The O'Dowd Advantage
Each year, I talk with hundreds of O’Dowd students, parents, alums, and applicants about the advantages of an O’Dowd education.
The fast facts and student quotes featured here demonstrate that O’Dowd is a top college prep, Catholic school that nourishes skilled, joyful, creative and entrepreneurial students in an enriched, challenging, and diverse environment. Our school is truly unique.
From the strength of our professional faculty and staff to our personal care and moral guidance, we add priceless value to the everyday development and future growth of our students.
Interested in fast facts and a good overview of the school?
Download the O'Dowd Advantage »
Stephen Phelps, Ed.D.
Charism? What’s that?
Strictly speaking, a "charism" is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Greek, plural: ‘charismata’). In Catholic usage the word is often applied to a particular group or religious "order" and specifically to the "gift" that the order is to the larger church/world. Synonyms for the word "charism" might be: vision, calling, focus, spiritually inspired core values, gospel values. The rendering that has been helpful to many is "operational spirituality," a term which describes well what a "charism" should do for a community: animate and inspire all of its programs, activities, groups.
What is our Charism?
Finding God in all things calls us to
Community in Diversity
Strength of Character
Kinship with Creation
A charism statement might be a list of core values, such as the following from Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, "There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separated finger on the fist. Anyone individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable." Good charism statements are also creative and visual (fingers making a fist). The LaSallian schools articulate their charism with a five-pointed star, each point representing a core value (faith in God’s presence, quality education, respect for all persons, inclusive community, concern for the poor). Other charism statements include Latin terms, such as "magis" (more) and "cura personalis" (care of the person) for the Jesuits. Some include powerful religious images, such as the Daughters of Charity recalling that "the person you are feeding is Christ himself."
Implementation of the O'Dowd Charism
The work of bringing the O'Dowd charism to life is ongoing! Each year the school community discerns and then implements strategies for nurturing and building the sense of ownership of the charism among all O'Dowd constituencies and programs. In 2010-11, the charism emphasis was "Strength of Character." Each year, school and student leadership strives to achieve the vision of an O'Dowd community enlivened, challenged and animated by the spirituality and values of our charism. We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we work to ensure that the core values of our charism live in every member of our community.
Bishop O’Dowd High School is a Catholic, coeducational, college
preparatory high school administered by the Diocese of Oakland. The
school affirms the teachings, moral values, and ethical standards of the
Catholic Church. It is a unique and diverse community. The faculty and
administration strive to develop young men and women of competence,
conscience, and compassion through an integrated academic, spiritual,
and extra-curricular program. Bishop O’Dowd High School seeks to develop leaders of influence who are loving, open to growth, religious,
intellectually competent, and skilled leaders committed to justice and
Bishop O'Dowd is a coeducational, college preparatory Catholic high school sponsored by the Diocese of Oakland serving the diverse range of students in Oakland and surrounding communities. Our integrated academic, spiritual, and extra-curricular programs develop exemplary graduates who communicate Christ to others by their lives and enrich society with Gospel values. Our school is a partnership of students, staff, parents, the community, and the Diocese of Oakland.
As a Catholic high school, Bishop O'Dowd challenges and encourages all members of its community to be loving and rejoice in our diversity. While giving preference to Catholics, we welcome students of all faiths who embrace our mission and are willing to contribute to it. We have rooted our educational mission in our Catholic heritage so that our graduates will care for creation and live extraordinary lives dedicated to building a moral, just and peaceful world.
2013-2014 Board Of Regents
Glen Hentges, Chairperson
Kim Walsh, Vice Chairperson
David Bail ’87
Fr. Leo Edgerly
Stephen Ghiglieri ’79
John Heagerty ’60
Fr. Jay Matthews
Peter Ross ’83
Diane Steccone Smahlik ’62
Edward Vieira-Ducey ’97
Catholic Education Accreditation
Bishop O'Dowd High School is fully accredited by the Western Catholic Education Association and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WCEA/WASC) through 2014. During the 2007-2008 school year, the school community completed a full self-study that included a living strategic action plan to guide our community through 2014.
The key components of this study with the Strategic Plan/Action Plan were submitted to the WCEA/WASC Accrediting Commission. The WCEA/WASC accreditation renewal process included an on-campus visit by a seven-member team in 2007. The team's four-day study resulted in a report to the school community. In 2007, the Accrediting Commission reviewed our report along with the findings of the visiting team and granted a full six-year term of accreditation through June 30, 2014.
To ensure our strategic plan was vibrant and achieved, we established an ongoing yearly process to review the plan and ensure the achievement of its goals. These goals were successfully completed in 2010-11 and the school has engaged, through yearly review and study process, in the development and implementation of new or expanded goals. These include:
- Improve graduation outcomes in the areas of curriculum and instruction, Catholic identity, and student support.
- Contain and/or reduce costs through innovation in all areas of the school and in developing innovative business models for technology and student services delivery on instruction, and in fund raising.
- Reach out to resources and ideas world-wide to improve outcomes and contain/and or lower costs.
- Skillfully tell our story through all media available to us and through word-of-mouth to motivate and encourage families throughout the East Bay to see the value of an O’Dowd education.
Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, the school will fully engage in a new WCEA/WASC self study that will result in an updated strategic plan to carry our community through 2020.
Download WCEA/WASC PDF »