Principal to Lead ‘Multilingual Learners’ at DOE

Students at Williamsburg High School of Arts and Technology teach Chancellor Richard Carranza how to code, ahead of an announcement last Thursday on an expansion of Career and Technical Educational programs. (Photo by Reema Amin via Chalkbeat)

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced Nov. 29 the appointment of Mirza G. Sánchez-Medina as the new deputy chief academic officer of the Department of Education’s Division of Multilingual Learners, formerly known as the Division of English Language Learners and Student Support.

Sánchez-Medina served as the principal of Manhattan Bridges High School, which she founded in 2003. According to the DOE announcement, students there primarily speak Spanish at home and overall, they “move out of English Language Learner status at higher rates than students citywide” and “outperform comparison group and city averages.”

In an interview with Chalkbeat’s Reema Amin, Sánchez-Medina said that one of her initial goals is to help families navigate the school system.

Sánchez-Medina did not say what she would change about the division she will now oversee, instead saying that it has provided her school with support when she needed it. But part of the work she will do, she said, will be “validating the students’ culture” and honoring their home language.

Go to Chalkbeat for more on Sánchez-Medina’s 30-year career in education, as well as the reason behind the department name change and why Carranza said he will stop calling students “English language learners.”

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