The Aerie program, 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 for students who demonstrate a passion for learning.
At its core, the Aerie program promotes creativity and uncommon energy in the learning process contributing to Wheeler’s mission of creating a challenging and nurturing intellectual environment.
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.
The staff assists in projects such as producing notepads from recycled paper, bringing in guest speakers on topics ranging from gun control to North American raptor behavior, to human rights in Burma, to State Department strategy in Afghanistan. Other Aerie projects include the Rube Goldberg Invention Team (which has won awards each of the last four years.) Aerie has designed advanced French and Spanish classes for native speakers, supports the award-winning Math Counts Team, Mock Trial team, Literary Magazine and Chess Team, and sponsors the geography and spelling bees.
Aerie also organizes the Activities program, mini-courses that meet twice weekly for six-to-eight-week sessions throughout the year. Recent offerings include: CPR/First Aid, Dance, and Film.
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 3-5, 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.
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.
216 Hope Street Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246 Phone: (401) 421-8100
The Wheeler School offers a vibrant and creative educational environment for students in grades nursery through 12th grade in the heart of College Hill. Unparalleled opportunity awaits each and every child.