December 4 2014 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update


1. Holiday Run-Up
2. Area Director's Travel
3. OPM Open Season
4. NEA Representative Assembly Election
6. Update
8. Holiday Travels
9. Transfer Program
10. Mark Your Calendars
12. Area JCC
13. No Comment
14. DoDDS Reunion
15. Mailing Deadlines

1. Holiday Run-Up -- This week begins the 3 week run-up to the Winter Holidays. It is a time of the year to be much enjoyed, what with festive markets, great music, and delicious seasonal foods. However, you also need to look after yourself and your colleagues at this time. Students can be very active and a bit out of control as the big holiday approaches. Enjoy the season and everything that goes with it, but don't let your guard down.

2. Area Directors' Travels --. This week my plan is to visit Netzaberg MS, weather permitting. Please always remember that for the most breaking news to check on a regular basis.

3. Office of Personnel Management Open Season -Each year, Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year, Open Season runs from November 10, 2014 through December 8, 2014.This is an opportunity to change insurance plans and to elect other Federal benefits, such as the flexible savings accounts. For further information, click here. (This is your final reminder. Note that the window closes on December 8, this coming Monday.)

4. NEA Representative Assembly Election: Shortly you will be receiving information about running for election as a delegate to the 2015 National Education Association Representative Assembly. This is America's biggest gathering of Educational Leaders all in one place. Over 15,000 attendees, representing 3 million National Education Association members nationwide and overseas, will meet at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida next summer. FEA Europe currently has 6 delegate positions to the RA, one from each division and one at-large delegate from each area. Check out the link below for news from this past summer's RA held in Denver, Colorado. (Thanks to Lisa Ali for this item.) NEA RA Information.

5. FSAFEDS - You MUST re-enroll in FSAFEDS each year to continue your participation. As mentioned above the Federal Benefits Open Season ends on Monday, December 8. Don't forget to enroll! For further information go to the FSAFEDS home page

6. 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 out on or around December 17. Bet you can't wait to get that one!

7. NCA/QAR - (from Area JCC) An ongoing concern of the Association is the amount of extra time and work that NCA/QAR visits (and other monitoring) cause for teachers. One task that may be unnecessary for these visits is the making and giving of "gift bag/baskets" to the visiting team. The Association would like to note for the record, the following excerpt from the Advanced Ed guidelines: "Please note that team members are not allowed to accept gifts from the school (school pens, pads of papers, and other items to assist the team with their work are acceptable to provide)." Management Response: There is no DoDDS-E expectation or direction that gift bags, baskets or other special welcome items be prepared by teachers.

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. Transfer Program -- (from the President's Report of Dec. 2) ‘We continue to work with DODEA Headquarters to nail down the final details of the upcoming DODDS Transfer Program. As the old saying goes, "the devil is in the details," so there always seems to be one more unanswered question or issue to be resolved before we can finalize things. I am hoping to have the agreement signed soon, possibly as early as this week. We will, of course, pass on the details as soon as the transfer agreement is finalized and sent out.'

10. Mark Your Calendars --
December 8 -- Last Day of Open Season
December 18 -- Hanukkah
December 21 -- First Full Day of Winter
December 22 -- January 5 -- Winter Recess
December 25 -- Christmas Day

11. VSIP/VERA -- It appears that there will both a VSIP and a VERA program this year. Again, details still need to be worked out. Keep in mind that there should be less excess teachers this year which leads to the conclusion that there will be less VSIP's offered. As news breaks on this, we will immediately get the word out.

12. Area JCC -- Minutes from the November Area JCC will be published soon. Also tentatively scheduled is the December JCC on the 17th. (This date will likely be changed.) It will be the last JCC with Dr. Bresell, who is planning on leaving Europe over the Holidays.

13. No Comment - Click here

14. DoDDS Reunion -- The annual DoDDS reunion will be held July 16-July 19, 2015 in Oak Brook, Illinois at The Oak Brook Marriot hotel. For registration information please go to: this page Register early as prices go up as the event gets closer.

15. Mailing Deadlines -- While at the APO here in Vilseck I noted the mailing deadlines for this year. While some other APO's and FPO's might be slightly different, I doubt that their deadline would be much different. Please note that some of these dates have already passed.
SAM 11/26
PAL 12/3
Priority and 1st Class 12/10
Priority Express 12/17

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director