Mount Madonna School is committed to providing a unique and meaningful educational opportunity for each child.
Our primary mission is to integrate intellectual, social and creative learning within the context of supportive human relationships.
We are dedicated to helping our students become aware of the range of their creative talents and how those talents can be applied in developing a life of positive meaning and purpose.
To fulfill this mission, our school is committed to giving individual attention to each student as we pursue our program of Academic Excellence, Creative Self-Expression, and Positive Character Development.

Quick Stats (2021-22)

  • Top Ranked CA School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-12
  • Students: 170 students
  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Average class size: 13 students
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 14 / Feb. 26 / rolling

Top Rankings

Mount Madonna School ranks among the top 20% of private schools in California for:


School Overview

Religious Affiliation
Grades Offered
Grades Prekindergarten-12
Year Founded
Summer School Offered
Summer Program Details

Student Body

Total Students
170 students
Student Body Type
Students by Grade
Mount Madonna School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers
37 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
13 students
Number of AP Courses
8 courses
List of Courses Offered
Advanced Courses
AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Physics: Mechanics, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History
Classroom Dress Code

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

Admission Deadline
Dec. 14 / Feb. 26 / rolling
Tuition Notes
Tuition varies by grade.
% on Financial Aid
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions Director
Benna Dimig


Total Sports Offered
5 sports


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
1 extracurricular
Club or Organization:
Model United Nations

School Notes

  • We are a diverse learning community. We support our students to become caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity.
  • We believe that a meaningful life is characterized by personal achievement and the ability to work effectively with others in service to society.
We Value:
  • Our learning community, which includes our students, faculty, administrators, staff, families, alumni and local, national, and international peers communities
  • Each individual, and all of their unique qualities - including race, culture, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability status, and socio-economics -  which weave into the tapestry of our shared humanity
  • Continual exploration of how our students learn
  • Creating a responsive and equitable learning environment where diverse perspectives are explored
  • Intellectual inquiry that fosters a love of learning, open-mindedness, curiosity, self-discipline and perseverance
  • The transformative power of the creative process
  • Experiential outdoor learning that prioritizes an interconnectedness with nature, individual and collective well-being, and environmental stewardship
  • Development of relationships based on self-acceptance, openness, empathy, honesty and respectful communication
  • Experiences that cultivate a sense of belonging and visibilityCommitment to practices that support equity and racial, social, economic and environmental justice.
Our Philosophy: We pursue our mission and values through the integration of Academic Excellence, Creative Self-Expression and Positive Character Development. This integration brings depth, meaning and enthusiasm to learning. Academic Excellence We offer a well-rounded academic program that meets the highest standards of college preparedness.

Our multi-faceted curriculum is based on the development of:
  • Cognitive learning including critical reading, writing and speaking skills, scientific and mathematical investigation, research and problem solving.
  • Experiential learning including outdoor education, performances, life labs, service learning, interviews, domestic and international travel.
  • Reflective learning including self-inquiry, journaling, dialogue, presentations, collective problem solving and creative projects.
These learning processes engage students, encouraging curiosity, building self-confidence and supporting the discovery of their gifts and talents.

Creative Self-Expression: We integrate creative arts and academic pursuits with the belief that each enriches the other. Creative self-expression is part of all academic coursework. Experiencing the creative process allows students to overcome perceived limitations and opens the possibility for intuitive intelligence to emerge. All students study acting, voice, dance, fine arts, creative writing, and participate in performing arts. Our productions illuminate the value of the collaborative process where individual effort and a willingness to sacrifice for the greaterwhole result in an inspiring and fulfilling experience. The personal benefits of this creative process extend far beyond school into almost every facet of adult life.

Positive Character Development: We recognize that each student's character is influenced both by the explicit curriculum in our course offerings and the implicit curriculum expressed in the daily life and experience of our school community. In all that we do, we encourage our students to take responsibility, to practice self-discipline, exercise leadership, and to serve and care for one another.

We focus on learning that brings forth thinking and discussions of ethical relevance. We strive to create opportunities for students to engage in open and honest communication through such programs as service learning, student governance, life skills classes and student guidance.

We work closely with families and access a variety of professional resources to encourage a thoughtful exchange of ideas around the many issues that confront youth in our modern society. We encourage older students to mentor and care for younger students through school-wide activities such as theater productions, buddy programs and athletic events.

Our faculty and families are dedicated to positive values such as empathy, honesty, cooperation, fairness and kindness.

Our Environment: Mount Madonna School is located on 375 acres of forested mountaintop property overlooking the Monterey Bay. We are hosted by Mount Madonna Center, a community founded on the principles of yoga and dedicated to non-harming, self-development and service to society. The values of the Center and the beauty of the natural environment provide a supportive and inspirational context in which our learning community thrives.
Profile last updated:

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (3 reviews)
Our children have been at Mount Madonna School since 2016, when they were 3 and 5 - and are now in 1st and 3rd grade. Four years in, our daughter and son are thoroughly in love with their school and so are we. Not only are the children thriving with kind and stimulating friendships, but we also have met many wonderful families with whom our lives are now enmeshed. My husband and I are both educators working in our community in south county Santa Cruz, which is culturally and socio-economically diverse. We chose MMS because we care about equity and inclusivity, and we want to pace our children's' academic lives with character development. In our community, we found that graduates of MMS were very diverse young humans who were empowered, had self-recognizance, were exceptionally mature, grounded, and capable of having confident, natural interactions with adults, and we were like wow! What is this place all about? And we find from the earliest years that this path indeed happens, bio-dynamically, at Mount Madonna School. In these chaotic times, we are glad to see that the staff at MMS consistently participate in cultural competence trainings, and teachers create unique opportunities for the students to learn about and participate in social justice perspectives and to become protectors of the environment. Science, math, philosophy and literature all coincide with this immersive approach in a stunning natural setting. Students have the opportunity to balance classroom time with time outdoors taking in the earthly wisdom of the beautiful 380 acre campus in the redwoods. Families at Mount Madonna come from the "Oceanside" near Santa Cruz and also from Silicon Valley and adjacent areas like Morgan Hill and Gilroy. We have a very international community of families here, and heritage is celebrated through various events during the year like Cultural Awareness Assembly, Ramayana, the Winter Concert, and more. Here is a learning environment that is freer than most schools from competition, comparison, and undue stress and anxiety that can often waylay the natural appetite for learning. This is partially due to the grace of smaller student-teacher ratios and the more intimate community environment where students feel and look out for each other. We are so grateful to be immersed in a learning journey that is supported by the visions of the clearly talented, dedicated staff and administrators who steer the school, which is now in its 45th year.
- Posted by
My son has been at Mount Madonna since kindergarten. It has nourished him as a whole human each step of the way. The high school program is rigorous and fully prepares the students for whatever path they choose after high school. They're not only learning the academics but how to think through ideas and express themselves eloquently.
- Posted by
We are so happy we overcame the distance and sent our daughter to this amazing school. This is our daughter's fourth year at Mount Madonna and she doesn't want to miss a day. There are some fantastic teachers that really know how to engage and encourage the kids to learn. I wish I could go to school here.
- Posted by

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Quick Stats (2021-22)

  • Top Ranked CA School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-12
  • Students: 170 students
  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Average class size: 13 students
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 14 / Feb. 26 / rolling

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Santa Cruz County, CA is $14,090 for elementary schools and $21,916 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Santa Cruz County, CA is 87% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).

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