By Allison Firestone

Dedication ceremonies were held Tuesday at Oakland International High School, a new facility devoted solely to educating recently arrived immigrants.

The school is part of the International Network for Public Schools, a nationwide non-profit organization supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Though the school’s first class of nearly 70 ninth-graders began their year on Aug. 27, the ceremony sought to officially introduce the school’s staff and students to the rest of the Oakland community.

“We’ve had a lot of support from Oakland Unified as well as financial donations from private parties,” said Denise Walker, the school’s secretary. “We wanted to thank them.”

The school is made up of immigrants from all over the world, including at least 18 different countries. It approaches these newly arrived students with close teacher-student interaction in the early years and opportunities for internships and community service for juniors and seniors. Tuesday’s ceremony included an open house where Oakland educators and community members could observe classrooms and facilities.

The school is a member of the International Network for Public Schools, an organization that formed in 1985 from a group of similar schools in New York City. The network now includes nine New York schools and Oakland International, its first in California.