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January 10 2011 FEA Stateside Update

January 2011

As we start our second week and are settled back into the routine, I would like to quickly wish everyone a very Happy New Year. As many people do, I like to set goals for making the year a better one, and in this case, one of the major goals is to impress upon the decisions-makers the impact of the CSI process on education. Many educators have used the cliché the ‘tail is wagging the dog' and unfortunately this appears to be the reality the majority of the time. I find that teachers are repeatedly required to complete mindless tasks in order for the school to checking off a box to show ‘it's being done'. We cannot help but be skeptical about the process providing educators the needed support in the education of our students? A survey is currently being developed, with input from the Association, by DODEA HQ. I have forwarded to DODEA HQ feedback received from teachers. In the meantime I have a meeting scheduled next week at Peachtree City to discuss the concerns that are impacting our educators in the schools. The big question seems to be what is actually required by the AdvEd standards as opposed to what is being ‘recommended'.

Your Expertise is Needed! With the changes underway to enhance communication in the development of ideas, or concepts, that impact our members, DODEA HQ has begun to forward Concept Papers to the Association. (I have received over 30 papers alone during the month of December ) to the Association about ideas or discussions. I will be asking local leaders to forward these papers to you, the ‘local experts', for feedback and opinion/advice. This is your chance to let your voice be heard and help us guide decisions being made at HQ that impact educators and support professionals.

ASPEN: ASPEN is the program that is currently being piloted throughout DODEA to replace SMS as the Student Information System. This will affect anyone who is affiliated with DODEA -- administrators, teachers and support professionals. I attended the ASPEN Focus Groups meetings last week where representatives from all the pilot sites -- counselors, nurses, registrars, special educators, administrators and tech support - continued their work from a previous session. I was so impressed with the perseverance and professionalism of our members to ensure this is the right move for DODEA. A final decision about the status of moving forward will be made this spring.

MOUs: Upon completion of the task group work, Dorothy Lee, our Uniserv Director, and I met on Friday to continue to work on the completion of a number of MOUs. As soon as those signed agreements are forwarded to me from DODEA HQ I will pass them to your local presidents.

Federal Pay Freeze: Everyone is asking about the impact of the recent federal pay freeze on our DDESS bargaining unit members. Interpretation of the language of the two contracts -- one for the Classified Professionals and one for the Certified Professionals -- will determine the impact of this pay freeze. We are working with FEA Washington to determine the specific impact on our various bargaining unit members.

Summer Enrichment: We are working with DODEA HQ to determine the selection process for teachers of Summer Enrichment. Last year FEASR was put on notice by DODEA HQ that selection solely by SCD will be used. It is my hope that we can reach a compromise very soon, and I will notify the local presidents as soon as the decision is made. If you have an idea, pass it on to me at feaddess@yahoo.com.

Terry

Mrs. Terry Arvidson
FEA Director for DDESS
Office: 757-787-4082
FAX: 757-787-4083
Cell 703-309-1767