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St. Mary's School

Common Questions

We know you will have many questions as you prepare to start your academic year with us. Here you will find useful information that will answer many of your questions as well as a list of the staff and teachers you can contact if you have more detailed questions.  

Important Information
When should I arrive?
Important Dates
Christmas & Spring Breaks
Travel Information

What Will My life Be Like in Southern Oregon?
Living Arrangements
What is the weather like?
School Supplies

Financial Questions
What determines international student tuition?
How do we pay tuition charges?
Are there additional fees?
Athletic Fees
How do I access my billing statement?
Who do I contact with financial questions?

Academic Questions
When do I get my class schedule?
What English (ESL) class will I take?
When will I take the SAT?
When will I take the TOEFL test?
Who is my academic advisor?
What is college counseling? When does it start?
What extracurricular activities are available?
What will the August New Student Orientation cover?
Can I play sports?
How do I fulfill my community service requirement?


Important Dates 2015-2016

School starts: August 24, 2015

Graduation: June 3, 2016

Last day of class: June 10, 2016

Holidays and Breaks 

Labor Day: 09/07/2014
Veteran's Day: 11/11/2014
Thanksgiving: 11/25/2014 -11/29/2014 (Wednesday to Sunday)
Christmas Break: 12/19/2015-01/02/2016
Martin Luther King Day: 01/18/2016
President's Day: 02/15/2016
Spring Break: 03/19/2016-04/02/2016
Memorial Day: 05/30/2016


Christmas and Spring Break

Students should not leave early or come back late. Teachers are unable to re-teach lessons, so a student's grade will be affected. Airport transportation is included in the tuition. However, there will be an additional fee of $50 for transportation for early departures or late arrivals.

Christmas Break: December 19th-January 2nd

The dormitory will be closed from December 19th until January 2 for two weeks.

Students can leave after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 18, 2015. The dorm will close at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, 2015. Airport transportation is provided on Friday after 3:30 and Saturday only. 

The dorm will open on Saturday, 01/02/16. Students should return by Saturday, January 3, 2015, so they can rest  from jet lag on Sunday and be ready for classes on Monday morning. Airport transportation is provided on Saturday only. 

Spring Break March 19th-April 42nd

The dormitory will be open for these two weeks.

Students may leave anytime after 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 19, 2016. They should return no later than Saturday, April 2, 2016, so they can rest  from jet lag on Sunday and be ready for classes on Monday morning. 

Travel information

As soon as you obtain your student visa and book your airline tickets, please email Ms. Anna McCreedy at ammcreedy@smschool.us  with your flight information and itinerary.  Make sure that your final destination is Medford, Oregon USA (Rogue Valley International - Medford Airport). We will welcome you at the airport, transport you to the dormitory, settle you in, make sure you have what you need, and give you a detailed packet of information about the August 15th-22nd orientation program and everything you need to get ready for the school year.


What will my life be like in Southern Oregon?

Living arrangements:

You will be living in Cedar Hall on the campus of nearby Southern Oregon University. This dormitory is used only for St. Mary's International Boarding Program. It features common areas with televisions, foosball and ping-pong tables, kitchen and laundry facilities. All rooms have high-speed, broadband Internet.

The dormitory is fully supervised by the St. Mary's Residential Staff.

Transportation to St. Mary's is by bus and departs at 7:30am for the start of school and returns to the dorm at 4:15pm. Additional transportation is provided for students who have sports practices and games.


What is the weather like?

Southern Oregon is a semi-arid region with approximately 48 cm. precipitation annually. It has a  mild, four-season climate. It is a region of very low humidity, clear skies, cool evenings, and hot summer days.  

We are at an altitude of 1800 feet above sea level in a valley surrounded by mountains as tall as 9,000 feet.  It is hot and dry from June through October, with a rainy season from mid-November through February. It rarely snows on the valley floor, but there is skiing and snowboarding within a forty-minute drive on Mt. Ashland. Early spring flowers begin to bloom in February, and the pear trees blossom in early April.  

Click here for detailed climate information.


What should I bring with me? Clothing? School supplies? Can I ship things in advance?

Once you have your visa and your travel plans are set, you can send some personal belongings. We are happy to store any items that you want to ship ahead of time. Send them to St. Mary's School, 816 Black Oak Drive, Medford, Oregon USA 97504.

Please note that DHL does not have a Medford office. DHL sub-contracts with UPS once packages arrive in the USA and this transfer sometimes delays shipments to Medford. It is recommended that you use UPS or FedEx directly.  



It will be warm when you arrive and stay that way through October.  Light summer clothing which meets the requirements of the St. Mary's School Dress Code will be sufficient for the first few months.

By the end of October, you will want to have a warm jacket. A waterproof jacket, sweaters, and other warmer clothing are good for the winter. It does not snow in the valley, so heavy snow boots are not necessary unless you decide to participate in the ski and snowboard program.

School supplies*:

*Important Note: Please bring an electronic translator dictionary with you. Cellular phones cannot be used as dictionaries during classes at St. Mary's School.

St. Mary's School has high-speed internet for students. Student will need a laptop.

You can buy school supplies such as paper, notebooks, protractors, pens and pencils here after you arrive.


During orientation, each international student will have the opportunity to open a bank account at a local bank. In order to open bank accounts, students are advised to bring cash or travelers checks. You might want to have money wired from the bank in China to a local account in the U.S. There is no balance required to open a bank account at a US Bank. Parents will be able to wire money to their student's bank accounts throughout the school year (as needed) for spending money.

Credit Cards:

It is strongly advised that each international student travel with a Visa credit card to be used for incidentals throughout the year.


Financial Questions:

What determines the international student tuition rate?

The international tuition rate at St. Mary's School is determined by factors related to the costs of educating and caring for international students. According to policy, the School does not itemize, add, or subtract these costs from the set tuition. Rather, St. Mary's School bundles all costs together into one uniform tuition price.

International student tuition is more costly than domestic tuition in several ways:

  • St. Mary's School employs numerous employees to provide international students with 24-hour per day (or 168 hours per week) supervision. We provide approximately just 35 hours per week of supervision to our domestic students. St. Mary's tuition also includes a full health insurance policy, covering accidents and illnesses, at no additional expense to the international student. Domestic students do not receive this costly benefit.
  • Housing, meals, and transportation to school, medical appointments, sporting and other school events, shopping excursions, community service, and other activities, including airport pickup/drop off service is included in the tuition. Domestic students do not receive these services.
  • ESL Humanities and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are provided to all international high school students with no extra fees.  In addition, we provide each international student individualized academic and college counseling services, and we maintain a TOEFL test site on our campus for the exclusive use of our international students. TOEFL and SAT instruction are included in our program.  None of these services are used by our domestic students.
  • St. Mary's School maintains each student's SEVIS (government) record. This includes providing and monitoring the I-20 document. The school prepares and transmits yearly transcripts and other supporting documents for visa renewals. Domestic students do not use this service.

How do we pay tuition charges?

A wire transfer of funds is required. This is the safest and most secure method.

Payments must be made in full by May 15, 2016  for returning students.

New students are asked to pay their tuition by July 1, 2015.

For additional wiring instructions, please contact Ms. Ronda Sheffield at rsheffield@smschool.us


Are there any additional fees?

Students will have to buy their books.

Voluntary school trips and optional participation on athletic teams also have additional costs.


Each student needs to purchase textbooks after receiving a schedule.

Please ship the books to St. Mary's School, 816 Black Oak Drive Medford, Oregon  97504 and we will store them for you until your arrival. 

Please be sure to order using the student's name so that the name appears on the box.

Important: Please purchase and ship your books no later than July 31, 2015.



Optional trips require additional fees. Examples of these trips are the World Religions Trip to San Francisco, Choir and Instrumental Music tours, Outdoor Club weekends and camping trips.

Athletic Fees:

Fees are charged on a per sport basis. Here is the schedule of fees for each sport. 

Basketball $300
Cross-Country $200
Football $300
Golf $300
Soccer $300

Additionally, for some sports, such as golf, tennis, and ski and snowboarding, students must provide or rent their own equipment. 

Our Athletic Director, Mr. Adam Peterson apeterson@smschool.us, can answer questions specific to each sport.

How do I access my billing statement?


St. Mary's School has a secure on-line system called My BackPack that allows you to see your financial summary, billing statements, and account balances at any time.

Mybackpack also allows parents access to their student's grades, assignments and allows parents to email teachers. Upon enrollment, we will provide students and parents with login and password information for accessing this system.

Who do I contact with financial questions?

Mr. Brad Olson, Business Manager, can answer all of your financial questions. Please email him at  bolson@smschool.us



Academic Questions:

When do I get my class schedule?

Students will receive their schedule by July 15th. Students may make minimal changes to their schedule during orientation after meeting with Ms. Sheffield.

What English (ESL) class will I take?

Students are required to take an English language proficiency test during the August orientation. Students will be assigned to appropriate ESL classes based on their English proficiency levels.

Our mission is to support each student's efforts to develop their English skills and provide instruction to ensure success at St. Mary's School.  Contact Ms Ronda Sheffield (rsheffield@smschool.us) with any questions about our ESL classes.

When will I take the SAT test?

Seniors should plan to take the SAT at St. Mary's School on the first available test date in October of their Senior year. Students register at  www.Collegeboard.com and choose St. Mary's as the test site. Transportation will be provided from the dormitory to St.Mary's School only on this date.

Juniors at St. Mary's School should plan to take the SAT in the spring of their Junior yearSt. Mary's School will provide transportation from the dormitory to the St. Mary's test site on only one test date each spring. Students should check with the St. Mary's staff to learn about this testing date.

Important Information

*Students who would like to take the SAT should register for the test at least two months in advance to make sure they can attend on these test dates.

**Students who do not register in time or who want to take a test on a different date are expected to provide their own transportation to the testing site on the test day. 


When will I take the TOEFL test?

As an integral part of our academic and college advising, international junior and senior students at St. Mary’s School are required to take the TOEFL. These tests are mandatory and are an essential part of the college application process. All American colleges require the TOEFL for admission.

Students must take the TOEFL once in the spring of their junior year and once in the fall of their senior year.

Students take the TOEFL at the St. Mary’s School Testing Center located on the St. Mary’s campus. Students will be billed for the cost of the test twice: once in the spring of their junior year and once in the fall of their senior year.

Registration will take place at St. Mary’s School.  

For additional information about TOEFL testing, please contact Ms. Sheffield at rsheffield@smschool.us.


Who is my academic advisor?

Ms. Sheffield is the academic advisor for all international students. Additionally, each student has an advisor group. Mr. Ryan Bernard, Head of the Upper School, is always available for academic consultation.

What is college counseling? When does it start?

This begins immediately during orientation and continues intensively throughout the student's years at St. Mary's. Upon arrival you will meet our college counselor, Ms. Lesley Klecan, who will help you plan and set goals to help you achieve college placement.

Parents are welcome to contact Ms. Klecan with any questions they have. lklecan@smschool.us

What extracurricular activities are available?

St. Mary's offers a wide range of optional extracurricular activities such as the Outdoor Club, Mock Trial, Model UN, math team, musical groups (both vocal and instrumental), a major all-school theatrical performance in the spring, community service opportunities, and a number of special interest clubs.

During orientation, students will learn in detail about each of these. Additionally, special programs and events designed to help the international students get to know the local students and staff and to make friends more quickly and become comfortable in the community will be required. Weekend activities will include Outdoor Club trips, school dances, and attendance at school sporting events among others. A monthly calendar of events will be given to the students.


What will the August New Student Orientation cover?

* Dormitory and Campus orientation

* English language placement testing

* American classroom expectations and culture

* Summer Reading and ESL classes

* Obtaining cell phones

* Obtaining bank accounts

* Meeting the St. Mary's staff

* Meeting St. Mary's students

* Getting to know Ashland (the city where the dormitory is located)

* Getting to know Medford (the city where St. Mary's is located)

* F-1 visas: explaining responsibilities

* Survey of students' interests

* School supplies 

* Shopping

* A field trip activity


Can I participate in sports?

Yes! All incoming 9th graders are eligible to compete for St. Mary's School in interscholastic athletics for all four years of high school or until they turn 19 years old. In other words, no students older than 18 years can compete.

Interscholastic sports teams and competitions in Oregon are governed by a state agency, the Oregon Student Activities Association (OSAA). 


How do I fulfill the community service requirement?

Community service is an important part of attending St. Mary's School. During this service, students learn important lessons about service to others and belonging to a community. Seniors reflect on their Community Service in a senior writing research project.

St. Mary’s requires each Upper school student to perform a minimum of 25 hours of service per year to the school, parish, or community agencies in need of help. International students may do half of their community service requirements back home; however we strongly encourage students to do the community service here during the year. If a student does half of the required hours at home, they must submit a certified letter, translated in English stating what they have done and where.

To qualify for community service, a student may check a possible assignment for appropriateness with Ms. Ann Adderson, Community Service Organizer, at St. Mary's School. (aadderson@smschool.us)

Although students may volunteer as many hours over the required 25 as they want, at least half of the total required hours must be performed in service outside the school. If a student volunteers over 25 hours in one year, he or she may apply the excess hours to the next year. Each student must have met the minimum requirement for the previous year to re-enroll.



816 Black Oak Dr.  |  Medford, OR 97504  |  541.773.7877
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