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August 6 2009 FEA Stateside Newsletter

From: Terry Arvidson, FEA Director for DDESS
Date: August 6, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the start of a new year! We are hopeful that your start is a smooth one and the beginning of a positive and successful year. While I have not yet had the opportunity to personally meet with our new Area Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Dr. Linda Curtis, I have corresponded briefly with her and Dr. Jeter regarding the start of the school year. Both Dr. Jeter and Dr. Curtis have assured me that the superintendents understand the need to provide as much time as possible for educators to prepare for the start of the school year. Please let your Association representative know if there is a problem with this at your school.

Teacher Moves/Reassignments: The MLA was clarified in a separate MOU about the compensation or release time for teachers when they have had a room change and/or grade level/subject reassignment. If you did not receive compensation or release time for your change (1.5 days for each!), please let your faculty/building rep know so they can work to get the compensation you deserve and that we fought so hard to obtain.

DODEA Restructuring: At this time Dr. Bruce Jeter is the acting DDESS Director. Linda Curtis is our new DDESS Superintendent for Instruction, Curriculum and Assessment. I am so encouraged by Dr. Jeter's offer to meet right away and review the status of the DODEA restructuring and its impact on DDESS. We are scheduled to meet August 11th and will also discuss the expectations set forth at the Superintendents Meeting. Upon completion of that meeting I will forward that information to your Association leaders who will keep you informed. If you are not receiving regular information from your local leaders, make sure you are on their mailing list, or check your Association bulletin board.

Support Master Labor Agreement: There is still no General Counsel appointed for the FLRA. This person is necessary for us to get a final decision on our ULP against the Agency for the implementation of the [failed] Support Master Labor Agreement. In the meantime, understand the Agency is making decisions that impact the support professionals based on what is in this document. "Knowledge is power."

Certified Master Labor Agreement: The Agency put FEA/SR on notice as to their intent to open the teachers' contract for negotiations. At this time we have received proposals from the Agency regarding the Ground Rules. The current Master Labor Agreement for teachers is in full force pending completion of any newly negotiated contract.

Grading Policies: Please note that like attendance, there is no system-wide grading policy for DODEA. Each educator should review their performance appraisal for the "Performance Standards at a Fully Successful Level". These standards provide guidance as to what is expected to be fully successful while giving the individual educator the autonomy to choose what works best for them in their setting when assessing student progress.

MOU: Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were signed in June over the following: Implementation of the Advanced Placement (AP) Task Group Recommendations; Implementation of High School Counseling Task Group Recommendations; DODEA Revised Social Studies Standards and materials; and the Pilot for Information System (SIS). The SIS is being piloted at the following locations: Guam (Andersen ES), Quantico MS/HS, Lejeune HS and McNair ES (Ft. Bragg).

Task Groups: More task groups are scheduled to form this school year. They include 21st Century Steering Committee; Early Childhood Education (ECE); Middle School; Scheduling - to address: staffing, instructional day, seminar period, block scheduling/7 period day, and instructional related period (IRP). The Association has requested representation on these groups.

Two places to find some great ideas for the start of the year are the FEA Member Resources Page (feaonline.org) and the NEA website (nea.org). There you will find NEA's Tools and Ideas Page for tips on classroom management, lesson plans, and other resources. As always, do not hesitate to check in with your local leaders for tips and advice as well. Have a wonderful start of the year -- Dorothy Lee and I look forward to seeing you during our visits to your districts this year.

Terry