When I became principal of a middle school in New Jersey, I heard how supportive our parents were. Behind the veil, there’s always something to work on and I wanted to explore that. My first PTA meetings reassured me that we needed to find a way to improve the drastically low attendance. At the meetings, we typically see about 12 to 15 attendees, usually the executive board and a handful of parents. Since we have 1,250 students, that meant only one to 1.3 percent of parents were attending our five PTA meetings each year! That was not a percentage to...

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  • About the Author:

    Dr. Michael Gaskell has been principal of Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick, N.J., since 2006, following experience as a special educator and assistant principal in Paramus, N.J. Dr. Gaskell models the pursuit of lifelong learning as he mentors new principals in other schools and districts through the NJEA Leaders to Leaders program. He works tirelessly to support instructional excellence, his faculty, the district, and, most importantly, the children as the benefactors of idea sharing.