September 5 2012 FEA Europe Update

1. Week 2
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. American Foreign Services
4. HCR Building Contacts
5. Acronym Finder
6. FRS Training Dates
7. Open Season
8. Mark Your Calendars
9. LES
10. Update
11. Hispanic Heritage Month
12. Homecoming
13. HCR District and Area Contacts
14. Association Day
15. Membership Information

1. Week 2 -- It is now part way through the second full instructional week of the school year. Early reports seem to indicate that in general it has been a fairly smooth opening to the year with some enrollment problems here and there. We will continue to work on those issues. ASPEN continues to be a real problem in some schools but DoDDS-E is working to fix it. Even though it was a downsized transfer program last year there still seem to be lots of new faces in the schools, including administrators. There are many reasons to be optimistic over this coming year and that optimism starts with my belief that we have the best teachers of any system in the world.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- September will be a very busy month for the both Lisa and me. This year our FRS training has expanded to two days in each district as you can see on the chart below. There is a also the EAC in England. That said, we will both be scheduling school visits very soon, and as for me especially to those places I was unable to visit last year.

3. American Foreign Services -- The American Foreign Services Protective Association will be traveling through Europe in the coming months to give presentations on the various insurance packages that they offer. While this is a very good company please be aware that there are other quality insurers that also will be visiting during the year. FEA will alert you when we get their plans. Attached is the schedule of visits for the AFSPA. This is one of several items that were in my first Update that I am going to repeat because the information is important and may have been missed in the hubbub of the first few days.

4. HCR Building Contacts - One FEA Building HCR contact for each school needs to be identified by October 1st. The following is excerpted from the 2012 FEA Ethnic-Minority Compliance Plan and explain the duties of the Building HCR contact:
  • Assist efforts of the area and district to identify ethnic minority members.

  • Encourage ethnic minority members to become actively involved in local Association activities, such as JCC committees and to run for office.

  • Make special efforts to inform ethnic minority members in the local of the NEA RA delegate election process and encourage them to run for such positions.

  • Recommend the purchase of multi-cultural materials through the annual school budget process.

  • Encourage the allocation of funds towards increasing ethnic minority involvement in Association activities.

  • Perform other activities deemed necessary to advance the cause of ethnic minority involvement and interests.

  • Disseminate correspondence from the minority training program.

While the above is specifically addressing work with ethnic minorities, a building HCR contact may also choose to do the same for other protected classes under federal statute. For example, encouraging religious minorities, racial minorities, and women to become more actively involved as well. If you are interested in serving as the HCR contact for your school, please contact your FRS and/or your District HCR Coordinator. Please ask if you have any questions about how to put this into action at your school! (Thanks to Linda Ware-Brown, FEA European HCR Coordinator, for this information.)

5. Acronym Finder -- As I read and write these Updates and other things I realize that they are always full of acronyms that are completely foreign to newer teachers and often even to those who are veterans. There is a site that can help with this even though it is not dedicated to DoDEA/DoDDS.

6. FRS Training Dates -- The following are the dates of FRS training this month. Please note that there will be two days, one being a joint training with Administration. District Representatives are in the process now of sending out additional information. This is a correction of my first Update.

FRS Training Joint Training
Bavaria 13-Sep 14-Sep
Heidelberg 11-Sep 10-Sep
Isles 18-Sep 17-Sep
Kaiserslautern 10-Sep 11-Sep

7. Office of Personnel Management Open Season - Each year, Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year, Open Season runs from November 12, 2012 through December 10, 2012.This is an opportunity to change insurance plans and to elect other Federal benefits, such as the flexible savings accounts. While it is still a while away it doesn't hurt to start thinking about this now since the Open Season coincides with one of the busiest times of the year. More information can be found in the attachment.

8. Mark Your Calendars --
September 11 -- Anniversary of 9/11
September 15 -- October 15 -- Hispanic Heritage Month
September 19-21 -- EAC (England)
September 22 -- Association Day (see attached)

9. LES -- With the first full paycheck of the school year coming up on September 14 (for those on the 21 pay plan) as well as those on the 26 pay plan, please again check your Leave and Earnings statement carefully. Some things to watch for: that you are being paid on the right step; that your SCD is correct; that you have the correct number of leave days to include the 10 credited this year, and that any allotments you have are still correct. Also, for those who have a TSP loan and who stopped their payments over the summer, be sure that the Agency has restarted the payments. Failure to do so can cause problems with TSP at tax time.

10. Update -- There will be no Update next week (September 12) due to all the travels and training. Lisa will be back with her next Update on
September 19. Please know that if there is any breaking news that we will get it out immediately and also to check in regularly to

11. Hispanic Heritage Month - September 15-October 15 - National Hispanic Heritage Month is a national observance authorized by Public Law 100-402. The observation was initiated in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week but was expanded in 1988 to include the entire 31-day period. See NEA's National Hispanic Heritage Month resources. This site contains lesson plans and many activities to be used in the classroom.

12. Homecoming -- Many of us would like to be able to attend the annual Homecoming events held at high schools from which we graduated but, of course, that is virtually impossible. However, there is a great alternative. All of the high schools here in Europe have Homecoming events scheduled in which you can take part. There is of course the football game but generally all sports teams are scheduled to be at home during this weekend and they would all love your support. In addition, there are pep rallies, bon fires, fests, etc. as well as the sporting events. Contact your local HS for more information so that you can enjoy a very American tradition. Following is a list of upcoming Homecoming dates:

September 21 - Baumholder
September 22 -- Kaiserslautern, Vilseck
September 28 - Rota
September 29 -- Lakenheath, Bitburg, Menwith Hill
October 5 - Wiesbaden
October 6 -- Heidelberg, ISB, Ansbach, Naples, Alconbury , Sigonella
October 12 -- Brussels
October 13 -- Bamberg, AFNORTH, Hohenfels, Vicenza, Aviano
October 20 -- SHAPE, Schweinfurt, Ramstein, Patch

13. HCR District and Area Contacts -- Following are the Human and Civil Rights Coordinators for SY 2012/13. Contact information can be found in the FEA calendar and all are listed on Outlook.
FEA HCR Coordinator - Mimi Cuadrado
European Area HCR Coordinator - Linda Ware-Brown
Bavaria District HCR Coordinator - Tamica Smithson
Isles District HCR Coordinator - Estelle Brown
Heidelberg District HCR Coordinator -- Amy Rush
Kaiserslautern District HCR Coordinator -- Reyhan Dickinson

14. Association Day - Association day will be held this year near Lakenheath, England, on Saturday September 22. There will be many guest speakers and breakfast will be served. The POC for this event is Anita Lang . See the attached flyer for further details on this worthwhile event. Late breaking news is that Princess Moss, of the NEA Executive Board, will be joining us from the States, as well as Mary Kusler, Director of Government Relations for the NEA. You really don't want to miss these two speakers.

15. Membership Information -- Membership information has been sent from FEA Washington during the summer to either the FRS or the Membership Chairperson at each school. If your school has not received this information please contact your respective District Rep and/or Area Director.

16. HR Contact Information -- Attached find the latest Human Resources contact information from DoDDS-E. This just arrived today so it is up to date as of 9/5/12.

17. Article 5, Section 5 -- For all FRS's and FR's planning on attending contract training in any of the districts in Europe next week, here is pertinent information on who can attend and a form to request official time. (See attachment)


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051