The Burch Charter School of Excellence began its full operation in September 2008. The Burch Charter School of Excellence is publicly supported, tuition free and has become a K-5 elementary level program with a total enrollment of 360 pupils. In the 2013-2014 school year, children are enrolled in Kindergarten through fifth grade. The Burch Charter School of Excellence enrolls pupils who reside in the Township of Irvington. The Burch Charter School of Excellence offers a curriculum that is focused on the basics of literacy, mathematics and technology. The school has small class sizes in all grades with a maximum pupil-teacher ratio of 1:20. Each class in kindergarten through second grade has an instructional teacher assistant, which enhances this ratio and effectively reduces it to 1:10 in line with instructional objectives. Learning occurs throughout an extended school day. Burch is located on the campus of St. Leo’s in Irvington. State of the art instruction is supported by the infusion of technology, including SMARTBoards and two mobile laptop computer carts.
As we recognize the unique competencies of our students, we are creating a learning environment that is responsive to their development and learning processes. Our belief in excellence for all serves as the foundation for the goal of ensuring that our children are well informed and possess basic, essential knowledge based on shared human experiences. While reflective of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, the curriculum of the Burch Charter School of Excellence is integrated and designed to help students see connections across the disciplines and relate what they learn to their lives. In this environment, our goal is to have every child become a disciplined, self-motivated learner. In addition, inclusive classroom instruction that addresses the varied learning styles, diverse cultural backgrounds and special needs of our children, promotes intellectual and emotional success.
Our students are expected to gain knowledge in all curriculum areas—literacy, math, social studies, science, health, physical education, visual and performing arts and technology. Encouraged by their teachers, teacher assistants, support staff and other Burch staff, students are also expected to make responsible, insightful choices as they learn to demonstrate tolerance and empathy for others. The Burch Charter School of Excellence environment focuses its efforts on development and community support for all students. The Burch Charter School of Excellence is accountable to students, parents and the community in establishing academic standards that enrich the climate for learning and ensure prospects of success for all of our students. We partner with our parents to offer support and guidance that promotes the social, emotional and cognitive growth of each student.
Our smaller class sizes, dedicated staff and parent and community involvement are essentials for the total educational program. Our teachers use a variety of techniques and methods in their delivery of instruction. We are constantly striving for excellence and have implemented a professional development plan that provides our instructional staff—teachers and teacher assistants—with ongoing training in effective instructional practices across all academic content areas with emphases on literacy, math, and technology. Ongoing training also addresses the emotional and social development of our students. We want to strengthen the support systems in children’s lives that help foster academic and personal excellence.
Character development in our students is facilitated through the Positive Action curriculum. The Positive Action program is based on the intuitive philosophy that we feel good about ourselves by demonstrating positive actions, and that there is always a positive way to do everything. It shows that positive thoughts lead to positive actions, positive actions lead to positive feelings, and positive feelings lead to positive thoughts. The lessons teach many positive actions that can be applied to any situation; help our students understand their behavior or actions; explain values and actions that determine their character; and define intrinsic motivation. With the addition of a full-time guidance counselor and school social worker this school year, we want our students to exhibit great character throughout the year. Through the Building Up Students of Character program, a monthly character trait will be identified and classrooms will focus on the trait for the month.
The mission of the Burch Charter School of Excellence is to enable students to reach their intellectual and personal potential. In partnership with families and the community, Burch will work with integrity and respect to realize the shared vision of enabling its students to become life-long learners and meaningful contributors to society.
The Burch Charter School of Excellence has a child-centered mission that is grounded in the belief that each child has a right to a high quality education. The Burch Charter School of Excellence family—parents, students, staff, administration, board of trustees and community—will continue to work together to fulfill this mission.
The Burch Charter School is a place where children develop a total literacy-based knowledge of the core curriculum, critical thinking skills, hands-on practical skills and career awareness so that they will be prepared to take their rightful places of responsibility as citizens in a highly technical, diverse and information-driven global society.