December 2 2009 FEA Europe Update

1. NEA HIN Trainings
2. FEA Nomination Forms Due
3. FEHB Deadline
4. FEA Journal
5. Best Practice
6. NEA Academy Visiting Scholars Series
7. Math Ideas
8. "What's Wrong with this Picture?"
9. Upcoming Dates
10. Deadline for MEd Program Extended
11. Retiring or Resigning Mid-Year?
12. Grievance Procedure
13. Thanksgiving

1. NEA HIN Trainings - During the week of Nov 16-20, Jerry Newberry, Executive Director of NEA's Health Information Network presented seven training sessions for us in four locations in Germany. We unfortunately did not have enough time for Jerry to go into depth in these sessions, or to get to other communities, but the sessions were very well received and the feedback was excellent. This is just one more example of the excellent support that we receive from NEA and of the quality of presentations that they provide. Jerry was extremely impressed by the willingness of teachers to attend voluntary training and was very complementary about the quality of the discussion which our educators brought to the topics. Thanks to all those who helped to publicize and set up for these meetings, and a special thank you to the members who took time to attend these sessions.

The HIN's website ( is an excellent source of information on school health and safety issues.

2. FEA Nomination Forms Due - Please note that nomination forms for the upcoming elections for District Rep, European HCR, District HCR and Representative Assembly Delegates must be postmarked by Dec 5th. Also note, as mentioned in previous Updates, the position of European HCR was left off of the nomination form published in the Unity, and can be added to the District HCR form for those interested in this EAC position.

3. FEHB Deadline - Remember that December 14 is the deadline for changes to your FEHB Health Insurance. Find information on plan benefits, enrollment instructions and much more here.

4. FEA Journal - The latest edition of the FEA Journal should be reaching you about now. This edition contains very important information for every member, so be sure to make time to read it as soon as possible. For up to date information, you should also go to

5. Best Practice - During American Education Week, one pro-active FRS took a page out of an AVID lesson, and asked students and staff to write thank you notes to teachers, support staff, and colleagues. Many of these were nothing more than "post-it" notes, but it was GREAT to walk down the hallways and see each classroom and office door papered with little yellow "post-its" and other notes, with positive messages and thanks. It certainly brightened up everyone's' week. This might be an idea to use during "Teacher Appreciation Week" in May as well.

6. NEA Academy Visiting Scholars Series - These presentations focus on a variety of teacher quality and public education issues including teacher preparation, national board certification, English language Learners, and Closing the Achievement Gap. Nationally renowned scholars share their past, current, and need for future research with participants. Copies of the research briefs and PowerPoint presentations are available for downloading. You can access all the presentations at the NEA Academy site

7. Math Ideas - This month, the NEA website ( features "Get Real: Math in Everyday Life." For lessons, games and other resources go to this page

8. "What's Wrong with this Picture?" The implementation of new standards, new curriculum and new materials has been extremely poorly handled this year. In the past we have had a "pre-implementation year" when teachers became familiar with new standards and materials, and received training. This year, standards were dumped on teachers, adopted software was not approved for use on our computers, time for review has been minimal and training has been nonexistent. There has recently been additional confusion about the Social Studies adoption for secondary teachers. FEA continues to try to negotiate time and training for teachers, but DoDEA has not been responsive.

9. Upcoming Dates - A reminder of some dates and events which have been previously announced.
Dec 5, 6 - Strategic Leadership Workshop, Kaiserslautern. POC: Terese Sarno.
Jan 8 - Deadline for VERA or Educational Leave Program applications
Jan 9 - FEA sponsored EEO Training, UK location. 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

10. Deadline for MEd Program Extended -The deadline for applying for the Special Education Master's Degree Program for the University of Maryland has been extended to Dec 18th. For further information, see the attachment.

11. Retiring or Resigning Mid Year? If you are planning to retire or resign during this school year, remember to file and elevate a "goodbye grievance" before your last duty day. After the principal's written response to the grievance or on the 8th day, hand the principal the Step 3 elevation. (The attached grievance process also explains the timeline.) After you have elevated it, be sure to send a copy to Bill Freeman at the address in your calendar and keep copies of everything. If you have questions, see your FRS or contact your District Rep.

12. Grievance Procedure - The Negotiated Agreement lays out the Grievance Procedure and purpose. Article 12, Section 1 states: "The negotiated grievance procedure is established to provide unit employees with an opportunity to raise matters of concern or dissatisfaction for informal, and where appropriate, formal consideration and resolution." It further states, "It is the intent of the parties to resolve grievances informally at the earliest possible time and at the lowest possible level. The filing of a grievance shall not be construed as reflecting unfavorably on a unit employee's good standing, his/her performance, or his/her loyalty or desirability to the organization..." I have attached a flow chart which shows the Grievance Process and timeline.

13. 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 has said, "It is easy to advocate for such great teachers."

I have said it before, but mean every word of it...thanks for all you do,


Chuck McCarter
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel/Fax: 0611-44756234 or
0611-44756131 or DSN 337-6251