August 22 2013 FEA Europe Update1. Welcome Back!
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Administrator Placements
4. Beginning of Year Tips
5. Pay Organizer
6. Membership Information
7. FRS Training Dates
8. Furlough Fatigue (Part II)
10. Mark Your Calendars
11. Labor Day
12. Pay Problem Package
14. With Gratitude
1. Welcome Back! -- What happened?! Each summer seems to go by more quickly than the previous one. In any event, let me extend a warm welcome to all new and returning teachers. Many things have changed just since June; administrators have changed (see #3 below), many of our colleagues have moved on for a variety of reasons, new faces populate our opening of the year meetings, and ,like last year when it was Mannheim, for the first time we have a DoDDS-E with no Heidelberg schools. When I first joined DoDDS in 1986 that seemed an impossibility! Nevertheless, we move forward in to what I am sure will be a productive year filled with rewards. For one thing, it is nice to know that the shadow of furlough has been lifted, even though I know there were a few people looking forward to the 3 day weekends that would have started our year. ☺ Please know that all of your FEA representatives will do our very best to keep everyone informed throughout the year. These Updates will come out once a week unless something gets in the way of me or Lisa Ali, my counterpart. So, again, welcome back !!
2. Area Directors' Travels -- The month of September will be mostly devoted to the trainings as noted below. If there are any additional travels in that time frame we will let you know.
3. Administrator Placements - Attached is the most current listing of placements available for 2013/2014. I will keep this updated as any new placements are officially announced.
4. Beginning of Year Tips -- With school about to begin this might be a good time to take a glance at NEA's Back to School Guide. It has great tips for getting the year off to a productive start, with articles on everything from opening day activities to shortcuts for remembering the names of all the new students. You can access it here.
5. Pay Organizer -- Attached you will find an electronic version of the Pay Organizer for SY 2013/14. It is a valuable tool and has helped with the resolution of some pay problems. I want to thank (again!) Larry Tjeltveit of SHAPE ES for his work on this and for sharing!
6. Membership Information -- Membership information has been sent from FEA-Washington during the summer to either the FRS or Membership Chairperson at each school. If your school has not received this information please contact your respective District Representative and/or Area Director.
7. FRS Training Dates - Following are the dates for FRS training next month. District Representatives are in the process now of sending out additional information.
Friday, September 13 -- Bavaria
Monday, September 16 -- Kaiserslautern
Tuesday, September 17 -- Wiesbaden/Stuttgart/Isles Continent Schools
Monday, September 23 -- Isles UK
8. Furlough Fatigue (Part II) -- What follows in quotes is an excerpt from my Update from April 2, 2013. It was the last Update I completed before my hospitalization. When I read it now I realize how true it was. We were all forced to endure great amounts of stress waiting to see what happened and read through volumes of ‘what ifs'. Thankfully, through the efforts of the entire FEA team as well as the tremendous help and support we received from NEA, those in charge came to their senses!
"There is nothing new to report on furloughs that have not already been posted ad nauseam. I have always contended that in the end the furlough would have a negligible impact on school level employees, meaning teachers. So far I have been right but will be willing to say I was wrong if something changes. There are enough crepe hangers out there that someone has to try to keep things in perspective. I was thinking mainly about financial and educational impact. The real negative of all this is the impact that it has had on teacher morale. Every school that I visit, every faculty lounge that I walk in to, the topic seems always to be furloughs. This is not healthy, especially because at this point nothing has happened. If only we could add together all of the time and energy that has been expended on this topic, one can only imagine what we could have accomplished. It is a serious topic -- I know. It will affect me as well. However, I am going to honor my own moratorium. If any news come out that is different than what we have already been told I promise to do my part in getting it out. What I will not do is recycle and regurgitate old stories on this topic, especially in some cases stories that have nothing to do with teachers. It is becoming overkill. My wish for all of you is that during the coming much needed break that the word ‘furlough' never passes your lips, or your ears. We are all suffering ‘furlough fatigue'!"
9. LES -- Also attached is an electronic version of the LES. This might be especially helpful to those new to DoDEA.
10. Mark Your Calendars --
August 26 -- First Day of School (for most DoDDS-E schools)
September 2 -- Labor Day
September 11 -- Anniversary of 9/11
September 18-20 -- EAC (Wiesbaden)
11. Labor Day September 2 - Labor Day honors the American worker and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life. Labor Day was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York, and continued to be celebrated until June 28, 1894, when Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Learn more at the Department of Labor website (And Labor Day is a DoDDS teachers' best friend !)
12. Pay Problem Package -- We are constantly being reminded that debt letters are still being issued almost daily. If you should be so unfortunate as to receive one then FEA asks that you follow the instructions and use the forms which are in the attachment above.
13. Update - The next Update is scheduled to be Lisa's on August 28. Our every week schedule may be disrupted by the FRS trainings. Please know that if there is any breaking news that we will get it out immediately. Also, remember to check www.feaonline.org for the latest.
14. With Gratitude -- Last Spring I became very ill, was hospitalized and spent 62 days in a German Klinikum. I want to thank all those who during that time sent thoughts, best wishes, and prayers my way and to my wife Priscilla as well. I needed them all! In addition, my FEA team mates were remarkable. I specifically want to thank the District Representatives that I work with, Terese Sarno and Terry McClain for all their hard work and support, and especially my partner as Area Director, Lisa Ali, for picking up so much of my slack. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all!
P.S. I am back to 100%, had a peaceful and relaxing summer, and am ready to get back to serving all of you.
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051