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Engage in hands-on projects, experiential learning, frequent trips, and independent studies. Learn a new language, read a wide range of books, try a new artistic discipline, and pursue advanced coursework and research.

Choice, challenge, and exploration are all central the high school academic program. 

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • What courses do 9th graders take?

    • English - English 9: Genres
    • History - History 9: The Ancient World
    • Math - Algebra 1, Algebra 2 (or Advanced Algebra 2), Geometry (or Advanced Geometry), or above, as determined by a placement test
    • Science - Chemistry or Earth Systems Science, often linked to the student's math placement
    • World Language - French 1, 2, 3, or 4 or Spanish 1, 2, 3, or 4, as determined by a placement test
    • Several trimesters of Performing and Visual Arts electives, such as Ceramics, Drama, Instrumental Music, and Photography
    • One trimester of Computer Science
    • One trimester of Health, Values & Ethics ("HVE")
    • One trimester of High School Learning Strategies

  • What courses do 12th graders take?

    By senior year, students' schedules can look vastly different based on their own interests and pursuits. All seniors take one trimester-long Senior Seminar course, choosing among 4-6 different topic areas and culminating in a research project.

    Here are three sample schedules from the Class of 2024 during the Fall Trimester:

    Student 1Student 2Student 3
    Advanced Art HistoryAP BiologyAP English Literature
    Advanced Instrumental MusicAP Calculus BCAdvanced Statistics
    AP English LiteratureAP Physics C: MechanicsCalculus AB
    Social & Economic SystemsAdvanced Topics in SpanishDrawing and Painting 11/12
    Senior Seminar: Technology & InnovationDigital Photography 11/12Ethics and Literature
    Statistics and Financial ManagementNobel Winning LiteraturePhysics

  • What long-term vision informs our educational program?

    A Burke Graduate is ...

    An ethical, active citizen;
    Their best, authentic self;
    Prepared for any future

    Further explore Burke's Portrait of a Graduate:
  • What is our phone and device policy?

    To keep focused on intellectual growth and community building while at school, Burke limits the use of personal phones and devices as follows:

    Middle School

    In the 6th-8th grade, students keep phones and smart watches in a locked cabinet for the duration of the school day.

    High School
    In 9th-12th grade, phones and devices must be put away during classes and community activities. Students may only use devices during breaks / free periods and lunch.

    Further reading:
    Get Phones Out of Schools Now by Jonathan Haidt (NYU Stern)
  • How do we approach AI?

    Technological advances have changed how we teach and learn countless times: hand-held calculators and Excel sparked changes in math instruction, spell checkers and translation software did the same for language learning, and so forth.
    AI is not a recent invention. But the technology has become powerful and easily accessible in a relatively short time. When prompted with a topic and parameters, a chatbot can generate a whole essay in a matter of seconds. AI can produce images and presentations, can solve equations and write step-by-step instructions. And its work can be hard to distinguish from work by human creators.

    So how does this affect what we do in school?

    > Read the full letter to families from September 2023

List of 7 items.

  • 1:1 iPad Program

    Seeking to integrate technology into classrooms and improve teaching and learning equitably, Burke launched the mission-driven 1:1 iPad program in 2012. 
    The goal is to equip every student with appropriate technology for learning and ensure that access to technology is equitable. Providing all students with the same device allows the faculty and the Academic Tech Team to manage the devices, including the apps installed on them. Burke also trains and supports teachers in taking advantage of the iPads' strengths: creativity, mobility, and interactivity.

    Note: high school students may bring their iPads home, while middle school iPads remain on campus.
    Read More
  • Field Trips

    Located one block from the Metro and within walking distance to Rock Creek Park, the Smithsonian National Zoo, and numerous embassies, Burke is an optimal starting place for exploration. All students have a double period from 11:10 AM to 12:40 PM (followed by lunch), enabling faculty to include travel into their curriculum.

    Just a few examples include:

    • 12th grade Art History visits a different museum or gallery each month, from the National Gallery to Dumbarton Oaks to the Phillips Collection.
    • 11th grade US History connects curriculum to exhibits at the Capital Jewish Museum, Japanese American Memorial, National Museum of African American History & Culture, National Museum of the American Indian, and the Portrait Gallery.
    • 9th grade Earth Systems Science spends nearly every double period in Rock Creek Park, including conducting a biodiversity index.
  • Civic Engagement

    Every year, Burke students experience an integrated civics, equity, and leadership curriculum, grounded in social justice pedagogy. Learn more.
  • Independent Study

    In the High School, the Independent Study option enables students to pursue interests and explore personal passions, with support from a faculty member. Students frequently pursue independent studies in computer science, as well as specific areas of interest in the humanities, sciences, and arts.

    The Independent Study in PE (ISPE) option allows students to earn credit for sports pursued outside of school. Learn more.
  • Learning Support

    Our Learning Support Department assists students in meeting the demands of Burke's challenging academic program. Full-time learning specialists provide support with organization, note and test-taking strategy, and self-advocacy. Learn more.
  • Senior Projects

    The Senior Project gives 12th grade students an opportunity to pursue interests and passions beyond the classroom and allows them to contribute to local communities and workplaces.

    Learn more:
    > https://www.burkeschool.org/academics/curriculum/senior-projects
  • Teaching Assistants

    High School students who are capable of independent work in a subject can also serve as Teaching Assistants at Burke: assisting the teacher, working with students during in-class exercises, or teaching short lessons. Other responsibilities might include peer tutoring or helping to organize field trips.

Field Trips | 2023-24 - in progress

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