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September 1 2012 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: September 1, 2012



LIBRARIES OPEN DURING TRAINING -- The Informational Specialists will be receiving a weeklong training on the new library automation system according to a directive sent out from DoDEA Headquarters last week. Libraries are to remain open during the training and substitutes are authorized. Ms. Fitzgerald has clearly stated that there should be no impact on teachers' preparation time nor should the education of children be compromised. If your school has difficulty in keeping the library open, maintaining prep time, or is cutting services from students (nursing, counseling, art, music, PE, gifted, psychological, Read 180, reading support, math support, ETs, classroom paraprofessionals, etc.) please let FEA know immediately.


BAS READING TESTING -- DoDEA plans to test all K-3 students again this fall. Early childhood educators should read the MOU's that govern this testing (posted on the FEAonline.org website). All DoDDS and DDESS Teachers are to receive substitute teachers for as many days as needed to give the test to their students. Some principal are telling teachers that they are allotted 2 (or 3) days of subs. This is NOT true. If it takes additional days, substitutes are to be provided to minimize disruption of instruction to all children. Testing protocols should be printed by the school ahead of time for both DoDDS and DDESS teachers. If there are any violations of this agreement, please let FEA know immediately.


STATESIDE MOUS -- A pair of new memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between FEA's Stateside Region and DDESS have been posted to the FEA Web site. The MOUs cover Implementation of the Creative Curriculum for Preschool Materials and Year 2 of the K-3 Reading Assessment (BAS) Pilot. You can find those and other MOUs affecting both DDESS and DoDDS at www.feaonline.org/mous.htm (member login required)


CAUTION WHEN ANSWERING DODEA SURVEYS -- FEA will no longer approve any survey that asks employees for their years of service. On July 9, 2012, a DoDEA Headquarters' researcher noted on the 1-1 Laptop computer surveys that negative remarks were made by teachers who were "3 to 5 years from retirement" so that their responses could be "set aside." Such misuses of data and discriminatory remarks have no place in the Federal work force. All educators' input has value in planning for the 21st century whether a teacher has 1 or 31 years of experience. In the future, we will ask that questions to determine the age of an educator or length of service be omitted. Educators are being advised not to respond to such inquiries.


TOMODACHI REGISTRY -- DoDEA tells us the Pentagon is nearing completion of its "Operation Tomadachi Health Registry" and information about its release should be forthcoming. This registry is being created by DoD to show employees and civilians who were in Japan during the spring 2011 earthquake/tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster the estimated levels of radiation to which they were exposed. DoD has stated repeatedly that none of its personnel in Japan, especially none at any DoDDS location, were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.


IN OUR THOUGHTS -- Our members and all residents of Okinawa and South Korea are in our thoughts this week as they recover from typhoon damage (South Korea was actually hit by two separate storms this week).


HANDY TIPS -- There are many useful resources available through the Web sites of FEA, (www.feaonline.org), NEA (www.nea.org), and NEA Member Benefits (www.neamb.com). Here are a few particular resources I want to point out:
  • Works4Me -- Access thousands of tips from your fellow NEA members to help you in every aspect of your career. You can even sign up to have tips sent to you each week.

  • NEA Academy -- As a member, you can sign up for hundreds of classes at reduced tuition rates.

  • Tools & Ideas -- Get ideas for lesson plans, tips for classroom management, strategies to help you teach and much more.

  • Bnetsavvy -- A great resource to help us adults keep up with the ever changing world of online networking and communications, especially as a way to help kids be safe while online.

TRAVEL --I'm just finishing up visits to nearly every DDESS local association. Next week, I'll visit our members at West Point before heading over to Europe to attend FRS trainings for the Kaiserslautern and Heidelberg districts. From there, I'll fly to Japan to attend the NEATA training before moving on to other trainings and school visits throughout the Pacific (more on those in my next update). FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen will also be traveling to Europe in early September, with visits planned to the trainings at Bavaria and the Isles District before attending the Europe Area Council Meeting and Europe Association Day event near Lakenheath later in the month. It's always a busy time in the fall, but getting to meet with our members and see the enthusiasm of the fantastic association reps who attend these trainings is always so rewarding.


CONTINUED OUTSTANDING SERVICE STARTS THE SCHOOL YEAR -- It was reported to me by a teacher that the past weekend, the parking lot was full of teachers' cars getting ready for the arrival of students on Monday. We know this is not unusual in our DoDEA schools. I saw the same dedication during my DDESS visits this month. My heartfelt thanks to all the educators and support professionals worldwide that make a difference for our military families. I see high performance in every location. Thank you.


SIGN UP -- Remember, you can have this update and other news from FEA sent directly to your e-mail by going to www.feaonline.org/listserv.htm.


I hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend!