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April 1 2011 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: April 1, 2011


JAPAN -- Effective March 27, the State Department has approved a 10 percent differential for areas of Japan deemed to be suffering the most hardships from the ongoing situation there. For FEA members, this differential will cover schools at all locations in mainland Japan except Iwakuni and Sasebo.
In addition, DoDEA has amended its Fact Sheet about Escorting Dependents During an Authorized Departure to include the following language regarding spring break:
"SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR SPRING BREAK
"If an employee on escort travel wishes to remain at the safe haven location for a period of time which exceeds the 10 or 14 day authority for their escort travel, for the purpose of Spring Break, he/she must obtain supervisor approval. TDY travel and per diem will cease after the 10th or 14th day as appropriate, and be reinstated on the day of return travel. There will be no administrative leave. All those escorting dependents on TDY orders must be back at the Permanent Duty Station (PDS) ready to begin school after Spring Break on 18 April 2011.
"Employees are required to make arrangements to escort their dependents through their principals.
"While the employee is covered by TDY travel and transportation allowances, their dependents who depart voluntarily are entitled to receive Subsistence Expense Allowance in accordance with the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) C6200, Sec. 632."

The complete Fact Sheet and other information can be found at DoDEA's employee information page.

DONATIONS -- In addition to the numerous charities (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) through which you can donate money to help relief efforts in Japan, FEA/NEA members can donate through NEA's involvement in the Education International Solidarity Fund, which supports education union members who are negatively impacted by natural and man-made disasters.
To donate, checks should be made out to the National Education Association, with "Japan Earthquake Solidarity Fund" in the memo line.
Checks can be mailed to:
Japan Earthquake Solidarity Fund
National Education Association
1201 16th Street NW, Suite 614
Washington DC 20036
All funds will go directly to Education International to support relief work in Japan.

TRANSFER ROUND CONCLUDES -- The DoDDS transfer round has now concluded. FEA does not release any information on individual transfer applications until DoDEA has finished sending out transfer notifications. Only those educators who were matched for a transfer will receive notification from DoDEA. Also, notifications will be sent out according to the gaining district; this means that educators currently at the same school may receive notifications on different dates since they may each be offered a position in a separate district.
If you have a question about your application, send it to feaadmin@nea.org and be sure to include your Service Comp Date and your transfer group (A+, A, B, etc.)

LEGAL UPDATE ON COACHES' SETTLEMENT -- FEA's legal department recently issued an update on Association Grievance 08-08, covering reimbursement of hotel costs for coaches who must stay in a hotel with their team and/or parents of their team. If you are or have been impacted by such a situation, please see the update.

DOMESTIC PARTNERS -- Last year, President Obama issued a memorandum extending certain rights to domestic partners of federal employees. Those rights included travel benefits, among others. The Department of Defense and General Services Administration have had to amend their regulations in order to implement this policy. The GSA's Federal Travel Regulations and DoD's Joint Travel Regulations have now been amended as necessary and we expect DoDEA's implementation of these new regulations to be forthcoming.

SUMMER ENRICHMENT -- FEA and DoDDS have reached an agreement regarding the Summer Enrichment (4-week) Program for grade K-8. The MOU outlines the same conditions as last year with an approximate 3% increase in the stipend for educators. If you are interested in applying for this program, please see your building administrator. FEA members can view the MOU here (login required).

WEST POINT SCHOOLS -- I would like to thank the leadership and members at West Point ES and West Point Middle School for a great visit. It is always an honor for me to see the fine educational programs and services offered to our military families.

MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD -- April is the Month of the Military Child. Of course, for DoDEA faculty and staff, every month is the Month of the Military Child -- we are constantly aware of the unique needs and situations of these children and of their strength and resiliency as they cope with long deployments and sometimes much greater sacrifices. Our students make us proud every single day and they fully deserve this formal recognition in the form of a month dedicated to them.

STUDENT SUPPORT TEAMS (SST's) -- FEA has received a number of inquiries about the role of the SST and referrals to special education. According to the Guidelines for Student Support Teams (April 22, 2008), "the SST is a school-based problem-solving team composed primarily of general educators who provide support to teachers to improve the quality of the general education program and reduce the underachievement of students. . . . The SST should not be viewed as a gatekeeper to the special education process." [page 5] The guide goes on to say, "The SST addresses classroom or student issues at the request of a teacher or school personnel. The SST does not determine eligibility for special education services. Its existence does not prevent or impede a direct referral to the CSC by a parent, teacher, individual, or school team." [page 7] While the SST is set up to assist struggling students in the general education classroom, any person who suspect that a student may have a disability, has the legal right to refer that student to the CSC to be considered for an evaluation.

Thank you for all you do.