The City of Waterbury and Waterbury Public Schools are delighted to announce the opening of an international school for the 2021-2022 school year. The school will offer students the opportunity to become biliterate in English and Spanish, develop cross-cultural competency and attain high levels of academic achievement through an immersive educational experience.
“Under Dr. Ruffin’s leadership, Waterbury’s youngest students will now have the opportunity to be immersed in a unique bilingual learning environment that will foster communication, collaboration, creativity and other key skills our students will need to succeed in our complex and rapidly changing world,” said Mayor Neil M. O’Leary.
“We are thrilled to offer this wonderful and enriching opportunity to our students,” said Superintendent Verna D. Ruffin. “Without a doubt and as the research demonstrates, students who attain biliteracy, particularly at a young age, also enhance their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, have increased concentration and better listening skills, all of which will contribute to their academic prowess.”
Ms. Diurca Tomasella, who is the Principal of Reed Elementary School, will serve as the school's interim lead. The school will be located in the Beecher Street neighborhood at 116 Beecher Street.
The instructional model will involve native English-speakers and native speakers of Spanish being taught in the same classroom, with the goal of ensuring both sets of students become bilingual and biliterate by splitting instruction between the two languages. Literacy instruction begins with the native language, with time set aside specifically for the second language. Explicit instruction about the unique elements of each language and how the two languages are connected will be embedded throughout the curriculum.
“A school dedicated to implementing research-based curriculum and instruction, that ensures proficiency in two languages, is such an amazing opportunity for English and non-English speakers,” said Darren Schwartz, Chief Academic Officer.
“We want to empower our students with all the benefits that come along with being truly bilingual so that they may reach their full potential,” said Adela Jorge-Ferguson, Supervisor of Bilingual Education.
In its first year, the school will have the capacity to enroll 112 students in Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade. Students who reside in Waterbury are eligible to enroll through a lottery process, which will close on Friday, April 16.