The J-DHS PTG was dissolved for this school year due to a lack of leadership. It is expected to return for the 2021-2022 school year. Principal Gasparini addresses questions many may have about the gap left by the absence of the PTG.
What was the role of the PTG?
The PTG’s been an amazing supporter of all our student academic clubs–everything from Model UN, to UMOJA, to all of our world language clubs, cultural connections, student government, etc. All of our academic clubs and activities, they–every year would give away money to underwrite initiatives for each of those clubs and activities. They underwrote to the tune of thousands of dollars for our students every year, and we give each club anywhere from $250 to $500 to help support something they were doing–whether it was a field trip, an inclusive program–any number of initiatives. Really, really great at doing that work. In particular–well it goes way back–Mrs. Masa was very helpful. We had many PTG members who did a really elaborate, very appreciated teacher appreciation luncheon every year, and a number of parents helped out with that. And in recent years, Mrs. Schwedes has been an incredible leader of the organization with Mrs. Durkin, and they’ve done a really nice job in centering the activities of the PTG on students. We really appreciate that. But they were with it a long time, and unfortunately, I think over the past few years, people have been pulled in so many directions. It was difficult to find continuing leadership this year. I think COVID honestly had a lot to do with that. We did not have an active PTG this year. It does not mean we won’t have an active PTG. We want to have a parent teacher group–it’ll probably be the PTA; that’s what they’re doing at the elementary schools–aligning with the national PTA. We’re looking forward to rejuvenating and reorganizing our PTA to serve our students once again. But the PTG has been outstanding.
How has the gap been filled this year?
Well, it’s just a year. This year, our clubs and activities couldn’t do much anyway. The PTG gave what funds they had to the school to underwrite some scholarships and help some student activities. They were exceedingly generous to help all of the high school programs, so that we appreciate. Operation Graduation is the organization that supports the after-the-prom parties. Really, it’s after the ball, because we do the after-the-ball party for seniors. Operation Graduation has been in existence for 30 years, and that actually started as a subcommittee of the PTG. We had another very active year with Operation Graduation. The parents did a great job. The reason we’re having proms and balls is because of their work. They deserve all the credit. The fact that we’re having it outside and we have a tent–that’s all Operation Graduation–so we really appreciate the work that they did this year. So we have a lot of parent involvement–to say we have Operation Graduation, we have the Booster Club, we have parents supporting teens and programs. So there is a ton of parent support, parent involvement, and we want to come back through and make sure the PTG has support as well.
What does this mean for PTG after school activities at the middle school? What about other events?
We’re not set up the same way K-8 is. Our activities go through our club programs, and we have in the neighborhood of 50 clubs or so. We have faculty advisors who support the students in school. We have a chess club this year–we have everything from chess club, to computer clubs, to a student Islamic association, etc. All of those organizations work with their advisor to meet in their advisor’s classroom to meet after school to do the work they need to do. We’re going to have a gardening club. That just started. We have an environmental club. So our clubs and activities are still pretty vibrant. I think [the PTG after school activities at the middle school are] all fine. It’s just a momentary thing. It sounds more apocalyptic than it really is. We’re doing really well. We had great support from the PTG for years, we’re looking for a leadership transition, and all of the student programs are still going on. We’re in a really good place.
What are the plans for next year in terms of the PTG?
We’d love for any parent who wishes to step up and take leadership of that organization to give me a call, and we’re all in.