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Snapshots of a Week at Burgundy

Saturday, April 13, 2019

It’s the Living Museum at the Monarch Haven. Moving from Benjamin Franklin to Susan B. Anthony to Jessie Owens, I stop and kneel before a second- or third-grade Buckeye, who looks me in the eye and begins to edify me. Several are costumed and in character, sometimes so well I do not recognize their original selves, and they are holding forth. It’s a room teeming with adult and student guests, and here are the kids, so professionally giving their talks over the din. They speak patiently, clearly to each visitor, with scant use of notes and, yes, with excellent eye contact. It’s impressive.

Fast forward a few days, and here are the 7th graders at Fairfax Inova Hospital, as they do each year, observing an actual open-heart surgery. All of it. They’ve gotten up extra early for the ultimate active-learning opportunity. How better to understand the intertwining science of risk factors, genetics, and decisions for healthy living that play into heart health and life expectancy?

Everywhere we look there’s so much compelling learning and growth taking place. Whether it’s first graders racing around in their homemade traces, doing their version of an Iditarod sled race and therein learning in a vivid and fun way about teamwork, collaboration, and conditioning, or 4th and 5th graders explaining their science fair projects, walking adults through their use of hypotheses and trials, independent and dependent variables, to establish which food contains more vitamin C or which paper airplane flies the farthest (and why), or third graders confidently using algebraic concepts to solve word problems, there’s always more to appreciate.

And there are also less purely academic moments that teach profound lessons. On Wednesday this past week we filed past some of the artwork remaining from the Arts Festival, into the theater, and enjoyed an all-school Drop Everything and Read experience. Each student and adult brought a book and on cue began to read. A little over 300 of us in one room, quietly reading! What fun! But also what a great illustration that everyone can and should enjoy reading, and that there’s parts of our imaginations and brains uniquely stimulated in reading for pleasure.

Thursday I experienced part of a poignant Middle School celebration of the national Day of Silence. Students voluntarily elect to be silent for a major chunk of the day in order to honor the LGBTQ people, including age-peers, silenced because of who they are, bullied, erased, or ignored because they don’t ‘fit’ society’s or someone else’s framework of understanding identity. At a noontime gathering in the Middle School Atrium, before symbolically breaking the silence, we quietly listened to the song Same Love that offers a strong perspective on homophobia, prejudice, and equality.

Friday, we hosted a CAPS (Capital Area Progressive Schools) conference for over 300 educators, and many of our teachers gave professional development presentations and participated in and led roundtable and panel discussions across campus. More in next week’s Constant Comment!

In a couple of weeks we’ll be packing up for spring Cove trips. Lacrosse (including for the first time a girls lacrosse team) and tennis soon will be playing matches against other schools.

There’s so much to look forward to at Burgundy in each season!

On that note, please remember that the best marketing for Burgundy is….you! Yes, word of mouth. We have a few openings remaining for 2019-20. If you know a family who might be interested in learning more about Burgundy, please let us know. We may offer a wine-and-cheese soiree or Saturday brunch this spring for prospective families or parents interested in hearing more about independent schools and progressive education. We’re also investigating other opportunities to expose area children to Burgundy with a weekend or evening program. We will keep you posted as plans firm up! We appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to work together to spread the good word about Burgundy!