Lower School

The goal of Burke’s Lower School — kindergarten through fourth grade — is to instill a love of learning and the confidence that comes from developing the core competencies and strategies for learning that our students will need to be successful at Burke’s and beyond. We have three to four homeroom sections in kindergarten and two sections in first through four grades. Each homeroom section has a lead teacher and an associate teacher to ensure personalized attention. In addition to their homeroom teachers, our Lower School students work with specialist teachers in the following curriculum areas: Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Music, Art, Technology, Drama, Community Service, Library, and Physical Education.

We have two learning specialists who work with our Lower School students as part of our Learning Center. In addition, our Extended Care and After School Enrichment programs provide a range of activities and classes every full day of the school year.

Burke’s Lower School program provides academic challenge and encourages students to learn through the natural joy and exploration of childhood. Our curriculum builds on a foundation of understanding how girls learn at each stage of their development. We draw on the best education practices of the past enhanced by recent advances in brain research and pedagogy.

Division Director

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Alice Moore

    Alice Moore 

    Director of Lower School
    415.751.0187, ext. 207

Upper School

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.

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 grades. This reflects Burke’s longstanding commitment to preserving the spirit of exploration while students master traditional skills and concepts.

Division Director

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Sheena Tart-Zelvin

    Sheena Tart-Zelvin 

    Director of Upper School
    415.751.0187, ext. 203
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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