September 7 2011 FEA Europe Report

1. Schweinfurt/Bamberg
2. Teaching about September 11
3. Area Directors' Travels
4. Attention Veterans
5. FRS Training Dates
6. Credit Report
8. LES
9. DoDEA Acronyms
10. Hispanic Heritage Month
11. Mark Your Calendars
12. Update

1. Schweinfurt/Bamberg -- It is now official -- Schweinfurt HS is up and running with over 200 students. I again want to compliment all those who worked so tirelessly to make it happen. This past Thursday and Friday I visited both the Bamberg schools and the Schweinfurt schools. Marilee Fitzgerald, Acting Director of DoDEA also visited all the schools. On Thursday in Bamberg I sat in on several meetings that she had with students, parents, and teachers from the complex. The same happened on Friday in Schweinfurt. The meetings with teachers were open and frank and all questions were fielded. The general tone of all of the meetings was very positive and refreshing. Not every concern raised has been fixed yet, and some may never be, but no one was told to get off the bus either! Refreshing!

2. Teaching about September 11 -- Attached is a website leading to the Library of Congress, which has incorporated primary source material to use in teaching about September 11. It is very difficult to believe that 10 years have passed, but for those of us who were in Europe prior to that we can see the changes it brought about every day when we see the increased security on all of our installations. Pre-9/11, things were much looser. Thanks to FEA Board Member Brian Chance for this website. I have also included a slide show that I think brings home all the emotions of that day. It was created by a New Yorker just a few days after the event and you can sense the anger and sorrow in the few words that accompany it. If you are thinking about using this make sure to preview it and use it only with older children. I used it with high school seniors and there were tears.

3. Area Directors' Travels -- FRS trainings will begin this week with the Isles District being first, followed next week by Bavaria, Kaiserslautern, and Heidelberg. The European Area Council will meet from the 14th through the 16th. Both Lisa and I will be involved in traveling to these meetings.

4. Attention Veterans - The following message comes from Laura Miedema, the retirement specialist at the Area office. (Thanks Laura!) It is information aimed at military veterans now working for DoDEA but contemplating retirement. "If we can get the vets to think about buying back their military time BEFORE they're thinking about retirement, it is to their benefit. Monetarily the interest is less and health-wise the ulcer factor is most certainly cut down if the time is bought back early enough. That way when their retirement paperwork goes in for processing everything is in place. If they do NOT buy back their military time before their retirement date, the opportunity/time is lost.
It is a two-part process. First they must request a statement of their earnings from the military branch in which they served. Once they receive this, they then fill out the application for deposit service. This is NOT an overnight process and sometimes takes 6-8 months which is why, the closer to retirement they are, the more critical this becomes.
We (Area office) can provide them with the paperwork -- all they need to do is request it from us"
Since Laura mentions that the process can take 6-8 months I felt it important to get this information out now.

5. FRS Training Dates - For your planning purposes, the FRS Contract Training Dates are as follows:
  • Friday Sept 9 - Isles (England Schools) (Training location TBA in the Lakenheath Complex)

  • Monday Sept 12 - Bavaria (Training in Nuremberg)

  • Wednesday Sept 14 - Heidelberg (including Isles Schools on the continent) (Training in Wiesbaden)

  • Wednesday Sept 14 -- Kaiserslautern (Training in Kaiserslautern)

  • Thursday/Friday Sept 15/16 - The European Area Council will meet in Kaiserslautern

6. Credit Report -- In this time of identity theft and indebtedness letters it is not a bad idea to check on your credit rating at least once a year. However, there are many fraudulent companies out there who charge for what should be a free service. The Federal Trade Commission has information on how to get your credit report for free and safely. You can find the information here:

7. AFSPA -- The American Foreign Service Protection Association will be traveling through Europe in October and early November. Attached is a tentative schedule of their briefings as well as a flyer with more information. AFSPA is one of a number of insurance companies that will travel through Europe this year.

8. LES -- With the first full paycheck of the school year coming up on September 16 (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. If they are not taking out the payments you can use form TSP-41 to get them restarted.

9. DoDEA Acronyms -- I realize that this Update is already filled with acronyms, many of which are not familiar to everyone and especially not to our new members. Attached is a document that explains many of the acronyms used by DoDEA. It is by no means a complete listing but hopefully it will prove useful.

10. 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 Hispanic Education Resources, Issues, & Scholarships.

11. Mark Your Calendars --
September 9 -- FRS Training, Isles
September 12 -- FRS Training, Bavaria
September 14 -- FRS Training, Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern
September 15/16 -- EAC, Kaiserslautern
October 10 - Columbus Day

12. Update - Lisa and I will both be busy with FRS training and the EAC next week so the next Update will be on September 21.

NOTE: Please check for breaking news. I received word this morning that there would be information posted later today in regards to the new DoDEA Attendance Policy.


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051