Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS)

Grades Pre-K, K-2, 6-12
Noteworthy
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What’s Special

Trips, projects and in-depth studies

The Downside

Some children miss many days of school

Our Review

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, better known as WHEELS, offers trips, creative projects and activities that allow children to explore the world.

During a study of corn, for example, kindergartners drew corn on the husk in science, participated in a farm-to-table dance, and helped make salsa and corn fritters, a parent wrote in our comments.

“WHEELS is true holistic learning and we can't wait to watch our daughter continue to grow,” the parent said.

Founded as a middle and high school in 2006, WHEELS added pre-K and kindergarten classes in 2014, and will be a full pre-K to 12th-grade school by fall 2019.

Test scores are below average, but there are positive signs of growth. Attendance is improving, teachers work well together and nearly all would recommend the school, according to school surveys.

The school is part of the NYC Outward Bound network, a nonprofit that supports a dozen schools in the city, and follows the network’s EL Education model (formerly called expeditionary learning).

Kids meet daily in small groups of 15 with a teacher to make friends and get support. Sixth- and 9th-graders go on a camping trip that includes hiking and ropes courses.

Trips are common here. Kindergartners work in the school garden and visit the Bronx Botanical Garden to study plants. High school students visit organic farms to learn about the food supply and travel to the Indian Point nuclear power plant to learn about energy.

Instead of traditional teacher-led conferences, children take charge. They show parents examples of their work and set goals for future performance

The school has a full-time and a part-time college counselor. Students visit college campuses and prepare applications and essays in school.

The middle and high school grades share a modern four-story building with IS 143 Eleanor Roosevelt. The building includes a health clinic and dental office, providing free services, but it lacks any significant outdoor space, so WHEELS has no recess period. Well-behaved high school students may go off campus during lunch. The school offers a range of after-school sports, but students must often take subways or buses to athletic fields on Randall’s Island or in the Bronx.

The school offers a range of instrumental music courses, including a jazz ensemble, as well as a film club and a popular after-school drama club.

ADMISSIONS: The school offers regular tours. District 6 priority. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, June 2018)

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79%
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
87%
88% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
40%
39% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
85%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
85% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1%
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
72%
70% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
1.8

How do students perform academically?

From 2017 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
13%
54% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
31%
57% Citywide Average

From 2018 Middle School Directory

What high schools do most graduates attend?
Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
80%
47% Citywide Average
How many students graduate in 4 years?
77%
93% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
43%
67% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
42%
65% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
82%
79% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11%
25% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
815
Asian
1.0%
Black
3.0%
Hispanic
92.0%
White
3.0%
Other
1.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
76%
Students with disabilities
21%
English language learners
16%

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
94%
95% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
18%
11% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Uniforms required?
Yes
Pre-K seats
36
This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
37%
76% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
59%
59% Citywide Average

From 2017 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
0%
15% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
2%
13% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
0%
23% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
0%
4% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs and Admissions

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Students participate in interdisciplinary learning across all subject areas.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Cross Country, Flag Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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Location

511 West 182nd Street
Manhattan NY 10033
Washington Heights (District 6)
Trains: 1, A to 181st St
Buses: Bx11, Bx13, Bx18, Bx3, Bx35, Bx36, Bx7, M100, M101, M3, M4, M5, M98

Contact

Phone
212-781-0524
Principal
Thomas Rochowicz
Parent Coordinator
Rosemary Aquino

Other Details

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with JHS 143
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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