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October 7 2008 FEA Pacific Update

OCTOBER 7, 2008
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director


Area Director Activities October is the month of ¡¥Where are the FEA leaders¡¦? We have been over the ocean so to speak for the Fall Joint Labor-Management and FRS Training. These trainings and visits provide a wonderful opportunity to learn and share with administrators, and the FRSes have the opportunity to hear updates from FEA HQ, Michael Priser, FEA President, and H.T. Nguyen, FEA General Counsel as well as Michael Bauernfeind, Pacific UniServ and yours truly. The FEA district leaders get to hear about issues around the globe as well as provide your input on these issues and those unique to the Pacific and the three districts. The first training was completed in Korea. Thanks to Betty Gossett and her TEAK leaders for their hospitality, valuable insights and reports. Currently we are in Okinawa and are enjoying our time with the "island educators". (See dates below.) There have been inquiries if I will be visiting schools. Yes, my goal is to visit each school this school year.

Gradespeed: We continue to hear about Gradespeed. It is important that you assist your FRS with documenting specific problems. There have been concerns related to the abuse of the parent portal. Please work with your FRS. The MOU specifically addresses the parent portal, and it is administration's responsibility to ensure that the parents understand the appropriate purpose and usage. We are aware of other issues, and Michael Priser and I will be sharing them with our respective counterparts.

EXCENT Online: Yes, EXCENT continues to be problematic to put it diplomatically, and our students and especially special educators are bearing the brunt of the burdens. Michael Priser has heard you loud and clear. Dr. Bresell has been the most proactive of the DoDDS and DDESS administrators in trying to find ways to assist the special educators. Please document the problems and especially the amount of time that you are spending due to the new Excent. Work closely with your FRS and administrator. It is vital that we work with our FEA leaders and management on all levels.

ID Badges: As a sad sign of our times, the Department of Defense has required DoDEA to ensure that school employees wear ID badges. For some of you, this is not a new expectation. I have been working with the Pacific Office to ensure that the badges are as unobtrusive as possible as you carry out your important job of teaching the children.

FRS Training Schedule and PAL Board Meeting: Fall FRS and Joint Labor Management Training will be held a little later than the norm in order to allow the FRS's time to acclimate to the new school year. FEA President, Michael Priser and General Counsel, H.T. Nguyen will also attend the trainings.
Korea: 2 October (JLMT) & 3 October (FRS). Done
Okinawa: 6 October (JLMT) & 7 October (FRS).
Japan: 9 October (FRS) & 10 October (JLMT).
PAL Board 11-13 October (please note that this meeting was noted as 26-27 September, in the FEA pocket calendar).

Congratulations: Way to go, Lester Middle School (FRS, Johnny Whitely). They are 100%!

Other Information:

Pay Organizer- I forgot to give credit for the pay organizer that was provided with the September 22 update. Thanks to Larry Tjeltveit of Shape ES

Open Season for FEHB will be November 10 ¡V December 8. OPM's FEHB site

NEA President's Newsletter

DoDEA has a reciprocity agreement for teacher certification with stateside schools. See what states have a reciprocity agreement with DoDEA.