Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza welcomes New York City students back after break

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Students returned to class across New York City Monday, and they were greeted by their new schools chancellor, Richard Carranza.

Carranza stopped at three schools in just three and a half hours Monday morning. It's his second week on the job, but his first day on the job with students back from spring break.

He says he's here to listen, just like the kids, and that he's anxious to get to know the ins and outs of the school system.

"Job number one is to get to know the system," he said. "Nobody likes a know-it-all. I'm not coming to New York City with all the solutions, nobody has all the solutions. What I am a big subscriber in is engaging people and asking the right questions."

Carranza is the son of immigrants from Mexico who learned English in public schools, which is why he says he's an advocate.

"It's no mistake that I'm here this morning as one of the first visits to the schools, because of the context of where the school is in the city," Carranza said.

His day started in the Melrose section of the Bronx at Concourse Village Elementary. The school has seen great success in the past several years, but outside of school, some students struggle with transitional housing.

"Homelessness is very dear to my heart," he said. "Having come from Houston and seeing the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, where the entire communities and schools lost everything, they had no more home and they had no more possessions. I'm very sensitive to the issue of homelessness and what that does in terms of insecurity, academic insecurity for our students."

Carranza has a lengthy to-do list and said he will focus his attention on issues like segregation and school security, with plans to meet with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.

Carranza is starting with the 3-K students, an opportunity that will soon be available to all New York City school students.

"I give a lot of credit to policy makers for this, because it's one of those game changer initiatives that you have to wait a little bit to see the results of it," Carranza said. "When you start students early and it's very purposeful, and you start orienting them towards an academic environment, we know that the research is very, very clear that students will do well even later on in their academic career."

He says there are plans to roll out 3-K to four more districts next year.

He will be visiting schools in all five boroughs throughout the week. Carranza also threw out the first pitch at a school baseball game.

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