August 2017 FEA Stateside Newsletter



Welcome Back-- I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing summer! School year 2017 -- 2018 has started! The schools in the Southeast began as early as July 23! Many schools in the Mid Atlantic and Guam will be in session soon. This school year will again bring challenges. School has started without fully staffed schools. Some positions are being filled by substitutes until the agency hires full time employees. DoDEA has scheduled implementation of new curriculum in ELA and Science. As a union, we know we will face and conquer these challenges and do what is best for students. We act together, supporting what is best for the profession practice of teaching and learning.

BAS -- DoDEA has made the decision not to make substitute teachers available during the administration of the BAS in grades K-3. A few of our schools in the Southeast, had access to substitute coverage at the beginning of this year. However, the agency intends to stop all substitute coverage in mid August. Substitute coverage has been available during this assessment since 2014. This significant change will limit instruction in the classroom during BAS assessment. The BAS takes at least three days to assess a class of eighteen students. During this assessment, which is done individually, the teacher will be expected to meet with each student for up to forty minutes; while the rest of the class will be expected to focus on learning with limited teacher interaction and support. Young children need to interact with their teacher. The agency's decision to stop substitute coverage during the BAS assessment is harmful to our students. The agency should rethink their decision and do what is right, provide our students, teachers and schools the support needed to facilitate the BAS assessment in every kindergarten through third grade classroom.

FEA Dues Deductions -- Dues deductions for this year will begin on October 20 and end on May 4. If you see that your dues deductions have not started, please contact your local president immediately.

Spread Pay Worksheet ---- Each member should request a spread pay worksheet during the first 60 days of school. This worksheet is very helpful when verifying what and how you are being paid. MLA Article 8, Section 10 Upon a bargaining unit member submitting a written request to the Agency within the first sixty (60) days of each new school year, the Agency will provide the unit member with a worksheet (Appendix D) explaining their salary breakdown for the year. If necessary, the worksheet will be updated and redistributed once during the year if the employee so requests in writing. The worksheet will reflect what the employee has earned by pay period compared with what the employee has received and the cumulative result of salary earned compared to salary paid. This information will allow employees to identify the pay period(s) in which salaries earned and paid are at a "break-even" point.

Dr. Judith Minor-- Dr. Minor has been hired as the Associate Director for Performance and Accountability and the Director of Student Excellence for DoDEA Americas. I look forward to working and collaborating with Dr. Minor as she leads DoDEA Americas. Dr. Minor plans to attend FEA SR fall Area Council in October. I encourage you to attend area council. This fall the meeting is in Nashville, TN on October 27 and 28.

MLA Certified - The current Certified MLA remains in full effect. The Association will keep you informed as this process moves forward.

Employee Rights -- MLA Article 8, Section 2 Employees of the unit have the right, regardless of Association membership, to bring matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate Agency officials, with or without assistance from Association officials. When filing a complaint or appeal under any system other than the negotiated grievance procedure, employees shall have the right to be represented by a representative of their own choosing. Each employee may seek assistance from his/her Association representative at any time during the duty day when neither is involved in assigned duties. If a member needs immediate assistance from an Association representative during instructional time, the employee shall contact the school principal; and if the principal determines that work conditions permit, the employee and the Association representative will be released and provided coverage for their responsibilities. The Association representative will be required to complete an official time request form (Appendix B) and have it approved by the appropriate management official. Nothing in this Agreement shall require an employee to become or to remain a member of the Association or to pay money to the Association except pursuant to a voluntary, written authorization by a member for the payment of dues through payroll deductions.

Have a wonderful school year!

Thank you,