Solanyel (Sonny) Perez, a senior at Curry College who will be graduating on May 19, was recently selected for the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR), a highly-competitive AmeriCorps program. BTR combines a yearlong classroom apprenticeship with master’s-level coursework, spanning two summers and one full school year. At the end of the residency year, participants earn a master’s degree in education and go on to teach for a minimum of three years in the Boston Public Schools. Sonny is the second Curry student to be chosen for the BTR in the past three years.
At Curry, Sonny has worked closely with the Education faculty to focus her coursework and training in Elementary Education. She completed two practicums – one in a first-grade classroom in the Boston Public Schools and the other in a fourth-grade classroom in Milton Public Schools. With support from Curry’s Study Abroad Program, Sonny arranged to spend a semester studying in Brazil to become proficient in Portuguese and add multilingual service to her teaching. During her years at Curry, she has also served as a tutor for Scholar Athletes, a program which supports academic achievement through athletics and provided Sonny with a scholarship to Curry.
Professor Joanne Seltzer, Ed.D., has helped Sonny customize her pathway in Education at Curry and prepare for the rigorous BTR application process. Dr. Seltzer says, “Sonny brings a valuable mix of skills and experience to her position, and we are proud to collaborate with the BTR to continue to help meet the needs of this excellent program.”
In addition to her strong academic achievements, Sonny’s experiences as a young student make her an ideal participant in the BTR. Sonny was born in the United States but lived in the Dominican Republic until second grade. Then, she entered the Boston Public Schools as an English Language Learner, with Spanish being her primary language. She says that the experience has made her highly sensitive to language barriers in learning and keenly aware of the importance of a teacher’s ability to make lessons interactive and tailored to an individual student’s learning style.
“I can relate to the students in the Boston Public Schools because I went through the system myself, and my background is similar to many of the families in the system,” says Sonny. “I want to make a difference in the individual learning experience, one student at a time.”
Sonny will begin her residency year in July 2019 with summer graduate coursework and spend the 2019-2020 school year at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School in Roxbury. The Dudley Street School, which serves 325 students in grades K1-5, uses an innovative school model that puts personalized student learning at the center of teaching.