The Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) is a grade 6-12 district school grounded in a culture of high expectations. WHEELS was founded by Principal Brett Kimmel (Houston ’96) in 2006, and Teach For America corps members and alumni make up more than half of the 40-person faculty.
In 2008, entering sixth graders were reading, on average, at a fourth-grade level. After three years at WHEELS, they were reading, on average, at grade level—five years of growth in three years of school. Currently, 95 percent of WHEELS seniors are on track to graduate, and the staff is committed to helping the remaining five percent excel.
In 2012, WHEELS’ first ever senior class marched from the school to the post office to mail out the final pieces of their college applications.Younger students made posters and cheered, encouraging the seniors as they exited the school. One senior who had applied to 22 schools said, “I’m most proud of actually getting to this point, because most people would not expect it. I’m also proud of how many kids in our school made it.”
The borough of Brooklyn is home to more than 2.5 million people of every nationality, race, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic background imaginable. Generally more affordable than Manhattan, Brooklyn proudly offers numerous great neighborhoods for corps members to choose from. Many opt to live in the neighborhoods in which they teach, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and Williamsburg. Outside of the classroom, there's never a shortage of things to do in Brooklyn. Highlights include Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and countless galleries, music venues, farmer's markets, restaurants, and bars.