my school is amazing! perfect for students of all types. girls are amazing, welcoming, and completely themselves 100% of time. teachers actually WANT girls to succeed and help them in all ways possible to do so. also the co curriculum program has changed my life.
This has been our experience....Outstanding teachers, involved administration, clear concise curriculum and girls that want to work and play hard. Girls that may be struggling at Madeira may not have been properly prepared for the rigor. The school wants to create a community and I believe they succeed. My daughters teachers really know my daughter and what works best for her. If you review the curriculum there are no ridiculous pre-reqs. The focus is on the relationship between the girl and her teachers which is entirely appropriate for high school girls. We previously attended a private school that was known for its rigor and program and found it to be inferior to the Madeira program. Attend an open house and you will be impressed.
I rate this school average because Madeira is, in my opinion, average academically. I left another DC area all girls private school to board at Madeira rather than move with my family, so I have experience with different schools. The school I left was in the top tier of DC private schools, of which I do not consider Madeira to be a part. Madeira is fine if your child is not "academically gifted," but I was not challenged as much as I had been at my previous school. The teachers are great, however the caliber of the student is lower here than at the area's top private schools. That being said, the Co-Curriculum program is great. Ultimately, if your child is very bright and wants to attend a top 10 or 20 "big name" school, I don't believe Madeira is the place for you. The college counselors are great for the majority of the school's students, but for brighter students I think they fall short. Their athletics are also not great, with the exception of the riding program and I believe the swim team (at least when I was there). My last complaint is that they refused to acknowledge academic achievements however there was an assembly that recognized athletic ones every year.
The co-curriculum program at Madeira is wonderful and presents girls with amazing opportunities. The people you meet are so nice and friendly. However the staff/administration ignores your problems and gives you no freedom. I almost transferred to another school this year because of these obnoxious and ignorant staff at Madeira. I personally do not have any qualms about the headmistress because she is not in the picture much. Some of the grading is suspicious because of the lack of explanation given by the teachers as to why you received the grade you did. The history program at Madeira is top notch but all of the teachers left and thus leaves the students with worry about the state of the history program. In the departments, the teachers for each class grade completely differently so if you get the hard grader then you have to work twice as hard as your peers in the easy graders class. At Madeira you have no say over what classes you want to take because of the ridiculous prerequisites they make you fufill. The students at this school are so nice and the co-curriculum program is so unique.
I agree with the alum who posted previously. I am an alum whose daughter is also there. The school is in transition with some outstanding faculty and some whose time has passed. All, however, are earnest, attentive, and work tirelessly to provide an overall outstanding education, and I'm encouraged by the vision I see emerging. One thing that puzzles me is that the new head, a wonderfully accomplished, highly educated and elegant woman, seems to take a back seat (at least publicly) to the assistant head. I would like to hear more from the head of school, and so would the girls. The co-curriculum program has been imitated by may area independent schools, but none of those imitations holds a candle to Madeira's. I am overall quite happy with the school.
As an alum I couldn't wait for my daughters to go to Madeira, but right now the school is going through a downswing. I think that it probably relates to the change of leadership- starting in the couple of years before the old head left, and carrying over into the beginning of the new heads tenure. New head shows a lot of promise, but there is a lot of work for her to do. A lot of the really good teachers bailed toward the end of the old regime, leaving a lot of mediocre ones behind. It will take her time to correct this, and to change the seige mentality that set in amongst some of the long-time admin during the transition. The co-curricular program is still the most amazing thing going in a secondary school. Once the teaching staff gets strong again, Madeira should rise back to it's former glory.
I am a former student of Madeira and I can honestly say that my experiences there were incredible. The co-curriculum program alone is worth every penny of the tuition and both the community and campus made the entire 4 years an absolute dream (although at the time as a high school student, I definitely had my..."moments"). The transition to college was smoother than I (and my family) could have hoped and I would recommend this school to any and everyone. I would not be the person I am today without having gone to Madeira.
Madeira is clearly an outstanding school. The demanding academic program and the overall pace of the school - including academics, co-curriculum, and activities - can only be managed by very talented and capable girls. The incoming freshmen quickly develop into capable leaders - in whatever areas they choose. There is no other place like Madeira. Truly amazing school, truly exceptional students, faculty, and administration. And the girls love it!
My daughter is a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College and will be studying in Japan next year. Madeira prepared her for college so well that most of her freshman professors thought she was a senior! It's expensive and demanding, but the education she received was worth both her efforts and our money.