School Details

St. Finn Barr

419 Hearst Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 333-1800

(out of 10)

Private Grades K-8 235 students 24 students/teacher (CA avg is 21)

Test Scores by grade

About this school

St. Finn Barr is a private middle school in San Francisco. The principal of St. Finn Barr is Mrs. Maria Mortonson, whose e-mail is 235 students go to St. Finn Barr and identify primarily as Black, non-Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic; and Hispanic. The student to teacher ratio at St. Finn Barr is 24:1. Denman (James) Middle School is one of the nearest middle schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Chorus
  • Drawing painting
  • Theater drama

Languages Taught

  • Spanish


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • P.E. classes
  • Soccer
  • Softball

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Black, non-Hispanic 7% %
White, non-Hispanic 42% %
Hispanic 25% %
Asian 25% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 2% %
Multiracial 13% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 12% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Community ratings & reviews

  • (9 months ago)

    St. Finn Barr is an amazing school. I have a kindergardener there and we totally love it. Our son loves his daily Spanish science and all the new friends he has met. The curriculum is rigorous and nicely embodies a balanced values based education. Kindness social responsibility and diversity are all seen at every level. The principal does a terrific job of heading one of the most progressive Catholic schools in San Francisco and does so with grace and aplomb. I am particularly keen on the stability of the school's leadership safe learning environment and focus on critical thinking. Truly great for working parents with enriching before (free) and after care (only a few dollars/hour). There is a wide variety of available activities (chess dance tennis health and wellness athletics leagues-even for k theatre guitar etc that they even escort the little ones to and from. The parent community is very friendly and in the short time we have been there welcomed us with open arms. My son looks forward to everyday and quite frankly so do I!

  • (1 year ago)

    Our kids (& their parents) love their school! The principal is amazing she is energetic dynamic personable and has implemented a lot of additional activities for the students. Top 10 great things about SFB 1) Spanish class & PE teachers are exceptional 2) Music optional choir guitar drum & piano classes 3) Optional activities include chess hiking & gardening clubs tennis drama & more 4) Emphasis on using technology to supplement the classroom learning. School actively goes after & obtains grant money to implement various technology & improve science 5) Teachers genuinely care about the kids and communicate with parents 6) the SFB church Priest cares about the school 7) the kids are taught to care about others 8) there is a lot of parent involvement and fun activities for the parents (school festival SF Bulls hockey game night an awesome & inspiring Christmas concert by the students horse race night pancake breakfasts walk-a-thon & more) 9) the men's club (Dads) raises money for the school and helps at activities 10) everyone at the school (faculty parents kids) are a welcoming community.

  • (1 year ago)

    Love this school! I went here for 9 years and now I have both my kids now attending here. The staff here are great and it's like one big family here!

  • (1 year ago)

    St. Finn Barr school is a hidden gem. After touring several elementary schools in San Francisco my husband and I were overwhelmingly impressed with St. Finn Barr school and knew right away that it was the right place for our son. From the moment we walked in it was abundantly clear that this is a special place. The principle is young charismatic and is fully engaged with the students her staff & the parents. She's also VERY accessible and is always willing to roll up her sleeves and get involved. Although the school is small the student body is mulit-cultural & socio-economically diverse which is big PLUS in our book. As mentioned we toured several schools but what really made St. Finn Barr's stand out was how happy and friendly the children are. We see daily how much our son is thriving -not only academically but emotionally and spiritually. Because the school is small parent involvement is key to the success of the school. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE pitches in so we can provide the best to our children and to our community. We feel very fortunate to be a part of the caring nurturing community of St. Finn Barr school. Best Karen N.

  • (1 year ago)

    I was determine to find the best school for my daughter. So there we were in the hallway when a young smart looking lady walks up to us and says HI! I am Mele the schools principle She was full of energy answered all of our questions it was obvious that she was happy excited and most of all loved what she was doing. She made us feel welcomed and at home. We met with the Kindergarten teacher Mrs. O Reily. She has been a Kindergarten teacher for over 30 years and knows her stuff. She seemed to really care about her students. We named St Finn Barr the Hidden Jewel. I have found the school where I feel my daughter will get the best education in a loving and nourishing environment. Because the its so small the parent involvement is super. You will need to make time for meetings and school functions but the parental involvement of the school is one of the reasons we choose to send our child to Catholic school. It feels sort of like a large extended family.My daughter is in kindergarten full day.She is in soccer and receives Spanish class everyday for 45 mintues.There is even after school programs like guitar piano or learn Chinese.

  • (2 years ago)

    This is our first year at St. Finn Barr and we love it! The principal is dynamic and filled with lots of enthusiasm and energy that builds a great school community. The teachers do a fabulous job of teaching and are in regular communication with parents about the concepts being learned in the classroom. The parent community has been warm and inviting to us as a new family to the school. There is so much more than just academics at this school and that is really what makes for a well rounded nurturing environment. If you are looking for a school community were everyone is pulling together to make a "great school" St Finn Barr is it!

  • (2 years ago)

    After a rough 6th grade year at a public middle school we needed to find a better situation for our son and we found it St. Finn Barr Catholic School. The principal is dedicated dynamic and approachable. She welcomed us to the school and treated our son s concerns seriously and kindly. The teachers know each of their students and truly care that each one succeeds. SFB tests at the beginning of the year and it seems like that affects how the teachers approach their work SFB teachers do not teach to the test they teach the child. The curriculum is thoughtful with college-like syllabuses opportunities for extra credit field trips and a variety of approaches including computer games and creative projects like poetry and drawing. And the science! A lab a notebook experiments observations. Fabulous. The students are encouraged to behave kindly and to have respect for their teachers their classmates and themselves. No bullying! My son has relaxed noticeably his confidence has increased and he does better work. My son is working hard and he s never been happier in school ever. How many middle-schoolers can say that?

  • (3 years ago)

    Last minute I had to find a school for my daughter entering kindergarten because she did not get into my sons school nor any of the other San Francisco public schools. I called St. Finn Barr which was due to start the new school year the next day and they were able to get her enrolled that day. I knew financially it was going to be difficult but they informed me of programs such as Basic Fund that would help a great deal and the school also donated money towards my daughters tuition through a grant or scholarship. My daughter and I love this school and I am planning on transferring my son there next year. The staff is wonderful especially the principal and the parents are involved. The students are very polite and the St Finn Barr community is very welcoming I couldn't recommend a better school.

  • (3 years ago)

    We have been at the school for several years now but I felt compelled to write this review after attending our annual Christmas fair on Dec 2nd. It was honestly the cutest thing I have ever seen (straight out of the kid's pageant in the movie "love actually"). But then with our links to "linda's musical theatre" how could it not be? She runs these workshops out of our school. I love that this is a small school and I know almost every kid and parent in my child's grade. I love that they have spanish daily k-4. I think they may be one of the only parochial schools in SF to do this.The new principal is great. Very responsive to addressing issues. She has a great vision and plans for where she wants to take the school. Okay here are some of the improvement areas. (building is old sports teams can be hard to field at a small school) But kids don't notice that stuff. What counts is that my daughter loves to go school every day and they are teaching her to be a compassionate person and lifelong learner. And the other parents are normal low key people.

  • (3 years ago)

    This is a great school!!!! We have a son and daughter at the school and both are thriving. The academic standard is high. In a test our son took at UCSF he tested at 5th grade math and English - he is in 3rd grade! The teachers are great the parents are fun and supportive. Our new principal is FANTASTIC! She is energetic responsive open and the kids love her.

  • (3 years ago)

    This school is a fantastic gem! It has excellent experienced teachers a strong energetic principal and high quality academics with small classroom sizes laptop computers Spanish everyday and hands on science in middle school. The community is warm and welcoming with a very dedicated and active parent community. There are many opportunities for enrichment afterschool including piano guitar musical theater choir Spanish and sports. In the lower grades there is a full time teacher's aide in the classrooms. We love this school. My kids are thriving here.

  • (3 years ago)

    Come visit St. Finn Barr. It's funny reading these reviews as the positives resonate with our experience and the negatives actually refer to people who are no longer working at the school. We were attracted because we wanted foreign language instruction for our son and St. Finn Barr offers Spanish every day in the elementary program. They're launching a very exciting Middle School Science program this year that starts with inquiry and hands on experiments. The Community feel of the school is great. Everyone knew my son within weeks and every experience I've had working with teachers administrators and families has been positive and fruitful. There's a great balance of strong academics arts (particularly performing arts) sports and character/community building. I love the way the middle school kids know and look after the younger kids. The adults are proactive-- receptive to hearing concerns (and praise!) and get right on any problems. They are seasoned professionals and genuinely love children and teaching.

  • (4 years ago)

    We LOVE this school! The kindergarten teacher is a godsend for our daughter. After a very disappointing stint in the public school system our dtr was not thriving and very unhappy (bulling chaotic class w/ no support from teacher or admin). When she stated that she didn't like learning it was a HUGE red flag. I began looking for another school as more red flags showed up and was directed by a friend to SFB. It was night and day! The principle is wonderful and caring yet I can see that the kids respect him. The K teacher made my dtr feel safe and understands kids and their behavior and reassures me all the time that she is "normal" (the other school labeled her problematic). I noticed right away that the kids were orderly and respectful. The community has opened its arms to us and has been very supportive. Our dtr's behavior has changed dramatically and she's happy at school likes learning and loves her teacher. I wish we had put her here in the beginning. I know that when I leave her there she is happy and safe! The afterschool ladies are awesome! Tuition is reasonable and worth every penny!

  • (4 years ago)

    We love our school! My young daughters are happy safe and best of all they enjoy learning here. The students parents and staff are great.One thing I really noticed is the older kids kindness to the younger kids they have a "buddy" system that my girls love. St. Finn Barr is also a true representation of San Francisco families. We have a very involved Parish that really brings the neighborhood and school community together. After school activities such as guitar class tumbling sports for K to 8th and a really great theater program adds to what SFB has to offer. The Parent Board works hard and is always open to new ideas and suggestions. I would 100% suggest setting up a tour and checking this school out. For families with middle school kids SFB is a great place to prepare for high school we have an excellent Math and Science dept. as well as a much loved and respected 8th grade teacher. Tuition is moderate and well worth the education they offer.

  • (4 years ago)

    Were new to San Francisco when our then 6th grade daughter started at St Finn Barr last year. It's a relatively small school with many students having been there since kindergarten and yet they welcomed our daughter(and us) so warmly. The academics are excellent. I'm excited about her high school prospects because she'll be so well-prepared. Great teachers and principal(and I bet the best hot lunch program around!!).

  • (4 years ago)

    It would be nice if the priest let the principal do his job accordingly. We are tired of favoritism. Parents should get involved more often.

  • (5 years ago)

    Excellent teachers - most high praise! Parent participation 50% very involved 20% somewhat involved 30% drop off kids in Kindergarten and pick them up on 8th grade Graduation Day and you never see them in between. Principal needs to be more available to parents more decisive and stop taking the easy way out. Tired of lip service and no action - ever!

  • (5 years ago)

    4 Stars is a bit generous. This year the principle is unavailable to the parents and has horrible follow through with commitments he makes to staff and the community. I heard that parents are calling other parents in the class rooms to 'collect debts' for not participating in volunteer opportunities. This is horrible for community relations and breeds hostility amongst the parent community at the school. There is a strong culture of bullying developing that is mildly addressed. The academics have breadth but no depth and there are very few extra curricular activities. Some great teachers there but would highly suggest a stronger administration with a bit more back bone and leadership.

  • (5 years ago)

    I have a student in the middle school and a child that graduated last year from St. Finn Barr School. The class size the diversity the teachers the principal and the academics that SFB is offers is what makes this school the best choice in San Francisco!!! The students are very well prepared and the students get into the high schools of their choice.I encourage you to consider St. Finn Barr Catholic School.

  • (5 years ago)

    My two children have attended St. Finn Barr and now that the last one is graduating I realize how much the people and the community have become such a part of my life. I will miss it. The school is small and that is what I love about it. One class per grade. The 8th grade teacher Mr. Dunublia is the most down to earth teacher a child and parent could ask for. The kids all love him and he prepares them very well for the high schools by treating them like young adults. Yes it does need more fundraisers and more parent participation but what school doesn't. It really is up to the parents to be involved. Good-bye St. Finn Barr!

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Overall score

(based on 22 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement


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