April 2012 FEA Stateside Newsletter

BAS: Under the current MOU, the BAS will be administered once again this spring in our DDESS schools. The MOU is clear that substitute coverage will be offered for teachers to administer the final assessment. Teachers should contact their school administrator to discuss the coverage. Additionally, the MOU states that when the final assessment of the students is finished, teachers will input student data and complete an end of the year reading assessment survey. To facilitate this, the MOU states that the administrator-member of the school-based facilitation team will cover the classroom for up to one hour for the teacher to input the data and an additional hour to allow the teacher to complete the survey. According to the MOU we are to meet again to discuss further implementation of this assessment for school year 2012-13. If you have any questions, please forward those to your local Association president.

MOUs are currently pending for Summer Enrichment, Summer Workshop and Online Summer School. DODEA Headquarters continues to be overwhelmed with the amount of projects and initiatives which has impacted timely resolution of these important programs. Other MOUs still not completed are for the ASPEN SPED Phase III and IV implementation as well as the use of ReThink Autism materials and NetSupport. In addition to the BAS MOU, others that need to be re-visited for school year 2012-2013 are for the Creative Curriculum and also Differentiated Instruction.

STEM: Another DODEA HQ initiative dropped onto the schools at the last minute is the Spring STEMposium. Instead of time for thoughtful and purposeful planning for a successful event, many schools are scrambling to find the time and means to highlight STEM in their schools. Dr. Curtis, acting Director for DDESS/DoDDS Cuba, has been able to procure funding and also professional development days to support the work required to make the event a positive one. Please let your local Association leaders know if requirements in support of this event are impacting your work.

Increased Instructional Time: School administrators have been tasked to review schedules in an effort to increase instructional time to 60 minutes per week for Art, Music and Physical Education. The Association feels very strongly that there are highly qualified specialists in the schools to support this. The classroom teachers should not be expected to add ‘one more thing' to their already packed day in the classroom. Please keep your local Association informed of any changes that may be occurring as a result of this initiative.

Spring Area Council Meeting: The local Association presidents and guests met at Peachtree City on March 23-24 to discuss topics and issues impacting our bargaining unit members. One of the top discussions concerned addressing violent behaviors of students in our schools. Some educators and staff (specifically SPED) have received training that includes a progression of responses starting with the de-escalation of behavior, but may necessitate using restraint. Only those educators and staff trained to use these techniques are authorized to do so. While there is a DODEA regulation for Discipline (2051.1), schools are also to have a plan for a Crisis Response team in place for educators and staff to call for immediate help. For more information about the discussions during the Spring Area Council, please contact your local president.

Happy Spring!