June 3 2016 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: June 3, 2016
Some of our schools are already out for the summer, but for those of you still in session, I hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend and that your last weeks of school go smoothly.
The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey will be closing June 8. If you have received an invitation to participate, please do so. The stated purpose is "to make DoDEA a more effective and better place to work." Let YOUR voice be heard.
During a recent meeting with DoDEA, I again expressed our educators' frustration at the seemingly constant disruptions of services and network outages which have plagued our schools this year. Instruction and communication have been drastically impacted by these interruptions. Thank you to those of you in the field who have kept us informed about the impact of these events. In order to provide the educational opportunities and experiences students need, our schools must have adequate and reliable technology and support.
We have also recently provided DoDEA with data and feedback on the number and types of computers, printers, Interactive White Boards, and Digital Cameras which are needed to support programs in our schools. As always, the Association will voice the input and concerns of our members.
FEA continues to advocate for better training and materials that are organized, user friendly, and available in print as well as digital versions.
As part of the rollout of the new GO Math! Program DoDEA has decided to offer an online course for K-5 Educators. This online course would be voluntary and available this summer. DoDEA has proposed a $250 stipend for teachers who complete the training during the summer and turn in the certificate. Although we have NOT completed bargaining, management has sent information concerning this course to the field. FEA will continue to work to ensure such trainings remain voluntary and that teachers' time is protected and valued.
Whether you're looking for professional development opportunities or a discount on a vacation hotel, remember to visit the NEA Member Benefits site at www.neamb.com. There are dozens of discount and travel programs and an entire section on professional resources available exclusively to Association members. Don't forget this valuable benefit of membership! There are great deals and valuable services you can use all year round.
At this time of year, it is good to take time to reflect on the successes which you have certainly had during the year….that student who made such great progress, the family you connected with, the student who thanked you for that extra help, all of those moments…in the rush and pressure of the school year, sometimes we don't celebrate those moments like we should. Give yourself, or a colleague, a pat on the back. YOU do make a difference.
SUPPORTING YOUR FRS AND BUILDING REPS
Many thanks to those of you who have served as Association Reps this year, and also to all of those who have "stepped up" for next year. Please remember that while one person may be elected, the job of representing our members has to be a team effort. Think of ways in which you can help…offer to attend a meeting with, or in place of, your building rep….offer to decorate the FEA bulletin board, distribute newsletters, forward emails, take notes, or organize a meeting or social...none of these take a lot of time or long term commitment, but they are important ways you can help your Association Rep in their work.
I know I'm repeating myself here yet again, but I can't emphasize enough how important this is to do: If you are planning to leave the FEA (Overseas) Bargaining Unit at the end of this year, either by retiring or resigning or because you are moving to DDESS or you have been transferred to the Med District, be sure to file a "Goodbye Grievance" early enough so that you will have enough time to elevate it before your last day of duty. This grievance was developed by FEA UniServ Bill Freeman in order to allow FEA to represent the members after they retire or resign and to ensure their rights under the Debt Collection Act and the Negotiated Agreement. We have heard far too many stories of retirees receiving erroneous debt letters. Ask your FRS for a copy of the forms for the Goodbye Grievance as well as the Request to Elevate.
If you're not signed up to receive information from the FEA Washington office, please do so by going to FEA's list serv page (member ID is required)
Remember, the FEA Annual Membership Meeting takes place July 1 and 2 at The Fairmont hotel in Washington DC, just prior to the NEA Representative Assembly at the DC Convention Center. The FEA meeting is open to all Active and Retired members. If you're interested and able to stop by, please let us know by emailing Gary Hritz. It's the one time every year when we have members and leaders from around the world in one location to exchange information and ideas.