Educator Spotlight: Rene' Ketchum, 2017 Affiliate Teacher of the Year

By AAFCS Team posted 11-01-2017 12:00 AM

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Making a Difference
:  "STEPPING FORWARD with Leadership in the classroom"

This edition spotlights Rene' Ketchum as the 2017 Affiliate Teacher of the Year for Washington.  The focus for teaching is Leadership through project based learning. STEPPING FORWARD with FCCLA STAR Events and National Programs integrated into her FCS classes lend themselves to students being able to make school relevant in their own life now and in the future, allowing them to assess their own areas of need and a plan to get there.  Teaching fitness, nutrition, health and family are the core to better healthy families in the future.

Program Focus:
With the issues and challenges I see in the media, I can only hope that my students have the courage, knowledge and confidence to transfer what they learned in FCS to their own life. STEPPING FORWARD best describes my efforts to expand and integrate FCCLA Leadership and a Project-based (Problem-based) learning model. It is my passion to create an effective FCS program that expands opportunities for all students through FCCLA. FCCLA Projects in the classroom allow students to problem solve, use critical thinking, self-management, and teamwork - all skills needed in a future career, in the work force or with family and community. All FCS classes at Toledo High School incorporate at least five major Project-based learnings through FCCLA National programs and STAR Events appropriately integrated within each course. Every course includes Power of One goal setting, STEP One (Introduction to FCCLA), the FCCLA Planning Process, and participate in a Community Service Project. Additionally, Life Event Planning, Illustrated Talk, Career Investigation, Student Body, and Financial Fitness projects are embedded in content-specific courses. STEPPING FORWARD promotes leadership in these projects, supports student growth and their personal challenges, while doing research, encouragement of public speaking skills, and observing and evaluating one another’s presentations and strengthens leadership outcomes. Goal Books based upon Power of One (A Better You), Recipe books in Culinary Arts are examples of embedding STEM and Common Core. Setting goals is important at every age. A “Goal Book” I designed is related to Power of One goal setting and a culminating activity of a reproduction unit, Baby Borrowers (video series) stressing healthy parenting and Healthy  Choices/ Healthy Relationships. Students write short and long term goals in areas such as family, physical, mental, emotional/spiritual, social and environmental life; and one SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) related to a career or job. I like the analogy, “If you don’t have gas in your car, you can’t go anywhere.” Goals are the gas in your tank to get you where you want to go. In culinary and foods class I developed a “Recipe Book” that contains Common Core, recipes, ingredients, measuring, knife skills, and nutrient information. MyPlate and SuperTracker  evaluate personal eating habits. Learning standards are heavily promoted in both Career & Technical Education and academics by our State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additionally, Districts must submit a complex subject Framework (including FCS courses), one that clearly identifies how the curriculum integrates course content, student leadership, FCS National Standards and 21st Century skills. In addition to National FCS Standards, the curriculum focus in Washington State is based upon a long history of legislated support and funding, research-based skills and standards, and practical application. In particular, FCS skills promote family strength, using systems thinking and best practices. In our Regional consortium of small school districts, I was responsible for making sure that FCS National Standards, leadership, and 21st century skills were addressed in all FCS courses. A small district requires flexibility, innovation, creativity, and community support to thrive and grow while still maintaining similar requirements as larger districts. I want my students to have meaningful projects that reinforce organizational skills useful throughout life. Students use notebooks for self management, like the best scientists who use notebooks to formulate questions, capture concepts, manage time, record innovations and show evidence of learning.  Research shows that students learn in different ways; I have found that if students hear information, see it and write it, they will remember it.

School/Community Setting
Toledo is situated in Lewis County, geographically one of the largest counties in the state. Toledo, a small rural town with no stop lights, has less than 1000 residents. Located half way between Portland and Seattle, Toledo is the gateway to Mt. St. Helens. Toledo was originally a logging town but that industry has diminished. The Cowlitz Native American Tribal Council supports and collaborates with community celebrations such as their annual Pow Wow held at Toledo High School. Recently a group of community and business leaders began Vision Toledo organizing events to revitalize local business. The school is the center piece for activities and entertainment for the community. There is one school for each level. Toledo High School has a population of about 240 students in grades 9-12. Students represent Hispanic, Native American, Asian and Caucasian groups, with at least 50% qualifying for free and reduced lunch. The majority of students are bussed to school. I am the only FCS instructor at my school with an average class load of 20 students.

Why did you "Say Yes to FCS"?

I said Yes to FCS Education because of the importance of Life Skills with in the program; Personal Finance, Nutrition, Fitness, Child Development, Culinary Foundations, and Family Health. It is so important to have the knowledge to live by oneself, someone else or support a family in the community in which they live. The student led organization of FCCLA is instrumental in giving students leadership skills, community service and ways in which they can have personal growth; all important needs to be a positive member of society.