The Aerie Enrichment Approach

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.”

Learn more in the sections below about our Hirsch-Alperin Design | Innovate Build Lab, our  Digital Production Studio, the home of Wheeler School Broadcasting, and peruse our Awards page for the many unique opportunities students have to take part in state and national competitions related to their individual passions.

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.

UPPER SCHOOL AERIE MENU OF COURSES — SPRING 2020

Here is the spring edition of Aerie one-semester classes offered to students in Gr. 9-12.

Languages
Modern Hebrew
Japanese
Armenian
Portuguese
Korean
Indonesian
Hindi
Ancient Greek
Khmer
Cape Verde Creole

Performing Arts
Dance
African Dance
Improv

Arts & Sciences
Botany
Criminal Psychology
Music Theory
Sports Agency
Intro to Law
Sound Design (Using Pure Data software)
US Government and Politics
Comparative Government
Works of Robert Coover
The True Pinocchio
Cityside Internship
Barbarian Literature
Dante’s Inferno
Archeology
Digital Music Production
Chamber Music
Music Recording/Producing
Web Design
Philosophy
Intro to Sociology
Marine Biology

Radio & Broadcast 
Radio Broadcasting, Sound Production
Video Broadcasting (major)
Advanced Video Production

Visual Art & Design
Art Therapy
Fashion Drawing/Design
Digital Design and CAD
Film Making
Animation
Interior Design

Extras
Equine Studies: Training and Riding Horses
International Finance
Economic History
Entrepreneurship
Movie History
Neuroscience, Advanced Neuroscience
Arc GIS Mapping
Geocaching
Astrophysics
Paper Making
Art in Nature’s Studio
Gender Studies/Feminism
Russian Lit In Translation
Yoga
Mindfulness
Writing a Novel

Upper School Aerie Course Offerings 2019-20

What would you like to delve into more deeply? Here’s a sample of Upper School offerings from previous years:

Latin
Arabic
German
Italian
Modern Hebrew
Russian
American Sign Language
Japanese
Armenian
Portuguese
Korean
Indonesian
Hindi
Persian
Ancient Greek
Dance
Improv
Botany
Criminal Psychology
Music Theory & Adv Music Theory
Sports Agency
Intro to Law
Appellate Law/Supreme Court
Architecture
Archeology
The Vikings
Old English Language
Barbarian English in Translation
Mass Incarceration
Digital Music Production
Classical Music Ensemble
Music Recording/Producing
Web Design
Radio Offerings: Radio Broadcasting, Sound Production
Video Broadcasting (major)
Advanced Video production
Art Therapy
Fashion Drawing/Design
Novel Writing
Digital Design, CAD, and 3D Modeling
Film Making
Screenwriting
Animation
Comics
Climate Change
Medicinal Plants
Philosophy
Equine Studies: Training and Riding Horses
International Finance
Economic History
Entrepreneurship
Movie History: American Films, World Cinema
Neuroscience
History of Rock
Arc GIS Mapping
Geocaching
Astrophysics
Sociology
Advanced Math Topics
Multivariable Calculus
Marine Biology
Paper Making
Debunking Patriarchy (Issues in Feminism)

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