Mount Madonna School

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 (2024)

  • Grades: Prekindergarten-12
  • Enrollment: 176 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $31,500
  • Average class size: 13 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

School Overview

Student Body

Total Students
176 students
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 51%
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
None / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
Tuition Notes
Tuition ranges from $14,611 to $31,500.
% on Financial Aid
Admissions Director
Linda Manzur
Admissions Associate
Carly Wheelehan



Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
8 extracurriculars
Club or Organization:
Gaming Club, LGBTQ Alliance, Model United Nations, Spanish Club, Student Government Association, That's On Period Project

Arts and Music Programs:
Choir, Theater Arts

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 380 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.
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Mount Madonna School cost?
Mount Madonna School's tuition is approximately $31,500 for private students.
What sports does Mount Madonna School offer?
Mount Madonna School offers 7 interscholastic sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball and Wrestling.
When is the application deadline for Mount Madonna School?
The application deadline for Mount Madonna School is rolling (applications are reviewed as they are received year-round).

School Calendar

View the Mount Madonna School yearly calendar below.

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (5 reviews)
My child has been at Mount Madonna School since 6th grade, after three years of homeschooling. They're now in 10th grade and will be here until graduation. Mount Madonna School is beyond description but I will do my best to list some of the reasons why we believe in this school and what it offers. 1) The pandemic hit mid-way through 7th grade. We left for spring break, thinking we would be back in two weeks but that never happened. MMS spent the whole time we were on lockdown planning for getting students back on the mountain as soon as possible. Even during the lockdown, no school days were missed, albeit the delivery was different. In a week, faculty were able to pivot from in-person to online learning seamlessly. Students were sent home last day of school with all their textbooks. The face of the classroom changed overnight and our faculty didn't miss a beat and carried on with the business of educating these young minds. It was amazing how quickly the school responded and made it possible for our kids to continue learning amid such great unknowns. September 2020 rolled around and school was back for a new school year and IN PERSON!! Big tents were set up and classroom learning moved outdoors! The school was moved to remote learning mostly due to the really bad air quality from the fires that fall and not because of any Covid outbreaks at school. For a whole year, students, teachers, staff, and administration worked and studied under all the new guidelines set by the state without any schoolwide Covid transmissions. It was not a miracle! It was about great planning and having an administration that believed in the science and trusted the experts, while they did what they do best...provide a caring environment where kids could thrive. Kids learned and teachers taught - IN PERSON!!! If we weren't convinced that our family was at the right school before, living through the covid pandemic with a brand new teenager WITHOUT A DOUBT cemented this belief in me and my husband, that Mount Madonna School cares about the humanity of our children while providing an excellent academic environment as well. WITHOUT A DOUBT! My child's mental well-being means more than anything else in the world to me!!2) The location of the school. It's literally on top of a mountain, far away from busy streets and distractions. There are hundreds of acres of nature to explore!! What an amazing place for children to run and play, and learn about the interconnectedness of all living and non-living beings. It is something that you can't just read about, you got to live it!! This is what kids experience at Mount Madonna School. 3) The best learning happens beyond conventional four-walled classrooms. At the beginning of the year, before they set foot in any classroom and open their textbooks, middle school students spend 3-4 days camping and getting to know each other and their teachers. While middle schoolers are camping, high school students are out white water rafting on the American River. The school's philosophy rooted in this tradition is that learning cannot happen unless you feel safe and secure among your peers and especially with the adults who are there to guide you. Every time they return from these trips, their faces say it all!! Everyone, new and returning students, looks and acts like they've known each other for years! It is truly priceless! There are other learning journeys that students participate in throughout their education at MMS. But my review has gone on long enough. I have barely scratched the surface of all that is offered at this school. If you believe in developing the whole child, one who will grow up to value diversity, equity and inclusion, and understand how they can effect positive change in their community and the world as a whole, then you should sign up for a tour and enroll your child here.
- Posted by
One of the best decisions and investments I have done for my kid is by sending my daughter to this school. EVERYONE involved with the school has been so helpful, proactive, responsive, thoughtful, and so on. It's a kind, safe, caring, peaceful, supportive environment for the kids, the classrooms are clean, well lit (the lighting faces the ceiling so its easy on the eyes), well organized, etc. The Dean sends out helpful links to parent education channels and the teachers always answer my questions in a very thoughtful way with their comprehensive answers. The admin team has been so incredible and the transportation department has been so responsive and caring for any extra curriculum that the students choose. The school equips the students with not just academic but also life lessons. Truly amazing school and I hope everyone who reads this can join us at MMS.
- Posted by
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 (2024)

  • Grades: Prekindergarten-12
  • Enrollment: 176 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $31,500
  • Average class size: 13 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Santa Cruz County, CA is $16,632 for elementary schools and $26,328 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Santa Cruz County, CA is 89% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).

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