Back to School for 2023-24!

Head of School Allison Gaines Pell standing in front of the Wheeler main building in Providence and smiling at the camera.
Head of School Allison Gaines Pell (aka AGP) P’23, P’25

Dear Families,

I hope this note finds you deep into a restful and peaceful summertime. July’s rainy days kept us indoors more than we would have liked this summer, but certainly it benefitted plants and gave us more time for doing less–a worthy goal in and of itself these days.

I had the opportunity over my vacation this summer to see a few treasured historic sites in Spain, and I was struck by the feat of humanity represented in these hallowed spaces. As I walked through one in particular that featured a unique and layered blending of religions and cultures, I found myself thinking about how many people it took to place block on block, to plan the arches and masonry, to place each tile, to mold the gold onto the statues. Of course, religious structures are often created to inspire awe and devotion to higher powers, though for me this summer, they inspired awe in the basic and often messy acts of building, of sweat equity, of talent, and the human capacity to dream.

That same level of human talent and effort has led us to the dawn of artificial generative intelligence. This fall, we return to school with a very new and profound sense that change in education and in so many realms will be escalating at a fever pitch. I begin this year eager to consider the ways that we can capitalize on the fact that school is now one of very few places designed specifically for real life connection, for spaces that disrupt our echo chambers, for interpersonal challenges and dialogue, for empathy, and for listening. Our book choices can serve to both delight and challenge; our dialogues to push and pull; our artistic endeavors to embolden and question; and on and on. School can be a place of belonging, and it should also be a place to push past comfort. This is where we celebrate and challenge each individual child as they grow as thinkers, creators, and community members. We are looking forward to another powerful year of joyful and meaningful learning at Wheeler.

In the meantime, there is still some summer left to unfold, and I hope you will enjoy the simple things, but when you are ready, please make sure to follow the simple checklist below so you can be ready for the year to begin.

I cannot wait for that beginning-of-school energy, and for the smiles, hugs, reunions, and all the possibilities in the year of growth and learning to come.

Allison Gaines Pell P’23, P’25
Head of School

Get ready for 23-24! Your parent/guardian checklist:

  1. Review letters from division leadership (linked below) and follow any next steps, including purchase of supplies and/or books.
  2. Mark your calendar for important parent engagement events this fall.
  3. Read the operations update from COO Ian Moorhouse for important updates and required actions on dining, plastic use, transportation, and more.