Why Cathedral?

Why a boys’ school?

We understand boys. We know that there are many ways to be a boy, and we approach each boy individually. We appreciate that each boy learns differently and at his own pace. Not only do our teachers appreciate boy energy, enthusiasm, spirited inquiry, learning styles, and deep camaraderie, they specifically choose to work at an all-boys school. This dedication to understanding best how all boys learn is fundamental to our purpose in providing an “excellent education for boys at the elementary level,” as written in our Mission Statement. We believe in the value of building character and helping boys learn to make responsible decisions. Cathedral is distinguished by a spirit of brotherhood and abiding friendships that exist within every classroom and extend across all the grades. 

If you would like to learn more, please read the following:

Why a uniform?

We believe that uniforms celebrate equity and inclusion. Everyone wears the same clothing, not out of nostalgia but out of the belief that our dress code demonstrates a sense of purpose, and diminishes displays of socioeconomic status that run counter to our philosophy. The Cathedral uniform is also about tradition. The boys wear nearly the same uniform that their predecessors wore sixty years ago when the school was founded, forging a connection between every boy who has attended the school.

Why an Episcopal education?

Cathedral School for Boys was founded in 1957 by members of Grace Cathedral. Grace Cathedral is distinguished not only by its stunning location and architecture, but also by the strong history of activism of its leaders. The time that we regularly spend in the Cathedral’s soaring spaces and beauty gives boys a chance to listen, learn, reflect, and sing. Many of the Cathedral School for Boys traditions are celebrated with hymns, sung by the community, together.

The Episcopal approach offers experiences that offer students an understanding of religion and faith, and provide them with a lens through which to view the world. The Episcopal Church’s values of inclusion, equity, and service have shaped our School values. Diversity in all of its forms has been a tenet of Cathedral School since its founding. The spiritual dimension of the school, rooted in Chapel, adds immeasurably to our exploration of values, the development of character, ethical and moral sensibilities, and service to others. It is through character education and service that boys learn the importance of something greater than one’s own self, which gives meaning and purpose, and forms identity. Regardless of how a Cathedral boy approaches his own faith and spirituality, the religious education boys receive gives them the tools to better understand the world around them. All the world’s religions are reflected in our student body and are celebrated at our school.

If you would like to learn more, please read Headmaster Burns Jones' letter on "Our Episcopal Identity."

Why a small school?

Cathedral School for Boys has deliberately remained a small school. With the intimacy of a small school of 264 boys, we are able to know each boy well. This is particularly important in the Lower School in which we have just one class per grade of twenty-four students, led by two Co-Lead teachers. The two teachers allow for the class to frequently split into varying activities or alternative ways to approach a singular activity. The single class allows each boy to get to know his classmates and for friendships to grow, uninterrupted, over the boys’ years at Cathedral.

In the Upper School, when boys continue to need adult attention and care just as much as when they were younger, we maintain this sense of intimacy. We add twelve boys, increasing the class size to thirty-six boys, dividing into two classes of eighteen. Cathedral teachers are known for their relational teaching: they approach each boy individually, learning his strengths and opportunities for growth. We shake hands with the boys as they enter the building each morning as a reminder that relationships remain at the core of our approach. In the midst of a large city, our small size fosters a deep sense of community that extends to the entire family and enables deep learning.

Cathedral School for Boys

1275 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone 415.771.6600
Fax 415.771.2547
Located in San Francisco, CA, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in grades K-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.