February 17, 2012 FEA Pacific Update

FEBRUARY 17, 2012
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
Staffing Documents/Excess
FEA Transfer Program Tips
Shipping Pets
HCRC Program offers Juggling Elephants
Alternate Assessment Date Change
Speaking of dates
Do you know the Negotiated Agreement? Article 2. Section 3 - Representation
NEA Read Across America
Legal Eagle Corner
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits

Area Director Update: Busy is the word for all of us. We all are dealing with the transfer program and its changes, the delivery of staffing allocations, Quality Assurance Reviews and normal issues surrounding labor management relations. Next week I head to Okinawa for the FEA Pacific Area Leadership meeting, Area JCC and school visits. I want to sincerely thank the Association leadership in the Pacific taking on the additional duties connected with representation. I have noticed that many of you take the time to let us know your concerns about working conditions. This communication from you is very helpful. Wishing you a wonderful three-day weekend!

The following is an overview of my calendar:

Area Director Activities:

  • February 16 Area Teleconference
  • February 23 AEAO [Okinawa] Representative Council Meeting
  • February 24 Kubasaki High School Visit
  • February 25-26 Pacific Area Leadership Council [PAL] Meetings, Okinawa
  • February 27 DODEA Pacific Area consultations [JCC]
  • February 27-29 Okinawa School Visits
  • March 9 UniServ and UniServ Assistant Meeting, San Francisco
  • March 12-15 FEA Board of Directors Meeting, Washington D.C.
  • March 16-27 Transfer Program Round, DoDEA HQ, Arlington, VA

Staffing Documents and Excess: Area Office released the staffing documents to me on February 6. The release date allowed very little time for coordination between the principal and FRS. This coordination is necessary to meet the timelines for excessing those teachers whose positions are no longer supported by enrollment. Compounding this time crunch, a number of principals were either in training or occupied with QAR. After working with the Area Office we were able to get approval for a time extension until February 15. This is a stressful time for those teachers who are identified as excess. Please check with your FRS if you have questions or need assistance.

FEA Transfer Program Tips: FEA has released Transfer Tips for our members from our very own TP guru, Connie Shanaghan. Members can visit FEA has received a number of inquiries stating that he/she cannot open the tips and these are coming from the Pacific. After a quick check, I discovered that the Adobe program has been updated at a number of our schools. In some instances, the program did not upload correctly. Please check with your school AT if you experience this problem. As always, you can send your questions to your FRS, District President and to me.

Shipping Pets: Stars and Stripes recently reported that there will be an increase in the cost to ship pets in the Pacific. Below is the link to the articles.

Shipping pets during PCS could cost nearly $4,000 under new rule

Patriot Express pet fees not affected by United's new policy

HCRC program offering Juggling Elephants training in the Pacific: Back by popular demand. The Japan (Michael Johnson), Korea (Chad Jimison) and Okinawa (Yvonne Brown) HCRCs have worked with Mimi Cuadrado, FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator to present the Juggling Elephants training by Tamara Hamilton. We hope you can take advantage of this wonderful training. Following are some dates and details:

Juggling Elephants for Strategic Leadership Development is a uniquely designed graduate course for educators who want to take their leadership skills to a higher level of effectiveness. It will assist educators in developing strategies to have a positive impact on school leadership while achieving their professional objectives. The complex environment of public education demands educators who can demonstrate leadership competencies, create solutions, build relationships, and educate students who will contribute to the preservation of the American democracy. (Thanks to Chad Jimison for providing the description.)

  • Japan: The training will take place Saturday, February 25, 2012, at the New Sanno Princess Room. Twenty-seven members have signed up to attend thus far.
  • Korea: Dates: March 9-11, 2012. Location: TBD Session at Chadwick International School & Seoul American High School Library
  • March 9: 1-mini session at Educator's Day, Chadwick International, Time: TBD
  • March 10: Seoul American High School: Time: 9-4
  • March 11: Seoul American High School: Time: 9-3
  • Okinawa: March 2-4

Alternate Assessment Date Extension: Testing was originally slated to end March 23. Thanks to teacher input FEA was able to work with DoDDS and extend the wrap up date until April 20, 2012.

Speaking of Dates: We all need reminders. Missing certain deadlines can be very inconvenient. Please check your passport, drivers' license, government ID, car insurance, etc. and make sure you are up-to-date!

Do you know the Negotiated Agreement? -- Article 3 . Section 3 -- Minimize Disruptions:

Both the Association and the Employer agree that it is educationally sound to minimize disruptions that impact on the educational process and agree to cooperate to achieve this end. Upon reasonable request of the FRS, the Principal/designee shall discuss ways and means of minimizing such disruptions.

NEA Read Across America: It's almost that time! Thanks to Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA for this tidbit.

The cast of The Lorax will be honorary co-chairpersons of the NEA's Read Across America. The cast took time to record the promo for the NEA's Read Across America taking place on March 2 in New York City. It has also been announced that Zac will be attending the event in New York City on March 2 to help kick-off and celebrate the event. The Lorax is also scheduled to hit theaters on March 2 as well! Wow talk about your busy schedule!

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner:

Allow me to mention a smattering of personnel issues and legal actions that have arisen this past quarter.

1. PAY ATTENTION -- As you might expect, your colleagues continue to receive debt collection notices from Defense Finance and Accounting Service. One piece of advice comes from Assistant UNISERV Stephanie Trotter. She works with me in our law office in Fairfax, California. This is a small town about 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. She has told me that members continue to overestimate utilities when filing a Standard Form 1190. When you move and finally sign a lease on a new residence you are asked to report the amount of the rent and estimate your utilities for the year. This SF 1190 is processed fairly quickly. It is then that you begin receiving reimbursement for rent and utilities. This filing also establishes your "anniversary" date. After one year in your new quarters you are required to reconcile your claimed costs against your actual costs. If you underestimated, you get money back. If you overestimate the opposite is true. This truth will be made known to you when you receive a Notice of Debt Collection from DFAS. After this initial reconciliation you are not required to complete another one unless you feel that your costs have gone up. By the way, Korea has a totally different process. The advice -- do not overestimate your utilities. Talk to other teachers and find out what their costs are. Avoid the debt collection blues.

2. SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS -- Once you are overseas the only way that you can ship your household goods back to the States at government expense is if you receive Permanent Change of Station orders, separation orders or if you exercise an Early Return of Dependent option.

3. MORE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS -- Can you ship household goods from the States to the overseas area? Yes. Educators who have not already surpassed the 18,000-pound Household Goods (HHGs) shipment limitation may request a shipment to the duty station on their Renewal Agreement Travel orders. The shipment must originate from your [a] Home of Record (HOR), [b] the Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) site, and or [c] one alternate stateside location. Educators must check off the Household Goods shipment box when creating their RAT orders request in TOPS.

4. EXHILERATING READING -- When the faculty lounge is no longer exciting to you, it might behoove you to begin reading DODEA Regulation 1400.13. This one document encapsulates many of the personnel and pay topics that concern you. It was written in 1976 so there are some changes that are not directly reflected within the four corners of the regulation.

5. STANDARD FORM 50 -- The 50 is an important legal document. It is a Notification of Personnel Action. It remains in your permanent Official Personnel Folder. There are two items that you might want to check. Block 31 will have a date. This is your Service Computation Date. It should list all creditable Federal service. For most educators this date will be when you were hired by DODDS. The second box to check would be Block 24, which will indicate your appointment type. As a general rule, a "3" indicates that you are on a term appointment. This is a temporary appointment that will expire on the date entered in either Block 5-B or 6-B in which the term "NTE" is typed. Not To Exceed appointments are typically used with locally hired spouses of military sponsors.

Mark Your Calendars

  • February 1-28 American Heart Month
  • February 1-28 Black History Month
  • February 1-28 Library Lovers' Month
  • February 13-19 Random Acts of Kindness Week
  • February 20 President's Day
  • February 22 George Washington's Birthday
  • March 1-31 Music in our Schools Month
  • March 1-31 National Nutrition Month
  • March 1-31 National Women's Month
  • March 2 NEA Read Across America


Thanks to Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA, for sharing the next 2 professional development opportunities.

2012 Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its 2012 Teaching with Primary Sources Teacher Institutes in Washington, D.C. The free, five-day institute will provide educators with the tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into classroom teaching. Institutes will take place on the following dates:

  • May 21-25, 2012
  • June 11-15, 2012
  • July 9-13, 2012 (World Cultures Focus)
  • July 16-20, 2012 (Civil War Focus)
  • August 6-10, 2012

There is no charge for the program or materials but participants must cover costs for travel to Washington, DC and lodging and meals while in Washington. Participants may earn three graduate credits from George Mason University for completing all Summer Teacher Institute requirements (fee). Application Deadline: February 17, 2011

National Endowment of the Humanities:

I have participated in several NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) summer seminars/institutes.

These are wonderful opportunities for professional development. Please note the suspense date: The application deadline is March 1, 2012 (postmark). Plan ahead to complete the application on time.

These seminars and institutes are offered by NEH -- not DoDEA.

Stay Informed: FEA and NEA provide a wealth of information to you. Remember to have your membership ID ready in order to access information for members only. You will find your ID number on your membership card. Instructions for new members to gain access to are at

NEA Websites you can use:

NEA Website

NEA Academy

NEA Member Benefits

NEA Health Information Network


NEA Read Across America

Yen and Won Rates

Until the next update,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director