“How Wye?” is really two questions:
How did the School come to exist? and...
How does it succeed at its mission?
The answers have a lot to say about the School and its significance.
How did Wye River Upper School come to exist?
The School is the vision of two mothers of sons with learning differences: Chrissy Aull and Patricia McGlannan. Like mothers everywhere, they wanted their kids to get a great education. But unlike most mothers, they had to create a school where that would be possible.
In 2002, Wye River opened with nine students and three teachers in a rented wing of a building at Chesapeake College. Patricia became director of business and development. Chrissy, whose graduate degree was in teaching students with learning disabilities, became Head of School and in 2020 retired.
The infant School grew and flourished, moving in 2014 into splendid new space in the revitalized Armory building in Centreville, MD. More importantly, the students flourished, gaining the skills, tools, and confidence they needed to succeed at the School, in college, and in life.
How Does Wye River succeed at educating students with learning differences?
We succeed by understanding the obstacles our students face, and being skilled at helping them overcome those obstacles. We succeed by uncovering student strengths and building their confidence. We succeed by expecting our students to move toward new levels of accomplishment in an environment where they feel safe to take on new challenges.
We succeed by offering standing desks to those who want them, by holding sports first thing in the morning to jumpstart minds and energize bodies, by offering learning that engages not just heads, but hands and hearts. We succeed due to a highly committed faculty and staff who are trained to support diverse students and who are always evaluating best teaching strategies for their students.
We succeed by sweating the details while never losing sight of the big picture: that whatever their challenges, the students who come here are bright and capable, and it’s our job to do everything in our power to help them thrive.