Name: Brad Rumble, National Fellowship, Cohort 2
State and City of Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Job Description: Principal
What brought you to work in education?
As an undergraduate, I did not consider a career in education. But in my early twenties, I reconsidered what was really important to me, and I landed on elementary education because of its potential to make a significant positive impact on students' lives.
As an educator working in the heart of Los Angeles, I became alarmed by students' lack of access to nature. They'd wake up in a big apartment building, walk past other buildings to their concrete and asphalt school, and return home to do it all over again the next day. Working with local experts and fellow Robert Jeffers, I have shown now on two campuses how students' enthusiasm and knowledge grow when given the opportunity to study their campus' own natural history. In the 21st century the urban schoolyard doesn't have to be carpeted with asphalt. Peel the asphalt back. Engage students and local experts to create a native habitat which then can serve as a living laboratory for a student and a hub of biodiversity. This is an idea whose time has come.
What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
As fellows we have found in one another a common level of commitment which has sustained me even in the toughest of times. I will always be grateful for this.
If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
How can we ensure there are systems in place on every campus which allow for true collaboration among teachers? I believe teachers must engage in collegial conversation around the planning and delivery of instruction not once in awhile but throughout the school year.
What is your other favorite thing to do (besides education, or course!)?
When I am not doing the work of a principal, you'll find me outside birding. That's the new term for birdwatching. What has been really gratifying is through my work I have been able to bring birding onto my campus, so now there are hundreds of young birders in central Los Angeles. A lot of the time they spot the birds before I do. In fact, Cornell University just made my school, Esperanza Elementary, an eBird.org " official Birding Hotspot. To this date we have observed 41 species on our campus--just down the street from the skyscrapers of downtown L.A.!
What is one book every educator must read?
The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton. We conducted a professional reading of this book in the 2015-16 school year and had profound conversation around it. What an important book for educators!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am excited about the work taking place in LAUSD around the Early Literacy Academy model. This is a data-driven approach in which students in K-2 receive targeted instruction in the Foundational Reading Skills through flexible grouping, usually for one hour a day. In my fifth year of implementing this model I can say with confidence that this approach is accelerating our students' achievement in reading.