February 20 2013 FEA Europe Update

1. A Perfect Storm
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Read Across America 2013
4 Women's History Month
5. Staffing Documents
6. Spring Election Information
7. Daylight Savings Time
8. Mark Your Calendars
10. Update
11. IRS Forms and Publications
12. DoDDS Schools
13. FEA At-Large Elections
14. Job Qualifications
15. Ban On Removable Storage Devices (from FEA Presidents Report)

1. A Perfect Storm -- During my 25+ years with DoDEA and my 20+ working with FEA I have never seen a situation like this, not even during the big draw down in the years immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Within the next few short weeks we face the issue of storage devices and Outlook access, the excessing and placement of a large number of educators, school closures, and the icing on the cake, furloughs due to possible sequestration. Indeed a perfect storm. Please know, however, that on every level FEA is striving to stay on top of these issues and fix what is fixable. It is another tribute to the professionalism of our teachers that quality education goes on even in the midst of all these uncertainties. I hope that those at the highest levels are watching.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- I will be in Wiesbaden on February 27 for the Area JCC and hope to be there later this week for a meeting on the CAC/USB issue.. In the meantime, I will be arranging some additional school visits. It is getting more and more difficult to make these trips with all of the email traffic and meetings concerning the issues above.

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 this site. I mentioned this in my last Update and it seemed far off -- it isn't any more !

4. Women's History Month -- Next month, March, is Women's History Month. Since 1910, March 8 has been observed as International Women's Day by people around the world. Thus, March was chosen for National Women's History Month in the United States. The link will provide you with many useful tools to celebrate this month. Women's History Month

5. Staffing Documents -- New staffing documents came out last week but there still is confusion as to whether or not these are the final word. Some of the numbers just do not add up. I will be working closely with the Area office this week to try to get some answers.

6 . Spring Election Information - Election information packages have now been mailed to FRS's. This is an Europe only election. 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.

7. Daylight Savings Time -- Please note that Daylight Savings Time will begin in North America at 2 AM on Sunday, March 10. However, the clocks will not change in Europe until 2 A.M. on March 31. For three weeks there will be a 5 hour time difference between the east coast and most of Europe instead of the normal 6. The UK of course is one hour different. Remember -- Spring forward, Fall back ! Time and Date

8. Mark Your Calendars --

  • February 1-28 -- Black History Month
  • February 27 -- Area JCC
  • March 1 -- Last day to mail your ballot (EAC Election)
  • March 10 - Daylight Savings Begins (USA)
  • March 31 -- Daylight Savings Begins (Europe)

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. We will keep you updated.

10. Update -- Lisa will publish the next Update on February 27. I will return on March 6. We will also keep you alerted with any news that comes out in between Updates. And, as always, check for breaking news out of DC. I really do not like sending out these Updates with so many questions still unanswered but that it is a sign of the times.

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. Here is the link to the site.

12. DoDDS Schools -- Attached you will find a spreadsheet with information on all DoDDS schools. A special thank you to David Brown of Wiesbaden HS who provided it, as he has done yearly. It is always one of the most accurate such lists that I come across. All of the URL's are working.

13. FEA At-Large Election -- The attachment above details the timeline for the conducting of this years At-Large Elections for President, Vice President, etc. Please note that this election is conducted by the FEA Washington office and ballots will be mailed directly to the members.

14. Job Qualifications -- Thanks to George Dunn of Vilseck HS for this week's bit of humor. We all need it ! (Trouble it, it is more true than not !)

15 . Ban On Removable Storage Devices -- This is an excerpt from the FEA Presidents Report of February 15.

"DoDEA, as ordered by the Pentagon, is implementing a ban on all unapproved removable storage devices, such as USB hard drives, memory sticks, thumb drives, smartphones, MP3 players, etc. The ban is to take effect no later than February 25. This order comes directly from the very top ranks of the Pentagon in response to ongoing threats of cyber attacks throughout DoD's computer networks. In addition to not being able to use personal storage devices, DoDEA employees will also be required to use a DoD Common Access Card (CAC) to logon to any computer or Web site. FEA has shared our members' concerns about the difficulties this policy will create, especially given the unreasonably short notice before implementation. DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald has given broad authority to school administrators to assist employees in mitigating the impact of this policy. In its memo to employees explaining the ban, DoDEA listed some acceptable alternatives that can be used for data storage, such as re-writable CDs and network storage. FEA has asked DoDEA to be sure training on the use of these mediums will be available to anyone who requires it. Meanwhile, your building principal should work with employees to ensure you have time to transfer any necessary data from your own personal storage devices to an approved device. Principals should also be helping anyone who does not currently have a CAC card get one by February 25. Let your principal know of any difficulties you face with meeting this deadline and inform FEA if you are unable to resolve those problems within your local chain of command."


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051