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June 10 2013 FEA Pacific Update

FEA Pacific Update
JUNE 10, 2013
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

* Area Director Update
* Farewell and Thanks
* Flight Cost Underestimation
* Goodbye Grievance
* Summer Contact Information & Outlook Access
* Hot 'Lanta
* Why Join FEA?
* Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? -Article 51- Pupil Grades
* Legal Eagle Corner- Check MyPay
* Mark Your Calendars
* Other Tidbits

Area Director Update: You are there. It is the last week of School Year 2012-2013! To note this year as 'challenging' is an understatement. As the FEA Pacific Area Director, I found that no matter what was thrown at you, you rose to the occasion. Once again, I am humbled by your dedication and professionalism. Your students are better off because of you.

I want to thank Martha Brown, Pacific Area Director, for SY 12-13. Ms. Brown was planning to join DoDEA HQ around this time last SY. Instead she found herself at the helm of the Pacific for the entire school year. It has been a pleasure to work with Ms. Brown as my management counterpart. Ms. Brown will be departing us soon to her designated new responsibility a year later. Good luck!

It took a number of hours and gentle curses, but I can now access OWA on a separate laptop (I hope). I will check my FEA private account throughout the summer and OWA even less. Responses may be delayed. Here's my email.

As you busily prepare to end your school year, venture into your summer and prepare for the next school year or another phase in life, take a moment to sit back and relax. Once your summer begins, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your school year. Reflection provides us perspective as well as chance to celebrate, rejuvenate and redirect.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

Farewell and Thanks: This is always the difficult section to write each year. How does one articulate the appreciation, great memories, and sadness as well as joy for our good friends, great teachers, and wonderful FEA leaders that are retiring or moving on to other locations? For those who know me, I find farewells very difficult still after these many years in DoDDS. However you express your adieu, whether you are departing or you are remaining, please know that you made a difference in the lives of your students and colleagues. May fair winds find you, wherever you go.

Flight Cost Estimation: As many of you are aware, DoDEA and the other powers-to-be, seem to be unaware of the actual flight costs for the Pacific. As Michael Priser states it, the estimated amounts were so 'low-balled' that our local TMOs could not possibly arrange flights based on the amount. Fortunately, a number of you were able to quickly amend your orders. On the other hand, too many teachers at the last moment had to submit to the Virginia TMO via DoDEA HQ for tickets. If you are still having difficulty receiving your tickets, please contact Michael Priser and me immediately.

Goodbye Grievance: Whether you are retiring, separating or moving to DoDDS Europe or DDESS, please file a goodbye-grievance immediately if you have not done so. Please do not allow the 'canned statements' and denials deter you. You must file the Step 2 and then elevate your principal's response to Step 3. Your FRS can assist you. Remember to cc Michael Bauernfeind (here's his email) and me.

Summer Contact & Outlook Access: Your school secretary on behalf of the principal is collecting summer contact information. Please realize you only have to provide a mailing address. Teachers are not on duty during the summer. You are not required to provide an itinerary, email address or phone number. I realize that many of you prefer to provide such information and others do not. Some of you want or need OWA access and are taking CAC readers with you. Once again, it is your choice to access OWA. If you prefer not to leave detailed information with your principal, I encourage you to leave an emergency contact for the school and detailed information with a friend in your location too.

Hot 'Lanta: FEA will hold its annual membership meeting in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis, 30 June-1 July. All current members and retired members are welcome to attend. If you do plan to go, please contact FEA Admin for details. The NEA Representative Assembly will follow the membership meeting until July 6th. If you have issues or ideas that you want shared, please contact your districts' delegates.

Why Join FEA?: The reasons are numerous, but the recent Excess Placement Program is a perfect example. Connie Shanaghan our Transfer Program guru (one of her many jobs), monitored the entire difficult process for our members. Connie spent many hours before, during and after the workday to ensure that each member was considered correctly and fairly. Questions and input from the field made sure a number of our educators were treated fairly. Connie would respond to my inquiries even though it was 9 PM and often later for her! Thank you, Connie.

Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 51 covers pupil Grades.

ARTICLE 51 - PUPIL GRADES

Section 1.
A unit employee may establish his/her own grading system. In such cases, the unit employee is responsible for translating the grading system to the Employer's. The unit employee's record of grades shall contain a key for translating his/her system to the established grading system in use.

Section 2.
Students' grades may be requested for review and approval by the Employer before grade reports are distributed to students or parents.

Section 3.
In the event that any grade is challenged, the unit employee shall explain and justify the grade assigned.

Section 4.
If the Employer takes action to change a student's grade without the consent of the affected unit employee or directs the unit employee to change a grade, a written statement from the Employer shall be provided to the unit employee, stating that the change in grade and/or the passing or failing of the student was done at the discretion of the Employer.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner: Check MyPay: Worth repeating!

Assistant UniServ Stephanie Trotter handles pay record problems for FEA Pacific. Repeating what she has advised. Do take the time to access MyPay during the recess. If deductions are coming out of your pay you should be prepared to contact the UniServ office by email. Debts are created many times by overlapping TQSA and LQA during the summer, so check MyPay. If you are able to check your mail, watch out for DFAS notification that your account has been reconciled showing a valid debt. You can be sure that deductions will begin shortly thereafter. With these warnings I am hoping that you will take action to protect your paycheck over the summer. Ms. Trotter writes:

"Anyone who receives a debt letter has 70 days to respond (thanks to Mike), so you should encourage educators to check their mail boxes as soon as they return. We will be back in the office on August 1st so we will be ready and waiting to provide assistance to anyone who has received a letter over the summer."

Michael and Stephanie are on break the month of July. One of them will respond to you when possible, but there may be a delay.

Mark Your Calendars

June
14 Last Day or SY 12-13, Flag Day
16 Father's Day
18 Anniversary of First Woman in Space
19 Freedom Day or Emancipation Day

July
4 Fourth of July
9 - August 7th -- Ramadan
26 Anniversary of Signing American with Disabilities Act

August
15 (approximately) Bon Festival (Feast of Lanterns) Japan
21 Teachers Report for SY 1314
21 Hawaii admitted to Union
26 Students first day

September
6 Labor Day
8 Grandparents Day

Other Tidbits

Summer Online Resources for parents and students: You are invited to a summer filled with learning experiences that will help your brain blossom! As we head into summer, children and adults alike may have images of sleeping until noon, riding roller coasters, splashing in the pool, or building sandcastles on sunny, sandy beaches. After ten months of growth in the classroom inspired by awesome teachers, kids do need a break. However, with a little effort the academic "summer slide" can be minimized. Students can have fun continuing to learn during the summer and keep their minds razor-sharp, preparing them for a successful transition to the next grade level and beyond.

The purpose of this website is to present a resource where both parents and students may turn to experience fresh, exciting ideas in education. Some website links are suitable for older students to explore on their own. Parents of younger children will probably want to spend some time exploring the links with their children, guiding them to areas to promote growth and learning. Throughout the website, students of all ages, abilities, and interests will be inspired and motivated to learn for the fun of it!

DoDDS Reunion: Each summer there is a gathering of former and current DoDDS folks. The reunion will be held in Dallas, Texas at the Marriot City Center, July 18-21. For registration information: visit this site.

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this site.

Until next school year,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director