After arriving in August, students take an English language proficiency test and are assigned to appropriate ESL classes based on their English proficiency. Our goal is to support each student while they work to improve their English skills..
The English for International Students program at St. Mary's School is a comprehensive program which develops students' critical reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. There is a particular focus on both grammar and vocabulary study as essential elements in building a strong language base.
Students generally take one ESL class. However, intermediate students take an additional Intermediate Writing Class. Students with a TOEFL score of 100 and a proven ability to write advanced essays are not required to take an ESL class.
ESL 3 and Intermediate Writing
Students receive additional support with their English, history and geography classes through these unique ESL Humanities classes. Each student is enrolled in a required year-long Humanities course based on their grade.
St. Mary's School prepares students to succeed in their academic coursework and earn good scores on the SAT and TOEFL. We pay particular attention to developing essays, reading critically, discussing class topics and giving oral presentations.
Ms. Ronda Sheffield is the Director of English for International Students at St. Mary's School, and she also serves as the Academic Advisor to International Students. She has a master's degree in teaching ESL, advanced certificates in administration and thirty years' experience working with international students in the U.S. and abroad. Ms. Sheffield provides academic support to all students, works with seniors on their university applications and is the Director of International Admissions.
Ms. Tara Weinberg brings many years of experience with international students to her classes at St. Mary's School. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Russian along with advanced certification in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ms. Weinberg has a particular interest in helping students acquire the vocabulary skills they need to succeed in their classes and testing. She also facilitates our Mandarin tutoring group. Ms. Weinberg lives in southern Oregon with her family.
Ms. Julia Thoren has worked at St. Mary's School since 2008 and joined the International Program in 2012. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Southern Oregon University and an endorsement in Teaching English as a Second Language. In addition to teaching ESL, Ms. Thoren works with both international and domestic students by providing activities and opportunities for student integration. Ms. Thoren is a native Oregonian and lives in Medford with her two children. As a former piano teacher, she enjoys playing piano in her spare time.