March 6 2015 FEA Europe Update

Lisa's FEA Europe Update
06 March 2015

1. Transfer Program Update
2. March is Youth Art Month
3. 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo
4. Retirement Articles
5. TSP Returns March 3, 2015
6. Leave/Retirement Calculations
7. Art of the Brick
8. A Little Humor

Various delays have forced some changes in the timeline for this spring's DODDS transfer program. The vacancy list, which was to be posted on the DoDEA Web site on March 5, will now be posted on March 17.The deadline for educators to amend their transfer applications has been moved to 5:00 pm EST, on March 20. The transfer round is now scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23.

Because of these changes, FEA members now have until 5 pm on Friday, March 20, to send Connie Shanaghan the FINAL version of their transfer application if they wish to utilize our transfer verification service (to verify that your application is included in the transfer round). To do so, email the final version of your transfer application to Connie at or fax it to her at 202-822-7867. Please note: FEA does not need your social security number so you can remove it from the copy you send to Connie. Please send only the absolute, FINAL version of your application, in order to avoid confusion. Also, if you withdraw your application from the program, please let Connie know.

Visit for Connie's Tips for Transfers and other useful transfer information.

2. Youth Art Month: What is Youth Art Month? The Council for Art Education (CFAE) administers Youth Art Month at the national level. Festivities take place annually, traditionally each March, to celebrate visual arts for grades K -- 12. The Youth Art Month Program emphasizes the value of art education for all children, encourages support for quality school art programs, and promotes art material safety. Youth Art Month also provides a forum for recognizing skills developed through visual arts experiences that are not possible in other curriculum subjects. Started in 1961 through the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) and in cooperation with the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Youth Art Month exists to 1. Recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curricula that develops citizens of a global society. 2. Recognize art is a necessity for the full development of better quality of life for all. 3. Direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking. 4. Expand art programs in schools and stimulate new art programs. 5. Encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere. 6. Provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning. 7. Increase community, business and governmental support for art education. 8. Increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures. 9. Reflect and demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education at all levels. - See more at:
(Thank you to Terese Sarno for sharing.)

3. 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo: Be part of history and celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (Belgium), on June 19 and 20 when more than one million people are expected to descend upon one of the world's most famous battlefields to commemorate this battle!
(Thank you to Terese Sarno for sharing.)

4. Retirement Articles: Links for retirement and other information are below:

Social Security Benefits and Your Taxes

Adjusting TSP Contributions Due to Extra Pay Date in 2015

Social Security Announces New Online Service for Replacement SSA-1099s

Ten Tax Facts Your Should Know About Capital Gains and Losses

5. TSP Returns 03 March 2015: Below is a link to the most recent TSP returns.

6. Leave/Retirement Calculator: Back in November, I mentioned something about my difficulty in getting answers from HR regarding how our leave days were converted to leave hours for calculation toward our creditable service. I decided to investigate on my own, and this is what I have found:

In the EBIS retirement calculator, it asks for hours, not days. You can only use your remaining sick leave in 30-day increments. The conversions are:

0-29 days = 0 hours
30-59 days = 174 hours
60-89 days = 348 hours
90-119 days = 522 hours
120-149 days = 696 hours
150-179 days = 870 hours
180-209 days = 1044 hours
210-239 days = 1217 hours
240-269 days = 1391 hours
270-299 days = 1565 hours
300- 329 days = 1739 hours
330-359 days - 1913 hours

I tried it and it worked.

Here is the link to the entire document (all 173 pages of it!) that covers how the annuity is calculated.
(Thank you to David Brown, IS, Wiesbaden HS, for sharing.)

7. Art of the Brick: I am sharing information about an exhibit that I viewed with my family last month. It is OUTSTANDING and if you get the chance to see his artist's work, I highly recommend that you do so. Below are more information and a link to the website.

Nathan Sawaya's ART OF THE BRICK exhibition is created with millions of LEGO building blocks and is unique in its scope which ranges from new conceptual pieces to replicas of iconic classical artwork. This travelling exhibition is one of the most extraordinary and innovative exhibitions in recent memory and it speaks to all ages.

Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring works of art out of some of the most unlikely things. His recent global touring exhibitions feature large-scale sculptures using only toy building blocks: LEGO bricks to be exact. His work is obsessively and painstakingly crafted and is both beautiful and playful.
Sawaya was the first artist to ever take LEGO into the art world, and is the author of two best-selling books. His unique sculptures and touring exhibition, THE ART OF THE BRICK, is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on LEGO® as an art medium and has broken attendance records around the globe. The creations, constructed from countless individual LEGO® pieces, were built from standard bricks beginning as early as 2002.
Nathan Sawaya has earned a top position in the world of contemporary art and has created a new dimension by merging Pop Art and Surrealism in awe inspiring and ground breaking ways. His art consists of playing with the material, colour, movement, light and perspective.

8. A Little Humor: A man buys a parakeet, but is disappointed when it doesn't speak. He goes back to the pet shop, where the owner suggests getting the parakeet a mirror to play with. This doesn't make the parakeet any more talkative so the owner next suggests buying it a cuttlefish bone. The bone has no effect either, so the owner suggests the man buy the parakeet a bell and ladder.
Finally, the man returns to the pet shop and announces he's had success. "The parakeet looked in the mirror," said the man. "It pecked at the cuttlefish, climbed the ladder, rang the bell, then said a few words, and fell dead off its perch."
"Oh dear," said the pet shop owner, "what did it say?"
The man replies, "It said, ‘Hasn't that shop got any bird seed?'"
(From Man Walks Into a Bar)

Have a great weekend! And remember….there's safety in numbers…especially when they're men. ---Nancy Drew, The Haunted Showboat

Lisa Ali
FEA Area Director