Middle School at Wheeler
A lot changes for students while they are “in the middle” of childhood and adolescence.
During that time, Wheeler helps each student build academic skill sets and curiosity to create a foundation for high school.
Parallel to academics, we understand adolescents want answers to their questions about themselves, the world and their place in it. And in ways that are safe for risk-taking and growth.
Success in the twin pursuits of academic and individual growth during the Middle School years (Grades 6-8) comes down to students expressing their curiosity, asking great questions and then figuring out the ways to find the answers. These keys to success for adolescents are also the keys to preparation for high school and for lifelong learning, they just may not realize it yet! Wheeler also recognizes that—in our rapidly changing times—the definition of a “classroom” is evolving. Today’s classrooms are now centers of collaboration, design, imagination, and production.
The organization and temperament of our Middle School faculty assure that we get to know our students. Advisors meet with their student groups daily and often more than once a day. Because much of each school day is spent with students in class, advisor periods, field trips, lunch, recess and at times on athletic teams, Wheeler teachers learn much about your student’s individual, social, and academic life. Advisors are organized into grade-level faculty teams and meet weekly to discuss, among other things, the academic as well as the social-emotional progress of your child.
Besides getting to know their students well, teachers also design rich, innovative curricula and programs in the humanities, STEM, and arts to tap into a student’s natural curiosity, need to learn something relevant and the desire to direct her/his/their own learning. A Wheeler Middle School classroom is often productively noisy as students wrestle with a problem or design a solution. Sometimes we employ technology; other times we don’t. Sometimes we read contemporary authors; other times the classics. And, sometimes the classroom is a theater like Trinity Rep or a multi-dimensional Providence neighborhood through Cityside for 8th Grade, the Wheeler Farm, a gallery on our own campus or at the Rhode Island School of Design, or science labs either at Brown University or our own Hirsch/Alperin Design-Innovate-Build Lab. Combined with the vigorous foundation of habits of mind and heart that we foster in our daily classroom instruction, each student moves on to Upper School with an intellectual foundation for upper-level scholarship, adventures, and achievements.
To You, The Student
At Wheeler’s Middle School we understand that you are making many decisions as you progress from leaving elementary school to preparing for high school in a few short years. Our teachers help you take risks, fail (i.e. try again) and succeed in building a strong academic foundation while fostering your social and emotional growth. You are asking questions of yourself, friends, family, and the world at this time in your life. We are here to help you learn how to find the answers by finding your own strengths and styles of learning. It is somewhat cliche to talk about “finding your voice” at this stage in one’s life, but at Wheeler, we believe that it is by building confidence, empathy, resilience, and friendship that your voice can be heard.