A former ATS student at the AAC in front of her favorite painting made by Ms. Perez.
Ms. Perez and Mrs. Barreda
So much fun learning about Giuseppe Arcimboldo today!
Leadership Arlington named Ms. Perez APS as one of their "40 Under 40" honorees. This Leadership Arlington program recognizes 40 emerging leaders under the age of 40 who demonstrate impact personally and/or professionally through their exceptional leadership in the DC metropolitan region.
Arlington Traditional School Art Teacher Veronica Perez is a leader in and outside the classroom. She leads professional development seminars to assist fellow teachers, is a countywide facilitator for Courageous Conversations on Racial Equity and became global in a photography exchange project called "This is My City/This is My Community" where children in Uganda enjoyed her work. She’s a practicing artist and active leader in numerous community art nonprofits. She was recently recognized as 2015 Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year
This 2015-2016 school year, Ms. Perez is working with second grade teachers and their students, the FLES, Music, Library, and Technology departments on a cross-cultural environmental educational program called Bridging the Americas/Unidos por las Aves.
Bridging the Americas / Unidos por las Aves partners classes in grades 2 through 8 in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, New Hampshire and Vermont with classes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The paired classes learn and exchange information about the migratory birds that winter in Latin America and return to the US and Canada each spring to breed.
Second graders at ATS have been paired with second graders in Managua, and the Island of Ometepe in Nicaragua.
Since 1993, about 17,000 students from classrooms in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, and Ecuador have participated.
Bridging the Americas/Unidos por las Aves is coordinated by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) which is based at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
The overarching goal is to use migratory birds as an engaging, cross-disciplinary theme that connects students with an accessible and inspirational part of nature, links them with their peers in another part of the world, and motivates them to be good stewards of the environment.
Students gain an appreciation for birds and the need to protect the habitats they depend on throughout the year, an awareness of the threats birds face and actions people can take to help ensure their survival, and an enhanced understanding of their partner class' country and culture.
Participating teachers receive a packet of teaching aids and information on migratory birds and their partner class' country. Each class in the US is partnered with a class in Latin America or the Caribbean. The classes learn about migratory birds and their partner class' country and exchange art work, letters, photos, and other creative materials. Classes are also encouraged to complete a project to benefit birds.
Letters sent to the partner class in Latin America or the Caribbean may need to be in Spanish. Teachers are encouraged to work with a volunteer from the school or community or with a high school Spanish class to translate letters written by individual students. If no such arrangement is possible, the SMBC will translate a letter from the class as a whole to send along with the students' drawings.
The School Board honored ATS art teacher Veronica Perez who was one of two area teachers selected as a Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year in May. Perez is also the first art teacher and the first Arlington teacher to be recognized with the award.
Arlington Traditional School art teacher Veronica Perez was one of two area teachers honored Tuesday night with the Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award.
The award is given by the Victoria D. de Sanchez Endowment at Marymount University in order to recognize and encourage teachers who have demonstrated exemplary results working with area Hispanic students. The endowment was established by the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia, which was created by a group of Hispanic business owners.
Perez was inspired to get an education by her mother and grandmother, both of whom had to leave school early. She went on to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree from InterAmerican University of San German in Puerto Rico, a master’s degree in foreign language at George Mason University and did graduate work in studio art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
ATS Principal Holly Hawthorne called Perez “a one-in-a-million teacher.” “Her enthusiasm for art and teaching is contagious,” Hawthorne said. “When entering our school, one feels like they have entered an art museum. Children’s artwork welcomes you in the showcase, in the main lobby, and throughout the hallways.”
In addition, Perez brings community artists and performers into her school for assemblies, plans special projects and field trips for her classes, and is known for providing elaborate decorations for student plays.
She also ensures that the Latino community and other cultures are represented in school- wide events and is a district-wide cultural competence facilitator.
In 2011, Perez, who is a practicing artist, taught fourth graders at her school how to use photography to document their lives during an eight-week period. She then traveled to a remote village in Uganda to teach fifth grade students how to use digital cameras to express themselves. The photo exhibit has been on display in both countries.
Perez received a check for $2,000 and commemorative plaque during Marymount University’s School of Education and Human Services Award Dinner on campus.
This year’s awards were presented by Leveo Sanchez III, grandson of Victoria D. de Sanchez, who was a leader in establishing schools, training teachers, and developing textbooks and curricula across Latin America. She also was active in the Reading is Fundamental and Head Start programs in the United States.