Ross M. Burkhardt

Shoreham-Wading River, New York
Retired
Total years as classroom teacher: 35

He helped found the Shoreham-Wading River Middle School, a national
model of middle level excellence. “Mr. B’s” classroom is a cacophony of
visual stimuli — movie posters, laminated front pages, magazine covers,
sports heroes, music groups, quotation, and faces of the famous and
not-so-famous. All decorated by the outgoing eighth grade for the next
class to come. Couches and easy chairs, plus a fridge, microwave, CD
player and radio add creature comforts. Students “strike the set” at the
close of the year to help them understand their middle school career
was all but over. 

His teams begin the year with a three-day field trip to the Poconos
for canoeing, orienteering, square dancing, hiking, and bonding. In June
the team visits Boston for three days of celebration and closure. 
His students are noted for their multi-media historical creations like
“What Does it Mean. . .To Be Fourteen.” 

“To have a son that has learned some Distinctions and Lessons Learned
about himself and others is, in many ways, far more important than
knowing an equation or academic facts. Facts can be looked up in a book.
Being a sensitive human being cannot. Teamwork, cooperation, caring and
sharing will take these kids much farther than any one piece of
information ever will.” — “Colin’s mom”

“Mr. Burkhardt’s classroom was like none I had ever been in. There
were posters and pictures all over the walls, and not a single desk.
Every picture, poster, and sign that hung on the walls of his room
carried a story or saying, and every story carried something to make us
smile, something to help us learn. . .Because of this approach on
learning, I still haven’t forgotten anything I was taught in room 505.”
— Jessica Cepelak, former student

Education

1966

University of Pennsylvania, Master of Science in Education

1962

Dartmouth College, Bachelor of Arts

Teaching Experience

1972-97

Shoreham-Wading C.S.D, middle school English/social studies

1965-72

Monroe-Woodbury High School, African/Asian studies

1964-65

Strawberry Mansion Junior High School, social studies

1962-64

Village D’Enfants, Zaghouan, Tunisia, physical education (Peace Corps)

Special Recognition

2009

Published: “Inventing Powerful Pedagogy: Share, ‘Steal,’ Revise, Own”; National Middle School Association

2003

Published: “Writing for Real: Strategies for Engaging Adolescent Writers”; Stenhouse Publishers

1998

The New York State Middle School Association created ‘The Ross M.
Burkhardt Middle-Level Education Award’, given annually to educators in
New York State who have made significant contributions to the field of
middle-level education

1995-96

President, National Middle School Association

1991-97

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Early Adolescence Generalist Committee

1991
and
1996

Man of the Year in Education Times-Beacon,
Port Jefferson, NY

1983-85

President, New York State Middle School Association