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Innovator Spotlight: Rodney D. Parker

Rodney D. Parker is a second grade teacher at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary. He is a 2022 Design Fellow.

What is the project that brought you to CityBridge?

The project that brought me to Citybridge was a closer look at helping Black and Brown students who struggle with math see themselves as mathematicians.

Why is that project important to you?

This project was super important to me because, as a Black male teacher, I want students to see a reflection of themselves and know that they can achieve high levels of academics. We have many great examples of successful math and science professionals in African American history. I want to be an influence in the classroom. One that sees and affirms them throughout their formative year of education.

What prompted you to apply to CityBridge’s fellowship? What were you hoping to gain from participating?

Our school administrator approached me about creating a space to specifically look at math intervention to help Black and Brown students. I hope to unlock new levels of math learning for the students and myself as a math educator.

What was the most impactful aspect of Fellowship? What was your biggest takeaway?

CityBridge provided an open space for our team to explore possibilities when you have the resources and a process that leads to solving a problem. CityBridge created a place where my team could make mistakes, reflect, and build on a process that can be used repeatedly to approach any problem-solving situation.

What are your next steps for you and/or your project?

We are in the process of doing a book study to focus on thinking and what a thinking math classroom looks and sounds like. This is important because what we think “thinking” is is sometimes just us asking students to follow directions the way we presented them, essentially mimicking.

What piece of professional advice would you give CityBridge alumni and education entrepreneurs? 

I would say you can never go wrong with trying to move toward greatness. Even a wrong decision is a decision to make a difference. Engage in the process and stay encouraged. It is easy to get discouraged when doing heavy work, but it is all worth it. The coaches, especially Kim, and the team will remind you that you are not alone and you can do it.

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