Amy Sweeney – Area Director
Robin Smith – UniServ/General Counsel
Stephanie Trotter – Assistant UniServ
New Year, New President, New Beginnings
Here’s to a 2021 filled with change for the better and the long-awaited return to travel.
As Microsoft 365 continues to roll out, DoDEA continues to state the use of a personal device is not required for MFA (Multi-Factor authentication). The “token” option will soon be available as we have been told a shipment arrived last week and IT is working on a distribution schedule for those who have open tickets in the Service Desk.
View DoDEA’s info graphic on the token option
Need some motivation/support to continue earning those recertification credits? You will soon receive information from Robert Forristal, Member Communications and Development Specialist, FEA, regarding a professional-learning opportunity for members. Selecting books from USD’s Project READ for DoDEA/Int’l Educators, members will be afforded the opportunity to meet in small groups over Zoom. USD offers one-credit per book and these credits (maximum of three credits from Project Read per six-year certification cycle) can potentially be counted towards your recertification. Interested in participating in a book club or becoming a host? Have questions? Write to Robert Forristal.
Congratulations to one of our own, Mark Lange, of NEATA, recipient of NEA’s Read Across America grant. “The Matthew C. Perry High School Read Across America grant will be used to inspire reading among high school students. The project is called the Samurai Blessed Books Project. It entails readers at the school to choose a book and bless it in a series of video blessings – which will then be aired on the Samurai News and embedded in the school newspaper – The Samur-Eye. The goal is to get other students to pick up a book and hone their reading skills. The project is part of the Four for Sixty initiative – which attempts to bring awareness that the four years in high school are key foundations to the next sixty years of life beyond high school.” – Mark Lange
As per FEA’s recent update: It is important for members to know that the quantity of vaccines made available to each location throughout the military community varies. DoDEA has no control over how those vaccines are distributed. In addition, once a base receives vaccines, it is up to the local command to decide how those vaccines are to be distributed. Some bases may have a high number of medical personnel, for example, who are prioritized for receiving the vaccine and may use all the vaccines made available to that base. Another base may have fewer medical personnel and so may have more vaccines available for educators and other groups. FEA leaders and representatives throughout DoDEA continue to remind management and military commands of the necessity to make vaccines available to educators, on a voluntary basis, as quickly as possible.
To be in compliance with NEA bylaws, the PAL (Pacific Area Leadership) Council has to make a change to its board. Until now, District HCRCs (Human and Civil Rights Coordinators) have been attending PAL meetings on a rotating basis. Per NEA, we need to elect a permanent Area HCRC. More information on this election coming soon.
By now you will have received information from FEA regarding Constitutional Revisions. The revisions ask for a vote to amend the Constitution to add specific language regarding voting rights for Area Human and Civil Rights Coordinators and to create a new Executive Office on the FEA Board of Directors, an ESP (Education Support Specialist) Coordinator. We are asked to vote for the ESP as should the revisions be voted in, the ballots for the at-large ESP officer will be counted.
The ESP will come from DDESS because they have a bargaining contract.
FEA has three bargaining contracts:
● DoDDS (overseas educators)
● DDESS (stateside educators) and
● DDESS ESPs (aides, bus drivers, secretaries, etc.)
The first two groups have representation on the board of directors, the DDESS ESPs do not. (Overseas ESPs do not have their own contract and as such can only be associate members who do not qualify for a seat on the board.)
Ballots must be received by the FEA Washington office NLT February 17, 2021.
Any members who have not yet received their ballots in the mail (or who have lost or misplaced theirs), can request a copy of the ballot from their FRS. Please mail your ballot ASAP!
An arbitration is an alternative to a court resolution which requires the same time and attention as preparing for trial. We can move forward with arbitration when issues cannot be resolved through the grievance process. Removals are prioritized for arbitration, but we are also arbitrating a suspension this calendar year.
Two cases that have gone to arbitration since February 2020 were won. When we have arbitration victories, it lets the agency know when members are wronged, we will fight to make the member whole, and these two members will be made whole. These two arbitration decisions contain language that can be used to help us negotiate on behalf of members in trouble.
Another removal arbitration was held in October that is still pending following the submission of post-hearing briefs. Preparation is underway for three more cases set for arbitration to be held this school year.
It was confirmed via DFAS and DoDEA HQ last week that DFAS does not maintain copies of LESs past 1 year…period. Although we knew this information was communicated via the MyPay website, we received a definitive response that only Master Pay Records are available after one year has passed; DFAS does not maintain actual LESs in any other format. This is all the more reason that maintaining your LESs is paramount. Remember there is no Statute of Limitations with regard to debts owed to the government; therefore if DFAS sends you a debt letter from 2015 your copies of your LESs will be the only actual proof of what was on that LES. We have seen cases where the Master Pay Record did not tie out to the LES and have been able to use the LESs as evidence in arbitrations and Association grievances. If you don’t want to waste paper, you can download them and save them to an external drive and/or cloud.
NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) offers tuition-free opportunities for K-12 educators and higher education faculty to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,300-$3,450 help cover expenses for these one-to-four-week programs. Most of these offer credit options. Please check each program and its requirements.
NEH Summer Programs
February 1- March 1 African American History Month
You’ll find a plethora of lesson plans, activities and resources grouped in K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 bands at:
NEA’s Black History Month Page
February 1-5 National School Counseling Week (Thank you to all our counselors for all you do particularly in these stressful pandemic times.)
February 2 Groundhog Day (Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow?)
February 11 National Inventors’ Day, National Make a Friend Day, National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, Get Out Your Guitar Day, International Day of Women and Girls in Science
February 12 Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
February 14 Valentine’s Day
February 17 Presidents’ Day (holiday)
February 22 George Washington’s Birthday
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Until the next update,