September 2011 FEA Stateside Update

Welcome to School Year 2011!

While many of our schools have been open for over 4 weeks, it always feels that Labor Day Weekend officially heralds the end of summer and the start of another school year. Dorothy Lee, our Uni-Serv Director and I are already filling our calendars with planned training for local leaders and visits with members. On the upcoming calendar:
  • September 6 -- 8: Maxwell AFB and Ft. Rucker

  • September 13: Ft. Jackson

  • September 14: Laurel Bay

  • September15: Ft. Stewart

The Fall Area Council will be held at the Peachtree City Area Service Center on Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24. All local presidents and guests will meet to discuss issues and concerns as well as to receive training on how to deal with those issues as your representatives. All members are invited to attend the open meetings. Please contact your local president if interested.

Paperwork: Both the Certified and Classified contracts have allowances for bargaining unit members to request a copy of their salary worksheet for the new pay year. We advise that you compare the salary worksheet with your Leave and Earning Statement (LES) and your Notice of Personnel Action (SF 50) to ensure all information matches. If there are discrepancies, file a pay inquiry with the POC at your building.

ASPEN: ASPEN training is, or has, occurred in the schools. This program replaces SMS as the Student Information System and is now used throughout DODEA by administrators, educators and support professionals. We have recently signed the MOU that agrees upon the implementation of ASPEN this year in the schools, and ensures that for this implementation year, all educators will have a full day at the end of each marking period to complete grades. The implementation will be reviewed in the spring of 2012, so we will be requesting feedback about the use of ASPEN. A second MOU recently signed is for a pilot for the ASPEN Electronic Gradebook. The pilot locations will be determined locally with agreement between the local president and district superintendent. Those piloting the ASPEN Electronic Gradebook will not be required to use Gradespeed.

ASPEN SPED Module: The pilot for this Module (expected to replace EXCENT) continues into this school year, with consideration for expansion throughout DDESS in January 2012.

K-3 Reading Assessment: The MOU was also signed for this year's use of the BAS K-3 Reading Assessment. Teachers in K-3 will receive training from their school team which consists of a school administrator, the school ET and a school ECE teacher who applied and was selected for the position. The assessment replaces the requirement for schools to use DRA, and unlike the DRA administration, there is no question now that substitutes will be provided for teachers to assess the students. If necessary, schools that have used DRA data for their CSI plans can convert the data from DRA to the BAS using a conversion chart.

Differentiated Instruction: We have signed an MOU for the training to be done on the modules for Differentiated Instruction. The crucial thing to remember is that this year continues to be an awareness year, with educators practicing new skills. Administrators should not be basing a teacher's evaluation on the use of differentiated instruction; rather teachers will need to feel supported as they practice the skills needed for successful use.

Signing an EDA: Read your contract carefully before signing. If you have any questions contact your local president before signing.

AdvancedEd: It has come to my attention that training is underway in the districts for CSI chairpersons and administrators. The Association feels very strongly about having representation at this training due to the work that is generated as a result of the CSI process. The CSI committees can only make recommendations about strategies that the school should consider for improvement.
Please let your local representative know if you have concerns about new work requirements. While the Agency does have the right to assign work, we have the right to bargain the impact of that work and its implementation in order to be successful.