The Confucius Classroom

Confucius Classrooms and Institutes are an initiative of the Chinese Ministry of Education to promote Chinese language instruction and cultural studies in high schools and colleges around the world.

Established in June of 2008, St. Mary's School was the first Confucius Classroom established in North or South America. As a Confucius Classroom, students and community members have unprecedented access to Chinese language studies, travel to China, and friendship-building opportunities with Chinese students, teachers, and professors.

Several hundred students in many local school systems throughout Southern Oregon, including Central Point and Ashland close to home, benefit from the nine Chinese teachers made possible by our Confucius Classroom. These students join almost 300,000 students around the globe studying Mandarin as part of the Confucius Institute and Classroom family.

There are now almost 1500 Confucius Institutes and Classrooms established in over 100 nations worldwide.
All Seventh Graders at St. Mary's take a semester of Mandarin Chinese, with many continuing with the language as Eighth Graders and in the Upper School.

In partnership with the Southern Oregon Education Service District, the Confucius Classroom at St. Mary's began providing Chinese language instruction to local elementary and middle schools in Southern Oregon in the spring of 2009 via interactive videoconferencing. In the fall of 2010, Confucius Classroom teachers started introductory courses in Ashland and Central Point public schools. Today, our program continues to thrive and expand.
    • Minister of Education Mr. Fang Maotian from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC paid a visit to the Confucius Classroom at St. Mary's School on May 30, 2014. He was hosted by Dean of Faculty, Mr. Ryan Bernard, and spoke in Chinese with St. Mary's students.

    • Vice Premier of China, Liu Yandong, presents Head of School Frank Phillips with the Confuicus Classroom of the Year plaque at the opening ceremony of the 8th International Confucius Institute Conference on December 7, 2013 in the Chinese National Convention Center in Beijing.