Mission & Charism

Bishop O’Dowd High School is a Catholic college-preparatory community, guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, that educates its diverse student body to build a more just, joyful and sustainable world.

Our educational mission is rooted in our Catholic heritage and our success is built on the partnership of students, staff, parents, the community, and the Diocese of Oakland. O’Dowd’s academic, spiritual, and co-curricular programs develop exceptional graduates who communicate Christ to others and enrich society through Gospel values and the way in which they live their lives. 

A “charism” is a gift of the Holy Spirit and a set of spiritually inspired core values. At O’Dowd,  our inclusive charism, “Finding God in All Things” calls us to: community in diversity, strength of character, academic excellence, kinship with creation, social justice, and joy.

Each year, school and student leadership strives to achieve this vision of an O’Dowd community enlivened, challenged and animated by the spirituality and values of our charism. While giving preference to Catholics, we welcome students of all faiths who embrace our mission and contribute to it.

Finding God in All Things Calls Us to:

Community in Diversity

Strength of Character

Academic Excellence

Kinship with Creation

Social Justice


Social Justice

O’Dowd’s focus on social justice is embodied in our philosophy and educational approach. By examining both justice and injustice in our world, we give students the tools to analyze any social issue they may encounter. We support this approach in two ways – through our seminal Peace & Justice course and through our Service Learning program. Both are required for graduation from O’Dowd.

Sustainability »

At Bishop O’Dowd High School, sustainability is deeply engrained into all aspects of the school. Programs are built with a clear vision for what sustainability is and how it connects to our Catholic identity. O’Dowd uses the Four-Cs Sustainability Framework to guide our approach to making our CAMPUS and operations more environmentally friendly; infusing sustainability into our CURRICULUM; engage the COMMUNITY; and integrate sustainability into our overall CULTURE.

O’Dowd’s campus houses a Living Lab and Center for Environmental Studies. The lab features a four-acre certified wildlife habitat and outdoor classroom committed to reconnecting students with the natural world and developing a kinship with Creation. Educators often talk about dissolving the walls between the classroom and the real world, and the Living Lab is a place where this is literally happening every day.

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