Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!

Dear WHEELS Community,

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! We have much to look forward to this year, and it will only be possible through the collaboration of our staff, families, and community members.

Our Community

At WHEELS, we are family, and we all work daily to ensure our students feel a sense of membership and belonging. Unfortunately, our work this year is set against a larger backdrop of divisiveness, ignorance, and tragedy that threatens our community. Events in Charlottesville, President Trump’s plan to end DACA, and the recent hurricanes that have devastated the Caribbean challenge our community and our values of respect and compassion. Chancellor Fariña wrote, “I want to be clear that New York City public schools will remain safe and welcoming environments for everyone, regardless of immigration status.” Beyond physical and psychological safety, these external threats raise the stakes for our commitments to authentic work that matters outside of the classroom and character values that promote leadership, not compliance. Thank you for upholding these commitments with us each day.


Our Success

Reflecting on our students’ performance last year, we have cause for celebration. Students grew in several key measures across our school, including numeracy in our Lower Grades, literacy in our Middle Grades, and credit accumulation for our most struggling Upper Grades students. These gains will have significant impacts on our graduation rate, college readiness, and college persistence. We are proud that 80% of our 8th grade earned high school credit last year, and 43% of our seniors earned credit in an AP or College Now course, demonstrating our commitment to acceleration.

Our Goals

We will continue this upward trajectory and will also focus on new areas for growth. With 94% of our teachers returning from last year, we look forward to the following goals:

  • In our Lower Grades:

    • We will continue our math focus on conceptual understanding and problem solving, and we have again brought back a consultant to support this work.

    • We are focusing our attention on integrity and perseverance as our Community Value and Habit of Work and Learning (HOWL) for the year.

    • We will shift to a greater emphasis on writing, and we have brought on a literacy coach through the DOE and partnered with Teachers College for professional development and curricular support.

  • In our Middle and Upper Grades:

    • We are shifting our focus from assessments at the end of the unit of study to daily assessments. This will ensure greater coherence from the daily performance to the long-term outcome.

    • We are continuing our focus on positive school culture, with an emphasis on attendance. Our Middle Grades students led the way — 83% were present 90% or more last year.

We have so much great work to do together this year, and I look forward to collaborating with you to ensure all our students are learning and growing.


Tom Rochowicz


PS – Mark your calendars! The first Student-Led Conferences are Thursday, November 16 and the WHEELS 2017 College March is Friday, December 15!
David Flores