February 27 2009 FEA Pacific Update

FEBRUARY 27, 2009
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director: Your District Presidents and Korea HCRC, Wilma Holland met with me for our February PAL Council meeting at Hardy Barracks, Tokyo, 21-23 February. We all worked very hard on your behalf and presented pertinent information and concerns for the FEA BOD meeting in March. The minutes for the December meeting will be coming to you soon through your FRS. If our schedules permit, we hope to have the February minutes ready to distribute shortly.

Upcoming AD Travel/Meetings:
  • 9-13 March FEA Board of Directors Meeting, FEA HQ, D.C.
  • 16-25 March Transfer Program Round, DoDEA HQ, Arlington, VA
  • 30-31 March DoDDS Pacific Advisory Area Council, Misawa, Japan

Reflection: This time of the year is stressful for DoDDS teachers. The staffing document for next year sets in place potential cuts for SY 09-10. Vacancies for the Transfer Program as well as possible excessing will be based on these staffing projections. Teachers are faced with major life decisions with suspense dates, unanswered questions, and unexpected challenges from the new leadership in DoDEA. Additionally we face the upcoming Terra Nova testing and meeting the daily needs of our students. Last week I had the unexpected privilege of witnessing two army helicopters landing in the school's field very early in the morning. I was alarmed at first as I thought there was an emergency. Soon I learned that the helicopters were visiting the school as part of the Science Fair. Later in the day I was able to witness the students talking to the aviators, wearing parachutes and climbing into these mechanical birds of flight. As all the students and staff gathered at the end of the day to watch and wave as the helicopters left, I marveled at how fortunate our teachers, students and families are to be part of DoDDS. Please take care of yourself and each other and remember to reflect on our blessings during these times of challenges and stress.

DoDDS Transfer Plans for 2010 - FEA has been aware of Dr. Miles' intention for the transfer program and has shared the information with members in a variety of ways. First and foremost, the transfer program is negotiated each year, and the 2010 program has not been negotiated. Michael Priser, FEA President, will address Dr. Miles' announcement in his President's Report, which will be coming out soon.

Transfer Program:
  • Transfer application submissions were due yesterday, February 25, 5 PM Eastern Time.
  • FRSes please work closely with your principal for the submission of vacancies and please keep your district president informed, so we can pass the information on to FEA HQ.
  • Link to transfer announcements and the Transfer Program
  • As one of my wise colleagues advised his members, "Please don't rely on what a friend tells you about the Transfer Program." The best source is the FEA Transfer Information page. Members can access it: Have your ID number ready.

Literacy Facilitator Slots: Due to decisions made by DoDEA HQ, the extra staffing slots were not approved for the Pacific Literacy Program. Dr. Bresell and the Area Office strongly supported this program and the slots. Europe recently learned that the Reading Recovery slots were not supported by DoDEA HQ. FEA has expressed its concerns to DoDEA HQ. Your District Presidents and I have worked with the Pacific Area and District Offices to assist the teachers who were excessed far too late in the ballgame. Please notify me if there are questions or problems.

EXCENT: FEA is working with DoDEA HQ on the piloting of the EXENT ‘fixes'. Dr. Bresell has extended additional hours of para-professional support for EXENT. Please continue to keep us updated.

NEA's Read Across America: The big day is almost here, March 2nd. I have seen exciting announcements as information specialists, teachers and schools plan for NEA's Read Across America. It is never too late to go to NEA's website for more ideas, certificates, bookmarks and more:

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner

The Air Force has ceased providing any legal assistance for family law questions. Historically, the military services have offered help for married couples seeking separation agreements overseas. Judge Advocate General lawyers will no longer help draft such agreements, will no longer give guidance or advice on child or spousal support and will no longer offer advice regarding military retirement rights for spouses. We are trying to determine whether this cessation of services is DOD-wide or just applicable to the Air Force.


The Department of the Interior is responsible for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which in turn is responsible for the Bureau of Indian Education. BIE operates 60 schools across the United States and has nearly 5,000 teachers. These teachers enjoy most of the employment benefits that DODDS teachers do. Unfortunately, pay is set upon appointment giving a maximum of 5 years credit for prior teaching experience. The BIE is in the process of trying to change this impediment to recruitment, but for now the maximum credit for other teaching experience is 5 years.


Your home of record is established when you were first hired for overseas duty. This HOR cannot be changed during a continuous appointment. If you resign from DODDS and then are rehired after one year you can establish a new HOR. The Joint Travel Regulations are strictly applied.


The actual residence must be determined at the time an individual is initially appointed. The Government's obligation for travel and transportation allowances is limited to movement to or from an employee's actual residence at the time of assignment to OCONUS duty.


Change in Actual Residence. Where actual residence has been determined in accordance with par. C4004B2,no change is authorized during a continuous period of overseas service and none may be approved except incase of an error (35 Comp. Gen. 101 (1955).

Other Information:

Summer Course Offering: 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, 2009 (postmark). Get more information here.

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this site. Thanks to Xavier Flores, NEATA President for this website.

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