April 11, 2018, FEA Europe Newsletter

Terry's Update

April 11, 2018

1. RAT Travel DTS
2. PARCC Security Paper
3. DLA Site/Retirement Info
4. Retro Pay
5. FRS Elections
6. HCR Newsletter
7. Mark Your Calendar
8. Poem in Your Pocket
9. Autism Awareness Month
10. Area Director's Travel

1. RAT Travel and DTS -- A new layer in order to get orders. There are essentially three steps to getting RAT/ED Travel orders now. 1. Apply in TOPS for orders, 2. Fill out the DTS Profile with SS, 3. Either purchase your own ticket, (beware of city pairs prices) or fill out the DTS reservation request form for DTS to purchase your tickets as many SATO offices will no longer make the reservations for teachers. We are still gathering more info and as we get it will forward it. The timing of beginning the new layer is about as bad as it could have been. Below is what has come from FEA HQ about the issue.

"Other than requiring employees to use the Defense Travel System (DTS) instead of DoDEA's Travel Order Processing System (TOPS), we have found no other significant changes. We noted that DoDEA made this change as a cost-saving measure and due to the fact that it was mandated by DoD. BTW, we did not receive prior notice of this change."

2. PARCC Security Paper -- There has been concern about the security paper from PARCC testing that many have been asked to sign in order to administer the PARCC test. Below is what FEA HQ has gotten from DoDEA as well as what they are doing to ensure protection for any teachers that may have already signed the paper.

"We have confirmation from DoDEA that there will be NO repercussions for not signing the PARCC forms. We will be putting out more information this week about it and will be filing a grievance on behalf of those who DID already sign this form."

3. DLA Site/Retirement info -- This site will give you a close estimate to ‘certify your time in service'. It also should be noted you will need this before getting your paperwork in order for retirement.

4. Retro Pay -- In response to many questions about retro pay, it is anticipated that FEA and DoDEA will meet soon with the Wage Setting Authority to review and finalize the SY 17-18 salary figures. We will keep you informed and let you know when you can expect to see your retroactive pay adjustment for this spring, which will reflect your true pay for the current school year.

5. 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 18/19. 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.

6. HCR -- The March/April FEA HCR newsletter is available here. In this issue: HCR Spotlight on Ryuku Middle School, Okinawa, resources for both National Deaf History Month and Asian American Pacific Islander History Month, a link to previous newsletters, and your FEA HCR Contacts.

7. Mark Your Calendar
April 1-30 -- Autism Awareness Month
April 12-15 -- DoDEA Europe Drama Festival
April 26 -- Poem in your Pocket Day 2018

8. Poem in your Pocket Day -- April 26, 2018 Poem in Your Pocket Day 2018 is on April 26 and is part of National Poetry Month. On this day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city's Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. Find more info here.

9. 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.

10. Area Director's Travel -- I will be in Parsberg for the Memory Walk of Regensburg. On 26 April I will be with members in Baumholder and from 30 April to 3 May I will be at the great Stuttgart schools. If there is any ‘Breaking News' I will distribute it as quickly as possible. Visiting the FEA website at will also give you up to the minute information.

Terry McClain
FEA Europe
Area Director