Bishop O'Dowd High School

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Bishop O'Dowd High School
O'Dowd Logo.jpg
Cor Unum in Christo
One heart in Christ
9500 Stearns Avenue
Oakland, California, (Alameda County), 94605
United States
Coordinates 37°45′12.94″N 122°9′18.33″W / 37.7535944°N 122.1550917°W / 37.7535944; -122.1550917Coordinates: 37°45′12.94″N 122°9′18.33″W / 37.7535944°N 122.1550917°W / 37.7535944; -122.1550917
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1951
President Stephen Phelps, Ed.D.
Principal Pamela Shay, M.S.A.
Asst. Principal Brian Judd, M.S.
Kevin Cushing
Chaplain Fr. Gerald Pedrera
Faculty 125
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,140 (2013-2014)
Average class size 25
Student to teacher ratio 15:1
Campus Urban
Color(s) Black and Gold ‹See Tfm›     ‹See Tfm›    
Athletics 15 interscholastic sports, with 57 teams, including rugby, water polo and lacrosse as well as the traditional sports. All students are encouraged to participate in the athletics program.
Athletics conference West Alameda County Conference, Foothill League
Mascot Dragon
Team name Dragons
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Average SAT scores 566 critical reading; 565 math; 575 writing (total 1706)
Newspaper The Crozier
Yearbook Mitre
School fees $1,000 registration deposit
Tuition $14,870 (2013-2014)
Alumni More than 13,000
Admissions Director Tyler Kreitz
Athletic Director Mike Bowler

Bishop O'Dowd High School is a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory school in Oakland, California, administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland and named for the late auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, James T. O'Dowd (1907–1950). About 48% of students are non-Catholic. The school requires all students to attend school liturgies (Catholic Mass and prayer services), to enroll in religious studies courses each semester, and to complete its 4-year service learning program. O’Dowd is a Catholic high school community of 1,140 students. The school has 125 faculty and staff members and more than 80 part-time coaches, teachers and moderators.


Bishop O’Dowd High School is named in memory of the former Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Bishop James T. O’Dowd, who died at the age of 43 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Having just helped to establish Marin Catholic and Riordan high schools, Bishop O'Dowd was in the process of drawing up plans for a new Catholic high school in the East Bay at the time of his sudden death.

In June 2010, O’Dowd successfully completed a three-year, $9 million comprehensive fundraising campaign and funds raised were split about evenly between capital development and program enhancement. Funds contributed to renovation of many elements of the classroom buildings — from floors to ceilings, interior and exterior, every classroom, lab and locker, from ventilation to technology infrastructure.

In April 2013, the school broke ground on a Center for Environmental Studies. This state-of-the-art teaching space, located in the school's 4.5-acre Living Lab, will feature two indoor science laboratory/classrooms, an outdoor classroom and dedicated space for planning, research and experimentation. New curriculum being developed includes courses in hydrology, biotechnology, weather and climate study and more. [2]


More than 900 student-athletes participate in 15 interscholastic sports on 57 teams. In March 2010, the men’s varsity basketball team advanced to the Division III state championship game. In April 2010, the school’s speech and debate team won the state title in parliamentary debate. In March 2012, the women's basketball team won the Division III state championship, and in March 2013 the women's basketball team won the Open Division state championship and were ranked #1 in the State of California and #2 in the nation. In 2015 both the men's and women's basketball team won the Division 1 CIF Open Division State Championship. The men's team was led by Ivan Rabb the no.8 player in the country.


Ninety-nine percent of O’Dowd students attend college immediately after graduation, with 95 percent attending four-year institutions. More than 13,000 graduates have been added to the ranks of alumni since the first class graduated in 1955, fulfilling roles of leadership and service in the Bay Area and worldwide.

O’Dowd’s college preparatory curriculum includes 15 Advanced Placement courses, 11 Honors courses, and an enhanced range of services for students with different learning styles. A fully integrated arts and drama program, an environmental science program, and five languages are also offered. In addition, students participate in a 100-hour service learning program.

A wireless technology environment allows students and faculty access to the Internet and encourages student-centered learning. The school has a 1:1 laptop program and offers online classes to support the school’s mission of preparing students for life after high school.

O'Dowd has a comprehensive campus ministry program.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Gene Luen Yang (graphic novelist - Yang teaches computer science and manages the school database)[4]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ Bishop O'Dowd History,
  3. ^
  4. ^ Guthmann, Edward. "National Book Award finalist fills in the blanks with identity-driven graphic novel." San Francisco Chronicle. October 23, 2006. 1. Retrieved on September 8, 2011.

External links[edit]