May 15 2010 FEA President's ReportTo: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: May 15, 2010
MORE KINDERGARTEN STAFF - DoDEA recently announced the creation of 54 new kindergarten classes as part of its effort to keep kindergarten PTRs low. FEA applauds this move, and is especially glad to see that DoDEA is planning to add 54 full-time educational aides to help the 54 new kindergarten teachers who will teach these children. Keeping kindergarten classes small is a hugely important first step in these children's education, as is making sure those classes are properly staffed. Lowering kindergarten PTR and maintaining aides in the classroom are both positions FEA has long advocated and we are glad to see that management is in agreement with us on this issue. Everybody wins!!
MORE CHANGES NEEDED -- FEA hopes the changes to kindergarten staffing outlined above indicate a return to more classroom-based staffing priorities. In particular, FEA would like to see the restoration of services for at-risk students that have been cut over the past two years. More and better professional development opportunities for educators, especially elementary educators, is another much needed improvement. While I certainly don't want to diminish the importance of the kindergarten changes, the benefit of those smaller class sizes and aides will soon be lost if Headquarters does not start making classroom-based learning -- rather than more administrators -- its top priority.
KEEPING SOFTWARE ON YOUR COMPUTER. FEA has reported on a number of occasions that when computers are re-imaged, unapproved software programs will be removed. If you have programs that need to be placed on the approved list you will need to visit https://webapps.dodea.edu/saa The site will walk you through how to have your software assessed for approval. When you reach the "Software Approval Request Form" you will be ask to identify the "Software Type." For educators, this will either be "Curricula-non sped" or "Sped." If you select other categories it will DELAY the approval process. Headquarters would like submissions to be made by May 31.
ASPEN PILOT EXPANSION -- DoDEA Headquarters has announced that they would like to expand the current ASPEN pilot program that has been going on in selected schools this school year. Participation in the expansion is voluntary and the principal will be conferring with the FEA FRS. The principal should share details about what this expansion entails, the training involved, and the impact on the school staff. The nurses and counselors will get training this summer on August 16th and arrangements will be made for those who can't make this date. Teachers will be taught the attendance/verification in the fall during a faculty meeting to take no more than 20 minutes. Headquarters has stated that the following schools and their FRS's have been consulted:
- Bavaria: Rainbow ES/Ansbach ES/Ansbach MS/Illesheim ES
- Heidelberg: Aukamm ES/Hainerberg ES/Wiesbaden MS/Wiesbaden HS
- Isles: Alconbury MS-HS/Lakenheath MS/Lakenheath HS
- Kaiserslautern: Kaiserslautern ES/Vogelweh/Sembach ES/Sembach MS/Landstuhl ES-MS
- Korea: Seoul MS/Seoul HS
- Okinawa: Kadena ES/Stearley Heights ES/Ryukyu MS/Kadena HS
- Japan: Edgren HS/Sollars ES/Cummings ES/Sasebo ES-complex/Darby ES/ EJ King HS/all 4 Yokota schools
RETRO PAY -- DoDDS educators should have received their annual retroactive pay adjustment in their May 14 pay. If you did not receive yours, alert your DFAS Customer Service Representative to find out the reason for the delay.
THANK YOU -- As I conclude my visit to the Pacific this weekend, I want to thank the many FRSs and Association leaders in Korea, Okinawa, and Japan for their great hospitality. While over here, I've participated in some very important training for our local leaders. FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen, Pacific Area Director Debra Degalis, and Pacific UniServ Attorney Michael Bauernfeind have conducted much of the training and, as always, have done a stellar job! In addition to thanking them, I want to thank all of our FRSs here in the Pacific (as well as our local association leaders and building reps throughout the world) for the very important work you do serving members everyday. FEA could not possibly exist without you. Thank you for all you do!