We have two meetings like this, one in the fall and one in the late winter or early spring. They are planned by a committee made up of a patron couple and a staff member. The meeting generally includes reports on the budget, fundraisers, staff or facility needs, and the like. We often have a speaker, much as Jonas described. One year we had time for open discussion, which turned out badly because people just started airing their grievances. A couple of times we had two or three “class periods” during which parents could go to one of the classrooms where that room’s teacher would teach a short “class.” I think the parents liked this, but most of the teachers did NOT, although I didn’t mind because having a captive audience is one the major perks of teaching for me.
After the scheduled events there’s a snack and a chance for people to chat. Teachers usually go to their classrooms during this time to be available for parents. (Being in the classroom allows for greater confidentiality than the usual milling around.) I’ve found this to be a valuable opportunity for productive conversations.
I like the way you asked about goals, Betty. For us/me this is one of those things we’ve done so much that I don’t think in those terms like I should.