Jenny Greenburg and Peter Binnings
Mount Madonna’s small classes and commitment to the whole child have provided our son with incredible opportunities for both academic and social-emotional growth. Our teacher this year could not be more kind, creative, and exceptional at making learning fun. Our son comes home every day excited about what he is learning – talking about black holes, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and a COVID vaccine. We have really been impressed with the school’s very creative and playful attitude toward learning. Watching our child learn to read and meet common core benchmarks this way seems unique in the landscape of both public and private schools.
This year more than ever, we couldn’t be more grateful to be part of the MMS community. The faculty and staff have done an exceptional job of complying with public health guidance – going far beyond, actually, what many independent schools have done to keep our community safe. We have always been really impressed with the administration, which this year has gone even further above and beyond to provide children with an oasis (and one that truly feels safe) during the pandemic. We have also noticed our child’s peers really reflect the school’s values of kindness, acceptance, and creativity. We couldn’t be more grateful and fortunate to be part of this community and would highly recommend the school.
My boys were at a local bilingual charter school when each of them, in turn, got to the point of emotionally refusing to go to school every day. It was clear that our family culture and the school culture were at odds. It was as if the self they were trying to become was in direct conflict with the person they were asked to be at school. It truly broke my heart to send them off each morning.
I had tutored several students from Mount Madonna School years back, my rabbi’s son attended, as did several other community members. I remember my experience of these teens being so different from other teens and from the teen I was at their age. The best way I can describe it is that they were already people; they were engaged in their learning, looking for ways to be a part of their world. They had hooks to hang things on. They were putting pieces together. And they lacked the single minded focus on self that teens are so famous for.
I had no idea how I was going to get my boys to this magical place, in hopes of them receiving this magical outcome, but once I toured and Mordecai visited for his shadow day I knew I would do whatever it took. Solomon soon followed him.
The joyful young people that came home from their first days at Mount Madonna told me by their very being that they had found a place that supported them to be the kind of people I wanted them to be, the kind of people they wanted to be. They were no longer at odds with the world outside our family. And in the safety of this community they are thriving. They learn with ease. They have not once come home and said they had a terrible day at school, even on days that didn’t go perfectly.
Our world is a very strange place at the moment. Mount Madonna School has done wonderfully creative things to support the students at every turn. Our boys are on campus with the people they most want to see every day. When they can’t be on campus they don’t complain about hopping on zoom for class, we eat lunch together and they shoo me away and roll their eyes if I even get close to being on camera. But the bottom line is they are happy on those days too. It is partly because of the way the world is at the moment that I am so grateful for Mount Madonna.
As a parent at Mount Madonna, my ideas and involvement are always welcomed and my questions are always heard and answered. Mount Madonna does not rest in its greatness. It is always open to improvement, always learning and always evaluating both its strengths and it’s weekensses. It is doing so in collaboration with administration, staff and families. I know that if I want to be heard or if I have an idea there is a way for me to express myself. The school or staff or parents often reach out to me to find ways that I can participate.
Mount Madonna’s scholarship program makes it possible for me to send my boys to this remarkable place. I cannot express the gratitude I feel to the finance committee and to all the donors every time I think about my children’s educational experience. I cannot count the times I have shared a school post from a newsletter or the website with friends and family saying “I’m so proud of our school!”. I intend to keep doing everything I possibly can to keep my children in this amazing community through the end of high school. I am looking forward to the unparalleled learning that comes in the ethics classes, to the leadership that comes through performing arts and to witnessing my children becoming the kind of adults who can right the shakey humanity of our times.
Thank you Ann. Thank you MMS board of directors. Thank you creative and loving teachers and staff. And thank you donors… for everything!
Singita Yolanda Diaz Houston
“As a parent alumni (I graduated from Mount Madonna school in 1999) my partner and I were thrilled to send our daughter to the same community that nurtured me. My daughter started in the PreK program and is now a first grader. My almost 3 year old son is close behind. I knew that by bringing my children to MMS they would be seen, cared for and challenged to be their best selves, just as I was. I have not been disappointed.”
“This year, with everything going on, our family was very worried about what the start of 1st grade would look like for our daughter. We are so grateful and feel immensely blessed that she is able to attend in person instruction at Mount Madonna School. We have been extremely impressed with the clear communication and actions taken by the school to create a safe environment, even while providing remote learning options for those families that need it. It seems like other schools could look to MMS as a model for how to open safely.”
“How do I know that MMS is a great school? The look on my daughters face. Every morning she is excited to go to school and every afternoon she has great things to say about her day. Proof is in the pudding.”
Finding Magic at Mount Madonna School
My family has been part of Mount Madonna School for the last eight years, but it’s hard to imagine the time before we joined this magical Community! Mount Madonna has been so much more than a place of learning for us. It is a family, and we are so deeply grateful for all the support and the magical memories over the years.
Before Mount Madonna, our two children had been attending a traditional, academic private school, as we thought this would be the best preparation for a successful life after graduation. As the elementary school years went by, we noticed our children losing their self-confidence as their stress levels increased. My husband and I decided we needed to make a change.
I am so deeply grateful that we did! The years at Mount Madonna have transformed our children into self-confident, independent, creative, and curious learners, eager to jump into the world and make their mark. They aren’t just interested in having a career. They want to change the world.
The amazing thing about Mount Madonna is that our children received an outstanding academic education at a human pace, enriched with seemingly endless unique experiences. Instead of becoming burned out like so many young people today, they became inspired. The location in the forest was only the beginning, but it set the tone for a deeper learning. The school plays, especially the spectacular annual Ramayana, provided a sense of tradition that we all looked forward to over the years. The Learning Journeys truly transformed our children, giving them eyes to see the world in a new light. Their close relationships with their teachers and their peers gave them a sense of family, and I know that they will never forget the magical years they spent at Mount Madonna School. High School graduation was one of the most memorable events of the last eight years, and I cried much more than I had thought possible!
Our youngest is now a senior at Mount Madonna. With the onset of Covid and all the drastic changes happening around the world, I’m more grateful than ever that we are part of the Mount Madonna family. The school has worked tirelessly to give the students as enriching an educational experience as possible, in the safest way possible. The school has been so flexible, offering hybrid methods of instruction, to support everyone’s needs. Mount Madonna has been a calm in this storm and has provided our family with endless support. The teachers’ positive attitudes and creative ways to engage the students have given us a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times.
Mount Madonna School will always be a part of our family, and I am forever grateful that we decided to join this magical place eight years ago.
Enrolling our kids at Mount Madonna School has been one of the best decisions we have made in their young lives. The location of the school, great field trips, caring teachers and superb remote learning program has been nothing but an amazing experience for our family.
Our kids look forward to attending school on a daily basis and continue to surprise us with the quality of knowledge they gain and enthusiasm they display towards their projects and classes.
Mount Madonna School was highly recommended to us by previous students and in turn we highly recommend the school to families who cherish not only the academics side of education, but also the familial atmosphere that the school prides itself upon and provides.