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December 15 2008 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: December 15, 2008


TRANSFER PROGRAM -- FEA has contacted DoDEA Headquarters about beginning negotiations for the spring 2009 Transfer Program. Staffing documents should be finalized by DoDEA within the next two weeks and sent out to the field.

TRADING PLACES -- DoDEA Director Dr. Shirley Miles formally announced last week that effective August 1, 2009, DoDDS-Europe Area Director Diana Ohman will become the new DoDDS-Pacific Director, and Dr. Nancy Bresell, the current DoDDS-Pacific Director, will become the new DoDDS-Europe Director. Though this has been an open secret for some time, FEA was asked not to release any information on these new assignments until Dr. Miles had an opportunity to meet with her staffs in Europe and the Pacific.

INTERESTED IN ADMINISTRATION? -- After an absence of several years, DoDDS has reinstated the Educator Career Program (ECP) for DoDDS classroom educators who are interested in becoming principals or assistant principals. Applications to the ECP program must be submitted by e-mail to your rating supervisor by January 16, 2009. The application and complete instructions for ECP can be downloaded here.

MORE TIME TO DECIDE -- In my last update, I told you about the $500 award and apple paperweight available to DoDDS educators who turn in notice of their decision to leave the school system at the end of the current year. Now, at FEA's request and with the support of Dr. Miles, the deadline for submitting your Request for Personnel Action (RPA) requesting voluntary separation (resignation or retirement) in order to receive the award has been extended to January 9, 2009. You must submit your RPA to your building administrator and your request for separation must be effective at the end of the school year or during the summer recess. The $500 award and apple paperweight are available only to full-time, school-level, non-supervisory, professional educators on permanent appointments. FEA requested the deadline be extended from its original date of January 6 so that educators will have a full week to make their decision and submit their RPA upon returning from the holiday break.

IT PROBLEMS -- Many FEA members have submitted details to our office about problems and concerns they are having with DoDEA Information Technology (IT). We have forwarded to DoDEA Headquarters the information you sent us and we will update you further as we hear back from HQ staff. Meanwhile, please continue to work your building's "chain of command" to report and hopefully resolve any IT problems you continue to have.

OPEN SEASON EXTENDED -- Responding to criticism over a proposed change in one of the available insurance plans, OPM has decided to extend the Open Season enrollment period for Federal Employees Heath Benefits (FEHB), Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Programs (FEDVIP), and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS). The new deadline for enrollment will be January 31, 2008. The extension came about because of complaints that Blue Cross/Blue Shield was planning to implement a $7,500 deductible for out-of-network surgeries.
Please note: if you do make a belated change to any of your benefits programs due to the extended enrollment, the date your changes will become effective will vary, depending upon which program you select and when you make the change. This means it may take several pay periods for the deductions/allotments in your pay to match your new election. You are advised to look closely at your pay and personnel records to be sure any change you make is ultimately implemented correctly.
Also, if an employee makes a belated benefits change and if they have claims for services incurred in 2000 under their former plan, the employee and/or the employee's new provider may be responsible for reimbursing the former plan for any benefits paid.

OUTSTANDING SCIENCE AND MATH TEACHERS WANTED -- The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching recognize outstanding individuals who have taught science and/or math at the secondary level (grades 7-12) for at least five years. Winners of the award receive a $10,000 prize from the National Science Foundation, a paid trip to Washington DC to attend recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a citation signed by the President. To nominate yourself or someone else, fill out the nomination form at www.paemst.org and submit it by January 8, 2009, to either Kim Day or Sheridan Pearce at DoDEA headquarters. Both can be found on DoDEA Outlook email.

OUTSTANDING SCIENCE AND MATH STUDENTS WANTED, TOO -- Three DoDEA students -- one each from Europe, the Pacific and DDESS -- will have the opportunity to attend the 2009 Research Science Institute (RSI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this coming summer. RSI is open to students who have completed the third year of high school by the summer of 2009 and who demonstrate superior achievement in math, the sciences and writing/presentation skills, among other qualifications. To learn more about how your students can apply for this opportunity, go to www.dodea.edu/students/rsi.cfm. The deadline for applications is February 20, 2009.

100 PERCENT -- I am very happy to report that we've learned of two more schools that have achieved 100 percent FEA membership this school year. Congratulations to Kaiserslautern Middle School (Susan Kelly, FRS) and Bitburg Middle School (Dave Martz, FRS), as well as their fellow association officers and entire memberships, for achieving this impressive feat. By my count, this brings us to 11 schools worldwide that have 100 percent membership. Incredible!! Thank you to all of our building representatives, local presidents, membership chairs and, of course, the members who have joined.

MEMBERSHIP IDEAS -- We'll be running detailed FEA membership information and formally recognizing those buildings that have excelled at membership this February in the FEA Journal. Meanwhile, if your building held a special membership event or campaign that was particularly effective and well-received by members, please let us know so we can share your story with all of our local associations. Send your membership tips/suggestions/ideas, etc., to FEA's Director of Membership Development, Gary Hritz, at fea@feaonline.org. Please also let Gary know of any ideas for materials, information, resources, etc., that FEA should be supplying to our local associations to help with membership efforts. We rely on our members and local leaders to let us know what we are doing right and what we need to improve, so please send Gary any feedback or ideas you have. Thanks!

HAVE A GREAT BREAK -- This will be my final update of 2008. Look for my next update on January 15. Enjoy your holiday break and best wishes for a wonderful new year!