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Foundational Life Literacy Focus

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education is foundational life education, with the goal of improving the student’s ability to be successful in today’s world. This instruction (commonly referred to as “life literacy”) begins at the middle level and continues into the secondary school through the FCS content areas of nutrition and wellness; interpersonal relationships; child development; parenting; consumer, personal and family finance; and more which are instrumental in helping students develop into successful career and life managers.

A flyer titled, "Kansas FCS Education" has been developed to share with those who might need further information about this topic.

21st Century Process Skills:

“Because of the rapid changes both technological and social, it is becoming less possible to operate our lives effectively using old paradigms. The learners today will be living in a society that will require its citizens to think constructively, make sound decisions, solve problems, access information and take responsibility for their own lives. The educational challenge is to build essential skills for learners in preparation for adult life.” ~Personal and Family Wellness Task Force, 1996

Since 1996, middle and secondary level FCS Education has followed a process-based instruction model. All content is taught while instilling the eight process skills to help students make sense of this information-heavy society in which we live. These eight process skills include: Cooperation, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Leadership, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Goal Setting, and Management. Research has indicated success in developing these skills when the FCS classroom involves quality Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) activities. In addition, more recently, these skills have been embraced by the educational system at large due to the needs of industry. For these reasons, Family and Consumer Sciences is strategically prepared to serve a vital role in the development of students to become college, career and life ready.

Middle Level Family and Consumer Sciences Program

Family and Consumer Sciences programs at the middle level are prime locations to begin important foundational work when it comes to life literacy, social emotional development, civic engagement and career introduction. In fact, many say the best timeframe IS the younger adolescent for such habit changing ground work.

In 2016, an in-depth view of Middle Level FCS (grades 6-8) was conducted by middle level FCS teachers and teacher educators to identify the role FCS should play in the student’s development. It’s not just being an elective anymore, but rather the first step a student will have toward developing “success skills” which begins with informed decision making about being a healthier person—socially, emotionally, physically and fiscally. The following is a summary of the results of that work: A quality middle level FCS program:

A quality middle level FCS program:
• Will develop an understanding of self and how decisions now impact their future;
• Is hands on, active learning which involves project based instruction;
• Expects process skill development (i.e. decision making, problem solving, goal setting, creativity, responsibility, leadership, collaboration, thinking);
• Has middle level FCS standards to ensure quality of instruction and expected rigor (See “Middle Level FCS Standards”);
• Provides an exploratory introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences content, but focusing on personal development before career skills introduction (at the 8th grade level);
• Considers the order of skills developed and content which is real life and authentic (See “Quality Middle Level Program Guide”);
• Expects ethical behavior, honesty, responsibility, trust, acceptance and respect for fellow classmates;
• Can add additional relevance through establishment of a Middle level Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Chapter (See www.ksde.org/ksfccla);
• Is the first step to a secondary level FCS program, with many linkages to the career clusters and Kansas Career and Technical Education procedures; and
• Has a Kansas developed middle-level teaching resource (See “Developing Life Literacy in Middle Level FCS Programs”) with approximately 100 lessons. These lessons are already aligned to all of the above and are divided into for subject areas—Human Relations—Consumerism—Employability (and Careers)—Nutrition and Wellness. The resource is accessed through trainings. Contact Gayla Randel at grandel@ksde.org to learn about upcoming trainings.

21st Century Process Skill Resources

The following resources indicate how the process skills are used in the Family and Consumer Sciences classroom.

Common Career and Technical Core: Career Ready Practices

The Common Career and Technical Core (CCTC) has identified 12 Career Ready Practices which provide a framework for the developmental experiences necessary to becoming career ready– experiences that can be “practiced” using many different approaches in a variety of settings. Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) life literacy initiatives directly address these career ready practices and can be considered an appropriate “first step”. Additional enhancement of these skills occurs within the FCS related occupational coursework and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) experiences.

The document below can be helpful when seeing the direct link to the FCS classroom. As you review the document, it is helpful to note the BOLD FONT items are considered concepts needing to be understood before the career ready practices skills can be developed. Red font items are considered uniquely addressed only through Family and Consumer Sciences Education. FCCLA activities are also included to show the Career and Technical Student Organizations relationship and authentic applications within the FCS discipline.

Prevention Education FAQ

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education addresses many of the issues of concern in today’s society. Research indicates a need for strategies of prevention which can collectively impact our society in positive ways. FCS in Kansas has courses in place which address these needs. In addition, when the FCS classroom content is expanded through authentic experiences found in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student organization, the impact is strengthened. 

Q1. FCS Ed Addresses Employability in the Helping Professions


  • (NOTE: All FCS Education courses integrate academics and 21st century process skills which are tied to employment success.) 
  • Career Life Planning begins the process of career selection through interest inventories, goal setting, career exploration as well as how to select a career that fits life goals as students develop a plan for work and life.
  • Introduction to Human Services introduces the knowledge and skills when considering a career in the helping professions from early childhood through geriatrics as well as encourages working to improve conditions for those needing service.
  • Introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences includes how to meet personal needs as a first step toward employment success. It also includes career investigation specifically for those occupations which provide for the essential needs of others. This includes an introduction to all pathways in which FCS has a lead role including education and training, hospitality and tourism, human services, and visual arts—interior and textiles.
  • Career and Community Connections provides the opportunity for trained students to meet the needs of people and address community issues through leadership service or internships with service professionals. A strong Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) alignment is embedded.
  • (Additional FCS occupational specific courses are found on the career cluster webpages.)
  • FCCLA National Programs which promote employability skills: Career Connections, Leadership Service in Action, Leadership Academy Certification, STAR Events/Competitive Events, Power of One—Family Ties, Take the Lead and Working on Working.


Q2. FCS Ed Addresses Healthy Relationships


  • Family Studies addresses skills in relationship building, diversity, conflict resolution and communication needed to establish healthy relationships with peers, children and their families. 
  • Human Growth and Development includes a study of development from birth through senior years, and how life issues impact decisions and goals across the life span. This information is vitally important both as one interacts with others in the course of their own life, but also when establishing an understanding of co-workers, family members and community partners.
  • The Developing Life Literacy Middle Level teaching resource directly addresses bullying prevention, early communication and conflict resolution skills to encourage positive relationships early in their adult lives. 
  • FCCLA national programs that promote healthy relationships: STOP the Violence (peer driven bullying prevention), Families First and Power of One-Family Ties.


Q3. FCS Ed Addresses Personal and Family Finance


  •  Consumer and Personal Finance directly teaches financial concepts that impact personal and family decision making and goal setting. Topics including budgeting across the life span, goal setting, consumer rights and responsibilities, and making sound financial decisions that impact individuals and their families. 
  • Career Life Planning helps students identify and plan for a successful future that includes setting education, career and personal goals as well as learn how to get and keep a job. 
  • FCCLA national programs that promote positive financial and career decision making: Financial Fitness, Career Connection and Power of One—Working on Working 


Q4. FCS Ed Addresses Obesity and Health/Safety

Answer: Nutrition and Wellness includes a study of basic nutrition and wellness decisions which is a determining factor in individual health and those they interact with. Food preparation is included which has been linked to prevention of obesity. 

  • Food Science links research to health by exploring food safety, sanitation, nutrition and culinary practices through science principles. 
  • Culinary Essentials is necessary to promote food safety, food selection, preparation and practices both in industry and home settings. 
  • FCCLA National Programs which support this instruction: Student Body, Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS) and Power of One—A Better You. 

Prevention Education

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education addresses many of the issues of concern in today’s society. Research indicates a need for strategies of prevention which can collectively impact our society in positive ways. FCS in Kansas has courses in place which address these needs. In addition, when the FCS classroom content is expanded through authentic experiences found in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student organization, the impact is strengthened. Click on the areas below for more information.

Family and Consumer Sciences 

(785) 291-3538

Deputy Commissioner
Division of Learning Services
Brad Neuenswander
(785) 296-2303

Career, Standards and Assessment

Scott Smith
(785) 296-3142

Assistant Director
Career and Technical Education

Stacy Smith
(785) 296-0979

Assistant Director
Curricular Standards
David Fernkopf
(785) 296-8447

Assistant Director
Beth Fultz
(785) 296-2325

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