Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Professional Organizations?

ACTE, CACTE, CATFACS, AAFCS, and CAFCS---what do all these acronyms stand for? They are the acronyms of professional organizations that I am a member of. Professional organizations are critical to a professional's career. I am a firm believer in belonging to at least one professional organization related to a person's career. Professional organizations associate you with people in your field and they offer several benefits to you as a member.
Typically, a professional organization publishes a research journal that includes cutting edge research and valuable resources that can be utilized in your profession. You may also have access to newsletters that will update you on current events and happenings. Another benefit includes networking and making connections with others in your profession, in addition to finding mentors that you can ask questions of and have professional conversations with. A majority of professional organizations offer annual conferences where you can improve your content knowledge through workshops, seminars, and keynote speakers. Vendors are usually present at conferences as well to enable members to connect to them and their services offered. A professional organization most likely will have web access including, but not limited to, webinars, blogs, and downloads. JOIN!! They are good source of positive energy and very beneficial.

State Conference 2011

This was the second year I took students to state conference. I brought six students and all them competed in STAR Events. I am proud to say I had two national qualifiers. Those two put so much time and energy into their projects, I was very happy for them to have made it to nationals.

Again, I volunteered to be an event chair. This is one of the best ways to become more comfortable with the events. It is so much fun to talk with students before and after their events. We were located in a hallway were I was able to stop students heading to their events and ask them questions. It was fun to give them a little boost of confidence before they headed to their judges. Because of all the interaction between students, judges, and getting a deep look at many projects, this is the best way to learn about STAR Events and feel more confident in explaining the events and rubrics to potential competitors in future years.

Luckily, I did not have trouble getting students interested in competing at state. I was pleased with the number of students I had this year. I do not put much pressure on students because it really needs to be their drive that gets a good project done. I set a deadline before registration was due for them to meet with me with detailed plans for how they would get their project completed. I checked in with all of them about a month later. The week before state, each group presented in front of our members and we used the judge’s rubrics to give them feedback.

As far as recruiting ideas, we will update our display board to be used at “Club Rush” in August. When we returned from State this spring, it motivated a few new students to consider joining the chapter next year. I personally encourage those students who really stand out as potential assets to our organization and those who need something positive in their lives. This last spring I had two new students who moved from out of state and they joined quickly to have something to belong to. My biggest advice to newer advisers is to jump right in and get involved at the district and state level because the teachers you will work with are very helpful and the more you learn, the more comfortable you will be in getting your students involved.

CO FACS Update- Summer Workshop Series

Check out the Prezi from the CO FACS Update from the FACS Summer Workshop Series.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Consumer Issues Conference

I attended the Consumer Issues Conference on the University of Wyoming campus last fall. The theme was Unlocking the Digital Marketplace. The workshops and plenary sessions revolved around this theme. This is a conference that is held every fall and it is a credible and quality conference that has current and up-to-date consumer information.

I had the opportunity to network with professionals who are experts in their respective fields. I met Shelley Glause, the regional director of the Better Business Bureau, located west of Windsor. She was willing to make a presentation on "Identity Theft" to the Life Management course I taught this school year. She has also agreed to serve on our advisory committee for the upcoming school year. I appreciated the depth of content knowledge that I was able to attain and it is very useable in my teaching. I shared information with the technology department in our school district, the business teachers, and fellow FACS teachers.

I write this blog to encourage you to attend this conference if you are looking for a way to enhance and deepen your content knowledge base. The Fall 2011 conference theme is Pills, Potions, and Profits. You can log onto to access the information. I highly recommend it.

FACS Mentoring Program

I have had the opportunity to participate in the FACS Mentoring Program over the past 2 years. I have to admit, it has been one of the best programs I have been a part of over the course of my 26-year teaching career. It has been a positive experience.

There are many reasons why I've enjoyed the Mentoring Program. First of all, I have had the opportunity to meet teachers in the field who have just started teaching or who have taught before, but are now returning to the profession. The enthusisam that is generated through interactions like these is invigorating. We would have meetings to discuss a variety of different topics: advisory committess, FCCLA, FACS curriculum, discipline ideas, and state reporting. The benefit to presenting this information is that I have to know it in order to share it. Being a mentor allows me to dig deep into information that I need to share.

Secondly, the personal connections that I have made with the Northern Colorado mentees has been such an awesome experience. I love knowing who the teachers are in the various schools and getting to know them on a personal level. I love the fact that we can email each other with not only professional questions and concerns, but personal ones as well.

Lastly, the support for new teachers that is provided through the FACS Mentoring Program is very valuable. There is so much to know, to learn, and to implement as a FACS teacher and this program helps chunk it down and allow new teachers to learn as they go through the first 1-3 years of their teaching experience.

I have learned so much through this program and developed friendships that will last a lifetime. For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FACS Mentorship Experience

As a second year teacher, the amount of information that I still need to understand is large. Being a part of the FACS mentorship program this year was very beneficial. As a part of the program, I attended cohort meetings, a daylong training in Denver for all CTE mentee educators, and the CATFACS conference. My mentor teacher also came to my classroom one day to observe my management and presentation techniques. Overall, the experience was very worthwhile.

Throughout the program, I was really able to get a better understanding of completers, credentialing, Perkins funding and articulation. As a new member to my district, I was just following what others were doing. However, the mentorship program showed me how important it was that I was on top of recruiting students, making sure they are taking more than one of the Core classes and both semesters of the occupational classes. Our program approval and articulation agreements are completed at the district level, which means that I need to be an active part of taking new information back to my district, as well as being extra accurate with my completer/ VE-135 data. Also, I gained a better understanding behind the origin of Perkins money, how it is distributed, and the areas in which it can be spent.

With each passing year I am sure I will gain more knowledge, but this year I became even more comfortable with FCCLA at the local, district and state level. I had a district officer and was able to speak with my mentor teacher about the experience and share in the questioning sessions. I also signed on to be a district consultant and am looking forward to the experience. I hope to get a better idea of how to plan the conference, prepare students on an even higher leadership level, and feel more comfortable with running students at the State level. This year I also volunteered to be an event chair which was a wonderful experience. I was able to really delve into an event, learn the ins and outs, and even be able to incorporate it into my classroom. In the year to come, I am looking forward to making FCCLA more intra-curricular in my school and developing activities that help retain members and build my program.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Membership Ideas from Cherry Creek

I have to brag on my students to start my blog...
I took 21 students.
Of those 21 students...18 of them received a Gold.
Of those 18 Golds...15 of them had call backs.
Of those 15 call backs...12 of them place in the top three.
Of those 12...5 of them won 1st place!
Of those 5...3 are going to Nationals!

I think a year like this has been the biggest recruitment tool yet! Each student who went to state conference came back more excited than ever to make Creek FCCLA successful. They were not only excited for their own awards...but were each other's best cheerleaders. When they came back to school - their classmates became even more interested and excited to join FCCLA next year.

One thing that helped us this year was we did a quick intro about FCCLA in each FACS class - the officers came in and talked about the basics of FCCLA and invited each person to attend a pizza lunch the next day to learn more. We had a good turn out of students - 10 extra large pizza's did the job as we were able to increase our membership to about 80 members this year. At the pizza party, we had a slide show going of last year's activities, had past projects displayed, Teen Times magazines and candy were on the tables as centerpieces, and the officers mingled with the students to answer any questions they had. This was a huge success. We did it at the beginning of each semester and are looking to repeat this again.