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February 21, 2014 FEA Europe Update

1. Focus on the Contract
2. Online Course Credit Resources
3. VERA/VSIP Announcement
4. FEA Elections
5. NEA/FEA Retiree Membership
6. NEA Academy
7. Read Across America
8. Important Dates

Focus on the Contract: This week's Focus on the Contract is a continuation of Article 14, Performance Appraisal System. Article 14, Section 6, states, "Prior to proposing any removal based on unacceptable performance, the Employer shall ensure that the unit employee is provided an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance. To this end, the Employer shall provide notice of the employee's failure to satisfy the performance standards for one or more critical elements. The notice shall be in writing and shall be provided to the unit employee at least 30 days in advance of proposing a removal based on unacceptable performance."

The notice shall identify the following: 1.What aspects of the employee's performance are unacceptable; 2.What improvements the employee needs to make to attain a satisfactory level; and, 3. What the Employer will do to help the unit employee improve.

For a complete listing of Article 14, Performance Appraisal System, please refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which may be found in its entirety at www.feaonline.org. You will need your FEA membership number to log in.

Online Course Credit Resources: I am including information I have received from a variety of sources offering online courses for graduate credit. FEA is not endorsing any of these programs, but I thought some of you might find this information useful.

Professional Development Institute
University of Scranton---Master's Degree Online
PBS TeacherLine---flexible, online professional development

VERA/VSIP Announcement: As you are all aware by now, the VERA/VSIP information has been sent out to all educators. I have received reports from some of you that the website is not working. I have received the following suggestion from Anita Lang, Isles District Representative: Access the website from your school computer, using Internet Explorer. If it does not work by the end of the week, write to this email and this one.

The VERA/VSIP announcements are attached along with a Miscellaneous VERA/VSIP information PDF.

FEA Elections: There are currently two separate elections underway in FEA Europe. The first, which is winding down, is for the Division Representatives, NEA RA Delegates, and European and Division HCR Representatives. Your local school FRS is conducting the balloting for this election as I write. The second election is being administered by FEA Washington and is the election for FEA Area Directors. Ballots are being mailed to individual members for this election. If you have any questions, please contact your District Representative or Area Director.

NEA/FEA Retired Membership: Several people have contacted me recently regarding FEA and/or NEA Retiree Membership. For FEA Retiree Membership, information and membership forms are on the FEA website at www.feaonline.org. Members should click on "Join FEA" on the right column, then "join now" and then "FEA/NEA Retired and Pre-retired membership".

The NEA/FEA retired dues are lifetime dues. Once a member pays the retired dues amount, he/she is not charged again for retired dues; however, he/she must continue to pay full active dues while teaching.

NEA/FEA Retired members have access to several money-saving programs, such as Insurance programs, Credit Programs, Loan and Mortgage Programs, Investment Programs, Discount Programs, and other Professional Services.

NEA Academy: If you are looking for online professional development, don't forget to check out the NEA Academy. The NEA Academy has multiple opportunities and benefits to assist members as they seek to obtain Master's degrees or re-certification credits. For more information, visit the NEA Academy site, to see what opportunities are available for you.

Read Across America: Don't forget to Grab Your Hat and Read with the Cat. March 3, 2014, is NEA/FEA's Read Across America Day. Be sure to take photographs that you can send on to us for inclusion in our next UNITY magazine.

Important Dates:
March 2014: Hats Off to Reading Month; National Women's History Month
March 3 NEA's Read Across America Day
March 5 World Read Aloud Day
March 9-15 Teen Tech Week
March 14 Pi Day
March 20 First Day of Spring
March 31 Cesar Chavez Day

"Try not to make it worse than it already is." ---Russell Baker, American Writer

Have a great weekend!

Lisa Ali
FEA Area Director
Isles, Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, Cuba