The Hamilton School at Wheeler
The Hamilton School at Wheeler is a unique place, a "school-within-a-school" contained within The Wheeler School in Providence, RI., serving children from Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts communities. Founded in 1988 to serve bright elementary-grade children with language-based learning differences, the school is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013. Many Hamilton students have been diagnosed with dyslexia (reading disorder), attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), executive function deficits, and/or specific language impairments.
Hamilton has a lower division for students in grades 1-5 and a middle school division for students in grades 6-8. Class size ranges from 5-11 students, depending on grade level. Our total enrollment is about 68 students. Hamilton is overseen by a program director, an administrative assistant, and has 13 full time faculty members. The program also shares faculty members with other Wheeler divisions in art, music, library, and physical education. Preparing children for mainstream educational settings after they leave Hamilton is a primary goal of the program.
Hamilton Lower School students have their academic classes in a restored Victorian building on Wheeler's Providence campus. Hamilton 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes are located within the Wheeler Middle School. Hamilton students are integrated with regular Wheeler students for art, music, library, physical education, Aerie (enrichment) classes, field trips, and special events. Hamilton students are also integrated for lunch periods and recesses, mini-courses, and activity times. This School-within-a-school model allows students to be taught in smaller instructional groupings by teachers who utilize specialized teaching approaches while also providing the opportunity for socialization in the wider school community.
Whether you are a prospective parent, an alumnus or just a casual visitor of our site, welcome. We have a wealth of information including links to everything on Wheeler’s website and connections to many learning differences resources throughout the country.
In June 1992 Jonathan Green was appointed director of The Hamilton School at Wheeler. Jon graduated with a degree in Education from the University of Vermont in 1975 and earned a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University in 1981. Jon brings to the field of learning differences 30 years of teaching experience. Prior to Wheeler, he taught students and administrated programs at the Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts and Mt. Abraham Union High School in Bristol, Vermont.
Most recently, Jon was instrumental in founding The Bradford L. Dunn Institute, a non-profit corporation committed to assisting students, parents, teachers, and other professionals with issues relating to learning differences. Jon is active locally and within the national LD community. He is a member of the International Dyslexia Association Board of directors and The Rhode Island Branch of IDA Board.
Inside the new Wharton P. Whitaker Building
A Look Back: 20th Anniversary Video 2008
Student-Produced Video About Our New Building
Links to more Wheeler pages
|Pulitzer Prize Winner Receives 2012 Hamilton Award|
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz was honored as the 2012 Hamilton Life Achievement Award at the annual "Mind Your p's & q's Party," March 1 at The Wheeler School. Philip Schultz, author of the memoir My Dyslexia, is a well-known poet, fiction writer and educator who has taught creative writing for nearly 40 years. He founded The Writers Studio in 1987 after spending four years as the director of New York University’s graduate creative writing program. Read more about the Life Achievement Award below. To see photos from the evening and daytime visit, click here
|Complete information about the application and admission process for the Hamilton School at Wheeler|
While Hamilton students have great overall cognitive ability, they often struggle with acquiring reading, spelling, written expression, math, organization and study skills due to dyslexia or other learning differences. We believe that our students can learn these skills so that they can function well, and even, excel in school and in life.
Our curriculum is designed to teach compensatory strategies so our students can master these critical academic skills. Hamilton students have separate academic classes where teachers use specialized methods (i.e. Orton-Gillingham, Project Read, Lindamood Bel) to teach students reading, written expression and math. Language arts is the heart of the curriculum and is designed to help students expand their reading decoding and fluency, handwriting, spelling, grammar, and written expression skills. Generally students are taught in small instructional groups. Hamilton class sizes range from four to ten students.
The Hamilton School’s instructional methods are designed to teach children academic skills so they can “learn to learn.” Skills are directly and systematically taught, reinforced and re-taught throughout the program. LD children usually learn best using multisensory techniques which reflect our kinesthetic and tactile instincts which reinforce and bond with our visual and auditory pathways for learning. Our instruction, largely hands-on and experience-based, is complemented with field trips, multi-media technology, music and drama. While Hamilton teachers do not always cover the same quantity of content, the curriculum for each grade parallels the content within the corresponding Wheeler grades.
For art, music, physical education, electives, lunch and recess periods, field trips and after school sports and other non-academic programs, Hamilton students are fully integrated with Wheeler students. These combined classes account for more than 50% of a student’s day.
|Hamilton Lower School|
The Hamilton School's instructional methods are designed to teach children academic skill so that they "learn how to learn". Skills are directly and systematically taught, reinforced, and retaught throughout the program and at grade level. These children learn best through direct, systematic teaching using a multisensory approach. All subjects reflect the importance of the kinesthetic and tactile modalities to reinforce and bond the visual and auditory pathways for learning. The instruction, largely hands-on and experienced-based, is complemented by field trips, multimedia technology, music and drama. While Hamilton teachers do not always cover the quantity of content, frequently, the contentcurriculum for each grade parallels the content within the corresponding Wheeler grades. Teachers meet regularly between divisions (Hamilton and Wheeler) to plan, develop, coordinate, and evaluate curriculum.
Wheeler & Hamilton 4th graders at annual 'Battle of the Books'
Hamilton Lower School students are exposed to a rigorous set of academic classes, including language arts, math, social studies, and science. All Hamilton Lower School students have a daily reading class, Orton-Gillingham class 3x/week, and regular written expression classes. In addition to the content inherent in the courses, these courses are designed to teach and practice reading, writing, and study skills. One advantage of the Hamilton model is that teachers who teach Orton-Gillingham are often the same teachers who are teaching math or social studies so skills that are taught in isolation can also be practiced within content classes.
|Hamilton Middle School|
In middle school students are faced with an increased amount of work to accomplish and, thus must learn to work more efficiently to be successful. At many schools it is difficult to practice skill development because of the work that needs to be accomplished. For students with learning differences, it is imperative that they continue to hone their reading, writing, and study skills.
The Hamilton Middle School is located within Wheeler's Middle School and usually has 27-28 students in grades six, seven, and eight. We call it a "modified" middle school program because, although students change classes all students have one teacher who is their advisor, social studies teacher, and language arts teacher. In this way, teachers are able to develop close relationships with students and guide them as needed.
Hamilton middle school students have learned how to read, but often struggle with reading fluency and integrating the study skills necessary to complete multi-step and long term assignments. The goal of our middle school program is for students to succeed in a challenging independent school curriculum, while simultaneously strengthening their component reading, writing, math, and study skills. Students must understand those areas where they are weaker and advocate for themselves with their teachers.
A program in Wheeler's Upper School for Hamilton alumni. Click here
Graduates of the Hamilton School at Wheeler have made some notable achievements. In the newsletter of the International Dyslexia Association (available in our Download Newsletters Section below) you can read articles by five Hamilton and Wheeler alums.
|Awards & Honors|
The NAIS Leading Edge Award
Hamilton was selected to receive the 2006 "Innovative Curriculum" Award from the National Association of Independent School's Leading Edge Program. This is a significant tribute to Wheeler and its school-within-a-school model for children with language-based learning differences that was first launched in 1988.
The Hamilton Life Achievement Award
Each year, The Hamilton School at Wheeler selects a noted individual who has overcome the challenges of learning differences to succeed in life. Past recipients have included the late Fred Friendly, President of CBS News; children’s author AVI, TWISTER game inventor Reyn Guyer, former NFL player Duke Fergerson, and migrant farmworker turned pediatrician Dr. Mary Groda-Lewis.
Voice actor Fred Newman, a touring regular on radio's A Prairie Home Companion, graduate of Harvard Business School and author of the popular book MouthSounds, is the recipient of the 2009 Hamilton School at Wheeler Life Achievement Award. Newman can be heard often on the weekly public radio program A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor; in movies--such as Gremlins I & II and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-- and daily on the PBS award-winning reading series Between the Lions. In MOUTHSOUNDS, a book and CD combo, Newman takes the talent that once amused fellow students and bemused his teachers to teach others how to whistle, pop, boing, and honk, become a Human Beat Box, perform "Purple Haze" in duck quacks, summon your terrier (or teenager) with the "Fingerless Whistle," and amaze family and friends with your rendition of "Titanic: The Movie in 20 Seconds."
Hamilton School Administrative Assistant
|Appleseeds (20th anniversary)|
This edition of Hamilton's newsletter, Appleseeds, celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Hamilton School at Wheeler (spring 2008).
Read the Summer 08 Perspectives on Language and Literacy, a publication of the International Dyslexia Association. This issue contains personal stories about successes with dyslexia.