St. Theresa School

Community Subscriber

Private School
operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
300 students
Phone: 510.547.3146
4850 Clarewood Drive Oakland, CA 94618
Editors' Notes: 

Small Catholic grammar school located in Upper Rockridge with openings in kindergarten through 5th grade.

Parent Reviews

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Hi BPN parents, 

If you're looking for an affordable private school with strong academics, we highly recommend St. Theresa School.  St. Theresa's is a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful and serene Upper Rockridge neighborhood.  We were accepted into Thornhill and Corpus Christi, and ultimately chose St. T's for the academics, involved parents and staff, and a strong sense of community.  We are non-Catholic.  Reasons why we love St. T's:

1) Strong sense of community.  We love the diversity of the new families and friendships forged at St. T's!  Students are cultivated into well rounded, life-long learners and active contributors of their communities starting with service learning projects in Kindergarten. The older kids are well behaved and always looking after the younger kids without being asked.

2) Rigorous academic and extracurricular program.  Comparing scores, I believe they are the #1 school in the Oakland archdiocese.

3) Before and After School Care (STEP).  Starts at 7am and closes at 6:15pm, which is great for working parents. Rates are affordable, schedule is flexible,  no wait list and no worries for parents.  Kids finish homework at STEP and then are either crafting or playing games.  Staff is actively engaged in all activities, not just "watching" the kids.  Enrichment activities such as chess, cooking, choir, etiquette, leadership, kids safety are also offered.  

4)  K-8 means we don't have to worry (again!) about applying to middle schools.  We ultimately chose St. T's for this peace of mind, knowing our kids will be well prepared for both public and private high school options.

5)  Safe, spacious and well maintained indoor and outdoor areas for our kids to learn and play. New state of the art computer lab/gym/event center.  Open front counter area at the main entrance for all visitors to check-in/out.  Academically we felt St. T's and Corpus were on par, but the outdoor space was a huge deciding factor for us, knowing it would provide plenty of room (and fun lifelong memories) for our children to learn, play and explore. 

6)  Easy drop-off/pick-up.  Large school parking lot with organized drop-off/pick--up lines is HUGE for us parents rushing to work...which leads to my next point..

7)  Multiple commuting options into SF. Choose from several casual carpool pickup locations and AC Transit Transbay bus lines that are less than 5 minutes away in Oakland and Piedmont. Plenty of free street parking (beats finding street parking at and squeezing onto Rockridge BART!). 

8)  Quiet and safe location just outside Piedmont. Clarewood Drive only has homes on one side of the street (landscaping on the other side), so it's not a high traffic/congestion zone like most other schools. Village Market is also nearby for your grocery needs.

9)  Affordable tuition.  With more than one child, tuition is more budget friendly compared to other private schools.

10)  Accepting, inclusive and respectful.  While St. T's is a religious school, we are a non-Catholic family and this has been a non-issue from day one. 

Good luck! 

-Your fellow BPN Parents seeking the best, well-rounded academic experience for their kiddos!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Corpus Christi or St. Theresa's?

Sept 2012

Hi - We're considering Corpus Christi or St. Theresa's. Does anyone have insight into how they compare? Both seem like great schools and communities, but wondering what the differences are. Thanks anon

I would love the opportunity to invite you to the Information Night at St. Theresa School. I too am a very happy parent of three children who attended St. Theresa School. The campus is nestled in a very quiet area of Oakland. The curriculum is integrated with Art, Music (instrument instruction in grades 4-8), P.E. (in the new gym) and Technology (in the new Multimedia Classroom). Come check out our fabulous school on Thursday night, 11/15, at 7pm at the school. Karen

Though I did not tour Corpus Christi, I want to share my journey as a touring parent and the reasons why I chose St. Theresa.

You see, I had no idea this little gem even existed. I toured many, many public and private schools over a period of two years. At my wits end and uninspired by canned curriculum and lack of (teachers')academic freedom at the public schools and depressed by the astronomically high tuition rates of the privates in Oakland (even with financial aid) I literally stumbled upon St. T. I called, thinking that I would receive an answering machine, a disinterested secretary, or a slightly critical admissions guru. Instead, I talked to a down-to-earth mom turned St. T admissions/everything supporter and got a private tour the very next day.

And I loved it. All of it. Nestled in the hills of Upper Rockridge, the school is clean and beautiful in a mid-century modern kind of way. The rooms are filled with sunlight. The floors squeak with new polish and the school smells like I remember school smelling when I was a kid. The school has RECESS -- lots of it -- and P.E. and art and Spanish and music and grass and all the things that elementary school should have. It seems as if the children are always playing in the grass or toting musical instruments hither and yon.

My little boy started kindergarten this year. He is very bright and active and especially interested in art. At the Montessori preschool he attended last year he was deemed ''too active'' to be productive. His interests in art often didn't fit into the works they had ''out at the time'' and his obsession with art was often considered a problem. Not so at St. T. At St.Theresa, little kids are encouraged to play outside like goofy little kids and art accompanies almost every thing they do. My son has three hours of art per week with an artist on top of the crafts and the coloring and the drawing that he does while learning other things. In fact, after getting to know my artsy little boy, his teachers now encourage him to draw if he is having problems with other kids or following directions. This kind of outside the box teaching has dramatically helped my son connect with peers and follow guidelines. This is what I was looking for when I toured.

I could actually go on and on and on. But I won't. And at $7 K per year, St. T is the best deal in town. -Liz

July 2012

St. Theresa School is a true gem, nestled in the quiet Oakland hills. My 3 daughters have all graduated from this Catholic school and have been extremely prepared for their high school years. The academics, facility and overall community of the school is fantastic. Students have room to be themselves and to flourish. St. Theresa School provided 13 years of pure joy to my children. They looked forward to going to school every day which is over half of the battle! karen

July 2008

Appreciate any feedback on St. Theresa's Catholic k-8 school in Oakland. We're thinking about applying in a few years. Any information on the quality of academics and teaching, class to teacher ratios, testing, activities, afterschool programs, amount of religious activity, community, the new facilities and any other feedback would be great. Are there any other considerations if we are not Catholic?

St Theresa's is a great school with very strong academics as well as enrichment classes. The afterschool program staff is wonderful as well. St. Theresa's is one of the few Catholic schools on this side of the hills that is enrolled almost exclusively by parishioners. (Corpus Christi is as well.) That is one of the reasons that there is such a strong sense of community. Certainly there are non-parishioners and non- Catholics in the school, but active parishioners have priority in admission so it could be difficult depending on how many parishioners are applying any given year.

Hi -- Just a thought. I do know that St. Theresa's often has quite a lot of competition for spots in their school, and it is important to know that all of the Catholic schools give some preference to whether or not you are Catholic and how involved you are in the parish. We have had a couple of families that we know say that you begin vying for space long before it is actually time to apply there. That being said, just know up front that those who are Catholic and involved in the parish will get first priority, so if you are not Catholic, you may want to consider getting heavily involved and being somewhat ''indispensible''! Good luck. Been there!

Nov 2003

I'd like to hear from non-catholics about their experiences with St. Theresa's. Also wondering how much time is dedicated to Catholic or religious teachings.

While we do not have kids in Saint Theresa's we have heard from co-workers and neighbors that this is a very nice school. Some diversity and good academics and not snotty at all even though the population of the school is most upper-middle class. As well, the school seems to send their students on to good high schools and they seem prepared. While this is all hearsay it is hearsay I am hearing over and over, Hoping this helps

January 2003

I am interested in hearing experiences/information about St. Theresa's school (enrollment process and satisfaction of currently enrolled families). Any comments are appreciated. Thanks! colleen

We are a new family at St. Theresa, having moved our child from an Oakland public school. We are very happy there. She has been welcomed into her class by the kids and the parents have been very warm and welcoming to me and her dad. I've found that the academics are better than what she was doing before -- she'd definitely more challenged, but it is not overly difficult. She has homework ever night (as opposed to a weekly packet -- a great improvement and more appropriate for younger grades, I think) but is not innundated with work. We really like her teacher, who is very experienced and great with the kids.

Msgr. Moran is definitely interested in having a tight knit community at St. Theresa and therefore wants to see the families that attend school attending church. We like that and were previously active members of the parish. If you are Catholic but don't intend to be active in the parish, I think your chances of getting admitted are lower.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. We have not yet gone through the kindergarten process (but will this year) so I don't have any advice there. Jennifer

Nov 2001

Does anyone have any information on St. Theresa school (located on Clarewood off Broadway Terrace). I'm not Catholic but I want my daughter to attend a Catholic school or private school. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Cheryl

St. Theresa is our parish school and is a source of great pride to the parishioners there because of the strong academic program. If you are not a member of the parish, though, it can be somewhat difficult to get in to since often the classes are full with parishioners and siblings of children already in the school. Sometimes there are one or two spots for non-parishioner, non-Catholics.

The school has strong academics, and has a nice community feel to it. It seems to have enough money for a wide variety of programs.

The downside is that the class size is quite large (30, K-6) and although there is an aide in each class, it's still quite a large number to manage. This can be very difficult for active boys in the class and as a result, they don't succeed as well in the classroom as more compliant children. I know that some years St. Theresa's has had difficulty attracting and retaining boys. For example this years third grade class has something like 22 girls and 8 boys.

The new principal seems to be very fair which is great, although some people seem to miss the more playful, fun spirit of the previous principal.