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April 3, 2017 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members and Leaders Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: April 3, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS

I want to offer my congratulations to the following three members who were recently elected by their peers to serve on the FEA Board of Directors:

Jane Loggins -- FEA Director for DDESS
Melanie Horton -- FEA Pacific Area Director
Terry McClain -- FEA Europe Area Director (beginning with SY 17-18, FEA Europe has decided to have a single Area Director, rather than the previous two positions)

It is a great honor to serve our members and I look forward to working with these three outstanding leaders in the years ahead. Thanks also to the members who took time to vote.


DELAY IN ORDERS

We're hearing more and more concerns about orders not being processed for travel after April 28, due to the Continuing Resolution of the budget. FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen and I met recently with DoDEA Director Tom Brady and other DoDEA officials. During those meetings, we detailed to them the concerns and hardships this delay causes for any members who may be taking RAT, PCSing, or retiring/resigning/separating from our schools this summer. We asked management to take our concerns to the Pentagon and urge DOD officials to do anything possible to address this issue.

Meanwhile, we have been told to encourage members who would be affected by any of the situations above to submit your travel order requests now. DoDEA is processing them and will continue to do so up to the point of final approval. This wouldn't allow your travel orders to be issued in advance, but it would make the process of issuing them much faster once the budget IS approved.

We realize this is a huge concern for our members and we will continue to make sure DoDEA management and the Pentagon are made aware of the situation, and continue to urge them to do anything possible to alleviate the hardships it may cause.


STILL AWAITING RAT REIMBURSEMENT?

Thanks to FEA's efforts, many DODDS members who were not properly reimbursed for RAT travel last summer have now received those reimbursements. If you have still not been reimbursed for your RAT from last summer, you should send your travel voucher to this email address. Management has promised they will work to quickly process such reimbursement requests. Additionally, Management has informed us that they are working on improving the process and instructions for next year so that these delays will not occur.


LATE DEPARTURE/EARLY RETURN REIMBURSEMENTS

Employees who were required to put in a late departure/early return or other additional summer work during 2016 and have not yet been properly reimbursed for that time are urged to contact the DoDEA Human Resources Customer Service team at this email address about the payment owed to you.


CCRS

FEA continues to forward feedback we receive on the training and implementation of CCR Standards. The overwhelming majority of the feedback I have seen on both the math and the ELA indicates teachers do not feel the training meets their needs. With implementation of Science and Social Studies coming up, FEA will continue to advocate for better training to meet the needs of our teachers AND our students.


TRAVEL

Later this month, FEA Executive Director HT Nguyen and I will be traveling to Germany. We will both be in the Kaiserslautern Area April 17 and 18, then HT will return to the US and I will continue on to Stuttgart, Netzaberg, Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, and Wiesbaden. While it is hard to keep up with the ongoing demands of emails and calls while I am on the road, there is no substitute for speaking directly with educators in the field about the issues we face. Check with local leaders for specific times and dates of the visits and meetings.


CUSTOMER SATISFACTIONS SURVEY

DoDEA has opened a "Customer Satisfaction Survey" on the DoDEA website. There is a portion of the survey, which will be available through April 14, intended for teachers. While the Association encourages teachers to voice their opinions through this voluntary survey, we question whether DoDEA will take any action to improve working conditions in our schools as a result of this. We continue to say that "Educators' working conditions are students learning conditions," but DoDEA does not seem to understand that basic concept.


EARTH DAY

For resources to celebrate Earth Day, April 22, go to NEA's Earth Day page.


TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK

It is not too early to start planning for this year's celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8 -- 12. This celebration, originated by the National PTA, is an annual celebration of the important work educators do. Tuesday May 9 has been designated as National Teacher Day, and Wednesday May 10 is National School Nurses Day. Plan now to celebrate the great work that our schools do every day. 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 Teacher Appreciation Week item on our Home page. For more information go to PTA.org or NEA's National Teacher Day page or for NEA's School Nurse's Day page


MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD

DoDEA has information at this page including info on "Purple Up! For Military Kids", in which members of the DoDEA community are asked to wear the color purple on April 21 to show support for military children. In addition, FEA has posted a letter-sized flyer for our members to print out and hang up in their classrooms to help in your celebration of this important month. You'll find it on our home page. Our students are heroes too, for all they endure, and we celebrate them every day!