December 3 2008 FEA Europe Report

1. "The only thing constant is change"
2. Leave Reminder
3. FEA Annual Meeting/NEA RA
4. Important Deadlines
5. IT Concerns
6. SPED Issues
7. Best Practices
8. Holiday Stress

1. "The only thing constant is change" - We expect to hear more in the coming days about the direction Dr. Miles, our new DoDEA Director, has in store for our system. We know rumors are flying and angst is in the air. Be assured the Association is listening, watching, and determining what actions need to be taken. As always, we ask you to keep your FRS and district leaders apprised of what is happening at your school.

2. Leave Reminder - If you are in danger of running out of leave due to illness or other emergency, speak to your administrator and/or personnelist about your options for borrowing leave, donated leave, interspersed leave, etc. before you run out of leave.

3. FEA Annual Meeting/NEA RA -- The 2009 FEA Annual Membership and NEA Representative Assembly will be held in San Diego, CA, June 30 - July 6. Because of our geographic diversity, this is the one chance each year we have to get FEA members from all of our regions together to get updated on association activities, ask questions of the FEA Board and staff, and make recommendations for our association. This is a GREAT opportunity. If you are interested in attending as a State Delegate, the application form is in the recent edition of the UNITY. Please remember, applications must be postmarked by Dec 5th. Locals of more than 75 members can also send local delegates.

4. Important Deadlines : All applications for VERA must be submitted to the DoDDS-E Human Resources Office no later than 15 December 2008.

Also the deadline for both the Educator and Administrator Educational Leave Without Pay and Administrative Reemployment Rights Programs is 15 December 2008 -- the application must be received in the DoDDS-E Human Resources Office no later than close of business that day. The announcements for these were issued in the Friday Packet, October 3rd.

Early Notice Awards -- DoDDS educators planning to leave the school system at the end of the current school year should notify management of their decision by January 6, 2009, in order to receive a $500 award. To receive the reward, you must initiate a Request for Personnel Action (RPA) no later than January 6 through your building administrator, requesting voluntary separation (resignation or retirement) to be effective at the end of the school year or during the summer recess period. The $500 award is available only to full-time, school-level, non-supervisory, professional educators on permanent appointments. Turning in your notice of retirement/resignation by the January 6 deadline will help to create transfer vacancies and to accommodate excess educators. DoDEA has stated there will be NO Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) this school year.

Don't wait until the last minute for these important deadlines!

5. IT Concerns - FEA is very aware of concerns about the impact of new IT regulations on the educational process. Please work with your ET to process IT requests to correct problems you encounter. Please also keep your Admin and FRS informed of problems that impact your work with students so that they can forward those concerns "up the chain." FEA will continue to stress that technology should serve the educational process, not the other way around.

6. SPED Issues - FEA HQ continues to work with DoDEA HQ on Excent issues and there has been acknowledgement by Dr. Miles that the program is not functioning appropriately. The system is expected to be fully functioning at the end of the semester, but I'm not counting those eggs yet. On top of the problems with the implementation of Excent Online, now SPED teachers are now facing new demands for reporting data on student progress. Please keep your FRS informed of problems with these issues.

7. Best Practices - Last year, I ran an item in my Update about the collaborative leadership at Wetzel ES under Principal Helen Balilo. Recently, I was fortunate enough to see Helen's presentation at the Admin Conference. If our system is emphasizing data, then the test scores at Wetzel certainly indicate that Helen's collaborative approach to leadership works!

8. Holiday Stress - Already feeling the stress of the approaching holidays? Check out some tips for coping with it from the NEA.

Thanks for all you do,

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