Thursday, July 21, 2011

2010 National Leadership Conference

The 2010 National FCCLA Leadership Conference was held in Chicago, Illinois July 3-8. This was my first national conference as either a student or adviser. Lindsey Leuenberger-Klautch and I took 8 students to the conference and had a blast in the Windy City!The paperwork it takes to travel with students is mountainous and since we were taking a student from another district we had twice the amount of paperwork. I processed through the paperwork and we were set to go. At the opening and closing sessions, the national officer team built a skit around the theme “65 Years of Leadership”. The skit was cute and clever in the way it showed how FCCLA has evolved as an organization to meet the needs of the times without losing its focus on the family. The session was a little long for my liking but I enjoyed the recognition of what chapters have done and getting ideas of what I could do next year.

I attended the New Advisers Workshop series at the conference that was sponsored by the National Consultant Team. The first session focused on introducing new advisers to FCCLA and National Programs. The activities they used at the sessions were great to use on students and I can’t wait to use them. The last session focused on developing a Program of Work, which was helpful and clarified what a POW should look like and consist of. The best description is a calendar of what your chapter wants to accomplish. I was not able to attend any other professional development sessions due to being a STAR Event volunteer.

I was a room consultant for the Food Innovations event and was impressed the event and what they participants at the middle school level had accomplished with their projects. I think this event is great and took it and made it an assessment for my Introduction to Foods and Nutrition course. The students both at the conference and in my class enjoyed the opportunity to develop their own healthy recipe and designing a package to go with it. I would recommend for any adviser to volunteer for STAR Events on the national level because they give you a better understanding of what that event actually is.

My students and I really enjoyed the three special events at the conference. The 4th of July Party at the Navy Pier was a great way for all members to network, enjoy good food, and see an amazing fireworks display over the water. We also attended the White Sox game and had great time bonding as a chapter. The FCCLA Gala was a nice surprise because I had no idea what to expect. The Gala was a great way to cap of the conference and let the students have fun in a safe environment.

Overall, we had a great time at the National Leadership Conference. Please watch this video to see the amazing time we had I learned a lot about being and adviser and came home with many teaching resources. This conference is a great way to strengthen your skills as an adviser and a great way for students to develop as leaders. I hope to go again next year!

2011 State Review & Recruitment Ideas

This is my third year taking students to the State Leadership Conference. We took 14 students and all of them completed a STAR Event. I am continually amazed and overwhelmed at the amount of work that it takes to complete a STAR event and the time it takes for students to develop and refine a presentation. We had students complete in Interior Design, Fashion Design, Teach & Train, Culinary Arts, Focus on Children, Job Interview, Entrepreneurship, Recycle & Redesign, Nutrition & Wellness, and Chapter Service Project Manual. We had 10 students receive gold medals and become national qualifiers and four students receive silver medals. It may be an arduous process preparing for state but the outcome is well worth it. This is the best that our school has done at the state conference and we are really proud of our students.

A recruitment technique we do at our school is to take a week (or shorter) to introduce students in our classes to FCCLA. The first day the advisers share their story of how FCCLA has helped each of us. I would also recommend that you let your experienced FCCLA members share their stories as well because it speaks more than adviser stories. The next couple of days we develop FCCLA Stations that focus around teaching students about FCCLA. Students really seem to enjoy this time because they are engaged in fun activities. We try to focus each station around the State POW theme and focus each station with something about FCCLA. Some of our past stations have been Create STAR Events App (On Paper), Decode the National Program Text, Build a Cyber Cupcake (for no other reason than giving students food), Technology Through Time, Google your Way to FCCLA Travel, and Facebook Profile Ethics. We see a good return from students coming to meetings. I did not invent this idea but I wanted to pass it along.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FCCLA Membership

Integration of FCCLA STAR events into each course offered within the FACS department hopefully will increase membership and provide members with opportunities for leadership and recognition. I have been working on finding the fit of events with classes: Relationships- Interpersonal Communication, Career Pathways- Career Investigation and Job Interview, Catering and Nutrition & Wellness- Food Innovations. Developing a cocurricular approach is a win-win situation. Less projects and rubrics to develop for the class, students have a STAR event well on its way to completion for competition and FCCLA is promoted in the classroom.

This past year my officer team often met during lunch as our school has open campus and a 55 minute lunch. Sometimes it was bring your own and other times I provided lunch. I found that being creative with meeting time was essential to keeping the chapter active. The officers also texted information and I found that texting reminders was beneficial.

School display cases are a great way to promote my chapter. I have a lighted six foot display in the hallway within my department. It is amazing how many visitors to the building stop and read the information displayed during the evenings and weekends when community athletic events are being held in the building. School websites are also a great way to promote the success of your chapter.

Monday, July 4, 2011

FACS Summer Updates

The last week of June I attended 3 very interesting and educational days of updates.

The Sustainable Cuisine Workshop was held at the Colorado Mountain College, Edwards Campus. It was a great opportunity to learn about post secondary options for our students. The classroom building is new and easy to access. The Culinary lab is located across the street at the Battle Mountain High School.
Sustainable has different definitions but essentially it is knowing or understanding where your food came from and the impact it has on the environment and society. The concept has so many 21st Century learning skills that are applicable; inquiry and problem solving.

The Fitness Anywhere workshop was a workout! Robyn Smith of Positively Fitness instructed us in many exercises and activities that can easily be incorporated in our Nutrition & Wellness courses. In fact some could be used to just get the blood flowing in our students. All the activities used just a chair, table or step for props. She concluded with tips for mxing up the number of repetitions and the type of exercises. These included using dice or a deck of cards.

The ICAPS session was very informational and helped to validate our work with careers. Reviewing the Colorado Career Clusters and activities for career exploration in the classroom was great.

The FACS Program update in the afternoon was very informative. The CCCS Toolbox section is now on my favorites and I understand the information. Interpeting the five year trends and understanding the data. Updates in standards is sometimes a struggle yet it is great to see the FACS is in the lead with CTE courses.

Kimberly Baldwin

Sunday, July 3, 2011

FCCLA Membership Recruitment Ideas

I have developed a co-curricular chapter at Windsor High School over the past 24 years. I feel that the co-curricular concept is the best membership recruitment tool. We have 3 teachers/advisors in our department, so we all present a week-long Intro to FCCLA unit to our respective courses. The consistency, personal touch, and information presented, lends itself to recruiting more members. It also helps the students understand the entire FCCLA organization, including the national, state, district, and local levels.

Of course, anytime you include food, students will come. We have Executive Officer Team meetings the first Friday of every month. We have started to include the entire membership and are looking forward to advertising that even more during the next school year. We serve a continental breakfast and the students seem to love that.

One of the strongest membership recruitment idea is taking students to conferences. I have especially found that student interest peaks when I have a student compete at the National Conference. It speaks volumes!!

FCCLA National Leadership Conference

I attended the 2010 FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL July 2-8. The experience was fantastic and I went back to school in August refreshed, motivated, and ready to start a new year with co-curricular FCCLA.

The keynote speakers, as always, were inspirational. I especially enjoyed the speaker at the Advisor's Recognition Session. She talked about how to find your passion and I took that information back with me to my Life Managementc class. I've also shared the info with parents and colleagues throughout the school year. Everyone seems to be interested in the topic. The workshops were very valuable as I can always learn more skills/techniques about how to integrate national programs more effectively, how to promote membership, and how to increase membership participation.

The networking with not only Colorado advisors, but advisors from all over the nation, is an experience I value. I love having the opportunity to network with other professionals and typically exchange business cards so that we can keep in touch with each other. Love the connections I make!

Friday, July 1, 2011

FCCLA State Conference Attendance

This year was a year of firsts for me as an FCCLA advisor. This was the first year I have taken students to compete at the State conference. It was also the first year I have had a student compete in the Foods Events and Johnson and Wales University. And it was the first time I have worked to chair a STAR event at state competition. Needless to say, the year of firsts has been a big learning experience for me as an advisor. The experiences have shown light upon things I need to work on as an advisor, and things I need to help my students with to help them better prepare for their competitive events.

Registering kids to compete at conference was initially very intimidating. My biggest fear was being unfamiliar with the competitive process and the event specifications, and thus putting my students at a disadvantage. We made the rule as a chapter that the only way students could attend State Conference was if they completed a project. This decreased the chance of having students attend who were not in it for the right reasons. We had a total of 4 students who ended up competing; one in Interior Design, Fashion Constructions, and Life Event planning, and one at the Baking and Pastry food event a few weeks later.

The three students we had completing STAR events worked hard and put in many hours preparing their projects. One of the best parts of preparing for state was seeing the kids get more and more excited as their work on their projects progressed. As an advisor, I tried to set deadlines and benchmarks for them to have specific parts of their projects done. One thing I learned is that I need to be more firm in holding the students to their deadlines. I made it too easy for them to get behind, which in the end resulted in them having to do a lot of catch up work right before we left for the conference. All three had pretty good experiences competing, and the two who are underclassman plan on attending again next year. They also now have the experience of competition under their belts which makes it easier for them to recruit and excite new members. I think one of the best ways to get new members into your chapter, is having the kids share their excitement. Then other students will see the benefits from someone they can relate to, and not just some adult telling them they should be a part of it. Next year I am going to have these three girls come into my classes and share their projects and experiences with them, so my new students can hear first hand from someone who experienced it.

One of the biggest struggles I had with preparing kids is that all three of them are students who were not currently in one of my classes. This meant that I did not get to see them on a regular basis. The majority of the time we had to help them was after school, and sometimes finding the time to be able to work together and coordinate schedules became difficult. Another struggle I had was completely understanding all of the specifications for each event. There are so many small details that must be followed that it can become overwhelming. Especially since all three students were competing in different events.

Taking one of my catering students was probably the most exciting part of the state conference. She is an aspiring chef and will be attending JWU next fall, and so she was ready and eager to dive right in. She practiced preparing her quick breads, choux paste, and cake decorating at home many times and during one of our FCCLA after school meetings as well. She did a great amount of work and research to prepare herself, and her dedication and excitement to doing well was clear. It made me proud to see one of my students preparing for her future occupation in a class I teach! I have already asked her to come back next year and talk to my future students about her event and what the competition was like. I think having a former student share their experiences with my classes may help recruit more students for next year! The food events were very fun to observe. It is great to see how professional the students behave and how seriously they take their competitions. Some of the knowledge and talent the kids have is incredibly impressive!

Even though the format of the conference was different this year than in past years, I found that having the food events on a different day to be more accommodating. This allowed me to attend the food competition with my student to observe her and chair a STAR event at the Marriott, which I would not have been able to do had the competition followed the previous year’s format. Being there and being part of the process helped me better understand how FCCLA works which will ultimately help me become better at recruiting more students into our organization. Before taking students with competitive events, I was very unfamiliar with the process and expectations. The theory of the best way to learn is by doing, was proved to me once again and I look forward to taking back the things I have learned and sharing them with potential FCCLA members in my classes. My own new found understanding for the FCCLA Competitative process alone will help me be a better Advisor and recruiter

FACS Mentorship Program

For the last two years I have participated in the CTE Family and Consumer Sciences Mentorship Program sponsored by the Colorado Community College System. This program has provided many resources for me during my first years of teaching. The world of Career and Technical Education is a wonderful outlet for students to apply everyday work in the classroom to situations they will face in the real world. I believe CTE programs are an extremely valuable piece to a well-rounded education for today’s students. With that being so simply said, understanding how to make your own CTE program thrive and survive is not as easy. There are so many regulations and practices, that to a new teacher can be extremely overwhelming. Especially when the lively hood of your program is on the line.

Through the help of my mentor teacher, the other experienced teachers and professionals I have met, the information we have to understand has been broken down and explained in ways that make more sense. From things like how to tweak a lesson to make it better, tips about classroom management, sharing lesson plans to things like what a follow up report is, what VE135’s are, how we get Perkins money and what we can and can not spend it on. The other helpful part about mentorship, is meeting with the other mentees. It makes you feel normal to not understanding everything right away, and knowing other new teachers are going through the same trials and tribulations as you is comforting. And then seeing how successful the mentor teachers are, gives me optimism that one day everything will get easier (hopefully)

There are days when everything really clicks and makes sense, and days when I feel totally lost and confused about running a CTE program. It is so easy for the little things to slip past you when you have a whirlwind of other things goings on (like teaching). But through the mentorship program I have been able to establish relationships with people I trust will know the answer, and help guide me through those tough, confusing, and overwhelming times. I find the network of people willing and wanting to help me be successful as a teacher growing bigger every year. And because of my interactions with all these wonderful people I know they have my and my program’s best interest at heart. I trust them, and am not afraid to admit when I don’t know the answer with them, which is not always easy to do.

2011 Summer Workshop Review

As I have the past two summers, I attended as many FACS summer workshops as I could get to. This summer I attended the following workshops; Culinary Techniques, Fitness Anywhere, ICAP, and FACS Update. I also was a part of the CCCS Focus Group for the new interactive Standards website.

The first workshop I attended during the summer workshop series was probably one of the best ones I have been to in my short time as a FACS teacher. I think I enjoyed this workshop so much because it was almost entirely hands on and it was put on by an experienced teacher who seemed to have an unlimited amount of tips and advice. She gave so many examples of things she does in her very own classroom on a daily basis from how she manages her students, to how she stretches a very small budget to get all the supplies she needs for a foods class. Her passion and dedication for her kids were apparent, and it is those kind of teachers that I look up to. She gave us so much to take back in the classroom, that I almost wished the class could have been a whole day.

The Fitness Anywhere workshop was also extremely beneficial to me, not only personally but professionally as well. I am a strong believer in being an advocate for your own personal health and well being. And I also believe in setting a positive example for students, as someone who takes care of their physical well being. I know that the more fit my body is the more fit my mind will be, and thus the better I will be as a teacher in my classroom. I really liked how all the exercises Robyn taught us can be done using simple objects in the classroom. Even if I am not teaching a Nutrition and Wellness course, where the activity is required, these exercises could easily be implemented into the daily routine of class to get students up and moving around.

The ICAP workshop reinforced the importance of introducing the idea of having students plan for their future and explore many options from a young age. It is never too early to start thinking about the path you may want to take in life, and I think that is very important for students to understand. They are growing up in a time where they need to be flexible and adaptable in order to succeed in the real world. The world is changing and ICAP is a great new tool we can use to stress the importance of our students preparing themselves to be successful in the postsecondary world and equip them with workforce readiness skills.

And as always the FACS update workshop gives me a good picture of what is going on in the FACS /CTE world outside of my little classroom bubble. It is always exciting to hear how new ideas and processes are coming down the pipeline and will be entering our profession. No matter how often I sit in on one of the update sessions I always walk away better understanding the ever changing world of career and technical education.

CATFACS Winter Conference

As second semester gets underway, and I feel moderately refreshed from winter break, I start to look forward to attending the CATFACS winter conference. The 2011 conference was the third time I have attended, and I have to say, as always it was an overall great experience. For me, one of the best parts of being at the conference is seeing teachers from all over the state who are experiencing the same things I am, who offer advice and praise, and who join together to create a family of educators with the same goal in mind. The positive support and encouragement felt while there, and the amount of resources I walk away with are enough to make a new teacher feel like the world of teaching FACS and advising FCCLA is not so scary after all.

One of the reasons I decided to become a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher was because of the close connection I felt to my advisor at Colorado State University, Dawn Mallette. From the moment I met her during an advising appointment she made me feel important in a sea full of students; a connection I had never felt with another adult on campus. She listened when I needed her, and offered countless pieces of valuable advice that helped me succeed in my college years. Through the courses I took with her, it was clear to see her commitment to Family and Consumer Sciences education and the FACS community. The connections she had in the FACS network seemed so genuine and valuable to not only her professional life, but her personal life as well. Seeing all the connections she had and collaborations she was a part of inspired me to strive for a similarly strong network of supporters and friends; thus my reason for joining CATFACS.

Of course, attending CATFACS is not just about the networking and connections. It always provides me with some great resources to take back to the classroom and a refreshed outlook on teaching, which in turn makes me a better teacher. Dr. James Rouse’s keynote speech was inspiring. He really made me think about the everyday choices I was making in my life. Especially those pertaining to the wellness of my mind and my body and how closely connected the two are. Hearing someone speak so positively about life and how the daily decision we make impact our overall health, motivated me to make simple changes. The workshop by Elaine DeBassige also gave me some food for thought. Her methods for understanding relationships have helped me better navigate the way I approach my students when an issue arises. I now try to understand if there is some underlying issue going on first, and then go from there to find a solution. She spoke with a strong neutral tone, which made it clear how important it is to hear both sides of the story. These two parts are the ones that had the biggest impact on my overall experience at the conference this year.
In the short time I have been part of CATFACS and a FACS teacher, its easy for me to understand the importance of this professional network. The amount of tools I add to my educator’s toolbox each time I attend is amazing. I always feel energized and ready to improve my work in the classroom after hearing all the ideas shared between teachers and industry professionals. It is also a great outlet for finding connections to individuals in the industries that relate to our curriculum. To be honest, without a network like CATFACS and all the wonderful people involved, I don’t think I would have enjoyed my first two years of teaching nearly as much as I have.