Educator of the week

Rosalia Soria 
Bridge Street Elementary

Los Angeles Unified School District
Favorite teaching Subjects: Language Arts

Born and raised in her beloved community of Boyle Heights, Ms. Rosalia Soria has been an educator at heart her entire life. She became passionate about education at a young age by virtue of her 5th and 6th grade teacher, Mr. Robert Rudder, who showed Rosalia the importance and value of reading, instilling in her a quiet confidence that allowed her to help her peers. "Mr. Rudder taught me to be a proud Mexican-American and helped me gain the confidence in sharing my knowledge with others," she says. As a bilingual student, Mr. Rudder allowed her the opportunity to translate classroom lessons to Spanish for new students. However, his impact on Rosalia's life went far beyond the classroom. He served as a constant beacon of support for Rosalia's family, helping them make the best educational choices for their children.

After elementary school, Rosalia was able to participate in a program through the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which introduced her to various educational opportunities outside of her community. Intrigued by this eye-opening experience, she was more motivated than ever to make a difference in the lives of others. Rosalia continued on to college and had to take a part-time job to pay her way through school. She found it difficult to be a successful student, while simultaneously paying for her education. And, "After working in the corporate world as an on-the-job training accountant, I realized that it was not gratifying. I came to the conclusion that I had it in me to better serve my community by helping children find an inner strength and motivation to overcome daily challenges," she shares. Through her experiences, Rosalia discovered a passion that would guide her back to the community she loved so much.

With a new goal set, she jumped at the challenge head-on and ultimately graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in child development as well as a master's in educational counseling from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Shortly after completing her degrees, Rosalia applied for a teacher's aide position at her former school − Bridge Street Elementary. "After one year of working with an excellent mentor teacher, I was hired and began working the following year as a full time teacher," she states. Now in her 15th year at Bridge Street Elementary, Rosalia continues to carry on her mission of serving the area she grew up in.

In 2012, Rosalia furthered her involvement with her community by working with Great Minds in STEM™ (GMiS) and the STEM-Up™ initiative, which is focused on Boyle Heights. Seeing her students’ excitement as they participated in fun, hands-on learning STEM programs, reinforced her beliefs that continual learning as an educator is imperative to the success of her students. Since then, Rosalia has participated in a variety of GMiS Summer Teacher workshops and the K-12 Educators Institute held at the organization’s annual HENAAC Conference. "I strongly believe that embarking on a journey with GMiS has motivated me to share my memorable experiences with other educators in our neighboring areas such as East Los Angeles,” she says. Adding that, “it is clear that STEM is an engaging, inspiring, motivating, spark-inducing, team building program that strives for creating the best innovative critical thinkers that our country requires."

Rosalia’s goal for her students this year, is to strengthen their problem solving skills in preparation for their collaboration with each other when faced with difficult academic scenarios. Ultimately, she plans to develop a team of critical thinkers who understand the need for Hispanics in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

When she’s not cultivating young minds, Rosalia, who developed a deep love for music growing up, enjoys picking up the microphone for live karaoke and dancing in her spare time.

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