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Academics

Madeira is a leader and an innovator in girls' education. Deep learning crosses disciplines at Madeira. Girls have the opportunity to make connections between STEAM courses and courses in the humanities, between learning a language and learning a new art form, between classroom learning and experiential learning. Our curriculum relies on excellent teaching and students who play an active role in choosing their academic paths. Our focus on experiential learning through a renowned four-year Co-Curriculum internship program sets us apart. And our modular schedule provides a framework that gives students the discipline to absorb and reflect while encouraging active student engagement, collaboration, and experiential problem solving.

The Madeira Faculty 

Academic excellence starts with expert faculty. At Madeira, the vast majority of our teachers hold master’s degrees or PhDs. They know their subjects and use the most appropriate technology to convey information and elicit responses. Small classes, which average 12 girls, make Madeira a place where learning is highly interactive. Because our student-faculty ratio is a low 5:1, teachers recognize the talents, strengths, and weaknesses of each student and encourage and demand intellectual growth. And because teachers are scholars themselves, they bring creativity and innovation to their courses. They create courses you won’t find anywhere else.

The Madeira Student 

The Madeira student is an independent thinker who has the freedom to pursue an academic program of her own design. Personal academic advising enables her to customize a schedule beyond graduation requirements that presents her with the highest degree of challenge and best suits her interests. The student who excels at Madeira pushes herself beyond the point of intellectual comfort, taking advantage of the many AP or other upper-level courses on offer. She may arrive unsure of her interests and goals. She graduates confident in her abilities and her plans for the future.

Experiential Learning

The Co-Curriculum program challenges students to develop skills beyond those that lead to academic success. The program makes full use of the nation’s capital for hands-on learning experiences that include an internship on Capitol Hill in the junior year. The professional and interpersonal skills learned by playing meaningful roles in real-world settings lay a foundation for a lifetime of leadership and success. 

Global Perspectives

Students come to Madeira from across the country and around the globe. The diversity of the student body means each student gets to know others from different cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds. Spring break trips, summer exchanges, and international “learnerships” allow students to immerse themselves in a new culture and language. Our philosophy of twenty-first century education values understanding the beliefs and attitudes of others. Cultural knowledge is required for success in our challenging and increasingly global world. It is knowledge all students gain at Madeira.

Educational Philosophy

At Madeira, we believe:   

Learning is active and experiential, joyful and personal. Guided by caring, expert, demanding teachers who model the School’s values, students learn in various settings, from classroom to playing field, to  dormitory, to congressional office. Working toward one’s personal best deepens the habits of mind that lead to lifelong learning. Learning is its own reward. 

Learning results from an intentionally designed, innovative, developmental, rigorous and girl-centered curriculum, which builds critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills. Each student has opportunity to study discrete disciplines as well as explore connections between and across disciplines and learning environments. 

Learning’s purpose is not only for students to obtain the skills needed to thrive at college but also for students to understand themselves in relation to others, to be informed about their changing world, and to participate actively and confidently in life through leadership and service. 

 

News

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Hailey Ho ’20 & Maria Lyons ’20 win Gold Medal at iGEM competition

November 8, 2019

Seniors Hailey Ho and Maria Lyons have spent the past six months participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition,…

The Spectator - Halloween Issue

October 31, 2019

The Halloween 2019 issue of Madeira' student newspaper, The Spectator, is now available

Read the online edition

Rita Cooley named University of Chicago Outstanding Educator

October 10, 2019

Madeira Spanish teacher Rita Cooley has been named an Outstanding Educator by the University of Chicago. Every year, the University gives newly admitted…

What Makes a Madeira Education Different?

For more than fifty years, Madeira’s award-winning experiential learning program, known as Co-Curriculum, has provided internships for students similar to those offered at colleges and universities.

More about Co-Curriculum

Read Our Blog: Voices of Madeira

Everyone, from Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca to the newest ninth graders, contribute to our blog. Get a feeling of who we are as a community and what life is like at Madeira. 

Read Voices of Madeira