Welcome from the Director

At The Wheeler School, we recognize that our school exists in a community, state, country and world represented by a multitude of cultures and viewpoints. Therefore, diversity and multiculturalism imbue all that we do. From academic programs to athletic programs, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, Wheeler endeavors to create an environment that includes people and viewpoints from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and ways of life.

The Office of Unity & Diversity, supports the ongoing efforts undertaken by Wheeler to incorporate multicultural approaches to both existing and new practices. We provide resources to the Wheeler community in the areas of community education; consultation to faculty, staff and families; and developing inclusive practices. Wheeler’s required diversity education progam is about having respect for others, regardless of age, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, economic status or religion. The curriculum utilizes texts and materials that give voice to those people and perspectives previously unheard and includes sensitivity on the part of our faculty, staff and administration to the circumstances that affect the lives of our students, families and colleagues on a day-to-day basis. Adults at Wheeler engage in ongoing professional development opportunities in the area of multicultural teaching and learning, and in cultivating and maintaining a multicultural community.

I wish you a warm welcome to Wheeler and invite you to call or e-mail me if you have questions.


Princess Sirleaf Bomba
Director of Unity & Diversity
401-528-2254
princessbomba@wheelergmail.org

Our Philosophy

At The Wheeler School, we recognize that our school exists in a community, state, country and world represented by a multitude of cultures and viewpoints. Therefore, diversity and multiculturalism imbue all that we do. From academic programs to athletic programs, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, Wheeler endeavors to create an environment that includes people and viewpoints from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and ways of life.

Multicultural education at Wheeler is about having respect for others, regardless of age, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, economic status or religion. From a classroom point of view, this includes the use of texts and materials that give voice to those people and perspectives previously unheard.

It also includes sensitivity on the part of our faculty, staff and administration to the circumstances that affect the lives of our students, families and colleagues on a day-to-day basis. Adults at Wheeler engage in ongoing professional development opportunities in the area of multicultural teaching and learning, and in cultivating and maintaining a multicultural community.

The Office of Unity & Diversity, formerly called the Office of Diversity Programs and Services was established in 2002 by the Wheeler Board of Trustees to support the ongoing efforts undertaken by Wheeler to incorporate multicultural approaches to both existing and new practices. The Office provides resources to the Wheeler community in the areas of community education; consultation to faculty, staff and families; and developing inclusive practices.

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • How does Wheeler define “diversity”?

    For us, “diversity” refers to any of what we call “socially significant identities”, i.e., an identity that can matter in terms of how people are treated in contemporary American society. Major examples include race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, age, and physical or mental ability.
  • How does focusing on diversity help support Wheeler’s mission?

    As Head of School Dan Miller puts it, “Why do [Wheeler students] seem so emboldened to take risks, to share talent, to emote, to express themselves, to be themselves? It is created through a student culture that moves beyond withholding judgment (no mean feat) to actively endorsing one another’s individualities and particular passions.” The four key points of the school’s mission statement (individuality, commonality, opportunity, and awareness) all require us not only to have a diverse community, but to explore what that diversity means for us so that all our members can say “Wheeler is my school.” Our Statement on Diversity and Community further defines the connections between our overall mission and diversity work.
  • What is the current percentage of students of color at Wheeler?

    As of the 2016-17 school year, Wheeler has 25% students of color among its community.
  • Why does diversity matter to people in majority groups?

    At Wheeler we focus on the whole child, which includes social and emotional development. Research has shown that children become better critical thinkers, better students, and better people if they engage with people who are different from them, including in socially significant ways, and this is especially true for members of majority groups, who tend to see themselves reflected in their surroundings more than they see people who are different from them. We also recognize that our current generation of students is going to enter an adult world in which they will be expected to be able to work successfully in environments with all different kinds of people.
  • What are some specific programs Wheeler provides to support its diversity work?

    • Ongoing professional development for faculty and staff around socially significant identities and the opportunities and issues they raise for us, both on campus and at regional and national conferences
    • Ongoing professional development for middle and upper school students around socially significant identities and the opportunities and issues they raise for us, both on campus and at regional and national conferences
    • Grade level focuses on various aspects of diversity N-12
    • Required diversity curriculum (“Unity & Diversity”) in grades 6-9
    • Racial, ethnic, and religious affinity groups for students
    • Parent diversity discussion groups
  • What is the Community Spirit Award at Wheeler?

    The Wheeler School's Community Spirit Award:
    Established in 2004, the Wheeler School Community Spirit Award recognizes a person in the Providence Community who advocates for those who have fewer opportunities. Recipients are recognized for their efforts in four key areas: · Passion for equity and social justice​, both locally and globally · Appreciation for and promotion of the benefits of education · Commitment to creating opportunities in the community ​for those who otherwise might not have a voice or an advocate · Resilience ​in the face of challenge and adversity. We ask each recipient to attend the annual Wheeler School Community Potluck Dinner, where the award is presented. The Family Potluck dinner is a school-wide event, sponsored by the Upper School’s diversity club Students Involved in Cultural Awareness (SICA), the Office of Unity & Diversity and the Wheeler Parent's Association.


    Community Spirit Award Recipients

    2016 Patrice Wood, news anchor, WJAR-TV, Providence for her advocacy work on behalf of adoptees and their families.
    2015 Joseph Le, former executive director of  Providence-based Center for Southeast Asians
    2014 Richard Rose, Assistant US Attorney
    2013 Angelo Garcia, founder and head of school, Segue Institute for Learning
    2012  Mamie Catlin, in absentia, founder of Camp Street Community Ministries
    2011 Teny Gross, executive director, RI Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence
    2010 G. Gail Davis, educator/coach, Rhode Island College Student-Athlete Center
    2009 Jim Vincent, Manager of Constituent Relations, RI Housing
    2008 Len Cabral, Master Storyteller
    2007 Armeather Gibbs, United Way executive
    2006 Healthcare and community activist Dr. Pablo Rodriguez
    2005 Educator and founder of Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program Rob DeBlois
    2004 RI Superior Court Judge Ed Clifton
Please download our Statement on Diversity and Community, revised September 2016

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