March 15 2017 FEA Europe Update
1. Hiring Freeze
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. FRS Elections
6. Traveling for Spring Break?
7. Area JCC
8. IRS Forms and Publications
9. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information
10. Model US Senate
11. Mark Your Calendar
12. Daylight Savings Time
13. Honors Music Fest 2017
15. Autism Awareness Month
16. Read Across America
17. NEA Foundation Awards
18. St. Patrick's Day
19. Diabetes Alert Day
20. Project READ
21. Women's History Month
1. Hiring Freeze -- The following article appeared in yesterday's Stars & Stripes. Many of you have already seen it, but for those who have not I am including it here without comment.
2. Area Directors' Travels --.Last week I was in Kaiserslautern for an Area JCC and was part of a group that toured the new Kaiserslautern HS building site. I then made some needed visits to 3 other schools in the area. I expect that I will need to travel in that direction fairly soon once again. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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. FRS Elections -- It is nearing the time of year (usually late April in to May) when schools will be choosing their Faculty Representative Spokesperson for SY 17/18. This is a very important task and I hope that all schools will do all they can to run open, fair and transparent elections. Current FRS's will be provided with the SOP for such elections that was adopted by the EAC. Please note that most of what is in the SOP are recommendations as the election of a FRS is a very local matter.
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 29. 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. Traveling for Spring Break? - For those of you traveling during the upcoming Spring Break, here are some travel tips. Make sure you have copies of all your passports and other important documents stored separately from the originals when you travel. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information in your wallet or purse in the event of an accident or sudden illness, etc. You may want to include local (European) contact information as well as stateside contacts. It is also a good idea to let a colleague know your travel plans and contact numbers in case of emergency. And, should you find yourself 'stuck' in an airport then the guide that you can find here might prove valuable. http://www.sleepinginairports.net/
7. Area JCC -- The next Area JCC has not yet been scheduled but it will occur after Spring Break. 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. Model US Senate -- Next week DoDEA students will be assuming the roles of US Senators at the European Model US Senate Conference, March 20-23 in Wiesbaden. The Model US Senate Program gives high school students, the opportunity to represent a U.S. Senator in a simulation of the Senate legislative process. Students will research a wide variety of contemporary issues and prepare bills for discussion and debate in caucuses, committee hearings and before the entire MUSS Senate in its plenary sessions. Knowledge of parliamentary procedures used in legislative debating is an essential part of preparation. In short, the MUSS Program will provide a forum for students to use a wide range of communication skills as they seek to promote and pass legislative proposals in a dynamic and challenging simulation.
The live stream of MUSS 2017 plenary debate can be accessed at the following address: https://sites.google.com/a/student.dodea.edu/muss/
Plenary I Wednesday, March 22 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Plenary II Wednesday, March 22 1:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Plenary III Wednesday, March 22 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Plenary IV Thursday, March 23 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
11. Mark Your Calendar-
March 1-31 -- Women's History Month
March 12 -- Daylight Savings Time began (United States)
March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day
March 21 -- First Full Day of Spring
March 26 -- Daylight Savings Time begins (Europe)
12. Daylight Savings Time -- The United States changed to Daylight Savings Time on March 12. For now there is a 5 hour time difference between Central 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, April 16, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. CET 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. W2 -- Your electronic W2 is available on myPay at: this site. You will need your CAC reader for best results.
15. Autism Awareness Month -- April has also been designated as Autism Awareness Month. It is a condition that affects more and more of our students every year. Learn more here.
16. Read Across America -- By all reports and by first hand observation this year's Read Across America Day was one of the best ever. There were some great celebrations in the schools and people from all areas of the various communities gave up their time to read to our students.
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. Diabetes Alert Day - On March 28th, the American Diabetes Association is recognizing "Diabetes Alert Day" as the time to find out if you are the 1 in 3 American adults who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. There is a simple test that assesses your risk for Type 2 diabetes; family history, weight, age, activity, etc. Since 2007, the statistics for pre-diabetes and diabetes have increased. The number of Americans with diabetes has grown from 24 million (children and adults) to 26 million. These statistics were determined by the National Diabetes Fact Sheet. Diabetes is a progressive disease. Pre-diabetes (one number apart from diabetes) will eventually become diabetes if you wait too long to take care of your body. You can find more here: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/alert-day/
20. 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.
21. 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.
FEA Europe Area Director