It’s just around the corner, Wednesday August 23rd is the start of school in the Park City District. That first day of school will be a first for many students at new schools but will also be a first school day for Park City High School’s new principal Roger Arbabi.
Principal Roger Arbabi moved to Park City with his family in July. His contract began on August 1st and he says he’s been impressed by what he’s seen so far from Park City High School.
“I’m coming into a school that is highly highly functional. Just sitting down and looking at some of the preliminary data that’s coming through. Our A.P. scores are up 12-13% even over last year, and they were phenomenal then. I don’t really feel the need to come in and re-invent the wheel. We’ve got some amazing staff that are working there. We really just want to make sure we have a lot of follow-up make sure that our school campus is safe, that our students are learning, make sure that we’re focusing on good instructional strategies and we’re going to move from there.”
Arbabi says that he expects his role to be a dynamic position.
“Principal’s job is a dynamic job. You’re first and foremost an instructional leader. You set the tone for the entire school. You want to make sure that your students are safe, that they’re learning and you want to make sure that all the special interest groups are also being heard so everyone has an opportunity to learn.”
He says he hopes to spend much of his time working in the classroom.
“Ideally in the classrooms, that’s going to be a high priority for my administrative staff. I’ve got an incredible staff. We’re going to be spending a lot of times in the classrooms just observing what’s happening just to have a snapshot of what’s happening at the schools so that we can then fortify our plan moving forward.”
Arbabi says that he hopes to make the school student centered.
“We want to be a student-centered school. So we want to make sure that the students are learning, that they take ownership of the learning. Those things happen when you’re able to monitor and be in the classrooms and give feedback to teachers.”
Arbabi also says he recognizes the challenges of growth within the district.
“This is an issue that I talked with Andrew Caplan about when I was first hired. We’re bursting at the seams. We’ve got teachers that are floating. We’re looking at where we’re going to be putting our staff members. We’re going to be looking at long range plans to see what we can do to accommodate everybody.”
He also says he prefers 9th graders be in the high school
“For various reasons. We’re losing instructional time every time a ninth grader comes back and forth on our campus. I’ve had an opportunity to speak with various administrators. That re-alignment process, we hope that it is able to happen soon.”
Arbabi’s come from an American school in Colombia. He says that taught him the importance of being a global citizen.
“We need to make sure that our students are global citizens. Making sure that they are able to understand differences in social cultures and I think that by having worked overseas. By having had that experience to work with professional from all over the world. It made me realize that this is a small planet. We need to make sure that our students are ready to move forward and get to know the rest of the world.”
Arbabi is a global citizen himself, he volunteered with the Peace Corp in Ecuador in the early 90’s where he learned Spanish, he was able to keep up his Spanish while living in Texas and Colombia.
“I think that more importantly than just the language. I really enjoy the Latino culture and so being able to communicate with the parents and making them feel welcome to come to campus is going to be key. It’s something that I’ve done for a long time. I’ve worked with the Latino culture, so I think it’s going to be a big plus for us.”