This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
7th graders are full-fledged middle schoolers, and soon-to-be teenagers, eager to explore new interests and forge new connections.

To meet those needs, 7th graders start having more choice in classes, including different math pathways and arts electives, and humanities courses are global in scope. We welcome new students in 7th grade, increasing the class size by about 30%, and students move among classrooms more often – building autonomy and self-confidence.

Curriculum Overview

Exploring Dystopian, Utopian, and Just Societies. 

7th grade Language Arts explore realistic and fantastical literature from different countries through a genre lens – including fairy tales, horror, and speculative fiction. Their history course, World Geography and Cultures, delves into history, anthropology, and economics in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In Math 7, students learn basic Algebraic operations and geometric concepts. For math, students are placed among two (or three, based on grade size) different sections, offering different pacing options. In Life Science, students focus on the scientific method, followed by studies of the human body, ecology, and sustainability.

Connecting math and science, the annual Tiny House Project challenges students to design, furnish, and build a digital prototype of a sustainable 240-square-foot dwelling. 7th graders also tackle a citizen science project in partnership with NASA, working to advance research on growing plants in space.

Students continue to study French or Spanish, with the option for more proficient speakers to join a Spanish 7/8 course with the 8th grade.

All 7th graders take Drama, Principles of Art, and Graphic Design (one trimester each). They can choose among Instrumental Music (for experienced musicians), Chorus 7/8 (combined with the 8th grade), and Music Explorations. All 7th graders have PE every other day.

List of 1 items.

  • 7th Grade Trip

    Philadelphia, PA
    The 7th grade spends two days in Philadelphia with a focus on sustainability and conservation – and enjoying one another's company! They stay at Temple University and visit the Philadelphia Zoo, The Magic Gardens, Bartram's Garden, the Franklin Institute, and Mütter Museum.

Middle School FAQs

List of 8 items.

  • How big are 6th-8th grades?

    6th Grade

    We cap this grade at 24-26 students. Students divide into two sections of 12-13 for most classes, but all share one homeroom. By keeping the class small, every student will know their peers and their teachers very well – which, in turns, helps them became strong self-advocates.

    7th Grade
    In recent years, we have welcomed an average of 7-8 new students annually in 7th grade, expanding social opportunities, while maintaining a close-knit group.

    8th Grade
    While not a typical entry year, we frequently have several new students join for 8th grade as well. Our most recent 8th grade (Class of 2027) was 33 students.
  • Do students come from specific elementary schools?

    On average, 70% come from public and charter elementary schools and 30% from private, parochial, international schools and homeschooling.

    In the last three years, incoming 6th graders have come from 53 different elementary schools. Incoming 7th and 8th graders have come from 32 different middle schools.
  • Do students receive letter grades?

    6th-8th grade receive numerical (0-100 scale) grades on assignments, including tests, essays, and projects.

    Report Cards
    6th grade report cards are narrative and do not include formal letter grades – giving students more time to build intrinsic motivation and to explore academically on their own terms. 7th graders receive narrative comments and Pass/Fail grades only, while 8th graders begin the transition to letter grades along with narratives.
  • Does the middle school have advanced coursework?

    Throughout Burke, and certainly in middle school, many classes are project-based – so students have the freedom to read, write, and create in ways that challenge them personally and that tie into their own interests.

    In 6th grade, all students take the same Humanities, Math, and Science courses and either French or Spanish. We introduce different pathways for Math and World Language in 7th grade, so students who are ready for a fast-paced class can have that opportunity.
  • Does middle school have electives?

    In 7th and 8th grade, students have significant choice among visual and performing arts electives. 6th graders sample a broad range of arts courses to help inform their future selections.
  • Can students have phones?

    The middle school is a 100% phone-free space. Students who bring a phone to school must leave it in the Head of Middle School's office.

    All middle schoolers are all issued an iPad through our 1:1 program, but iPads "sleep" at school overnight and students only use them in a guided classroom context.
  • Does middle school have recess?

    Students have a mid-morning "break" when they have access to common spaces and the 4th floor terrace, which also has a climbing wall. During lunch period, they have access to the Gym when they've finished eating.

    6th-8th graders have PE on five days out of the 8-day "cycle," including one 90-minute class.
  • Where do students gather?

    6th grade has two large, dedicated classrooms on the 4th floor, which include open lockers and are home to our 6th Grade Dean. Students have most "Core" (English and History), Math, and World Language classes in a cluster of 4th floor classrooms, while moving to other areas in the middle school for Math and Performing & Visual Arts and to the Gym for PE.

    In 7th and 8th grade, students meet both with their grade as a whole and with their advisory groups (5-7 students and one faculty advisor) at set times during the week. The 7th grade has lockers and gathering space on the 4th floor, while the 3rd floor lockers and Commons are the domain of the 8th grade.
Co-ed, progressive, college prep school in Washington, DC featuring a challenging curriculum in an inclusive environment for grades 6-12.