Philosophy & History

Our Philosophy

  • With a firm dedication to the education of the whole child—spirit, mind, and body—we strive to guide each student to the fulfillment of their unique potential
  • We provide a Catholic education defined by gospel values, marked by high academic standards, and enhanced by a commitment to social justice
  • We embrace all members of the community and take pride in our cultural diversity
  • Graduates will demonstrate self-confidence and resilience while developing a love of learning and a desire to foster peace and justice in the world

Our History

Father Daniel O’Brien, O.P., Pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish, invited the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, in 1928, to conduct the catechism classes of the parish. By 1930, the catechism enrollment had increased to 100 children. This led to plans of building a convent and school in the near future. After seven years of fundraising and a period of construction, Father H.H. Kelly and the Sisters opened the School of the Madeleine.

The school was blessed by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop, John J. Mitty of San Francisco on August 22, 1937, and school opened the next day with 156 students in eight grades. Each of the four sisters had a combination class of two grades. By 1939, the faculty had increased to five Sisters and five classrooms. Enrollment reached 260 students in 1944 and a sixth classroom and teacher were added. In 1949, Father William T. Lewis, O.P., Pastor, had two classrooms and a library added and eight single grades were taught for the first time.

Father William A. Norton, O.P., completed the construction of the kindergarten and enlargement of the school yard. In September 1955, the school opened with 440 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. This also was the first year a school cafeteria was opened to serve lunches.
In 1986, an Extended Care program was established to meet the growing needs of working parents.

The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose staffed and administered the School of the Madeleine from 1937 to 1988. The Sisters maintained their residency in the convent until February of 2016 and today a member of the community still continues to support the Mission of the Madeleine by serving on the school’s staff. In June of 2012 the school held its 75th graduation and in September of that year hosted a Gala Event with over 400 guests. During the summer of 2015, the board and administration completed the 21st Century classroom remodeling project, realizing the vision of the ‘Next Generation Catholic School’ with strong ties to the Dominican Charism and a bold vision toward an innovative future.

Come visit us on a school tour! Call 510-526-4744 to schedule.