North Dakota student organizations don’t often gain recognition at the national level. The advisers for these groups receiving recognition is even rarer. The small FCCLA chapter of Langdon Area High School recently attended the national FCCLA convention where their advisor, Amy Kram, received the FCCLA Educated Adviser Award.
By Melissa Anderson
FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and the Educated Adviser Award recognizes the accomplishments of a current chapter adviser of FCCLA who has gone above and beyond in their professional development activities and participation throughout the school year.
“The mission of FCCLA is to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education,” the organization states. ”Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader, members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.”
The Educated Adviser Award is a brand new adviser award, so when Kram learned she had been nominated by Janelle Wiedrich, ND State FCCLA advisor, she had to do some research on it .
“I was very honored about being nominated and, quite honestly, shocked when I received notification that I was being honored as only four awards were given out in the United States,” Kram said.
Within the FCCLA organization everyone is a part of a family, and FCCLA is the only career and technical student organization with the family as its central focus. Kram explained that FCCLA empowers members to make a difference in their families, careers and communities while developing their leadership skills.
“We put an emphasis on developing skills for life – creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, character development, and career preparation,” Kram explained.
Kram has been an FCCLA adviser for a total of 19 years. As part of being a teacher she also has to complete professional development. As part of that, Kram has made many of her required hours beneficial to her duties as an FCCLA adviser and FACs instructor. Over the past year, Kram has dedicated 42 of her over 100 total hours of professional development to specific FCCLA cornerstones and improving her abilities as an adviser.
“I feel that this award is a honor as it recognizes advisers for professional development. As educators, we are required to attend local professional development and accumulate credits to renew our teaching license, but this award recognizes advisers for going above and beyond that by having a minimum of 50 professional development credit hours with at least 30 of those being FCCLA specific,” Kram explained.
For the 21-year teaching veteran, career and technical student organizations such as FCCLA, while considered co-curricular activities, are an integral part of a classroom curriculum. When Kram began teaching in Langdon eight years ago, a priority for her was to re-start the FCCLA chapter.
Prior to her position in Langdon, Kram had taught and advised in Rolla so was familiar with the benefits for students, as well as how FACS curriculum and FCCLA were tied together. During her first year in Langdon, she included FCCLA programs and activities in class. The following year, Kram, along with a small group of students, made a request to the school board to have an official chapter again. The board approved. The LAHS FCCLA re-affiliated in the fall of 2013 with about four members and has grown to over 50 members today.
“I’ve always felt that the role of a FCCLA adviser is unique – rather than micromanaging, our role is to help students understand how their goals should drive their decisions. The most successful projects our chapter has done are those where members identified concerns and set goals and then came up with a plan to meet those goals,” Kram shared.
Being an FCCLA adviser is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that Kram has ever undertaken. The organization provides many opportunities for students to hone the skills they learn and put them into use. From competitive events to leadership opportunities to community service, Kram assists her members in achieving their goals. While at times Kram admits it feels as though she is being pulled in a hundred different directions, she said that it is all worth it when she sees the enthusiasm of her students and members.