Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the appointment of Mirza G. Sánchez-Medina as Deputy Chief Academic Officer for Multilingual Learners. Sánchez-Medina previously served as founding principal of Manhattan Bridges High School. In her new role, Sánchez-Medina will oversee the Division of Multilingual Learners, formerly known as the Division of English Language Learners and Student Support. The division has been re-named to reflect the value of the hundreds of home languages spoken by New York City public school students, and the division’s goal of ensuring all students master English while honoring and supporting their multilingualism, home language, and culture.
“Mirza has a track record of success serving New York City’s multilingual learners, and I am excited for her to bring her vision, experience, and commitment to these students to her new role as Deputy Chief Academic Officer,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “As the founding principal of Manhattan Bridges High School, Mirza has empowered multilingual learners to learn a new language and achieve to their greatest potential without sacrificing their home languages and cultures. The work of lifting up our multilingual learners is deeply personal to me, and I have no doubt Mirza will serve as a key resource for our families across the City and an ally in our efforts towards Equity and Excellence for All.”
“I’ve spent my career empowering multilingual learners and their families, and I’m thrilled to continue this work on a larger scale, supporting schools and sharing what I’ve learned so we can better support multilingual learners,” said Mirza G. Sánchez-Medina, Deputy Chief Academic Officer for Multilingual Learners. “My focus will be on supporting our schools and principals on the ground so that we can build greater access for all students. I look forward to diving right into the work and collaborating with teachers, principals, and superintendents to create high-quality, effective programing for multilingual learners that puts students first.”
“Our students are best set up for success in a global world when their learning environments are multilingual and multicultural, and I’m excited to bring Mirza on board to build on the foundation we’ve set,” said Chief Academic Officer, Linda Chen. “Her unwavering success in the culturally responsive curriculum has elevated and celebrated her multilingual learners, and I look forward to working closely with Mirza and her team to provide that same support to students across our City.”
“As a former ESL teacher and principal myself, I can think of no person better than Mirza Sánchez-Medina to lead the urgent work of supporting the success of multilingual learners in our public schools,” said Mark Dunetz, President of New Visions for Public Schools. “She is a passionate and collaborative educator, with a deep commitment to equity for immigrant communities. Her remarkable accomplishments as a principal show that she knows how to do the challenging work of turning that commitment into reality.”
The re-named Division will be re-aligned to work more closely and effectively with schools and other DOE divisions, and to ensure clearer lines of work and accountability. Staff will apply to positions on three teams: a Research, Development, and Innovation Team; a School Support and Implementation Team; and an Engagement and Policy team.
With a 4-year graduation rate of 85 percent, a 75 percent college readiness rate, and an 83 percent 18-month college enrollment rate, Manhattan Bridges High School students outperform comparison group and city averages. Students at Manhattan Bridges High School also learn English and move out of English Language Learner status at higher rates than students citywide.
Sánchez-Medina founded Manhattan Bridges High School in 2003 serving multilingual students whose home language is Spanish, including in bilingual programs open only to students who have limited English proficiency and have lived in the United States fewer than three years. With a 4-year graduation rate of 85 percent, a 75 percent college readiness rate, and an 83 percent 18-month college enrollment rate, Manhattan Bridges High School students outperform comparison group and city averages. Students at Manhattan Bridges High School also learn English and move out of English Language Learner status at higher rates than students citywide.
Prior to her role as founding principal of Manhattan Bridges High School, Sánchez-Medina served as Assistant Principal of Organization and Administration at Martin Luther King Jr. High School from 1998 to 2003, after serving ten years as a science teacher and Small Learning Community Institute Coordinator. Prior to starting at the DOE in 1988, Sánchez-Medina taught chemistry, biology, math, physics, and environmental science in Luquillo and Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
Sánchez-Medina will start on January 2, 2019, and continue to support her successor at Manhattan Bridges as she transitions into the Deputy Chief Academic Officer role this spring.
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