St. Joseph Notre Dame High School


Private School
operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
407 students
1011 Chestnut St. Alameda, CA 94501
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Q&A

  • SJND is one of the high schools my 8th grader is considering.   He likes the small size and what felt like a friendly community on his tour.  He is a nerdy, academic kid and is looking for an academically challenging school.  (The only other private school he is applying to is College Prep.)   SJND seems to suggest that it can provide real academic rigor.   We are wondering if any current parents can speak to that.  What is your child's experience with teachers?  Have the classes been engaging and challenging?  Is the math curriculum strong? Will it be more challenging than the classes available in Oakland or Alameda public high schools? (The two options available due to divorced parents.)    We've also heard some rumors that athletes get preferential treatment and are able to get away with stuff that other students cannot.  Any truth behind that?  Thank you for your feedback. -An overwhelmed mom

    I am not a current parent, but I did have a daughter graduate from SJND, and another daughter that graduated from CPS. I also work in a public high school in San Francisco.  Each school was a good fit for the daughter that attended.  I found SJND to have "real academic rigor" in the sense that expectations were high, support was high, curriculum was challenging  and engaging, and students in her classes were engaged in learning.  My daughter from SJND is currently in a graduate program out of state, and for undergraduate school she was accepted into 8 out of 9 "selective liberal arts colleges" and received generous scholarships for school.  Both daughters felt very prepared for college.   The daughter who attended CPS did struggle with the intensely competitive academic environment,  and it has taken her several years to stop describing herself as an "average" student.  She does say she is very thankful to have had that education.  She also graduated from college and is pursuing a career she loves.  The one thing I would say about CPS is that they do not "encourage" students to apply to the UC system, the UC schools are seen more as  "safety schools".  There is quite a push for the schools back east.  But, that was our experience several years ago.

    Good luck, such an exciting time!  Enjoy!!

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2014

Re: Comparing Parochial High Schools
Wanted to chime in on your school choices. We chose St. Joseph for both our kids, who have since graduated, one last year, because of both its strong academics and its size. If you choose to send your son to St. Joe, you and he will find its community inclusive and welcoming. He will be academically challenged in a diverse, supportive environment which makes room for fun while preparing him for college. Both he and you will be known and greeted by name by both faculty, administration and students within a very short time. Check out the SJND website, in particular their school publication ''Update'', for more insights. Barbara

Feedback wanted on Saint Josephs High in Alameda

Oct 2013

Can anyone share a recent experience of their child attending Saint Joseph's High in Alameda? In particular, I would like to know if the academics are strong and if it is a nice student community? Our child would apply to transfer as a Sophmore next year out of Oakland Technical. He has met a lot of nice kids that go to Saint Joseph's through the Oakland Strokes Crew team. We did not look at it last year as an option due to distance. We are in the Oakland Hills. Could you comment on what the commute might look like? tired of navigating big urban school

Before settling on SJND we looked at curriculum; we looked at academic rigor; we looked at creativity and innovation as it relates to teaching instruction, and diversity also played a key role in choosing SJND. St Joe's passed in all these areas easily. The next hurdle was the athletic program, after meeting with the coaches and athletic director - the choice became much clearer. SJND is the CIF State Division 5 School of the Year!

The school community is just that, a community,at SJND,for example, parents and alumni are heavily involved in school activities. It was amazing to me how many almuni parents you see helping with fundraisers or passing on information to the new parents for this or that committee. There is a role for all parents at SJND.

As for the commute - that's the easiest! Not only are there car pools a plenty from all directions, but, I can leave my house in Berkeley at 7:20a and arrive at campus at 7:45a - the bell rings at 7:55. With or without a BART strike! The beauty is that the campus is accessible from freeway , tunnel, or city streets. Happy Pilot Mom

St. Joe's education is first rate, with multiple honors and advanced placement courses. Support for students from the teaching staff is phenomenal and support from the college counselors begins early on. Both my children graduated from St. Joe, the most recent this year. We chose St. Joe's because we wanted to avoid sending our kids to a large school where they would be just another face in the crowd. St. Joe's is a welcoming community, supportive and inclusive, and filled with great kids and staff. The commute was easy from Oakland Hills. Usually took us about 25 minutes. We took 35th Avenue past Fruitvale Bart and across the bridge. There is traffic congestion for Alameda High School on Encinal and Central Avenue that can cause delays, but if you use Santa Clara Avenue to reach Chestnut you can avoid that. SJND supporter for life

St Joe's for student with learning disability?

Oct 2011

Can anyone share their experience with St Joe's High School in Alameda? Specifically, I am wondering just how good they manage kids with learning differences, slow processing. No behavioral problems. I know they have a learning specialist on campus a couple days per week but wonder how kids like this fit in with the rigorous college prep atmosphere. Thanks for the input!

All of St. Joe's staff, including your child's guidance counselor, not just the learning specialist, would be involved and committed to helping your child succeed and the support would be individualized to his/her needs. Your child's assigned guidance counselor and the learning specialist would be an integral part of this process. I know because my son, now a senior, has received their extraordinary support since his freshman year. Feel free to contact me. Barbara

July 2011

Re: Catholic high school for child with out gay parents?
My son will start at Saint Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda this fall. I know they have many social/activity groups and one of them is a gay support group. One parent I talked to said she thinks they are openminded about the issue. I will know better once my kid is going there, and would be happy to let you know what I think. I sure hope they support all their students, whatever their sexual orientation. anon

I completely understand your concerns. Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, where my two sons go to school,was recognized this year for the efforts of the gay and straight student alliance to make sure all students feel safe and comfortable on campus.

One student in particular, Kelsey Johnson, was honored for her efforts, and she was named the PG 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.

April 2011

Re: Positive School Environments in Alameda?
At our high school in Alameda, Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School, a student group, in response to national concerns about bullying, took the initiative this year and asked all teachers and staff if they could hang pink ''Safe Zone'' triangles in every classroom and office on campus so that there would be a place for students who might feel like they didn't fit in. There, an adult was committed to talking with them and making sure everything was OK.

My two older sons are at SJND, where there is a strong sense of tolerance and doing the right thing. My younger son is at St. Joseph Elementary School, where some of the parents have inquired about establishing a similar ''Safe Zone'' program.

I feel like these types of programs shine a light on the issue of bullying, which serves to discourage such negative behavior, and they make school a safe place for all students. An Alameda mother

Oct 2010

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda is a small, college prep school with a supportive counseling program (three full time and one part-time special needs)and a lovely campus. Honors and AP courses are available. My son and daughter, junior and sophomore, respectively, have thrived at the school, which in addition to its fine academics, offers participation in sports teams, clubs and musical and theater productions. All students are assigned a counselor in their freshman year, and retain that counselor throughout their high school years.

My daughter tells me to inform readers that SJND has a ''spectacular'' arts program and that, in fact, the program is so popular that there is no such thing as a band/drama/art ''geek'' there.

In addition, students with special needs/learning differences benefit from the services of the special-needs counselor. The school is inclusive and supportive, which is especially beneficial to students with learning differences. My son is diagnosed with Aspergers/High Functioning Autism and has been supported and aided by the staff and students at SJND from day one.

Student visits (termed Shadow Visits) begin October 5 and there is an Open House on Sunday, October 24 from 1:30 to 4:00. Attendance at the Open House will give you and your child an opportunity to meet the teachers, talk with students and tour the campus. Having attended two open houses, my kids and I vouch that it is a lively, fun experience. Barbara

Oct 2010

My son is a sophomore at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. His experience has been exceptional! SJND is a smaller school, but with a nice high school campus feeling.He has some mild learning issues, and the counseling dept. and teachers go out of their way to extend whatever assistance is needed and possible.The academics are great, as challenging as any given student can handle. They have an exceptional math and science dept, adding new and advanced classes each year. This year an engineering class is being offered for jrs. The social atmosphere is very warm and accepting. A bonus for us has been the terrific music program.I would recommend checking this school out! It isn't as well known as some, but it should be! Signed: Happy Parent!

Sept 2010

I have two boys at SJND, a small Catholic high school in Alameda. They have fantastic friends, challenging classes, and can participate in sports, clubs, anything they like. We aren't Catholic and that isn't an issue at all. My boys appreciate the opportunity to learn about differnt religions and people are respectful of them. Given a choice, they would both choose SJND again. They also appreciate getting to know their teachers. Tremendous mutual respect. Definately worth checking out. Jenifer L-W

Sept 2010

After our son had a disappointing experience at Alameda High, we encouraged our daughter to consider St. Joseph Notre Dame. She is now a junior there, and we couldn't be happier. She is getting a great college-prep education at a school with a wonderful community atmosphere. The excellent science curriculum and new facilities drew her to SJND, but the community has kept her there. She is growing into a confident young woman not afraid to be herself. She is able to participate in two sports and several clubs. I'm continually amazed at how well her teachers know her. SJND has exceeded our expectations. Happy Alameda mom '