|Who We Are|
St. Paul’s Episcopal School, an independent co-educational K-8 school in Oakland, CA, was founded in 1975 in the belief that a school must be actively engaged with its community. At every grade level, St. Paul’s students learn through serving others, including the elderly, the young, families in transitional housing, and those with developmental differences. Students also practice civic engagement by caring for the environment, including the Lake Merritt watershed and its resident migratory waterfowl.
The School was founded by Rev. Canon David R. Forbes - who was the founding headmaster of San Francisco's Cathedral School for Boys - and Rev. Donald W. Seaton. Our founders believed:
1. The ideal academic environment must include a diversity of thought, culture, and experience.
2. A school must not live in isolation from its community.
Although a separate, independent entity, the School builds on the progressive tradition of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1871. St. Paul's School today fulfills the vision of its founders.
|Critical Thinking Skills|
From the start, the founders created a school where students could develop critical thinking skills through collaboration with peers from different racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. Research has confirmed that critical thinking and problem solving are enhanced by learning in diverse groups.
To support socioeconomic diversity, the founders created a Sliding Scale Tuition Program where each family would pay tuition on a scale based on what they could afford. To supplement the cost of tuition, St. Paul’s secured the financial support of foundations and individuals in the greater community.
|Rooted in Service|
The St. Paul’s Service Learning program has won numerous national and regional awards including a Leading Edge Award from the National Association of Independent School, an Excellence in Service Learning Award from Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and the Environmental Award for Excellence from the Environmental Protection Agency.
While an independent entity, St. Paul's School builds on the St. Paul's Episcopal Church's legacy as a leading Bay Area voice for social justice. Since the 1960s, the church has been active in ministry to refugees and immigrants, interfaith community organizing, and working for the inclusion of lesbians and gay men in the church.
Members of St. Paul's Church were instrumental in founding the renowned Clausen House, a residential treatment facility for developmentally disabled adults, and the church was the sponsor of St. Paul's Towers, a retirement community and life-care facility.
St. Paul's School has adopted this moral imperative to serve others. As a part of weekly service learning curriculum, St. Paul's students visit and perform for elders at St. Paul's Towers, talk with residents of Clausen House, and help at the Senior Food Co-op, among other Service Learning projects. Third graders take the official waterfowl census at Lake Merritt and deliver the data to the City of Oakland Rotary Nature Center. Sixth graders don hip waders and clean Lake Merritt every week.
Students bring these community experiences into the classroom through discussion, writing, art, and critical analysis of our world. Each year, St. Paul’s students in all grades provide more than 7,000 hours in service to more than 24 different organizations.
A Community Resource
The facilities at St. Paul's also serve the community. St. Paul’s School was the founding East Bay site for the Aim High summer school program for Oakland middle school students. The School donates its facilities to Aim High. St. Paul’s was a founding member of the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI) in 2002 and donates its classrooms for evening and weekend teacher training. The School also donates its facilities to Pact, an adoption alliance based in Oakland.
|No. 2 in the Nation|
Today, in fulfillment of the vision of Donald Seaton and David Forbes, St. Paul’s is ranked No. 2 in the nation in socioeconomic and ethnic diversity among independent schools of comparable size.
Diversity of all types remains a primary component of the St. Paul's mission. Each year, children of color number more than half of the student body. (National Association of Independent Schools [NAIS] average is 20.5% for similar schools.)
Students come from many different faith traditions, or none, and many different family configurations. These include first generation Americans, many of whom speak a different language at home, and students with lesbian or gay parents. In 2012-2013, 48 percent of students received Tuition Assistance grants.
|Q. ||What is the St. Paul's approach to education?|
|A. ||At the heart of the St. Paul’s approach is
developing the critical thinking skills that students will need to
thrive in a global economy.|
|Q. ||Why a K-8 school? Wouldn't it make more sense to enroll my child at a K-12 school?|
|A. ||As a K-8 school, the St. Paul’s program is tailor-made for
five-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds. The sole focus of the School is
students' intellectual and character development during this crucial
time in childhood. Without high school students on campus, the needs of
elementary and Middle School students do not become subordinate to
those of older students. A K-8 school is a place where kids can remain
“kids” until they are ready for high school, without the pressures of
acting as they think older teenagers should behave. St. Paul’s Middle
School students become school leaders, enabling them to take on
responsibilities for leading younger kids in school-wide projects.|
St. Paul’s graduates are sought by the top tier of high schools.
|Q. ||St. Paul's is ranked No. 2 in the nation in socio-economic and ethnic diversity, compared to independent schools of its size. Why is this a good thing?|
|A. ||For nearly 35 years, critical thinking at St. Paul’s has been informed
by diversity – of thought, culture, and experience. The School brings
together families and faculty from different backgrounds and cultures,
which adds to the breadth of learning experiences. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Stanford University have found that innovation, critical thinking, and engagement are improved when students learn in classrooms where diverse perspectives are represented.|
|Q. ||What does it mean to be an Episcopal school?|
|A. ||Education in the Episcopal tradition is characterized by academic
rigor, inclusivity, questioning of beliefs, and social involvement. St. Paul’s welcomes students and
families from all faiths, or none. Concepts such as independence,
respect, responsibility, and fairness are integral parts of learning,
as is the moral imperative to serve others. To enhance critical
thinking, service learning weaves math, writing, social studies, and
art into projects that serve the elderly, the homeless, and the
environment. Our students are inspired and compassionate. |
|Q. ||Why is St. Paul's in a city?|
|A. ||A cosmopolitan location is essential to a St. Paul’s education. The
campus is across the street from Lake Merritt – the oldest wildlife
refuge in the US – and within walking distance of the natural science,
history, and art exhibits at the Oakland Museum of California. The
School is within walking distance of BART, giving students
environmentally friendly access to the San Francisco Museum of Modern
Art, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Asian Art Museum. St.
Paul’s is a contributing member of the community in which students and
faculty walk and play everyday.|