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August 26 2010 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leadership Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: August 26, 2010


WELCOME BACK! -- I want to welcome every single FEA member back from what was a very eventful summer. I hope you all returned rested and reenergized for the 2010-2011 school year.

CHANGES -- As you know, on June 24, Dr. Shirley Miles was reassigned to a position at the Pentagon. This was a change FEA had long advocated and we hope, now that it has happened, the new management of DoDEA will recognize the need to change the way business was being done. Since the reassignment of Dr. Miles was announced, FEA has been working with the new Acting Director of DoDEA, Marilee Fitzgerald, to set a more positive agenda for the new school year. Thus far, we have seen positive changes in management's willingness to work with FEA on a pre-decisional basis and we hope this momentum continues.

SURVEY COMING -- To help FEA set its priorities in this new environment, we are surveying DoDEA faculty and staff this fall, asking you to let us know where you want your professional association to focus its energies. The surveys will be sent in the coming weeks to your building representatives for distribution to you. When you receive the survey, please spend a few minutes responding so that FEA can best represent your interests and those of your fellow education professionals (as well as your students!). Look for that survey to arrive in your school later this fall.

DEBT NOTICES -- One unfortunate development this past summer was a dramatic increase in the volume of debt notices being sent by DFAS to current and retired DoDEA personnel. If you receive such a notice, immediately invoke your rights under your negotiated agreement by informing your FRS/building representative and your FEA UniServ attorney (attorneys are listed in your FEA pocket calendar and online at www.feaonline.org/passport/staff/) . Do not delay in getting FEA working these issues for you.

CHECK YOUR PAY -- It is always a good idea to check your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each time you are paid, and especially at the start of each school year, to make sure you are receiving the proper pay and benefits. Take advantage of the information available at www.feaonline.org/passport/salary, including DDESS and DoDDS salary schedules and FEA's pay organizer. (Member login is required)

PRE-SCHOOL INITIATIVE -- On a more positive note, FEA has been working with DoDEA headquarters to restore educators' home visits with the families of special needs pre-schoolers entering DoDDS schools. These visits, which are incredibly valuable for pre-school educators in their planning process, were cut in the past two years. The restoration of these visits has been another priority of FEA's and we are very glad to see them returning. FEA and management recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on this issue, as well as other MOUs covering the following topics:
  • Speech and Language Pathologists 3:1 Service Delivery Model
  • Training for music education in DoDDS elementary schools
  • K-5 math common assessments pilot
The full text of these MOUs can be found at www.feaonline.org/passport/legal/mous.htm (member login required).

PRIVACY ACT -- As a reminder, FEA and DoDDS have an MOU stating that educators are to receive release time to accomplish mandated training on the Privacy Act. The training is to be completed at some point during the first six weeks following the first eight duty days of the school year. No trainings related to the Privacy Act or other mandatory training required by management should take place in the three days leading up to the start of the current school year. To view the complete Privacy Act MOU, which was signed on March 14, 2008, go to www.feaonline.org/media/MOUs/FEAMOUPrivacyActTraining.pdf.

FEAONLINE -- The above item is a natural transition to remind our members about FEA's Web site at www.feaonline.org. In addition to the MOUs mentioned above, you can find archives of updates from myself and Area Directors, legal advice, salary schedules, contracts, and much more.

EMAIL UPDATES -- While at FEA's Web site, be sure to sign up to receive the FEA President's report and other updates from FEA's Washington office. We sent out this update twice a month and send additional updates on legal information and other topics as necessary. To have these updates sent directly to your personal email address, go to www.feaonline.org/listserv.htm

NEW JOURNAL -- Another thing you can find on the FEA Web site is the latest copy of the FEA quarterly newsletter, The Journal. The most recent issue was mailed directly to members in early August and contained additional information on some of the topics in this update, as well as other issues affecting our members. Go to www.feaonline.org/journal.htm to download the current issue in PDF format.

PLUS 1 -- Last school year, 100 school buildings throughout DoDEA achieved Plus 1 status by increasing their overall membership by at least 1, compared to the previous school year. On top of that, we had nine schools achieve 100 percent FEA membership. I again want to congratulate and thank the many hard-working building representatives, local association leaders and FRSs who made this accomplishment possible. And, of course, I want to thank every single member who honored FEA with your membership last year. I hope many of you who are new to the Association will find ways to become actively involved and I encourage you to speak with your local association leaders if you would like to find out how. Let's make this school year an even better one for our professional association!

FALL SCHEDULE -- I'm currently in Germany, where I'm visiting schools at Netzaburg, Vilseck, Hohenfels, Patch, Boeblingen and Kaiserslautern. Towards the middle of September I'll be attending FRS trainings throughout Europe and the FEA Europe Area Council meeting in Garmisch. More on my fall travel schedule in my next update.

Best wishes for a great school year!