, Heidelberg location. Exact times and locations to be announced. POC: Linda Callender
March 2 - NEA's Read Across America - For information and materials go to www.nea.org
8. "What's Wrong with this Picture?" For many years, I helped to chaperone study trips around this time of year which included the local historical sites as well as the Christmas markets. These were tied directly to the standards, including social studies, science, math and language arts, but more importantly, they were amazing and memorable learning experiences for students. Numerous students told me they would have never seen these things otherwise, or that they wanted to bring their families back to the places we showed them. Further, it was a great day for students, teachers, and parental chaperones to enjoy together. Unfortunately, the system has made these field trips so difficult for teachers to plan and get approved that many teachers have stopped trying. What a loss for our students! Instead of putting up road blocks to such trips, our system should be working to make these easier and more accessible.
9. Housing Allowance Rates - I recently received several inquiries about current housing allowance rates.
Here is the link to current rates.
10. Children of Deployed Parents - As teachers, we see firsthand the difficulties that our students face when their parents are deployed. Our schools and teachers provide the stable and caring environment that is so important for students, especially when parents are deployed. If you missed the article in the Saturday Dec 12 edition of the Stars & Stripes entitled "Study: Deployments take toll on military children," you can find it at: www.pediatrics.org.
11. HR Contacts Update - Attached are the latest Contact numbers for your Human Resources personnel.
12. Area JCC - John and I met recently with Dr. Bresell for our December Area JCC and those notes should be sent out shortly. Our January meeting is set for January 26th.
Once again, let me wish you all the best at this holiday season and in the coming new year. It has been a very stressful year for many, but I hope over the break that you will have time to reflect on the great work that you do for our students. There are few educators willing to pack up, leave their families, and head off to foreign lands to teach our military children. You are unique educators and I am very proud to work with you.
All the best to you and yours,
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel/Fax: 0611-44756234 or
0611-44756131 or DSN 337-6251