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Catholic Schools in East Conta Costa County

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Catholic Schools in Concord or Walnut Creek

June 2003

My husband and I, both Berkeley alums, were wondering about the academic quality of our local Catholic grade schools, particularly St. Francis of Assisi in Concord. We would love input/recommendations on the Walnut Creek/Concord Catholic grade schools. Thanks! Jan

I sent the text of your message along to my sister who lives out there; we grew up in the parish she still goes to and we all went to Carondelet/ De La Salle High School in Concord. She's pretty aware of this stuff - I think she's planning on sending her daughter to St. Agnes. Anyway, here's her reply:

''Several months ago the principal from St. Francis came to speak to the St. Bonaventure's mother's group about the Catholic school system. I attended (I'm a parishioner, have a 4 year old, live in Concord and have taught in the MDUSD) and was happy to hear that all the diocesan schools are accredited. (A rigorous procedure for schools to go through.) Most of the schools, including St. Francis, hire only credentialed teachers and they all must follow the California State standards. The standardized test they use, beginning in 2nd grade, is a different one than the public schools use, but it's supposed to test what the state wants the kids to learn. I left the meeting with the impression that the academic quality of the Catholic schools are very similar to that of the public schools in the Concord/Walnut Creek area.

The difference will be in the religious/values education and in the students. Catholic schools do not have the resources to educate children with learning difficulties, so students who need remedial, emotional, behavioral or physical help don't attend. They are in the public schools.

I have never observed the Catholic grade schools in session, but I know some families who send their children to St. Agnes and St. Francis and they're very happy there. Hope this info helps.'' -Jean

If you are looking for a wonderful Catholic environment in Concord, I suggest you look at Wood Rose Academy ( The school does not have its own church so it can't call itself a Catholic school, but its guiding principles are based on John Paul II and a wonderful philospophy called ''the gift of self''. Please go to the website and read more about it. It is an absolutely wonderful philosophy.

I found this school when I was contemplating St. Francis myself about 6 years ago. The school iteslf is only 7 years old but is growing by leaps and bounds each year. It started with 20 students and is now up to 80. The class size averages 13 (as compared to 30+ for St. Francis)!! The price is also reasonable in comparison to St. Francis/Queen of All Saints. Even though they don't have their own church, they attend first Friday Mass at Queen of all Saints.

The teachers, administration and board are wonderful and caring. Most of the board members also have children attending and all parents are encouraged to participate in classroom teaching and volunteering. aralday

Catholic Schools in Concord, Martinez, or Clayton?

January 2003

Hello: I'm looking for any insights that any of you may have regarding school/community for St. Bonaventure's in Clayton, Queen of All Saints in Concord, or St. Katherines in Martinez. I realize now that the open house week has just ended, but am interested in hearing what people's experience (s) were. We have a 2 year old that will be ready for Pre-K somewhat soon. As we have not really committed to a parish, it would make sense to participate within the same community that our daughter is going to school. Any help will be really appreciated- Thanks! marian

Well, St. Bonaventure's doesn't yet have a school. My dad is actually on the committee that's been trying to resolve the issue for many many years now, and I can tell you it's not going to happen anytime soon. It's a nice parish though [I grew up there]. I can't give you any info about the other 2 parish schools you mentioned, although I have friends and relatives who really like both parishes. Have you looked into St. Francis or St. Agnes? They're also both in Concord and they have schools attached. A good friend of mine has both his kids in St. Agnes even though they go to St. Bonnie's, and they all really like it. -Jean
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