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November 10 2009 FEA Stateside Region Update

November 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Here we are with November well underway … gaining that extra hour last week wasn't quite the amount of time we all need to keep up these days. During the last few weeks Dorothy Lee and I have been at Peachtree City and DODEA HQ. At PTC we were able to mediate some grievances, with good results. Those decisions will be forthcoming once we have signed the final agreement. During the trip to DODEA headquarters we discussed the changes and expectations flooding out of headquarters which subsequently triggered our requests to bargain. The dates for bargaining are set for December 17 and 18. How can we minimize the impact of these changes for our members while allowing for successful implementation? Your local president will be asking you for your feedback regarding these changes.
Bargaining Topics for December:
TerraNova and UDDI: During our discussions were we told that no extra work should have resulted from the modules presented by administrators over the past months. It is a DODEA HQ understanding these trainings are ‘awareness sessions' only, to raise the levels of understanding. However, with these sessions presented at the end of an already long day, and with administrators sending out mixed messages about the purposes of the modules, many teachers are confused about the expectations. While there are follow up modules scheduled, those next sessions are ‘on hold' pending the results of a survey to be distributed to teachers about the training modules. There will also be a request for feedback regarding the revised standards included in the survey. The release date for that survey is forthcoming.
FLES: the requirement for FLES pre- and post - testing has been held in abeyance for this year pending our request to bargain. I have received feedback from many members as to how we can minimize the impact of this requirement. If you have input, please forward that to me through your local president.
ELA PK-12 and SS 7 - 8 & 10 -- 12 Materials Roll Out: There is no requirement at this time to use these materials. Training is scheduled; however the specifics will be bargained at the December meeting. The problem with installation of the software associated with these materials is being addressed
Kinder Materials: We have heard that some schools have gone forward with the .5 day for review of the new materials. It has also come to our attention that the teachers would like a face-to-face session with someone who is familiar with the materials. We will pursue this when we meet at HQ in December.
H1N1 Planning: These plans are the guidelines for schools in the event of school closings and will impact teachers and support staff. It is important that while we attempt to maintain the proper health, safety and learning environment for our students, we do not add more work to already full plates of teachers and support staff. Local presidents are meeting with the school representatives to review school plans for possible changes to responsibilities, or addition of work. Those changes, while they may be directed, must then be bargained.
3:1 SLP Delivery Model: This is a new model for service delivery to a student on an IEP for Speech and Language. We will be addressing this change during our December meeting. Your feedback on this is welcome and should be forwarded to me through your local president.
SPED Software, SPED ELA/Math, Software Validation, Computer Replenishment, ESL Proficiency Levels and Gifted Ed Delivery Models were other topics discussed last week in conjunction with preparation for bargaining. More information will be sent to local presidents to share as well as solicit information from our members for the December bargaining session.
Local Bargaining and Representation: While DODEA Headquarters has acknowledged the need to meet with the Association and discuss changes, the response locally within DDESS has unfortunately not followed that example. In an attempt to resolve issues, local presidents have requested to meet and discuss (requested bargaining), but the answer they have received has been a resounding NO. Time and again the responses have been a knee-jerk reaction by ‘labor management relations' (LMR) instead of a willingness to address the issues that impact education. It appears that in many DDESS districts, the work needed to be accomplished for AdvancedEd requirements heads the list of changes, or increased workload, that are impacting our teachers and staff. The School Improvement Leadership Team (SILT) is unquestionably one of the driving forces within any DODEA school as their decisions have far-reaching impact. The Association supports the efforts towards school improvement, but we believe in the importance in allowing representation on the School Improvement Leadership Team (SILT) in accordance with the negotiated agreement(s). We believe our presence not only allows participation as a full member, but can also address concerns ahead of time that may be in conflict with negotiated agreements. Representation to the SILT committees has been refused at schools in districts such as Ft. Campbell and GA/ALA. Other districts lack Association representation. We are working to resolve this; however we will go forward with a grievance, if necessary, to correct the situation.

As the holiday season rushes towards us and prepares to collide with our already busy lives, remember to set aside time for ‘you', even if it is only a few minutes a day. You are extraordinarily important, so you should treat yourself that way!

Terry