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Every year, Burke students experience a year-long, integrated civics, equity, and leadership curriculum, grounded in social justice pedagogy. We draw inspiration from our founders' vision: a learning environment in which students become active and socially responsible citizen-leaders, committed to advancing social justice in their communities.

Youniss and Yates (2003)

"..it has been demonstrated that youthful activism is a strong predictor of lifetime involvement with outcomes including likelihood of voting and membership in voluntary organizations [...] Although one cannot artificially create historical crises or social movements, policy makers can design programs of service that help youth experience political agency and instill a sense of social obligation."

Middle School Curriculum

List of 3 items.

  • 6th Grade - Citizenship at the Margins

    Students focus on what it means to be a citizen, past and present, and the identities that have forced some groups to exist at the margin vs. the center of American life. Students apply these questions to their comparative study of American identity starting with the first interactions of native communities to today

    Trip to New York City: April 2020
  • 7th Grade - Exploring Dystopian, Utopian, and Just Societies

  • 8th Grade - Social Change and the American Civil Rights Movement

    Students learn about the cultural, literary, historical and political lives of citizens of the DC area and the southern United States through an interdisciplinary program in history, music, English, values and ethics, and visual arts that explores the Black Freedom Struggle and culminates with a trip to the Deep South. After the trip, students organize and run an all-school assembly program about their learning.

    Trip to Alabama: February 2020

High School Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • 9th Grade - Food Justice in Washington, DC

    Through a critical lens, 9th graders explore Food Justice in Washington, DC by engaging in direct service, learning, and advocacy at the Capital Area Food Bank,  Rosemount Center, Thrive DC, Share Our Strength and within the school curriculum and guest speakers. They also lead a schoolwide food drive, an Empty Bowls fundraiser, and participate in two day-long retreats on leadership equity and inclusion.
  • 10th Grade - Action Civics in the DMV

    Beginning with the question, “What is an important issue facing my community today?,” each student researches, writes, and delivers a soapbox speech on their issue. Students then engage in an oral history project, interviewing individuals directly impacted by their issue and analyzing the intersections of power, people, and places. The year culminates with a “listening party” when they share their learning. The curriculum is delivered in partnership with Mikva Challenge DC, DC Humanities and StoryCorps DC.
  • 11th Grade - Environmental and Social Justice in West Virginia

    A year-long cross curricular examination of environmental justice, storytelling, and labor history prepares students for a week-long experiential learning trip to West Virginia with Experience Learning in Spruce Knob where they learn to appreciate nuance in communities, arguments, and allyship as they draw connections between their communities in DC and West Virginia. Upon returning students lead a Teach In for parents on issues explored throughout the year and on the trip. 

    West Virginia Trip: Summer 2020
  • 12th Grade - Senior Seminar Program

    The Senior Seminar program aims to strengthen research and writing skills in preparation for college level work by requiring seniors to write a sophisticated, substantial, analytical research paper. Student will:

    • research and analyze their individual topic from various viewpoints
    • frame a challenge or opportunity
    • conclude their paper with recommendations and plans for actions and policies.

    The program also gives seniors the opportunity to pursue a topic that interests them. To that end, each section is broadly organized around an area of social justice and global challenges and opportunities, within which students will choose their individual area of focus. The course is structured so that students both have coaching and guidance from the teacher and spend significant time doing independent research and writing.

Community Partnerships

List of 14 items.

  • Capital Area Food Bank

  • DC Humanities

  • DC Oral History Collaborative

  • Experience Learning

  • Food & Friends

  • Homes Not Borders

  • Horace Mann ES

  • Mikva Challenge

  • North Brentwood AME Zion Church

  • Rosemount Center

  • Share Our Strength

  • Solutions in Hometown Connections

  • StoryCorps

  • Thrive DC

Co-ed, progressive, college prep school in Washington, DC featuring a challenging curriculum in an inclusive environment for grades 6-12.