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January 2012 FEA Stateside Newsletter

Differentiated Instruction (DI): Much discussion has centered on requirements for teachers to ‘differentiate instruction' as a result of the training offered using the DI modules. At the beginning of this school year, FEA-SR came to an agreement with DODEA HQ outlining the expectations for this school year in regards to DI. "The Department of Education Activity (DODEA) and the Federal Education Association -- Stateside Region (FEA-SR) …hereby agree to the following concerning the implementation of Differentiated Instruction (DI) -- A Touchstone for Responsive and Inclusive Teaching. The focus of the skill building year is to build a common language and understanding of DI with an expectation that teachers develop their skills by practicing the DI process and strategies with opportunities for feedback and support in a collaborative non-evaluative atmosphere" [emphasis added]. If you have concerns about how expectations are being interpreted in your school, please let your local Association representative know so that the Association can ensure the DI process is progressing as intended. Without supportive on-going dialogue, teachers will no more be able to progress than a student who is left to flounder and "figure it out on their own."

ESP Vacancy Announcements: We are currently working to resolve the problem with the lack of vacancy announcements for ESP positions. The Agency seems to interpret that they may hire for support positions from a one-time vacancy announcement. The Association feels this is a misinterpretation of the intent of the contract and the procedure is blatantly wrong. This is hurting our members who are already working in the system and may want to be considered for a different position than their current assignment. If DODEA is serious about retention of a highly qualified staff, an immediate change is necessary to this restrictive procedure.

FLES survey: The Peachtree City Area Service Center (PTC ASC) is forwarding a brief survey for foreign language teachers to complete in order to gather feedback for the future needs of the program. We support your taking the time to complete this survey.

BAS Survey: The DODEA HQ is also attempting to gather feedback regarding the BAS assessment and training. FEASR has repeatedly attempted to convince HQ that the survey does not meet our needs of the information we require in order to determine if the BAS is the best tool for collecting student data system-side. Since we cannot support the DODEA HQ survey, like DoDDS, we will conduct a separate survey for our FEASR teachers and ask that teachers use their time to complete the Association survey. Please go to www.feaonline.org/survey.htm and use the appropriate link to complete our BAS survey for your system.

Laptop Pilot: We have reviewed teacher feedback and submitted a request to bargain for the two schools in DDESS (Knox HS and [Benning] Faith MS) that will be piloting the use of laptops in the schools. All teachers and all students will be receiving a laptop as a tool for instruction in the classroom as well as for use at home. Once MOUs are completed and signed, they will be forwarded to the local Association district president and also posted on the FEA website.

Creative Curriculum Training: Three days of training are planned for all PSCD and Pr-K teachers throughout DDESS. In accordance with our MOU regarding the pre implementation period, upon completion of training "teachers will become familiar with and begin to use the updated materials with the understanding that full implementation will occur during the 2012-2013 school year. During the pre-implementation period, administrators will refrain from directing or requiring the specific use of any part of the creative curriculum materials. This requirement will not impact current teacher performance expectations." This is the time for teachers to identify concerns, problems and any associated issues, including technology, with the materials so that FEASR can be prepared for bargaining the full implementation for SY 2012. It is critical that you keep your local Association leaders aware of your concerns so that we may address them at the table this spring.

Early Childhood (ECE)Training: Classroom Management Implementation Training-Early Childhood Leadership Training facilitated by representatives from the Lakeshore professional development department will be offered in all DDESS Districts (7 locations). The training will incorporate four components:

  • 21st Century Classrooms Design, Characteristics and Instructional Strategies
  • Overview of CHILD (Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered)
  • Tackling Barriers and Objections
  • Learning Station Simulation

Interested teachers were to submit an Early Childhood Leadership Training interest form to principals NLT Friday, 20 January 2012. Principals were to make selection/selections (based on the number of teachers allotted per school) and then forward to Superintendents for endorsement. Superintendents then forwarded those names to PTC ASC (Melanie Kimsey). Notification of selectees was to be on 25 January 2012.

As the school year continues to whiz by, keep in mind that you may be the ‘first to know' about changes in your school. If you have questions or concerns, contact your Association representative immediately and we'll take it from there!

Terry