Hope, Beauty, and Exploration in Northwest Village School’s Classrooms

Our recent school years at Northwest Village School have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, students have returned to the classroom, and our teachers and members of our multidisciplinary teams continue to forge connections and foster engagement.

The stories below highlight how our team makes vital links with students, reinforcing their capacity as functional learners in their communities, in school, and at home, and expanding on the strong foundation they acquired in the traditional classroom. Using Microsoft® Teams and other tools, our teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians, and others are working collaboratively to deliver high-quality, innovative online and in-person instruction in the areas of creative writing, technology, science, art, history, career readiness, and more.

We’ll update this page as new projects emerge. Be sure to visit again soon!

Spring 2023 Highlights

Download the Spring 2023 copy of our Northwest Village School newsletter here.

Of Brackets and Books

WK-use-1.jpgThe March Madness season inspired spirited competition and learning within our Northwest Village School community. Last month, all students participated in a reading challenge in which they entered their favorite books in a pool, and a “top favorite” emerged. A book from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series won the competition. Other contenders included selections from the Curious George and Amulet collections, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Hunger Games, and more. Four students with the most correct picks received Barnes & Noble gift cards.

Happy Hoopla

basketball-hoop.jpgWe also marked the March Madness with a staff-student basketball game in our state-of-the-art gym. As usual, our students demonstrated tremendous skill and tenacity, and at one point in the game, were down by only four points. Our staff came back to win the game, however, and the final score was 54 to 67.

Retro Prom, 'Da Bom

MTV-web.jpgFrom MTV to Seinfeld, a nod to records, CDs, the Swatch Watch, and so much more, it was an afternoon of 80s and 90s nostalgia as Northwest Village School juniors and seniors enjoyed an amazing retro-themed prom. Delicious food, dancing, and games were all part of this event, which helped celebrate the school year as well as the future for soon-to-be graduates.

Thank You, NVS Educators!

teachers-web.jpgTeacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12) is a good reminder of the many contributions our educators make to the lives and learning of students. We are thankful for our teachers, many of whom are pictured here, for their tireless work and commitment to the NVS community. 

Fall 2022/Winter 2023 Highlights

Celebrating the Dream

G-Speech.jpgOur students recently celebrated the incredible life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and shared their learnings, perspectives, art, and more with leaders from across Wheeler. Students sang songs, cooked meals, and discussed Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, while linking themes of kindness, tolerance, and inclusion to their everyday learnings and lives.

Inspiring Hope

board.jpgAt the start of this year, freshman and sophomore students embarked on a project designed not only to honor Dr. Martin Luther King but also to explore and feature individuals with whom he worked and influenced. Students wanted to educate and inspire younger students by creating a project that was visible during the school day. The result is an engaging, informative bulletin board just outside of Room 9 featuring an array of American heroes, including Jackie Robinson, Michelle Obama, John Lewis, Maya Angelou, and so many more. “The ‘Celebrating American Heroes’ project is a way to spotlight others as an inspiration for our students,” said Dan Marazita, Northwest Village School history and social studies teacher. “Many of our students need to feel a sense of hope by learning about others who came before and who successfully overcame their circumstances.”

A New Path to Fitness at NVS

NVS-playground.jpgStudents at Northwest Village School (NVS) will have even more opportunities to stay active and fit, thanks to a new outdoor fitness trail made possible through a generous gift from the estate of Hall "Cap" Adams, Jr., a longtime philanthropic investor in Wheeler’s work with a passion for supporting good health and quality education.

Installation began on November 18, and the all-season trail spans the perimeter of Wheeler’s 91 Northwest Drive property and provides an opportunity for students to run, walk, and engage with stationary exercise equipment, where they can jog in place, do pull ups and pull downs, ab crunches, and more. 

Talking, Eating Turkey 

Turkeys.jpgOur students demonstrated their amazing culinary skills and served up a delicious Thanksgiving meal late last year for students and staff from across Wheeler. From turkey and mash potatoes, to yams, vegetables, apple pie, and more, this very special November celebration was a feast to remember!

Summer 2022 Highlights

Download the Summer 2022 edition of the Northwest Village School newsletter here.

Graduation Milestones

C.jpgFourteen Northwest Village School high school seniors graduated on June 22 and took part in a meaningful ceremony at our school. We wish our students the best of luck in future pursuits, which include attending community college, pursuing technical schooling, starting full-time work, and more.

Prom Time!

B-Decorations.jpgOur students attended a magical prom event at our school on May 20, enjoying music, dance, food, and more, while celebrating the end of an engaging year at NVS. Click here for other highlights from the past year.

Celebrating PRIDE Month

Pride-sized.jpgLast month, our students celebrated PRIDE Month in every corner of our school, working on projects related to the history and meaning of this observance and engaging in classroom discussions with a focus on diversity and anti-bullying.

Ravishing Radishes and More

A.jpgIt’s growing season at Northwest Village School, and students were involved in a variety of gardening projects that included fruits, vegetables and flowers of every kind. During the summer, our gardens and greenhouse will be stewarded by students in the Extended School Year program.

Talent Showcase

Drum-use.jpgNorthwest Village School (NVS) students have talent, and they shared their gifts in early June with family, friends, and Wheeler staff as part of the annual NVS Talent Show. Performances ran the gamut, from expressive dance and comedy, to solo guitar playing, a poetry reading, and more!

Spring 2022 Highlights 

Download the Spring 2022 copy of our Northwest Village School newsletter here.

Of Superheroes and Hope

ky-sm.jpgNorthwest Village School received a special visit from Kalisha Yopp, LMSW, program supervisor, Wheeler's Community Support for Families program, as part of Women's History Month. Kalisha shared her life experiences and inspired our young adults who are preparing for life outside of our school.

Team Building and Discovery

gym-sm.jpgOur Education Services team gathered recently to engage in an afternoon of creative team building led by Dylan Hockley's Wings of Change. There were many smiles and even more discoveries. Dylan's Wings of Change uses “experiential education pedagogies to foster empathy and empower people with the belief that they matter.”

Fostering Wellness Inside and Out

nvs-sm.jpgWheeler has received a $100,000 gift supporting its campaign for a new health center in Bristol, as well as numerous programs benefiting students at Northwest Village School in Plainville, including a scholarship fund, basic needs support, and an outdoor fitness trail for students. Read more here.

New Addition to our Fitness Center 

Gym-Powerplate-smallest.jpgLast month we added a brand new Power Plate® MOVE to our school fitness center, thanks to the support of Wheeler's Information Technology Department. This equipment helps to improve muscle recovery, circulation, and flexibility. Our fitness center includes tread mills, an elliptical exercise machine, stationary bike, pull-up station, and so much more.

Winter 2022 Highlights

Download the latest copy of our Northwest Village School newsletter here.

Of Dreams & Change

billboard mlk small.jpgStudents celebrated the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with original artwork and research, culminating in a January 14 presentation to the Northwest Village School community and senior leaders from within Wheeler.

An Adorable Canine Calls

Tenley-small.jpgOn December 23, students enjoyed a delightful visit from 5-year-old “Tenley,” a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and her loving owner, Karen. Tenley actively worked before and throughout the pandemic, providing joyful respite opportunities for individuals and families in schools, hospitals, and other community settings.

Celebrating Unity 

Unity Day small.jpgThis past fall, students celebrated both Unity Day and Spirit Day with positive messages and dialog about the value of kindness and bullying prevention. They also wore clothing colors in support of the LGBTQIA+ youth community. Unity Day is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month, which engages individuals, schools, communities, and businesses in wearing or sharing orange to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

Fall 2021 Highlights

Download the latest copy of our Northwest Village School newsletter here.

Of Mermaids (and So Much) More

teo.jpgRecently, as part of Wheeler’s ongoing celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Teo Anderson Diaz, LCSW, LADC, vice president of Wheeler’s behavioral health services, read Jessica Love’s “Julián is a Mermaid” to students. Afterward, Teo had an engaging discussion with students about differences in people striving to be whatever you want to be in life.

Back to School and Child Mental Health

backpack.jpgWheeler’s Melissa Mendez, LCSW, IMH-E, director of Early Childhood Programs, joined a panel of experts recently in a virtual discussion, “Community Matters: Unpacking the Mental Health Backpack.” The panel focused on how children and adolescents are coping with pandemic-related trauma, particularly in light of their return to school and available resources. Details about the video are here.

Summer 2021 Highlights

Our summer Extended Year Learning (ESL) program featured a “Go for the Gold” theme as a nod to the Olympics and provided an opportunity for students to consider their own resourcefulness when faced with challenges. 

A Dog Day in Summer

og-k.jpgStudents received a visit from “Kilo,” a beautiful golden Labrador retriever who is part of the Plainville Police Department team. Youth learned more about Kilo’s role and the difference he makes in the community.

Our Gardens Grew, and We Did, Too

Sunflower-use.jpgOur students helped our flower and vegetable gardens thrive this summer, while simultaneously learning about the wonders of science. We entered this new school year reflecting the same kind of optimism and patience.

Our Take on a Time-Honored Tradition

B-olympic-garden.jpgWe wrapped up our Extended School Year (ESY) program with an event that explored and celebrated facets of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games, from learning how medals are made, to athlete nutrition regimens, Olympic stadiums past and present, and much more. Student artwork, displays, and presentations were shared with family, friends, and leaders from across Wheeler.

Spring 2021 Highlights

Find our Spring 2021 newsletter here.

Celebrating the World in a Day

Book-u-t.jpgStudents participated in an in-person Multicultural Celebration event, sharing insights, projects, and learnings with staff from across Wheeler. From delving into the lives of remarkable leaders such as Nelson Mandela, to an exploration of gardens, food, and cultures from around the world, the day was rich in discussion and discovery.

garden-watering-sm.jpgLessons in Gardening

A Facebook fundraiser initiated by Brian Dowgiewicz, senior teacher, provided fertile ground for school gardening efforts this year. With private funds raised on Facebook, Brian launched an interdisciplinary “gardening from around the world” project for our learners on Team C. Funds supported the purchase of seeds, planting trays, soil, mulch, tools, and more. Brian’s geometry students are optimizing planting areas and drawing their ideas to scale of moveable structures to optimize sunlight. Other students have plans for a meditation garden and are researching shade-tolerant perennials and prices for mulch and stone, while still others are focused on building workout stations, with visions of being the next “American Ninja.”

choose-joy-use.jpgChalk the Walk With Positive Messages

Visitors will find positive messages lining our sidewalks. Room 15 teacher Diane Drapeau-Foyer brought the national "Chalk the Walk" program to our school, and since March, students have created dozens of messages that reflect joy, optimism, and hope.

Card-A-sm.jpgThe Power of Gratitude

Room 8 students worked on a community service cards project for health care staff, police departments, and other members of the community, expressing gratitude for their service, especially during this challenging time.

TAD-sq.jpgReaching Goals Through Persistence

Teodoro Anderson Diaz, LCSW, LADC, vice president of Wheeler’s Family Health and Wellness Center Outpatient Services, spoke recently with students about the transformative nature of life experiences and the power of persistence in reaching goals. His story inspired our youth to consider how they will use their own experiences to chart their futures.

greenhouse-use-sm.jpgA Place to Grow, Too

We put the finishing touches on our new greenhouse, and this amazing structure will provide a place for our school community to learn and hone their gardening and other skills, this season and beyond!

Winter 2021 Highlights

The Dream, Then and Now

In January, our teams studied the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact of his contributions, then and now. Students in all grades engaged in thoughtful discussions and activities focused on the values of kindness, diversity, approaches to stemming racial injustice, as well as the unique role that they each can play in promoting equality in their communities.

Saluting and Kahooting: Celebrating American Heroes

Our teachers are creatively delivering lessons about Black History Month. For example, one of our speech pathologists is using the Kahoot platform to lead students and staff through “Flocabulary” rap videos that celebrate great American heroes such as Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, Maya Angelou, and more! In addition, our teams are infusing a rich, diverse array of literature and related activities into lessons as part of this observance.

Ms. Paula and the Penguin Project

First and second grade students in Room 1 learned about animals in winter and arctic animal patterns through online and in-person research, with a special focus on penguins. These studies culminated in an outdoor penguin exhibit made from “upcycled” items, materials which otherwise would have been thrown away, as well as other weather-resistant items. To generate interest in the exhibit, students dressed up as penguins and distributed flyers. The NVS community is especially grateful to Ms. Paula (pictured), one of our paraprofessionals, for the penguin exhibit idea and penguin costume designs. Plans are in the works for more displays this spring!


Fall 2020 Highlights

An Environment of Kindness

Students were welcomed back to the classroom in late August 2020 with positive messages in classrooms and hallways that promoted kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. These colorful expressions were underscored during the school’s celebration of Unity Day on October 21, a day in which our school community wore orange in recognition of the values of this observance, including bullying prevention. Virtual podcasts, student artwork, and special presentations were all part of the celebration!

A Worldly Approach

Students in Room 3 continued to find ways to expand their understanding of cultures around the world. In September, youth celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from inside the classroom, learning about Hispanic heroes, culture, and places of significance. Youth listened to Spanish music, read bilingual books, and celebrated the heritage proudly held by so many of our students and staff. In early October, this class moved on to study China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, a celebration of harvest and the moon. The group wrote moon poetry, ate moon cakes, made lanterns, and explored various phases of the moon. In November, students continued with bilingual education, moving south to Mexico for el Dia de los Muertos, with a focus on the cycle of life and nature and the comfort of memories.

The Magic of Math

Our teachers + (The Tango Interactive Board) = (Fun Learning). This fall, our team strove to make math fun and accessible for students, with lessons ranging from simple division, to more complex statistical analysis and calculation, and much more!


Summer 2020 - Extended School Year Program

Back to Business, Literally

In late July, as part of our ESY program's "Back to Business" theme, middle school students presented "Shark Tank"-like business proposals to a tough panel of NVS staff and other Wheeler leaders. Teachers and other members from across Wheeler heard ideas about robotic dogs, 3D foam sculptures for coffee, fishing charters, security system drones, cordless TVs, and more.

Ice Cream Inspiration

Inspired by the myriad of ice cream stands on the Connecticut Ice Cream Trail, students in our School Store created their own ice cream stands. They researched the history of each town along the trail, as well as some interesting facts about each stand, and they even created their own specialty ice cream! Similarly, students in Room 13 imagined and created their own businesses, starting first with an idea, then business plan and store front development. [Photo: by Lukas from Pexels]

We are Grateful

NVS is especially grateful for our community partnerships that help students to bolster their vocational training and pursue their passions. One farm this summer allowed some of our students to move from online learning to an enriching, hands-on agricultural experience.

Celebrating America’s Business Giants

Room 10 English students embarked on a project that combined improvement in reading for information, with an appreciation for business and business leaders. The class read biographies on Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andrew Carnegie, JD Rockefeller, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and Milton Hershey and researched the companies they started, as well as the resources and innate qualities needed to start a business. Students examined how these leaders and their companies changed over time, right up to and including the COVID-19 crisis, and considered how these companies might change in the future. The exercises were full of discoveries both for students and teachers. [Photo by: Juhasz Imre from Pexels]

Bees, Mars, and More!

Team B students learned about the decline of the bee population and its short- and long-term impact on the business of agriculture, while Room 13 students were introduced to topics that will be covered in environmental science in the upcoming school year. As part of this introduction, students created PowerPoint presentations on either a relevant environmental issue, or plans for a community on Mars and the technology needed to get there.

Counting Our Chickens (After They Hatched)

This past spring, students in 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade tracked the incubation and birth of nine baby chicks and named each one. These furry friends, including "Chicky," pictured on the right, reside in a cozy coop at the home of one of our NVS teachers.

Our Garden’s Promise

Thanks to the dedication of our staff, and the active, ongoing interest of our students, there will be a garden to return to and enjoy during the fall. From seedlings, to vegetables, and towering sunflowers, our garden is a symbol of resilience and a powerful reminder to our students of their innate ability and resourcefulness to weather life’s challenges, especially now.


Finding Hope in Spring 2020

Stormy Weather

In late spring, the NVS middle school science team delivered instruction on severe weather patterns, including tornadoes. The class made tornadoes in a bottle while learning about tornado anatomy, classification, the Enhanced Fujita scale, and more.

Write What You Know (and Care About)

Room 15 students embarked on an end-of-year writing project, following the full process of pre-writing, writing, revising, editing, and publishing. Youth chose a range of subjects that they cared about, from caring for their pet, to video games. Teacher Julia Knectel notes, “When students care what they write about, they try harder.”

How Does Our Garden Grow?

Students rounded out the school year by monitoring the progress of the Wheeler Garden, and some students will continue to watch the garden during the school's Extended School Year (ESY) school learning program in July. Throughout the spring, youth participated in virtual lessons, contributing, along with their teachers, to the progress of the garden. The NVS team will soon purchase a new greenhouse to expand learning during the winter.


The Magic of New Beginnings

Through a series of online lessons, students in 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade are exploring the natural world, and recently tracked the incubation and birth of nine baby chicks! A naming contest is under way. These furry friends will soon reside in a brand new coop at the home of one of our NVS teachers. Students will continue to monitor their progress online.

Artful Approaches to Beauty

Ann Montgomery, art teacher at Northwest Village School (NVS), is leading an adventurous exploration of various artists, while helping students to tap their own creative potential in service to others.

In mid-April, Ms. Montgomery introduced students to the chaotic brilliance of the late 1970s Manhattan graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who became well known as rap, punk, and street art came together to form early hip-hop music culture. His artwork offered social commentary, especially on the injustices in the world. [Photo above, right: TOKEN by Jean-Michel Basquiat]

“During this chaotic time especially, it’s important to help students find beauty in the world of color, image, style, and sound,” said Ms. Montgomery. “These discoveries will keep us grounded as we move forward.”

Appreciation for Essential Workers

In late April, Room 15 students created hearts for essential workers with the materials they had at home and displayed these hearts in windows of their houses and other places in their communities. Some students even hand-delivered their creations to parents, siblings, and loved ones living at home.

“Our online discussions focus on the need to think about others during this pandemic,” said Ms. Montgomery, who also led this exercise. “Our service to each other keeps us focused on the external world and can prevent us from turning inward.”

The Virtual Wonders of Science

NVS teacher Karli Searle and the science teaching team are using interactive technology and simple objects to teach Earth Science. Recently, Ms. Searle used a half-dyed egg, a “moon egg,” to simulate the phases of the moon by rotating the object around the computer camera so that students could see how it would appear from Earth at different phases. The students found the demo to be "EGG-cellent!"

America, the Beautiful, Online

Our teachers are guiding students through various aspects of US History, World War II, and the inner workings of American government through interactive online activities and virtual mock cabinet meetings. Room 12 students are focused on contemporary issues and recently completed a unit on conspiracy theories, including flat earth theory, and chemtrails. Room 10 students are learning about the executive branch and the national election process.

To learn more about Northwest Village School, call 860.793.3717 or click here.

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