March 1 2017 FEA Europe Update
1. The Coming Month
2. Area Directors' Travels
6. European Election
7. Area JCC
8. IRS Forms and Publications
9. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information
10. Robotics Competition
11. Mark Your Calendar
12. Daylight Savings Time
13. Honors Music Fest 2017
14. Vote Early
15. NEA/HCR Training
16. Good News from our FEA Music Cohort
17. NEA Foundation Awards
18. St. Patrick's Day
19. NEA's "Read Across America"
20. HCR Newsletter
21. Project READ
22. Pi Day
23. Women's History Month
24. LLI Text Removed
1. The Coming Month -- As we rapidly approach the Ides of March, I have stopped to reflect on what has gone on over recent days and look ahead to see how much still lies in front of us. In the coming month we will have: changed our clocks, reached Spring Break (in most locations), we will have completed the excess placement program, and hopefully the hiring freeze will have been lifted. It will officially be Spring, the days will be noticeably longer, and we will have successfully survived both St. Patty's Day and April Fool's Day! For some, these days will be stressful, for others not so much so, but hopefully when we finally do come back from break, things will be settling down for all. There will still be many challenges facing us, but as always, FEA will be vigilant in watching and monitoring how things transpire on your behalf.
2. Area Directors' Travels --.Last week I was in Ramstein for a few days attending very crucial meetings. This week I have been staying close to home, but next week will be on the road again for a JCC and to visit one of the last remaining schools that I have not been to so far this school year. Note: Whenever my ‘Out of Office' reply message comes up it does not necessarily mean that I am unavailable. It may just be a CAC issue as I am traveling. In that case, if you need an answer quickly, write to email@example.com . I will be able to get on there from almost anywhere. Also, if you feel the need to actually speak with me, please leave me a message at that same address with a number and I will call as soon I can. Always remember that for the most current news to check www.feaonline.org on a regular basis.
3. Recertification - A reminder about your DoDDS certification: all educators must be recertified every six years. The basic requirements for recertification are: educators must complete six semester hours of undergraduate or graduate level course work taken at a U.S. regionally accredited educational institution after the date the last DoDEA certificate was issued. You can find more info here.
4. VLTP -- I have noticed more and more names of members being approved for VLTP coming in to my mail box. The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program allows us to donate leave to others who have exhausted their own leave, generally due to illness of either themselves or of family members. I often wonder if the stresses of our job situations don't help to acerbate this situation. Regardless, the deeper we get in to the school year the harder we find it to donate, as we can only donate APL days at this time, a situation I would hope we could eventually have changed. If you are in a position to do so, please consider helping these members who often find themselves in rather dire straits. You merely need to pick a recipient and fill out the forms that you will get in your school office. You'll feel good for having done it.
5. Update- We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with www.feaonline.org for your best source for breaking news. My next Update will be around March 15 (The Ides of March!). Please also be reminded again that if you do go to FEA online you can sign up to have the President's Report emailed directly to you.
6. European Election -- Ballots have now been mailed to all FRS's. The only election being conducted this year in Europe is for the delegates to the 2017 NEA Representative Assembly in Boston held in July. Instructions and further information have also been sent. (Please do not confuse this with the election notice mentioned in #14 below. That election is being conducted out of Washington and those ballots were mailed directly to your CMR mailbox. At the end of the day please be aware that you will be casting two ballots -- one through your FRS and one via U.S. mail.)
7. Area JCC -- The next Area JCC is scheduled for March 9. Minutes of the meeting will follow shortly thereafter.
8. IRS Forms and Publications -- As tax season approaches, this site has all of the forms and publications that you will need to complete your 2016 tax filing. Most can be done electronically. Also, be aware that most military installations offer tax services for civilians at no cost--check with legal office on your base/post. https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs
9. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information -- Attached is information from the IRS for all of us living outside of CONUS for filing our 2016 Income Tax. It includes deadlines, forms, addresses, and other useful information. No one likes to think about it but the filing deadline is beginning to creep up on us. Tax info.
10. Robotics Competition -- This year the competition will be held at Aviano HS from March 2 through 4 with the actual competition occurring on Friday and Saturday. There will 16 teams in attendance, 8 from DoDDS along with 8 other schools from the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. Good luck to all participants!
11. Mark Your Calendar-
March 1-31 -- Women's History Month
March 2 -- NEA's Read Across America Day
March 12 -- Daylight Savings Time Begins (United States)
March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day
March 21 -- First Full Day of Spring
12. Daylight Savings Time -- The United States will change to Daylight Savings Time on March 12. At that time there will be a 5 hour time difference between Europe and the east coast of the States. The UK is of course one hour different. Clocks in Europe will change on March 26. Remember -- spring forward, fall back!
13. Honors Musical Fest 2017-- A reminder that the annual Honors Musical Festival will be held this year on Thursday 16, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rhinetal Kongress-Zentrum, Museum Strasse 3, 55411 Bingen. DoDEA students from all over Europe will be performing. Tickets are free and may be claimed at the Rhinetal Kongress-Sentrum from 1630 the evening of the concert. I attended before and it is an exceptional evening, highlighting all that is good about our students.
14. Vote Early - Ballots for the election of FEA Area Directors (one in Europe, Stateside, and the Pacific) were mailed to all FEA Active members in late January. If you've not received your ballot in the mail by now, you can ask your FRS/Local President for a copy of the ballot, which you can then complete and mail back to FEA. Please be sure to complete the return address section on the return envelope and sign it. Failure to do so will result in your ballot being declared invalid and your vote not counting. Ballots for the FEA Area Director elections must be RECEIVED by March 28 to be counted in the tally. It is important that as many members as possible vote. It is indicative of a strong and active organization, which all of us at FEA certainly believe we are. We want others to know it as well. (Please check note on #6 above.)
15. NEA/HCR Training -- (This message comes from Estelle Brown of Lakenheath who is the Europe West Division HCR Coordinator.) "We would like to offer NEA training in the spring. This mostly will be the Diversity training with an add on course of Social Justice training. We will need at least 25 interested participants to proceed with a request for trainers. This course is usually accompanied by the opportunity to earn 1 graduate credit from University of San Diego or Ashland University. Tentative dates are the 6th and 7th of May 2017. Please let me know who, and how many members from your school would be interested in attending so I can follow up. I hope you are all having a great start to the new year!"
16. Good News from our FEA Music Cohort - Any Fine Arts teacher who attends the CCRS Fine Arts Training (taking place concurrently but separately from the Dana Center and Catapult Math and LA trainings) can register for and receive one semester graduate credit. Teachers can get additional information from their facilitators. (Thanks to Alina Rozanski, the FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator and Music Cohort Lead, for this information.)
17. NEA Foundation Award -- Each year the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence recognizes educators whose professional practice and advocacy for the profession are exemplary. All state affiliates, including FEA, are allowed to nominate one candidate a year (we are looking for a nominee for 2017 -- our 2016 nominee is Laura Hastings of Camp Lejeune for this prestigious award. The application is attached and the deadline for submission of all materials to FEA is April 1, 2017. For further information see the attachments.
18. St. Patrick's Day -- Friday, March 17, is St. Patrick's Day. You can find many fun activities and other items relating to all things green at: http://themes.atozteacherstuff.com/548/st-patricks-day-activities-printables-lessons/
19. NEA's "Read Across America" -- It is now upon us -- March 2 to be exact…the biggest reading celebration in the world. For lots of ideas on how your school can take part in the fun and help to create lifelong readers, go to www.nea.org/grants/886.htm Remember, this is NOT just for elementary schools; there are materials and ideas for all levels. This is also a great time to reach out to parents and involve them in a fun, positive, and educational way.
20. HCR Newsletter - Please pass on the latest FEA Human and Civil Rights program newsletter, "The Advocate," in your districts/areas, which includes information for Black History Month, books to build your Social Justice Library, and professional development opportunities: https://goo.gl/zfs6VW (A special thanks to Alina Rozanski, FEA HCR Coordinator, for this information).
21. Project READ -- This is a reminder that the University of San Diego offers a number of courses tailored strictly for DoDEA teachers. For many of us who need some extra credits but do not have the time or ability to attend classes personally, these on-line credits can be quite handy. Also, Project READ is designed for busy educators who wish to remain on the ‘cutting edge' in their chosen disciplines. (Thanks to Brian Chance of Kaiserslautern MS for this information.) You can find more here: http://pce.sandiego.edu/public/category/courseCategoryCertificateProfile.do?method=load&certificateId=25207&selectedProgramAreaId=&selectedProgramStreamId=
22. Pi Day -- Now something for our math teachers. National Pi Day is March 14 (3.14). It is also Einstein's birthday. Read more here: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/pi-day
23. Women's History Month -- This 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. This link will provide you with many useful tools to celebrate this month. http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month?cmpid=email-hist-classroom-2017-0227-02272017&om_rid=d06e050c73b8f137084126b3b2e020762509863e8b28ef023e8056aaa69de875&om_mid=154103968&kx_EmailCampaignID=10122&kx_EmailCampaignName=email-hist-classroom-2017-0227-02272017&kx_EmailRecipientID=d06e050c73b8f137084126b3b2e020762509863e8b28ef023e8056aaa69de875%20&os_ehash=44@experian:d06e050c73b8f137084126b3b2e020762509863e8b28ef023e8056aaa69de875
24. LLI Text Removed -- Following is an important message from our FEA HCR Coordinator, Alina Rozanski.
"LLI text removed due to anti-Semitic drawings:
In 2016, your FEA HCR program worked with DoDEA to remove the book "Jack and the Beanstalk" from the LLI curriculum due to anti-Semitic illustrations. When presented with the information that contained comparisons of the book's illustrations to Nazi era and contemporary propaganda, DoDEA HQ concurred that the illustrations were inappropriate and sent direction to the field to remove the book from the curriculum while also providing replacement lessons for LLI programs. The memo and replacement lessons are attached so LLI teachers can ensure their program is abiding by this directive and keeping their curriculum free of ethnic bias. Just like the member who brought this issue to the attention of our HCR program, you can make a difference in the fight to eliminate bias from our curriculum. If you see a problem with racial, ethnic, gender or any other bias in your texts/resources, please let your school, district, area, and/or FEA HCR coordinator know so we can do something about it!"
FEA Europe Area Director