Content

February 20, 2015 FEA Europe Update

Lisa's FEA Europe Update

20 February 2015

VERA/VSIP
VLTP Program
RAT Information (repeated from two weeks ago)
Retirement Articles
Teaching Resources---NEA website
PBS Learning Media
Professional Development Institute
Read Across America
Money/Taxes

VERA/VSIP: VERA/VSIP offers have begun arriving. Please note there is a very short turnaround time for acceptance. Hopefully district excess placement rounds can begin as soon as the initial rounds of VERA/VSIP offers have been processed.

VLTP Program: The following infromation is from Bill Freeman. The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) is designed to provide donated leave to those in dire need, so they can avoid LWOP and associated pay problems when they can least afford or address them. Three years ago, I won an Association Grievance involving systemic problems. We discovered and addressed egregious problems in that case. Teachers were donating leave that never made its way to the beneficiaries. The unused donated leave was never returned to the donors because DoDDS lost track of who had donated what leave. Beneficiaries who did not receive the leave were underpaid. DoDDS even collected bogus debts from some of them.

In accordance with the Award, DoDDS was ordered to fix the system and provide copies of all documentation concerning the Program to FEA on a continuing basis. They have not complied. I am having a Hearing soon with the arbitrator to address everyone's problems occurring since March, 2012.

If you have had problems with this Program as either a donor or beneficiary since March, 2012, this is your chance to get them corrected. It is also your chance to help fix a critical humanitarian program that has been broken for years. DoDDS has been hiding behind "privacy" issues all this time. With this Award, they will no longer get away with it.

If you have been affected, I need the following as soon as possible:
(1) Copies of forms you filled out either to apply for the program or donate leave.
(2) String of LES's showing the deductions and/or the associated problems.
(3) Any emails or correspondence to help explain the problem.
(4) Anything else that would help explain.

Please note, this applies to FEA-Europe and FEA-Pacific. It does not apply to the Med or DDESS. It applies to only problems occurring since March, 2012.

RAT Information: Below is information received from management regarding RAT for this year. For an educator who arrived and began teaching at the beginning of the 2014/2015 school year for schools using the standard DoDDS school calendar shown on our web page, I calculated the teacher would have to teach through June 1, 2015, in order to fulfill the 175 days of classroom instruction for eligibility for RAT travel. The earliest RAT can commence for educators at DoDDS Europe and Pacific is June 2, 2015 except AFNORTH, SHAPE, and Bahrain.

AFNORTH ES/HS:
For an educator who arrived and began teaching at the beginning of the 2014/2015 school year for schools using the AFNORTH school calendar shown on our web page, the teacher would have to teach through June 8, 2015, in order to fulfill the 175 days of classroom instruction required for eligibility for RAT travel. The earliest RAT can commence for educators at AFNORTH ES/HS is June 9, 2015.

SHAPE ES/HS:
For an educator who arrived and began teaching at the beginning of the 2014/2015 school year for schools using the SHAPE school calendar shown on our web page, the teacher would have to teach through June 11, 2015, in order to fulfill the 175 days of classroom instruction required for eligibility for RAT travel. The earliest RAT can commence for educators at SHAPE ES/HS is June 12, 2015.

NOTE: Educators requesting RAT commencing prior to the last day of school must provide approval from their Principal before orders are initiated.

Retirement Articles: Links for recent Federal Retirement articles are below:

How the Federal Government Taxes Civil Service Retirement Benefits - Part I http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/1333.cfm

Myth Busters: What Happens to Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) When You Retire? http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/1332.cfm

Some Taxpayers Will Use New Information Statement to Claim Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/1330.cfm

TSP Roth Option http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/department171.cfm

Best Dates for CSRS and FERS Employees to Retire During 2015 and 2016 http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/1312.cfm

Financial Planning Calculators for Federal Employees http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/department91.cfm

From the NEA website:

Common Core Challenge. What's the best way to implement the Common Core? Watch and learn from teachers who've already started. Then collaborate with other teachers like you. We've partnered with organizations that can help you succeed. Take the Common Core Challenge, brought to you by Teaching Channel, Student Achievement Partners and the NEA. Click here.

The Arts Are Essential. Caught between the demands of testing and an uncertain economy, arts programs occupy a vulnerable and shrinking niche in the school curriculum. Despite research showing the benefits of exposure to the arts, art programs are frequently the first to go when budgets are stripped and standardized testing takes center stage. With the arts go fine arts specialists, whose expertise enables them to guide students to a deeper experience of appreciating and creating art. We cannot let the arts disappear from public education. Every student deserves the benefits of a comprehensive fine arts program and instructors uniquely qualified to deliver it. One way to preserve the arts is to integrate them across the curriculum. Click here

Four Reading Motivators for Teenage Boys. It's no secret that state and national assessments continue to indicate that boys lag behind girls in the area of reading. The gap tends to grow larger as students enter adolescence. It's also no secret that many teenage boys dislike reading in class or at home. Just ask a high school teacher...or a teenage boy. While it's not true that all teenage boys dislike reading, there is a growing trend of many becoming unmotivated readers. Obviously, students who are resistant to reading are unlikely to get better at it. Here are four ideas for motivating adolescent male readers. Click here

Black History Month Lessons & Resources : Click here

Women's History Month for the Classroom: Click here

Iditarod in the Classroom: Click here

10 Free Things for National Nutrition Month: March Is National Nutrition Month and Includes School Breakfast Week. Click here

PBS Learning Media: Celebrate and support your lessons during Black History Month with an outstanding collection of resources spotlighting the leaders, educators, and innovators that have shaped our nation's history. Explore the videos, interviews, and biographies below and remember to create a free account on pbslearningmedia.org to save your favorite resources! Check out PBS Learning Media at the following website: Click here

Professional Development Institute: PDI offers free literature resources for your favorite novels and picture books. Click on the following link for more information. Click here

Read Across America: Mark Your Calendars! Read Across America Day is March 2, 2015. Oh, the Places You'll Go when you read! March 2, 2015 is NEA's Read Across America Day and this year, the book is the Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go. Be sure to follow Read Across America on Facebook and Twitter with #readacrossamerica

About NEA's Read Across America
The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA's Read Across America. Now in its 18th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.
"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child."

Money/Taxes: A guy goes to a pet store to buy an unusual pet and walks out with a centipede in a white box. Once he gets it home, the guy decides to take the centipede to his local bar and show it to his drinking buddies. He taps on the box and says, "Would you like to go to McGuire's with me and have a beer?" There's no answer from the centipede. He waits a few moments then says, "How about you and me going to a bar?" Again, there is no answer. Thinking the centipede can't hear him, the man goes right up to the box and yells, "Hey! Would you like to go to McGuire's bar and have a drink?!" A little voice comes out of the box, "I heard you the first time. I'm putting on my shoes."
---from Man Walks into a Bar

"I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific."---Lily Tomlin

Have a great weekend!
Lisa Ali
FEA Area Director
Isles, Kaiserslautern II, Stuttgart, Cuba