Who We Are

Mission & Philosophy

Our Mission

  • To provide an excellent education for boys at the elementary level.
  • To attract a diverse student body of strong academic potential. 
  • To provide a school committed to intellectual inquiry and rigor, centered in the Episcopal tradition, respectful of and welcoming to people of all religious traditions and beliefs.
  • To develop social responsibility through exemplary programs of outreach and service.
  • To create a community bonded by open-heartedness, hope, compassion, and concern.


Cathedral School for Boys, founded in 1957, strives to provide education in the best tradition of the Episcopal Church and in consonance with the Mission of Grace Cathedral. We believe that this education is derived from three primary sources: the highest academic and personal standards humanely applied; building a diverse community united in its concern for the School and the world; and an active engagement with religion and the spiritual dimension.
Academically, the School sets high standards in literacy, basic skills, self-discipline, the joy of learning, and the pursuit of wisdom. We set equally high standards in civic and social responsibility that are demonstrated through good behavior, caring, mutual respect, truth-telling, honor, and good stewardship of our world; and we emphasize these qualities in all aspects of school life. Art, music, drama, and physical education are integral parts of the curriculum. We prepare boys to enter demanding secondary schools confidently; we recognize that there are a variety of learning styles and paces among able students, and we try to teach accordingly. Teachers are able to focus on those learning styles that are boy-friendly: Hands-on, active learning that allows for movement and vigor. We affirm the integrity of childhood and elementary curriculum and do not try to replicate secondary school studies.
We believe that the school’s programs are affected by a talented, enthusiastic, and loving collegial faculty. These men and women are recruited and retained based on their professional skills, their willingness to model the highest standards in every respect, and their commitment to professional and personal growth. It is a priority of the school to provide funds and other support for that growth and to strive toward competitive faculty compensation.
We believe that our all-boy environment frees our students to explore the full range of their potential. Our awareness of the different learning styles, rhythms, and activity level needs of boys promotes openness and flexibility in the program that allows for success in all areas of study. Personalities have the freedom to develop without gender stereotyping, and boys can inhabit all roles in social, academic, and aesthetic areas. Thus, they develop a strong sense of self without the need for posturing and pretending. In an atmosphere where friendships are valued, and where cooperation and collaborative problem solving are practiced, boys are able to talk about their feelings freely. Being the recipients of empathy, understanding, and compassion, boys learn to become caring and compassionate people.
Our belief that all people are children of God and citizens of a shrinking world leads us to develop as diverse a community as possible. We seek families of all races, creeds, and economic circumstances, subject only to their ability to take advantage of our program. A growing tuition assistance program, tied by policy to the tuition income, exists to effect economic diversity. We make every effort to ensure that all families feel welcome in the school community.
Religious education includes exploring questions of meaning, purpose, and personal identity within the daily life and studies of the boys. Using the Bible and Anglican worship as starting points, we seek to assure literacy in the content and discipline of all major religions, recognizing the limitations of what is age-appropriate and the general sensitivity of the subject. We strive to open minds and hearts to the religious dimension of life and to discourage uncritical dogmatism. The time we regularly spend in Grace Cathedral, with its soaring spaces and magnificent music, provides the boys with an opportunity to come together as a community in a sacred place of great beauty. The spiritual dimension of the school and its program adds immeasurably to the exploration of values, the development of character, and ethical and moral sensibilities. The clergy of a variety of faiths lead worship from time to time. Some 20 or more of the boys sing in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, receiving specialized musical training and religious experience.
We are also committed to outreach beyond the tuition assistance program. This commitment is evidenced at present by programs of community service and charitable outreach throughout the entire school community.
Finally, we believe that education thrives in a school where parents, teachers, students, and trustees know each other well, communicate comfortably and openly in an environment of mutual respect, and habitually laugh together. We are committed to remaining small in size but large in mind, heart, and spirit.
    • The Rev. Canon David R. Forbes, Cathedral School for Boys Founding Headmaster

      The Rev. Canon David R. Forbes, Cathedral School for Boys Founding Headmaster

Cathedral School for Boys

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.
1275 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108   •   Phone: 415.771.6600   •   Fax: 415.771.2547