Burke’s is committed to empowering girls to be agents of positive change in their school, the community, and the world. Our service-learning curriculum is rooted in a social justice framework, meaning students are guided to consider aspects of identity, diversity, justice, and action as outlined in the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards while engaging in meaningful service that responds to community-identified priorities, expectations, and needs. Service learning is integrated with disciplinary content and the social-emotional curriculum, allowing students to deepen their understanding of academic concepts while situating learning in the lived realities of themselves and others. Community engagement and service activities range from direct service, such as native plant conservation and food distribution; indirect service, such as toiletry drives and community asset mapping; and advocacy through letter-writing and campus-based awareness campaigns. Students connect classroom learning and community experiences through guided reflection, which may take the form of journal writing, discussions, simulation activities, or performing arts. Through service-learning and community engagement, students develop:

  • Knowledge about the complexity of social and environmental issues, and the policies, practices, and institutions that shape them.
  • Skills to analyze root causes, intersections, and impacts of injustice; synthesize learning from scholarship and direct experience to develop new understandings of injustice; reflect upon their capacities and commitments to work for a more just world; and take informed action to affect positive change.
  • Dispositions of empathy, cultural humility, self-efficacy, and civic responsibility that synthesize into a lifelong pursuit of social and environmental justice.

Service News

List of 2 news stories.

  • Service Brings Burke's Girls Together Across Generations

    On the last Saturday in April 2018, Burke's students, parents, and alumnae teamed up for a service project in the Presidio!
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  • Burke's Honored by State Assembly at RDNC Event

    Three Burke's parents and Burke's as a whole were honored at an event hosted by the school's community-service partner, the Richmond District Neighborhood Center.
    Read More

Community Partnership

Burke’s values equitable and reciprocal relationships with community organizations and leaders as an essential context for service learning. It is through authentic institutional and interpersonal relationships that we build trust and enhance our capacity to collaborate meaningfully to address issues of injustice. 
Richmond Neighborhood Center
Burke’s is honored to celebrate our sustained partnership with the Richmond Neighborhood Center (RNC). This relationship grew organically out of a commitment by a group of Burke’s parents and administrators to address needs articulated by RNC staff. Specifically, early collaborations entailed family work days to construct garden boxes for the organization’s community garden. This connection evolved into a more formalized commitment, currently maintained by the Burke’s Community Connections Committee (formerly Burke’s Gives Back).
Students at each grade level participate in an RNC food pantry shift once during the school year to learn about food insecurity in the Richmond neighborhood and interventions that support local residents. RNC staff members provide a customized orientation and reflection activities, in addition to guiding the students’ service at the pantry. Further, families participate in the home-delivered grocery program for seniors. The RNC has recently begun supporting course-based service-learning as well. 
"We are fostering a generation of justice-minded global citizens, professionals, lawmakers, corporate leaders, parents, and philanthropists."
-Star Moore, Director of Community Engaged Learning at the University of San Francisco

Service Learning in Practice

Burke’s celebrates the diverse ways that each grade level is integrating service learning into the student experience. Below are just a few examples of what students learn and do to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions for community engagement. Click to read more about each project.

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  • Third Grade: Immigrants and Newcomers

    In social studies, students learn about the history of immigration to the United States and the important role newcomers have played in shaping our country. Students consider the resilience and capacities of immigrants to overcome challenges and barriers in order to thrive in their new homes. In addition to learning about immigrant stories through classroom lessons, the students work with Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC) to develop a map of community assets that can be shared with newcomers to San Francisco. The students gather information on local points of interest, including parks, libraries, and other child-friendly spaces. This information is added to an interactive digital map. The goal is to help families learn to navigate their new community, build connections with others, and access local resources.
  • Seventh-Grade English: Family Homelessness

    The seventh-grade English classes connect their service-learning unit with the novel Towers Falling, a fictional account of a family that is made homeless because of the father’s health issues related to being a victim of the September 11th World Trade Center attacks. The curriculum includes a focus on family homelessness. To address the topic, the class partnered with Hamilton Family Center, which provides temporary housing and other services to homeless families. The students run a school-wide toiletry drive and donate all items to Hamilton Family Center to distribute to families. In conjunction with the toiletry drive, the students developed advocacy posters and a presentation for their peers with messages meant to illuminate facts and challenge biases about homelessness. Students draw upon written and media sources to learn diverse narratives about homelessness. Teachers build in a number of reflection and assessment activities, including a preliminary diagnostic survey and a final reflection that prompt students to describe their thoughts on homelessness before and after the Towers Falling unit.
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.


An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.751.0177 Fax: 415.666.0535
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