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January 19 2010 FEA Pacific Report


January 19, 2010
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
Upcoming AD Activities
Transfer Program
Staffing Document
Snow and Bad Weather
FEA Journal
DFAS Password Change
NEA Link for Haiti Assistance
DoDDS Annual Reunion
myPal DFAS Login Change
W2 Forms Quick Access
NEA Mustering Aid for Haiti
Mark Your Calendars
Legal Eagle Corner -- Pacific Win
Other Tidbits


Area Director Update- Since we are only midway in January and this is my first Update of 2010, I want to wish you a Happy New Year. Personally I try to refrain from making New Year Resolutions, but I did make one for this year. I will not let my Outlook Account backlog with hundreds of unopened emails this year even during Transfer Program Round Week. Happily I can report that I am doing well with my resolution so far. Before January 1, 2010 ended I had opened and read the 600 emails in my Outlook account, and I am keeping them under 10 so far. On the other hand, it was difficult to be sure that I responded or was able to act on the emails; thus, if you made a request for assistance or some information and have not heard from be by now, please resend your request or check with me. I do appreciate reminders as it is easy for emails to get lost in the current urgent situation(s).

If you recall before our winter break, the 8 or so Task Force Groups met in Southbridge, Massachusetts, 7-11 December. I attended as the FEA Representative on the 21st Century Skills Task Group. It is always a great experience when Europe/Pacific DoDDS and DDESS teachers are able to assemble in one place, and I can say with no reservations that our system is blessed with teachers who are enthusiastic and dedicated teachers to their students, schools, community and each other. My group is currently reviewing the research, organizations and books that address what is called 21st Century Skills. You are welcome to contact me if are interested in knowing what information we are reviewing.

After attending the task force for the week, a couple of questions stood out. Europe had the same one. Why was there NO FEA Representative or even a teacher, for that matter, on the group studying Principal Performance Evaluation? Who knows better than the teachers what makes a good principal?

Upcoming AD Activities:

29 Jan -- 5 Feb PAL Meeting (30-1) / School Visits (2-4) Area JCC (5th)
22- 26th Feb 21st Century Skills Task Group
8 -- 12 March TENATIVE DATE for Transfer Program Round, DoDEA HQ
15-19 March FEA Board of Directors Meeting, FEA HQ, D.C.

Transfer Program Time: It is that time of year again, and FEA has worked hard to maintain a viable transfer program. Our gains from previous years are all included in this year's program.

Okinawa remains a Category B -- Members have informed us that in the application there is a note that Okinawa will not be a Category B in future transfers programs. There have been no changes for Okinawa. FEA is working on correcting this statement in the transfer application.

Am I eligible? I receive this question a lot from local hired NTE (Not to Exceed) members. It is important to review your SCD (Service Computation Date) on your Standard Form 50. CONUS and local hires must both serve 2 continuous years before eligible for Permanent Status. A NTE, local hire must be offered a position for the 3rd year to be converted to permanent status. In the third year of employment, the teacher can then apply for the next Transfer Program. If you still have questions, please send them to me.

For the latest and greatest on the Transfer Program see Connie's "Tips for Transfers"

DoDDS Transfer Program
Tips for Transfers
FEA members should log into the FEA Transfer Program Information Page to access our Tips for Transfers and other information.

Connie Shanaghan is the Transfer Program guru. Once your application is finalized (Deadline to submit is February 12 and Deadline for revision is 5 PM EST, March 3), you can send a copy of your final application for review to FEAAdmin@nea.org and add Attn Connie or Transfer Program in the subject line.

Questions: Often our members have the same questions about the Transfer Program. Before sending your inquiry to Connie, consider sending your question to your FRS. He or she will send to the District President and/or me. An experienced FRS or District President can often answer your question immediately. If not, they will send the question to me and/or Connie. There always situations that require research and investigation, and be assured that we will do our best to assist all members.

Pet Information for those interested in Japan

http://www.usarj.army.mil/organization/vet/index.htm

Staffing Documents: The Area Office has received staffing documents, but the documents can not be shared with the Association until dodea hq gives permission. When the principal is allowed to share with the FRS, the FRS will work closely with the principal on any possible excesses, vacancies for the Transfer Program and the planning for next SY.

FEA Journal: A special January issue is in the mail to you and a digital version is on the website: www.feaonline.org. I encourage every member to read this issue as it contains important information on educators' performance and bargaining rights. If you do not receive your copy soon, check with your FRS, he/she may have extra copies. I also have copies and will be happy to send you one.

Snow and Bad Weather: Korea and parts of Japan have experienced snow and ice this winter season. I received great photos from Misawa with teachers and students in knee-deep snow. Attached is a document with NA articles addressing bad weather and its impact on school (delayed opening or closure)

New Travel Regulations: DoDDS teachers love to travel and it becomes more difficult in today's world and with recent events. Following is the link for the latest on travel regulations.

myPay DFAS Login Change: DFAS offers help for confused myPay users:
Stars and Stripes article

DFAS Web site

Those who have already created a login ID can go here.

W2 Forms Quick Access: W2 Forms are available for civilians online now: DFAS customers with myPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx) access will be able to retrieve their tax statements electronically up to two weeks sooner than those relying on regular mail delivery.

DoDDS Annual Reunion: In case you are interested: REUNION WEEKEND XXII Indianapolis, Indiana in 2010! July 31-August 3, 2010 e-mail: doddsreunion@suddenlink.net tel: (Bill Hobbs) 903 535-913 website: www.doddsworldreunion.com

NEA: Educators Mustering Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims:
January 14, 2010 -- The international educators union, Education International, concerned about the humanitarian impact of the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti earlier this week, has launched a special fund for the families of teachers affected. To learn more about what you can do to assist please visit this website.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner:

There have been some major legal victories for members since the last Pacific Update. Below is one victory and more to come in the next Update.

1. ASPEN Settlement: As the school year began counselors at Kadena High School realized that without some extraordinary investment of time over the weekend before students were scheduled to arrive school, scheduling would be in chaos. Here is how FRS Sergio Mendoza described the sequence of events in the grievance he filed.

On August 28, 2009, counselors were notified that the pilot computer system Aspen was shut down by headquarters. Counselors had made all the necessary changes and preparation for student schedules on this system in preparation for the opening of the school year. This system was a huge improvement over the last system, SMS, and was working at a high level of efficiency for the counselors. When the system was shut down, there was a huge loss of information that had not been transferred to the SMS system. Hundreds of schedules were lost and were going to have to be built individually over again.

The Principal briefed the counselors and notified them that the Area office would be rebuilding the schedules and that they had no need to do any extra work. Unfortunately, the amount of loss data was underestimated by the Area Office. The counselors, in effect, realized that there would be no way for the schedules to be built by a couple of individuals at the Area Office and, in fear that a looming fiasco was impending on Monday morning before school started, took initiative to prepare the schedules over the weekend. Most counselors averaged about 17.5 hours of extra duty to prevent a major debacle of having hundreds of students in the building without schedules on the opening day of school. The counselors prevented a public relations mess between DoDDS and the military community and it was due to their initiative that the opening of school and the transition of hundreds of military dependents was welcoming and smooth.

The grievance requested monetary reimbursement for the weekend hours. It was denied by DODDS Pacific. We invoked arbitration in December and assigned it priority in the arbitration schedule. An Association Grievance had also been filed on behalf of all educators worldwide who were involved in rescuing the ASPEN system. During the first week of January FEA President Michael Priser signed an agreement awarding the counselors at Kadena High School reimbursement at their daily rates for the work done to prevent a scheduling nightmare. We applaud everyone involved in bringing this matter to an honorable and just conclusion, including FEA DC, DODDS and especially all of the counselors and FRS at Kadena HS.


Mark Your Calendars

March 2: NEA Read Across America: http://www.nea.org/grants/13003.htm
Read Across America on SchoolTube http://www.schooltube.com/user/NEAreadacrossamerica


Other Tidbits

Reviewing Education Research? Here are sites that might assist you.
William J. Mathis, Ph.D., the Managing Director of the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC), made a presentation at a recent conference a member attended. http://epicpolicy.org/

One can search their publications by topic: http://epicpolicy.org/publications

Another resource for review of education research and practice:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org/

http://greatlakescenter.org/think_twice.php
2009 Think Twice Reviews Think Twice is one of the nation's first efforts to serve as a watchdog to review think tank research on public education issues and policies, ensuring that published work meets the quality and standards of university scholarship. As think tank research becomes increasingly important reference sources in public policy debates, media and other critics have called for increased scrutiny to ensure validity and objectivity (click here to see related stories).

Sting, J.K. Rowling could have been your teacher
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/09/03/mf.famous.ex.teachers/index.html


National Endowment for Humanities Summer Seminars and Institutes for Teachers Summer 2010
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the Federal Government. Each year the NEH's Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes. The dates and duration of each project are listed under each title.The application deadline is March 2, 2010 (postmark).
How to Apply
Please e-mail, telephone, or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded project descriptions to the seminar and institute directors listed; in some cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many projects as you like. You may apply to up to three projects in any one year (seminars, institutes or Landmarks workshops), but may participate in only one. The application deadline is March 2, 2010 (postmark).
National Endowment of the Humanities: http://www.neh.gov/projects/si-school.html
Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to https://webapps.dodea.edu/lqarates/lqarates.cfm

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director
DSN 315-267-6159