Distance Learning will continue through the end of the school year. See our Coronavirus page for updates.

About Madeira

The Madeira School is an independent boarding and day school that educates girls in grades 9-12. The scenic 376-acre campus is just 12 miles from Washington, DC.

Brief History

  • Founded by Lucy Madeira in Washington, D.C. in 1906
  • Relocated to McLean, Virginia, in 1931
  • Instituted a unique Co-Curriculum program in 1966-1967 school year
  • Appointed Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca in 2010

Location and Campus

  • A 376-acre campus in McLean, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
  • Encompasses a student center, classroom buildings, art and dance studios, dormitories and faculty housing, a 590-seat auditorium, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, playing fields, horse stable, indoor riding ring, indoor pool, and the Calleva ropes challenge course
  • Overlooks the Potomac River


The academic curriculum emphasizes both content and skills in the context of a liberal arts education.

  • Curricular integration across science, technology, arts, mathematics, literature, history, and world languages
  • Co-Curriculum emphasizing real-world experience and applied learning
  • College-level mathematics beyond AP Calculus BC 
  • Modular schedule curriculum:
    • All classes taught in 80 minute blocks, for three periods a day, five days per week
    • Three blocks constitute a full-year course equivalent
    • 15 academic blocks plus a Co-Curriculum module is considered a full load

During the 2017-2018 academic year, 166 students took 315 AP examinations in:

Biology 26, Calculus AB 21, Calculus BC 25, Chemistry 4, Chinese Language and Culture 1, Comparative Gov’t & Politics 13, Computer Science 16, English Lang 39, English Lit 39, French Language and Culture 4, Japanese Language and Culture 1, Latin 1, Macroeconomics 6, Microeconomics 3, Physics C: 1, Physics 2: 7, Psychology 5, Spanish Language and Culture 6, Statistics 9, Studio Art: 2-D Design 3, Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio 1, US Government and Politics 15, US History 34, World History 35.

A score of 3 or better was earned on 85% of examinations taken.  Scores of 4 and 5 were earned on 53% of the examinations taken.


Madeira’s Co-Curriculum Program, winner of the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2003 Leading Edge Award, is now over 50 years old. See the Co-Curriculum pages for grade-by-grade program details.  


  • Total number of students in 2019-2020: 324
  • Countries represented: 32
  • States represented, including the District of Columbia: 18
  • 52% boarding students
  • 48% day students
  • 36% students of color
  • 16% international students


  • Student-faculty ratio of 5:1
  • 90% faculty members with master’s degree or higher
  • 38 housing units for faculty/staff 

Student Life

  • Welcoming community of day students and boarders from across the country and around the world
  • Beautiful campus with spaces for fine and performing arts and indoor and outdoor athletics and access to Washington, D.C., for excursions
  • Over two dozen student-run clubs and activities including political, cultural, arts, and media organizations all offering opportunities to build relationships and gain leadership experience
  • Boarding students living in six dormitories housing around 25 students each and a dorm faculty of four
  • Expansive Student Center with lounge area, pool table, and basement with snack bar, mailroom, and lockers for day students
  • Dining plan that brings faculty and students together – day girls and boarders alike –for breakfast, lunch, and dinner


  • 12 interscholastic team sports include cross country, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, rock climbing, swimming and diving, lacrosse, softball, and track and field
  • Competitive horseback riding in all seasons
  • Independent School League (ISL) competition

College Counseling

A natural consequence of a quality secondary education is college admission. Madeira’s College Counseling program is designed to ensure successful transition from the secondary school experience to a variety of post-secondary options. Madeira students have a variety of options, including Ivy League universities, highly selective liberal arts colleges, and universities around the country and the world. Click here for a list of recent college destinations. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

Cost of Attendance (2018–2019)

  • Comprehensive boarding fee: $62,000
  • Comprehensive day student fee: $47,310

Financial Aid 

  • 39% of students receive Madeira financial assistance
  • Total aid available: $3.45 million
  • Average grant size: $32,139


  • Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS)


  • Association of College Counselors at Independent Schools (ACCIS)
  • National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • Potomac and Chesapeake Association of College Admission Counseling (PCACAC)
  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • The Association of Boarding Schools

Contact the Admissions Office

Contact the Admissions staff with any questions about campus visits, interviews, or the admissions process.

Contact Us