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Fall 2020

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year!

Update - October 7, 2020:

We elected to start the school year in our fully-remote program and planned to assess a transition to the hybrid program in November. We were able to begin hybrid sports programming in September, following official guidance from the DC State Athletic Association.

Our Reopening Task Force will convene the week of October 5. That same week, we will share a survey with all current parents and open up registration for the next series of Town Halls (October 20-22).

This summer, Burke developed two complete plans for Fall 2020:

  • Remote program: offers entirely virtual (and primarily synchronous) learning
  • Hybrid program: alternates between on-campus and at-home learning and includes an as-needed all-remote option for students who cannot come to school
 
This remote program will provide all students with synchronous instruction, daily community gatherings, and morning check-ins ("Bengal Breakfast") from 8:30 AM to 2:50 PM on Tuesday-Friday. Mondays are wholly dedicated to student clubs, affinity groups, community events, and remote office hours for every class from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.

Download sample schedules for both the remote and hybrid programs below.

Fall 2020 Design Principles

2020-21 Semester System

List of 4 items.

  • What It Is

    Given the potential changes on the horizon, we have fully developed two distinct learning programs and prioritized smooth transitions between them. To that end, we are switching from our traditional 7-day schedule to a 5-day schedule, and from our trimester system to a semester system. We do not plan to maintain these changes beyond 2020-21.
  • How It Works

    Each semester (Fall and Spring) will be divided into three 6-week terms. Most courses will run for one semester, while some electives and 1/3-credit courses will run for one term (e.g.: Fall 2).

    In other words, a full semester-long course in 2020-21 will be equivalent in content and depth to a year-long course in previous years – very similar to a college schedule.

    For courses that are cumulative and tend to require repetition, skills practice will be available during the semester in which the student is not enrolled in a full course. For example, students who take Algebra 1 in the Fall will maintain those skills through "Sine Me Up" sessions during the Spring.
  • Why It Works

    With (generally) four courses in the Fall semester and four different courses in the Spring, students can continue to take advantage of the rich variety of offerings at Burke – while also benefiting from a daily schedule that is predictable, does not require too many transitions, and can switch to hybrid or in-person without reshuffling. Students really can go in-depth on just a few subjects at a time, which also can be beneficial during an otherwise turbulent period.

    Note: many students will alternate between two different courses in the final "block" of the day, such as Health, Values & Ethics and the 9th Grade Seminar course.
  • Strategic Execeptions

    6th grade, due to the nature of their curriculum, will take mainly full-year courses, including math, science, PE, and "Core" (humanities sequence). Some high school math classes will meet fewer times each week, but run for the full year as well. Seniors will have Spring Semester courses noted on their transcripts for college application purposes as well.

Fall 2020 Weekly Schedule

List of 4 items.

Fall 2020 Key Points

List of 7 items.

  • Student & Community Resources

    Our Community working group has developed a virtual Resource Board for students, including a wellness toolbox, mental health resources, activities calendars, and grade-specific information hubs – which will go live before the beginning of the Fall semester!
  • More about the Monday Schedule

    In both the remote and hybrid model, the Monday schedule provides dedicated time for community and student activites, as well as less-structured time with teachers – which might typically occur in the halls and commons spaces. By keeping Monday relatively open, we can deep clean the building in the hybrid model and start the week as a community in the remote model, plus have some flexible time for in-person activites when possible.
  • Team Roth & Team Mooskin

    All students will be assigned to Team Mooskin or Team Roth (named for Burke's founders). 

    In the remote program, the teams will not affect the student experience; but we are assigning them in advance so that we can transition to a hybrid model without changing any class schedules.

    In the hybrid program, Grades 8-12 would attend courses in-person on Tuesday/Thursday (Mooskin) or on Wednesday/Friday (Roth). Grades 6-7 still would be assigned to a team, but would have in-person classes scheduled on Tuesday-Friday. 

    Siblings will be assigned to the same team.
  • Letter Grades and Pass/Fail

    As before, 6th graders will not receive letter grades. This year, the rising 7th graders will continue not to receive letter grades.

    Students in Grades 8-12 will receive letter grades, and Department Chairs are reviewing other grading policies to ensure equity and to mitigate pandemic-induced harms to students.
  • As-Needed Remote Option

    In the hybrid program, students may elect to spend one term (or more) at home due to health needs and concerns. In this case, the student would keep their hybrid schedule and "attend" in-person classes via video conference as possible.
  • Physical Activity & Sports

    Burke plays sports in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC), which has elected to condense all three sports seasons into the January-June period. All middle school students will continue to have PE as part of their weekly schedule, whether remote or hybrid. We will also offer virtual platforms for our usual fall sports: Cross Country, Soccer, and Volleyball.
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  • In-Person Gatherings

    During the remote program this fall, we are working to schedule small group, on-campus activities to enable students and faculty to build connections in person. We will keep group sizes below the DC Health guidelines and develop clear physical distancing requirements.

Working Group Reports & Recommendations

   

Upcoming Events

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