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The Wheeler School

Private K-12 School

Mailing Address
216 Hope Street
Providence , Rhode Island 02906
(401) 421-8100
School Information
"The Wheeler School was founded in 1889 by Mary Colman Wheeler, an artist, educator, and activist with an innovative vision: craft an educational experience grounded in students’ curiosity and passions, combine academic pursuit with hands-on experience and live out a shared belief that together, they could make the world a better place." (Source: Our educators are experts in their subject areas and deeply committed to their students’ development. They discover and nurture each child’s interests, while building a firm foundation in the humanities, STEM, and the arts. (Source: "The John C. Malone Foundation gave Wheeler $2Million [sic] to create an endowment for gifted students. Wheeler is one of only 36 schools in the nation — and the only one in Rhode Island — to receive this honor." Enrollment for 2022-23: 813, Upper School: 376, Middle School: 161, Lower School: 149, Hamilton: 73, The Nest: 54 / Faculty: # of full/part-time Faculty/Staff: 223, # of faculty with advanced degrees beyond a B.A. - 69%. (Source:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • On May 19, 2021, the school published its "Summary of Actions Taken 20-21 and Next Steps for 21-22" which includes the following "Enrollment" actions: "Analyzed grade-level demographics to identify and strive to address situations in which a student is the only identifying individual of their racial or ethnic heritage in their grade level" and "Develop enrollment office strategies for 21-22 to increase targeted outreach in various communities of color in our region."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • On May 19, 2021, the school published its "Summary of Actions Taken 20-21 and Next Steps for 21-22" which includes the following action: "Integrated professional development into every division with specific focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in the context of teaching and learning and our students."
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • On February 25, 2022, the school's Director of Unity and Diversity stated, "Celebrating diversity and belonging remain at the core of what we do. It’s also a key part of our larger WHeeLs [sic] curriculum, or Whole Life Seminar, which covers a range of social-emotional wellness areas–from health, to diversity, to community engagement, and technology–that helps prepare our students for happy, fruitful, and engaged lives." The Director went on to say that "Essentially, my role is to support the Wheeler community in developing and maintaining inclusive, anti-racist, and equitable practices."
  • The school's "Diversity Education Program" is about "having respect for others, regardless of age, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, economic status or religion." The program's 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."
  • On May 19, 2021, the school published its "Summary of Actions Taken 20-21 and Next Steps for 21-22" which includes the following actions: "Complete the three-year implementation plan for our N-12 WHEELS (Whole Life Seminar) curriculum, integrating social-emotional learning, DEIB [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging], and health and wellness into one course focused on identity, dialogue, empathy and courage" and "Conduct a full review of the Unity and Diversity course curriculum and methods."
  • On April 1, 2021, the school announced that a "National DEI [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion] Expert" would be the keynote speaker at the 2021 Wheeler Diversity Conference for "area independent schools." The speaker, Ali Michael, Ph.D., is the co-founder and director of the "Race Institute for K-12 Educators" and the author of "Raising Race Questions: Whiteness, Inquiry and Education."
  • On April 1, 2021, the school published a link to the "Race Institute for Educators" website which is a "workshop for K-12 teachers, counselors and administrators of all races who want to better understand why race matters in schools." The institute is for educators who "want to build their skills and competencies to understand and challenge the racism around them — and in their own heads and hearts." 
  • On June 19, 2020, the school announced the creation of an "Equity Task Force" and stated, "We are grateful to those of you who have reached out during this time, across the generations at Wheeler, to talk with us, to share your stories, to express support to continue to push Wheeler to ensure that every child – Black and brown — is heard, known and seen." The announcement includes a picture of a "Black Lives Matter" banner created by "Art Department faculty members, students and others" for a "special Moment of Silence event in June [2020] after the death of George Floyd."
  • On May 19, 2021, the school published its "Summary of Actions Taken 20-21 and Next Steps for 21-22" which includes the following: "Establish a clear restorative justice process focusing on learning, reconciliation, and empathy."
  • On February 9, 2022, the organization "Parents Defending Education" reported that on February 7, 2022, "all Wheeler School students in grades 6, 7 and 8 received an email about actor and author Karyn Parsons coming to meet and talk with students of color." The email "explicitly stated that only those who 'identify as a student of color or multiracial' could join." (Parsons co-starred on NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.")
Symbolic Actions
  • On June 1, 2020, Wheeler's Head of School issued a message to the school community titled "Repair The World" and stated, "Over these weeks, as we all note the passage of time as fuzzy and the foggy conditions making normal activities more tiresome, there have been a number of acts of racial violence stemming directly from our nation’s history of systemic racism, and promoted by some deafening silence and worse, promotion from bystanders."
Last updated November 27th, 2023
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