Burgundy is divided into three school divisions. The Assistant Head of School/Lower School Head and Middle School Head supervise these divisions. The Early Childhood and Elementary Divisions comprise the Lower School.
Early Childhood Division – includes Junior Kindergarten Chicks, Kindergarten Foxes, and Kindergarten Frogs. Classrooms are located on the first floor of West Barn.
Elementary Division – includes 1st through 5th Grades. 1st Grade classrooms are located in the 1st Grade Building. Four mixed-grade classrooms are located in Monarch Haven (2/3 classrooms) and Hawk’s Nest (4/5 classrooms).
Middle School – includes 6th, 7th and 8th Grades, located in the Middle School building/Gym building.
Administrators, in consultation with teachers, make class placements during the summer. Placing a child is a thoughtful process that is based upon individual and group academic and social needs that are evaluated by the child’s teachers in consultation with other school staff. Class lists are emailed to parents in late July/early August.
Comments and Suggestions
Questions about a child’s participation in any aspect of the school program should be directed first to the appropriate supervisor or teacher(s) in charge. If, after consultation with the teacher(s), further issues need to be addressed, parents should contact the Assistant Head of School/Lower School Head or Middle School Head. The Head of School is also available to assist faculty and parents regarding student, program or staffing concerns. We encourage parents, as a rule, to communicate first directly with the person locally supervising before speaking with an administrator, in order to build collaboration and trust.
Reporting and Conferences
Students receive detailed reports during the year to mark their progress and have two conferences. In the Lower School an interim report is provided in October for new students and for students having difficulty in one or more areas. All Lower School students receive narrative reports at the end of each semester -- in January and June. In the Middle School, students receive narrative reports halfway through each semester and grades at the end of each semester in January and June. Conferences for both divisions are held in the fall and late winter/early spring. Additional conferences may be called as needed by parents, teachers and/or the Assistant Head of School/Lower School Head or Middle School Head. In the Elementary and/or Early Childhood divisions, notes alerting parents of issues may be sent via email or child mail as appropriate.
Back to School Nights
These important events are held early in the school year, with separate nights for Lower School and Middle School, and each begins with a brief but important meeting in the Gym. It is imperative that at least one parent from each family, and preferably both, attend this event. The Head of School and Division Heads will report on important broad academic topics. All divisional teachers will be introduced. Then teachers will discuss the schedule of a child’s school day and will explain the materials, skills and content of the course of study.
Academics/Learning Support Overview
When a teacher or parent suspects that a child is having academic problems, a conference will be arranged as soon as possible to try to resolve the difficulty. If there appears to be a learning difficulty, the school or parent may request a diagnostic evaluation. Informal reading assessments can be provided at school. A referral to additional outside consultants and/or a full psycho-educational evaluation may be requested. The Director of Academic and Student Support coordinates the process when concerns arise and will help parents arrange for special testing and assistance as necessary. A subsequent plan for academic support should be developed (see "Establishing a Student Plan of Care," below).
Student Academic Support Overview
At Burgundy we strive to support diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences by teaching in varied styles and by making accommodations and recommendations that will help provide the optimal education for each of our students. Because every child is different, sometimes providing the best possible education means modifying a child’s classroom experience, teaching methods, educational program or testing environment. It is our goal, while maintaining the integrity and diversity of our programs, to identify and accommodate the individual needs of each student and to teach each student to better understand his or her own learning and social strengths, so that every one of our students is afforded the opportunity to be academically and socially successful.
At Burgundy the whole child is our chief concern. Many aspects of a child’s life influence his or her success. As a child progresses from one grade to the next, the educational programs become increasingly challenging and demand more time, work and organization on the student’s part. Students may encounter difficulties adjusting to these new demands for a number of reasons, including cognitive and learning factors, psychological reasons, situational issues, or even cultural stress. Social issues also are very significant. It is our job as parents, teachers and administrators to assist our students by identifying and addressing these issues. We believe that the crucial factor in providing effective student support is meaningful collaboration among parents, faculty, administrators, clinicians and students.
Burgundy can provide learning support to our students and families through various means. Support, for instance, can be provided through screening or academic support, which can be made available to students on campus during or after the school day or more extensive accommodations can be made. However, first it is important that students and parents be willing to work with us in overcoming obstacles. In order to provide consistent attention to a student’s issues, it is vital that parents of new and current students provide the school with all previous testing and tutoring information, which will be shared with the appropriate teachers and administrators once we receive written consent. Through cooperative teamwork, each student’s optimal educational success can be achieved.
If a student with previous academic or emotional evaluation or testing is admitted to Burgundy, it is essential and required that the results are provided to the Director of Academic and Student Support so that arrangements can be made to support the student. Testing recommendations and accommodations are shared with all the necessary staff, including the child’s teachers and advisors, but is treated with appropriate confidentiality. Any information which is shared with Burgundy will not move on with the student.
A recommendation for testing can be initiated by either the Director of Academic and Student Support or Division Heads after consultation with teacher. However, conversations with teachers and the Director of Academic and Student Support should take place first to examine the need for testing in light of any plans of support that have been enacted previously. (Generally, a student will be referred for testing only if strategies implemented to address an issue have not been successful or are not sustainable.) If a parent is interested in having his or her child tested, Burgundy is happy to provide a list of qualified clinicians who specialize in addressing a wide range of common cognitive and emotional needs. If a teacher feels that a student may benefit from testing, the Director of Academic and Student Support will be consulted to discuss the teacher’s concerns and arrange for a staffing meeting. If the School believes an evaluation should be done, the parents will be contacted. If parents independently obtain an evaluation, it is expected that the results will be shared with the school to facilitate program planning. We also request permission to speak to the clinician/physician who provides the evaluation. We cannot serve students most effectively if information is not shared.
Establishing a Student Plan of Care
As noted previously, depending on the child’s individual needs, support may include educational and classroom accommodations. Accommodations are made based on the recommendations of a qualified evaluator.
1. For a student who is experiencing academic/emotional difficulty, the teachers should first fill out a Teacher Referral Form and submit it to the Director of Academic and Student Support.
2. Next the Director of Academic and Student Support will gather information and schedule a meeting with team members, to include teachers' resources, such as a specialist and/or appropriate administrators.
3. At the meeting, the team will either devise a plan of action, recommend an evaluation or both.
4. A meeting will be held with parents to share information and any plan.
5. If an evaluation is necessary, parents will be given the names of recommended clinicians.
6. Parents will sign a Consent for Release of Information form allowing Burgundy staff to speak with evaluators.
7. Parents will provide the Director of Academic and Student Support with a written evaluation report. Report recommendations for learning accommodations will be shared with the student's teachers. A conference with parents to discuss this can be requested as needed.
8. Based on the report written, a plan of care will be created or adjusted.
9. Parents will agree to work with the School in implementing a plan of care and to help facilitate ongoing communication between School personnel and outside service providers.
Procedure for Establishing an Accommodations Plan:
1. The Director of Academic and Student Support will assemble information from the child’s teachers, parents, advisor, report cards and all other relevant sources to help create the plan of support.
2. After considering all the information gathered, the Director of Academic and Student Support will coordinate a meeting to discuss all accommodations and recommendations with parents, teachers, the appropriate administrator(s) and the student when applicable.
3. Based on a student’s progress, the support plan will be adjusted to meet the child’s ongoing needs as long as necessary and providing that testing is kept up-to-date (renewed at least every three years). This plan may include the services of one of our on-site resources: Lower School Reading Specialist, Lower School Resource Teacher, Middle School Learning Specialist, School Counselor or Director of Academic and Student Support.
Tutoring and Outside Service Providers
Burgundy teachers may provide private tutorial services for current Burgundy students who they don’t currently teach with the approval of their Division Head.
Parents looking to arrange on-campus private tutoring or other support services with non-Burgundy employees should contact the Director of Academic and Student Support to get this set up. Given established security protocols, the timeline for approval may vary.
Social-Emotional Support Services
The counselor is an on-site resource who works with teachers, administrators, classes, and parents to support social-emotional health and well being. Students in need of immediate individual and or small group support can be seen on an informal basis. With parental permission, students can also receive short term planned intervention (three-five sessions) with the counselor. The goal of the counselor's work is always to facilitate optimal learning for all. Referrals for long term work will be offered when needed.
Each spring, Burgundy administers the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) 4 to students in Grades 4-7, primarily as practice for future test-taking. The ERB is a norm-referenced test, covering math and language arts skills and knowledge. It was designed specifically for independent schools.
Burgundy does not teach to the test, and we do not believe in high-stakes standardized testing as the most useful, accurate means of assessing student learning. We prefer more varied, ongoing and authentic performance-based assessments as a best measure of learning and progress.
We do recognize that some experience in taking these tests may be useful for students as they move toward high school and college. However, we do not design our curriculum to teach children to perform well on standardized tests. We do not publish scores or recognize or celebrate individual, class or school test scores in such a way that promotes test scores as a measure of academic ability or personal worth.
Our teachers (including elementary grades) give developmentally appropriate homework and expect it to be done in a conscientious manner. Teachers explain individual class guidelines. Some homework may serve to review or drill concepts, terms or facts considered essential. Generally, however, homework should be engaging, purposeful, and invite reflection and application of content learned. Concerns with homework should be directed to teachers, who should provide guidelines for the amount of time spent on homework.
The Library serves as the central information resource for the Burgundy campus. It is staffed by two librarians, and by parents who work two to four blocks of time each month. The Library is open from 8:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. daily. Students may use the Library at any time during the school day, and each class through 5th Grade has a weekly scheduled time in the Library. Middle School students also have regularly scheduled time during Humanities Expansion to focus on research skills and digital citizenship along with extra time when they are working on projects in humanities, science, music and drama.
The Library has a collection of approximately 18,000 titles, including books, videos, ebooks, and magazines. More than 20 computers are available for use, with links to subscription encyclopedia, research, news and ebook databases. These links are also available on all the school computers and from home. There is a parent/teacher collection dealing with issues of child development, parenting, and learning styles. Parents are encouraged to make use of both the general collection and the parent/teacher collection. Books are checked out for two weeks at a time. While no fines are charged, students and parents are given weekly overdue notices. Nothing more may be checked out until the overdue materials are paid for or returned. Eighth Grade transcripts will not be released until all materials are paid for or returned.
In addition to volunteering, parents can help support the Library in other ways. In the fall, parents purchase books from a selection on display in the Library to donate in their child's name through Buy A Book for Burgundy. In the spring, parents and students can purchase books through the Burgundy Book Fair held in early May. Proceeds from both events are used to purchase additional materials for the Library.
Respectful Use of Technology at Burgundy
We call upon all members of the Burgundy community – students, employees and parents – to make responsible and respectful use of computers, mobile devices, email, social media and other technologies. Please read and discuss with family members the following guidelines for “respectful use” of technology. These guidelines mirror the basic expectations we encourage among Burgundy students and community members in all domains of our learning community:
Be nice to everybody.
Be nice to Burgundy.
Guidelines that apply to all members of the Burgundy community:
Respect for our own children and the children of others means...
helping our children learn how to use technology responsibly.
being aware of our children’s lives online, to set limits on online activity when needed, and to maintain an ongoing dialog with our children about their online experiences.
helping our children acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them.
Respect for others means...
honoring the privacy of other Burgundy families.
not sharing or misusing other families’ email addresses and contact information.
keeping anti-virus software on our personal computers helps prevent the spread of viruses, malware, and "spam."
Respect for the learning process means...
requesting permission of the teacher or instructor to photograph or videotape the instruction process, both in the classroom and in outdoor learning situations.
helping the school enforce its restriction on student use of cell phones during the school day (see below).
Guidelines that apply to all members of the Burgundy community and particularly to students:
Respect for the learning process and for Burgundy means...
not stealing hardware, software, or intellectual property.
taking active steps to protect equipment from damage, loss and theft.
treating hardware carefully and respectfully, following school rules for using and borrowing computers.
not tampering with computers and computer configurations in any way that interferes with the learning process.
recognizing that school computers, software and other electronic systems are intended to support learning.
not attempting to bypass the school’s content filtering policies.
not using the school’s Internet bandwidth for private or frivolous purposes.
not using cell phones during the school day (except in an emergency). Student cell phones should not be seen or heard during the school day.
Respect for self and others means...
treating others with respect online.
not participating in and not tolerating any form of online bullying or harassment.
being honest and truthful in representing yourself online.
never sharing your account credentials with others, never using another person’s login and never adopting another person’s identity online.
recognizing that electronic communications are often not as “private” as we think and that we should not say anything to someone or about someone online that we would not be willing to tell them face-to-face.
not sharing words or photos that are inappropriate, vulgar or degrading.
not wasting the time of others with meaningless or frivolous electronic communications (not sending "spam").
respecting the privacy of others and the reputation of the school.
Respect for the community of learning and for intellectual property means...
helping to advance learning generally.
providing scholarly attribution for information you have gathered (i.e., citing sources), not only as support for your conclusions, but also to allow others to locate and verify your work and build on it.
adhering to federal copyright laws.
giving credit to others for their ideas, words, research or creative work (not plagiarizing by failing to give credit).
Respect for self means...
acknowledging your mistakes (we all make them!) and learning from them.
Limitations to Email and Network Privacy
While Burgundy understands the need for privacy and wishes to encourage independent thinking, the School reserves the right to monitor and examine all student files. If the School suspects inappropriate behavior, it reserves the right to observe student computer activity using student login credentials or other monitoring tools.
Textbooks are distributed at the start of the school year and must be returned by the end of the year in good condition. Replacement charges for lost or damaged books will be levied. Transcripts will not be released if there are outstanding charges for textbooks.
Community Service and Learning Through Service
Community service and service learning are integral parts of the Burgundy experience. Service is embedded in our mission statement and our core values. It is hands-on, instills respect for diversity - cultural, social, economic as well as racial - and teaches responsibility for each other in the Burgundy community, in our local area, in the larger community, and for the environment. One of the central and explicit goals of progressive education is to prepare students for their eventual roles as intelligent and contributing members of the American democracy. John Dewey and others believed that the best way to do this was to create in schools a functioning and caring community, and as students grew older, extending the school community to the local, national and world communities. More recently, there has been extensive research on the role of service learning in schools and young people's later civic engagement in the social, political and philanthropic roles that has shown that serving others in the context of education and a learning community has significant positive impacts on students' participation in society.
In trying to introduce our students to ways they can serve their communities, we have looked for service that is developmentally appropriate, mainly in our local Alexandria-area community, so that students could see that some of our immediate neighbors are those who may, at any time, be in need of our help. We have collected and distributed food and clothing, helped with literacy campaigns, cooperated with the Sustainability program to collect and prepare bikes for transport, made quilts, worked with young children and served in community-wide service days.
In cooperation with the 8th Grade Humanities program and seminar class, students will have an opportunity to explore their passions and how these strong interests in sports, arts, world affairs, etc. can lead to opportunities to serve others.
Many of the activities involve students working together at projects so that service is communal as well as individual, and is "fun" as well as beneficial. One of the great strengths is that, for almost every activity, parents have joined their children in the work, serving as role models of adult participation. We have tried to encourage student leadership and students, particularly eighth graders, have organized many of the activities. We would like to expand opportunities for student leadership, and this is certainly one of our goals for expanding the program and making it more consonant with Burgundy's student-centered mission.
Students in 6th and 7th grade are expected to volunteer for a minimum of 10 hours each year toward serving individuals or organizations "in need" or in doing environmental work. 8th graders are required to complete 12 hours, of which between 2 and 5 hours are to be in leadership/service to Burgundy. Students will record their hours on a Community Service Form, which they will keep in their advisory binder. The form will be available online on the Community Service PowerSchool Learning page and as hard copy in student advisory binders. In January and June, students' progress toward completing the service requirement will be updated via a letter to parents.
High School Placement
Burgundy has an exceptional record of placing its graduates in excellent public, parochial and independent high schools. Among the high schools graduates have attended: Bishop Ireton High School, Bishop McNamara, Edmund Burke, Episcopal High School, Field, Flint Hill, Georgetown Day, Georgetown Visitation, Gonzaga, Madeira, Maret, National Cathedral School, Potomac School, St. Albans, St. Anselm's, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes, Sidwell Friends, T.C. Williams, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, West Potomac, other area public high school programs, including IB and AP programs and national and regional boarding schools. The Head of School is the High School Counselor. The high school process begins with a meeting with the Head of School for 7th grade parents in the spring, followed by meetings with individual families in the summer before 8th grade.
General transcript requests (signed) and High School transcript requests should be sent to Kathleen Hennessey at email@example.com. Note: Accounts must be in good standing for the school to fulfill transcript requests.
Early Childhood parents are asked to give classroom parent volunteer hours. We encourage parents to visit their children’s classrooms. Visits should be scheduled in advance with the classroom teacher. Parents who wish to visit a classroom other than their child’s own must schedule such visits with the appropriate Division Head or the Director of Admission. Families seeking admission to Burgundy should call the Admission Office to schedule a visit.
Swimming is an integral part of the school’s physical education curriculum in JK through 8th Grade. The pool is heated and open in fall and spring. Students need a swimsuit, towel, and pool shoes for going to and from the pool. Please label these items.