October 1 2014 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 1, 2014
Since I wrote last I have literally circled the globe, attending trainings and local meetings, visiting schools and speaking with members. Beginning in Germany for the Europe Area Council meeting and FRS trainings, I then traveled to England, on to Japan, Okinawa and ended in Korea. Whew! While the travel (and jet lag) can be grueling, I don't think there is any substitute for face-to-face meetings with our local leaders and members. Most of the time was spent in meetings and trainings, but I did get some chances to visit schools along the way. It is always great to see the wonderful work that our members do every day in our schools. Many thanks go to the local leaders who organized meetings and school visits, and to the members who took the time to come out to speak with FEA leadership. A special thanks to NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman of Tennessee who was our guest speak for Association Day in Wiesbaden, Germany. Earl's funny and thought-provoking remarks were a highlight of the day, and his visit showed NEA's commitment to support FEA and our members.
This week HT Nguyen, Gary Hritz and I will travel to Peachtree City to attend the Stateside Area Council meeting with our DDESS leadership. FEA continues to listen to our members and to advocate for your concerns.
I have been hearing a lot of rumors the past month about the potential DODDS transfer program that DoDEA Director Thomas Brady has said he intends to conduct this year. At this point, absolutely no details of any transfer program have been announced or finalized, so any rumors you are hearing are just that: rumors! Please keep this in mind and be assured that FEA will inform our members just as soon as the transfer picture comes into focus. Typically, we are well into the winter before these details are worked out, so please remain patient.
The latest news we have received about the RAND Study into possible futures for DDESS schools is that the report has not been finalized yet and likely will not be completed until late 2014 or early 2015.
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
This year, American Education Week will be celebrated November 17-21. It is not too soon to start thinking about ways to celebrate the successes of our schools. To publicize this event in your local community newspapers, FEA provided a sample news release (available at this page) you can adapt to fit your schools and community. Be aware, many local papers have early deadlines for submissions so don't wait till the last minute. Take this opportunity to let your community know about the great things happening in our schools.
Two Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools were recently recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Aukamm Elementary School in Germany and Matthew C. Perry Elementary School in Japan received the honor. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program annually recognizes approximately 300 public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students are performing at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in student achievement levels.
LEARN ABOUT OCTOBER
This is a month full of history and important observations. Hispanic Heritage Month continues until October 15 and October also serves as LGBT History Month, Italian American Heritage Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. In addition, October includes such important events as the birthday of Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, Columbus Day, and the anniversary of Thurgood Marshall being sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court. You can learn more by going to this page and this page.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
The easiest way to stay informed about news and information affecting you as a DoDEA employee is to subscribe to this electronic newsletter. To do so, just go to www.feaonline.org/listserv.htm. You will need your FEA membership number to sign up (the number is printed on your Association membership card and is also printed on the address panel of the FEA Journal that was recently mailed to each member). We typically send this e-newsletter out twice a month (on approximately the 1st and 15th of each month), with special updates and bulletins as necessary throughout the school year. The FEA Web site (www.feaonline.org) is another great informational resource available to you for news and information, including archived copies of this and other updates.
Facebook is a great way to keep up with family and friends, but for legal and personnel advice, it is always best to go to the professionals. For HR advice, we recommend that you make your inquiry to your HR rep IN WRITING, and if you don't get a response, or if you feel the response is insufficient or questionable, then you can forward that to your FEA representatives for assistance.