My daughter is a freshman this year. I'm really grateful for enrolling her into this school as they encourages students to acheive success and made the students enjoy in school while working hard. It's the best school one will ever want to enter. GO WARHAWKS!!
I graduated from Madison in 2012 as the oldest of three. I played 3 varsity sports, I was actively involved in various clubs and took multiple AP courses. I'm an average student, not a genius but Madison was a great school, they teach you to be independent, to manage your time wisely and to strive to be successful. Not only is a great place for an education, but for a social life as well, work hard during the week and enjoy the great sports teams and friends on the weekends. I didn't realize or appreciate all that I had been taught until I was 1. Accepted into All 7 of the universities I applied to 2. worked full time and 3. tackled 18 credit hours my first semester while making new friends. It's true that there are competitive, over protective, "Helicopter" parents (and students!) all over the place.... but this is Northern Virginia....the suburbs of the Nations Capital. There are so many advantages to being a Madison student. BUT! It is up to you (the student) you must utilize the NUMEROUS materials, opportunities, and resources they provide. Its not a cake walk, but with a little hard work you'll eventually appreciate the rewards. Go Warhawks!
Madison High School is a perpect match for a student who wants excel and study hard. My son has been attending Madison since 9th grade and we are pleased with the school so far. Most teachers are great at their subjects and they are willing to go the extra mile to teach their students the best way they can. But the child should be willing to learn, other wise, the pace is fast, it might be hard for an a avarage student to catch up. They don't hand out the grades right away like Montgomery County schools and the parent portal is not as good as edline, but it is about Fairfax county school system, not just Madison. So your child needs to follow everything very carefully, they want the students to be independent. It is hard for a parent to follow their grades and warn the student before hand. As long as you child is responsible and hard working the school has everything. Good teachers, discipline and it is very safe...and great sports teams. The only thing I'd like to see more of is paying more attention to arts...I recommend Madison for sure to everybody.....
I agree with the Student who submitted the Dec '12 review: JMHS is a high-stress school with NoVA overachiever parents pushing kids to do better than well. There is an emphasis on sports and grades on SOLs at JMHS, which can lead to those kids in the middle, or those who are not in sports, to fall through the cracks. It also leads to "teaching to the tests" mentality, which does not exactly push learning. The Principal is a non-presence, in spite of drug and bullying issues at JMHS. The Guidance department is very good, which is a saving grace of this school. I completely agree with issues related to the teachers; one would think that a school of this calibre in this part of the county (and country) would attract high-achievers. Both my children have had real losers for teachers: teachers who do not teach, who are distracted by their other activities and interests, prima donnas who exhibit real vindictive streaks when called out, etc. Those should be weeded out and dismissed and the Front Office needs to be more engaged in this exercise as well. JMHS students perform above the average because we parents push them and are fortunate to have access to help outside the classroom.
Madison is a high stress environment. Students are given large amounts of work that can be hard to complete and there's more push to get good grades and test scores than to actually learn material. Though some teachers are wonderful, others don't make any effort to help kids out at all. Many teachers behave inappropriately and most kids are incredibly stressed out. There's an emphasis on athletics when the teams aren't high achievers and the administrators can be really harsh. There's a system called Warhawk in good standing which basically makes it so some kids aren't even allowed to go to the bathroom during class and bullying isn't even addressed by admins. the biggest concerns seem to be not having kids in the hallways during sap and getting high test scores. I have heard Madison compared to a prison more than once with their strict regulations and lack of natural light or healthy student environments.
My son is a freshman at Madison. He is in all honors courses and came from the GT Center at Luther Jackson. He s found the academic transition to be easy thus far. He joined Cross Country, will run Indoor Track, and plans to try out for Lacrosse in the spring. He is also participating in Science Olympiad. He is very happy that he joined a team in August as it helped him to get to know a group of people before starting school. Most students come from Thoreau, so those kids do know each other well. So far he likes his teachers and is planning his high school career. He s fun-loving, but is a serious student, like many at Madison, which had one of the highest numbers of National Merit Semi Finalists in the state. Madison offers an amazing variety of AP courses from AP History and Literature to Physics, Psychology, Computer Science and more. There are many different activities, so a student can find his place whether it be in the band, sports, chorus, theatre, Model UN, or a political club.
Both of our children went to Madison and received excellent education: accademic, cultural and social. I am surprized at the number of parents who blame the school for their, and their childrens, difficulties...!
Honestly, I am disappointed in the quality of education here. Essentially, taking an honors class just means that you get more homework. Juniors and seniors are taking more AP classes than even most college kids take a semester. The focus here is more on a college application, and not on college preparation. The principal was formerly on the baseball team during his years at Madison (and therefore lets them get away with all sorts of stuff and funds them more than any other club despite their losing record). He isn't present during the day and the administration is really unorganized. I was especially disappointed on my first day of school, seeing as I had no instruction as to where to go and I was totally confused. The activities office is totally unprofessional and disorganized as well. The only reason why test scores are so high at this school is because the kids are really smart. However, there is a pretty diverse environment considering there are many kids from other countries who come here (usually their parents are diplomats or military personnel). All in all, this isn't an atrocious place to be but there are definitely better places to go to high school.
After the rigorous preparation of the GT program at Kilmer MS, the academic side of life at Madison HS is very disappointing. Even in honors classes, the students are not motivated, the teachers are frustrated, and some of the work is so basic that it is positively insulting. The administration is cold and not especially sympathetic or helpful and seems to prize athletics above all else, a strange thing considering that the mission of the school is supposed to be to EDUCATE. Needless to say, my daughter will be switching into the IB program at Marshall HS next year. A great disappointment overall!
I've had my two children graduate from Madison High School and both received an excellent education at Madison HS and are thriving at their respective Virginia universities. The classes that both of my children took challenged them every day (both honors, AP and regular classes). I commend all the dedicated teachers of this high school for coming in early and staying late so that they could be available for their students and offer extra academic support when needed. The school also offers SAP (Student Assistance period) for 20 minutes every day and any student can go to their teacher and review any material with them during this time or if students didnt' need this help they could work on their homework. The opportunities for extra-curricular activites offered at Madison are numerous. The counselors get to know every one of their students and assist them in the college application process.
My child finished his first year. He is not an athlete and has been in the honors courses. We have been unexpectedly pleased with the teachers. We have no issue with many of the rules, particularly after hearing the principal explain the reasons why they are there. The ones that I find too strict (draconian penalties for drug use in particular--as if no one every makes big mistakes in her life) were imposed by Virginia voters, not the principal.
My son graduated from this school. He was involved in athletics so I appreciate the support that he got from mostly a very strong boosters program. But unlike schools I attended Athletes were not given any .'free rides.' He was also a middle of the road non AP student with ADD, but no IEP His teachers(except one) were all wonderful and helpful. Many coming to school early or staying late to give him that extra one on one attention that he needed to get through the demanding curriculum. My main complaint would be the grading scale. Why is 92% a B? This school prepared my son, who does have educational and learning challenges for college. in fact, the did claim most of college was easier than high school. He graduated and is now on to post graduate studies. I thank James Madison High School for that.
The education at Madison is exactly what you make it. The years I took honors and AP classes and put forth a lot of effort I felt challenged, but the years that I took regular classes I didn't really need to study and I didn't learn much. If you can get yourself or your child into TJ you will definitely be better prepared for college.
Overly concerned about rules and outward discipline and less concerned about creating a strong sense of self -dispcline among the students. The depictions of Madison High School in the Banana News (www.bananaws.com) story on Teens and Birds, captures it just right. However, good content within the classes.
The administration I found to be incredibly cold and needlessly strict, favoring the jocks and convientently forgetting about all the rest. Academics were rigorous, prepared me well for college. The student population as a whole was not diverse, and also echoed the theme of jocks reign supreme. While I enjoyed my time here, I found that it had many ridiculous rules and the administration was too overpowering and everpresent to ever really learn any real life skills
A very tough school with an unexpectedly challenging curriculum. My son is a freshman with all honors classes, and he is feeling pressure like never before - it precludes all but one extracurricular activity (strings). The integration of Blackboard and regular reports (not exclusive to Madison) lets parents track their kids' progress, but I haven't see a lot of evidence that the school administrators are very proactive about making sure the students are on track if their grades or assignment completion rates dip. The sum - four stars because of a challenging curriculum and 'sink or swim' approach that tracks a little more closely with real life, but one star off of perfect because these are still kids, and they need instruction, encouragement, and life training that I haven't really seen. And PS - I am not a sports parent, so I don't ever see that side of things.
It's an OK school, but probably overrated. We were told moving into Vienna that Madison was among the top schools in the county. If that's correct, it doesn't speak too highly for the rest of the county. There's a lot of emphasis on athletics, so the jocks reign supreme. The principal of the school is a former student there, with all the insularity and lack of perspective you might expect.
A poor choice for any student. The tops students who attend this school would do better at Jefferson, while the bottom students fall through the cracks. Atheletes are diefied by the student body, and there are way too many egos floating around the school. My child has found many of the teachers to be incompetent, the school building quality subpar, and has had an all around bad experience. There are many snobs, and the affluence of the community has led to an ever increasing drug problem. Do not send your child to this school. Even in Fairfax county, there are many better options.
Madison is a solid high school in the solid Fairfax County Public Schools. My son spent four years here and as a middle-of-the-road student he fit in well with the overarching culture of student involvement. Madison, like all FCPS schools, loses what would be its very best and most gifted students to Thomas Jefferson, the county's nationally-known magnet school. This strongly harms Madison's reputation with college admissions offices, and all Fairfax schools save Jefferson lag in admissions to top-tier colleges. The faculty is solid and involved with its students in many ways, and as several parents have noted, the sports programs are a particular strength. There are not many social problems that are present in other local high school districts that have higher proportions of non-English speaking students and students from impoverished backgrounds. Students at Madison tend to come from upper-class, professional families, reflective of the community that surrounds the
This school is just bad. As a former student and now a parent, I have quite a bit of experience. My children are not in any sports programs, and are therefore pushed to the side. Also, way too many of the teachers are unqualified, and those who aren't are often incompitent. The science equipment is not up to par with schools in the surrounding communities. Students are valued only for the funding that their high test scores can bring to the school. Over all, a very cold environment.
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