Frequently Asked Questions

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 questions, especially if you are a parent of an international student.

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 has an International Home Leave for them which includes activities and local travel opportunities. There is an additional fee for this service. Please see International Home Leave Plan form above for more information.

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 mobile phone?

AT&T works the best on campus and both Wal-Mart and the AT&T store (both 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.

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 are able to receive the academic help that they may need.

Food/cafeteria-What kind of food is served?

The cafeteria serves three nutritious meals a day: 7:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m, and 5:00 p.m. on the weekdays, with two meals provided on Sunday. Based off of it’s 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?

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.

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.

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.

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 testing coordinator, and dean of students.

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.

Accident/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 for examples of the types of coverage for students studying abroad.

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 and food will be brought to their room.

Where can my student keep important documents?

International students should keep their I-20 forms with their passports in a safe and secure area in their room, the dean’s safe, or registrar’s vault. In order to re-enter the US, students must have both their passport and I-20 form. The registrar’s signature on each student’s I-20 form is valid for one year and must be checked by each student before leaving the country.