September 8 2009 FEA Europe Update

1. Contacting YOU
2. SF-50's
3. FEA President Visits Europe
4. FRS Training Schedule
5. Update Schedule
6. NEA President to Visit Lakenheath EA
7. Association Day!
8. GradeSpeed Update
9. Workshop Opportunity
10. NEA Today
11. What's Wrong With This Picture?
12. "Teachers Are My Heroes"

1. Contacting YOU - Please make sure that we have the current FRS/FR's at your school on our mailing list so that our information can be shared quickly. FEA Europe makes every effort to get out accurate and important information as quickly as possible. John and I will alternate sending out updates, normally on Wednesday each week. We will continue to update our mailing lists as corrections come in. Send all corrections, additions, and new names to your area director as well as Linda Shahan on Outlook.

2. SF- 50's - At the beginning of the school year, you should be receiving a new SF-50, showing your return to duty status, etc. If you have not, check with your school secretary.

3. FEA President Visits Europe - FEA President Michael Priser has been visiting schools and locals across Europe. He has spoken to large crowds at each of his stops and been warmly received. This week, he will be visiting Menwith Hill E/S (Tuesday), the Alconbury complex (Wednesday) and the Lakenheath/Feltwell complex (Thursday). On Sept 15th, he will address the Kaiserslautern Education Association. Michael really makes an effort to get out to our schools to share news and hear the concerns of our members. Things are changing quickly in DoDEA and it is important to stay informed. Please, remember to visit for the latest news, and you can sign up to receive Michael's reports automatically.

4. FRS Training Schedule and Information - For your planning purposes, the FRS Training dates are as follows:

Isles (England schools) Friday, Sept 11; Bavaria, Monday, Sept 14; Kaiserslautern, Tuesday, Sept 15; Heidelberg and the Isles schools "on the continent" Wednesday, Sept 16 (Both the Heidelberg and Isles District Reps will be participating in this training.) Further information about times and locations will be sent out by the District Reps. I am attaching the contract language concerning leave for this training.

The European Area Council will meet Sept 17 and 18 in Heidelberg. During the weeks of training and the EAC meetings, your District Reps and Area Directors will be out of their offices a lot and so may be slower than usual to respond to your emails...please be patient with us!

FRS's: If you have not received your membership materials, please contact your District Rep. When processing members, please remember to ask for a non-DoDEA email address for your members.

5. Update Information and Schedule - Please let John and/or me know of items you feel should be included in our Updates. I would also like to continue highlighting "Best Practices" so if you have something great that a local association or school is doing, please let me know.

There will be no Updates next week since John and I will be involved in traveling and training. The next Update will be Sept 23rd.

6. NEA President to Visit Lakenheath EA -- Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, will be visiting the Lakenheath EA on September 17th. Dennis is a major part of the national dialogue on education, and meets frequently with the Secretary of Education. Dennis is also a great friend of the FEA… he keeps informed about our issues and is very aware of the current concerns of our Association. We hope that all members in the area will make an effort to hear Dennis' address.

7. Association Day! FEA Europe will be hosting an "Association Day" on Saturday, Sept 19th in Heidelberg. Our Executive Director/General Counsel, HT Nguyen, will be our featured speaker. Our other UniServs and European leaders will be available too. The meeting will be held at the Schützenhaus, Rudolf-Wild-Straße 109, 69214 Eppelheim, Germany‎ - 06221 752875‎. This is very close to Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg. Association Day will start at 9 a.m., with the Association providing breakfast and the session will end at approximately 12:30. Plan now to attend to hear the latest news from FEA.

8. GradeSpeed Update -- From Michael Priser's "President's Report": "In an attempt to circumvent the MOU that management signed with the Association, Dr. Shirley Miles issued late last night her new policy on the use of GradeSpeed. While acknowledging that there really is no problem, the policy imposes timelines on inputting grades, dictates the use for all teachers (Grades 4-12), and sets up a loophole for students who fail to blame the teacher. FEA was provided with this new policy late Tuesday afternoon and will take appropriate legal steps in this matter. While we disagree with the issuance of Dr. Miles' policy memorandum and consider it a violation of existing MOU's, this policy must be followed unless and until FEA can get it reversed through legal challenges."

9. Workshop Opportunity - The week-end of December 4th, KAEA, in collaboration with HCR Europe, will present a "Quality in Education" workshop with Tamara Hamilton, of the NEA. One graduate credit may be available. More details will follow. This workshop is open to all FEA members. For further information, please contact Terese Sarno.

10. NEA Today - The current issue of the NEA Today has lots of great information and resources. Take a few minutes to check it out!

11. What's Wrong With This Picture? Teachers arrived back at school this year to find their standards had changed, their curricula had changed and, in some cases, their textbooks had changed. Teachers had ordered supplies last year, based on the current standards at the time… some of them had even spent their own money to buy materials over the summer, only to come back and find those materials made useless by the change in standards. Why are these being dumped on teachers at the beginning of they year, with no notice, no time, and no training? Once again, this poor planning will result in more work for teachers.

12. "Teachers Are My Heroes" -- I am always impressed by the hard work of our teachers, but sometimes it really hits home. On Sunday afternoon, August 30th, I was in my office working and decided to walk through the three school buildings in the Hainerberg complex. During my walk through, I saw 31 teachers and 3 administrators working…Later I spoke with many others who worked on Saturday or at other times on Sunday, so that number is far from a complete tally. And I know that the same thing happened in schools across Europe. This is another clear indication of the dedication and professionalism of our teachers. They were all working to make sure rooms and materials were ready and that everything was perfect to welcome kids to their first day of school...and teachers continue to work like that throughout the year.

I have a button that I have begun wearing that says, "Teachers are my Heroes." I am going to be wearing that a lot this year.

Thanks for all you do,

Chuck McCarter
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel/Fax: 0611-44756234 or
0611-44756131 or DSN 337-6251