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Waterbury's International Dual Language School celebrates its 1st anniversary

The unique program helps students become bilingual in both languages by teaching students with English and Spanish speakers.

WATERBURY, Conn. — The International Dual Language School in the city of Waterbury welcomed students on Tuesday for their first day of class while marking a milestone anniversary: the start of its second year.

The school, where students learn in both English and Spanish, first opened its doors during the 2021-2022 school year. It is currently open to Pre-K through second-grade students.

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On the school’s first anniversary, the students were surprised with a welcome from Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who hoped for a “really productive school year.”

"It's so nice to see kids coming in,” she said. “Kids have an amazing opportunity to learn different subjects and it’s nice to have magnet schools that focus on different subjects." 

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Dr. Verna Ruffin, Waterbury Public Schools superintendent, said International Dual Language School’s program focuses on cultural immersion so students become fluent in both languages. She said it helps reflect the city’s diversity.

"You can see and hear the multitude of languages and multiculturalism here in Waterbury, it’s a rich city," Ruffin said.

Parents said the program is a unique opportunity to help their children stand out.

"I think it will be good for them in the future to be able to speak English and Spanish," said Lulama Atchabao, a parent of a kindergartener and 2nd grader.

"We know how important education is and we have to make sure our kids get the best education because they are the future of today," said Biao Atchabao.

RELATED: Hartford students receive warm welcome on first day of school

The school plans to add a grade each year up until 8th grade. Students will eventually be able to stay until they head off to high school.

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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