Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Learning by Heart...

by Lori Henry, National Executive Council Adviser, Minnesota
         This is the time of year when all of “us” (FCCLA Advisers) are really busy, maybe just a little stressed, and trying to find some “free” time for ourselves.  Amidst all the things going on in our home and school lives, we need to take time to reflect.  As we look back it’s probably easy to pick out the people who have made a positive impact on our lives and the lives of others, just like our FCCLA members.  
It always amazes me the growth I see in my FCCLA members.   It’s such a great feeling to see this shy, timid member, come up and tell you that their STAR event is going well, they are going to run for office or they can’t wait to go and help out in the community.   What has made this member come out of their shell?  It’s you, the local FCCLA adviser!   You’ve taken the extra time to help someone after school.  You’ve helped be there just to listen when something isn’t going to well.  Your few kind words make a big difference to so many members.  
As you take time to reflect, also think about your past members and where they are today.   I have a former student that took all my foods classes, was a region and state FCCLA officer and now is in her second year at the Culinary Arts Institute in Hyde Park, New York.  Every time she writes me or sees me she always tells me of how FCCLA has helped her in so many aspects of her life.  She tells me that if I hadn’t encouraged her to join FCCLA she wouldn’t have had so many wonderful experiences.  I know all of you have similar stories to share. Take this unique opportunity and post your stories.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recognition: It isn’t just an Award Ceremony Thing

By:  Allison Kreifels, National Consultant Team

If you’re like most teachers you can’t believe that we’re already underway with the second half of the year.  Before you know it, the end of the year will be creeping up and many of you will be planning end of the year recognition ceremonies and events.

While these events are great, we need to take time out to recognize those that help our organization throughout the year.  Parents, administrators, faculty, staff, and members all play a vital role in the success of the organization and should be recognized more than just once.  Here are a few ideas for recognizing individuals throughout the year:
1     Piggy-back on important holidays to show appreciation to staff, faculty, and administration by offering goodie bags put together by your members.  Or even, go simpler and celebrate the first day back from a snow-day with hot chocolate mixes and a note that says “FCCLA hopes you stay warm today!  Thanks for always being there for your students”
2    Writing a thank-you note to the parents who help your students is always valuable but what about writing a thank you note to their boss?  Consider writing a note thanking their employer for allowing them to take time off and to help with FCCLA activities.  Be sure to let them know what FCCLA does and how that individual makes the organization possible with their contributions.  Chances are your parent will not only be recognized but will appreciate the extra mile you went in recognizing them.
3     All across America, seniors will be graduating soon and the yearbook of another year will be ending.  One of those common rites of passage is the voting of “Most Likely To.”  Now while these awards are often for fun, they still have a way to recognize many different individuals with different talents and futures.  We all know what every member is valuable so why not make them feel that way.  Have some fun awards for your members as well.  Examples could include, “Best Packer,” “Most Energetic,” “Most Likely to Return as an Excellent Member,” or “Best Professional Dress.”  Keep it light and fun but include EVERY member.

Hopefully, you've gotten a few more ideas on how you can recognize these vital components of your chapters.  Best wishes and don't wait too long - we will be ushering in summer vacation in the blink of an eye.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Looking for a Name

Please read a special post from FCCLA Executive Director Michael Benjamin.

Welcome to 2011 and Happy New Year to all!  So what’s new on the education front for 2011?  From a legislative perspective, it appears that the Obama Administration will be moving to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or as we have known it since 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act.  According to The Washington Post, both the Administration and the Congress is ready to deal with reauthorization.  One of the problems at this point in the process according to the Post and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan “no one has come up with a better idea than the formal name since 1965: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” other than the No Child Left Behind and few like that name.  So Secretary Duncan is asking for “suggestions. We’re wide open.”

On behalf of FCCLA, I would like to present suggested names to the Secretary for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  So please send me your suggestions and I’ll forward them to the Secretary.  I will need your ideas by Monday, January 31, 2011.  My email is  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recruiting New (and Keeping) Members

Today's entry is from Alana Bergeleen, National Executive Council Adviser, South Dakota.

We work so hard to “get” new members in our chapters, but it is often important for us to stop and think of new ways to retain the members that we already have. This is my fourth year advising the Highmore FCCLA Chapter. I started with approximately 40 members and this year we are up to about 72 (give or take a few seniors who can’t seem to make up their minds. ;)

I stopped to think about what it is that we do that seems to be working to keep the membership up. I believe that for anything, (school, work, sports,) there must be a certain level of FUN. We try to incorporate fun through the activities in which we participate. For example, the kids have a blast planning our Halloween Carnival/Haunted House and Trick or Treating for a Cause (local food Pantry). It gives them the opportunity to have fun with their friends while at the same time doing something that makes them feel good about themselves. I continuously look for ways to involve and recognize current members. We have a welcome party for all new junior high members, make locker signs for all members with their names on them, we have a member of the month, and I make it a priority to put our accomplishments in the paper.

It is so great that FCCLA allows the opportunity to recognize those students who don’t always make the paper for their athletic or academic abilities. I have also found that being a member of FCCLA has a trickle effect. Usually if you can get one member of a “clique” interested, you can get the rest of them. Furthermore, I have to admit that I feel there is no shame in bribery. Bribing the students with the great experience of attending a district, state, or national meeting in order for them to get their STAR Event completed well and on time is sometimes just what it takes

Finally, YOU are one of the best ways to retain members in your chapter. Students will know by all of the hours that you put in how much you care and they will want to give back. Good luck retaining those members and go FCCLA!

Below are three ideas from Nicole Perez, National Executive Council Adviser, New Jersey

1.  Ice cream social
Chapter officers provide icebreaker activities for members to mingle and become friendly with others.  Officers set up an ice cream bar for students.  Icebreaker activities can include finding a partner with the same birth month and then sharing 2 interesting facts.  Officers should discuss FCCLA’s purpose, upcoming activities and ways to be active in the organization. 

2.  Recognize outstanding efforts
Recognize current members for outstanding efforts such as volunteering for chair and leading a committee.  At a chapter meeting provide the outstanding member with a certificate, post name and picture (if allowed) on the chapter website or provide member with an FCCLA give-a-way such as a travel mug or tee shirt.  Have the chapter president explain to the chapter why this member received an “Outstanding Efforts Award”. 

3.  Hold a summer get together
If someone is willing to host, holding a summer get together for either the officer team or active members is a great way for the students to make better connections with each other.  Each student can bring something to contribute to the gathering or they can bring a canned food item, which can be donated to a local food pantry.  At the gathering students can discuss plans for the upcoming school year regarding community service, activities and fundraising.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CTE: Making the Difference

Happy New Year! We begin 2011 with an entry from the CTE State Directors.

As we in the CTE community know, CTE is making a positive impact all across the nation. Our job is to share that important message and encourage others to join us in our mission to prepare all students for college and career. NASDCTEc recently has created a video, CTE: Making the Difference, which underscores CTE’s achievements and potential to help our nation in this global economy. 

We hope that you will:
  • Use the video in your presentations
  • Share it with your members
  • Feature it on your website 
We truly feel that this is a tool that everyone in the CTE community could find use to share the great happenings about CTE. Attached is a brief video fact sheet, which includes references for the facts featured in the video.

Check out the video and great resources at now!

The CTE Video: Get the Word Out!
Whatever outlet you use, tell people why they should watch this video. Also, let them know that not only is there a video, there are also important fact sheets and issue briefs exploring the principles of the vision for CTE on our website.
  • Share the video during your presentations by using it as an introductory piece. It’s a great way to kick off discussions.
  • Post a link or embed the video on your home page.
  • Do you have a blog? Write a post about the video, or a topic in the video and link to it.
  • You have e-mail. E-mail the link to the video to your colleagues and friends. 
  • Do you have/are you part of a listserv? Send an e-mail out about the video and include the link. 
  • Use your voice. Tell people about the video. It’s easy to visit
  • Do you have Facebook? Say something about the video and post the link as your status and post the link on your profile. 
  • Do you have Twitter? Tweet: Check out the CTE video:
Download the video and a Vision Toolkit created for the CTE community at

Questions, comments, suggestions? Please contact Erin Uy, NASDCTEc Communications & Marketing Manager, at or 301-588-9630.