Upper School students are taking a deep dive into equity, empowerment, entitlement, race and racial injustice issues in the new “E Block.”
This new class is led by our Director of Inclusivity and Community Building, Quise Rodriguez Edwards. The course, “E Block,” works in tandem with Pollyanna’s Racial Literacy curriculum and is ultimately a deep dive into one’s own engagement with these topics as future changemakers.
Students have discussed voter history, equal rights, and how change can be made through advocating for one’s beliefs. Students are also developing their own ballot propositions to think through the steps to designing and presenting a measure. The objective is for the students to examine how they use their own platforms in life and to begin to develop their own sense of personal justice and values.
An exciting component of the course is the opportunity to bring national and local changemakers and activists into the classroom. Earlier in the school year, students met with Angeline Vuong, Program Manager of Community-Engaged Learning at the University of San Francisco to learn about pathways to civic engagement. Angeline oversees the Center’s undergraduate public service programs and supports community-engaged learning across the institution. She has a professional background in diverse fields in the public sector, specializing in immigration, economic, and community development issues for government agencies and non-profit organizations.
This week, American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges came to Burke’s for the second time to speak with eighth-graders. Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis. Burke's eighth-graders had the opportunity to ask questions and hear more about why she has made reaching out to young people her life’s work. Ruby ended her visit with advice for our students as they make their way through a particularly challenging time in the world. “Every one of us needs to be doing something good to make a difference in the world. It’s very hard for all of us right now, but I hope it is an opportunity to think about what’s important and think about what we can do to make a difference. Make a card, help a nurse, always do something to be kind to one another. I think adults underestimate what kids can do to make a difference.”
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.