Mission and History | Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School

Mission and History

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School fosters academic excellence, and students engage in a dynamic and comprehensive curriculum that prepares them well for continued success at the university level and beyond. Our faculty is dedicated to inspiring students to make a difference, and our students make lifelong friendships as active members of SJND's sports teams, campus ministry and retreat program, unique clubs and spirited arts performances and programs. SJND is located in the beautiful, tree-lined residential area of Alameda, on the same site where the school was established in 1881, and has a proud tradition of educating students.


Saint Joseph Notre Dame, a Catholic parish high school, provides a dynamic and rigorous college preparatory education.  Our faith-filled, diverse, and welcoming community embraces the teachings of Jesus Christ.  We develop confident, open-minded, and effective leaders who are ready to live joyful lives of faith, scholarship, and service.

Integral Student Outcomes

Essential Attributes of an SJND Graduate

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School Students are:


  • Live authentic lives of faith, compassion, and justice
  • Act on Gospel values through participation in liturgies, retreats, community service, and ministry to others
  • Embrace and foster the spirit of family as the foundation of community


  • Think critically and creatively
  • Apply high-level thinking to solve problems in practical contexts
  • Communicate clearly and effectively
  • Use technology skillfully and responsibly
  • Reflect on their own learning
  • Collaborate productively and with purpose
  • Pursue higher-education opportunities with tenacity and ambition


  • Work and make decisions to foster the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of self, family, community, and the wider world
  • Respect and value differences among people
  • Embrace roles of servant leadership
  • Act with wisdom, conviction, and integrity


Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School is a consolidation of Notre Dame, founded more than 100 years ago by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and St. Joseph’s, founded in 1935 by the St. Joseph parish and originally conducted by the Marianist Brothers.

In 1881, at the invitation of Father William Gleason, pastor of Brooklyn (East Oakland), five sisters of Notre Dame de Namur opened a school for girls in grades 1 to 12, four years before St. Joseph Parish was established. The Sisters purchased the present site in Alameda, erected a convent and opened a school.

Saint Joseph's became a parish four years later and opened an elementary school in 1922. When St. Joseph Grammar School was built, the original school buildings became the high school, Notre Dame Academy, a combined boarding and day school.

Saint Joseph High School, a school for boys operated by the Marianist Brothers, was established in 1935. Father Bernard J. Praught, then pastor of St. Joseph’s, opened the school in the fall of that year. The first faculty consisted of two Marianists, and the first student body contained 35 freshmen and 24 sophomores.

Early in 1958, the newly appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish, the Rev. Alvin P. Wagner, suggested constructing a new high school on the site of Notre Dame. Thus, a new parochial high school, Notre Dame High School, opened in 1960.

St. Joseph High School, a school for boys, was under the direction of the Marianist Brothers for 35 years until their departure in June 1970.

In 1983, the Congregation of the Sacred Heart was asked to staff the parish and consolidate the two high schools, Notre Dame High School and St. Joseph High School into a coeducational high school.

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School began in September 1985.