November 1 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: November 1, 2014

As we reported earlier this year, DODEA Director Thomas Brady has said he intends to hold a DODDS transfer program this school year. FEA and DODEA have been meeting to discuss what such a program may look like. At this point, no details of the transfer program have been finalized, but we are hopeful that information will be available in the next few weeks. We are also optimistic that DODEA will provide for limited VERA and VSIP opportunities this year as well. We will, of course, inform our members just as soon as an agreement is reached over details of the transfer program and the VSIP/VERA process. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we continue to work on this very important issue.

If you are considering retiring in the near future and have not had an official retirement estimate from DLA in the past two years, I would encourage you to request one now. The following is a link to the DLA site for requesting estimates:

Click here.

New retirement estimates will only be provided to employees who have not received an official estimate from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Human Resources Benefits Office within the last two years. Information will not have changed significantly within the past two year and would be sufficient for you to make an informed decision about retirement. DLA is your official source of retirement information. Before you accept an offer of VERA and/or VSIP, PLEASE be sure to request an estimate, and then read it thoroughly.

IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE DLA BENEFITS TEAM. You may email your inquiry to this address or you may call and speak directly with a Benefits Specialist at 1-614-692-0233, commercial or call toll free, 1-866-378-1171.

After hearing concerns from a number of members about not being provided the link to the BAS Feedback Survey, FEA Director for DDESS Jane Loggins and I contacted DoDEA Headquarters to request that they reopen the link to the survey to ensure that all teachers involved in the administration of the BAS have the opportunity to respond to this important survey.

FEA believes that teachers need to be heard on important issues such as the BAS. If you have already responded, thank you! If you have not, please take the time to complete the survey at the link below. Let your voice be heard!

BAS Teacher Survey Link

Last week I traveled to Miami, Florida, with 11 FEA members to attend NEA's Women's and Minority Leadership Trainings. It was a great weekend of working and learning together. As always, our members represented FEA well. This week I will travel to West Point with Jane Loggins, FEA Director for DDESS, to our visit our Certified and Classified members there. Though it means lots of time on the road, we all agree that meeting face to face with our members is important for FEA.

We have recently been notified of several surveys coming from various branches of the government. We have had input into the questions for some like the DEOCS survey, mentioned in my last report, which is open until November 17. We encourage members to complete the DEOCS survey and will keep you posted as we hear about other proposed surveys.

We have learned of two more FEA members who have been selected as 2014 state-level finalists in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Bridget Lester, Gifted Resource teacher at Fort Rucker Primary School, and Rebecca Sterrett, Math Support Specialist at Ramstein Elementary School, join Lisa Marie Roberts, from Seoul American Elementary School, as DODEA's finalists for the award. They will compete with teachers from every state at the national level of the PAEMST award program. The awards, administered by the National Science Foundation, are given each year to outstanding educators from the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions, including DODEA. You can learn more about the awards at Congratulations to you all!

November has been designated as Native American Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month. You can learn more about Native American culture with lessons, activities and resources available on the NEA Web site.

November 11 is Veteran's Day. Our members know better than most the bravery and sacrifice of military personnel and their families. We honor our nation's veterans everyday, but especially on November 11. Let us never forget all these brave men and women have done for us, and continue to do for us. Thank you all!

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program open season will run from November 10 through December 8. Now is the time to examine your program options and make sure you have the right coverage for yourself and your family. Learn more by going to this link.