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November 1 2008 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: November 1, 2008


EXCENT UPDATE -- FEA met with DoDEA Headquarters staff last week on the continuing problems with Excent-Online. Management has a list of the concerns which mirrored the list provided to them from the Association. Dr. Shirley Miles has made it a number one priority to correct those problems and get the system up and running correctly as soon as possible. DoDEA HQ and FEA are hoping this will be accomplished within the next few months. Headquarters will also set up teams to test and troubleshoot problems during this process. In the meantime, teachers should continue to work with your building administrator to correct problems and send them up the chain of command if they cannot be resolved at the local level. If training is needed on Excent, please let your building principal know so that a request can be made to the DSO and Area Offices. Teachers are encouraged to keep a record of the time and tasks necessary and request the needed help (e.g. sub days or extra duty contracts). Teachers are not to feel pressured or shortchanged. Again, FEA appreciates all the sacrifices and efforts above and beyond the call of duty that you have made. All of this work -- on top of meeting the daily job of providing the IEP goals to your students! Thank you. FEA will continue to work with management in getting this resolved as quickly as possible.

GRADESPEED -- FEA has also been working with management in the Gradespeed implementation for Grades 4-12. In order for this to be a meaningful tool for teachers and the military community, please let your FRS know of any unresolved technical problems that may still be occurring.

VERA -- DoDEA will be offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. VERA will be offered to educators throughout DoDEA (including those in Guam and Cuba). There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met. There are different timelines for applying based on the Area in which you work. For more information, contact your building administrator. There will be no Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) offered.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR RAT REIMBURSEMENT? -- Educators who have questions about the amount of money that they have received back on their RAT reimbursement may inquire
to this email address.

AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK -- November 16-22 is American Education Week. Educational Support Professional Day will be Wednesday, November 19. Visit www.nea.org/aew for more information and ideas on how you can celebrate this special week.

RA VIDEO -- FEA has posted a video about the NEA Representative Assembly (RA). The 10-minute video, available here, features FEA members' thoughts and favorite memories about the annual event, as well as FEA's Annual Membership Meeting. Please take a look, and consider running as a delegate to this summer's RA in San Diego. Ask your FEA building rep or Area Director for information on how you can run for delegate.

CLEAN AWARD -- I want to call your attention to an award for one of the most important positions in our schools: the janitorial staff. The CLEAN award, short for, Custodial Leaders for Environmental Advocacy Nationwide, will recognize the contributions that custodians make to public health in their schools, communities, and their profession. The 2009 award will be presented to a school custodian that demonstrates outstanding leadership to school cleanliness, and reflects the contributions that education support professionals (ESPs) can make to public health. Go to the NEA's Health Information Network Web site for more information, including application materials. Deadline for application is December 10, 2008. Click here for information and application materials.

GITMO VISIT -- I want to thank everyone at our DoDEA schools in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for their hospitality during my visit this past week. Conditions are always trying at GITMO -- more so this year due to some very severe weather they endured this fall -- but the staff continues to do an outstanding job despite the challenges.

WOW!! -- I recently learned that not one, but TWO schools in Spangdahlem, Germany, have reached 100 percent FEA membership for this school year. Congratulations to Spangdahlem Elementary FRS Jeffrey Watts and Spangdahlem Middle School FRS Kay Oliver, along with their local leaders and all of their members, for accomplishing this impressive feat. FEA is proud to serve such dedicated members and we thank you for your support. Thank you also to the many local leaders who have been working so hard to increase their building's membership as part of the Plus 1 membership initiative we have undertaken. We've heard from so many buildings who have met this goal already, and many others who are still working daily to do the same. Thank you all for your hard work on behalf of the association. To those of you who are new to FEA, thank you for your support and welcome to your professional association. I hope you will take an active role in your association by becoming a building rep, seeking local office, running as a delegate to the NEA RA, or doing anything else you can to further the issues that are important to you. FEA functions best when we are all involved!

Have a great weekend!