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May 19 2016 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update

5/19/2016

1. Retroactive Pay
2. Area Directors Travels
3. Professional Development
4. Retiring Members
5. Update
6. Better Hearing and Speech Month
7. TSP Loans
8. Weingarten Rights
9. Summer Reminders
10. Mark Your Calendar
11. Injury on the Job
12. Member Benefits
13. FRS Elections
14. National Caribbean-American Month
15. Goodbye Grievance
16. Speaking of the Summer

1. Retroactive Pay -- Please keep an eye on your LES as the retroactive payment for our normal increase for SY 15/16 should be reflected. To check the actual salary schedules, please go to www.feaonline.org where they are posted. You will need your FEA ID number to log in.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- On May 24 I will be in Ramstein for the Kaiserslautern American Education Association general membership meeting and dinner. On the next day I will be in Sembach for the final Area JCC of SY 2015/16. Minutes will be published ASAP. Additional school visits are in the works.

3. Professional Development -- I know that the following announcement has already come out from several sources, but I think that it is exciting and important enough to be mentioned again. Thanks to Alina Rozanski, our FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator Elect, for all of her work on this.

Great news, Music Educators! Tired of waiting for management to fund professional development that was both teacher driven and subject specific, an FEA member applied for and was awarded a six-figure grant from the National Education Association (NEA) Center for Great Public Schools to do just that!

FEA will be partnering with the European Music Educators Association (EMEA) and music educators DoDEA wide to develop a viable and sustainable professional development plan for the implementation of the new National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) being adopted by DoDEA, working closely with an international consultant who will provide a combination of in-person and online instruction and guidance. Cohort members will be funded to attend conferences during SY 2016/2017 in exchange for completing collaborative cohort work by deadlines stated and continuing in teacher leadership roles in SY 2017/18.

Are you interested in becoming a cohort member? Please read additional information and fill out the form at https://goo.gl/x0rk86 by JUNE 1st, 2016 so we can communicate with you about next steps. Questions? Please contact Alina Rozanski at alina.rozanski@eu.dodea.edu or alina.rozanski@yahoo.com

4. Retiring Members - Attention FRS's ! This announcement came out in my previous Update. Many names were sent to me and I have completed the certificates and mailed them out, If you have a retiring member whose name you have not yet sent me, please do so. At this time I would not be sure about sending them to you by mail but I could send them electronically and you could print them. Please remember, if you have FEA members at your school who are retiring, to send the names of those members to me at aveto@live.com by June 1, so that I can prepare certificates for them.

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. The next Update will be the President's Report on or about May 30 or sooner. 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. Better Hearing and Speech Month - May is a busy month on the calendar and I missed this in my last Update. May is also Better Hearing and Speech Month, a month designed to raise awareness about communication disorders. We have many professionals working in our schools who reminded me of this and its importance. For more information look here.

7. TSP Loans - Many of us have had or have TSP Loans. One critical thing you must do at this time is to file the Notification to TSP of Non Pay Status, TSP Form 41. This is filed through your local payroll person. If this is not filed, then for those on the 21 pay plan the agency will be trying to take payment when there is no pay. This can cause a number of problems. When you return to pay status make sure also that you restart your payments. You can find the form here

8. Weingarten Rights -- This, unfortunately, is the time of the year when child abuse allegations reach a peak. These can be leveled at any one, not just teachers, who are in contact with children. Should you be accused it is imperative that you invoke your Weingarten Rights. Weingarten Rights guarantee an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview by an employer. If the interview could in any way lead to the employee being disciplined or terminated or affect his or her personal or working conditions, he or she should respectfully request that a union representative or officer be present at the meeting. Without representation, the employee may choose not to answer any questions. On the inside cover of the FEA calendar there is a card detailing what you must do. I hope none of us ever need it.

9.Summer Reminders -- I was checking through my wallet the other day and noticed that my New Jersey driver's license was expiring on June 30. I took steps to take care of that, but as a result I started checking expiration dates on everything: driver's license (both here and the States), fuel card, passport, etc. I have a few other things that I also better take care of soon. Before you leave here for the summer (and even if you are staying here) please take a moment and check your expiration dates. I would hate to see you inconvenienced on your return. Time flies by on these things!

10. Mark Your Calendar-
May 30 - Memorial Day
June 1-30 - National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
June 17 - Last Duty Day
June 17 - My Birthday (See directly above -- what a nice present!)

11. Injury on the Job: Should you be injured while on the job or school property (parking lot, sidewalks, steps) please make sure your supervisor is notified, the proper forms are filled out and the Nurse has it in their log. With some of the interesting weather that we experience all year here, it is especially good advice.

12. Member Benefits -- Members often forget the multitude of benefits that are at their disposal. Everything from credit cards, saving plans, online courses, various insurances, etc. Check out the full range of these benefits at www.neamb.com

13. FRS Elections -- By now most schools either have completed their FRS elections for next year or are currently in the midst of the process. Please remember to report these results to your respective Area Director so that we can have an updated mailing list ready for next school year.

14. National Caribbean-American Heritage Month -- June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month. During this month we celebrate the ways that Caribbean-Americans have enriched our society and added to the strength of America. For more information visit the Caribbean American Heritage Month website. here

15. "Goodbye" Grievance -- If you are planning on retiring or resigning this year, make sure you FILE and ELEVATE a goodbye grievance before your last duty day. It has also been recommended even if you are just switching to another Area. If your FRS does not have a copy of it, please contact your District Rep or Area Director. Also, keep it in a safe place and keep it forever. I could relay horror stories from those who did not.

16. Speaking of the Summer -- Please keep this information in mind. Your FEA leaders and UniServs will also be on leave as well this summer. Lisa and I will check our email account periodically as we travel but there may be some delays in response. I will also send out to FRS's a phone number where I can be reached while in the States. The FEA office in Washington, D.C. will be open on a summer schedule: 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. More information for the FEA Washington Office is in your calendar. The NEA office building is closed on Friday's during the summer starting Friday July 1 through Labor Day. Since our offices are in the NEA building the FEA office will be closed then too.

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
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