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March 12, 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: FEA Washington Office
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: March 12, 2014

WELCOME
I want to begin by congratulating and welcoming Mr. Thomas Brady as our new DoDEA Director. Mr. Brady has extensive experience in public education and a long career in the U.S. Army. I look forward to working with Mr. Brady in the years ahead to build a stronger and more collaborative relationship between FEA and DoDEA Headquarters. Welcome to DoDEA!

EXCESS PLACEMENT AND VSIP/VERA
The start of the DODDS Excessed Placement Program has been delayed until at least next Tuesday, March 18, although it is likely to be delayed a few days beyond that because DODDS is still preparing the vacancy list and, once it is completed, FEA must be given time to verify that the list is accurate.

FEA knows many of our members are anxiously awaiting information about their possible placements or VERA/VSIP offers. We appreciate your continued patience as we work with DoDEA to make sure both the Excess Placement and VERA/VSIP programs run as smoothly as possible. Please remember that the Excess Placement Program, once it does start, will take several weeks to complete.

Connie Shanaghan, FEA Director of Administration, will be in attendance throughout the Excess Placement Program to monitor the process on behalf of our members. Please be aware, however, that Connie is unable to share any information about individual placements until all reassignment letters have been sent out.

FORT KNOX
We learned last week that our local Associations at Fort Knox will lose four of their eight schools at the end of the current school year. The cuts were made because of the military's decision to remove a combat brigade from the base, resulting in fewer students attending Fort Knox schools next year. FEA Director for DDESS Terry Arvidson is working with the local presidents of the classified and certified locals at Knox to make sure members there receive all assistance possible from DDESS and that the RIF procedures outlined in the Master Labor Agreement with DDESS are followed properly.

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
As you have no doubt seen, there has been lots of discussion in the press and social media about the Common Core State Standards. If you want to see what all the discussion is about and form your own ideas, read the standards for yourself at this link. On this page, in addition to the standards themselves, NEA has provided a Toolkit for Educators with a variety of resources. As DoDEA moves to implement these standards, FEA will of course work to ensure it is done properly and teachers are given time and training in order to make this implementation successful for students and teachers.

TEACHING AND LEARNING
I am currently attending a conference here in Washington called Teaching & Learning 2014 sponsored by The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards along with the NEA, PDK, and numerous other organizations. I've attended some very worthwhile presentations and will be sharing some of the information I've gathered with members in the months ahead.

WISE WORDS
Among the educational slogans I have come across lately, I found a new one I really like: "You can't put STUDENTS FIRST if you put TEACHERS LAST" We have to work to implement policies and practices that are good for both kids AND teachers.

BEWARE OF FAKE SMARTDOCS E-MAIL
Our thanks to Dawn Coulter, Director of the Finance Mission Area at the Defense Finance &Accounting Service, for providing the following information about a threat to myPay users:

Recently some myPay users received a fake e-mail asking for the answers to myPay security questions. You should NEVER share the answers to your myPay security questions with anyone. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, myPay, or SmartDocs will never ask you for this information. By sharing the answers to your myPay security questions you may allow someone to access your myPay account.

What should I do if I responded to this e-mail request?
The fake SmartDocs e-mails came from smartdocs@dfas-mil.org and smartdocs@dfas.mil.org. If you responded to this e-mail request with the answers to your myPay security questions, please log into myPay and change your security questions immediately.

What should I do if I received one of these e-mails but did not respond?
Delete the message immediately. Again - do NOT respond to the request for information.

How can I tell if an e-mail I received from SmartDocs is legitimate?
- The official SmartDocs e-mail address is SmartDocs@dfas.mil.
- SmartDocs will never ask you to directly respond to an e-mail.
- If provided a link to SmartDocs or myPay sites, use your mouse to hover over the link. The text that appears should show mypay.dfas.mil, and match the link in the email.

VOTE EARLY!
Ballots for the election of FEA Area Directors (two in Europe and one each for Stateside and the Pacific) were mailed to all FEA Active members at the end of February. If you've not received your ballot in the mail by March 18, you can ask your FRS/Local President for a copy of the ballot, which you can then complete and mail back to FEA. Please be sure to complete the return address section on the return envelope and sign it. Failure to do so will result in your ballot being declared invalid and your vote not counting. Also, please be aware that the various FEA Areas may also be conducting elections of their own right now for positions such as HCR, District Representative or delegate to this summer's NEA-RA. Be sure to complete and return any ballot sent to you to the proper place so your vote gets counted. Ballots for the FEA Area Director elections must be RECEIVED by April 22 to be counted in the tally.