Uniquely Wheeler

Aerie Approach

What is Aerie?

What is the Aerie Approach?  It's Wheeler's unique way of being a school that adapts to your child's natural strengths and interests.

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, the department’s mission is to provide a rich environment for identifying and developing individual student interests and talents. Aerie offers curricular support to teachers, supplementary and independent course offerings, and professional resources to help students discover and grow a deeper passion for learning.

At its core, the Aerie Approach promotes creativity and uncommon energy in the learning process contributing to Wheeler’s mission of creating a challenging and nurturing intellectual environment that builds skills for college and beyond.

From the Aerie blog

List of 6 news stories.

  • The DIB Lab grew from Aerie's approach to STEM

    It Never Gets Old

    How does the Aerie Approach to learning work?  It never gets old because today's generation is always ready for something new. Read how individualized learning (slam poetry or biochemistry anyone?) on two campuses is woven into the fabric of school life in this latest blog post by the creator of Aerie at Wheeler.
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  • Witness To Mock Trials And Real Learning

    Earning the 2018 RI State Mock Trial Championship gives a window into one of the dynamic and storied opportunities available to both Middle and Upper School students here.  Read how the experience unfolds and the learning takes place through the eyes of Mark Harris, who shepherds the Aerie approach for all students at Wheeler.
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  • Novelists in the M.S Library Learning Commons

    Writers Escape

    The Aerie program takes a student's passion for learning beyond the classroom.  Read how young novelists take advantage of the opportunity to work with professional writers as mentors.
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  • Early Risers

    One of Wheeler's most valuable and unique assets is rising to meet the needs of 21st Century learners. Read about what's coming in the new year in this latest blog post.
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  • Flying Solo

    No Thanksgiving leftovers, here. The bounty of an Aerie program is shown through a menu of student interests which expand an appetite for individualized learning in Lower and Middle School divisions.
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  • Possibilities: A Visit To The Yurt

    How does Wheeler's Aerie Program find new opportunities to take our curriculum and make it soar?  Sometimes it just means looking in your own backyard as Aerie founder Mark Harris explains.
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Aerie Program News

List of 2 news stories.

  • What is Aerie? An Interview with Mark Harris

    “Children are the research and development division of the human species. If they are permitted to do that research - to raise and explore their own questions, through various forms of experimentation, and without being burdened by instructions - they exhibit more creativity and curiosity.” -- Alison Gopnik, author The Gardener and the Carpenter

    There are many who have heard the story of the Aerie program before, and certainly, most of our students are reaping the benefit of it daily, but personally, I cannot get enough of it, and the story of its founding is a great lens into the Wheeler spirit and current practice.

    Read my interview with Mark Harris, Director of the Aerie program, 45-year Wheeler faculty member and institutional spirit-keeper, and the list of course offerings below!
     
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  • New Digital Production Studio

    Wheeler is excited to announce the opening of its new Digital Production Studio (DPS). Head of School Allison Gaines Pell calls the new facility, "A terrific example of Wheeler's unstoppable marriage of opportunity and talent."  Located in the Whitaker Building on the School's Providence campus, the DPS is the new home for WELH radio and Wheeler School Broadcasting  where students broadcast over radio and the internet, and produce video recordings of school events in sports and the arts. Numerous classes in radio and video broadcasting and sound production take place in the studio as well as student-produced shows for on-air. The Digital Production Studio (DPS) adds green screen technology, state-of-the-art music and video editing equipment, and the capacity to use these technologies to support core coursework across every Wheeler grade and division from classes as varied as 8th Grade History, 6th Grade Science and independent studies in Documentary Filmmaking.
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Meet Mr. Harris

A part of Wheeler for as long as most people can remember, Mark Harris, Director of the Aerie Program, embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of our school.  Through a vast array of contacts in the Providence community, Mark is the connector bringing together students with passionate interests and learned mentors.

Aerie in the Divisions

List of 3 items.

  • Upper School Aerie

    Aerie sponsors curricular experiments, 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 a variety of 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.

    Staff lends support to the Community Action Program in 10th Grade.
  • Middle School Aerie

    The program assists teachers with curriculum projects such as the online Level Up Village pilot in 6th Grade and Core Tech classes in 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, as well as numerous math competitions, 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..
  • Lower School Aerie

    Twice each week, Aerie staff work with classroom teachers and students in Transition 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 exhibitions of student achievement. Examples include “India Day” in First Grade; the Kenyan Safari at the Wheeler Farm (Second Grade); the Medieval Feast (Third); the Ellis Island Immigration Simulation (Fourth); and the Invention Convention (Fifth).

    Electives are offered for students in Grades 4-5, meeting 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.

Aerie: The Expandable Curriculum

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Contact Us

List of 6 members.

216 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246
Phone: (401) 421-8100

Founded 1889

The Wheeler School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school for Nursery, Pre-K, K-Grade 12 serving Providence, RI, Greater Providence and Greater Boston. The Hamilton School welcomes Grades 1-8 with language-based learning differences.