At WHEELS, we follow an Expeditionary Learning (EL) approach to teaching and learning. EL is a school wide model that fosters change in the culture, structures, and instructional practices of its partner schools. It is an application of Outward Bound's educational principles and practices to classrooms and the subjects – reading, writing, math, science, history, foreign language, music, art, physical education – that comprise the daily reality of schools. Real and sustained learning occurs because skills and understandings are applied in various contexts and students discover that they can accomplish more than they thought possible. The Expeditionary Learning design uses these kinds of instructional practices in academic classrooms to help teachers create powerful learning experiences, called learning expeditions, which foster academic rigor and character growth. Learning expeditions make learning more active through fieldwork, hands on experiences, applications of knowledge/skills and authentic project work that is shared with a larger audience. EL motivates students to go deeper, work harder, and do their best work.
The Middle School provides a portfolio-based, standards-driven instructional approach, including extended-day and extended-year academic enrichment programs, to ensure preparedness for the academically rigorous college preparatory High School. Additionally, the Middle School nurtures and develops students socially through a crew advisory program and community service initiatives.
By the time students reach the Upper School, they will have a solid academic foundation from which they will become immersed in a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum.