We started during school with the mothers' meeting at 11am (fathers were down for 5pm meeting after school). I'd been told to expect maybe 4 or 5 ladies and 16 turned up.
I gave the ladies a brief run down on what the advisors are doing to improve things in the school and then took a few questions. All the men then left the room (so the ladies could divest themselves of their niqabs) for them to have chocolates and drinks. This was followed by the arrival of the teachers for teacher/parent conferences.
The men's group in the evening was huge! Again, common practice was that about 4 or 5 men would come and I was also told my 5pm time for the meeting meant few would come on time. We ended up with 30 plus (I stopped counting at 26). It was easy to count as each new arrival would say Salaam Alaykum and we would say back Alaykum Salaam! This number is without precedent. My Principal was thrilled!
I did my same introductory speech and then took a lot of questions (some had firm beliefs on how things should be taught). We finished with a brief meet-the-teacher chat but most had seemingly just come to hear me or raise issues with me. A hugely instructive evening!!