April 24, 2014 FEA Europe Update

Lisa's FEA Europe Update

24 April 2014

1. Excess Teacher Placement
2. Focus on the Contract
3. Chuck McCarter Visit
4. From Our Members
5. Area JCC Minutes
6. An Educational Alliance
7. Honors Music Festival
8. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month---May 2014
9. TSP Returns Updated April 4, 2014
10. Understanding Survivors Benefits for Federal Employees (CSRS)
11. Potential Costs of a TSP Loan
12. New Rules on IRA Rollovers
13. DoDDS Students with a Flair for Art Showcase their Work

1. Excess Teacher Placement: It appears as though excess teacher placements have been coming in fast and furiously. District placements were completed during spring break, with European placements currently ongoing.

2. Focus on the Contract: This week's focus on the contract addresses the issue of Extra-Curricular Activities: Article 27, Section 1 of the Negotiated Agreement states the following: Members of the bargaining unit are encouraged to notify the Employer at the school of any interest they might have with regard to filling extra-curricular positions which might become available. The Employer will make every effort to fill extracurricular positions in accordance with the expressed preferences of the qualified employees in the bargaining unit in the school. In the event the Employer does not fill all available position in accordance with the preferences of the employees, then the Employer agrees to actively seek qualified volunteers from the bargaining unit at the school. Further, the Employer agrees that the filling of extra-curricular positions shall be done in a fair and equitable manner and shall not be arbitrary and capricious. No employee in the bargaining unit shall be required to accept an extra-curricular activity, except where the vacancy cannot be filled with a qualified volunteer.

3.Chuck McCarter, FEA President: As many of you know, for the past 10 days or so, Chuck McCarter, FEA President, has been visiting schools in Europe as well as attending the spring EAC meeting. Below is information that he shared during his visit.

Information from Chuck McCarter, FEA President

Mr. McCarter provided updates on a number of issues during our dinner on Tuesday, April 15, 2014:

  • Mr. Tom Brady is the new DoDEA Director. This was announced to the heads of all teacher unions in our system just prior to the published announcement. Mr. Brady requested a meeting with the union leaders shortly after beginning in his position, and has been in communication with the FEA on a number of occasions already. DoDEA has since asked for FEA input on BAS testing, the FLES program and the placement of excess teachers. Mr. Brady has stated that working on a small number of initiatives and assessing their progress and worth is his focus rather than implementing many different initiatives.
  • Pay Raises -- FEA will be sending out a communication regarding this in the near future. (You should have received a Presidential Update on this by now.) Placement of Excess Teachers -- This process is running much better this school year, and is happening earlier in the year than last year. Bargaining Contract -- Management and FEA are still in the preliminary stages (setting the ground rules) for opening the contract for renegotiation. Management has stated that the union can have numerous members at the table; however, that FEA would bear the costs for those members to attend. This is a cost that FEA is unwilling/unable to foot. Common Core --Management has already decided that this will be implemented in DoDEA. It will be addressed as Career and College Readiness. Mr. McCarter has met with the DoDEA Common Core Coordinator. His emphasis is on Management providing communication and training about Common Core. Management is revisiting the Community Strategic Plan developed by Ms. Fitzgerald prior to her retirement.

Thank you to Ms. Sandi Weber, FRS Hainerberg, Elementary School, for sharing these notes.

4. From Our Members: As always, if you have any news to share with our membership, please let me know, and if possible, I will include it in my updates.

5. Area JCC Minutes: The Area JCC Minutes for April 2014 are attached. There is updated information regarding construction projects, as well as VERA/VSIP/Excess Teacher Placement.

6. An Educational Alliance: An exciting alliance between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). UMUC will offer a 25 percent discount on out-of-state tuition rates on courses, certificates, and degree programs to all current Federal employees, spouses, and their legal dependents.

This alliance will increase all Federal employees' access to high quality and affordable educational resources. One of my top priorities at OPM is to provide our Federal workforce -- from resume to retirement -- with the training and tools they need to provide excellent service to the American people and to progress and develop in their careers. The 25 percent discount will apply to all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs.

Anyone interested can begin to take advantage of this discounted tuition as early as the summer semester at UMUC. Registration for the first online summer session ends on May 14, 2014. UMUC offers two additional online summer sessions in June and July. So, make sure you visit UMUC for more information as well as the application and enrollment instructions.

Frequently asked questions about this new opportunity are available through the CHCO memo announcement.

Thank you to Mrs. Sherri Eddowes-Plummer for providing this information.

7. Honors Music Festival: FEA congratulates all students and teachers selected to participate in the annual DoDDS-Europe Music Festival. This activity culminated with a final concert held last Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The concert was one of the best ever according to comments I have received from many of our teachers who attended. FEA thanks all teachers who worked so hard to make this activity a success for our students.

8. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month--May 2014: Listed below are resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Presidential Proclamation -- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2014: Not yet on the website -- normally this is published on April 30 each year

Asia for Educators: An initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University -- for students and educators at all levels.

The Art of Asia: A resource for museum visitors, teachers, students, and everyone interested in Asian art, culture, and history. The Art of Asia features objects from The Minneapolis Institute of Arts' permanent collection, and explores several cross-cultural Asian themes.

Library of Congress Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month:
For teachers page: The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success.

NEA -- Tools/Lessons for Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Lesson plans, activities, etc. for Grades 6-8: History of API Heritage Month API Heritage Month originated in June 1977 when Representatives Frank Horton (New York) and Norman Y. Mineta (California) called for the establishment of Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. Hawaii senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both bills passed, and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed the resolution. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded the celebration from a week to a month. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated to commemorate the arrival in May 1843 of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States.

Notable Asian Pacific Americans:

Smithsonian Institution: I Want the Wide American Earth -- An Asian Pacific American Story
Smithsonian Institute: Link for poster for posters for download:
Posters Handbook and User Guide:

Asian Pacific Americans by the Numbers:

Library of Congress: Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar:

Thank you to Mr. Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA for providing this information.

9. TSP Returns Updated April 4, 2014:

10. Understanding Survivors Benefits for Federal Employees (CSRS):

11. Potential Costs of a TSP Loan:

12. New Rules on IRA Rollovers:

13. DoDDS Students with a Flair for Art Showcase their Work: Below is a link to a Stars and Stripes article highlighting an exhibit of artwork from many schools in the Kaiserslautern District. The Overseas Art Education Association, an overseas branch of the National Art Education Association that represents Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe and the Pacific, has been organizing the annual exhibit for the past 25 years. Well done to the many students participating and thank you to their teachers for helping to organize this outstanding event.

Thank you to Terese Sarno, President of the Overseas Art Education Association for providing this information.

"I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but fortunately, I am not alone." ---Eugene V. Debs, American Union Leader

Have a great weekend!