November 2016 FEA Stateside Newsletter

Jane Loggins -- FEA Director for DDESS
Ben Hunter -- FEA-SR General Counsel
Angelia Stubbs -- FEA-SR General Counsel

Hurricane Matthew -- Many of our members is in the Carolinas' and Georgia are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The Association has been working to make sure employees who were mandatorily evacuated from military facilities receive all compensation and allowances due them for the evacuation period. When school reopened, some buildings were surrounded by high water and electricity was sporadic. Educators came back to school under harsh conditions but put children first, by providing the same high quality educational experiences they always provide. Please keep our impacted employees in your thoughts.

Dues Deductions -- Due to a mistake by DoDEA, the FEA SR yearly dues deductions for this school year did not start on October 21 as planned. The dues deductions for this school year will now begin on November 4 and continue for fifteen pay periods. Deductions for this school year will end on May 19, 2017. Please review your LES and make sure these deductions begin and end on time. If they do not, please notify your local president immediately.

Grading by Specialists -- Many administrators have directed our Information Specialists, ETs' Guidance Counselors, Math Specialists, FLES teachers and more into the "wheel" to facilitate elementary schedules. Placing these employees into the "wheel" adds work to plates that are already full. Recently, in the Southeast district, these specialists were tasked with reporting grades for each student they see. Many of these specialists may only see a class on the "wheel" once in a nine week period. A counselor may do a lesson on self-esteem, and is now expected to grade a student on his or her self-esteem! Teachers were not told to assign grades until late in the quarter. The agency even sent an email to teachers stating it was a Union concern that they must give grades! Not true! Educators provide feedback on student progress to parents and each student in so many other beneficial ways. Teachers talk to parents and students about progress. Teachers engage their colleagues about students' growth. Teachers send newsletters, make phone calls, set up meetings and open houses with parents and students. Is it really a best practice to put an extra piece of paper in the report card with an E, M, S, or L noted on it? Is it really meaningful and beneficial to provide a letter grade on self--esteem to a first grade child?

FLES -- DoDEA headquarters has informed us that they are reviewing the FLES program. The Association has asked HQ to fund and fully support the FLES program. We would like to see DoDEA support this important program in our elementary schools.

FEA Board of Directors Meeting -- The FEA Board of Directors meeting will be held in Washington, DC this month. During this meeting, FEA SR will discuss many concerns and issues affecting our bargaining unit. We face many of the same issues that affect our overseas colleagues. It is vital that as a Union, we address issues we face while working to support and educate our military families and students.

Guam Education Association-Members Helping Members - Joyce Gunderson offered an EBIS exploration session to our members at Andersen Elementary School and Andersen Middle School. Joyce showed teachers how to log on to EBIS and how to use several of the tools found on the website. She talked about the importance of knowing what you have regarding Social Security, FERS and TSP for retirement. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what we can do to "take care of ourselves." Events like this are ways we can support each other when the agency doesn't! Thank you GEA for all you do for members!

Membership Benefits -- Camp Lejeune Certified and Education Support leadership recently held a general meeting for all members. The two Lejeune Associations' invited Michael Gavin from NEA Member Benefits and Kyle Longton from the American Foreign Service Benefit Association. These two guests provided information on your NEA benefits and information on federal health care changes. Any local can request a visit and presentations from these two very helpful and knowledgeable colleagues. Adding to the event, Ashley Melton, 2016 Teacher of the Year for Camp Lejeune and LEA Secretary, presented "Why I Teach." Members had an opportunity to share and reflect why they became teachers. Thank you to the Association leaders at Camp Lejeune for sharing all of the great support you provide for members!

Fall Area Council -- The leaders of FEA SR met with Dr. Christy Huddleston last month during fall Area Council. Topics of discussion involved, PLC's walk through forms, lesson plan requirements, pay problems, slow hiring procedures, CCRSM concerns, communication and more. Concerns were addressed but not all resolved. We continue to seek input from educators in the field on issues that are happening and how to correct problems. During our Saturday meeting, the Area Council was briefed on templates to be used to file individual grievances. Each local president should have a copy of these templates. FEA SR General Counsels, Ben Hunter and Angie Stubbs, provided the Area Council advice on what to do during an investigation and how to document information. Our colleagues from FEA joined in discussions. We recognize that our members face many of the same issues working for DoDEA!

MLA Certified - The Association met with the Agency in a mediation session over the Certified MLA at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Atlanta, GA. The current Certified MLA remains in full effect. The Association will keep you informed as this process moves forward.