March 6 2013 FEA Europe Update

March 6, 2013

1. Some New Realities
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Traveling for Spring Break?
4. Child Abuse Prevention Month
5. Some Good Advice
6. In the Spirit of Dr. Seuss
7. Return Travel Agreement
8. Autism Awareness Month
9. Three Strikes and You're Out
10. Mark Your Calendars
11. Badge Holders
12. FEA Europe Elections
13. VERA/VSIP Update
14. Honors Music Fest 2013
15. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information
16. Update
17. Safety
18. Easter Markets
19. Model U.S. Senate

1. Some New Realities -- As you well know, the times they are a changing ! Notice that I will now be doing these Updates as an attachment. Since all I can do through Outlook is plain text I decided to go this route as it just simply looks better. If this causes any unforeseen problems anywhere, please let me know. Also, at this moment in time, I still cannot access Outlook either from home or while on the road. If when you write me you get a message that I am away from my school computer for any reason, please write me at this email. I can access this at all times and from virtually any location. I know that this is not the best solution but for now difficult times require difficult measures.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- Both Lisa and I will be sticking close to home for the next two months. Right now I am tentatively scheduled to be in Baumholder on the 19th and I hope to visit Ramstein, Kaiserslautern, and Sembach before the month ends. It all depends on how smoothly the excess placements are going. That is my first priority right now.

3. Traveling for Spring Break? - For those of you traveling during the upcoming Spring Break, here are some travel tips.(It really is not that far away!) 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 try to avoid areas with active volcanoes !! But, should you find yourself ‘stuck' in an airport then the guide that you can find here might prove valuable.

4. Child Abuse Prevention Month - In the early 1980s, Congress resolved that the week of June 6-12, 1982, should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week, in commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to child abuse. The following year, in 1983, April was proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention Month. You can find more here.

5. Some Good Advice -- I received this email with the attachment earlier this week. Brenda and her committee gave me permission to share. As someone who has also been excessed I can tell you that this is some very good advice l

‘ Okay Everyone! I hope you are having a Thrilling Thursday! Here is what my committee developed to give you some stress relief on what to do when as we are excessed. First - BREATHE - I have survived 4 previous excessings, so you will survive and come out of it with some funny stories to tell, 2nd - you are NOT ALONE - we can and should all help each other through this, that is the main reason I decided to create this committee - and I appreciate those that were willing/able to help and the kind words that I got from those of you that are feeling the stress because it is all new and scary to you! Hang in there! Spring break is getting closer and we will have a job, somewhere - not something that everyone in America can say! So, without further ado - here are our recommendations. Enjoy the read - pass along to whomever you think might be able to use it.'

Brenda Hoff, Third Grade Teacher, PHV Elementary School, Heidelberg, Germany

6. In the Spirit of Dr. Seuss -- Don't know exactly who this came from, but apparently someone in the ET Group. I think they are starting to lose it as well !

7. Return Travel Agreement -- Attached is a memo from Director Marilee Fitzgerald concerning RAT. Most of you may have seen this but with the number of questions coming in regarding RAT funding and orders I feel that it is worth sharing again.

8. 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 basic information about autism at the Autism Speaks website .

9. Three Strikes and You're Out -. We received this message last week but with so much information floating around I want to repeat it. ‘Just a word of warning: Like all CAC enabled systems, the GPCDMS will lock your CAC if you attempt an incorrect PIN three times consecutively.' If that happens you must go back to the CAC office to have it reset -- it can't be done at the school. That could mean anything from a minor inconvenience to a major headache depending on your location, so be aware.

10. Mark Your Calendars --
March 10 - Daylight Savings Time Begins (USA)
March 11 - Deadline to submit VERA/VSIP application (See #13)
March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day
April 1 -- 30 Autism Awareness Month
April 1 - 30 -- Child Abuse Prevention Month

11. Badge Holders -- While at the Area office recently I noticed that almost everyone had some type of badge (CAC Card Holder) on their person. Some had them clipped on, some hung around the neck, and others were attached with retractable devices. I asked Mr. Justin Landes, IT Division Chief for DoDDS-Europe,about these and where they could be purchased. I thought that I would share what he sent me. Like Justin I make no endorsement of any of these products, but those at the Area office seem to feel strongly that these devices help minimize the threat of lost, damaged, and forgotten CAC cards, something that has taken on a new meaning for us all. And I wish to thank Justin for sharing. From Justin : ‘As promised I have located a few web sites that have some possible badge holders for the teachers. I have not had personal experience with these sites so this is not an endorsement per se, but I wanted to select a variety of sites to show the many different designs of badge holders available.',1173.html

12. FEA Europe Elections -- Ballots for election of representatives to the NEA Representative Assembly should now be in the mail and headed to the UK to be counted. To assure that they all have the time to arrive the actual counting will not be done until next week. As soon as results are in we will post them. Thanks to all who participated either by running as a candidate or by casting a ballot.

13. VERA/VSIP Update - It has been decided in Washington to extend the deadline for filing for VERA/VSIP until COB March 11. The Attached again are the forms that you need to submit. They do not require a principal's signature. They can be submitted to this email.

Please note that the submission of these papers does NOT mean that you are obligated to take VERA/VSIP. However, with this extension, if you do not apply then you will NOT BE CONSIDERED even if you are subsequently excessed. The bottom line is that if you think that you are interested in VERA/VSIP but are not sure, do apply. And if you think that you might be excessed (however likely or unlikely that chance), do apply. We do not want to see anyone denied a VSIP because they missed this deadline. Remember again, applying does not oblige you to accept it. You can find more information along with the latest excessing guidelines on the front page of

14. Honors Musical Fest 2013 -- A reminder that the annual Honors Musical Festival will be held this year on April 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wiesbaden Kurhaus Concert Hall. DoDEA students from all over Europe will be performing. Tickets are free and may be claimed at the Kur Haus from 1800 the evening of the concert. It may be difficult for many of you to attend in person it can also be viewed at . I attended for the second time last year and it is an exceptional evening, highlighting all that is good about our students. Thanks to Lucky Moore for this information.

15. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information -- Attached is information from the IRS for all of us living outside of CONUS for filing our 2012 Income Tax. It includes deadlines, forms, addresses, and other useful information. No one likes to think about it but the filing deadline is now only three weeks away. Tax info.

16. Update - The next Update is scheduled to be Lisa's on March 13. I will be back on March 20. Please know that if there is any breaking news that we will get it out immediately. Also, remember to check for the latest.

17. Safety -- When I first got this I thought it might have been a joke. A 15 page document on this topic?! You decide.

18. Easter Markets in Germany -- Thanks to Tina Villella of Vilseck HS for sharing this listing of Easter Markets in Germany. Spring is nearly here!

19. Model U.S. Senate - MUSS is a unique simulation of the American congressional process in the United States Senate. High school students are assigned to play the roles of senators and other senior members of government. Model US Senate will be gaveled to order on March 19 in Raunheim, Germany and run until March 22. Over 90 DoDDS-E students will be taking on the roles of US Senators and most likely will pass more legislation than the real Congress! The URL for viewing the MUSS live stream is here. There is no password.


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051