About Us

School of the Madeleine

Your children can excel at School of the Madeleine

School of the Madeleine is one of the largest Catholic elementary schools in San Diego with two classes of every grade from first through eighth. We are proud of our strong Catholic Identity and our faith community of teachers, families, and staff. Our preschool has a 3-year old, a 4-year old, and a junior kindergarten classroom. The kindergarten program focuses on the development of each student with manipulatively-based lessons. It includes a traditional one-year and a two-year program (pre-first). Various academic programs, such as Everyone a Reader, advanced math, STREAM, and technology are implemented to enhance and enrich our high-school preparatory curriculum. School of the Madeleine’s spacious campus is safe and secure and includes a large grass field, a running track, and three play structure areas. Students at School of the Madeleine strive to Live Faithfully, Learn Responsibly, and Lead Respectfully.

History of School of the Madeleine

In September of 1957, School of the Madeleine opened with three hundred students in grades one through six.  The school was staffed by Sisters of Saint Francis.  During the school years 1958-1960, one additional upper grade and teacher were added, bringing the total number of classrooms to 17 with grades kindergarten through eight operating in one main building.  In 1985, the kindergarten was expanded into a developmental program with two kindergarten classrooms and a pre-first class located in the convent building.  Two preschool classrooms were added in the 1992-1993 school year.  One was a classroom for a three-year-old program and the other for a four-year-old program.  In March 2000, a new multi-purpose building was completed.  It includes a library, a computer lab, a tutoring room, an extra classroom for projects, the faculty lounge and workroom, the janitor’s room, a storage room and bathrooms.  At the present time, School of the Madeleine offers a full program from preschool through grade 8.  There are three preschool classrooms, two kindergarten classrooms, one pre-first classroom, and two classes of each grade from grade one to grade eight.

  • Parochial School of the Diocese of San Diego, California
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA)
  • Member of the National Catholic Educational Association
  • Member of California Junior Scholastic Federation
  • Member of the Greater San Diego Math Council
  • Member of the Association of Student Councils

Mission Statement

“Our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.”
– 1 John: 3:18

Students at School of the Madeleine learn and practice their Roman Catholic faith, discover their strengths, and grow in mind, body, and spirit.

The School of the Madeleine community:

  • encourages faith, respect, love, and service in our school, parish, local, and world communities
  • creates a learning experience focused on success
  • promotes Christ-centered decision making
  • supports a healthy lifestyle

Statement of Philosophy

Each student at School of the Madeleine is a unique creation of God, actively involved in the growth of his or her own mind, body, and spirit.  The administration, teachers, staff, and parents as the primary educators, are committed to the development of each child by providing loving support, inspiration, and quality instruction. Our faith community promotes Roman Catholic values, traditions, worship, and service throughout our school, parish, local, and world communities.

Policy of Non-Discrimination

School of the Madeleine, in the Diocese of San Diego and as part of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, mindful of its mission to be witnesses to the love of Christ for all, admit students of any race, color, and national and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. School of the Madeleine, in the Diocese of San Diego and as part of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and/or ethnic origin, age, sex or disability in the administration of educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school-administered programs.

Schoolwide Learning Expectations

A graduate of School of the Madeleine is a compassionate Catholic/Christian who:

Lives faithfully by:
  • Developing a personal relationship with God
  • Modeling Christian values
  • Honoring creation
  • Participating in Catholic liturgies, sacraments, and prayers
  • Understanding Catholic tradition, doctrine, and scripture
Learns responsibly by:
  • Developing critical thinking skills
  • Listening actively and expressing ideas clearly
  • Striving to achieve personal goals
  • Demonstrating knowledge in all subjects
  • Utilizing technology ethically and effectively
Leads respectfully by:
  • Demonstrating tolerance, respect, and compassion towards others
  • Respecting all life
  • Taking responsibility for his/her actions
  • Understanding the importance of current events and global issues
  • Working for social justice

Church of St. Mary Magdelene

Our Parish

St. Mary Magdalene parish was established in 1953. Rev. Daniel O’Donoghue was the founding Pastor. Like most parishes it had no buildings, so the first Masses were celebrated in private homes. The Parish began with 14 families. As the Parish grew, the Masses were moved to larger quarters, Red Sparks Plumbing Shop in Bay Park.

It wasn’t long before the grading was begun and the auditorium slab was poured. The foundation for the Rectory was also put in at this time. There were a number of houses on the hill along Milton Street as building began. The Rectory construction did not include the conference room until late 1956 or early 1957.

Huge pieces of steel were raised on the property to be attached to studs and footings. Steel was hauled from the port in San Diego to the church site. The first Mass took place in the auditorium once the roof was on. The altar was on the stage with an open back toward Cecelia Terrace.

The Church and school buildings were begun around November, 1956. Both were finished about the same time. Mass began in the Church the middle of summer, 1957. The dedication for the school took place in September, 1957, and the church dedication was October 1957.

The convent was also finished in 1957, thus having the total building project completed within a five year period. The church was completely paid for in a few years.

In the course of 22 years (1953-1975) the Parish family increased in number to approximately 1000 parishioners. Increases over the years have brought the number of registered families to todays figure (August, 2016) of 1729 registered families.

The Pastor following Fr. O’Donoghue was Rev. Msgr. William Bolger who was Pastor of the Parish for twenty years. After Msgr. Bolger retired in 1995, Msgr. Jophn A. Dickie took the reins. In September of 2005, the current pastor, Rev. Stephen McCall took the reins.

The most recent renovation on the Church began in 1995 and the first Mass took place on Palm Sunday of 1996. The current staff’s mission is that through the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, our members will be motivated to share Jesus with others.

Opportunities for faith renewal and individual growth are offered through various Ministries in the Parish and are open for all to experience.


1945 Illion Street
San Diego, California  92110


Phone: (619) 276-1041
Fax: (619) 276-0144



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