Patrick Murphy, Director
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Family and Consumer Sciences
The 21st century brings with it new and diverse demands on all aspects of family life. Families are facing rapidly changing living patterns, are grappling with greater demands of the workplace on home life, and are witnessing an accelerated change in family member roles and functions. If we are to prepare our children for happy and prosperous futures, we must critically examine their preparation to become healthy and productive citizens, parents, consumers, home managers, and wage earners.
Family and Consumer Sciences education empowers individuals and families across the lifespan to manage the challenges of living and working in a diverse global society. The unique focus is on families, work, and their interrelationships.
Family and Consumer Sciences education has roots in both academic and career/technical education and reaches beyond the educational system into the community as it focuses on the needs of individuals and families
FACS Curriculum Goals Include:
Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles
Raising/Creating student awareness of global environmental issues
- Conservation – water usage & electricity usage in Food Labs and at home
- Reduce, Reuse & Recycle – plastics, glass and metals.
- Earth Day Lessons on carbon dioxide foot-printing, appliance energy rating, Going Green at home & Earth-Friendly lifestyles
- Using eco-friendly cleaning products
- Making personal choices regarding eating, exercising and nutrition
- National Nutrition Month Lesson plans including “Red Light, Green Light Foods” showcase
- Food and Physical Activity Journaling in Food and Fitness class
The Family and Consumer Science department strives to address the essential living competencies all individuals need to function in our rapidly changing society. The attitudes, skills, and knowledge learned in the FCS content areas provide a basis for success in balancing home and work responsibilities as well as for transitioning to career pathways.
Family and Consumer Science coursework, provides 3/4 credit at the middle school level and many elective course opportunities at the high school level:
- prepares individuals to be competent, confident, and responsible in managing personal, family, and career lives
- helps students meet challenges of daily living
- provides laboratory experiences that foster leadership and group skills
- provides individuals with knowledge and skills in:
Home & Career Skills
6th & 7th Grade
High School Electives
Students can choose from the following electives:
Culture of Foods
Food & Fitness
- the above courses provides individuals with knowledge and skills in:
- Nutrition and food preparation
- Setting personal food and exercise goals for a healthier lifestyle
- Cultures and foods form the U.S. and countries around the world
- Personal resource management
- Family and human development
- Early childhood education
- Parenting and care giving
- Clothing care and management
- Housing and environment
- Career Connections
Energy Conservation and Awareness and Healthy Lifestyles
An essential goal of the FACS curriculum is to continue to create student awareness of global environmental issues. Throughout the year students practice conservation measures within the classroom to REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE by employing wise water use measures during foods lab, and recycling plastics, glass and metal. During this year’s “Earth Day” celebration, each faculty member created specific lesson plans that dealt with such topics as carbon dioxide foot-printing, appliance energy rating, “ways to go green at home”, earth-friendly lifestyles, and electricity and water conservation in the home. Particular emphasis was placed on finding eco-friendly solutions to commercial cleaning products. This year, a second emphasis department-wide was placed on the concept of healthy lifestyles. Curriculum in all topic areas emphasized how students need to make personal choices regarding eating, exercising and making good decisions. Middle school students created “Red Light, Green Light Foods” showcases for National Nutrition Month in which information concerning the nutritional merits of various popular foods was displayed.
In a quest to instill 21st Century skills into FACS coursework, the department utilizes a learning community wiki in which staff members post lessons, calendars and collaborations. This technology allows teachers to collaborate asynchronously on curriculum issues when their individual schedules do not permit face-to-face meetings. This year, each school has its own departmental projector which is used extensively for short video clips of skill demonstrations. Several staff members use the District subscription to SchoolWeblockers as a way of students handing in assignments digitally in order to conserve paper. The department also experimented with the use of District podcasting technology by having Culture and Foods students research and present cultural food diversity projects. Students in Adolescent Psychology classes worked together on multimedia presentations focusing on dating relationships. They also completed posters on self-image using various web 2.0 tools such as wordle, prezi.com and glogster.com Students in Child Development classes created video presentations on diverse types of families. Departmental internet-based research projects and digital presentations developed by students in the past year have included inquiries in the areas of career exploration, consumerism, comparison shopping, kitchen planning and design, nutrition, obesity, child development and psychology, child care programs, teen pregnancy, and childhood disabilities and illnesses. Technology-infused differentiated lessons addressing multiple intelligences, web quests, slide shows and PowerPoint presentations were some of the activities used by staff members to enhance student understanding in the classroom. Technology has also played a role in the ongoing development of lessons for children with severe disabilities. Each school’s department now uses a digital camera to record and then reinforce specific lessons and activities as well as celebrate the accomplishments of students. One department room in each school now has been fitted with a LCD projector that will allow instructors to display instructional video clips from the Internet.
Representatives from several culinary arts schools (Johnson & Wales University, Clemens College, the Culinary Academy of Long Island, Nassau Community College, Suffolk Community College) hosted food preparation demonstrations and information sessions for high school students considering careers in the food industry. Middle school students visited the “A La Carte” cooking school in Lynbrook for lessons and conversations with professional chefs. Within their coursework, students in high school food preparation courses investigated entrepreneurial career possibilities by creating “Gifts from the Kitchen”, trying their hand at what is involved in the home catering arena. Middle school students compiled personal Career Portfolios as a culminating activity for the career exploration unit in seventh grade. Students also participated in job-shadowing exercises at Best Buy, meeting with department managers to discuss the commonalities between job and school experiences.
The middle schools worked collaboratively with the Guidance Department to organize Career Day, which was held in May. This year over 60 presenters from diverse career areas visited the school to speak to the students. This has become an annual event with presenters returning year after year to play a part in their community service to young people.
The FACS department is in the process of developing a new course for September 2010 titled “Food and Fitness” which will highlight the interrelationship between healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Central to the program will be the use of online computer systems to create nutritional meal plans and an exercise program to reach each student’s desired healthy living goals.
Students enrolled in the Child Development and Psychology courses created illustrated children’s books and shared them with students at the elementary level. Students within all courses aided the community through various projects for Unity Day and Relay for Life. Seventh grade students participated in a Long Island Harvest “Harvest Day” project at the end of their foods unit to collect canned food for the needy in our community. Members of the Home Economics Club produced a blanket to send to Haiti to help in the disaster relief efforts. Staff members also participated in raising funds for UNICEF.
Did you know? Every 6th and 7th grade boy and girl takes “skills for life” classes in Family and Consumer Sciences, once known as “Home Ec”!