Magazine article Techniques

Family and Consumer Sciences Marketing Strategies: Increasing Support for and Participation in Family and Consumer Sciences Education Includes a Number of Strategies Targeting All of the Primary Stakeholders

Magazine article Techniques

Family and Consumer Sciences Marketing Strategies: Increasing Support for and Participation in Family and Consumer Sciences Education Includes a Number of Strategies Targeting All of the Primary Stakeholders

Article excerpt

Family and consumer sciences teachers agree--word-of-mouth is a great way to market the programs, as peers are very influential in students' selection of electives in family and consumer sciences (FACS) education. However, teachers do not rely solely on their students to influence enrollments in their programs. There are a variety of strategies that can promote programs effectively to the primary stakeholders in FACS: Families, Administrators, Community and Students.

Families

Strategies geared toward families can be either marketing/recruiting events or curricular activities. Marketing/recruiting events may take the form of open houses, family movie or game nights at the school, or informational postcards sent to families of all students. National Family Week, organized by the Alliance for Children and Families, can be the backdrop for a variety of FACS-sponsored activities in which family members participate and learn about programs.

Students in child development courses may provide babysitting services to enable more family members to be involved. Students from classes or the career and technical student organization, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), can serve supper during late afternoon and evening parent-teacher conferences.

Parents, siblings and extended family members can be brought into direct contact with FACS curriculum through the assignments students complete. Interviewing grandparents supports inter-generational relationships while sharing history in a personal manner. Job shadowing with a parent or custodian provides insight on employment responsibilities.

Creating a family tree to illustrate family members' jobs or careers sheds light on the variety and legacy of employment across generations. Caring for infant simulators at home affords many teachable moments in which both the students and the family members learn. Finally, teachers can celebrate their students' efforts by awarding honors certificates at end-of-the-school-year honors programs attended by families.

Administrators

Messages about the value of FACS programs must be conveyed to administrators concisely and consistently. FACS teachers can devise a statewide "elevator speech" that imparts the essence of their programs to those who need to be educated in a brief, high-impact manner.

PowerPoint presentations that appeal to the visual and auditory preferences of principals, guidance counselors, school superintendents and school board members can highlight curricular innovations and emphasize the funding benefits of CTE courses. Displaying a variety of projects, as well as engaging stakeholders in interactive presentations of FACS processes, allows students to advocate for continuation and expansion of FACS programs.

Community

Reaching the community means students and teachers must go beyond the confines of home and school to publicize and engender support for their programs. Service-learning projects not only teach students key course concepts in immediate and applicable ways, but invite the community to participate in the educational process as well.

For example, students in a housing and interior design class can collaborate with Habitat for Humanity and its recipient family to build a house and plan its furnishing. Student-generated bumper stickers, posters, bulletin boards, public service announcements, and Web sites with concise, high-impact messages can replace stereotypes with images of 21st century life and career education. …

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