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February 18, 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: February 18, 2014

VERA/VSIP/EXCESS INFO

The Link to the DODDS VERA/VSIP Registry and Excess Placement Program is available here.

The registration closing date for both programs is March 4, 2014. The DODDS Excess Placement Program is tentatively scheduled to begin at DoDEA Headquarters on March 12.

DDESS employees may apply for VSIP/VERA until February 24 by submitting the form attached to the February 11, 2014, memo sent out by DDESS to all permanent DDESS employees. You can find a copy of that memo and application form on FEA's Web site at this link.

DODDS EXCESSED EMPLOYEE CONSIDERATION PROCEDURES

The FEA Washington office has received many questions about excessed employee consideration procedures for DODDS employees. These procedures are describe below.

ALL excessed DODDS employees will first receive consideration for placement in their current district. Employees, who indicated their desire to remain in their current district, will receive first consideration in SCD order, using their location and category preferences. If they cannot be placed in their preferences, they will be considered district-wide for placement.

Placements for this group will be made using true vacancies, VERA/VSIP offers, and positions occupied by employees on NTE appointments.

Excessed DODDS employees, who do not desire to remain in their current district, will be considered next for district placement using the same procedures as described above with one exception: positions occupied by employees on NTE appointments are not used for the placement of these educators.

Educators, who do not desire to remain in their current district, may still wish to include district schools in their priority order on their application since they will be considered for all schools within their current district.

If an educator cannot be placed district-wide, he/she will move on to the area program.

The same procedures will be used in the area program. If an educator cannot be placed in the area program, he/she will move to the worldwide program. All employees in the worldwide placement program will be placed into one group in SCD order. Educators will first be considered for their location/category preferences using true vacancies and vacancies created by VERA/VSIP offers. If they cannot be placed in their preferences, they will then receive consideration for all worldwide vacancies (including VERA/VSIP vacancies).


Excessed employees, who are not placed in their district or area and who desire placement in a DDESS location will be considered for DDESS placements during the worldwide phase.

Excessed educators who cannot be placed in any of the above phases will be considered for NTE slots first in their district, then area, and finally worldwide.

FEA VERIFICATION SERVICE

FEA will once again offer this service to all FEA members. This year we will offer verification for both your VERA/VSIP application and your excess placement application.

If you applied for VERA/VSIP and would like us to verify that your name is on the list, please send an email to this email requesting verification. The deadline for verification is March 6.

If you are an excessed DODDS educator and would like us to verify that your application has been included in the excess placement program, please email a copy of your FINAL application to this email or fax it to 202-822-7867. Applications must be received no later than March 6.

If you have any questions, please contact Connie Shanaghan at this email.

WISE WORDS

FEA Director for DDESS Terry Arvidson, in her most recent electronic newsletter (available at ) addressed DoDEA Headquarters' harmful decision to reduce art, music and physical education positions in DDESS schools so that their staffing will match the higher PTR for similar positions in DODDS schools. Terry's words were so insightful and on target, I just had to quote them here:

"As we face the loss of positions that directly impact the students and their education, new positions are being created … ‘Staff Development Coaches'. While the Association is not opposed to the ‘idea' of such coaches in theory, we are asking why then is DODEA keeping the ISS positions? Take all those ISS positions and use them for where the support is needed, in the schools, not sitting in an office creating checklists to prove to AdvEd that our teachers are doing a job that very few ISS have done in way too many years."

VERY well said, Terry!

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

On a recent school visit, a teacher told me about the new rug which she had been given by the district for her classroom. That would be very nice, except she doesn't have a classroom! She is "on a cart!" But people above the school level are out of touch…why can't we simply ask teachers what they need?

SERIOUSLY OFF COURSE

I recently traveled to Okinawa and visited with our members there. As always, I saw teachers doing great things for kids, teachers who want to do the best possible, but teachers who are frustrated with our school system. As I visit DoDDS and DDESS schools around the world, I find teachers are frustrated with…
…collecting data for the sake of reports and not informing instruction...
…focusing on the requirements of AdvancEd instead of the needs of students...
…testing instead of teaching…
…too many initiatives...
…a narrow focus on curriculum instead of focusing on standards and what students are learning…
…forced collaboration instead of meaningful teamwork...
…a system more concerned with management's rights than what is right for kids.

DoDEA schools are still making great strides but it appears more and more to me that our teachers do it in spite of our system, and not because of it.

THANK YOU

Many thanks to Melanie Horton, AEAO President, for hosting me on my recent visit to Okinawa. Melanie did a great job of scheduling and driving so that we, along with Debra Degalis, Pacific Area Director, were able to visit all the schools on Okinawa, as well as meet with teachers in two local meetings after school. Thank you to all the FRS's who assisted with my visits and helped with the meetings and to the members who turned out to speak with me. We even worked in visits with the District and Area Superintendents. Whew! Thanks also to Debra and the Pacific Area Council for a very productive and informative meeting held over the weekend while I was there. I learned a great deal about issues facing our educators in the Pacific, not to mention the joys of those LONG flights to and from there!

UPCOMING TRAVEL

On Friday, I will travel to Atlanta for the NEA Eastern Leadership Summit. FEA will be represented by a team of 15 members from around the world. In addition to sessions provided by the NEA, we will also have time to meet as a group to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing us. The following week I will be back in the Atlanta area for the Stateside Area Council meeting.

READ ACROSS AMERICA

Don't forget: Read Across America day is just two weeks away. March 3 is the day for NEA's annual celebration of reading in honor of Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. Go to NEA's Read Across America Resource Page at www.nea.org/readacross to find ideas and materials to help plan your events.

FREE STUFF

The current (Winter) issue of NEAToday has lots of good information, including a page of "10 Free Things." Check out these resources when the NEAToday arrives in your mailbox.