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History & Traditions


San Carlos School was established in 1898 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondolet. The mission of the CSJ's was to provide a Catholic education to the children of the Monterey Peninsula. After the Sisters of Saint Joseph departed, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Monterey administered the school until June of 1980. Subsequent to their departure, the school was administered by an Adrian Dominican Sister until July of 2001. Today, San Carlos School is run as a ministry of San Carlos Cathedral by a lay principal and a committed, dedicated, professional lay faculty.

San Carlos School is fully accredited and provides a challenging, solid, nurturing, community environment for nearly 300 children from Transitional Kindergarten through Grade 8.

San Carlos School is located on the grounds of the "Royal Presidio Chapel," the historic California landmark founded by Father Junipero Serra now called San Carlos Cathedral. The school and parish exist in the very heart of historic "Old Monterey." Core classes are conducted in a beautiful "mission-style" red-tile roofed building on four sides. The cloister courtyard is the "heartbeat" of the community life of the school. Classes are conducted in classrooms surrounding the courtyard.

The student population at San Carlos is culturally, racially, and economically diverse. At San Carlos, cultural and racial differences are seen as gifts to be celebrated. Students come from all over the Monterey Peninsula. We are also gifted with many parents and children from military families stationed at the Defense Language Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Every race, origin, religious background, and economic strata represented is welcomed, celebrated, and accepted as part of the San Carlos Parish and School community.

The curriculum at San Carlos is based on the Common Core State Standards set forth by the State of California for elementary education in language arts, reading, writing, spelling, grammar, science, mathematics, and social studies. Art, music, and foreign language (starting in Grade 3) are aligned with the current California State Standards. Additionally, San Carlos School is committed to religious education and an overall Catholic philosophy of education. Catholic Identity is integrated throughout the subject areas and students receive formal religious instruction daily.

Parents of San Carlos students are actively involved with events on campus and in donating time and talent which is necessary for the operation of a Catholic school in today's society. This time and talent serves to supplement the financial realities of providing a high-quality education and also creates a close bond between parents, families, faculty, and students. The participation of parents in many aspects of school life allows families and teachers to build an authentic community based on friendship, love, and respect.