March 1, 2011 FEA Stateside Update

March 2011

Performance Appraisal Working Group: This group has been meeting telephonically each Thursday since the end of January to review educators' performance appraisals in an effort to make them more ‘measurable'. Lola Downs has joined me as a member of this group along with participants from Peachtree City (PTC), DODEA HQ, and school level administrators. Once the appraisals are completed, the Association will be afforded the opportunity to bargain the impact and implementation of the updated appraisals. There will also be training for administrators and educators associated with the restructured appraisals.

UDDI: FEASR has yet to sign an MOU about the planned training for UDDI. In a conference call February 8th, discussion about UDDI - to include its name and its true purpose - was held. Acting DODEA Director, Marilee Fitzgerald, has directed the task group to reconvene and provide more specificity to the purpose and goal of UDDI. Sandy Akin continues to be our representative on the task group that is meeting this week at PTC. Next week a Technical Working Group (TWG) will meet to develop curriculum guides for the existing UDDI modules. Deborah Scobey, local president at Ft. Jackson, is our Association representative in this TWG.

CSI/AdvancEd: Administrators and CSI chairpersons will soon be undergoing training with AdvancEd in order to have a common understanding of the requirements. While AdvancEd states they are not prescriptive and only offer suggestions for improvement, local decisions for unnecessary requirements under the guise of an AdvancEd requirement continue to bog educators down with mundane tasks. The Association has requested representation at each of these scheduled training sessions:
March 7th at Campbell: Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell
March 9th at Benning: Ft. Benning, Ft. Rucker, Maxwell AFB, Ft. Stewart, Ft. Jackson and Laurel Bay March 11th at Lejeune: Ft. Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Quantico, Dahlgren and West Point

February HQ Meeting: While at DODEA HQ in February, discussions continued over the criteria for the selection of teachers and teacher-in-charge for the Summer Enrichment program. The Association has offered counter-proposals to the Agency's decision to no longer use SCD as the selection criteria.

MLA Negotiations: MLA negotiations are scheduled to continue during the first two weeks of May.

FEASR Area Council: The spring AC is scheduled for the end of this week. We have been working with DODEA HQ on the joint training to be provided by the FLRA on Friday, March 4th. The Saturday session is for internal Association business and any interested members wishing to attend are asked to notify their local president to ensure we have enough room for attendees.

School Psychologists and Assessors: Upon being notified by members about potential changes to the expectations for School Psychologists and Assessors, FEASR immediately requested that any changes be held in abeyance pending completion of bargaining. In a telephone call on February 28th, according to Dr. Curtis, DDESS Area Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, due to the increasing need for mental health services, School Psychologists' roles are changing. Dr. Chen, the DDESS Area IS for Special Education, has asked the district SPED coordinators to begin looking for ways to get the assessors trained on the use of the Woodcock Johnson cognitive assessment tool. This is no easy task, as, according to the publisher of the assessment: "The level of formal education necessary to interpret the WJ III COG is typically documented by successful completion of an applicable graduate-level program of study that includes, at a minimum, a practicum-type course covering administration and interpretation of tests of cognitive abilities." Dr. Curtis and Dr. Chen said there was no expectation for assessors to take over this task until they have had the necessary training. We will continue to monitor this proposed change.

Retirement: Annuity Estimates for Retirement: Members continue to express concerns about timely information for retirement. I have ‘borrowed' information provide by Chuck McCarter, one of the European Area directors. "DLA has the following web site those who want an annuity estimate: Print a copy of the submission for your record. You can also go into EBIS for an annuity estimate. If all federal service was with DoDDS and with no breaks in service with DoDDS, the estimate in EBIS will be the same they would receive from DLA. There will be no difference." Additionally, you can go to the following website and subscribe for their newsletters. In the meantime we await information from Peachtree City that our members can use.