Today the Carlos Rosario School is a vibrant and diverse center for learning that serves more than 2,500 students annually. The School’s award-winning model combines foundational literacy and skills courses and workforce development with comprehensive support services.
Sonia Gutierrez has spent over 43 years as a principal, counselor, advocate, and organizer impacting the lives of more than 70,000 adult immigrant students. She has dedicated her life to the mission of providing education to adult immigrants who come to this country looking for better lives for themselves and their families, providing students with the tools and resources needed to reach their dreams.
Ms. Gutiérrez began her career in the District of Columbia public schools in May 1972 as a counselor of the Program for English Instruction to Latin Americans (PEILA) and soon became Director of the organization. She transformed the small, under-funded English as a Second Language (ESL) program into an award-winning, comprehensive adult education model.
In 1996, when the District of Columbia cut funding for adult education programs, Ms. Gutiérrez worked out of the basement of her home to raise enough money to reopen the school as a nonprofit. Recognizing the tremendous need for additional classes, Ms. Gutierrez actively sought public charter school funding. She succeeded, and in 1998 the school became the first adult public charter school in the nation. Since then, Ms. Gutiérrez has continued to work towards the school’s growth, opening two campuses serving more than 2,900 students every year.
Throughout her career, Ms. Gutiérrez has received more than 100 honors and awards, from institutions like DC public schools, the Scripps Howard Foundation, NCLR, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In recognition of her accomplishments, on June 5, 2016 Mayor Muriel Bowser and the City Council of Washington, D.C. named the 500 Block of V Street NE Sonia Gutiérrez Campus Way. Ms. Gutierrez is the only Latino in the District of Columbia to have an honorary street with her name.
Read Ms. Gutiérrez’s full bio here.
The Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School‘s namesake, Carlos Manuel Rosario, was born in Puerto Rico, into a family of educators. During World War II, he served in the Army in North Africa, France, and Germany. He moved to Washington, DC in the early 1950’s, and later joined the DC Department of Health, Education and Welfare. As he realized that better services needed to be rendered to the Latino community, Carlos Rosario embarked on a mission to establish organizations to meet those needs, and did so with great success and dedicated leadership.
Programs Created by Carlos Manuel Rosario
Carlos Rosario’s endless determination and devotion to help the community proved fruitful, as could be seen in the creation of the following programs, most of which still exist today: