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Madeira School

Madeira School

Madeira School

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Madeira School

8328 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102, USA

703-556 - 8200

More about

Madeira School

School Profile

Madeira is a Washington, D.C.-area independent boarding and day school that educates girls in grades 9-12.  

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
  • 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 Inner Quest ropes challenge course
  • Overlooks the Potomac River


  • 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
In 2012, 126 Madeira girls took 251 exams in 21 subject areas, and once again, the Madeira students who took these exams did very well. In the words of the College Board, “the percentage of total AP Students with Scores 3+ at Madeira was 91.3 percent.” For the five-year period spanning 2008-2012, the percentage of Madeira students who earned scores of 3 or above on their AP exams hovered between 87.4 and 93.8 percent. In the state of Virginia, during the same five-year period, according to College Board statistics, 62 percent to 64.4 percent of the students who took AP exams earned scores of 3 or better; globally the percentage of “total AP students with scores of 3 or above” ranged between 60 and 62 percent.  


Madeira’s Co-Curriculum Program, winner of the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2003 Leading Edge Award, is now more than 40 years old. See the Co-Curriculum pages for grade-by-grade program details.  


  • Total number of students in 2012-2013: 306
  • Countries represented: 14
  • States represented, including the District of Columbia: 18
  • 52% boarding students
  • 48% day students
  • 32% students of color
  • 16% international students


  • 37 faculty members
  • Student-faculty ratio of 8:1
  • Average class size of 12
  • 32 faculty members with master’s degree or higher
  • 35 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
  • 50+ 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

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. Recent college destinations include schools such as American University, Barnard College, Bates College, Boston College, Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Colby College, Colgate University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Kenyon College, Lafayette College, McGill University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Reed College, Sarah Lawrence College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Swarthmore College, Tulane University, University of Virginia, Washington University in St. Louis, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, and the College of William and Mary, among others.  

Tuition and Financial Aid


  • Comprehensive boarding fee: $54,555
  • Comprehensive day student fee: $41,224


  • 26% of students receive Madeira financial assistance
  • Total aid available: $2,776,000
  • Average grant size: $33,964


  • 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

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 6:1, 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.  

The Arts at Madeira

Whether you want to sing or dance in a musical, prepare your portfolio for art school, throw ceramic pots, dance ballet or hip hop, learn viola, or vie for editor-in-chief of yearbook, you can do it all at Madeira. Arts programming at Madeira is robust. The fine arts curriculum offers courses in disciplines from visual arts to performing arts to film. Then there are the benefits of excellent arts facilities on a campus only a dozen miles from the theatres, museums, and art galleries of Washington, D.C.  

The Arts in Washington

The D.C. arts scene is a mix of nationally known theatre companies – such as the Shakespeare Theatre – and smaller companies such as Woolly Mammoth and Arena Stage. The Kennedy Center features world-class theatrical productions, concerts, and dance performances. In fact, Madeira girls participate in the Cappies program, which culminates in an annual award program at the Kennedy Center. Professional dancers from CityDance at Strathmore Ensemble teach Madeira dance classes and direct and choreograph the Madeira Select, Madeira’s advanced-level dance troupe. Many of the world’s greatest artworks hang in Washington, at places such as the Smithsonian, Corcoran Gallery, the Hirschhorn Gallery, The Phillips Collection, and the National Portrait Gallery. These are places that Madeira girls visit on field trips and weekends. Some of these places have also served as sites for senior Co-Curriculum internships.  

The Madeira Arts Scene

Madeira has a vibrant arts scene all its own, which is in large part an extension of the work that goes on in our studios, galleries, and practice and performance spaces. Madeira offers courses in the arts for academic or activity credit to give exposure and development that fit our students' interests and passions. Click through for details on Dance, Music, Drama and Theatre, and the Film Programat Madeira. Or explore Madeira's photo and video galleries to see and hear recent work by Madeira girls.  

Madeira Athletics

The field, the court, and the riding ring – these are arenas where character is built, friendships are forged, and leadership developed. A Madeira education is challenging. The academic program is rigorous and the Co-Curriculum program urges students to shift gears from classroom to hands-on learning. Interscholastic sports and fitness classes balance the life of the mind. On some days, they serve as an outlet and an escape. On most days, they offer opportunities to develop traits that lead to academic and real-world success. Commitment to a physical fitness program takes discipline, focus, and grit. Nothing teaches teamwork, cooperation, and leadership skills better than participating in interscholastic sports. The equestrian program, too, offers a unique set of challenges and the highest standard of competition. At Madeira, participation in these programs is open to girls at every level, from beginner to expert. All are coached to push their limits and achieve beyond what they thought was possible. Whether you are a boarding or day student, you will feel at home at Madeira. Madeira girls are a colorful mix of local students and boarders from across the country and around the globe. They bring their perspectives and passions to everything they do – from participating in clubs to leading student government. Read the news. Watch the videos. And click around the site to get a feel for life at Madeira.
Beautiful Landscape

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