The Dean of Students Office would like to share some exciting news about the 2013-2014 school year. We feel strongly that one of the most compelling aspects of the Madeira experience is the strength of relationships that students develop with their peers—girls who may come from different cultures, backgrounds, and other countries around the world. Our dorms are the ideal place to develop and foster close-knit relationships, similar to what occurs within a family household. In the dorms, older girls mentor younger ones, and students get to know adults in a variety of capacities; shared experiences create bonds that will endure. As a result, we believe that Madeira excels at creating community.
To ensure that all of our students thrive in our Madeira community from the moment they step onto campus next year, we are changing our residential plan so that four out of the six dorms will house students in all four grade levels, while the other two will have 10th-12th graders. This represents a shift from our current structure wherein one dorm housed almost all of the 9th grade class with the balance of the freshman living in another dorm. Our reason for this shift is simple: to build community and foster relationship building that will help girls get to know people beyond their immediate class. It will also set up more organic mentoring opportunities between the younger and older girls because they will be sharing their home away from home with one another. The end goal is to create the most vibrant residential life program possible which will result in a campus filled with girls who really know each other well.
In order to facilitate this change, we will adjust how we facilitate room selection. This year we will ask that each girl fill out a residential life housing form where she will select her room preference (single, double, or triple), her choice of roommate, and four friends that she would like to have in the dorm with her; we will then ask that she rank the dorms from first choice to last. We will take all of this information into account as we assign students to rooms and dorms. Student leaders and resident assistants will continue to be given preference during the room assignment process. As we did this year, we will continue to have each day student affiliated with a dorm. This was quite successful, as it allows for those who do not stay on campus nightly to feel a stronger bond to the campus because they are part of the dorm community.
Collaboration and discussion between our office, the student members of the Boarding Committee who represent each dorm, and our dorm faculty, was key to creating the new residential plan. Over the past few weeks, we have formally articulated the change to all boarding students during dorm meetings, and we are happy to report that the feedback has been quite positive. This is a great opportunity for the school and we look forward to implementing the new structure. As always we appreciate the trust you place in us, and welcome your feedback and questions.
Director of Residential Life