At Burke, we define service-learning as an instructional approach that blends academic knowledge and skills with meaningful community engagement outside the classroom to address genuine societal needs. What “counts” as service and service-learning at Burke involves new understanding, knowledge, and transformation through experience.
Our youngest students focus on the DC community by becoming experts on each of the city’s eight wards. They learn about the social strengths and challenges of living in each ward. Each class selects a community partner to work on a particular issue.
In their classes, students learn about the impact of nutrition and disease. The class partners with Food and Friends, a local nonprofit that provides healthy meals to home-bound people living with HIV and AIDS and other illnesses. Students learn what steps individuals and communities can take to create a healthier, more caring society, as well as the power of a single, well-run nonprofit.
8th graders partner with local DC public schools and develop science lessons and material for pre-K and Kindergarten students. They learn how to explain basic concepts to very young children and design materials such as handmade books.
They also focus on the resettlement of refugees in DC metro area. While reading Outcasts United: An American Town, students meet and interview representatives of International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. They research and design an action project to either raise awareness about refugees in the mid-Atlantic area or to help refugee children adjust to life in the United States.