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Buffalo's International School ready for classes

For hundreds of Buffalo students attending the city's International School, Tuesday was the first day to get a hands-on feel for their school.

"The top five languages spoken here are Burmese, Karen, Arabic, Somali and Mai-Mai," said Principal Nadia Nashir.

Nashir is the children of Yemeni parents who came here 40 years ago unable to read or write English or Arabic, and unable to help their daughter with her homework. But the principal of a school where 37 languages are spoken says her parents made her show up every day, do her homework, and organize her life.

That was the message delivered to parents -- help their children do well in school by showing up every day even though they deal with that language transition.

Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown speaks Spanish and used to run a Spanish-language high school.

"I started my career in education as a bilingual teacher and I certainly have found Spanish to be very, very useful in communicating with those who are learning English as a second language," Brown said.

"It shows them that we value their language and their culture while we are helping them  to transition to greater proficiency in English."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.