We often think about Middle School as a single entity – but we all know that students change markedly from the start of 6th grade (age 11) to the end of 8th grade (age 14). With our small class sizes and dedicated MS faculty, we can develop a distinct experience in each grade.
Unlike at a K-12 school, everyone at Burke has a fresh start for Middle School. All 6th graders are new, and they come to Burke from a broad range of public schools (65% on average) and private schools (35%) in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
6th grade has its own homeroom and "core" curriculum
, and serves as a transition between the self-contained classrooms of elementary school and the discipline-based approach of upper grades. Through 7th and 8th grade, students acclimate to moving among different classrooms and making choices about their schedules – including three different math pathways, two World Language options, and a range of art and music electives in 8th grade.
The transition from 8th grade to 9th grade is also a coordinated, deliberate process: 8th graders "practice" open campus (with substantial guidance!), can participate in HS theater productions, and plan their own Moving Up Ceremony
In 9th grade, the class doubles in size, and current students are excited to welcome and guide newcomers. HS students at Burke enjoy significant freedom – from managing their time during free periods to choosing where to eat lunch and study to leading their own clubs and service projects. To help students manage these responsibilities, all 9th graders take Learning Strategies, led by the HS Dean of Students and Learning Support faculty.
Burke also brings together 6th-12th graders, plus faculty and staff, for assemblies and school traditions
– including irreverent "grade competitions" and Founders' Day. Affinity groups span all grades, as does Student Government, with each grade electing their own representatives. Students in the upper grades can even serve as teaching assistants in MS classes.
With MS and HS in separate, connected buildings
, younger students have a clear view of what comes next – while still maintaining their own space. Older students can act as mentors and leaders throughout their high school careers, not just in their senior year. And of course, siblings can share a campus for a longer period. More than 10% of Burke families currently have multiple children in the school, and many more have a current student and at least one alum.
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