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Catholic Schools (East Bay, CA)
High Schools with Reviews
We are faced (hopefully) with having to choose between three outstanding high schools for our son's high school years. All the school's are excellent academically and have substantial clubs/social. So any insights you can provide, oh wise community, are appreciated:
Choice 1 - St. Mary's
Pro: 600 students Con: Not close to us
Choice 2 - St. Joseph's
Pro: 400 students Con: We don't know anyone there
Choice 3 - Bishop O'Dowd
Pro: Convenient for us Con: Too big?
If you want great theatre or debate for instance check out BOD. All three have good jazz band. Only St Marys and BOD have football. Some have Rugby some don't. St Joes is very small and is great if your child is shy or you want a tight environment. BOD has great religion classes such as Atheism,Holocaust,BioEthics,Social Justice.
St Mary's has a nice winter break where you can take a short course. Academically, BOD is tough and competitive if you take the AP classes. Also, sometimes it is hard to get into those ap classes.
I would also look at where the kids from last year ended up for college. Wish high school was this fun when I was there
We are considering applying to St Theresa School for 6-8. We would appreciate hearing feedback from families who have made the move from public school in the past. How was the transition? Are new children welcomed? How did your child relate to the religious instruction? We would also like to know how proactive the school is with social and emotional development in the young teenager. Optimistic future applicants
It is now time to consider kindergarten in Berkeley. I was wondering about people's experience with the School of the Madeleine. Although it's Berkeley, the website seems to stress the catholic dogma. I don't have a problem with moral instruction and going over the bible, but is the community mostly christian believers? Is it conservative? Are there enough agnostics to make us feel comfortable within the community? I am considering the School of the Madeleine because I want my children to walk to school, receive musical instrument instruction, and foreign language lessons starting earlyl. I also love the idea of uniforms. Parent
In terms of being an atheist and sending your child to a Catholic school, it can be done but depends on your comfort level with religion. Your child will come home talking about God and Jesus and believing in them, but not necessarily knowling a ton about Catholicism. She/he will learn generally about Christianity. If you feel a need to share your beliefs with your child, you will create conflict within your child which I think would be difficult for your child. If you do not do this, you will have a religious child when you are not religious. You may wind up with this either way, especially in the early years. Eventually your child will ask why she/he isn't baptized, having first communion, going to mass, etc. You will need to think about how you would respond in these situations and if you want to be in a position where you have to address them. An agnostic
We are looking for a K-8 Catholic school in the East Bay that places a high priority on faith formation. (We are practicing Catholics.) Academic excellence would also be wonderful. Any recommendations?
We live in Berkeley and have looked into School of the Madeleine, but found it to be a bit light (for us) on catechesis. We were also hoping to find a school that was a bit more ethnically diverse.
We are willing to drive as far out as Richmond (in one direction) or Oakland (in the other). Thanks in advance! Happy Catholic
I am also surprised by their knowledge and grasp and ideas about God, Jesus, Mary, and church. It's clear to me that they have learned quite a bit from some one else, and it wasn't me. I really think they've learned quite a bit at their young ages and I don't get the sense that it is in your face learning.
St. David's is very diverse. There is a sprinkle of a lot of ethnic groups. I would guess that the most predominate group is probably hispanic. It certainly isn't all white like Corpus Christi was when I was growing up. Times have changed.
Classes are small at St. David's. It's got low enrollment, which probably makes classroom management much easier and allows the kids to have more individualized attention...which is just fine with me.
There's a lot of tradition in the St. David community. I live and work in the community and I find that all the alumnus I talk to about St. David's remember it fondly. It's probably past it's hey day....but it's traditions linger. My son looks forward to the traditions. I think we'll be at St. David's for a while.
Feel free to contact me if you want to talk more.
Pleasantly surprised... judy
You might want to consider St. Jerome in El Cerrito - it's a great school. I find it to be academically stong, very diverse and religion is taught daily at all grade levels.
The school is hosting an Open House on Sunday, January 29 beginning with Mass at 9:00 led by the Student Council followed by the actual open house from 10-12:00. That would be a great way for you to explore the school. Otherwise, call to schedule a tour 510-525-9484 http://stjeromecatholicschool.org/
Good Luck! St. Jerome Parent
There is the St. John the Baptist School, San Pablo Ave., in El Cerrito, just beside the St. John Church. Another landmark is the El Cerrito Post Office just across it.. Going north along San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, it's on your right with the Bank of the WEst as another landmark. The school has a diverse student population and is owned by the Church.
Another school that you can check out is the St. Jerome Catholic School along Colusa Ave., Berkeley/El Cerrito boundary.
I hope the above information will help. Good luck!
I am a gay parent looking into eventually sending my now 7th grader to a Catholic high school. I just swichted my daughter from a BUSD middle school because (among other reasons) she was hanging with a pretty homophobic crowd. Am hoping that the smaller, private middle school she will attend next year will make it easier for her to to be out as the child of a gay parent. (Not for my sake but so she can feel safe sharing her full self with those around her). The private high school offerings look very limited ... And surprisingly I find myself more attracted to St. Mary's and Bishop O'Dowd than the secular schools. Am I insane? Do people have experience with how these schools handle LGBTQ issues for their students and parents? A Berkeley Mom
We are a Jewish family and have been incredibly supported, do not feel awkward at all and think it is a great educational environment (nurturing but challenging). There are a number of LGBT families as well as girls who seem comfortable expressing their sexuality as it works for them.. maggie
One student in particular, Kelsey Johnson, was honored for her efforts, and she was named the PG&E PrideNetwork Scholar, earning a $5,000 scholarship for her anti-bullying efforts at SJND. She founded the alliance, called The Us's, which has organized a Day of Silence and raised money for the Trevor Project at SJND.
And, in response to recent concerns nationwide about young people being bullied, Kelsey established every classroom and every office on the school's campus as a Safe Zone for students who might feel like they don't fit in. She also was honored by Girls Inc. with their Women Who Dare award.
I'm proud to say my kids are part of a school that takes tolerance seriously, and I'm also happy to say there weren't any issues at SJND that prompted the action. It was more a reaction to stories like the one at Rutgers that inspired students. SJND is also a great academic school, with a great diversity of students, all of whom are college-bound.
Hello, wondering if anyone could give me an updated feedback on St. Theresa's Elementary in Oakland, where the children go to school when graduate and if they are taught evolution. Yes, I am a scientist/catholic and can't imagine my child learning science any other way.
Please if you do not believe in evolution, this is not the place to discuss it, I just want to know how this catholic school handles it and don't feel comfortable asking the school myself. Thank you. anon
''According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the 'Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5 Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.''
''Currently, I see in Germany, but also in the United States, a somewhat fierce debate raging between so-called "creationism" and evolutionism, presented as though they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator would not be able to conceive of evolution, and those who instead support evolution would have to exclude God. This antithesis is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man? I believe this is of the utmost importance.''
I will grant you that the Vatican has a number of views on other issues that I have difficulties with, but on evolution, I think they're doing just fine.
Wikipedia has an exhaustive treatment of the ''evolution'' of Catholic
dogma re evolution, if you are interested.
Faith and Reason Can Coexist
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
''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
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
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
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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