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The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Diving Deeper

The school life of Assistant Principal Priyanka Rupani
Photo credit: Nick Saracino
Assistant Principal Priyanka Rupani speaks at the Corinthians Morning Exercise in 2021.

Meetings, drills, students, admissions, class, and more meetings. This is Priyanka Rupani’s day-to-day life. 

In the summer of 2021, Priyanka Rupani joined the Parker community as the new Assistant Principal – a role that had not been filled the previous academic year. Now, three years later, she is active in the Parker community and doing more than ever. 

“My schedule or my day depends on a lot of different things. Every day is different. Some days have some standing meetings and some of my day is being responsive to what comes up,” Rupani said. 

On top of her job as Assistant Principal, Rupani has taken the role as the Interim Co-Director of Admission and Financial Assistance. Taking on this job has shifted the structure of her day-to-day schedule at school.

Beginning on October 10, 2023, Karen Fisher, the Director of Admission and Financial Assistance at Parker retired after nearly two decades in that role. Fisher shared in a goodbye email to families that the role would now be held by Co-Directors Paige Walus and Priyanka Rupani until the school hires someone new. “There is a lot of additional work related to our admission process,” Rupani said.

Every working member of the community, whether in the Lower, Intermediate, Middle, or Upper school, has a lot on their plates. From teaching to fixing a leak in the wall, they all stay on top of their jobs and are ready for anything. Every day is unique. “It’s hard to talk about exactly what I do a lot of days because some of it is being responsive to needs that have emerged that I could never predict,” Rupani said. “A lot of things are things that just come up, like if I have to meet with a student, or something important and unplanned came up.”

For Rupani, the time she arrives at school depends on meetings. “I could arrive anywhere between seven thirty and eight if I have a really packed morning, or sometimes my first meeting doesn’t start till 8:30. Because my days extend later, I would say if I have an appointment or meeting, or a personal thing that happens, I might be in later,” Rupani said. 

Because Rupani begins her day at different times, she also ends her day at different times. “On a typical day, if I don’t have an evening meeting, I’ll still most likely have one after school. For example right after school SEL (social and emotional learning) and DEIB meetings are Thursday afternoons and I sometimes attend Tuesday afternoon faculty meetings. Normally I try to leave between 4:00 and 5:00, but sometimes it’s closer to 8:00,” Rupani said. 

Rupani mentioned that most of her days are filled with meetings on top of meetings. Meetings can begin at seven in the morning and stretch to seven in the evening. They take up free periods, conference periods, and lunch times throughout the week. 

“A typical day has a lot of meetings, but what those meetings are can vary,” Rupani said. “I’ll start with explaining how I help facilitate our academic leadership team,” made up of Parker’s three division heads, the Directors of Studies, the Director of DEIB, Dr. Frank, and Rupani. The academic leadership team meets to discuss student learning and their daily schedules. 

“We might talk about things like which consultant we were going to work with for the schedule, which is ISM, which stands for Independent School Management,” Rupani said. ISM does a lot of consulting for schools around schedules. ISM’s focus is on students and student wellness, and  how schools can design a schedule that focuses on and prioritizes student wellness. “So we schedule out with ISM: when are we going to have them come to the school? And when are we going to begin planning for the prep work? What do we have to deliver to the consultant so that they can give us recommendations in those meetings?” Rupani said. 

Another focus of the academic leadership team is providing professional development funds for faculty available in each division. “If faculty members want to pursue professional development that costs money, we can give them those funds. Part of our meetings is to review those requests and determine whether we approve them,” Rupani said. “Some of the things that go into what would make something approved are just thinking about an equitable distribution of funds.” The school also needs to ensure the school doesn’t have so many people out of the building at once.  “We talk about these things in both our academic leadership team meeting and in our fuller admin team and administrative team.” 

Both the administrative team and academic leadership team are made up of eight people who Rupani has previously mentioned, along with the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Communications, the Director of Development, the Director of Athletics, and the Co-Directors of Human Resources. “And when the Enrollment and Financial Assistance role is filled, that person as well,” Rupani said. “So there’s a lot that goes into that meeting, but that meeting is just one part of my day.”

Rupani also co-chairs the Teaching and Learning Council with Parker’s two Directors of Studies, Mr. Carlson and Ms. Hunt. The three of them plan the agenda for the other meetings. The Teaching and Learning Council is made up of all of the department chairs across the school. 

In those meetings, the members talk about things related to curriculum and also to faculty evaluation or observation. One of the roles of Parker’s department chairs is to observe teachers throughout the year and give feedback. “So we support the department chairs and think about the timeline of that. We are also doing work around documenting the curriculum, so we’re helping department chairs think about how they are capturing what happens in different courses or different subjects. Also with a particular look at where concepts of DEIB and SEL are showing up.” I’ll

Rupani also works with Dr. Frank to liaise with the parent association co-chairs, as well as to plan their meetings.

A smaller thing that Rupani takes on is to plan all of the school drills for the year in partnership with the Director of Facilities. “That’s one piece of my job that I don’t know that people would expect. It’s just I have to make sure that we have drills that happen every year,” Rupani said.

“I’m a member of a lot of different groups that are thinking about JK through 12 initiatives,” Rupani said. “You have the three division heads who are really focused on the day-to-day of what happens in their divisions, and I get to be someone that helps connect dots and threads. I like that.”

“She is a very trusted member of the community,” senior Ethan Dennis said. Rupani does a lot and has a lot of interactions with different divisions in the high school. “I think that one way to think about my job is that I support a lot of the work that touches more than one section of the school,” Rupani said.

Along with Rupani’s involvement in keeping the JK-12th grades organized for everybody including parents, she is also starting to see more of the high school students and become more involved with them and their learning.

“I would say that’s kind of an overview of what my role is, but the day-to-day varies,” Rupani said. “Then the other thing is that I decided to offer an elective in the Upper School because one of the things that I’ve found is that this role is less student-facing than I’d like it to be. And that’s because there’s so many other things going on.”

Every Wednesday during Webster 3, Rupani offers a DEIB seminar. Currently, the elective has four students participating.  “We meet in Ms. Rupani’s office,” Dennis said. “So it’s cozy and it’s very enjoyable.” “I work in a school because I love working with young people, and I love making sure that they have a positive experience in school…I thought the best way to do that was to offer an elective.” Rupani still wishes she had more time with the student body. “I would say I see students definitely once a week with my class, but sometimes I even have to cancel my class if meetings or things pop up, but it’s not the sustained amount of time that I wish I had to support students,” Rupani said.

“It’s been very cool to get to know Ms. Rupani. I have kind of gotten to know her as a teacher and a person, and I think that has helped not only me but others connect with her,” Dennis said.

Last year Rupani took a different interim role and because of this was able to interact with SIRB, the Student Interview and Recommendation Board. “One of the things that I talked about with SIRB was I thought it would be nice for me to have more interaction with students,” Rupani said. “I thought it was nice and helpful to have that connection to them as well.”

Rupani also enjoys collaborating with different student committees and faculty divisions to install things that will act to everyone’s benefit. For example, Rupani has been meeting with the Environmental Committee, Waste Management representative, housekeeping manager, and Director of Facilities about some upcoming plans they have in the works. “Meeting with the environmental committee has just been really fun to do, and I think it falls under my role because I get to support cross-divisional initiatives,” Rupani said.

In connection with students in the school, Rupani feels that there are so many people, not just teachers, that the student body might not interact with on a daily basis who are interested in supporting student voices and connecting with students to support them in their journey at the school. “I see the students that are spending time in the front alcove because that’s a place that I pass through a lot,” Rupani said. “Or if I’m on my way to a meeting, I see students in the halls, but I don’t have a formal, scheduled time to meet with me other than the class.” 

She wants to bridge a deeper connection between students and faculty. “I think the thing that I’m hoping for when the interim role is up, is looking for sustained ways to connect with students. And there’s such robust ways for students to share their voice in the Upper School,” Rupani said.

Rupani herself wants to see more of the Upper School student body. She made sure to make a point in mentioning how her door is always open and that she’s happy to spend time with students. “I’d love for people to come by,” she said. “I know my office is kind of tucked back, but when my door is open and I’m in there, it’s an open invitation for people to just come by.”

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About the Contributor
Chloe Deutsch
Chloe Deutsch, Culture Critic & Brief Writer
Chloe Deutsch is a sophomore who is so excited to be this year's culture critic and one of your brief writers! This is her second year working with "The Weekly" after being a staff writer. When she isn't writing, you can find her scrolling on Pinterest, reading a book, or hanging out with friends.