Burke’s Upper School encompasses fifth through eighth grades. Each grade is organized into four homeroom/advisory groups of 10 to 12 girls. Class sizes range from full sections of 20 to 23 students to smaller instructional groups. Upper School teachers are specialists in the subjects they teach and the curriculum draws on the best education practices of the past enhanced by recent advances in brain research and pedagogy to ensure a strong, deliberate and systematic approach to middle school education for girls. We combine traditional texts and materials with collaborative and project-based studies and coordinate the curriculum across subjects and grade levels.
In the Upper School, we expose students to advanced concepts and skills at every level and expect mastery when students have reached the optimal stage of cognitive development for each concept and skill. Skills well mastered provide strong motivation and a solid platform for continued learning.
We encourage independence in thought and believe that exposure to multiple perspectives helps students develop critical thinking skills. Students learn to challenge assumptions, to identify essential questions, to gather information from diverse sources, and to form and support well-reasoned opinions.
We pay careful attention to our students’ social and emotional development with the goal of helping them develop a realistic and positive sense of themselves. Burke’s approach builds students’ self-confidence, in turn strengthening their ability to learn and to be active participants in their classes and community.
Students graduate from Burke’s with a strong academic foundation and a love of learning. High schools across the country report that Burke’s graduates stand out not only for the strength of their academic preparation but also for their eagerness to learn for the sake of learning — not just for the sake of grades. This reflects Burke’s long-standing commitment to preserving the spirit of exploration while students master traditional skills and concepts.