Sonja Adger of Wilmington, North Carolina, has been a professional educator since 1976. She has served in the roles of teacher assistant, middle grades teacher, and state education consultant. Sonja is currently an independent consultant and school volunteer. As a member of the aha! Process team, Sonja provides training and consulting services for A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Research-Based Strategies, and School Improvement: 9 Systemic Processes to Raise Achievement. Sonja has been a consultant with aha! Process since 2011.
- Master of Education, University of North Carolina – Wilmington
- Bachelor of Arts, University of North Carolina – Wilmington
- Bachelor of Science, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
- Education Consultant, Three Domains Learning, LLC
- Middle Grades Education Consultant, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
- State Assistance Team Reviewer, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
- Teacher, New Hanover County Schools
- Teacher (Adult High School Program), Cape Fear Community College
- Teacher Assistant, New Hanover County Schools
Additional certified trainings
- Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement
- Multicultural Education (National Institute for Multicultural Education)
- NCCREST Diversity Training
- Conexiones (North Carolina Institute for International Understanding)
- Middle Schools to Watch
Sonja’s aha! moment
My first experience with Ruby’s work was at a Framework workshop in 2003. Much of what was presented was closely aligned to our work of raising student achievement and closing gaps in North Carolina’s schools. I became a certified trainer in 2004 and began conducting workshops for schools, social agencies, local governments, and teacher preparation programs. I have been an official member of the aha! Process team since 2011, but I have been a strong supporter of the work of aha! Process for 10 years.
If you want low-achieving students to be successful in math … teach reading!
Some years ago I was struggling with how to help low-achieving students become successful in math. I asked myself, “What mathematical skills do high-achieving students possess that others do not?” The first answer that came to mind was that they know basic facts and can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. But they do so much more than that. High-achieving students know the vocabulary of math. They use context clues and picture clues to help them solve problems. These students are able to make inferences, think logically, and draw conclusions in order to solve problems.
Vocabulary? Context clues? Inferences? Draw conclusions? These are all reading skills! That realization led me to begin looking at reading strategies that could easily be implemented in the math classroom. So now when I think about kids solving math problems, I’m also thinking about the reading skills.
Sonja’s best training
My best training is conducting A Framework for Understanding Poverty workshops for K–12 schools. One of the more eye-opening moments that often occurs during the training is when teachers realize how few resources some students have and the impact of so few resources on their achievement. They begin to brainstorm ways the school can provide missing resources and are surprised at the many ways the school can make a difference.
What does Sonja do for fun?
Lately I’ve become interested in cooking. As a single person, I never really had much interest in cooking. Most of my meals came in a Styrofoam box that was easily discarded, eliminating the hassle of washing dishes. I ordered a cooking book from Great American Recipes to get started. They promised easy, step-by-step recipes. My new shopping spots are Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. So far, none of my dishes look like the picture on the card, but they are edible.