The Aerie Approach at Wheeler

What is the Aerie Approach?

It’s Wheeler’s unique way (and, in fact, our ethos) of being a school that adapts to your child’s natural strengths and interests. Aerie is enrichment individualized to a student’s passion — whether that’s to learn Turkish in Middle School, start an internet radio program as a 4th grader, dig into multivariable calculus with a Brown doctoral student or sequence DNA for national publication while still in high school. Each example illustrates the breadth of resource and connection Aerie finds for your child.

Aerie, in its fourth decade at Wheeler, offers school-wide enrichment through an extensive set of curricular and extracurricular offerings. Named for the lofty eagle’s nest from which fledglings learn to soar, Aerie provides a rich, campus-wide environment for identifying and developing individual student interests and talents. Aerie offers curricular support to teachers, supplementary and independent course offerings, and professional resources for students who demonstrate a passion for learning.

At its core, the Aerie Approach promotes creativity and uncommon energy in the learning process contributing to Wheeler’s mission to “learn our powers and be answerable for their use.”

Aerie For Every Child

We believe every child should experience the enrichment opportunities of special courses, independent projects, imaginative programs and assemblies and access to experts in any interest.  Aerie faculty coordinate these opportunities.

Aerie Upper School Course Sampler

What would you like to delve into more deeply?  Here’s a sample of Upper School offerings through Aerie.
Latin
Arabic
Armenian
German
Italian
Modern Hebrew
Russian
Persian
Haitian Creole
Adv Chinese
Japanese
American Sign Language
Multivariable Calculus
Adv Mechanics (Physics)
Beat Making: Recording/Producing
Film Studies
Digital Design
Film Making
Intro to Neuroscience
Neuropathology
Marine Studies
Fashion Drawing/Design
WELH Courses: Radio Broadcasting, Sports Journalism, Sound Production
Video Broadcasting
Topology (Adv. Mathematics)
3D Modeling
Film Studies
Entrepreneurship
International Finance
Exercise Physiology
History of Philosophy
Wheeler Dance Company
Music Theory
Rocketry
Adv. Psychology
Adv. Engineering
Biological Design
Sports Psychology
Urban Agriculture
Linguistics
Campaigns & Political Activism

Twice each week, Aerie staff work with classroom teachers and students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade classrooms to enhance curriculum units. Most activities are designed with a hands-on, interactive focus. There are three or four projects in each grade per year. Units typically culminate with imaginative exhibitions of student achievement that are also open for parents to enjoy. Examples include the Kenyan Safari at the Wheeler Farm (Second Grade);  and the Invention Convention (Fifth).

Mini-course electives are offered for students in Grades 4-5 weekly. Students select mini-courses based upon interest. Typical offerings include chess, dance, woodworking, newspaper, and filmmaking. Brown University interns provide much of the instruction in this program.
Aerie also schedules regular assembly programs and classroom visits by performers and special guests. Student requests have led to lunchtime math and computer clubs, and individual needs are met through special programming in languages, math, or independent study projects when appropriate.

In Gr. 6-8, Aerie assists teachers with curriculum projects such as  classes in our maker’s space dubbed the DIB Lab. Competitive teams such as Math Counts, Science Olympiad, Chess, Robotics, and Mock Trial are supported by Aerie, as are advanced French, Chinese, and Spanish classes for native speakers. Accelerated math students work with Aerie instructors. FONT, the Literary Magazine, is an Aerie publication. Various contests such as history, geography and spelling bees are sponsored as well.
Aerie also organizes the Electives program, mini-courses that meet twice weekly for six-to-eight-week sessions throughout the year. Recent offerings include Dance, Radio and Video Broadcasting, Writing Murder Mystery Games, Stock Market, Yoga, Jazz, Chorus, Comic Book Making, and Drama.

Aerie sponsors new curricular experiments, independent projects, courses and seminars tailored to individual student interests and needs. Recent offerings include public speaking, playwriting, economics, music theory, Arabic, Latin, German, Italian, Japanese, broadcast journalism, film history, French literature, linear algebra, neuroscience, sociology, Ancient Greek, radio production, industrial design, and bioengineering.

Aerie supports extracurricular offerings such as Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, Debate, Model United Nations, the Chess, Math, Robotics, and Envirothon teams, and WELH-FM, the school radio station.

Our Voices