For every student at Madeira, our 376-acre campus in McLean, Virginia, is a home away from home. That is especially true for the students who board here.
What are the advantages of boarding at Madeira? Some are the same as being a day student. You receive an excellent education from teachers who are experts in their fields. You get to participate in an award-winning Co-Curriculum Program that includes experiences such as a yearlong internship on Capitol Hill. You get to meet 320 other girls from across the country and around the globe.
But for boarders, there’s more.
You get to live in a cozy room (usually with a roommate) in a red brick dorm right in the center of a wooded campus that overlooks the Potomac River. You get the independence of living away from your parents and family while you make a sister of your roommate and adopt a family of 25 girls (your dorm mates) and dorm faculty (teachers who live on campus and are affiliated with a dorm). You get to study and practice late without having to commute home. (In fact, some local students choose to board rather than spend time commuting.)
When you live on campus, you get to immerse yourself in activities and friendships more deeply than you otherwise could. You make friends who stay with you for life.
You also learn to relate to teachers more casually than you do in the classroom. Nearly 40 adults live in faculty housing on campus. In addition to being affiliated with one of the dorms, they often invite groups of students over for meals and other gatherings. The fact that so many teachers live with their spouses and children on campus lends Madeira a family feel.
The balance Madeira offers – a campus in a quiet, bucolic setting minutes from the fast-paced energy of a cosmopolitan center – is unique among boarding schools. Boarders head to Washington not just for internships on Capitol Hill, but also for window-shopping in Georgetown, art appreciation at places such as the National Gallery and the Corcoran, professional baseball and basketball games, and delicious meals. Moreover, because we’re so close to Washington, D.C., we’re tied into a network of Washington-area independent schools. That network increases opportunities for social events and athletic competition.
Madeira boarders all report gaining a sense of independence. That is an unavoidable consequence of living away from home. But it is also a consequence of learning at a school that is so focused on helping students make the choices that are best for them – whether it’s what courses to take or what trips and activities to pursue. Boarders also have access to leadership opportunities. Every year each dorm elects leaders who organize dorm duties and activities. A House Council works with the Dorm Faculty to establish rules and keep the dorm safe and comfortable. Each dorm also has trained student leaders to work with students who need support. Of course, your family is always a few clicks away. (Residence halls are wired for Internet access and cell phone use.)