October 15, 2016 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 15, 2016
As this Update goes out, I am attending the Stateside Area Council meeting in Nashville. It is a great opportunity to talk with our DDESS leaders. Unfortunately, also at this time many of our stateside locations (and our members in Cuba) are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Matthew. Our thoughts are with all who are still dealing with the impact of this storm.
Related to the Hurricane Matthew aftermath, NEA Member Benefits provided us with this notice for any Association members in areas severely impacted by the hurricane:
When the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declares a major disaster in a given state and its counties, NEA Member Benefits (NEA MB) activates its Disaster Relief Program. NEA MB maintains a Disaster Assistance page online that contains information related to the FEMA disaster declaration. It also provides information about temporary financial accommodations offered by the NEA Members Insurance Trust and NEA MB business partners to impacted members who participate in NEA MB programs.
Any Association member who participates in a Member Benefits program (such as a loan, credit card or insurance) and who resides in a FEMA-declared disaster area is urged to visit the link above to learn what assistance may be available to you as you deal with your recovery.
FEHB OPEN SEASON
Now is the time to start preparing yourself for the health insurance decisions you will need to make when the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Open Season begins Monday, November 14, 2016. The Open Season will run until Monday, December 12, 2016, and is your annual opportunity to make changes to the health, dental and vision insurance for yourself and your family. It is also the time of year when you can enroll or reenroll in a Flexible Spending Account under the FSAFEDS Program (you must reenroll each year you wish to participate; your enrollment does not automatically renew from year to year). Get information on Open Season from OPM by going to OPM's Open Season page. In addition, our friends at the American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) have prepared some general information about this year's open season for FEA members. You can read that information by clicking here.
DoDEA STUDENTS EXCEL
Once again, DoDEA students are outperforming national averages! Recently, DoDEA announced that DoDEA students' mean combined score on the 2016 SAT was nearly 30 points higher than the national average. The 2016 SAT results improved in all subject areas and DoDEA's 2016 scores are the highest reported in the past five years. We should all be proud of our students' success. Of course, we know that success would not be possible without the hard work of the faculty and support staff throughout our schools. You certainly deserve to share in this recognition.
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
Speaking of all the great work you do: American Education Week takes place November 14-18 and is a formal observance of the importance of public education as well as a recognition of all educators do. FEA has posted a sample article our local associations can customize and send to their local media, informing them of any plans your local has to celebrate the week. You can download that document by going to FEA's web site at feaonline.org and looking for the American Education Week item on our Home page. Be aware, many local papers have early deadlines for submissions so don't wait till the last minute. More information on AEW, including an online toolkit and artwork, can be found at NEA's American Education Week site. Don't be shy; let your great work shine!
READ ACROSS AMERICA GRANT
FEA is applying to NEA for grant money to help fund Read Across America events for our members worldwide on NEA's Read Across America Day (Thursday, March 2, 2017). To bolster our grant application, we need specific projects from local associations who would like to request grant money. If your local has an idea for a great Read Across America event and you need help with funding your event idea, please send a message to FEA Communications Director Gary Hritz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include in your message a description of the event you'd like to hold -- including the numbers of students, Association members and members of the community you expect to participate in the event -- and an explanation of how much funding you are seeking and how the money will be spent. The number of Read Across America projects we'll be able to fund and the amount we're able to send to locals who are selected to receive funds will depend upon whether we are awarded grant funds by NEA and how much we receive. Please submit your funding request to Gary by November 15, 2016.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
Is this really what "Educational Leadership" looks like today in DoDEA? On the very first day of school, an administrator was walking around with a checklist to track what was going on in classrooms. Really? The first days of school set the tone for the entire school year and are a time for establishing relationships with students and teachers. This administrator was clearly saying they are more interested in data than in students or teachers. That is not true educational leadership!
As part of the Federal Government, we are often included in numerous Federal surveys. Two more may be coming your way soon. The Annual Speak Up survey on Technology issues and a new one called "Civilian Employee Workplace and Gender Relations Survey." These are completely voluntary, so employees may participate if they choose.