As principal of a middle school, I meet weekly with teachers and school counselors to discuss team and department progress of our students. I know that teachers—tasked with helping students achieve and dealing with adolescents—can quickly become energy depleted, even disenfranchised, seeing slow progress for the most at-risk and time-consuming among our students.

At the beginning of the year, when we are euphoric and well-rested and looking forward to helping all children, we establish SMART goals and meeting protocols.

The middle of the year is cold, the holidays are over, and we are looking...

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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, NJ. Gaskell achieved his doctorate in educational leadership in 2014 and continues to model the pursuit of lifelong learning as he serves as a mentor to new principals in other schools through the NJEA Leaders to Leaders program. In his work as a principal, he works tirelessly to support instructional excellence, his faculty, the district, and, most important, the children as benefactors of idea sharing.