Bronx educator making history as founder of school to empower immigrant community

Monica Makes It Happen

MOTT HAVEN, the Bronx — One Bronx educator is making history as the founder of a school whose focus is on empowering the immigrant community.  

Melissa Melkonian says empowering young people from the Bronx is her passion and purpose. She’s making huge strides toward education equality in New York City.

She’s the founder and head of The American Dream School in Mott Haven.

“I want to transform lives of students,” said Melkonian. 

About 90% of her students are immigrants or first-generation Americans.

“We are in the poorest congressional district, in the lowest performing school districts. The gap is huge,” said Melkonian.

The daughter of once-undocumented Mexican immigrants, Melkonian spent more than a decade in NYC public education before founding her own charter school, catering to immigrants and English language learners.  

She’s now the mother of three children of her own. Her 600 students make up the rest of the family.

This June, the first senior class of 65 students will graduate. Nearly every member will be first in their family to attend college. In all, they’ve received over 150 college acceptances and counting.

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