Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions from international students and their families. We know that parents worry about sending their students far from home. Rio is serious about creating a home-like atmosphere for every student that attends each year. Please read the questions below, as maybe you have wondered about some of these. 

Home leaves: What happens during home leaves?
Throughout the school year, there are occasional short breaks called home leaves in addition to Christmas and Spring Break. These breaks occur about every six weeks and last for 5-6 days. For students who live too far to travel home during these short breaks, Rio offers an International Home Leave Plan for them, which includes activities and local travel opportunities. There is an additional fee for this service. Click International Home Leave Plan for more information. Please note: The campus is closed and all students must leave during Christmas Break in December and Spring Break in March.

Banking: How do I set up my student with money?  
Parents/Guardians are encouraged to take the student to set up bank accounts at the beginning of the school year. Students can open a bank account at local banks in Healdsburg. There is Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and many local banks and credit unions that are familiar with international and boarding student accounts. Parents can transfer money and monitor spending through most banks online. To set up an account, the student needs a government issued ID (passport), their I-20 form, and cash to deposit. Also, if the student is under 18, a parent/guardian must sign the account application form.

We do not recommend students keep large amounts of cash in their rooms. Please see the dean to lock up cash, passports and valuables for safety purposes.

Cell Phones: How/where can my student get a cell phone?
AT&T works the best on campus and both Wal-Mart and the AT&T store (both located in Windsor, about 15 min away) have flexible deals and phones for students to use. Plan prices can range between $30-$60/month. The best option is to get a pre-paid plan.

Food/Cafeteria: What kind of food is served?
The cafeteria serves three nutritious meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the weekdays, with two meals (brunch and dinner) provided on Sunday. Based off of its vegetarian principles the cafeteria provides a delicious, healthy, well-rounded meal for our students, essential for growing minds. Most food is organic, prepared fresh and has options for students with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free or vegan.

Worships/church: What kinds of worship services are held at Rio?
Rio is a Christian school and worship is an important part of Rio’s school program. Rio respects all backgrounds and many of the worship services are led by students. Every morning at 9 am students attend a school-wide assembly, and in the evenings they have a short worship in the dorms before study hall. On Friday nights, the school holds a short worship service and again on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am until noon. All students are required to attend all worship services.

Town trips/shopping: How can my student get to town to go shopping?
The school takes a bus to town every week and students can shop at the supermarket, Wal-Mart, or the local mall in Santa Rosa. If a student has an urgent need to buy something, he or she can speak with a faculty member during the week and try to find a ride into town that way. There is no public transportation from the campus to town.

School schedule: How does the class schedule work?
Rio has a block schedule, which means students will not have every class on every day. We have a two-day rotation cycle, called “A Day” and “B Day”. Students attend their “A Day” classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, and their “B Day” classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays alternate between A and B days. This information is listed on the school calendar.

What English class will I take?
As part of the registration process, all new international students are given an English proficiency exam to determine each student’s placement in the proper English class. This test evaluates a student’s speaking, listening, reading comprehension, and writing skills. After the test has been graded, each student will be placed in the appropriate English class.

TOEFL Testing Center: Where can my son or daughter take standardized tests?
Rio in an official standardized testing site and regularly administrators the SAT, ACT, and TOEFL tests as well as other annual achievement tests to track student learning. Students can obtain information about testing from the ESL teacher.

Parent/teacher communication: How do I communicate with a teacher if I have a question?

The best way to reach a teacher with a question is through email. Also, parents receive regular attendance and grade updates online through RenWeb, our school software program and can log in at any time to track a student’s progress. Please set up your RenWeb account to track your student’s grades and attendance.Tutoring: How can my student receive the academic help he or she needs?
Rio has various options for tutoring on campus. Students can coordinate with their teachers and the Dean of Students to set up tutoring for subjects they need additional help in.  They can also request peer tutoring in the dorms from the dean on duty to assist with their studies. Together with the deans, the school counselor and the dean of students, each student is able to receive the academic help that they may need.

Accident/Medical Insurance: Does Rio provide medical insurance?
Students are covered for school related accidents by the school’s accident insurance plan. However, students are not covered for non-accident related illnesses or medical procedures. If you have not made arrangements for medical coverage for your student, you may want to consider obtaining appropriate coverage. You may visit www.sevencorners.com for examples of the types of coverage for students studying abroad.

Illness: What happens if my child gets sick?
If your child wakes up in the morning and is feeling ill, he/she will write their name in the sick list book in the dorm lobby.  The dean will check the book and visit anyone who is sick that day.  If the deans feels like the nurse should see this student he/she will call the nurse and the nurse will go see the student.  If a student gets sick during the day he or she will contact the dean on duty and the dean will call the nurse if necessary. While sick in the dorm, students must stay in their rooms and rest. Food will be brought to their room for them. If necessary, deans will take students to the doctor.