Do kids get a “different” education at Madrona than at other schools in Edmonds?

As a public school, Madrona adheres to the curriculum guidelines set by the State of Washington and the Edmonds School District.  Madrona children take the standardized tests administered by the State.   Kids in the Edmonds School District enjoy the flexibility offered by teachers by the District in that they are not constrained by specific texts or curriculum materials in many areas.  Madrona teachers take full advantage of this flexibility by offering students a wide range of sources from which to learn.

What does “nongraded” mean?

Madrona is called a “nongraded” school not because no grades are issued, but because children are not put into traditional Grades as in most other schools.  Instead, children are put into “Centers”, which are multiage classrooms that hold 3 grade levels.

What’s the difference between nongraded and combined classrooms?

Combined classrooms consist of 2 or more groups that are each being taught their grade-level curriculum.  Nongraded classrooms contain children who are learning at one or more grade levels.  For example, a child may excel at math, but be not very strong in reading.  In a Primary classroom, a first year student might therefore be learning math with second year kids, but read with other first year students.  Social studies, science, and art are taught on a 3-year rotation, so each child experiences that portion of his/her education only once.

What is a center?  How many are there?

A Center is a classroom consisting of 2 teachers who team-teach around 50 kids, covering 3 grade levels.  A Primary Center consists of grades 1 – 3; an Intermediate Center covers grades 4 – 6; Middle School comprises 7th and 8th grades.

There are four centers for primary (first through third grade) and four for intermediate (fourth through sixth).  The middle school students have homerooms rather than centers and rotate through their subject classrooms on a regular schedule.  Madrona also includes the Edmonds School District Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) classes.

Kindergarten is many children’s first experience of school.  As such, children entering Kindergarten are not integrated into Primary Centers, so that they can become accustomed to the culture of school.

Kindergarten centers:

  • Ursa Minor
  • Lil’ Cogswell (DHH pre-k/kindergarten)

Primary centers:   

  • Ohana
  • Evergreen
  • Paw Sal Cha’l (PSC)
  • El Mundo
  • Baird (DHH K-3rd grade)

Intermediate centers:

  • Keystone
  • sʔibəš (pronounced sss-āy-bush)
  • Zenith
  • Renaissance
  • HOY (DHH)

Are 7th and 8th Grades handled the same way as Primary and Intermediate centers?

At Madrona’s Middle School, with the exception of math, all classes are taught on a 2-year rotation.  Placement in math classes is dependent on standardized test performance and classroom performance in the lower grades.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH)

You may notice a number of Madrona children and staff using American Sign Language (ASL). The DHH program at Madrona is a regional program that provides access to quality education to students who use sign language from ages 3-21. They currently serve 60 students from 18 different school districts north, east and west of Seattle, Washington. For anyone looking to learn a bit of ASL here is a great resource:

50 kids sounds like a lot of children in one classroom.  How can so many kids learn well together?

The only way multiage and nongraded can work is if children have both a lot of support from home and in the classroom, and are able to work independently.  In any Primary Center on any given day, there can be 20 different reading or spelling levels represented.  Kids love being responsible for their education, and knowing that they can direct the pace of their learning without pressure to conform to a group’s needs.  Parent and student volunteers are fundamental to the success of this diversity in the classroom.

What is MIT?

Madrona Integrated Team (MIT) is a non-profit, charitable corporation whose purpose is to support and enhance the experience of Madrona School students by sponsoring educational and related family programs, as well as enrichment activities for our students. It is similar to a PTA, but operates as its own non-profit and is not affiliated with the PTA. There is no fee to join; all Madrona students, staff, teachers and parents are automatically members.  MIT is run by an elected volunteer board of directors and is responsible for raising money for use in the classrooms and throughout school as well as for creating a community through events. Please watch for meeting dates and times to be announced.

How are parents involved at Madrona?

Madrona excels because of parent support.  There is no mandatory number of hours required of families, but it is expected each family will find their way to contribute to the community. Parent volunteers play a vital role in our community; from helping with academics in classrooms, to organizing school wide events, to chaperoning field trips, and so much more. We can’t wait to see how you fit into our school! Whether you are able to volunteer every week or once a year, it all helps and is appreciated! Our Volunteer Fair is held in early September.  This is a great time to see many opportunities to help outside of regular school hours.  Look for volunteer opportunities from your classroom coordinator throughout the school year.

How do I volunteer?

Everyone who comes in contact with children must complete the online volunteer application through the Edmonds School District here.  Once this has been done, volunteers talk to the volunteer coordinators in their children’s classrooms or on a school-wide level.  In most cases, volunteers are given the opportunity to volunteer on a scheduled or as-needed basis.

What is MKF?

Madrona Kids Fund (MKF) is the big fundraiser put together by MIT to support our staff and students.  In the late fall, MIT requests for a monetary donation be made.  We have chosen to fundraiser for cash rather than sell goods so that 100% of the donation can go back to our students.  Money raised goes to teachers and staff to supplement their classroom learning supplies, and to such things as the library to keep the collection current, to our community events such as Bear Scare and STEM Night and to the music program.

Money is also raised throughout the year with donations through AmazonSmile purchases, BoxTops, and company match programs.

What is MCT?

Madrona Children’s Theater (MCT) is our theater group and is active December through March. All intermediate and MS students are encouraged to be involved, either onstage or off. It is a substantial commitment involving the whole family, but the end result is truly amazing. It is an experience your child will remember for a lifetime.  Most of the community attends one of the multiple shows which happen over a weekend in March.

How do I get connected?

As a Washington Green School, Madrona communicates mainly via email.  Most news is in the Bear Necessities, the MIT bulletin.

  • To sign up for Bear Necessities click here.
  • Join the MIT Facebook page:
  • Follow MadronaK8Bears on Instagram
  • Click here to see our school events calendar, and link it to your personal Google calendar!You may also want to check out the MIT Facebook page.

Attend monthly MIT Meetings.  Dates can be found here.

What other activities are offered?  

There are a number of opportunities for all grade levels to participate in Enrichment classes.  A listing of before and after school classes is available soon after school starts.  Art, coding, cheer, sign language, and chess are usually offered.

Athletic teams are made up of middle school students.

There are four after hours family events each year.  The Bear Scare is at the end of October.  Every other year there is a talent show (Spring). In the alternating years, there is a Family Dance (Winter).  In March, an evening event featuring Science, Technology, Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) is held.  Our Art Walk and Art Auction take place in May.

Instrumental music is a key part of our program at Madrona. Starting in 4th grade, each student is given the opportunity to participate in band or orchestra. While it is not required, nearly all students participate in band or orchestra during their intermediate years.

What about the yearbook?

The yearbook is wholly compiled by Middle School tech/media students and is a very substantial record of the school year. Ordering takes place during one week in the winter and there is quite a fanfare when they arrive in June.