Why Salem Area Catholic Schools

Learning illuminated by the Catholic faith

The Catholic faith is central to the student experience and culture of each school. This experience helps students learn to apply the Catholic value system to his or her way of life. It starts with teachers, administrators, and staff reflecting the Gospel-centered values of faith, service, courage, justice, hope, love, reconciliation, and community. Parent engagement and connection to surrounding parishes are also key to creating a strong community of faith. This sets the example for students and creates a culture that leads them to become service-minded and embrace Catholic social teachings of:

  • Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • The Dignity of Work
  • Solidarity
  • Care for God’s Creation

The commitment to fostering spiritual development and sound character in students transforms lives through the development of life skills. In a recent study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, students in Catholic schools were shown to exhibit more self-discipline than students in public or other private schools. Not only does this result in fewer behavioral issues in the classroom, students also showed the ability to practice self-control, accept the ideas of others, and handle peer pressure – skills that have a lasting impact both now and later in life.

Exceptional learning that’s worth the investment

From elementary school through high school, Salem Area Catholic schools have a reputation for excellence. Rigorous academic programs paired with an environment rooted in Catholic values leads to higher performance in the classroom. In the most recent report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2017 assessment results showed that students from Catholic schools had higher scale scores than students from public schools in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8. The assessment also indicated that a higher percentage of Catholic school students scored at or above a Proficient level in these same areas, demonstrating solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. High school students at Catholic schools also see higher SAT scores.

Schools employ the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, specifically, “The Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools,” and the Western Catholic Education Association accreditation process, in order to have a common understanding of Catholic Identity. View the accreditation for Blanchet, Queen of Peace, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, and St. Vincent de Paul.

Alongside our rigorous standards, we believe that no student should be denied the opportunity to attend Salem Area Catholic Schools because the family can’t afford it. Learn more about tuition assistance.

Exceptional learning, life-changing experience

The student experience at Salem Area Catholic Schools is unique. Small class sizes provide personalized learning for each student. Service projects are built into the curriculum at each grade level at each school, teaching students from an early age the Gospel message of serving others, both locally and globally.

The programs and activities available to students at Salem Area Catholic Schools match - and in many cases exceed - those at local public schools. Each school provides a variety of opportunities, including:

  • Honors and Advanced Placement courses
  • Athletic teams, including full middle and high school programs
  • Clubs such as DECA, National Honor Society, Lego, and robotics
  • Music and art classes
  • Before- and after-school care and PE classes
  • Fine and performing arts, including band, choir and drama
  • Student Council
  • Outdoor school
  • Service projects

Along with the academic and extracurricular activities, students will experience a Gospel-centered environment that prepares them for future academic success, as well as shaping service-minded values and personal life skills.

Learning that unlocks a lifetime of opportunity

The combination of academic excellence and Gospel-centered values lays the foundation for success. Elementary students are well prepared for success in high school, while high school graduates are ready to enter college and lead in the workforce and their community.

Salem Area Catholic Schools boast a 99 percent graduation rate. with more than 95 percent of graduates going on to college. Since 1998, twenty-nine students have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship organization, with 11 as finalists. More than half of graduating seniors earn scholarships to college, with an average of over $4.3 million in scholarships awarded each year since 2005.

You will find Salem Area Catholic School graduates attending colleges and universities across the country and internationally, including:

  • American University of Central Asia
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • George Fox University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Linfield College
  • Oregon State University
  • Pacific University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Rutgers University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Texas Christian University
  • The King’s College
  • United States Naval Academy
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Portland
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Warner Pacific University
  • Willamette University

Salem Area Catholic Schools provide a holistic learning experience, preparing students academically, spiritually, intellectually and physically for the world in which they live. The groundwork laid here not only gives students an academic edge, but prepares them in mind, heart and spirit to lead and serve in their communities.


Compare to Salem Keizer School District's 72% graduation rate.


Compare to Salem Keizer School District's average of 30.


Percentage of graduates who go on to attend college.