We selected Madrona because we were looking for an active PTSA. Madrona is a vibrant and diverse elementary school. We have a child in the 1st grade, it is his second year at the school. As with many schools, so much of the experience comes down to how involved you are able to be and how good the teacher is. Last year we were much more involved and less happy with the teacher. This year, we are so happy with our teacher but I haven't had time to be involved. From this I learned that the teacher is the most important element. As a new family to SPS, I'm never sure if the major issues we have encountered are due to the school or the mismanagement and under-funding of SPS. We have frequently had no substitute teacher in the classroom and have had insufficient IAs for the children who really need help (and with some pretty serious behavioral issues which impact classroom management.) But there is an amazing and dedicated group of parents who keep the PTSA running and an engaged and beautiful community that turns out for the very popular "Multicultural Night".
I have two daughters at Madrona k-8 in 1st and 2nd. To be honest, we almost didn't go here when we saw how low the school score and the test scores were. But, we met with the new principal some teachers and the parents that were trying to turn it around ...we gave it I try. We are happy with the choice we made. This school is getting better every year. It is not easy, public schools in Seattle are criminally under supported. It takes a long time to make a struggling institution better. But when the parents/teachers/principal are working together it is possible. And it is happening here. Madrona is in a wonderful neighborhood with so many caring families. My experience with the principal Mary McDaniel has been amazing, she knows every child by name; she is there when I get there at 8am and I have seen her in her office often at 8pm, she is empathetic and proactive. The school still has a lot of work to do but it is at the tipping point. It just needs a few more families in the neighborhood to believe in it, to take a chance and make an investment in where they live. If you believe in diversity give it a try before sending your kids to one of the private schools. My daughters are growing up in an environment of different people and cultures that I know will help make them well rounded and ready for our new multicultural world. It is a difficult, difficult choice, We all want the absolute best for our children. Come here if you are ready to be involved with your child your school and your neighborhood. Good luck all.
This is a terrible school. The principle Mary McDaniel is a cold and very harsh person. She has no place to be with children. We took our students out a month after being there. The teachers are all unhappy and the classrooms and hallways are in constant chaos. No structure and no order. When we went to meet with McDaniel, she was hostile, defensive and rude.
I live across the street from the school & have 2 children there in 5th grade. They have been there since kindergarten. I have been an officer in the PTSA. I am a board member of the neighborhood community council and I have been a coach for Little League baseball my own kids and many of the kids at Madrona K-8. I love this school and this neighborhood. Madrona (the school and neighborhood) has all the wonderful charms that living in a city can offer: a great school, a great public library an amazing park and playground and a bustling little business district of shops, great restaurants and cafes all exist within a walking distance of a few short blocks and convenient to downtown. I am a firm believer in neighborhood schools and Madrona has everything I wanted when my wife and I looked to buy a house and start our family. We have been in Madrona almost 12 years. My children (one boy, one girl) love school and have made neighborhood friends that have become family friends. The school is safe, warm and friendly. We treat the school as an extension of our home and regularly volunteer and attend all events we can. I strongly encourage all to visit the school and judge first hand.
My son just completed his first year in kindergarten and I saw sophisticated and comprehensive teaching during kindergarden. I tutored one-hour per week and saw a lot of incredible classroom management. I was especially impressed with the kids doing jumping-jacks while spelling their weekly words. For the volunteers, the teachers set up kits with directions and fun/leason activities to direct the students through. They were prepared! Our child enjoyed school and developed a lot of friendships. One thing that was striking to me as a volunteer was how bright so many of the kids are. I also appreciate the positive-discipline that is used to coach students into attentive behavior. Besides a gentle but firm voice they had cards on the wall like penalty cards in a soccer game and everyone started with green and if a child got too chatty or disruptive they would have to change there card to Orange and then Red (meaning a talk with the parents). It was an effective tool because the kids were active in the process and could get back to green with respectful behavior. I attended a mostly white school growing up and I greatly appreciate the true diversity of kids and parents.
My son is entering 5th grade this fall and has been at Madrona K-8 since kindergarten. He has had a great experience throughout - excellent teachers and supportive staff. We look forward to four more years at Madrona before he heads to Garfield.
We begin our 3rd year at MK8 this fall and simply love the school, the students, the staff, and families. We are welcomed by numerous teachers and families everytime we walk into the school. Our child struggled academically and behaviorally, and MK8 gave the extra individual help with core subjects and did weekly small group work to build his social skills....but he didn't feel singled out, nor did he look to be. They just know every child by name and need! The attitude is that every child will succeed and our kid believes he will. We do too! He has great friends and is caught up. The school is diverse and knows how to individualize the education for its students.