Mission and Philosophy

The mission of Cathedral School is to provide an excellent academic education grounded in Catholic religious principles and values, thereby creating a life-long love for learning and respect for each person and all creation as gifts of God.

In the spirit of our Mission Cathedral School will:

  • Create a faith community wherein Catholic truths become the foundation of daily living in a global community.
  • Design and implement curricula that provide for the education of the whole person.
  • Provide a learning environment in which all children may grow toward their fullest God-given potential.
  • Foster the physical, emotional, and social well being of each individual.
  • Complement and support the parents in their role as the primary educators of their children.

Students are taught to assimilate academic and life skills, as well as social attitudes, which will assist them to internalize Catholic values in their discovery of truth. They are guided toward excellence as contributing and effective members of society.

The school is a living encounter with cultural and Catholic heritage. While honoring our parents as primary educators of their children, Cathedral School seeks to nurture the formation of the individual student. As facilitators of learning, teachers encourage the development of critically thinking students who are responsible and self-disciplined and who take pride in being a part of Cathedral and the global community.

Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs)

Be a Disciple of Christ

  • I demonstrate knowledge of Catholic teaching and traditions
  • I participate in prayer and school liturgies
  • I serve my school and local community
  • I show respect and care for all of God’s creations

Be a Life-long Learner

  • I am engaged in my education and consistently work to my full potential
  • I listen actively and communicate effectively
  • I use resources and my critical thinking skills to solve problems
  • I try my best

Be a Good Citizen

  • I take responsibility for my actions
  • I respectfully interact with others
  • I am a positive member of my community
  • I use technology appropriately

As followers of Jesus we are respectful, responsible, and safe.


Cathedral School is a parochial school that has served the Portland area for over 100 years. Archbishop William Gross established Cathedral School, originally known as St. Mary’s Parochial School, in 1896. In 1900 the school was named St. Mary’s Academy Annex. It was operated by the Sisters of the Holy Names at N.W. 16th and Everett.

At the time, there were 15 students enrolled in grades K-4. Beginning with the 1910-11 school year, it became known as Cathedral School. Four years later, Cathedral Parish pastor, Father Edwin O’Hara approved the building of what is now the Cathedral complex along N.W. 17th Street. This building was the site of Cathedral School for 48 years.

The school’s location did not change until 1961 when the Dunne family donated their home property to Cathedral Parish for construction of the present Cathedral School. From as far back as 1910, enrollment was 179 students and reached an all-time high of 295 students in 1964. Enrollment then declined due to the changing nature of the neighborhood. This led to changes in acceptance policy during the 1970s that encouraged broader geographic and ethnic representation of students.

Since its founding, Cathedral School has evolved from a neighborhood school to a school that draws students from the Portland tri-county area as well as Clark County in Washington. While many changes have taken place, the school’s values of diversity, respect, reverence for others and belief in God have remained constant through its “Century of Excellence in Education.”