Our five-year effort to maintain Madeira's place as one of the most innovative schools for girls is built on four important pillars.
Strategic Plan Progress
We will continue to share periodic updates about the School’s progress on initiatives to support each of the four important Strategic Plan pillars. Many of the initiatives for our five-year plan (2022-2027) relate to more than one strategic pillar, so we have used the icons from the plan to reflect the associated pillars.
January 18, 2023
The recruitment, retention, and development of faculty and staff is a top priority for the School. We research and use effective, best, and emerging practices in hiring, and we iterate our hiring practices in the way that we screen, interview, and make decisions using antibias rubrics and feedback practices.
So far this year Madeira has offered professional development both internally as well as externally. In addition to special programming days full of professional learning, all faculty are given a personal professional development allotment that they can use for their professional growth. So far this year, teachers have participated in professional development in the following areas:
- Learning and the Brain, Best Practices in Teaching and Learning for World Languages, Best Practices for Serving Students with Neurodiversity, Sustainable Architecture, Use of Retrieval Practice in the Classroom
- Internal full-faculty PD: Grading for Equity/Best practices in grading to further student learning, best practices for giving feedback to students, Harkness Method, using creative writing for self-expression, de-fronting the classroom, using the makerspace, robotics studios, the outdoors, and library to support student-oriented learning, student support challenges in 2022, and daily learning objectives
When it comes to the recruitment and retention of our educators, Madeira is actively pursuing options to offer best-in-class health benefits, as well as other forms of benefits and compensation.
Madeira’s Math and Science faculty, led by Dean of Teaching and Learning Lucy Pollard and the Co-Chairs of the Science and Math Departments, Stacy Tippens and Dharma Sears, have begun work with the science and math teachers to develop a portrait of a science/math Madeira graduate as well as a portrait of a Madeira science/math teacher.
The process used to create the portrait of a math/science student will later be used in the development of a complete Portrait of a Madeira Graduate will represent the vision for all the future-facing skills, character traits, and/or social-emotional competencies that students will gain while at Madeira to prepare them for success in college, career, and life.
Madeira is committed to the development of teachers who strive to exemplify the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for excellence in teaching. The Portrait of a Madeira Teacher will illuminate, through a series of statements, the embodiment of Madeira’s vision of an educator, and will inform the professional development of our community of teachers.
A dedicated team of Madeira educators have been hard at work to design and develop a new Co-Curriculum experience that would be taught in grade 9 at and through a new equestrian/barn facility. This will not take the place of competitive riding; rather, it would allow for all Madeira students to access the barn facility and give all the opportunity to learn and practice Madeira’s core values by working with one another and horses. More details about this exciting opportunity will be coming in Spring 2023. Who’s on the team?
- Lucy Pollard, Dean of Teaching and Learning
- M.A. Mahoney, Dean of Academics and Student Success
- Becky Zahradnik, Senior Associate Dean of Student Life and Culture
- Ian McCartney, Director of Equestrian Programming
- Jessica Leonardi, Assistant Director of Equestrian Programming
- Andrew Sharp, Director of Co-Curriculum
Innovation at Madeira means we use research, creativity, and collaboration to transform an idea into a practical reality. Madeira’s Math and Science faculty have begun an 18-month curriculum review of the science and math offerings with the goal of rolling -out updated curricula in both departments for the 2024-25 school year.
After a comprehensive year-long partnership with UK-based Interactive Schools, Madeira launched our brand-new website in October 2022. This new tool allows us to highlight and share with the world the amazing teaching and learning, community, and outcomes for all our students.
This winter and spring, Madeira is developing the criteria we will use to evaluate the School’s hallmark Modular schedule. The process and outline of methodology for evaluating the Mods will be completed in time for the analysis to take place during the 2023-24 school year. The Mod schedule is not going away! Rather, we are designing an assessment that will allow us to make informed decisions about iterations as necessary to continue to deliver on our educational philosophy.
In addition, Madeira is evaluating the Campus Master Plan to ensure our next construction, renovation, or redesign projects are aligned with the current and future needs of the school. The Barn/Stables and the Chapel Auditorium (C/A) are on the top of the list as we look to ensure our students have the best learning spaces possible.
In August 2022 all faculty and staff engaged in a week-long professional development institute. High functioning schools are ones where there is ongoing, internal professional development (PD), and this was an outstanding event. This dedicated time was used to build community, enhance teaching practices, and learn from one another as we started a new year. Workshops and topics in the institute included the internal PD listed above.
With a new daily schedule for 2022-23, educator professional development takes place each week. Every Wednesday afternoon, a different cohort of faculty engage in learning together by department, all-faculty, grade level, and all-staff groups.
Huge gratitude goes to English teacher Taryn Alston and History teacher Larry Pratt for leading ongoing workshops throughout the year based on the all-faculty reading from summer 2022, Grading for Equity. Some of the topics faculty are discussing/debating are: evaluating the role of the zero in gradebooks, the philosophy of homework and assessments, retake best practices, and how to authentically center the student learning experience in the physical space of a classroom.
New this fall, with kudos to Lucy Pollard and Stacy Tippens, the faculty are piloting Learning Walks. Learning Walks are when a small group of teachers engage in brief classroom visits to other teachers’ classes while using a researched-based tool that provides educational leaders and teachers opportunities to reflect on what students are learning, learning strategies, student interaction with the content, and student engagement. Madeira has expert teachers who are learning from one another in these exciting internal opportunities.
With COVID-19 releasing its grip, the Advancement Office is back on the road and eager to meet with alums across the country and share in-person news about the happenings on campus. Please visit our events page for more information about upcoming events.
If you can’t make it to an in-person event, there are new digital ways to connect and stay current with your classmates, friends, and more! Over the past many months, we updated the School’s database and database services. When you visit the new alum webpage you will have access to an online directory (and you get to control who sees what information!), events, mentorship opportunities, and more. The new tools will help all alums stay connected to one another and the School.
Save the Date for Reunions (3s and 8s)!
April 28 – 29, 2023
One of the initiatives in the Enduring Sustainability pillar of the strategic plan is to “articulate and teach the importance of philanthropy to develop powerful women leaders.” In early January we hosted a leadership reception and Edgy Exploration of philanthropy for Madeira’s leaders in Student Council. Our Advancement team is excited to share their expertise to support students’ awareness and advocacy efforts and skills.
Madeira is institutionally committed to answering the question, “How do we know what we know” when it comes to culture, climate, and each member of the community’s sense of belonging at Madeira. Madeira piloted the use of the Panorama Education Student Survey in 2022-23, and we will not only continue to use this tool for students but this winter we will launch this tool for faculty and staff, as well. Surveys such as this help the School make informed decisions, increase transparency, and support all members of the community both in the short term and long term as the data from each constituent will be used longitudinally, as well.
As Madeira sustains and looks to increase our commitment to affordability and accessibility, we have begun to analyze the full cost of a Madeira education, as doing so is essential to understanding the disparities that may exist in our offerings and uncovering inequities. We are examining the full range of supplemental costs that arise for students and families over the course of a year as we begin to explore opportunities to expand our financial aid program. Students, families, and alums will be asked to engage in this study so that we accurately capture the full scope of the Madeira experience from a financial lens.
Planning underway for launching Camp Greenway's 50th year. A revised schedule and special programming will honor the core tradition and elements of day camp. Additionally, Girls First will be redesigned in the model of how we “do school” during the academic year. Girls First campers will follow a Mod schedule and participate in activities and learning centered on Madeira’s mission, vision, and values. Visit Summer at Madeira for more details throughout the winter and to sign-up interested campers!