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FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: January 23, 2015

TIPS FOR TRANSFERS

Connie Shanaghan recently posted her Tips for Transfers exclusively for FEA Members. You can view the tips by going to the FEA Web site, www.feaonline.org, and following the links. You will need to login using your FEA/NEA Membership ID number to view the tips.


CLARIFICATION

One item within the Tips for Transfers has been clarified since the original document was posted a few days ago:

Q -- I am an excess employee but also qualify for a higher transfer group. How should I complete my application?

A: You should list the higher transfer group (Group A+, A or B) as your primary transfer group and Group C (excess) as the secondary transfer group. You will first be considered in the higher transfer group only for the locations on your transfer application, including the districts you are required to prioritize. If you cannot be placed in the higher group, you will be dropped to Group C for world-wide consideration.


TRANSFER VERIFICATION

If you are an FEA member and would like us to verify that your application is included in the transfer round, email (cshanaghan@nea.org) or fax (202-822-7867) your FINAL application to us by March 10. We do not need your Social Security Number so you can remove it from the copy that you send to us.

Please do not send us your application until you are certain it is the final version of your application (this will avoid a lot of confusion). Also, if you withdraw your application from the program, be sure to let us know.


TWO ADDITIONAL SCHOOLS

Please note that two additional schools, Shape Middle School and Patch Middle School, have been added to the online transfer application since it was first posted by DoDEA. Applicants can now request these two schools if they wish to do so.


FEA VSIP/VERA VERIFICATION

If you are an FEA member who applied for VERA/VSIP and you would like us to verify that your name is included on the list of VERA/VSIP applicants, please send the following information to cshanaghan@nea.org by January 30: 1) your name; 2) your current location; 3) your SCD; and 4) whether or not you are excessed. Be sure to put "VSIP/VERA Verification" in the subject of your message when you send it to us.


DEADLINES

Don't forget about the following important deadlines:
January 30, 2015 -- Deadline to submit VSIP/VERA application
February 6, 2015 -- Deadline to submit Transfer Application
March 9, 2015 -- Deadline to submit Amendment to Transfer Applications


PAY FREEZE

The DODDS salary freeze has technically been lifted as of this school year. However, the percentage of pay increase for SY 14-15 will not be known until this spring, when the annual salary survey results are finalized in tandem with DOD Wage Setting. So, DODDS educators can expect to receive some sort of retroactive pay increase this spring to adjust their pay for all of SY 14-15. Barring any specific action by Congress, DODDS salaries in the future should conform to the "regular formula" and increase in accordance with the salaries paid by the roughly 265 urban school districts that comprise our survey universe (as defined by census data). The size of those raises would be determined by what urban districts around the U.S. can afford to pay their educators, based on economic and other factors.

FEA's lawsuit, which we have highlighted in the past two issues of the FEA Journal, contends that the salary freeze should never have impacted DODDS workers to begin with and that any pay DODDS workers lost in recent years due to the pay freeze should be restored. That case is still pending and FEA remains optimistic about its outcome.


OPM MEMORANDUM

On January 15, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Heads of the Executive Departments and Agencies in the Federal government. Please read the Presidential Memorandum here.

This memorandum contains several important directives to the Federal agencies concerning changes to paid parental leave, especially paid maternity leave. As one example of the changes, the Presidential Memorandum requires agencies provide 240 hours of advance sick leave "in connection with the birth or adoption of a child or for other sick leave eligible uses."

However, please note carefully that the Presidential memorandum states that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will issue guidance to the agencies to implement these changes. In other words, these leave policy changes will NOT go into effect immediately. OPM will first have to issue its guidance, and then DoD will have to send out instructions on how to implement the guidance DoD-wide. Therefore, current leave practices in DoDEA will continue until these changes are implemented by DoD. The Association will keep our members informed of progress on these leave changes.


DRIVERS LICENSES IN GERMANY

An issue has arisen for members in Germany regarding the German government requiring foreign nationals living there (which would include most DODDS employees in the country) to have a valid drivers license from their U.S. state of permanent residence, in addition to the USAREUR license issued to U.S. government workers living in Germany. This is a hardship for some of our members who do not have a license from their home state. We have raised this issue with DoDEA Headquarters and requested they work with the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies to resolve the situation quickly. We will continue to work with DoDEA to address the impact of this issue on our members.

Meanwhile, DoDEA has recommended that all employees in Germany follow the instructions/guidance issued recently by USAREUR regarding this issue. That guidance can be found here.


READ ACROSS AMERICA

NEA's Read Across America is just one month away! NEA's annual celebration of reading and the memory of Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, is coming up on March 2, 2015. As always, many FEA members throughout DoDEA will participate in this educator-driven event, making this a truly global happening. I encourage you to visit NEA's Read Across America page, nea.org/readacross, to find information and resources you can use to help plan your reading celebration. In addition, FEA encourages its members to use the customizable article/press release available at this link to let your local media know about your Read Across America events. And don't forget to send pics of your events to us at fea@feaonline.org


NEA FOUNDATION AWARD

FEA may submit one members' name each year into nomination for the NEA Foundation's Awards for Teaching Excellence. This award honors excellence in teaching and in advocacy for our profession. Our nominee this year is Alina Rozanski, Netzaberg MS. If you are interested in nominating someone for this honor, contact your area director.


GET BEYOND THE HYPE

You have certainly read lots in the news and social media about the Common Core State Standards, and DoDEA has recently announced the plan to implement PK-5 Math Standards for next year, but have you looked closely at the standards themselves? FEA will be providing an opportunity for you to see for yourself, AND to earn a Graduate Credit for your efforts.

With the support of a grant from the NEA Great Public Schools fund, FEA will be offering a weekend course in locations in Europe, the Pacific and Stateside. The two-day course will offer you a chance to study the standards, compare them to current standards, and to work with colleagues to develop lessons to meet the new standards which DoDEA intends to implement in SY 2015-16. One graduate level university credit will be available.

The following are TENTATIVE dates and locations:
Kaiserslautern Area -- March 2015
Japan -- April 2015
Ft. Campbell -- August 2015

FEA hopes to be able to offer this opportunity in additional locations. Stay tuned for more details and information.