Elementary & Secondary Mathematics
Sonal is passionate about helping teachers and students rediscover mathematics for what it really is — a creative act that provides us with a lens to understand the world around us. Sonal taught and coached in the New York City public school system for over eight years, first as a second grade bilingual classroom teacher at P.S. 1 in the South Bronx and later as a 3rd grade classroom teacher, a Lead Teacher, and Math Coach at P.S. 503 in Brooklyn. She also taught abroad for one year, serving as 1st grade classroom teacher at the Mayatan School in Honduras.
During her tenure at P.S. 503, Sonal became a leader in the school's math reform efforts, which were sparked by teachers' concerns that their math instruction was not meeting the needs of their diverse learners. Eager to improve her own math content knowledge and pedagogy, she attended the Summer Institute at Math in the City (MitC), took the yearlong teacher leader/coach math content course at MitC with Antonia Cameron and Cathy Fosnot, and received intensive on-site math coaching support from Ms. Cameron. During 2008-2012, she hosted several MitC and Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities, where she publicly shared and reflected on her teaching and coaching practice with educators from across the city.
The intensive professional development that Sonal engaged in early in her career equipped her with the math content knowledge, coaching techniques, and leadership qualities necessary to provide effective support for the teachers in her school. In her role as Math Coach, she planned and facilitated grade level meetings to help teachers use their analysis of student work to inform instructional next steps. She also designed learning opportunities in which teachers were active participants, using videotapes of their own lessons and lab sites in which they co-planned and co-taught with their colleagues as vehicles for reflecting upon and improving their practice. Through the transformative professional development she provided, Sonal supported her colleagues in implementing a unique "Balanced Mathematics" approach to math instruction that met students' individual needs and accelerated their learning.
Sonal holds a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she participated in the School Leadership Program. Her coursework there helped shape her theory of action for school reform and her belief that a school culture of public learning and a focus on the instructional core are fundamental to improving teaching and learning. She tailors this theory of action to help meet the unique needs of each school community in which she works.
Q: What are you most passionate about in education?
All children deserve an education that fosters their creativity, develops their problem solving and critical thinking skills, and instills in them a love of and excitement for the learning process. I am passionate about working alongside teachers to help provide such an educational experience for their students.
Q: What do you love about Metamorphosis?
I love the people at Metamorphosis. Each and every staff member supports me and challenges me to keep growing. I learn so much from the Meta staff and I can’t think of a better team of people to work with.
Q: What do you want to influence in education?
Education has become so much about mastering content. For me, there are so many other important goals in education- helping students become compassionate and caring, fostering their social emotional growth, and helping them develop critical learning behaviors, such as persistence or the ability to ask smart questions. I would like to help create more space for these other worthy goals in education, because I believe that in doing so we can help our kids become happier, better able to contribute to their communities, and more prepared to address whatever challenges they face in life.
Glenda and Sonal, you were both incredible. You handled this PD with such care and cadence. You both danced beautifully from content to pedagogy and back. Thank you for “slowing down” around key moments. What a delight! Respect to you both.
-2015 Summer Institute Participant
Glenda and Sonal were wonderful, knowledgeable, prepared and passionate. I felt supported as a learner — and although they taught us a lot of what they knew, they also allowed for/encouraged the sharing of expertise within the group. Thanks, ladies!
-2015 Summer Institute Participant
"Sonal, thank you so much! I was just going on and on to someone about how Metamorphosis PD is so clear, efficient, and energizing. Both our days with you all were truly inspiring... I look forward to the partnership!! Thanks for everything.”
- Lindsay, third grade teacher, P.S. 59M
"I agree that our session was productive as well as enjoyable. I appreciate how you challenge and inspire me in a way that also acknowledges my ideas and opinions. I have learned a great deal from you and you have helped me to have a much clearer picture of where my students (and I) are and where we are headed. I also truly appreciate your typed summary as it helps to organize my thoughts and clearly focus upon what needs to be done. I am actually looking forward to Math Workshop this week as I feel well-prepared with purposeful, intentional activities. Although I used a lot of games last year (and attempted to differentiate them), it was not as well thought out. I feel much better about selecting and assigning Math Games this year with your support and guidance. It feels to me that we have reached an important juncture in our work and I look forward to the rest of the journey!”
- Gloria, Teacher, P.S. 329Q, NYC
"I cannot express strongly enough how much my teachers (and I) love working with Sonal and how much she has shifted our thinking around math instruction. She not only really knows her stuff, but also is truly collaborative with the teachers so that they feel as though they have a knowledgeable PARTNER – not just someone who is an expert telling them what to do. Thank you for sending us such an incredible teacher :)”
- Rachel Staroba, Principal, P.S. 329Q, NYC