Character Development

At Cathedral, everything we do, from academics to enrichment to spiritual development, is done with the intention of raising the bar on raising boys.
Faculty and staff are well-versed in the realities of raising boys today. For our community, this is not an “of the moment” topic. It is core to who we are, in keeping with our values as a school, and has been for over 60 years.

Character development is part of choir rehearsal, athletics, community service settings, and practiced throughout the halls we walk each day. We actively seek opportunities to reflect on and encourage dialogue about becoming a young man of integrity. By the time our boys leave Cathedral, they have a true understanding of how to be strong, just, kind people.

When teachers leverage the teachable moment to not only make the lesson stick, but also to intentionally integrate valuable life lessons into the conversation, boys not only succeed academically, they succeed as humans. Character education is a requirement at Cathedral and it’s part of everything we do: modeled, discussed, and encouraged in every thought, word, and deed.

Selected Programming

List of 5 items.

  • Day of Service

    In the meaningful tradition of The Day of Service, Cathedral School for Boys plans a school-wide day of service to others each November. The day begins with our regular chapel service in Grace Cathedral.
    After chapel, the boys partner up in their Big Brother/Little Brother pairings and volunteer together at locations around the city. 

    Here's a snapshot by grade of our November 2019 Day of Service...

    K & 4th
    The kindergarten and fourth grade boys created cards for the guests who attended the Grace Cathedral Thanksgiving, as well as ‘thank you’ cards for firefighters fighting local fires. In the afternoon, the boys made desserts for the Thanksgiving dinner at Grace Cathedral.  
    First & Fifth
    The first and fifth grade boys served at the Community Garden in Visitacion Valley Greenway, one of the many beautiful parks in our city. The day involved a beautification project.
    Second & Sixth
    The second and sixth grade boys volunteerd at Bayview Mission, the same organization that benefits from our Giving Tree. The day involved assembling Thanksgiving Day foodbags.  

    Third & Seventh
    The third and seventh grade boys volunteered at City Hope in the Tenderloin. They had hands-on service opportunities, as well as an opportunity to see the background work that goes into making City Hope such a vital ministry in our city. 
    The eighth grade boys volunteered at City Impact in the Tenderloin. They prepared and served lunch at the soup kitchen.
  • Big Brother/Little Brother

    Our emphasis on character is rooted in our Big Brother/Little Brother program, where mentorship, role modeling, and friendship support leadership skills and develop empathy. Kindergarten through third-grade boys are paired with an older Big Brother, and throughout the year, these pairings engage in curriculum-related activities, lunches, play, and field trips. As leaders of the Lower School, fourth-graders become big brothers themselves to the kindergartners.
  • Social and Emotional Learning

    Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a style of learning that is used in all of our classrooms here at Cathedral. Boys learn SEL tools through Friendship Groups starting in kindergarten, which help them learn to express their emotions, understand conflict resolution, and strengthen communication techniques. Boys continue to use these tools throughout their time at Cathedral in classroom lessons, small advisory meetings, as well as larger community meetings.
  • Advisory

    Advisory in the Upper School serves as a student’s primary “family unit.” Advisories consist of one or two faculty advisors and between eight and ten students. Students spend the first ten minutes of each day with their advisor, and this time is used to help instill a feeling of belonging and connection from the first moment a boy is on campus. Attendance, announcements, and informal check-ins take place during this time. Once a rotation, advisors meet with their advisees in a class setting, and through these meetings we deliver our advisory curriculum. The advisory curriculum comprises three domains: Academic Behaviors, Cultural Humility, and Social Emotional Learning. Our curriculum draws from many nationally renowned programs (such as Teaching Tolerance, Responsive Classroom, and Institute for Social Emotional Learning), but we revise their content to make it population-specific and to provide our boys with relevant support and information that meets them where they are in their development.
  • Chapel

    When boys spend time in quiet reflection while listening to the wisdom of peers and teachers, they have space and time to think about their place in a bigger world. When they join together in song, they are united in a language that crosses all barriers and opens the door to joy in their school day. Members of the Cathedral School community kick off each week listening as eighth-graders share life and learning experiences during Chapel Talks and sing together at the end of each week during Hymn Sing.

A Kind Word from the Second Grade

Cathedral School for Boys

Located in San Francisco, California, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in Kindergarten – Grade 8. Our mission is to provide an excellent education through intellectual inquiry and rigor that is centered in the Episcopal tradition and is respectful of and welcoming to people of all religious traditions and beliefs.