The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University homecoming
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Vol. 10 No. 11 | October 17, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

"You're doing what?" Asked my college freshman son. "I know...Isn't that crazy?" This is the response I received when I told my son that I am the administrator of the Parent and Family Services Facebook page. In the past, I was... well... not too enthusiastic about Facebook. Now I am a convert! A new Facebook devotee! Why you ask? Because the Parent and Family Services Facebook page allows me to get information out to you quickly and report on what's happening on campus today or tomorrow.

I hope you enjoy the Backpack and find it useful, but we can't fit everything into this short and concise newsletter. And things come up during the week while we are editing our most recent edition. Facebook allows me to post about the university in the news, logistics relevant to families, kudos to academic departments or teams, and some fun facts and beautiful photos. You may also post comments and general questions.

If you have a specific question or concern of a more personal nature, I'd prefer you to give me a call or send me an e-mail. I'm still old fashioned in that way! I'll do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible.

So, as they say, "Like" Parent and Family Services on Facebook!

Homecoming: Forever Blue

Saturday, October 19

If you are planning on joining us to celebrate Homecoming, be sure to check out the calendar of events posted on the Alumni website.

Changing Relationships between Parents and Students and Homesickness

by Hannah Nunez, M.A., LAC, Counseling Services

You're no longer seeing your student on a daily basis and maybe this change in communication has led you to wonder when, how much, and how often you should talk now.

Discuss your expectations. You might want to talk to your student daily, while they might prefer weekly chats. You want to tell them you love them on Facebook every day, while they might prefer no social media contact. Try to meet in the middle with an emphasis on sharing your reasons for wanting to stay in contact with them. It might be useful to set up scheduled "phone dates", so you can be sure your student is available (not in class or at work) and so they have something to look forward to.

What happens if your student is struggling to get accustomed to the drastic change of coming to college?

Offer support while encouraging independence. Offer a supportive ear when your student expresses feeling homesick and consider reminding them of their reasons for choosing NAU initially. Encourage your student to become involved in one of the many clubs or student groups on campus as a way to make friends and fill their time. It may also be useful to encourage your student to make their new residence feel like home- whether that means they start cooking homemade meals for themselves or taking pride in their space by decorating- a nice touch of home can bring a sense of calm and comfort when they need it most.

Counseling Services is happy to provide consultation for concerned parents. If the pressure your student is facing become unmanageable, please call Counseling Services (928-523-2261) to talk about your concerns with a counselor, or encourage your student to schedule an appointment

Preparing for Midterms

Professors are required to provide midterm grades for 100 and 200 level courses, allowing students to monitor their progress. Have conversations with your students about their courses and how they feel about their progression. If they are not satisfied, encourage them to speak with their instructor(s) about ways to succeed in their course(s).

  • The North and South Learning Centers offer free tutoring in a variety of subjects. Services include 1:1 tutoring, drop-in math labs, and online tutoring, as well as subject based study skills tutoring.

  • Supplemental Instruction is provided for all students who want to improve their understanding of course material and improve their grades.

  • In-hall tutoring is conveniently located during the fall and spring semesters in all Freshman Connections residence halls. Even if your student isn't a resident, he/she can access these services. Courses typically tutored are math, biology, chemistry, and physics.

  • Academic Success Workshops range from time management seminars to test taking and anxiety management. If the workshop times do not work with your student's schedule, please call the Learning Specialist at 928-523-5524 to schedule an individual appointment.


What is FERPA?

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which is a federal law passed in 1974. It is designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

What rights do Parents have under FERPA?

FERPA covers the rights of the student to privacy. "But I'm the one paying the tuition! Surely I have a right to see my student's grades/class schedule/receive the bill!" There are three ways you may legally receive access to your student's education records from Northern Arizona University:

  • Your student signs a FERPA release form granting you permission;
  • You provide evidence that you claimed the student as a financial dependent on your most recent Federal Income Tax form;
  • Through a lawfully-issued subpoena or court order.

Please remember that an institution is not required to disclose information, and may exercise discretion when doing so.

What if the student is still a minor?

When a student reaches the age of 18, or begins attending a post-secondary institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the student.

How can I learn how my student is doing?

The best approach is to ask your son or daughter directly. Communicating with young adults isn't always easy. Sometimes they are not as forthcoming as we would like. The college years, however, are a period of remarkable growth and maturation. The ability and willingness of students to share information and insights usually grows, especially as they acquire the confidence that comes with assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.

Event Highlights

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365.