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Orientation for Spanish Speaking Parents

Tuesday, September 15, 2015   (1 Comments)
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One of the greatest reasons to work at Northeastern Illinois University is the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prioritize meeting the needs of our diverse students and their families, evidenced by our federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution–one of only a few in the Midwest. At Northeastern we believe, and research shows, that family involvement is so important in students’ academic success. To better involve our Spanish-speaking parents, the Office of New Student and Family Programs created a Spanish Parent Orientation nearly two years ago. The Spanish Parent Orientation has been a huge success, and we’d like to share the highlights of parents’ feedback, gathered from focus groups and surveys.

Resources Game
We created the resource game "Que Piensas,” modeled after "Jeopardy,” the popular television quiz show. "Que Piensas” provided an interesting way for parents to learn and discuss new information, and at the same time have a little fun. They absolutely loved it!

Coffee and Snack Time
After a few sessions we planned a break time, so the parents could mix and mingle, and also have time to take care of some of items on their agenda, or make work phone calls.

Orientation Leader
The parents had the all-day support of a dedicated Orientation Leader, trained to meet the needs of our Spanish-speaking parents. This all-day support enabled the Orientation Leader to grow in confidence and ability, ensure consistency throughout all the Spanish Parent Orientations, and allowed the opportunity for other staff to troubleshoot and prepare for upcoming sessions.

Please remember parents are a diverse bunch. In all cases "one size does not fit all.” It is crucial to note and realize that what works best at Northeastern might not work at another university. In New Student and Family Programs, we ask our parents what they need, and then take that information and build our Orientation program from there. Our one-day Parent Orientation might not work at every institution, but I do know it works for the Northeastern parents.

Although the above listed items are minor adjustments to our Orientation programming, our results have been astonishingly positive. Parents are highly satisfied with the services they receive, and state they had memorable experiences. There are still many other adjustments to make, but for now Northeastern will enjoy completing and having a successful Spanish Parent Orientation Season.

For more information contact:
Janett Ramos
Asst. Director of New Student & Family Programs
Northeastern Illinois University


Evelynn Guzman says...
Posted Thursday, October 01, 2015
This was so great to read. I also coordinate a Spanish-Speaking Family Orientation program at an emerging HSI (Metropolitan State University of Denver) and I see the positive impact it has on our Spanish-Speaking families. We all know the importance of family involvement in the academic success of our students, therefore creating programs such as the one at Northeastern Illinois University and MSU Denver is highly critical. Kudos Jannet! Evelynn Guzman Coordinator of New Student Orientation Metropolitan State University of Denver

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