Built in 1958, Our Lady of Loretto School was the first parochial school in northern Marin County and is run by…More Ursuline Sisters. Started for grades one through three, the school added a grade each year until 1965, then added a kindergarten in 1992. Today the school is overseen by Principal Annette Bonanno and it plays a large part in the lives of many Catholic residents of Novato.
The elementary and middle school lessons include accelerated math, Spanish, computers, music, physical education and science. The average class size is 25 students and the tuition is about $7,000 annually.
Among the enrichment activities offered include a student theater company, academic chess, glee club, weight training, gardening, choir, speech and debate, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, altar-serving, student council and CYO sports teams.
Mindful of its mission to be "witness to the love of Christ for all," the school is committed to diversity and admits student of any race, color and national and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded to or make available to students.
Marin Oaks, located at the site of the former Hill Middle School on Diablo Avenue, meets the needs of students who…More have been unsuccessful in other high school environments for various reasons. It took the place of the North Marin High School, set up in 1965 as a continuation school and was given its new name for the 2001-2002 academic year.
Marin Oaks students, which number about 75, used to attend classes on the campus of Novato High until the move to Diablo Avenue was made in the summer of 2011. Often they participate in mentorship or internship programs in the community to gain real-world experience. Visiting career fairs and listening to guest speakers are part of the learning program described by the district as less competitive than at other high schools.
The students may take elective classes at Novato High in addition to the individualized instruction received at the continuation school. The curriculum heavily promotes responsibility and accountability and creates a safe learning environment for those students who have struggled for various reasons. The teachers and administrators work hard to maintain a low-pressure family atmosphere to guide the students toward meeting graduation requirements.
Although some of the students are at Marin Oaks because of disciplinary problems, others are there because of circumstances beyond their control. Almost half the student body is considered socioeconomically challenged by the school district. There are many success stories involving students walking through graduation ceremonies against all odds and earning a diploma that inspires them to strive for a college degree. The school's graduation rate is varies greatly year by year, but it hovers between 90 and 100 percent.