Controlling the orientation of cell division is important in the context of cell fate choices and tissue morphogenesis. However, the mechanisms providing the required positional information remain incompletely understood. Here we use stem cells of the Drosophila larval brain that stably maintain their axis of polarity and division between cell cycles to identify cues that orient cell division. Using live cell imaging of cultured brains, laser ablation and genetics, we reveal that division axis maintenance relies on their last-born daughter cell. We propose that, in addition to known intrinsic cues, stem cells in the developing fly brain are polarized by an extrinsic signal. We further find that division axis maintenance allows neuroblasts to maximize their contact area with glial cells known to provide protective and proliferative signals to neuroblasts.