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.

Upper School Aerie Course Offerings 2019-20

What would you like to delve into more deeply?  Here’s a sample of Upper School offerings through Aerie.





Modern Hebrew


American Sign Language








Ancient Greek




Criminal Psychology

Music Theory & Adv Music Theory

Sports Agency

Intro to Law

Appellate Law/Supreme Court



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




Climate Change

Medicinal Plants


Equine Studies: Training and Riding Horses

International Finance

Economic History


Movie History: American Films, World Cinema


History of Rock

Arc GIS Mapping




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