In October 2017, the Dean of Students Office will launch a new program open to all day students, which will provide them the opportunity to reside in a dormitory with their boarding classmates for the On Board Experience – a two week stay to experience boarding life at Madeira and bring boarding and day students together. Students who participate may face new challenges like learning to do their own laundry and waking themselves up in the morning, but more importantly they will gain self-confidence and new friendships through shared experiences.
We are excited that, over the last few years, we have had a steady increase in the number of day students who are spending the night at Madeira. Regardless if the overnight stay was prompted by an early morning meeting on campus, staying for Study Hall to work on a group project, returning late from a Madeira weekend activity, or family being out of town, we have heard from many students and parents about the ancillary benefits that they have gained by staying overnight in the dorms. We wanted to capitalize on this, expand on the opportunities available, and share it with our day student families. By creating the On Board Experience we hope to increase the number of day students who spend the night on campus and create a structure that exposes them to all aspects of boarding life at Madeira.
Each session of the On Board Experience is two weeks long and lasts from mid-week to mid-week so it includes two weekends. The dates that we are offering for the program are as follows:
- October 11-25
- November 4-17
- November 29-December 13
- January 17-31
- February 1-15
- March 1-15
- April 11-25
Our goal is for several day students to be participating in the On Board Experience at the same time and to be staying together in a dorm room. We have set aside two rooms in New Dorm which will be used throughout the year for this program. By staying in a room together, the girls will go through the experience simultaneously which will allow them to help each other, will make it more exciting and hopefully less intimidating.
I offer some general guidelines on this topic as communication expectations within families often vary widely. The reality is that for most of you, your daughter has been living with you and likely connecting with you over meals, on the way to school and possibly even checking in during her school day. While I recognize that since we are talking about adolescent girls that may more often mean short logistical chats than profound, meaningful conversation (maybe you are talking a lot, her not so much) the rhythm of your connections will no doubt be changing. Talk with your daughter about this before move-in day. What will feel good to her? Will that be enough for you? Consider other factors such as how likely she is to be homesick. For homesick girls, less can be more in the beginning, because talking with you or her siblings is obviously a reminder of what she is missing. While we aren’t trying to have her forget about home, we are trying to help her transition by exploring and getting to know her new community, which she is more inclined to do if she is able to put “home” out of her mind for a bit.
I would plan on speaking with her no more than once a day. What time of day is best will also vary widely depending on all of your schedules. Once she is here and in the swing of things ask her what time her D Block meets. This will vary depending on the activity and may change each season. If she is playing a varsity sport, practice doesn’t start until 4:00pm so she will be free from 2:35pm until then; other D blocks start at 2:45pm so a 5:00pm call before dinner, which starts at 6:00pm, might be better. Sunday through Thursday she has study hall from 7:30-9:30pm so it’s best not to text or call then, but 9:30pm might be the perfect time. At Madeira we believe sleep is a study skill, so it is important to remember that 9th and 10th graders have lights out at 11:00pm and are expected to be in bed going to sleep at that time.
There is a Madeira adult (called a Dorm Parent) on duty in the dorm each evening beginning at 7:00pm and they are on call until 7:30am (Mon-Fri) or 9:00am (Sat-Sun). If your daughter isn't returning your calls or texts or you'd just like the adult to check on her to give you a quick report on what they are seeing of her in the dorm, feel free to call the dorm cell phone number: 571-926-7595. And if you are hearing something from your daughter that you think the Dorm Parents should know, please feel free to give us a call. The exchange of information is key to supporting your daughter and making for a smooth transition.
In order to get the full boarding experience and make the most of the program, the intention is for students to spend the full two weeks (including on the weekends) in the dorm rather than spending any nights at home. There will be many opportunities for your daughter to go off campus with friends as part of the numerous Madeira trips that are scheduled on the weekends. We have intentionally scheduled the On Board Experience dates to coincide with some of the most active weeks of the school year including On-Campus Weekends, Dorm Events, mixers, the Scavenger Hunt, Miss Greenway, and Inner Child Night to name just a few.
This doesn’t mean you cannot see your daughter while she is participating in the program. We love it when parents come to visit. It is not uncommon for parents to come to breakfast or stay for dinner after cheering on their daughter after a game. Weekend brunch is a great time to spend on campus, plus the waffles are yummy. We don't expect you to go two weeks without the opportunity to see your daughter but we also want to support the purpose of the program by giving your daughter a true boarding experience.
The nurses at our Health & Wellness Center take excellent care of all Madeira girls and this doesn’t stop at the end of the academic day; there is a nurse on call at all times that the Health & Wellness Center is closed. They will work with the Dorm Parent who is on duty to take care of your daughter if she needs medicine or to be seen by the nurse.
All medications (including prescription, non-prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and supplements) must be turned in to the Health & Wellness Center (HWC) upon arrival to school. The HWC staff will determine which medications may be kept in the dorm and which must be kept and dispensed by HWC nurses. If your daughter takes regular medication, please contact the Health & Wellness Center (email@example.com) before your she starts her overnight.