Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spotlight on Washington DC and Beyond

By Michael Benjamin, Executive Director

On the eighth and final day of his Education Drives America back-to-school tour, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a rally in Washington, DC where he talked about meeting thousands of students, parents, teachers and getting new ideas about what was working and what things weren’t working.  For more information, go to .

At the same time, the United States Congress recessed, left Washington, DC and its members are now back home focusing on the upcoming elections. Thus this is an ideal time for each of you to meet with your Members of Congress and voice your concerns about Perkins funding and to let them know about the good work that you and your students are doing with the assistance of Perkins funding. Significantly, the September /October issue of Teen Time provides detailed information about steps you and your student members can take to show your support for continued funding of Perkins at very high decision-making levels.  For additional information, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has considerable and meaningful information that will be helpful as well:  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Competitive Events Webinar

Interested in knowing more about the changes to the 2012-2013 Competitive Events Guide? Have a question of Skill Demonstration Events, Knowledge Bowl, or STAR Events that you would like answered? Join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, October 10, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Register at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Promoting FCCLA to Government Officials

By:  Allison Kreifels, National Consultant Team

In case you hadn’t heard right now we are in the home stretches of an election year.  While you may be tired of the constant string of political commercials and signs in your neighbor’s yards, this year, more than most, provides a great opportunity to market FCCLA. The chance to meet and/or speak with a receptive political incumbent or candidate is better now than at any other time.

So here are a few things to keep in mind as you communicate with government officials:
  • Keep it succinct! (In the fashion of this point, this is really all I have to say)
  • Let your students and their stories do the talking.  You do what you do for the kids, so let your elected official see that as well.
  • Know your officials.  Make sure that you research your official and their voting record as well as outside interests.  These can make starting a conversation much easier and you may find out some surprising facts about your official.  Always remember they are YOUR official, so you want to know as much as you can about them as well.
  • Think ahead about what you are going to say.  In the same way we tell students to prepare for a job interview, think about the questions your official may ask and prepare answers in advance.
  • Keep in contact.  Don’t be afraid to communicate often with your officials through email, phone calls, or mail, depending on the method of communication they prefer.  With each opportunity you have to talk to them you are able to share a little bit more about your passion and why your official should care about it as well.  Take a chance to follow them on social networking sites when available as it is a way to get up-to-the-minute information about your official and their work.  Finally, never miss a chance to send a thank-you note.
  •  Invite them in.  Officials enjoy coming to schools for many reasons so why not make it your classroom that they visit?  Invite them for a day in your classroom or for an FCCLA event.  It’s a great way to showcase your students as well as your official to spend time getting to see what’s important to you.

So enjoy this election year and use it as a chance to promote a positive image of what FCCLA is all about.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

FCCLA Needs You!

FCCLA needs you!  AT&T and National FCCLA have partnered in their efforts to end texting and driving with the “It Can Wait” campaign and No Text on Board Pledge day on September 19, 2012.  Your support is needed to continue the partnership and we cannot make this campaign successful without the efforts of all FCCLA chapters across the nation.  So far, FCCLA has reached over 200,000 people with our “It Can Wait” youth panel and social media efforts. 

National FCCLA wants to know what the members have planned for the No Text on Board Pledge Day.  Please submit all project and activity ideas to for a chance to be part of the FCCLA in Action portion of the November/December Teen Times.  Also, you can click here for more information about the “It Can Wait” campaign and to find great resources for your chapter and state.  Encourage your FCCLA members to sign the pledge because no text is worth losing a loved one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

FCCLA Elevator Speech

By: Donna Corder, National Consultant Team

“What is FCCLA?”

FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.  We are the only student organization that has the family as its central focus.  We not only teach students how to strengthen the family, but also teach them how to serve and improve their communities and develop career and leadership skills.  FCCLA has over 200,000 members, across the nation, serving and learning how to develop our nation into a better place to live.  FCCLA is the Ultimate Leadership Experience.

Teaching students how to explain what FCCLA is in 30 seconds like this description is a skill that needs to be practiced.  This is referred to as the “Elevator” Speech because you often see people in elevators and have a short amount of time before they reach their floor to describe all the awesome aspects of our organization.

The first time I heard about the elevator speech, I questioned how we would train students to be eloquent, while accurate in a short amount of time? After approximately 6 years, I can honestly say that the elevator speech is one of our most valuable public relations tools.  I have lost count of how many times I have heard officers give this speech to people, not only in elevators, but in airports, amusement parks, and school events.  The results:  AMAZEMENT!!!  People are truly impressed that HIGH SCHOOL students are able to explain their organization in a professional and accurate manner. 

So, how do you teach a student to create an elevator speech? 
  1. Have the students write down what FCCLA is.  They will definitely need to explain what the letters stand for, but they can also incorporate some of the mission, purposes and other facts.
  2. Next, have them write down what they personally enjoy about FCCLA.  This is a brainstorming session, where they write down ALL their ideas. 
  3. Lastly, have them think about what impressed their parents/grandparents about FCCLA. 

Require that the students write out their speech, word for word, at this point.  Give them some time to practice their speech on their own, and then have them role play with each other.  Bring in adult guests: parents, administrators, other teachers, alumni, to help them.  Students are often nervous to speak to adults and the only way to overcome that fear is to have them practice in a safe environment. 

The “Elevator” Speech is one of the most valuable tools we can use to showcase our most impressive asset:  our members.  When students talk, adults listen, especially when the students speak professionally.  Teach your students how to develop an elevator speech, and you give them a skill they will use for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

FCCLA Advocacy in the Classroom and Community

By: Allison Kreifels, National Consultant Team

Advocacy is, simply put, support for a specific cause or policy.  When thinking about what is worth advocating for, everyone has different opinions, but if you’re reading this blog then you and I share something.  We both agree that FCCLA is worth advocating for.  You may be wondering where to begin so here are some things that might help you begin your advocacy efforts.

First, find out why students are taking your class and what they learn.  It’s a great idea at the beginning and end of a class to survey students about these topics.  The words of your students are the most valuable component.

Second, use FCCLA materials in the classroom.  Students want and need to find a practical tie between what they learn in the classroom and their real life.  FCCLA provides that tie through its programs, competitions, and leadership development opportunities.  This will help educate your students about FCCLA as well and provide them with the basis of what may become an extremely valuable FCCLA experience for your student.

Third, expand your students’ leadership potential by encouraging them to advocate for their interests, including FCCLA.  For example, through the FCCLA Power of One unit, Speak out for FCCLA, students could address an issue related to FCCLA and advocate for that issue in the school and community.

Finally, to enhance your FCCLA advocacy efforts, look for new opportunities for you and your students to talk about FCCLA.  Consider speaking at the Chamber of Commerce about the future leaders that FCCLA develops, or visit the Lion’s Club to feature some young community service volunteers.  These can provide great opportunities to expand your students’ speaking skills as well as advocate for FCCLA in a smaller setting.

Always remember that there are very few ineffective ways to advocate for FCCLA.  The only sure way of failing is never trying!