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Madrona School Society

   
530 Hornby Street, Floor 2, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 2E7
2040 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6J 2B3
ADD TO SHORTLIST   Website
Curriculum:
Progressive
Grades (Gender):
K to 10 (Coed)
Tuition:
$18,000 to 21,000/year
Main Language:
English
Avg. Class Size:
6 to 14
Enrolment:
Day: 100 (Gr. K - 9)

School Address
530 Hornby Street, Floor 2, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 2E7
2040 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6J 2B3

About this school:

highlights

Madrona is an independent school with a focus on high-ability learners. Through small class sizes of 4 to 14 students, we nurture social and emotional development while providing a rich academic experience for each child. In addition to the regular BC Curriculum, students may study animation, robotics, current events, music, and more. They are met at their level of ability and gradually build learning autonomy. We aim to graduate life-long learners, able to pursue their interests throughout their lives. — Visit school website




Reviews:

highlights

The Our Kids review of Madrona School Society

our takeMadrona was founded in 1993 to address the specific needs of learners operating at the top of their peer group. Instruction is based in delivering the fundaments of literacy and numeracy, though it also builds out considerably from there. The school isn’t tiny, with an annual student body of 100, but the feel is very personal and individualistic given a low student-teacher ratio. Students are encouraged to follow their interests and grow into an understanding of a sense of responsibility and active participation in their education. At the moment the school offers the primary and elementary grades, though the intention is to continue building the program through the high school grades relatively soon. That’s something that enrolling families, given the strength of the program, are keen to see realized. A strong school community, one that welcomes parental involvement in the life of the school, is a primary draw. The ideal student is one who will thrive in a challenging, hands-on, collaborative learning environment.





Principal's Message

principal

Eric O'Donnell, Director

Madrona is an independent school that features big ideas. Our small pupil-teacher ratio (averaging 1:7 in core subjects) = big focus on the individual. Small school feeling = big family atmosphere. Small classes = highly individualized learning opportunities. At Madrona, we value differentiation and individuality as core benefits, not liabilities. Our educational goals and results, however, are anything but small. Simply put, we believe in a deep emphasis on traditional core skills, wedded to an increasing growth in student autonomy during their time at Madrona. Our children enter the school excited each day and leave fulfilled, happy, and looking forward to the next day. A warmly challenging curriculum, developed and delivered by exceptional teachers,  results in outcomes which deliver the "Did I just do that?" feeling to children, and the "Did I just see that?" reaction in teachers. Madrona just works. And now it works for students from Grades K through 9.


Academics


Curriculum Progressive

Primary Curriculum: Progressive


What Madrona says: Madrona School has a focus on the needs of bright and gifted children. Subjects are taught in small groups based on students’ abilities and learning styles, with between 4 and 14 students per teacher. Madrona focuses on nurturing the whole child, valuing the development of social and emotional skills alongside academics. Throughout their education at Madrona, a student may study art, music, philosophy, current events, and technology, as well as the regular subjects in the BC Curriculum. Many, but not all, pupils have a psychoeducational report designating them as gifted. Some of our pupils are bright, some struggle in certain areas, and some have never been assessed but demonstrate exceptional abilities in academic, artistic, emotional, or social realms. Differentiation is the norm at Madrona. Students are encouraged to zoom ahead in areas of strength while receiving extra support in areas of challenge. Fundamentally, we want Madrona students to enter the school at the start of the day excited to be here, and to leave at the end of the day feeling academically and socially fulfilled.

  • Approach:
    Focus Special needs
    Academic Gifted


  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  


    • What Madrona says: Mathematics is a core subject and is taught in very small groups. Students use the Singapore or Raven textbooks throughout their years and each student works at their own pace and level, with teacher support. Several of our students enjoy participating in the Gauss math contest.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: Singapore texts, Levels 1 through 7, and Raven texts, grades 8 and up.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.


    Early Reading Balanced Literacy

      Balanced reading programs are typically Whole Language programs with supplementary phonics training. This training might be incidental, or it might take the form of mini-lessons.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  


    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.


    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  


    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.


    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      Learn about the different science approaches  


    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
      Biology
      Chemistry
      Ecology
      Geology
      Meteorology
      Physics
      Physiology
      Zoology
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Equal Balance

      These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  


    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.


    Social Studies Thematic

      The Thematic approach organizes the curriculum around certain themes or cultural universals. Students might spend time focused on food. Then they might focus on transportation or government, and so on.
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  


    • What Madrona says: Social Studies is taught through a combination of regular BC curriculum, in-depth projects, and enrichment classes on Current Events, group discussion, and debate.


    Humanities and Social Sciences Equal Balance

      These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  


    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.


    Foreign Languages Equal Balance

      These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  


    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.

    • Studying a foreign language is required until:   9
    • Languages Offered: • French • Spanish


    Fine Arts Equal Balance

      These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  


    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Acting
      Dance
      Drama/Theatre
      Graphic Design
      Music
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

      Expressive
      Disciplined
    • What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.


    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  


    • What Madrona says: All students are given a Surface Pro to use for school work while at Madrona, and Smart Boards are used for instruction in many lessons. Students begin studying typing and computer programming in their early Primary years, and progress into Tools and Talents, an interdisciplinary technology program, in the Junior, Intermediate, and Secondary years. This program features units on robotics, photography, computer science, and film-making. Madrona never allows technology to replace face to face interaction, but aims to equip our students to understand and master various technologies that may be required for them to pursue their own passions throughout their lives.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Robotics
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Madrona says: Madrona students practice regular-stream PE sports and games, and also take part in enrichment activities designed to help them find an athletic pursuit they love. Our students have participated in hip hop seminars, rock-climbing workshops, Zumba classes, yoga, and the Vancouver Sun Run.


    Sex and Health Education British Columbia curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education:
    Topics We begin covering this topic at: Begins in British Columbia
    Body parts K K
    Nutrition K K
    Human development K K
    Puberty Gr. 4 Gr. 4
    Sexual health and hygiene Gr. 4
    Reproduction K
    Pregnancy K
    Sexually transmitted infections Gr. 6 Gr. 6
    Sex and decision-making Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Contraception Gr. 6 Gr. 6
    Consent Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Sexual orientation Gr. 6 Gr. 6
    Gender identity Gr. 6 Gr. 6
    Misconceptions relating to sexuality Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Relationships and intimacy Gr. 5 Gr. 5
    Bias and stereotyping about sex
    Sexual harassment K K
    Body image issues Gr. 4 Gr. 4
    Mental illness Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Social justice and diversity

    What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.

    Approach:
    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.


    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.

    Traditional

    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.

    Progressive

    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.


    What Madrona says: Madrona follows the BC curriculum for sexual education, in addition to resources from Saleema Noon and other respected sex-ed programs.



    Preschool/K Curriculum Academic

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What Madrona says: Many of the children who come to Madrona at Kindergarten age are already demonstrating high interest in reading, creative expression, and/or mathematics. We do not push students, however we support and encourage children who are ready and eager to surge ahead in developing their skills. Our Kindergarten program focuses on celebrating areas of children’s strength, while offering a supportive environment to develop a balance between academic, social-emotional, and creative ability and confidence.


    Curriculum Pace Student-paced

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What Madrona says about flexible pacing: Children are placed in small groups for each subject based on their ability, learning style, and interest, as well as group dynamics. Groups are reassessed frequently by teachers and readjusted as necessary to maximize the positive experience and learning of the children.


    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What Madrona says: The academic culture at Madrona is very supportive. Students are encouraged to gradually build their confidence in their skills both to seek out and to conquer new challenges. We are a school of very bright and gifted learners, and as such the curriculum is both faster-paced and more in-depth than a regular stream school. The focus, however, is on meeting children where they are at and helping them build their joy for learning. We are not focused on creating high-achievers; we are focused on creating happy, engaged, and fulfilled learners who will pursue their passions throughout their lives.


    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Emotional

    Primary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Emotional
    Emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others.

    What Madrona says: Developmental priorities at Madrona are tailored to the child in the same way our pedagogical approaches are. If a student needs to build confidence and self-esteem, we prioritize that. If a child needs help with executive functions and transitions, we will work with them on that. In all of our students, we focus on teaching fundamental life skills: Strong reading and writing, critical thinking and scientific literacy, ethics, and social skills.


    Special Needs Support High

    High

    Madrona provides a high degree of support for special needs students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Accommodations
      Modifications
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      Learning disabilities
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Dyscalculia
      Dysgraphia
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Developmental
      Autism
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Physical
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Blindness
      Deafness
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Psychotherapy
      Speech-language therapy

    Gifted Learner Support Dedicated gifted school

    Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered gradesK to 10
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackK to 10
    Academic achievement reportingK to 10
    Habits and behaviour reportingK to 10
    Parent-teacher meetingsK to 10

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

     GradesK12345678
    Non-lunch recessFrequency 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day 1/day
    Location Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside
    Amount 30 30 30 40 30 30 40 40 40
    Lunch recessAmount 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

    What Madrona says: This information is not currently available.

    Non-lunch recesses: All of this school’s non-lunch recesses take place between classes or academic periods. Recess segmentation: This school segments recesses by grade

    What Madrona says: K-3 have recess together, 4-5 have recess together, 5-7 are split into two groups.



    Extracurriculars

    principal
    What Madrona says:

    This information is not currently available.


    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Baseball
      Basketball
      Football
      Ice Hockey
      Lacrosse
      Rowing
      Rugby
      Running
      Soccer
      Softball
      Swimming
      Tennis
      Track & Field
      Volleyball
    • Clubs Offered
      Choir
      Computer Club
      Drama Club
      Photography
      Student Council
      Yearbook
      Yoga

    Tuition & Financial Aid

    Tuition

    Day Day (International)
     
    K123456789
    Day$18,000
    Day (International)$21,000
    What Madrona says: Tuition at Madrona is $18,000 per year (or $21,000 for international students). Families with more than one child at the school receive a discount of 25% for additional children. (First child: $18,000 per year. Second child: $13,500. Third child: $13,500 etc.).

    Discounts

    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)all students25%


    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: K to 9
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid0%
    Average aid package size$0
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid0%
    Total aid available$0

    Application Deadline:
    N/A

    More information:

    Application Details:



    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Enrollment

    Total enrollment 100
    Average enrollment per grade9
    Average class size6 to 14
    Gender (grades)K to 10 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.


    Admission

    Application

    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewK - 9
    SSAT
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:
    Rolling


    What Madrona says:

    Admission to Madrona typically follows these steps:

    1. Visit our website and Contact us. We can discuss your child’s needs and answer any questions you may have.
    2. Set up a personal visit with the school. Contact one of our Directors to arrange a time and date and we will do our best to fully satisfy your interest and curiosity. If you have them, it is useful to bring:
    • Samples of work
    • Other documentation of interests and abilities
    • Relevant reports from professionals including teachers, psychologists or occupational therapists

    3. If together we determine that Madrona may be a good fit for your child, we can arrange for your child to attend the school for one or more trial days. Every effort is made to ensure the visit is both representative of a typical Madrona day, and focused on welcoming your child as a guest to our school.

    4. Conduct a follow-up discussion with the administration, allowing both parties to make their decision. The conversations we have with you about your child’s needs are the best way to determine if Madrona will provide the right fit for your child.



    Acceptance

    Acceptance Rate:

    100%

    Type of student Madrona School Society is looking for: Most students at Madrona are: - between four and fourteen years old - very bright, with some who are extraordinarily gifted - in posession of a deep passion for learning (though in some this may need rekindling) Additionally, our incoming students may be: - introspective, shy, or in need of support to boost their self-esteem - particularly sensitive, with a strong sense of justice - confident leaders raring to learn more - struggling with minor behavioural difficulties due to a lack of approrpriate challenge in their current environment - coping with one or more learning disabilities or presenting asynchronous development (highly gifted in one area but behind in another



    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeK12345678910
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    0000000

    Stories & Testimonials

    News

    "Last year I hated going to bed Sunday night knowing I had to go to school Monday morning.Now at Madrona I wake up Monday morning with excitement knowing what is planned for me that day! SCHOOL IS FINALLY FUN!!" ...



    "Madrona School has been an excellent fit for both of my children, who are currently in grades 5 and 6. The small class size, the high staff-to-student ratio, the respectful atmosphere, and above all, the unwavering dedication and devotion of the O'Donnell's to each student's individual needs, makes Madrona School a rare and special place." ...



    "Madrona is an institution which embodies the rare balance between excellence in academics and personal character building of its students. The staff work together to encourage out the best of each child, capitalizing on their strengths while working on their weaknesses. The small class size permits precision and accelerated learning in core subjects while allowing time for unique extracurricular opportunities such as connecting with students in Africa, gardening, cooking, photography or music performance. It is a joy to say that my child's year at Madrona has been time well spent." ...



    "Madrona has reignited in our daughter the flame of curiosity that had been all but extinguished by the public school system. Madrona's skilled and dedicated teachers have transformed her from a girl who was struggling bitterly with remedial math to one who is mastering math a grade above her own, and loving it. Ample access to technology, a high teacher to student ratio, and caring engaged teachers help her to overcome her organizational and output challenges. Yet her need for intellectual stimulation is satisfied by an invigorated approach to the B.C. curriculum with considerable enrichment in all subjects, including French and music. Her thirteen classmates and the Madrona teaching staff have become her second family. How many ways are there to say, 'Thank you'?" ...



    "Under the tutelage of Eric and Judy O'™Donnell, both they and their quality staff have exceeded their ten commitments to teaching our son. Wherever he was academically or emotionally, the teachers at Madrona respected this as a starting place and helped him successfully build far beyond these beginnings. We strongly recommend Madrona to any learner and family that value a high quality and conscious learning environment that supports emotional, social and academic excellence." ...



    "What do you say about a school that's more than a school? A place that takes care of your child, nurtures their spirit and cultivates their love of learning? How can you possibly thank teachers who hold your child in their hands and their hearts, ensuring their overall wellbeing, day after day? You can start with a testimonial. While it's a small testament to the work of the teachers of Madrona, it's a little expression of our sincere gratitude. We moved to Vancouver in the middle of the Grade 6 school year, for one spot of 14 at Madrona School. The commitment, dedication, vision and expertise of the teachers were evident and key in our decision. Our son is a gentle, enthusiastic and sensitive soul who has travelled quite a path in his young life and we were in search for something extra-ordinary for him. His love for math, music and literature has been taken to another level. He has been challenged where before he was bored or disinterested. He strives for more when before he was content with average. He feels comfortable to express himself whereas before he could feel self-conscious. The gentle yet rigorous environment of Madrona is delivering a higher quality of education through a staff that is committed to excellence through a smaller classroom, attention to detail and higher standards. Madrona is a gem in the world of education and provides an opportunity for children to reach within and beyond themselves to develop both their strengths and areas for improvement. The team at Madrona deftly navigates the day-to-day challenges while remaining open and responsive to the students and families of Madrona. Our son was able to truly focus on his studies and explore areas within education that he would not otherwise been able. He was exposed to a different kind of learning environment and student group, nurturing skills that will be well utilized in the world beyond the classroom. Madrona is a place where a well-rounded education for the individual is provided, a place where respect is cultivated and where our son felt safe to be himself and to grow in his learning. We feel that his time at Madrona will be a defining moment in his life and a time that he will look back on with the warmest of memories. ...



    Associations

    Associations
    • Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA) Associations


    Social Feeds





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