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Meeting Examines New Responsibilities Of School Principal

By Kathleen E. Mcdonough

A group of about 30 Cambridge parents, teachers and school administrators met last night at the Martin Luther King Jr. School to discuss the problems of modern elementary school administration.

The program began with a showing of "The Principal of This School" a film about the experiences of Kenneth W. Haskins, currently lecturer on Education at the Graduate School of Education, as principal of an urban Washington, D.C. elementary school in 1969.

The film tried to give "parents more access in understanding the role of the principal and to remove the professional mythology which often surrounds him," Melanie Barron, a doctoral candidate at the School of Education, said yesterday.

Creation Myth

Haskins said at the meeting that as a principal, he encouraged teachers to be more creative when dealing with their students. He added that older teachers who became accustomed to outdated modes of teaching often responded enthusiastically to an opportunity to implement new methods.

Haskins cited this example to illustrate his contention that the modern principal should attempt to encourage teachers to unite to dicuss methods of dealing with students rather than acting as the ultimate disciplinarian in the school.

The meeting was part of an effort to "have parents directly involved in the policy-making decisions in the schools," Alice K. Wolf, vice-chairman of the Cambridge School Committee, said last night.

Wolf, a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government, said her goal is to insure parent participation in many school decisions, including the selection of three new principals of Cambridge elementary schools this spring.

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