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February 13, 2013 FEA Europe Update

1. Spring Election Information
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Read Across America 2013
4. Member Benefits
5. Staffing Documents
6. Random Acts of Kindness Week
7. Family and Medical Leave Act
8. Mark Your Calendars
9. VERA/VSIP
10. Update
11. IRS Forms and Publications
12. FEA President Visits
13. Running Out of Leave
14. The Other FEA
15. European Sports
16. Out of Eden Walk

1.Spring Election Information - Election information packages have now been mailed to FRS's. Ballots must be postmarked for return to the Area Director's Office by March 1, 2013, with the results published by April 5, 2013. The only contest this year in Europe is for delegates to the NEA Representative assembly. If any FRS has not yet received their ballots please let Lisa or myself know.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- Today I am in my office in Vilseck for the first time since January 25th. My travels took me to Wiesbaden, Bitburg, Spangdahlem, Schweinfurt, and Bamberg, with multiple days spent in each location. These are the places in my Area which will be most affected by excessing so that is why I concentrated my attentions there.

3. Read Across America 2013 -- "Grab your Hat and Read with the Cat" will be the 2013 theme of NEA's Read Across America celebration as we return to the beloved Dr. Seuss tale of mischief and celebrate the joy of reading across the nation on Friday, March 1, this year's official Read Across America Day. For more information visit NEA's Read Across America page. I mentioned this in my last Update and it seemed far off -- it isn't any more !

4. Member Benefits -- Members often forget the multitude of benefits that are at their disposal. Everything from credit cards, saving plans, online courses, various insurances, etc. Check out the full range of these benefits at www.neamb.com.

5. Staffing Documents -- New staffing documents have arrived in my mailbox in the last few minutes. I will be sending them out through the District Representatives shortly, who will then send them on to the individual FRS's. As of right now I have not been able to look at them closely but will this evening. FRS's, please work closely with your administrators on this.

6 . Random Acts of Kindness Week -- We are at the moment in the middle of this week. But it is not too late ! Check out the website here that contains many good ideas as well as teaching resources.

7. Family and Medical Leave Act -- There have lately been a lot of inquiries as to the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act. If you need any information on FMLA you can find it here.

8. Mark Your Calendars --
February 1-28 -- Black History Month
February 11-17 -- Random Acts of Kindness Week
February 14 -- Valentine's Day
February 18 -- Presidents' Day (Federal Holiday)
March 1 -- Last day to mail your ballot

9. VERA/VSIP -- We had thought that the official announcement of VERA/VSIP would have been out by now but as you know it is not. However, the appearance today of staffing documents may indicate that the announcement will follow shortly. We will keep you updated.

10. Update --Thanks to Lisa for putting out last week's Update since I was on the road. I am doing today's and will also do the next one. We will also keep you alerted with any news that comes out in between Updates. And, as always, check www.feaonline.org for breaking news out of DC.

11. IRS Forms and Publications -- As tax season approaches, this site has all of the forms and publications that you will need to complete your 2012 tax filing. Most can be done electronically.

12. FEA President Visits - Michael Priser, FEA President, recently completed a long and exhausting visit to many of the schools and complexes here in Europe. He conducted many after school and evening sessions. I was present at several of these and from my own observations and the observations from those at other locations they were all very well attended.

13. Running Out of Leave? - Unfortunately, due to illness, family emergencies, or other issues, sometimes teachers find themselves running out of leave. For those teachers, there are two options of which they should be aware. One is Advanced Leave. According to the regulation (DS 5630.4) up to 30 days of educator leave can be approved by management when an employee has no more accumulated leave. In other words, you can borrow against leave for future years' employment. Such advances are subject to subsequent earnings of leave or repayment upon separation for any leave advanced but not earned.

The second option is to apply for the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. The VLTP permits Federal civilian employees to donate leave to other civilian employees who are experiencing medical or family medical emergencies. An employee who has a medical or family medical emergency that is likely to require the employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and result in a loss of income due to unavailability of paid leave, may apply for donations of leave from other employees. These are the requests that you may sometimes see for donations of leave. Teachers can only donate from their APL days.

One further note: Any employee taking LWOP for an extended period should talk to the District HR concerning using interspersed leave to insure that all benefits and entitlements continue.

For questions or further information about leave issues, please contact your District HR.

14. The Other FEA - Many people do not realize that there is another FEA which is very active in Europe -- the Future Educators Association. DoDDS-Europe FEA hosted its annual conference January 29 to February 1 in Garmisch, Germany. Nineteen high schools were represented. At the conference three of the district teachers of the year gave presentations. There are new chapters that formed this year from Kaiserslautern, Schweinfurt and Alconbury. Four new officers were elected for next year: 2 from Vilseck, 1 from Lajes, and 1 from Vicenza. All reports indicate that it was a very informative and productive conference. Check out the link for photos.

15 . European Sports - Over the next few weeks the European Finals will be held for several high school sports. As a former DoDDS coach I know that this is an exciting time for both coaches and players alike. Our coaches are very hard working and deserve lots of credit. If you are free and in the area you might want to check out one of the tournaments listed below: Boys and Girls Basketball and Cheerleaders Feb. 21 -- 23 Wiesbaden Wrestling Feb. 15 -- 16 Wiesbaden Rifle Teams completed their Europeans on January 26. Congratulations to Vilseck HS ! Patch and Vilseck both moved on to the Army JROTC Air Rifle Championship in Anniston, Alabama . They are currently there. For the other tournaments, check Stars and Stripes as they get closer for exact times.

16. Out of Eden Walk -- I received this website from Jamie Hare of Vilseck HS. I find it incredible and believe that it could be used effectively as a teaching resource at almost every level and subject area. I will be following this myself. www.outofedenwalk.com

Happy Valentine's Day !!!

Alex

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051